James' seldomly updated ramblings.:https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanjenToshiba FlashAir quickly hacked togethor syncronisation scripthttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8638Other StuffSun, 02 Feb 2014 11:23:00 PSTThe Toshiba FlashAir is one of those nifty wifi-enabled sdcards. &nbsp;If you don't know what that is, well, it's an sdcard, which has a teeny tiny computer inside it complete with a wifi connection (isn't miniaturisation incredible),&nbsp;inserted into a camera it means you can connect to your camera wirelessly and download your pictures.<br><br>Anyway, it's a cool little device, and while (unfortunately) it doesn't expose an FTP or Samba server (all access is over HTTP), Toshiba does publish an API ( at&nbsp;<a href="https://flashair-developers.com/en/documents/">https://flashair-developers.com/en/documents/</a> ).<br><br>Using this I cobbled together a quick hack of a synchronisation script (using PHP),&nbsp;it checks&nbsp;to see if the card is online (I put the card into AP Client mode and have my wifi router assign it a reserved IP address, so it's just a matter of pinging that IP, if it replies, it's online), if it is then it checks if any new images have been added and downloads them, and checks the download directory to see if any images were deleted and deletes them from the camera if so.<br><br>I take a lot of product photos and such for the electronics stuff I sell ( <a href="http://sparks.gogo.co.nz/">http://sparks.gogo.co.nz/</a> ) and it was always a real pain to take a photo, plug my camera in (which can't take photos when connected by USB), re-mount the camera as a drive, navigate to the photos, find the one I want, download it.... &nbsp;now, I can take a photo and bam it's there on my PC's local drive.<br><br>Should you want the code, it's here:&nbsp;<a href="https://github.com/sleemanj/FlashAirSync">https://github.com/sleemanj/FlashAirSync</a><br><br>No support, it is what it is, a real quick hack to get the job done.<br><br>Equivalent Parallel Resistor Network Finder Using Your Personal Stock Listhttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8498Other StuffThu, 18 Jul 2013 18:49:00 PDTThere are plenty of resistor network finders out there, but I never came across one that worked off "just what I personally have to hand", they assume you have at least a full E24 or better set - if you are a cheap bugger like me, you don't keep a full set, just more common values in a few decades.<br><br>So anyway, long story short, I wrote my own equivalence finder that considers only those resistors you actually have, and figured somebody else might find it useful, so I put it on the interwebs -<br><a href="http://sparks.gogo.co.nz/resistor_paralleler.html">Equivalent Parallel Resistor Network Finder Using Your Personal Stock List Of Resistors (</a>it's a mouthful, but trying to be friendly to the future googlers here).<br><br>Caution, you should use Chrome for best results. Firefox works as long as firebug is disabled. No idea what IE will think of it all.<br><br>Scroll down the page to enter in the base values you have decades/partial decades of. Select the number of decades you usually keep. Enter in any holes in your decades. And any bumps outside of the decades. You can hit the "Save (sort of)" button and bookmark the result for next time.<br><br>Once you've described your resistor stock, you can search for a desired value (you can enter it in the usual various styles people use - 1.0, 3k7, 1.5M, 0R5, 0.5R, 762913 ... you get the idea), specify how much error you will tolerate, choose when the search should give you a less-precise but less-resistors solution, the maximum number of resistors per stack, and if there are no solutions within your error tolerance you can select a Last Resort option to look for a solution of two parallel stacks in series.<br><br>NB: The first time you hit Search it builds an array the possible stacks, so that can take a few seconds depending on the Maximum Stack setting.<br><br>Anyway, there you go, hope somebody else finds it useful :)Live by the swordhttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8348General RantThu, 21 Feb 2013 03:36:00 PSTSo <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/8339491/Woman-wins-Nazi-firing-case">this story caught my attention</a>.<br><br>Short version, employee went to a party that her boss wasn't invited to, boss fires employee accusing her falsely of being a Nazi sympathiser and promoting Nazi ideals in the business.<br><br>So at first glance you'd think that's pretty appalling.<br><br>Then we read what the employee's job was...<br><br><div style="padding-left: 30px;"><span><span>Nelson said one of her main tasks at work was to create false blogs using search terms that would trick Google's search engine, bringing the company's website to prominence on the Google search page.<br>[...]<br></span></span>After several failed meetings, Nelson was suspended for setting up a "Nazi sympathising email address", which included "hitlerhatesbabies", and using the password ilovehitler.</div><div style="padding-left: 30px;">[...]</div><div style="padding-left: 30px;"><span>Nelson said because it was her job to create several email addresses, and because more conventional addresses had been taken, she had to think of unusual word sequences to come up with a unique one.</span></div><br><br>My sympathy, it disappeared. &nbsp;If you choose to do a job which is at it's core a fraud, you need to accept that the people you are working for are scum. &nbsp;Live by the sword, die by the sword.<br><br><br><br>Diabetics - Deadline For Strips On Repeat - 1 Marchhttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8343General RantWed, 13 Feb 2013 06:02:00 PSTLong time no blog, just a quick notice for my fellow Diabetics.<br><br>If you have test strips (that are to lose their funding)&nbsp;on repeat, you&nbsp;<strong>must pick up those repeats <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>before</em></span> the 1st of March</strong>. <br><br>If you don't,<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> the repeat will not be valid from the 1st of March,</strong></span> thanks to Pharmac.