30 May 2011

A friends' burden

A friend that I grew up with (we were born around the same time, went to the same schools, had brothers the same age that were also friends, etc.) has just given birth to a little baby boy today at 8:19am. It's her third baby and also third son.

Usually this wouldn't be something to blog about since most people at some stage of life have kids.

In my friend's case, however, her experience is something altogether unique and altogether heartbreaking.

Near the beginning of her pregnancy she and her husband learned that their child would be born with a severe heart defect that would mean he wouldn't survive. They were faced with the agonising choice of whether or not to accept the medical prognosis and keep the pregnancy or to terminate.

There are going to be people that argue for both options and in every case there will be a moral justification for it. Having been through a similar circumstance and having faced the same decisions to make I can appreciate how difficult it is to even have to be considering those options you previously thought were never going to be options. I know our personal experience doesn't equate to their nightmare but I believe we can still empathise.

29 May 2011

Great Nando's Value!

Quick! Tell your friends!

There's a new meal at Nando's for R24 - strips, rice, and veg. This is comparable to my favourite meal, strips & rice, and at R24 as opposed to R39 (for the latter) it's a great deal.

Kat & I share this and a large wedges and a KFC coleslaw for a total of R24 + R20 + R10 = R27pp. A great, wholesome meal (especially compared to other takeouts) for under R30 each ... And it tastes great!

With a Discovery Vitality Card you also get up to 20% back in rebates so it's a fantastic deal!

Golden Oldies: Crazy Vintage Ads

No intentional (c) infringement! Honest!

27 May 2011

Today is FRIDAY!!

And to honour our dearest Rebecca Black I am referring your attention to this crazy internet phenomenon. Her original video has over 150 MILLION hits (that's like almost half the current USA population). If you factor in all of the covers and spoofs and such*, this is easily closer to (possibly even over) 200 MILLION hits. That's quite an achievement!

* by such I mean videos like a slowed down version (why make it 5 times longer?) and sped up version, which together have added on another TWO MILLION hits on their own. I can't completely fathom this!

I have to confess that I actually rather enjoy the original song; well, it gets under your skin at any rate :)

Enjoy the weekend guys!

("yesterday is today if you go back one day")

Golden Oldies: Crazy Vintage Ads

No (c) infringement intended

24 May 2011

Web2Pin - send BlackBerry PIN messages via the web

If you want to be able to send a PIN message to a BlackBerry user without using a BlackBerry then this web-app is for you... it's called Web2Pin and as long as you know the recipient's unique BB PIN* you will effectively be able to "SMS" them a BB Level 1 PIN message for free!


* To find out a PIN type mypin in a message box on the BlackBerry handset and the autocorrect will pop up with the PIN of the phone.

(I'm interested to see if I can find a way to feed in parameters to this solution to have automated scripts ...)

Golden Oldies: Crazy Vintage Ads

Life today is no longer simply about climbing the corporate ladder: it's evolved into a fast-paced digital information era where social networking is king (in fact, it's so important to be noticed that some idiots are planking themselves to death just to receive a 'like' from a total stranger on the other side of the planet, but that's another story altogether).

It sometimes pays to look back on life and see how far we've come (or how far we've strayed). I present to you my Golden Oldies of the Advertising Era!

I don't know if this is a (c) violation but am presuming it's not :)

FREE: Necrovision - The Lost Company (game)

Oltman has alerted me to a free game on promotion TODAY: Necrovision - The Lost Company.

If you want to grab it, go over to Green Man Gaming, sign in or register, and claim the game using the promo code listed below.



20 May 2011

BlackBerry, white screens of death, and swollen cellphone batteries

I've touched on this before but this time around my problem has been much more severe. The BlackBerry would white screen almost daily, sometimes more often than that, and I wouldn't be able to reuse the phone until I had taken out the battery and rebooted while plugged into power. This hinted at a battery problem but I wasn't entirely sure so I first tried to reinstall the OS to see if that fixed it. It didn't. After some more troubleshooting etc. I've since replaced the battery and that seems to have solved the problem.

Interestingly, when I removed the old battery I noticed it was slightly swollen in the centre which I had always thought was normal, but it actually turns out this is the sign of an overcharged battery. Although most of the sites I've referred to say it's not dangerous, they all agree it can't be fixed.

