from knightswood to partick in 1:42

bought one of those dashboard camera thingies. not to record accidents or bad drivers (though that may come in handy) but to make videos and then speed them up. here’s knightswood to partick in 1:42

copying cyanogenmod zip to android phone error

error while copying a cyanogenmod zip image to an android phone’s internal memory using windows 7 and got the error ‘cannot copy item the device has either stopped responding or has been disconnected’.

the solution? give the zips an alternative extension. so i renamed ‘’ to ‘’. transfer went fine. now you just have to rename again and lose the ‘.jpg’ extension. quite why this happens with android 5 i don’t know. never had it with any of the previous versions.

bank of scotland web site with firefox 40 and terrible performance

been a firefox user since before it became firefox and have stuck with it throughout. have used other browsers but have always came back to firefox. why? well mainly as i find the sync feature very handy and there are lots of decent extensions (especially security-based types). over the years i’ve heard people complain, increasingly, about performance issues but i’ve never encountered them…until firefox 39 was released.

i bank with the bank of scotland and often use their web site to do small tasks instead of going into one of their branches. this was great until firefox 39 was installed. pages taking minutes to load and the whole browser would become unresponsive during this time. i thought this must just be a glitch and more tech savvy people than me will have fixed things with firefox 40. no…with firefox 40 the bank of scotland web site is virtually useless.

is it just the bank of scotland web site then? fired up a portable version of chrome 44 to see. after enabling javascript for two domains we’re back to a responsive and fluid experience. so firefox it is then. at the moment the problem, for me, is just this one site. if i stumble across more that cause firefox to grind to a halt i’ll be giving it the shove. might start going with vivaldi which i’ve been testing a bit.

current backup regime

my home setup: all linux boxes (and VMs) go to a 4TB Netgear NAS over SMB using CrashPlan’s free version (encrypted and incremental. might do a wee piece on that soon).
NAS to 2TB external USB twice a month (this is drive is stored remotely the rest of the time).
i realise that my data is then only being stored in two locations but another 2TB drive isn’t an option at the moment.
server setup: backed up nightly to Amazon S3 using Jungle Disk. VM snapshots taken a few times a week. files and databases also archived to Dropbox.


fitbit charge

i’ve had a couple of ‘smart’ wearables. a pebble watch (good) and a sony smartband (might not be called that but it was pretty useless whatever it was called). recently spotted the fitbit charge for a good price (n.b at lot less than they’re advertising on their page). a simple looking activity tracker. i wasn’t expecting a great deal from it but have been pleasantly surprised. let’s start with the device itself.

fitbit_on_wristthe OLED screen stays dark when not in use to conserve battery but when you double-tap the screen it lights up and you can view the current time, number of steps taken, calories burnt and distance travelled (when i got to 10,000 steps it displayed some fireworks to celebrate the ‘achievement’). it feels good on and i’ve found that i forget i’m wearing it. a rubberised band houses the electronic gubbins and there’s a charge point on the reverse. one caveat…it isn’t waterproof. i think they say it’s splashproof. i won’t be risking wearing it in the shower. the strap has two buttony-type-things that snap into corresponding holes to adjust the width. i bought the large version and i’m using the 6th and 7th holes. it’s best to leave a pinky finger gap free. it comes with a ‘wireless’ dongle (read: messed about with bluetooth) so you can sync it with your PC but it’s MS and mac only so isn’t of much use to me (there is a way to get it working with linux but i haven’t tried it yet) so instead i went with the android app. this syncs the charge with your phone…assuming your phone supports bluetooth 4. there’s a slightly out of date list of devices to be found on their site. i have a z3 so am good to go. the app will sync with your charge constantly (well, at very regular intervals) if you want it to but i don’t want increased battery drain on my phone. i just enable bluetooth went i want to sync and this works well. many activities are tracked. here’s my progress after being up and about for 11 hours (mostly at work)

fitbit_android_1it seems to be reasonably accurate though i’ve heard of an extra 5% being added to your step count which would then effect distance and calories burnt.

after another few hours i’ve got to this point

fitbit_android_2not bad. the android app also syncs with the fitbit servers so you can view your progress (and retrospective history) on your dashboard. that looks a lot like this

fitbit_dashboardthe sleep monitoring, which i haven’t mentioned up until now, seems quite accurate too though how it will deal with my bouts of insomnia remains to be seen. so it’s early days for the fitbit and me but i’m enjoying it so far. interesting to see how different routes to my bus stop in the morning differ for example. might get me to take the stairs more than the lift. it apparently should last a week on a single charge. i would like it to be waterproof but maybe the more expensive models do that.

are you

looking for a simple, and easy to use, free blogging platform? might i suggest nibbleblog? only just came across it but it looks good and is highly configurable. sometimes you just want something that works and doesn’t require extensive code knowledge or take 72 hours to setup.
check it out. it’s also SEO friendly out of the box. it doesn’t even use a database…the only real requirement is PHP
there’s a demo on there too. bit late in the day for me to be switching this site to it but i’ll give it a go with some other projects i think as i’ve found it rather refreshing.

fitting a bigsby to a telecaster

i have a telecaster copy that i bought with the thought of modding it (the guitar cost me £48 from and is of surprisingly good quality). up until now i had only sanded various bits of it and fitted some new tuners.
now it was time to fit a bigsby vibrato/tremolo. i bought the ‘bigsby’ on for £18. a real one would have cost quite a bit more. there was an obvious issue. the rear of the tele’s bridge (where the saddles are connected to) is too high for the strings to fit under the bigsby’s first roller. first of all i bought a bridge plate from the US but didn’t read the listing properly and later realised that it was for a tune-o-matic bridge…which i didn’t have. even if i bought one of these the strings would still be to high and the angle too steep.
my solution? bodge it. here’s the original bridge

tele_bridge_beforeand here’s the tool i’m about to use. nothing subtle…it’s a dremel with a grinding disk attached.

tele_bridge_with_remelbefore i started i masked the pickups off so that none of the metal that was about to be removed would stick to the magnets. i wasn’t sure how the dremel would cope with the steel of the bridge. turns out that it coped very well and here’s how it looked after my initial cut.

tele_bridge_afteri had to go back and extend a couple of the notches as they weren’t quite reaching the holes that the strings pass through.
once that was done it was time to attach the vibrato unit. there are instructions on bigby’s site that show you how it should be done. i just used my eyes and lined it up with the fingerboard.

tele_with_bigsby_placedused a bradawl to create pilot holes for the 4 screws then secured them tightly. the rear of the vibrato hangs over the end of the guitar by a fewmm but it’s no big deal. so now it was time to string it up. here was the hardest part of the whole thing. took me nearly an hour. an hour for six strings. much rage. much swearing. i think i’d be able to do it more quickly the next time but i found it incredibly frustrating. here’s the guitar with it fitted and strung. turned out better than i thought it would to be honest.