<br><br>So, make sure you go into your chemists next week to pickup any test strips you have on repeat, just tell them you had to do a lot more testing, or going on holiday, or something like that to put in the computer as to why you are picking up early, you won't be the only one for sure.<br><br>Please pass the message on to any Diabetics you know.<br><br>My local pharmacist has said that the whole thing is a complete shambles, he has people coming in with scripts for 10 boxes at a time when normally they'd collect 2 a month, has no idea how many he should order in advance. &nbsp;So don't leave it to the last minute.<br><br>Eventually of course, you're going to have to switch to the new meters. &nbsp;And when you do. &nbsp;Please take care that you still have enough of the old strips so you can do a series of comparisons, people are reporting that the new meters are hopelessly over-reading, 2 units is typical, some are reporting up to 5. &nbsp;Apparently CareSens reps have even said to be aware of it.<br><br>Sounds like if your new CareSens meter tells you you are at 4.0, well you should probably treat for a rather serious 2.0 hypo, if you're still managing to stay upright.<br><br>Who knows how Pharmac thinks this is appropriate for medical equipment?3 News: What is your personal imcome...https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8208General RantWed, 12 Sep 2012 08:37:00 PDT3 News is running an survey on their website, this question is interesting, strikes me as rather weighted towards the upper classes. &nbsp;That, or maybe I'm just horribly abused, overworked and underpaid by my boss (being self employed) and everybody else in the country is far better off than I. &nbsp;Actually. &nbsp;That's entirely possible.<br /><br /><br /><img src="http://sirius.gogo.co.nz/3news.jpg" alt="" width="658" height="496" /><br />Stuff: &quot;Beside Vigil&quot;https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8196Other StuffWed, 22 Aug 2012 09:17:00 PDTSeriously now Stuff, did your proof reader take the day off? &nbsp;On the homepage, in big letters, embedded in an image no less.<br /><br /><br /><img src="http://sirius.gogo.co.nz/besidevigil.jpg?1" alt="" width="425" height="465" />Misleading CGA Statement by Surpulstronicshttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8186General RantWed, 08 Aug 2012 14:17:00 PDT<strong>Update: Rowan from Surplustronics has contacted me out-of-band to say that the statement on their website to which this blog post refers comes directly from his suppliers. &nbsp;I have invited Rowan to comment publically here. &nbsp;As it stands, the statement is still on his website.<br /></strong><br />So, idly looking at the Surplustronics (<a href="http://www.surplustronics.co.nz/">http://www.surplustronics.co.nz/</a>) website and I stumbled upon this gem in the product details for a mains-direct soldering iron.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.surplustronics.co.nz/shop/product-TT0042.html">http://www.surplustronics.co.nz/shop/product-TT0042.html</a><br /><br />Under the heading "<span>Note For Public buyers:"</span><br /><br /><div style="padding-left: 30px;"><span><em>"Firstly you need to know that if these are returned with a faulty element, then there is No Warranty. The elements are a Non-warrantable product and therefor, refunds / repairs or swaps will NOT be given."</em><br /><br /></span></div>Well I'm sorry Surplustronics but that statement right there, that's absolutely 100% against the law, on two fronts.<br /><br />Firstly, under the Consumer Guarantees Act, you don't get to choose what you do and what you don't guarantee as to the quality and fit-for-purpose of your product. &nbsp;That statement reads that if you buy the item, take it home, and find it has a faulty element that Surplustronics is going to tell you to take a hike!<br /><br />Secondly, under the Fair Trading Act, you are blatantly misleading the consumer on their rights, you are telling them effectively that if the element is faulty (within a reasonable life time of the product) they don't have the right to return it for repair, replace or refund. &nbsp;The CGA gives them that right, and you are (attempting) to mislead the public with regard that right!<br /><br />Not on Surplustronics, not on at all. &nbsp;You should know better than this sort of nonsense.<br /><br /><br />Uses for a shattered LCD monitor.https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8170General RantThu, 19 Jul 2012 16:55:00 PDTI write this looking at my old faithful 17" CRT which has been stored in the shed since I went LCD about 5 years ago, reason being my 22" Viewsonic took a little trip off the back of my desk to see the corner of a toolbox sitting on the floor.&nbsp;<br /><br />Unfortunately the LCD is, to put it politely, a rainbow full of stuffed. &nbsp;However apart from that it is fine, backlights still good, driver circuitry, power supply etc all still good. &nbsp;<br /><br />I guess I could look out for another Viewsonic 2235WM with a good LCD but some other fault and make a good one out of the two, but with LCD's so cheap these days it hardly seems worth it, or particularly likely.<br /><br />Can anybody think of something more interesting I could use the remains for.Stripping Signature Images from IMAPhttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/8012Other StuffTue, 20 Mar 2012 02:28:00 PDTDear world, could all you people who just LOVE putting loads of embedded inline images in your email signature, or using "cool" "email stationary", please just stop it. &nbsp;<br /><br />It:<br />&nbsp; 1. takes up space, especially when you email me like 20 times a day, and we inevitably end up with reply stacked on reply because I forget to delete your signature so that replies are containing many copies of the inline images<br />&nbsp; 2. causes problems for email clients like my Thunderbird which quite often gets stuck trying to re-attach your inline signature images when I reply<br />&nbsp; 3. is just a complete and utter waste of time, nobody reads those damn things, even if they do, they don't need to read them EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU SEND THEM AN EMAIL<br /><br />Alternatively, has anybody got a good solution for Thunderbird, or IMAP in general, that can be used to strip only signature images (perhaps by determining common&nbsp;occurrences&nbsp;of images across emails or something) from messages automatically?