Plastic Bags

February 28th, 2008 by neo

As the Daily Mail launches it’s “Banish the Bags” campaign, I can’t help but feel they are going about it the wrong way.

The environmental problems caused by the plastic pest have been known for some time – long before Peter Jones or Theo Paphitis mentioned their hate of them on Dragon’s Den.

I am all in favour of reducing the number of plastic bags in the wild, but I think supermarkets etc should be promoting other bags more effectively. They should replace all their conventional bags with ones that are:

The fact is, bags are extremely useful and can be re-used in and around the home many times. If all ‘plastic’ bags in the home (bin liners, freezer bags etc) were biodegradable, there would be no need to punish people with a ‘bag tax’. It would be better for the environment and people could still carry their shopping with relative ease.

Simply banning all plastic bags is not the best solution, nor is charging people for conventional bags…

FastForward 1.2.7 – Postini Analysis

February 24th, 2008 by neo

The next version of the spam utility FastForward is now available! This version is capable of performing analysis of the Postini data held in the headers of emails that pass through the Postini system. This feature provides valuable insight in to how the emails have been classified by the system.
See THIS for more details…

Picture Resizer software

February 20th, 2008 by neo

As Digital Photo/Picture Frames are becoming more and more commonplace it seems there is consequently a bigger demand for software to make loading images on to these devices as easy as possible.

The Picture Resizer started off as a simple tool developed for just the author’s use with a Digital Picture Frame. However, it’s become apparent that others may benefit from this tool as well.

In a recent issue of Computer Shopper, a reader asked for a recommendation on what software they should use for their DPF. Computer Shopper’s response was to try some free photo editing software or resort to MS Paint. The problem with this approach is that neither are specifically made for DPFs (or any similar bit of kit that can display a picture file) and that editing more than a few files soon becomes tiresome.

This is where the Picture Resizer comes in! :)

The author is aware of similar tools (which have their uses) such as Multiple Image Resizer (which is handy for adding text to images) and has used such applications in the past. However, this software is different enough to warrant its use in tandem with other image editing tools. Any keen digital photographer shouldn’t have issues with having more than one implement in their toolbox ūüėČ

HP 3600 – Computer Shopper price error

February 11th, 2008 by neo

Following on from THIS

While looking for a new laser printer I read the Colour Laser lab reviews in the February 2008 (240) issue of Computer Shopper. I thought the HP Colour LaserJet 3600 sounded interesting so I visited the PrinterLand website only to discover that the actual price including VAT was £294.91, not £250 as the review stated. I notified Computer Shopper but I never received a reply :(

I decided to purchase a different (cheaper) printer in the end – I might post a short review on it soon :)

Since then, the price of the HP 3600 has actually dropped to ¬£256, so it might be a bit more appealing to potential buyers again…

FastForward 1.2.2

January 26th, 2008 by neo

Another update for FastForward is now available from HERE :) This should address the new Postini requirements for sending emails as attachments. Sending as attachments has been tested in all four email clients (Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora and Incredimail) but since this is a relatively new feature there may be some bugs to iron out…

Previous FastForward post

Analogue TV phase-out

January 22nd, 2008 by neo

Re: Currys Stop Selling Analogue TVs

While it’s natural and expected for TV technology to continue advancing (after all analogue signals will be switched off in the UK by 2012), there can be problems with the new integrated digital receivers: it seems that some are more susceptible to interference or display lower signal strength (than dedicated STBs) and many will prevent recording digital channels (depending on whether there are any suitable outputs for recorders).

Ensuring all TVs and aerials are digital ready might already be a chore for some, but even if their TVs can receive digital signals they could still experience other niggles. Oh well, that’s progress for you :)

More information on the switchover: http://www.freeview.co.uk/switchover

FastForward 1.2.0

January 22nd, 2008 by neo

FastForward

With the recent changes at PlusNet (moving from DSpam to Postini) I have updated FastForward with the new spam/not spam target email addresses. Click here for more details.

Anyone wishing to just update the target email addresses without changing anything else can download this ISP file, extract it and overwrite the existing isp.txt file in their FFW folder.

I’d like to allay any fears that FastForward contains any malicious or spyware. I can say, categorically, that it does NOT contain any malware, spyware, trojans or viruses.

The mapiprop.dll was created by MAPIlab and is used by FastForward to communicate with Microsoft Outlook. See http://www.mapilab.com/dev/mapiprop for details.

Also, I would like to ask anyone having problems with FFW to:
1) read all the documentation
2) if a problem persists, please contact me via my website at www.neolics.com or via the forum at RouterTech.Org.

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to monitor the PlusNet community forum on a regular basis.

Recent server downtimes

January 20th, 2008 by neo

Any recent visitors to my website (and indeed to any of the websites hosted by the same server, such as the RouterTech one) may have noticed that it had been down – on most of Wednesday and all of Thursday. Also, any downloads would have been unavailable at this time.

Apologies to anyone affected – let’s hope that everything has settled down now :)

Related: RouterTech.Org News Thread

Private Air Travel

January 13th, 2008 by neo

As the ‘last’ Sky Commuter Prototype goes for sale on ebay, I’m reminded of all the sci-fi that features personal air travel for the masses. While it would be really cool to fly around in your own little copter/plane/ship I can’t help thinking of the possible downsides. If everyone uses them, how noisy and crowded would the skies be? How bad could accidents get? How could the airways be policed? What about traffic jams?! And with today’s fuel prices and environmental issues, they would all need to be solar powered or use some other form of renewable green energy.

Realistically, I think we are a long way off from the personal air travel future depicted in Futurama, The Fifth Element etc and perhaps that’s not a bad thing. We should probably try to solve the myriad of social-economic problems we have beforehand and anyway, I think teleportation would be much better! :)

Colour Laser Printers

January 10th, 2008 by neo

Having just bought a colour laser printer and done a fair amount of research (reading reviews, comparing prices and so on), I have to say it’s quite surprising how the industry has already got to the stage of inkjet printers: the cheapest colour laser printers cost less than a full set of toner cartridges and even less than a replacement OPC drum.

Manufacturers  are still using the business model of selling the initial device cheaply and then recouping costs through consumables. The problem is: they are encouraging customers to buy new printers rather than maintaining their existing ones, which in turn means more waste as the older printers are dumped, which is no good for the environment. Fortunately, cheaper compatible cartridges and toner refill kits exist, but it still seems like a crazy situation.