Waterstones are correct!

Big news today… Waterstones has dropped the apostrophe from its name <gasp>. From some responses you’d think the world was coming to an end (apt as it’s 2012 – cats and dogs living together, etc).

The chairman of the Apostrophe Society (I really can’t believe it exists) John Richards has condemned the change, calling it “just plain wrong” and “grammatically incorrect”.

But, is it?

The original Waterstone’s was named after its found, Tim Waterstone. Hence the ‘s on the end of the name indicates that it’s his shop. But it’s not now. It’s just a title. Hence, you can do whatever you want with it and it’s grammatically correct. Surely?


Blog review of 2011

It’s nearly the end of 2011, so I thought it was time to review what’s been most popular on this site this year.

First of all, let’s start with the top 5 posts that were new this year…

  1. Creative WP-300 Bluetooth Headphone review
  2. LG E2360V monitor review
  3. Creative ZiiO 7″ tablet review
  4. Dell UltraSharp U2311h monitor review
  5. Creative Zen Style M300 review

Yes, all 5 are reviews. The number of reviews on the site has certainly increased this year and this is a reflection of their popularity.

None-the-less the most popular posts, as viewed this year, are still older entries. So here are the top 5 posts from previous years, based on views this year…

  1. Tracking internet usage on Android
  2. Running Kubuntu under VirtualBox
  3. Running VirtualBox from a command line
  4. Adobe Acrobat Reader vs Foxit Reader (if you enjoy this, I’d also recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader Vs Foxit Reader revisited)
  5. Useful Netbook software (and, again, if you enj0y this I’d also recommend More Useful Netbook Software)

If you’ve missed any of these, they’re all well worth a read 🙂

Happy New Year!


Why I still don't like Chrome

Last year I made an attempt to move from Firefox to Chrome – as much as I love Firefox, Chrome is a lot quicker in use. However, after living with Chrome for a few days, I’ve moved back to Firefox again.

There was always the issue over searching. I love having a little search box in the corner so that I can do a quick Wikipedia or IMDB lookup. The Chrome equivalent is not as convenient.

However, that would never be make-or-break.

I like the fact that Chrome, when synchronising bookmarks, now looks up the favicons and populates them (it doesn’t synchronise them as Xmarks does, though).

No, what finished off Chrome for me is the total lack of control or visibility with synchronising. Chrome has synchronisation of bookmarks, etc, built in. I therefore imported them from Firefox on one PC to allow it to transfer over to my other installations Sadly, after a number of days it had only made a vague attempt to synchronise a few bookmarks and not much else. All Google offer is a line on your profile settings page to show how many it’s synchronising. No control. Nothing else. Why weren’t my bookmarks moving across? I’ll never know. The thing is, on each machine I could have imported them from Firefox. BUT how can I trust Chrome to correctly then keep them in sync with each other after that? Simply put, I can’t.

I also don’t like the fact that Chrome has no way of displaying separators in bookmark lists.

Maybe I’ll try again later next year. Until then, Firefox remains my browser of choice.


WordPress plugin review of 2011

2011 has been a hectic year for me and my WordPress plugins. I’ve learnt an awful lot – especially thanks to the excellent book Professional WordPress Plugin Development. As a result I’ve been re-visiting a lot of my plugins and vastly improving their code quality and capabilities.

I  also got rid of my first plugin – Organ Donor Register.

Plugins that have been given a fresh lick of paint are (in no particular order)…

You’ll notice they all begin with “Artiss” – another change which is part of a new re-branding exercise. Some of these, however, were modified early on and will be due a further update to bring them totally in line with current standards.

Existing plugins due for an upgrade in 2012 are…

Simple Feed List is to be re-written from scratch with feed duties being all “in house” rather than relying on WP’s built in RSS functionality (which appears to be rather flaky).

Artiss Facebook Link, Simple Twitter Link and Simple Buzz Link will all be merged into one new plugin, Artiss Social Link.

Android App Share, Simple Readbag List, Simple TTIW List and Simple Wakoopa List will all be merged into a single new plugin, the name of which is yet to be decided. It will also allow for other sites that provide XML data.

WP Plugin Cache will be abandoned (as all caching will be performed by individual plugins).

What all of this will mean is a reduction in the number of plugins, by merging a number of similar products. However, all are due to recieve the “full monty” of additions so, rather than adding the odd small feature, most should require minimal maintenance in future. Plugins such as Social Bookmarks and YouTube Embed, however, are likely to continue to have big changed applied to them.

If after this I find some time, I have a number of plugins that I’d like to turn my hand to, including a banner rotation plugin. There are a number available in the market but none that offer what I need (and I’m not being particularly needy either) – it was actually a user who asked me about this after coming across the same problem.


Connecting a Samsung Galaxy S2 to an iGo/ThinkOutside Stowaway keyboard

I bought an iGo (ThinkOutside) Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard some years ago to go with my Nokia N95. However, since getting rid of the Nokia I’ve not had a device that would support it. However, after some tinkering I’ve managed to get my Galaxy S2 to connect to it.

Here’s how it’s done…

  • Open up the Stowaway and hold down Ctrl, Fn and Fn at the same time. The LED above the letter T should start flashing
  • On your Samsung ensure Bluetooth is active and within the Bluetooth settings select “Search for devices”.
  • After a short while the keyboard should appear on the list – select it.
  • A Bluetooth pairing request screen should appear (see image to the right). This asks you to enter a PIN – this pin is the number at the end in quotes.
  • On the Stowaway keyboard hold down Fn and type the numbers in. Finish with Enter.

The keyboard is now connected and every time you open up the keyboard in future and press a key, assuming Bluetooth is enabled on the phone, they should now connect.

The only issue you’ll experience is with key mappings. Letters and numbers work, as does the Enter key. You can move around the screen using the arrow keys without a problem. Numlock doesn’t work, nor does any of the shortcut options. Here are additional keys that do work…

  • Back – Fn and Tab
  • Home – Fn and Arrow left
  • Switch off / on – Fn and Arrow right

My final point is that although I’ve only tried this on my S2, there are probably other Android devices this works with – although Google say this will be different from phone to phone (more to do with the hardware support rather than just the OS).