<br /><br />&nbsp;Pharmac puts boot into Diabetics... again.https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7982General RantMon, 27 Feb 2012 00:39:00 PSTAs many will know, I am a Type 1 Diabetic. &nbsp;<br /><br />That means in simple terms through no fault of my own when I was in my late teens my insulin producing cells of my pancreas decided to go out of business.<br /><br />I produce no insulin of my own, I take insulin every time I consume anything containing carbohydrate, and must test my blood glucose level every few hours in order to maintain a good level of control to try and minimise both the short and long term problems associated with fluctuating glucose levels (potentially resulting in death at both ends of the scale). &nbsp;A functioning human body can control it's glucose with very good precision, in contrast a Type 1 Diabetic is trying to hammer in a carpet tack with a sledge hammer, it works, but inevitably you get it wrong, a lot.<br /><br />To have any chance of getting it more right than wrong, I use a Blood Glucose Meter, these devices use single-use "strips" which are inserted into the meter, then a drop of blood is added to the strip, and (through an electro-chemical reaction taking a few seconds) this is interpreted by the meter to display the amount of glucose in my blood.<br /><br />Naturally, these strips are not really cheap (somewhere around a buck a strip, multiple that by 6 to 10 strips a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for the rest of your life...), but of course Pharmac subsidises these vital necessities of a long and healthy life, as it should, in a socialised medical system such as ours (there is a lot more that Pharmac could and should fund for we long suffering Type 1 Diabetics, but let's not get into that).<br /><br />Originally I had an original "Glucocard", a truly venerable device (if slow), it was the benchmark nearly 20 years ago.<br /><br />Then some years later I purchased a "Glucodisc" which was a real upgrade, the strips being contained within the device (on a rotating foil card holding 5 strips, or was it 10) meant one less thing to carry, it had test memory and produced averages on the fly. &nbsp;<br /><br />But Pharmac in their wisdom, a number of years ago decided that the Glucodisc test strips would no longer be funded, this made the Glucodisc worthless, as paying sticker-price for strips was simply not economically viable. &nbsp;So I was forced to choose from the range of funded meters, of course there was a range, as you'd expect, <strong>different people have different needs</strong>, right? &nbsp;<br /><br />I chose the Optium Xceed, and despite my misgivings with it not having self-contained-test-strips, it has proven a good meter, it stores 450 results, produces 3 different averages (although not the A/B averages that I remember the Glucodisc could, to tell you what was happening at different times of day), it is very small and pocketable (almost walletable) and while not self-contained, the strips are individually sterile foil-wrapped (on a perforated sheet of 5) like the old glucocard, so are still fairly convenient to slip in your pocket/wallet.<br /><br />Fast forward a few years, I'm on my second Xceed now, the first having finally bitten the dust through being sat on, walked on, slept on, and generally abused. &nbsp;I'm still happy with it, in fact I was thinking about getting a third one soon since my current one is looking a bit raggedy now too.<br /><br />But today, I read this:<br /><a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/6489930/Pharmac-money-saving-plans-alarm-diabetics"><br />http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/6489930/Pharmac-money-saving-plans-alarm-diabetics</a><br /><br />Pharmac are doing it again. &nbsp;Withdrawing funding for my meter's strips. &nbsp;Not just my meter in fact. &nbsp;Virtually every single diabetic in New Zealand!<br /><br />Their brilliant plan is to give a monopoly on supply of test strips to one manufacturer and their own meters, "CareSens".<br /><br />A quick look at the CareSens meters (pretty much unknowns!) shows without much investigation that they are NOT AS GOOD AS THE EXCEED and probably not as good as many of the other meters that we currently can use under subsidy.<br /><br />If you want the one that stores 250 results, then it's physically MASSIVE. &nbsp;My tiny Xceed stores 450 results.<br /><br />If you want one that's smallish (but nothing like the Xceed), it only stores 10 results! &nbsp;That wouldn't even give me a day of results sometimes, let alone a useful average! &nbsp;What's the point of it, 10 results, what?! &nbsp;How is that even useful to anybody. &nbsp;TEN RESULTS?!<br /><br />The strips seem to come in a plastic (like photographic film type) canister rather than be individually wrapped.<br /><br />I don't want to carry a bulky canister with me everywhere I go! My Xceed strips are foil wrapped, I can take 1, or 2 or 5 in their foil wrap with me slipped in my wallet without any problem of contamination.<br /><br />Even with the larger meter, you only get a 14 day average&nbsp;<br /><br />My Xceed can display averages of 7, 14 and 30 days.<br /><br />So pretty much Pharmac is throwing out any notion of choice, we are going to get what we are given, and what we are about to be given is a glucose meter which is vastly inferior in comparison to many of those which we ALREADY OWN AND USE.