Category Archives: General

Tricks of the Trade

Interesting article:

…I recently asked readers for their “tricks of the trade,” and was amazed by the response. It seems every profession is rich with clever little occupational secrets.

Here is one:


With any routine under seven minutes (which is almost all of them), you only really need one thing: a good closer. And there are only two things you really need to know about a great closer. First, it needs to be impressive. That sounds obvious, but most beginning jugglers think “difficult” and “impressive” are synonymous. Your closer must look hard, but there’s no real reason it has to be hard. Secondly, you should intentionally blow your closer on the first two tries. If you get it on the first try it looks too easy, but if you “miss” it a few times it looks harder and builds tension.

Best ‘site unavailable’ message ever

Seen on Fish4:

Thank you for coming to Fish4 this morning.

Unfortunately the fish4 website is unavailable due to the failure of a very expensive piece of Sun hardware (Sun 6900). A Sun engineer is at the data centre but didn’t think to bring the replacement part with him.

We hope the sun engineer will have repaired the hardware by 12pm, and will update this estimate if necessary as the work progresses.

Here is a screengrab of the error:


I have no idea how I did that

Well, I came top in Top the Table (a world cup prediction league)!

No-one is more surprised than me, I really know very little about football.

New job

I got a new job! I started one and a half weeks ago with the Guardian Media Group in the Regional Digital department. The department is responsible for a lot of regional sites, such as Manchester Online.

The offices are on Deansgate in Manchester and are nicer than the offices I used to work in partly because they are more central so there is more to do and more places to eat lunch including Wagamama, which I predict is going to cost me a fortune!

Anyway, I am doing much more web-development stuff now as opposed to the totally back-end stuff I was doing at Netservices so I should enjoy it more. And I have a better computer and more money :)

Fixing the ‘Memory card error’ on the Canon IXUS 400/S3

Update: the IXUS 400 is getting quite old and if you’re looking to update it I recommend the Canon IXUS 95, it’s pretty close to the IXUS 400, but much better. If you’re looking to move up to a digital SLR camera I’ve since got a Nikon D40X that I can also recommend.

The day after Holly was born my Canon IXUS 400 camera started giving a ‘Memory card error’ and refused to save anything to the compact flash card. I assumed that this meant that there was an error with the memory card so I bought a brand new one and was slightly cheesed off when the IXUS gave the same ‘Memory card error’ message after installing it.

A bit of googling revealed that a number of people have had this error with the Canon IXUS s3 and that the problem was solved by opening the case and removing the internal battery. The specs of the IXUS 400 are similar to that of the S3 and the chassis are practically identical, so I guessed they may well share a fair few components, and therefore problems. I was not that keen on the idea of doing this however until I discovered that Canon wanted to charge me nearly £100 to fix it (including the cost of postage).

It seems a bit cheeky asking for that amount of money to fix a problem that is effectively a design flaw, so I went for the DIY option and it seems to have worked, I have only taken about 20 photos, but as the camera would not allow any to be taken before, this is a significant improvement!

For anyone wanting to do the same here are some photos of what to look for. This one is the back of the camera with the case taken off.


And this one is of the front of the camera. The battery is under the circled bit of metal film which was stuck down and had to be peeled off to get to the battery which is mounted in a clip just underneath.


The battery popped out really easily with a small flat screwdriver. I put the battery back in, put the camera back together and the camera worked (I had to format the memory card first).

Some tips if you are going to try this:

  • Have a very small flat and cross head screwdriver.
  • Make a note of where the screws came from, many are different lengths.
  • Remember which order the body panels and parts came off.

Don’t attempt this if you are not confident in doing so, if you break your camera it is entirely your fault, and this will probably invalidate your warranty (mine had expired already). This whole experience has shaken my confidence in Canon cameras, I will be looking at alternative makes for my next purchase.

Holly Joan Jessop

My second daughter, Holly Joan Jessop, was born on the 1st January 2006 at 20:17 weighing 7lbs 8oz (3.40 kg). Mother and baby are doing fine, Ann-Marie has learned to say ‘Baby Holly’.

I would write more, but I am a bit busy at the moment!





New hard disc

I bought a new hard disc. It probably doesn’t work anymore, but then it did only cost me £5.20. I don’t care what anyone says, I like it. It is hanging behind my desk at work.

Here is the eBay description:

14″ hard disk platter from the 1970s

From the days when programmers didn’t eat quiche!

This platter from a hard disk drive came from a Hull University mainframe in 1978. The disk is 14 inches (35.5cm) in diameter and 1.5mm thick.

It is made from a hard aluminium alloy coated with magnetic material. One side is covered with a random collection of supermarket price and product labels of the period. Even though it has been used as a rather lethal frisbee, it is still perfectly flat.

And here are some photos: