I am the product

Why does Sky One advertising grind my gears? Because it does everything it could to grind my gears.

Set start times in the middle of advert breaks – make sure I turn over for a good few minutes worth. Good damn they’re loud too (here). Next we have the baffling advert for the channel itself the only explanation for which I can see is that someone is reall proud of the logo. Now push the festive special “Fungus the Bogeyman” (which in I hated as a kid) and start the show.

Wrong again, apparently despite all the advertising revenue and my subscription charge the show requires a sponsor. It’s clearly a struggle financially to run one of the biggest channels in the UK.

Finally and most irritatingly just before each break the character from their festive special wanders onto the bottom right of the screen and sneezes their show’s name onto the screen.

There is a place for both targeted and unobtrusive non-targeted advertising. I actually appreciate adverts that are relevant to me.

I’m not Sky’s customer, the advertisers are. I am paying  to be the product!

Deauthorise old computers from iTunes

This took me a while to work out, on iTunes 12.2.1.16 (64-bit).

Open iTunes then from the menu iTunes Store→View Account. Once you’ve entered your password your details appear and you can click the “Deauthorise all” button.

Note you can only do this once a year – if you have done it already then the button just isn’t there.

Upgrading to the new 3DS

Bought my kid a new 3DS for his birthday, the device is great but the process to transfer between old and new is poorly documented.

The device came with a pre-installed copy of Majora’s Mask. Except, inexplicably, transferring data from an old device wipes the new device rendering the pre-installation pointless as it has to be re-downloaded. The game is tied to the hardware (not the user ID referred to as an NNID) so I’m baffled as to why.

It appears you can only register one device type to an NNID at any one time (one 3DS, one WiiU, etc.). This is alluded to by a statement on Nintendo’s eShop page: “The downloaded game can only be played on the system it is downloaded to”. I can’t see what Nintendo is getting from this, we know the eShop can identify hardware and the NNID so why restrict the download when access control could still be enforced?

The take away from this for anyone upgrading is:

  • You don’t lose the game – it needs to be re-downloaded. There is no code – it’s available in the eShop on that device.
  • Nintendo expect you to have one and only one 3DS at a time.

On the plus side I now own a 3DS. So that’s nice, although its now sat with a bunch of other stuff I really need to put on eBay but am not quite sure who would want ot buy.

Install Android 5.0 (Lollipop) on Nexus 7

Update: Lollipop is now available OTA on Nexus 7!

Why? Why not? This will remove any custom boot loader and wipe the tablet. I did this from Windows 7 – in Linux its pretty much the same but doesn’t require the Google USB driver and you can obviously extract the image using tar from the command line.

Download the Android SDK, run the Android SDK Manager and install Google USB Driver (from Extras) and Android SDK Platform-tools (from Tools). The former are installed to AppData\Local\Android\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver by default. If you’re unfamiliar with USB drivers Google have a guide.Google USB Driver

Your device’s boot loader needs to be unlocked then boot in to the boot loader (hold down power and volume down button when turning on).

Download the image for your device (I have a 2012 WiFi – codename “nakasi”). Uncompress the tgz file and then the resulting tar file – 7-zip will do the trick on Windows.

Add the location of the Android SDK platform tools to your path will speed up the command line part. Open a command prompt and go to the folder you extracted the image to.

Check that the device is recognised by typing fastboot devices – if there is an output then all is well. Now run flash-all.bat – this takes a while (159.617 seconds on my Samsung RV511), when it is complete it will reboot the tablet. Rebooting took around five minutes on the first boot.

Training in El Centro

Just  got home from three months working in El Centro, CA. I wanted to thank the Morales Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy for being so welcoming and for teaching me so much.

Me, Rob Morales and Butters 2014-05-17 10.47.15Made some good friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Hopefully I’ll get to come back on that exercise again soon. Looking forward to training there again but until then, I’m going to find a club in the UK and continue there.

For the next week, regrettably, I will be studying my ass off for the M269 exam!

Developing concurrent distributed systems (M362)

I’ve just started this Open University module. From the module description’s computing requirements:

If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

I started with the OU in 2008 and it’s good to see things have changed – back then it wouldn’t have mentioned Linux at all.

Joking aside things are changing. Algorithms, data structures and computability (M269), which I’m taking concurrently, has Linux software available with instructions on how to install and configure. I can understand why M362 staff would want specific versions of NetBeans and the JDK installed – the forums are already filling up with questions about various incompatibilities and conflicts and that’s just with Windows.

Fortunately the University has a Dreamspark Premium membership – so I was able to download Windows XP and a license key to install in a VirtualBox instance.

Virtual Box running OU software

I hope we continue to see progress with regards to platform neutrality – I’d like to spend more time learning computer science and mathematics and less time worrying about my choice of operating system.