<br /><br /><br /><br />The Death Throes of Dick Smith Electronicshttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7917Other StuffTue, 27 Dec 2011 14:15:00 PSTShort random blog post...<br /><br /><a href="http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/dsnz/search/dsnz_search_results.jsp?bmForm=search&amp;bmFormID=jgATm.Q&amp;bmUID=jgATm.R&amp;bmIsForm=true&amp;bmPrevTemplate=%2Fdsnz%2Fhome.jsp&amp;bmEditable=searchterm&amp;bmHidden=searchterm&amp;searchterm=solder&amp;bmEditable=search&amp;bmHidden=search&amp;search=solder&amp;bmEditable=attribute&amp;bmHidden=attribute&amp;attribute=&amp;bmEditable=value&amp;bmHidden=value&amp;value=&amp;bmHidden=searchSubmitted&amp;searchSubmitted=true&amp;bmText=searchInput&amp;searchInput=&amp;bmHidden=PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id&amp;PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441896842&amp;bmHidden=FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id&amp;FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302028324&amp;bmFields=bmFormID%2CbmHidden%2CbmIsForm%2CbmUID%2CbmForm%2CbmEditable%2CbmPrevTemplate%2CbmText&amp;bmHash=a1d2cd70baee6e47761dd370367efec7ba7fd83a">Search dicksmith.co.nz for solder<br /></a>Sigh. &nbsp;Yes, Dick Smith doesn't sell solder any more. &nbsp;<br /><br />Strange to think that once upon a time Dick Smith Electronics actually bought out David Reid Electronics, another real electronics chain, and then promptly started down the dumbification process which they have now nearly completed.<br /><br />Thank goodness for Jaycar etc.<br /><br />Thunderbird 70-100% CPU idle in Ubuntu Oneiric 11.10https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7910Other StuffSun, 18 Dec 2011 06:06:00 PST<span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a href="http://xkcd.com/979/">Dear People From The Future</a><br /></strong>Use gtk-theme-switch2 to change from Oxygen-Molecule to some other theme, Oxygen-Molecule caused me &nbsp;massive CPU usage for Thunderbird and *some* other GTK software. &nbsp;Oxygen-Molecule-Flat works fine.</span><br /><br /><br />So, I made the really stupid mistake of thinking that it was time that I could put off an update of Ubuntu no longer, and set about updating to 11.10.<br /><br />Now, lets set aside the fact for the moment that once I saw (let alone tried to use) Unity I installed kubuntu-* and switched to KDE after many many years of being a Gnome user (much has been written by others on the rampant stupidity that is the Unity interface).<br /><br />Anyway, after a lot of messing about, I'm now at a state that I'm happy with, EXCEPT, well, lets look at the screenshot and see if you see a problem [click for bigness] - the ever delightful Traylor Howard is not a problem...<br /><br /><a href="http://sirius.gogo.co.nz/thunderbird-cpu-usage-xorg.png"><img src="http://sirius.gogo.co.nz/thunderbird-cpu-usage-xorg.png" alt="" width="800" /></a><br />Do you see it? &nbsp;<br /><br />That's right. Thunderbird is using massive amounts of CPU, matched or exceeded by Xorg (when Thunderbird is running). &nbsp;Note that I have taken the screenshot with Thunderbird ONLY on the "select profile", WHAT ON EARTH IS IT DOING?! &nbsp;<br /><br />It gets worse if you actually select a profile (even a brand new EMPTY one); it will sit there eating 95-100% of CPU, it works, but when it's not doing anything, it is chewing CPU like a crazy thing. &nbsp;<br /><br />Luckily I have 4 cores, but having two of them being effectively run at 100% all the time is NOT conducive to multi tasking. &nbsp;Not to mention the occasional "pauses" it causes, just locking everything for a second or two.<br /><br />So far I have found two programs that cause this behaviour. &nbsp;Thunderbird, and Unison.<br /><br />Ideas anybody?!<br /><br /><strong>Update 1</strong>&nbsp;<br /><br />Now for something really interesting, if I maximise the thunderbird window, CPU usage falls right away to normal (0-1%), if I un-maximise it, it shoots back to 100% again. &nbsp;And it ONLY works if you use the maximize button in the window bar, if you just resize to cover the entire screen, it keeps the 100%, but click the maximize button and it falls to zero!<br /><br /><strong>Update 2<br /><br /></strong>Now that I know it is to do with maximized vs unmaximized windows, my Google search has produced some new fruit...&nbsp;<a href="http://robpetti.com/?p=100">http://robpetti.com/?p=100<br /><br /><strong>U</strong></a><strong>pdate 3<br /><br /></strong>Update 2 works. &nbsp;The problem is isolated to the Oxygen-Molecule GTK theme which is supposed to match the KDE Oxygen theme. &nbsp;The Oxygen-Molecule-Flat theme seems to work fine, as do other "normal" GTK themes.<br /><br />Hurrah!<br /><br /><br />Retailification of service stations (Z / Shell)https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7877General RantThu, 24 Nov 2011 06:16:00 PSTSo today I filled up my bike at a Shell station, specifically, Shell Blenheim/Curletts road in Christchurch, and after I had paid the usual exorbitant amount for the tank of gas, I got on my bike, put on my helmet, and my gloves, and pressed the starter. &nbsp;<br /><br />It didn't start. &nbsp;<br /><br />I tried again.<br /><br />It didn't start.<br /><br />I turned the lights off (headlight laws and dicky charging systems do not go&nbsp;together&nbsp;well) and tried again. &nbsp;Still no go. &nbsp;<br /><br />I tried some various other things, but long story short, the battery just didn't have enough grunt to spin the engine fast enough to get vacuum going to get fuel to the carb (bike has a vacuum fuel cutoff) and to get it to fire, a jump would probably do it.<br /><br />So, no problem thinks I, I'm on the forecourt of a service station, I'll just borrow their jump start pack, surely they have one, I mean, it's a service station and I expect people having trouble starting is a common enough occurance after filling up, why wouldn't they have a jump start pack.<br /><br />Oh, they had one all right...