Slush ‘19

A bit of a departure for the blog this week as I am currently away in Finland for the annual Slush event. As it is primarily a technology event I thought it would fit here.

Slush styles itself as the world’s leading startup event and takes place in Helsinki every November. The event name and the location suggest that we might be knee deep in wet snow but actually when we arrived on Wednesday it was warmer than the UK we had just left.

Having not been before it was difficult to know just what to expect but what I … Read the rest

In the Days Before Digital Downloads

Digging through some old papers I came across a letter that I wrote to the magazine Your Computer in 1981 when I would have been 16.

What’s interesting about this historical artifact is not that it was hand written and sent through the post on paper (although that is certainly unusual these days). No it is that it contains a submission for publication of a program that I’d written.

It’s hard to believe in these days of digital software downloads that there was a time when programs were small enough that they could be printed in magazines and people actually … Read the rest

How to pass multiple parameters in and out of PHP functions

At some point in your PHP development you are likely to want to break repeated functionality out into a separate, well, function. Something that you’ll no doubt also want to do is pass information back and forward from these functions.

If you are familiar with scope in programming you will be aware that variables are typically only available where they are created. This means if you create a variable called $name in the main part of your code you would not be able to “see” this variable in a function unless you passed it across. The scope of the variable … Read the rest

How I Got Here

Many people have meticulously planned lives. They have a goal, a direction of travel, a way of getting from A to B and the drive and ambition to reach that goal. Others wander aimlessly through life without knowing whether they have achieved any goal through dint of not having ever set one. Others find that luck guides them.

Then there is me. I had a direction of travel that I was more than happy with. I had a goal that I had set myself years before and had achieved but as is so often the case when you reach the … Read the rest

Connecting to Public WiFi with Custom DNS Settings on MacOS

Where’s my free Wifi?

For months I have been having an issue with connecting my MacBook to public WiFi hotspots and nothing would coax it into life. It would be showing as connected but wouldn’t connect to any internet pages.

This was highly frustrating as it meant that I couldn’t do any work on public hotspots (I appreciate that there are a couple of positives of that scenario in that I couldn’t do any work and I was probably more secure).

In an effort to fix this I tried all of the following at one time or another:

  • Cleared the
Read the rest

Using Google Translate to Automatically Translate a Symfony Language File

Recently the company I work for launched a new version of our product with multi-language capabilities. This was great for us but when we wanted to expand out to other languages we found that it was expensive to have the file translated.

Given that our language file is in a standard format (Symfony’s message YML format) we wondered if it would be possible to convert the file automatically via Google Translate and then give it to a translator to polish. It turns out that it is and this is quicker and cheaper than having all the file translated … Read the rest

Sending today’s PipeDrive activities to Remember the Milk

Until very recently Google used to allow you to forward an email based on a filter. So you could receive an email see that it was from x and then automatically forward it on to y. This was beneficial and I used it to send the today’s activity notifications from our CRM (PipeDrive) to my task manager (Remember the Milk). Now Google has ceased this functionality on privacy grounds.

With this feature gone I could no longer see my activities in Remember the Milk (RTM) which was a pain. So I wrote a little script that used the PipeDrive api … Read the rest

Is this the world’s most expensive charger?

One of the disappointments of the new iPad Pro was that all those lightning charge cables and accessories that I’d accumulated over the years immediately became useless. However, the move to USB-C meant that the iPad had a bit of a trick up its sleeve – charging. As you can see from the image above here it is charging my Apple Watch.

The iPad Pro can charge accessories such as your watch, iPhone etc. at a 7.5W charge rate – providing that you have the right cables. To do so requires a potentially expensive outlay in new USB-C to lightning … Read the rest

Recording who clicks which link when on Sendy eMailer

For many, Mailchimp is a reliable mailer for sending newsletters and other automated email campaigns. And for some it might even be cost effective but unless you are sending very few emails I’d suggest not. Whatever your views on costs it is very easy. However, if you’re already using Amazon’s AWS then there are other services that, with a little effort, might well be cheaper. These take advantage of the fact that you get a generous free sending limit with your account.

Sendy is one such service which does much of what Mailchimp does. It can send nicely formatted emails … Read the rest

Kablecard – The Swiss Army Utility Card for Charging on the go!

Kickstarter has been a bit hit and miss for me but occasionally it does turn up a real gem and Kablecard is one of those.

I have to say that when I saw the video and spec list (multi-head charging! sim tool! kick stand! back light! memory storage! credit card sized!) it did seem a bit unbelievable and I wondered if it was a scam. But no, I did end up with one and it really can do all the things that it claimed.

Inside the Kablecard

Included inside a quite thin case is a main cable which is USB-C … Read the rest