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Archive for December, 2009

DeLonghi EC330S Coffee Machine

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Having just bought my DeLonghi EC330S, I thought I’d write a “First Impressions” review.

Firstly, it is initially noisy, but it quietens down at the same time as you get used to it. The first few seconds of running cause vibration and doesn’t sound great at all, but this is probably because the pump is running on air, and it quietens to reasonable levels once water is through the system.

As for a plasticy taste – the reservoir certainly smells of plastic initially, and I washed in soapy water (as recommended) 5-6 times before the smell had just about gone. I also ran the system through 10 times before making a cup of actual coffee, and when I did finally make it, it didn’t taste plasticy, at least.

Also note that this isn’t an “instant” machine to use. From turning on, you have to wait for the OK light to come on – I timed this as 65 seconds. You are then advised to run it WITHOUT coffee twice to warm up all the parts, and cup, waiting for the OK light to return each time (this only takes 30 secs each time). Hence, it’s maybe 3-4 minutes to get your first cup of coffee out after power-up. Successive cups take 30-45 seconds.

The cappuccino frother I tried quickly and unscientifically with some skimmed milk and a mug… and it worked beautifully. A small amount of milk transformed to froth in 15 seconds.

And my first espresso, with the supplied Illy ESE pods? Well… Not great! No crema, and not intensely strong. I’ll have to try a few times to get a better opinion, I guess.

“Transistor Battery” in a multimeter

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Well, the battery in my 15-year-old multimeter has finally died. I dutifully opened up the case, and found inside….

A 9V “transistor” battery

Now… I would expect that sensitive devices like a multimeter might need a special power source, but I have no idea what a “transistor battery” is. Googling provides no clues. What clues I can deduce suggests multimeters just take “normal” batteries (ie. PP3 alkaline type). But it’s a rare enough request that I’m cautious I could be wrong.

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ICS Control saves the day

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

OK, so now I know why I kept my HTC TYTN II (V1615). It wasn’t just the memories…. Nope. Thanks to moving to a new house at the bottom of a hill, we’re just in a dead-spot, and have no in-house 3G coverage. Since we also have no broadband due to BT and Virgin having a backlog of installations for Christmas, we’re sat waiting for 2 weeks with barely a GPRS signal for t’internet.

Enter my T-Mobile SIM card, HTC TYTN II, and the ICS Control software. I’ve propped up the phone in the front window, where we get a flakey HSDPA signal, and run ICS Control. With it running, and the TYTN broadcasting as an ad-hoc peer-to-peer WiFi server, it acts as a mini internet access point relay. It’s actually quite impressive – it’s always-on, low-power, small and unobtrusive, we can connect to it anywhere in the house from multiple laptops at once, the speeds are fine for browsing, lag is low, and it all goes on one prepay card’s bill.

However – it’s not perfect. The WiFi signal occasionally disappears and comes back – sometimes with an IP address, sometimes not. I’ll basically have to reconnect a few times every 15-30 minutes, and restart the program or find the phone rebooting itself, every few hours.

I’ve looked for updates, but there are none for ICS Control. Later WM mobiles do have better ICS software built-in, but I’m not sure they cover WiFi broadcast like this does. A dedicated pocket mobile 3G hotspot would also work, but hey… I’m on a budget here!

Using MyLife Organized (MLO) on the iPhone… a temp solution

December 8, 2009 2 comments

Like many, I’m waiting for MyLife Organized to be launched on the iPhone. Until I do… well, I’m using Toodledo… and I’m lost…

Now – someone suggested using CarbonFin Outliner to replicate MLO’s hierarchical structure, and even provided a means of converting it. Since I wasn’t familiar with XSLT or XML conversion or any of that stuff, I played around a bit, and found it pretty easy.

I have no idea what or how to use XSLT, and wanted a low footprint solution. The tool below (Saxon) seemed to work for me. It takes 1MB of disc space, and nothing to install if you already have Java.

Installing Saxon

  1. Download from here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/saxon/files/Saxon-HE/9.2/saxonhe9-2-0-3j.zip/download
  2. Unzip to a folder (there’s nothing to double-click)
  3. Have java installed
  4. Open Command Prompt in the unzip director, and run java -jar saxon9he.jar to test.
  5. Copy/paste the XSL code above into a file called ,say, workaround.xsl

If it works, then:

  1. Export MLO tree using Export -> (MyLife Organized XML Document .xml)  – to the Saxon directory – say MLO.xml
  2. Run java -jar saxon9he.jar -xsl:workaround.xsl MLO.xml > MLO.opml
  3. Go to http://outliner.carbonfin.com/, where you should have/get an account
  4. Import the MLO.opml file – it should load this (mine was 170k)
  5. Buy/install Outliner on your iPhone, and sync it with your online account (username/password required)

Now – this isn’t a great solution, since you can’t sync. Well – perhaps you could in some way, since the reverse direction is possible in some way – but I’ll hold off trying that. But – if you need to reference your MLO data on your iPhone, then this could be handy. If you are expecting to actually create tasks on your iPhone, or complete them, then sorry, it won’t do that!

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