android alarm fail

Posted on May 25th, 2010 by whinger. Filed under Tech.

Lesson number 36 of Android.

Want your android phone’s alarm to wake you in the morning? Don’t kill the “clock” process.

I thought that process was just the front-end bit. It seems not. Thank goodness Willow was there to remind me it was time for walkies…

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ntp suxx0r, d00d5

Posted on May 9th, 2010 by whinger. Filed under Uncategorized.

This Dr Dobbs article caught my eye when I was looking for a Windows Mobile NTP client (long story). I read it with some alarm as the introduction implies that they’ve found a fundamental problem with NTP and then became steadily more incredulous as I read the article to find that they were talking about periodically running – on mission-critical systems, of course – ntpclient to synchronise with a single time source.

They’ve basically written up alarmist crap that’s worthy of the Daily Mail about the fact that if you use what’s essentially a test program against a single not-particularly-stable server it doesn’t work very well. Big surprise.

Does anyone really use ntpclient like that on a critical production server? I’d have thought configuring ntpd with a few ntp servers wasn’t exactly hard – there’s even a pretty noddy Redhat howto for it. And yet the title of the article (and especially the introduction) suggest that they’ve uncovered a fundamental problem with ntp.

I’m left wondering if timekeeper is a Dr Dobbs product, to be honest.


MYSQL: Convert hex string to integer

Posted on May 7th, 2010 by whinger. Filed under Tech, Web Development.

So there’s a few places on the web asking how to do this; while it’s easy to do

SELECT x'1fb5';

if you have the hex string stored in a field you can’t do that.

The answer is to use CONV()


SELECT CONV(myhexfield, 16, 10);

It’s that simple.

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Posted on May 4th, 2010 by whinger. Filed under Funny.

This is the latest offer from Tesco’s. Looks like a real bargain to me!

Tesco Orange Juice - £1.33 or 3 for £4!
Edit: they’ve since spotted this, and have made the juice more expensive (it’s now £1.35 or 3 for £4). I’m not sure that was quite what I was hinting at when I posted this…



Posted on March 26th, 2010 by whinger. Filed under Uncategorized.

I don’t tend to post links, but this one just made me lol more than most.


come play our oh-so-hard game

Posted on February 12th, 2010 by whinger. Filed under Uncategorized.

So betfair have a £5 free bet game (probably only works if you already have an account, although I’m not sure of that) which at first glance looks like a scratchcard – you have to click on the three hearts from nine which have a £ behind them. Except that if (after clicking start) you do nothing for a few seconds it quietly shows you which ones to click.

I guess it’s intentional but I don’t care: these free bet offers are great – I won £120 on the National this year risk-free and haven’t used my account since except for their free bet offers, and yet they keep on sending them to me 🙂


XP BSOD STOP 0x0000007b after a virus scan

Posted on January 3rd, 2010 by whinger. Filed under Tech.

Scenario: heavily infected machine, drive attached to second machine and scanned; infected files deleted but when drive reinserted windows fails to boot with 0x0000007b blue screen STOP message.

Lots of stuff on the internet about this, mostly suggesting hardware changes or faulty hardware. No-one mentions the virus scan. It turns out the reason is one of the files deleted by the virus scan is loaded during early boot.

I went through the list of files loaded by the machine (I was lucky that this page showed the list of files Windows loads on the machine – a Dell Dimension 2400) and checked the file existed on the target – the only one that was on my working install and not on the target was atapi.sys; copying this from the working machine solved the problem instantly.

I guess the sensible thing to do was to keep a track of the files deleted by the virus scan… but if – like me – you were too blasé to do something so sensible, I hope this helps some.

Edit: Note that on vista (unlike XP) you can run sfc /scannow from the recovery console


Flat( bat)tery will get you nowhere

Posted on November 9th, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Whinges.

Flat battery today. Some ignorant bitch decided that she would have strop at me because I asked her to go up over the pavement (while I had C’s car next to mine) and it “would damage her wheel”.

Nice bit of understanding for your fellow man, honey, it’s not my fault you can’t drive well enough to go up and down on the dropped kerbs…


Interesting juxtaposition…

Posted on October 23rd, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Funny.

In Aldi‘s Sunday offers email…

Reciprocating Saw and My Little Baby Born

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your negative aura just zeroes me out

Posted on October 6th, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Tech, Whinges.

So in this post I talked about -COALESCE(null, 0) returning -0 in my legacy 5.0.15 mysql server and moaned that I couldn’t use -COALESCE(null, -0) to get around it.

It occurred to me that this might be because the parser intercepts the “-0” and goes “don’t be silly”. So I tried this:


and – genius! – it works!

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