A simple rule of thumb (pardon the pun) is if you can spin your battery on a flat surface and it spins for quite a while, it's got a bit of a swell which means damaged cells. If you spin the battery for about half a rotation before the friction slows it down then the battery is pretty much flat (physically, not chemically) and that's fine.

So if you're having white screen problems on your BB similar to mine, try checking out your battery.

Go on, give it a spin!

Delete FUTURE events and remove duplicates on GOOGLE CALENDAR

I haven't been able to find any meaningful advice on how to delete future-dated calendar entries. I acknowledge that such a need would be more of a power user requirement but if you're ever going to dabble in synchronisation with Google Calendar then you will more than likely encounter a situation where a recurring calendar entry has been repopulated as a string of independent events that potentially go on "forever". 

Obviously if you only have a handful of entries like this then it's probably easiest to just filter your calendars that you show on GOOGLE CALENDAR and then manually delete the entries you want via AGENDA VIEW. If, on the other hand, you have scores or hundreds of such entries (if it's repeated daily or weekly) the quickest way to do this (and cheapest) is via a tool called GCalToolkit, using the free Online Tool.

GCalToolkit for Google Calendar remedies

GCalToolkit is a Power Tool for Google Calendar that helps to remove duplicates from your Google Calendars and also cleans up failed imports / syncs in a few clicks.

GCalToolkit comes packaged in a few options including a free six month trial download for Windows, a Full subscription-based license (one or two years), and a limited online tool. For my own needs I found the online tool was good enough and did what I needed and in fact this is the major selling point for me: specifically, the online tool can be used on Mac, Linux, Windows, etc. Of course the offline versions offer a few more functions than the online tool.

The website for GCalToolkit lists the features as follows:

  • Remove any number of duplicate events in minutes
  • Clean up failed Syncs/Imports with ease
  • Delete events between specified dates
  • Delete events by the date they were created in Google Calendar
  • Delete events based on text/dates filters
  • Undo any Changes you make (windows software only)
  • Search/Replace text in the Title, Summary, Location fields (win only)
  • Save/Continue an editing session (please see "Google Quota" below)
  • Need GCalToolkit to do something else? Let me know.
  • FREE TRIAL - Online Tool max 500 events / Windows software max 6 months
  • In a rush? Don't trust yourself to get it right? For $99, I DO IT ALL FOR YOU!
To use the online tool (which I recommend) you will need to associate the service with your Google Account. Check it out and see for yourself how useful it can be. I strongly recommend (as does the developer) to backup your calendar(s) first (check here for tips on how to do this). Of course, remember to disassociate the service when you're done if you feel security-conscious although I think it will time out automatically after twenty minutes.

19 May 2011

BlackOps: That GOOGLE Calendar syncing feeling (and how to remove that pesky BB Default Calendar)

[ UPDATE: you can also try "RSET" in step 4.1 below ]

[ UPDATE 2011-12-05: have added in steps for OS6 ]

(If you're looking for the BBM Groups fix, go here)

Sometimes things can go wrong when you're sync'ing your BlackBerry calendar with your GOOGLE account and when things do go wrong, it can be really messy and especially difficult to fix.

Let's presume you're having one of the following problems:

  • Multiple entries in your GOOGLE / BlackBerry CALENDAR
  • Synchronising not working properly
  • Need to reinstall calendars
  • Migrated accounts
  • Have a pesky DEFAULT calendar you want to remove
There are a few things you can do to fix these problems.

GOOGLE CALENDAR: How to back up

I won't go on about how awesome Google Calendar is. All I'll say is, it's so awesome that sometimes you may find a need to back your calendars up just in case they might die (especially if you're going to be fiddling with sync programs or trying to fix messed up app's, etc.).

GOOGLE has offered a wonderful feature to do this without you having to do much!

Presuming you're signed into your Google Account, just go to https://www.google.com/calendar/exporticalzip and the ensuing ZIP file will have all of your calendars saved as separate ICS files! Nothing could be easier!

Note this will only give you access to calendars to which you have permission to make changes and manage sharing. It will not export calendars in your Other Calendars.

