Thought for the Dazed

I've had to give up that Distance Learning course as I was having trouble seeing the teacher.

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Mending Glasses with Heat Shrink Tubing


.. and you get to play with things that look a bit like ray guns….

My glasses fell apart a while back and up until now I’ve been making use of duct tape to hold them together. This works but it is not great from an elegance point of view. So I’ve got hold of some heat shrink tubing and now I’m using that. The repair is much stronger, and unless you know to look, much harder to spot.

Heat shrink tubing is wonderful. It is just strong plastic tubing that you can buy in different diameters. And when you heat it up it, well, er, shrinks, tightly gripping what ever it has been slid over.

It’s best to use a heat gun like the one above, although you can use a hair dryer at a pinch. If you are serious about building your own electronics you should definitely make use of the stuff, particularly when you are soldering wires onto connectors. It provides a strong physical support for the connection and also insulates pins from each other.

Me, I’m now saving for the huge expense of getting another pair of specs.


Christmas Coup

I think she looks quite seasonal. What with those Christmas lights across her nose….

We had a great Christmas. I hope you did too. We rounded off the whole splendid day with a bit of theft, assassination and insurrection. As you do.

We played Coup. It is from the Resistance family of games and contains a similar mix of bluff, lies and downright nastiness. The game lasts only a few minutes each, which is nice because when you get assassinated by your nearest and dearest you can start plotting for the next round….


Great Christmas Eve

What can you write abut a day where you just sit around and have a nice time? Nothing much. And I really like that.


Shower of no power


Here’s a Christmas Riddle for you: “When is a shower not a shower?” The answer, at least in our house, is “At 7:35 am this morning” when number one wife turned the dial and nothing happened.

Truly, there is no better way of starting the week before Christmas, with guests arriving who will presumably be expecting bathing facilities, than by standing in the bath wearing your pyjamas and dismantling a shower unit. The hope was that it was just blocked. The fear (which was actually more of a certainty if I’m honest) was that something inside (probably the outlet valve) was bust.

Turned out that my fears were justified. However, thanks to the power of the internet, a bunch of calling round and the services of a very obliging plumber, we had the replacement in and working by the end of the day. All it meant was that I was a bit poorer,


Getting Windows Phone App Reviews


One thing that will encourage potential users of your application is good reviews. However, users are not that inclined to give good reviews to programs, even when they got them for free and have used them many times.

Lee Stott did a great little blog post a while back that shows how to add a review facility to your application. It is very sensibly designed, in that it only nags once, after ten uses of the program, so it doesn’t become a pain for the user.

You could also use the same technique to add timed release behaviours to your application, so that it could suggest new things to do over time.