<br />"you'll have to buy one", &nbsp;<br />"but I only want to use one for 10 seconds to start my bike so I can get it home"<br />"sorry, we only sell them"<br /><br />Sod that. &nbsp;So I parked the bike around the back and walked the 4k's home.<br /><br />Bring back the small garages, the places where the people working there actually know about vehicles, who are helpful, who have even the most basic tools and ability to assist their customers who might need a helping hand after spending thousands of dollars with them over the years.<br /><br /><br />Coke Zero with Vanillahttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7854Other StuffThu, 03 Nov 2011 06:42:00 PDTA new Coke flavour just got released, or at least I just saw it today in P&amp;S. &nbsp;Coke Zero Vanilla.<br /><br />Verdict: nice, but not as good as the old Diet Coke with Vanilla. &nbsp;I miss Diet Coke with Vanilla. &nbsp;Vanilla Zero is somehow, harder, not as "smooth" tasting as I remember DCwV.<br /><br />C'mon Coke, bring back DCwV!<br />&nbsp;Earth to BNZ: Disk space is not an endangered species!https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7840General RantWed, 19 Oct 2011 06:43:00 PDTA long long time ago, I had a couple of BNZ banking accounts, and I also had a BNZ credit card. &nbsp;Back in the day, the BNZ internet banking was pretty lack-lustre, you couldn't transfer to other people ("Internet Banking Payment" in the modern parlance), and mostly the number of transactions you could view in the reports was only a few months.<br /><br />Anyway, I closed the normal banking accounts with them long ago and went to Kiwibank who did not suffer any of these issues, but I kept the credit card. &nbsp;Through a cock-up at the BNZ call center back in the day, they messed up the internet banking on the credit card when they closed the other accounts. &nbsp;<br /><br />I had forgotten about those limitations by now, and you'd think that they'd both have been fixed by now, probably at LEAST 5, maybe 8 years later, I mean, at the time the other banks I was using, WESTPAC and Kiwibank both did not have limits on the transaction history.<br /><br />So today, since I'm procrastinating on my GST return, I decided to pay a visit to BNZ and get the Internet access reinstated on that card so I could download the last 6 months transactions, filter them in a spreadsheet, and enter them as appropriate.<br /><br />Getting the access added was no trouble, it&nbsp;apparently&nbsp;just needed a password reset. &nbsp;The guy told me about a special code-sheet card (multi factor authentication) which would be sent out, but I could skip that for the next month. &nbsp;All good.<br /><br />I come back home, and after procrastinating some more, login to the BNZ banking and select the date range for transactions, 1/4/2011 to 30/9/2011. &nbsp;It gives me 2 pages. &nbsp;Hmm. &nbsp;You're kidding. &nbsp;The limitation still exists, it doesn't give me any transactions from before July 2011! &nbsp;<br /><br />I try the Export function instead, figuring that at least THAT should give you what you want, right? &nbsp;NO! &nbsp;If you want a transaction older than July, you must be crazy, the world obviously didn't exist before July according to the BNZ. &nbsp;Oh it lets you select 1/4/2011 as the start date, it even tells you it is showing or exporting transactions from that date, but it doesn't actually do it!<br /><br />BNZ, what, are you running this server on a 30 megabyte MFM hard drive or something? &nbsp;Is disk space really that limited? &nbsp;Come on! &nbsp;Seriously now!<br /><br />PS: I also found the "Download Statements" link. &nbsp;Guess what, if you wanted to download a statement from more than 12 months ago, you must be mentally deranged because clearly humanity had not evolved to the point of a banking system before July 2010 at the earliest. &nbsp;And they are PDFs. &nbsp;Good luck getting that into a spreadsheet or accounts system without retyping.&nbsp;<br /><br />High time I closed out this BNZ nonsense and went with a bank that has internet banking at it's forefront. &nbsp;One of these days I will stop procrastinating and get around to it. &nbsp;And my GST.<br /><br />People are Strange (Google+)https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7839General RantMon, 17 Oct 2011 13:16:00 PDTWhen Google+ was released, I joined up, I'm not one for social networking, or networking (of the people kind) of any type really, but hey, it was Google and at the time it wasn't full of young beautiful vapid facebook type people, I had vain hope that it might become, to coin a phrase from an <a href="http://www.ipredict.co.nz/">ipredict</a> forum thread, "an elite ghetto".<br /><br />Where am I going with this. &nbsp;Oh right. &nbsp;Anyway, I made a couple of posts to my feed or whatever you call it, and I was found by some people who I had worked with in the past and they added me in the first couple of days, I added them back.<br /><br />After that, I pretty much forgot about it, like I say, not big on the whole putting-your-life-out-there thing, work is more important.<br /><br />So today, I had to login to my gmail account, which I use just as a "something is borked with my regular mail, try sending from gmail" and hadn't looked at in ages, there were piles, and PILES of messages informing me that so-and-so had added me to their circles.<br /><br />Looking at my circles, it tells me that 946 people,&nbsp;that's NINE HUNDRED AND FORTY SIX, people have added me to their circles. &nbsp;Seriously. &nbsp;946. &nbsp;And I don't know ANY of them that I can see in a quick face-scan. &nbsp;Why?! &nbsp;Why are these people adding me to their circles. &nbsp;At first I thought "probably a new take on marketing spam or something", but I clicked through to a few profiles, and... they just seem like normal profiles.&nbsp;<br /><br />My only assumption is that people are just blithly adding any possible remote suggestion that Google has as for people they might know in some way, and that eventually my name (and by extention eventually every other person on the planet) comes up in that suggestion list.