Thanks to this page for the hint :)

17 May 2011

BlackBerry madness UNLEASHED!

In my life, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that when it rains, it pours.

Take my BlackBerry for example: my mail server died about a week ago and was just brought up again on a new DNS and at the very same time migrated over to a GOOGLE APPS server, so my mail server is now sparkling new and shiny (and oh so nice). 
A mail server migration is in itself quite a big thing. Tack on a faulty cellphone that is white screening all the time since Easter (which may or may not be related to my long drive to Cradock during which time my phone battery died [from being on GPS constantly] and hasn’t been the same since) and also the timely opportunity to upgrade my contract (and get a new phone) and face the slow conclusion to my twenty-four month warranty on said faulty phone. All in all, I’d say it’s pouring! 
To have a faulty phone is bad enough. 
To have a mail server die is bad enough. 
To migrate a mail server is nerve-wracking enough. 
To have to endure South African "service" and figure out what upgrade to take is frustrating enough. 
To have to service a phone before its warranty expires is inconvenient enough. 
Add these all together in the space of one week and you have a nightmarish storm of grand proportions. My life isn't raining - it isn't pouring - it’s hailing!
With such epic storm clouds come some rather epic silver linings and for those out there that use BlackBerry handsets, expect a flurry of posts from me with tips and tricks for your handset. If you're a Sa'ffer then all the better for you because these should hopefully make your life with a BlackBerry all the more interesting.
So please don't overlook my BlackBerry tips 'n' tricks section, which I've affectionately called "BlackOps".

Coming soon!

16 May 2011

Wireless technology doesn't sweeten the deal

I have wondered about this for a while - does wireless technology have any adverse effects on human biology? No-one can tell for sure but I figure the expanse of invisible wireless signals bombarding our bodies constantly throughout the day (and night) can't really be all that good for us. Does it cause me to lie awake at night with sleepless terror looming over my already ray-addled brain? Not mostly.

I also confess that I hardly even blink at the thought that if these technologies may just be having even a slight influence on my physiology, the impact they have on smaller critters must be proportionately higher. I don't really know and I often don't really care, but it appears to be true by the content of this article...

Will this put a slow-down on technology growth? Will it influence the world to rethink the way it does things? Will it make people consider dumping their second cellphone? Will it make a difference at all?

While I'm so busy trying to make a decision about what handset to get on my upgrade, I wondered if my choice would be influenced by this news - would I choose a less "deadly" phone for the honeybee's sake? Would anyone else? When it comes to the question of nature (and by inference through the pyramid of life, human survival), would anyone have the courage to skip on the latest tech in favour of a honeybee? Sadly, I fear the answer to this question is an emphatic 'no'...

13 May 2011

Free pizza slice - grab them while you can!

In some cases there really is such a thing as free pizza. And Wicount in conjunction with Scooters Musgrave is offering such a deal.

Follow this link to find out the skinny on what's what.

Basically you just need to sign up to Wicount and you qualify - the coupon you receive is valid until 15 November 2011 so even if you have no inclination of going to Musgrave just to grab the slice, I suggest you do it anyway because the worst that could happen is you don't redeem the voucher. The best is that you are in the area and are in dire need of a slice of pizza, in which case you pop in with your coupon code on your phone, blurt it out, and go home filled with pizza goodness. Of course, somewhere in between those extremes are possibilities like you can't leave Gauteng (or London, for that matter) but you can still register for a free slice and then email me the code and I'll promise to do my best to redeem it to feed some needy and hungry street children, etc.

I really think if you aren't going to take advantage of this for yourself, you should at least consider taking advantage of it for those that really need a meal (and in this case a treat!).

If I weren't such an honest guy I'd even suggest creating a whole bunch of "fake email" accounts to really extort Scooters Musgrave out of their livelihood, but I'm not that kind of dishonest guy and I think Scooters should be rewarded for their cut-throat marketing, and not ruined because of it.

The low down of the special is after this bar...

03 May 2011

Free Online Rugby Magazine

If you're an avid fan of rugby and also happen to be a nasty cheapskate, then check out the online RUGBY Mentor magazine. You'll need to register first but then expect your mailbox to be spammed every once in a while with an e-magazine about rugby!