How to store UNICODE in a non-UNICODE database

For a side project I am working on (Glad you asked! PostRecycler which makes the most of your social posts) I needed to all entry of unicode characters for just one field.

This left me in a bit of a quandary as I really didn’t want to have to convert the whole of my database to UTF-8 just so I could have this one column accept unicode characters.

Then I remembered something I had discovered in our companies web app which accepted unicode characters but I knew the database wasn’t unicode enabled. However, I knew that this column was encrypted … Read the rest

Laptop Stickers

What is it with developers and laptop stickers? It seems that in every coffee shop there will be individuals scattered around hunched over their (usually) Apple Macs and the lid will be covered in stickers. And you know what? I’m exactly the same!

The laptop above is my old trusty Macbook Air along with its accompanying stickers. In fact since that picture was taken it has gained even more. It has stickers covering all my areas of interest:

  • development (including the “Cutting and pasting from Stack Overflow” classic)
  • music (from Real World records)
  • Evernote
  • Star Wars (from here)

Many … Read the rest

Setting the Codeigniter Environment for both CLI and Browser

I’ve recently been getting to grips with the Codeigniter framework after years of using a home-grown monstrosity. I was becoming more and more concerned about the level of security in my own framework and decided I would be better off with something that’s maintained.

I researched the many PHP frameworks to find one that was going to work for me. I toyed with the idea of using Symfony, which is what our products are based on, but the time to get up-to-speed with it was greater than I wanted to invest. I therefore settled on Codeigniter which looked easier … Read the rest

Mouse support in iPadOS/iOS13 Public Beta 3

The latest beta version of iOS13/iPadOS was released yesterday evening and I gave it a quick test this morning to see how the mouse support was coming along.

I know form comments made elsewhere that mouse support is not for everyone and some don’t understand why it is even necessary. For me it is a useful tool for when working away from my desk as I find it speeds up my work and make it a more pleasant experience. I still don’t think I could ever use the iPad as a permanent desktop replacement but it is a lot more … 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

iPad Pro, iOS13 and USB-c Dongles

Each year, regular as clockwork, Apple releases a new version of their operating system for mobile devices – iOS. This years version, iOS13, has recently been release for public beta and I took the plunge and installed it on my iPad Pro so you don’t have to!

Can’t we all run the beta?

Before we get too much into the new features of iOS here are a couple of reasons why you might not want to be installing it on your main device just yet. Beta software by definition is not fully baked and still has a number of bugs … Read the rest

Text Expansion with Alfred

I’ve had my MacBook Air for over five years now and by and large it is still performing pretty well. Certainly better after that time than any Windows machines I’ve had in the past would have done.

Just recently, though, I’d been having a performance problem which led me to do a root and branch check of my machine (turned out it was the Sophos Home Virus scanner). As part of this I stumbled upon the fact that Alfred can do text expansion and this left me to wonder whether it was worth having two programs sat in the background … Read the rest

photofeeler – do I look good on this?

Everyone knows that looking good in your social media profile pictures is important and nowhere more so than on LinkedIn. But how do you know what is the best picture to use? Well that is where online service photofeeler comes in.

Photofeeler attempts to take some of the guesswork out of selecting the optimum picture by crowdsourcing views on pictures you upload aggregating the responses to give you a score.

You start by uploading a picture that you are interested in and select a category that this would be used with, so business or social. This is then available to … Read the rest

Using the iPad Mini as a Kindle Replacement

I like reading and for years I have been happily doing so on a very old Amazon Kindle which was a hand-me-down from the wife. I never bothered to upgrade as the newer models always seemed bulkier than what I had.

That was until like everyone else on the planet when you reach a certain age you need glasses and things become difficult to see, particularly in low light. My existing Kindle had no light and so I was forced to start thinking about a replacement.

Initially I toyed with the idea of a new Kindle or more likely my … 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