<br /><br />That is retarded! &nbsp;Why would people do that. &nbsp;Not only do they not know me from a bar of soap, but&nbsp;I'M JUST NOT THAT INTERESTING.&nbsp;In fact, I'm not interesting at all! &nbsp;Think of something really amazingly interesting, and I am the absolute opposite.<br /><br />I think this is the URL to my profile or something...<br /><a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/112850805511005419452/posts">https://plus.google.com/u/0/112850805511005419452/posts</a><br /><br />Gah. &nbsp;I just don't get people.<br />&nbsp;How long does your strip last?https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7827General RantMon, 10 Oct 2011 06:33:00 PDTI just had to order a new EFTPOS card, my current one lasted just over a year, it is so worn out that the mag stripe is physically worn off in places, right through to the base media, the signature is long gone from the panel, the printing on the back is worn off, and the laminations front and back are starting to peel away too.<br /><br />Not that I mind particularly, as long as Kiwibank waive the fee, but it is pretty inconvenient not having the card for a few days while they punch out a new one.<br /><br />I don't carry cash, so I use my card at least once a day, it lives with my other cards, in my pocket. &nbsp;Those other cards don't get as much use, which is lucky because when my EFTPOS refuses to work I can rely on my credit card to be functional.<br /><br />So how long do your cards survive people? &nbsp;Are there any that you have noticed are worse than others in the longevity stakes?<br /><br />Check Your Blindspots!https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7784General RantFri, 26 Aug 2011 07:15:00 PDTI was the subject of magnificent almost-crash today. &nbsp;<br /><br />Against my usually better judgement I decided to take the car out for a spin on a weekend, usually I leave the weekends alone because the roads are covered in half blind Sunday drivers, especially on this particular road.<br /><br />Anyway, I'm humming along, and come up behind a couple of slow pokes, so like a good driver I check my mirrors, and a head check and look in front, and indicate, and pulled out to overtake them, I'm coming up something just short of 70mph passing the first car, a big land cruiser or something.<br /><br />Suddenly, holy freaking crap the guy I'm overtaking, who I'm right next to, has decided to swing out into me going to overtake the car in front of him! &nbsp;<br /><br />Next few seconds are a bit of a blur, but suffice to say in an effort to not die a painful death there was a lots of tyre smoke, a little sideways driving, and eventually I regained control and got it all pointing the right way again. &nbsp;I don't think it swapped ends entirely.<br /><br />If I'd been in that situation on my motorbike, one of two things would have happened,&nbsp;<br />&nbsp; a) I'd have had enough room to carry on<br />&nbsp; b) I'd be dead<br /><br />Once I regained my composure I saw that the other driver looked to have stopped on the road a few hundred meters up. &nbsp;I considered going to have words with him/her, but decided that discretion was the better part of valour and that my state of mind might not be conducive to cordial discussion, hopefully they got enough of a fright that they won't pull out without having a damn good look in a hurry.<br /><br />So, drivers,&nbsp;<br /><strong>CHECK YOUR DAMN BLIND SPOTS!<br /></strong>small low to the ground cars and motorbikes over taking you might be there!Lazy Appliance Repairmenhttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7763General RantSun, 07 Aug 2011 08:13:00 PDTI had noticed that mum's smart drive&nbsp;washing machine was not filling properly, it would eventually give up trying with the trickle it managed and beep.<br /><br />So today as I was going past and noticed it was stopped I decided to heft it out and check the obvious things, hoses not kinked, water flowing, filters not blocked, give it a whack, that kind of thing, unknowledgable but logical lay-person diagnosis. &nbsp;So nothing seemed out of place and nothing helped.<br /><br />Mum happens past and I told her she might have to get an appliance guy in to have a look because I figured there was probably a poked solenoid not opening properly<br /><br />She says that she already did, last Friday, the guy came in, lifted off the top cover, said something&nbsp;apparently&nbsp;along the lines of "it'll be the control board, too old, don't make them any more, can't fix, that'll be $65".<br /><br />Ok, so given I thought it was the valve and everything else worked fine, it even tried to fill, I simply didn't believe that.<br /><br /> I jumped on google, and in literally under 3 minutes I had found that on the smart drives, the cold water valve (solenoid) commonly fails, just as I had assumed would be the case. &nbsp;The post even had a helpful tip on replacing it easily.<br /><br />As it so happens, I had an old really dead (pump failure from memory, from plenty of years before, never throw anything out!) smart drive (totally different model though) in the shed, so, 2 minutes to take the top off that and pull out the valve, 2 minutes to take the broke one out, and 2 minutes to put it back together. &nbsp;<br /><br />Bash bash bosh, one good as new washing machine filling itself happy as larry.<br /><br />This is not the first time I have encountered lazy good for nothing "repairmen" who think everything can be solved with "replace the control board" and that it's not worth their time to fix even a ridiculously simple and clearly common fault.<br /><br />If I, a computer programmer, not a washing machine repairs expert, can fix this problem, with just the help of Google, 10 minutes time, and a philips head screw driver, while you can't be bothered, AND charge for the&nbsp;privileged&nbsp;of not being bothered, then you need a jolly good wake up call!