An omnibus of tech posts by s Futurologist on software development
Saturday, 26 February 2011
Great initiative by Consumer Focus.
Re-posted from BBC:
Landlords should get web ratings, says consumer group
26 February 11 02:02
Tenants should have a rating website on which they can share their experiences of landlords, a consumer body has said.
Consumer Focus said most people renting in the private sector had little information available to them before they signed a tenancy agreement.
Landlords, meanwhile, can ask potential tenants for references, deposits and other personal information, it said.
The group wants lettings agents to follow the example of sites like eBay or Amazon which give customer feedback.
Consumer Focus said it had written to some of the largest letting agents in England asking them to look at how they could use the internet to encourage more feedback about landlords.
In a survey of 2,000 people carried out in January, it found nine out of 10 tenants thought such a website would help them make better decisions about who to rent a home from.
"Currently the landlord is firmly in the driving seat despite rent being a massive outgoing for many of us," said Claire McAnulty from the group.
"People often sign up with little more than a gut feeling after a cursory tour of the property.
"The best way to help private renters is to ensure they have the information to know what they are getting into."
Consumer Focus said it would also like to see a quality mark introduced for all private landlord accreditation projects.
There are at least 80 different types of voluntary landlord schemes in England, it added, with a wide variation in standards required to belong to them.
Labels: Property, UK
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Moving the UK forward to match European time has come up agian. Check out the bbc link
for a map showing sunrise/sunset times.
Ubuntu Places menu launches media player
Solved this Ubuntu Gnome desktop problem.
Places->Home opens the folder using Media Player. Instead of File browser window ass expected.
Fix by following these steps:
1. Select Places->Network
2. Click Home
3. Right click on any folder, select "open with another application"
4. Choose "File browser"
Save, and issue is fixed ;)
I still wonder how it corrupted this configuration on fresh Ubuntu install!
Sunday, 20 February 2011
Utility distributor companies guaranteed standards and compensation
I was reading through the latest leaflet fro Southern Electric. Interestingly it has a section about the guaranteed standards distributors must meet, set by the UK regulator Ofgem
Electricity (Standards of Performance) Regulations 2010:
"If your distributor fails to meet these standards you are entitled to receive a payment".
Claim should be made within three months.
- During normal weather: Supply to be restored within 18 hours. If distributor fails, domestic customers shall receive £54 and business customers £108.
- During normal weather conditions (5000 premisses or more), as above but 24 hour period allowed.
- During sever events: £27 (both domestic and buinsses), and further £27 for each 12 hours without supply. Up to maximum £216.
- If four or more disconnections, each over three hours, £54 also to be paid for domestic, or £108 for business.
-- I wold change this to make the payments automatic, no claim necesary, they shall payout within 15 working days.
This system is fantastic, and should be applied to all other utilities and providing companies. e.g.:
- Gas supplier
- Internet supplier
- Telephone supplier
- Water supplier
Labels: Economy, UK
HP Photosmart B110 (CN245B) Ubuntu GNU+Linux verdict
Purchased the HP Photosmart B110 (CN245B) for work, have to say it is so easy to set up on Ubuntu 10.10.
* Enter wifi key on Photosmart.
* Install hplip
package using Ubuntu package manager (great to see HP corporation setting such a good example re open source printer support)
* Click System->Administration->Printing, Add printer, find as network printer.
Took around 5mins total. Windows machine was still struggling with the CD (traditional OS which doesn't use an online package management repo system ;)
Scanning works very well too, Applications->Graphics->Simple Scan.
I would recommend this HP Photosmart B110 (CN245B) to others ;)HP Photosmart B110 profile
Labels: GNU+Linux, HP, Ubuntu
Over detailed gnome file properties
Not sure why, but gnome displays mime types for everything on the properties. This is meaning less to almost everyone, and for those who understand what it means (software engineers like me).. it's also useless. Ditch it gnome:
AVI video (video/x-msvideo)
Also, why not let me check properties on mounted SD, USB sticks etc? Currently I have to right click on the background of mounted folder. Better to allow it from the "Places" on the left of Nautilus.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
My new motto: "Everything must be either useful, or beautiful"
If a purcahsed item is to be returned as defective.. don't accept a repair or replacement.. as if it fails, shop may be within their rights to not repair or refund once more.
Best option: Ask for full refund. Then if same item is desired, purchase again. This gives new purchase date, so longer warranty period, and fresh receipt without any mention that a previous version of the product was defective.
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
Overcomplicated Gnome desktop descriptions
Gnome has been improving for some time, but it still doesn't match the clean simplicity of Apple desktop experience.
I had some success last year, a patch I prepared for Gnome laptop power management changed the percentages to not be 55.4% accuracy. No one is interested in the decimal point accuracy.. and the "power left" figure is hard to accurately determine anyway.
A few more examples visible with Ubuntu 10.10:
"Wireless Network Connection 'Auto BeBox' active: BeBox (72%)"
^ 60 characters.
That should be something like:
"Wireless active: BeBox (72%)"
The Firefox icon is on the shortcut panel:
"Firefox Web Browser
Browse the World Wide Web"
^ 44 chars.
Should simply be something like:
"Firefox" - 8 chars
"Web browser" - 11 chars
"Internet" - 8 chars
This is the worst:
"Mozilla Thunderbird Mail/News
Read Write Mail/News with Mozilla Thunderbird"
^ 74 Characters!
Change to something like:
"Thunderbird" - 11 chars
"Email" - 5 chars
Labels: Gnome, GNU+Linux
Monday, 7 February 2011
Even Ubuntu suffers
, autorun vulnerabilities, to summarise:
Block device drivers (eSATA, USB, PCMCIA) [USB was how PS3 was cracked, pretend USB HUB device attached, with overflowing device name chars 64 buffer]
FS drivers: ext4
User mode FS: ntfs
Desktop: Thumbnails, previews
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