<br /><br />Perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt that they knew it was the valve, and also give the benefit of the doubt that these valves are not available, and that this has just got lost in translation, but even if I give that leeway, SURELY for a clearly very common fault on an I'd imagine really common machine (smart drives in general, as I mention, the part is almost certainly identical across a huge range of machines), they'd have a few from disassembled wrecks in their back room. &nbsp;<br /><br />Or is it not worth their time to get the apprentice to pull wrecked machines to bits for parts any more.<br /><br /><strong>Update:<br /></strong>Hmm,&nbsp;the replaced valve has also now died. &nbsp;Possibly just bad luck. &nbsp;For the moment I've replaced the hot water valve also and hooked cold water feed to it (but still wired as hot, given the valves are&nbsp;apparently&nbsp;different), I think the machine beeps while filling to complain that the water isn't getting hot, but still seems to carry on with the wash.<br /><br /><strong>Update 2:<br /></strong>Ok, apparently even if you use fully hot, it still wants to rinse with cold. &nbsp;So against advice I have swapped the valves so the hot valve from the old washer is now connected to the cold valve's power. &nbsp;The valves really do look identical to me, perhaps this is an older machine where they are the same (FWIW, it's a Frigidaire badged machine). &nbsp;Either way, nothing to loose and it's working so far.<br /><br /><strong>Update 2.1:</strong><br />As a commenter advised, google got me this...<a href="http://www.angelsnz.net/ZL3SV/misc/F&amp;P%20Service%20manual%20517735.pdf"><br />http://www.angelsnz.net/ZL3SV/misc/F&amp;P%20Service%20manual%20517735.pdf</a><br />which indicates that the valves are or at least should be different, with cold being the proportional one, maybe it'll work anyway they are both rated at 12V, and I guess the proportionals work from something less than 12 to 12 but probably only when they need to mix in some cold with 12 being normal operation. &nbsp;I'll run a multi-meter over them and check resistances against the references in that manual, when I find my multi-meter.<br /><br /><strong>Update 3:</strong><br />Almost 4 months later, the valve swap (hot valve swapped to cold valve) is still working fine, the valve does drip a tiny bit of water when off perhaps because I guess of the differences between the Hot and Cold valves, but it's not really a problem.IRD Online Services ... sucks.https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7726General RantSun, 03 Jul 2011 08:52:00 PDTSo finally I manage to convince myself that this would be a good time to file my IR3 before the 7th July deadline, after procrastinating for the last couple of months.<br /><br />Filing an IR3 online now requires using the "Online Services" at IRD (previously you could use a DLN), I used it last year too and it wasn't that bad. &nbsp;So anyway, I login, not only is there no ability to file because "Information is currently unavailable", but it also tells me that I have no returns due this month. <br /><br />Somehow I doubt that IRD would accept me not filing based on that though. &nbsp;So I send them a "Secure Email", the thank you response for that indicates that they "attempt" to reply within 15 days. &nbsp;FIFTEEN DAYS. &nbsp;<br /><br />Gah, maybe I'll try in the middle of the night or something. &nbsp;Or print out the form. &nbsp;If that is even still allowed.<br /><br /><br />&nbsp;<img src="http://sirius.gogo.co.nz/ird.jpg" alt="" width="800" />New Keyboard Hellhttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7716Other StuffWed, 29 Jun 2011 06:38:00 PDTGah. &nbsp;My old wireless keyboard gave up the ghost yesterday (with some help from a cup of tea), so today I went and bought a new one.<br /><br />My mistake, was that I bought a 2.4ghz wireless&nbsp;keyboard&nbsp;and mouse, which despite being the Warehouse "cyber" job is quite nice, unfortunately, it has the cursor keys, insert, home etc scrunched up vertically against the main keys. &nbsp;<br /><br />As a result every time I go to hit backspace I hit the Home key instead, then I find backspace but of course I've homed to the wrong place in the line by then and have to go find the end button... and hence forth my fingers get totally confused. &nbsp;Who's brilliant idea was it to put home right next to backspace!<br /><br />Damn, this is going to take a while to get used to.<br /><br /><br />Salvation, thy name is TestDisk!https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7672Other StuffSun, 05 Jun 2011 03:08:00 PDTLast night, my Ubuntu 10.10 workstation had a hissy fit for some reason and one of the USB drives wouldn't come online, unfortunately it was the 500GB USB (ext3) drive with all my MP3 files, backup stuff, torrents etc, fortunately this stuff isn't vitally important to my business, but it would have been a real bummer to have lost it.<br /><br />To cut a long story short, involving chekcing logs, pulling hair, and googling I determined that at least the partition table was seriously destroyed on the drive somehow; I tried a few things, but I didn't have anywhere to put a full device dump so couldn't be too radical with experimentation with what I tried in case I made the problem worse.<br /><br />Enter a tool that Google stumbled me upon, <a href="http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk">TestDisk</a>&nbsp;, what a little ripper, in <a href="http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step">a few simple key-taps</a> it had found the partition, and was letting me browse the files on it to ensure it was correct, confirmed, and it writes a fixed partition table. &nbsp;<br /><br />Thanks<a href="http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk"> TestDisk</a>, if I wasn't an atheist, you'd be giving god a good run for his money in the miracles department.<br /><br />Now to e2fsck.Reckon/Quicken BOOOO!, Virtualisation YAAAY!https://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7442General RantSat, 23 Oct 2010 15:44:00 PDTSo, it's coming up to the 28th and I'm supposed to be all organised by now for the transitional GST returns. &nbsp;But I'm not as usual. &nbsp;An update of Quickbooks was in order for this year given the GST changes etc. &nbsp;So, $500 later, which isn't as bad as it seems since it's the first upgrade in some years and I'm ready to install.<br /><br />Installing Quickbooks when you are a few versions behind, is, tedious. &nbsp;First, an upgrade to a trial version (included) of a middle version is necessary, then update the "company file", then you can upgrade to the full version and update the company file again. &nbsp;At all stages taking careful notes of everything, and verifying that everything is as it should be, and cleaning up as you go along.<br /><br />Because I run my finance stuff in a virtual machine for easy backup I made sure to take snapshots at strategic places incase something went horribly wrong.<br /><br />Then came time to do the GST update. &nbsp;Reckon/Quicken supply a GST update patch for this, so, I download and install the patch... 50% of it, then the updater crashes out because some file couldn't be updated. &nbsp;Rebooted. &nbsp;Tried QB. &nbsp;It's D-O-A.<br /><br />Virtualisation to the rescue, backup to the snapshot I took!<br /><br />I thought it might have been because I was low on space on the virtual drive. So I enlarged the virtual drive. &nbsp;<br /><br />Installed the update in the newly enbiggened drive. &nbsp;Nope, 50% and dies again.<br /><br />Revert to snap shot again.<br /><br />Install, ccCleaner and clean stuff up. &nbsp;Install again. &nbsp;Dead again.<br /><br />Revert to snap shot again!<br /><br />Notice that ccCleaner shows a startup process for some QB service. &nbsp;Surely the installer wouldn't be stupid enough to let.... no this is Reckon, it would be. &nbsp;Stop the process. &nbsp;Installs fine. &nbsp;Now to be fair, when I re-read the README stuff with the update exe it does mention you may need to stop a service, although how non-techs would know what this meant, I don't know. &nbsp;Come on Quicken, couldn't your installer have simply checked for the processes and refused to proceed instead of screwing up the system?!<br /><br />Ok, so now I need to update the company file, I tell it to do so. &nbsp;It asks if I want it to change the prices of the items, well, no I don't because in this case the prices are GST inclusive and not changing, of course the GST rate will still change... right? &nbsp;No. &nbsp;Once update is complete I look at the items, and the price is the same all right, but it's using the 12.5% "Transition" rate, why Quicken, WHY would I want THAT?!<br /><br />Revert to pre-gst-update snap shot again to try the other way.<br /><br />Install update. &nbsp;Damn, forgot to kill the service! &nbsp;Revert to snap shot again!<br />&nbsp;<br />Times like this, I wish Xero was just that BIT more capable for the tasks I need it to do! &nbsp;Unfortunately, it's not yet (see previous blog posts on the subject).<br />&nbsp;Westpac rides the Security Short Bushttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7416General RantMon, 04 Oct 2010 05:40:00 PDTSo logging into the online banking for a club's bank account today at Westpac and I'm now required to set "security questions".<br /><br />Anybody who has read my blog about the Kiwibank security questions knows I'm not a fan of this idea, but Westpac is even worse!<br /><br />My biggest gripe here is, YOU CAN'T ENTER YOUR OWN QUESTION!<br /><br />You have to select from a number of pre-defined questions, this has two primary issues:<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;1. The questions are stupid, in this day and age of "social networking" where people seem to put up their every detail for the world to view on Facebook etc, and where a bit of careful Googling can &nbsp;reveal considerable information about almost anybody, finding the answers to many of these questions is FAR too easy.<br /><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;2. The questions are in no way suitable for companies or organisations where multiple people may use the same login to access the internet banking.<br /><br />Here is a sample of the questions I am forced to choose from:<br /><br />"What was the model of your first car?"<br />"What is your grandmother's first name on your mothers side?"<br />"What is your oldest sister's birthday, month and year?"<br />"What is the last name of your favourite author?"<br />"In what city/town was your mother born?"<br />"What is the first name of your maid of honor at your wedding?"<br />"What is your favourite food?"<br /><br /><br />You are required to choose three questions (there are a few more than the above to choose from, but you get the idea at the retardedness of this all).<br /><br />From a security point of view, this is little more than theater in my opinion, particularly if people choose some of these more "googleable" questions. &nbsp;I'm not one of these social networkers, or twitterers or whatever, but I know people for whom finding out a lot of this stuff would be easy (this alone is a good reason NOT to be a social networker or twitterer).<br /><br />From a usage point of view, this is atrocious for organisations as already pointed out, if one of my fellow committee members wants to have access to the accounts to check on my work, AS THEY SHOULD, why should I have to give them these personal answers so that they can. &nbsp;And if I was to choose "fake" answers, I'm SURE to either forget what I answered, or have to write them down, total security failing!<br /><br />Dammit Westpac, I like your internet banking for the most part, but this is damned retarded!<br />&nbsp;TV3 Mathematics Failurehttps://www.geekzone.co.nz/sleemanj/7399Other StuffMon, 20 Sep 2010 09:24:00 PDTIn a story about Labour spinning the GST rise with dodgy figures, TV3 isn't doing much better, break out your calculator on the "National" numbers below, (the 189.34 is GST ex).<br /><br /><img src="http://sirius.gogo.co.nz/gst.png" alt="" width="645" height="479" />&nbsp;<br /><br />