Category Archives: Jay’s Notebook

Here’s what Amazon sell as “new” these days

Remember how I was so thrilled about that new Blue Yeti microphone in my previous post, and how this thing sold out so quickly? Well it arrived… and I’m less than pleased with the service I’ve received from online giant Amazon.

What they’ve sent me as the correct item, but it was not a new item. It showed heavy signs of usage. Let me show you some pictures below, anon about that hilarious chat I had with their customer services agent.

Grab a coffee and read a funny story of how Amazon may have lost their edge in Customer Satisfaction.

Continue reading Here’s what Amazon sell as “new” these days

Projects for 2014 and how they fit together

Social-Compilation

I’ve decided to re-think my approach the Social Networking Scene for 2014. With too many profiles and too many projects, streamlining is the magic word that springs to mind.

And so I won’t forget my reasons 4 weeks from now I thought I’d share with you how I’m doing it.

Current Projects

I’m so glad that every of my idea strands has a different and dedicated website. I’m into very many things, but they don’t really mix or cross over very well. For example, iOS Development doesn’t go together with tips and tricks on WordPress and how to host websites.

Likewise, my sketches have no place in all this techie talk. And my photos don’t mix with creative app reviews either. And how about my company site that keeps track of all my iOS Apps?

Let’s examine where we are right now (2013/2014) and what is posted where:

  • pinkstone.co.uk – my personal iOS Dev Diary, contains code snippets and really complicated stuff. It’s for developers and code junkies.
  • pinkstonepictures.com – all about our iOS Apps and customer support. It’s for humans rather than code brains.
  • wpguru.co.uk – my WordPress Dev Diary, including my own Theme and Plugin releases, a place for support with those, as well as related things such as Plesk, Linux, MySQL, etc. Fairly techie, but less code focussed than my iOS Dev Diary.
  • wphosting.tv – dedicated site for my web hosting customers, specifically for sales and support. If someone wants to buy a website, I no longer send them to The WP Guru, I send them here.

That covers the left side of my brain. On top of that, and o balance it all out, I have several creative outlets too (for the right side of my brain I guess):

  • versluis.tumblr.com – sketches I draw on my various digital devices
  • flickr.com/versluis – pictures I take with anything from a Holga to a Polaroid, and various apps
  • Impossible Gallery – they have a user gallery where I post only Polaroid shots (they don’t have a proper user URL though)

How it’s all connected

How to use an iPhone on AT&T GoPhone – 2nd Edition

Since I travelled to the US last, AT&T have made some changes to the way you can use mobile data on your GoPhone plan. As of April 2012 you can no longer add data packages to the $2 per day plan. What a shame!

You’ll now have to go on a monthly plan to use data (which you can cancel anytime without commitment), everything else remains and works with my previous instructions.

AT&T still do not officially support the use of iPhone on GoPhone plans. The closet thing is a GoPhone Smartphone Plan which comes with a $65 per month commitment… a little harsh if all you need is to not get lost in a foreign country and then tweet about it.

Lucky for us there’s a much cheaper way to do this – so without further ado here’s a detailed “how to get your iPhone working” guide for all those who are spending a few weeks in the US and don’t want to pay £6 per 1MB roaming charges.

Continue reading How to use an iPhone on AT&T GoPhone – 2nd Edition

I’m doing NaNoWriMo 2012

There’s an annual National Story Writing Contest called NaNoWriMo. It happens every year in November and participants have exactly 30 days to write furiously to come up with a 50.000 word novel.

The idea is not to finish a masterpiece in this time, but rather to establish a daily routine in which the goal is to “do writing” rather than procrastinate, edit, try to perfect or think yourself out of a good idea. There are even local groups that come together and write in silence, but also to encourage each other to pull through to the magic 50k.

Many creatives have often remarked that there is no special spark that needs to happen for anything creative to happen, it’s rather about “sitting down and doing it” and not about “thinking about it”.

You know me, I’m up for a challenge – and it dawned on me that with such a cool writing tool as Storyist on my hands, plenty of forthcoming time ahead of me, and an amazing story to tell, NaNoWriMo is just what I need in the forthcoming twilight season I’d like to call Stateside.

Continue reading I’m doing NaNoWriMo 2012

Exciting Broadband Connection

Let me test something here real quick: speedtest.net

Yowser… that’s friggin fast dude!

We take speed for granted and that it’s getting faster and faster by the month. This here is the upload and download we’re getting at work in 2012 (and over the last few years). This isn’t even possible with my home “g” WiFi. In a few years we’ll laugh at this of course when our iPhone does 50x this speed and we’re still complaining that it’s not fast enough.

The other thing I wanted to test here are images captions: I’ve noticed with WordPress 3.4 most themes aren’t displaying them properly anymore due to a deliberate code change. We’re discussing this here.

Thankfully Thesis 1.8.5 has a patch that makes it all look smashing again. Thanks, Thesis 😉

New Logo for 2012

Due to a fluke my logo disappeared from this site. I think it happened because I upgraded a plugin which inserted it via a HTML statement – sadly this plugin now has more functionality, however lost my logo in the upgrade process.

It’s amazing how organized I am with other people’s work, but my own is just the opposite. Not good. So I had to come up with a new logo and here’s the result:

You’re probably asking now “so what – we can SEE it at the top, why on earth are you telling us this”? Well because last time I did not upload the logo to my media library, hence I never saw it again. This time all I need to do is search for “logo” and this graphic will come up. Genius!

I forgot what the font was on the old one – the new one is called Old Typewriter, available for free at dafont.com.

Dear Amazon Kindle Support

Today Amazon have released a new version of their Kindle for iOS App (3.0.1). This must be a direct response to some feedback I have sent over after the last update (3.0 for Retina and Amazon Cloud Integration). The previous update didn’t show new content after I had purchased it.

I love my Kindle, and I love my content. And I love the Kindle App on all my other devices: I can read on anything I happen to have with me: Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Laptop. That rocks!

Here’s a slightly annoying email thread I had with Amazon’s low level support who clearly didn’t understand the issue I was bringing up – from one developer to another.

Continue reading Dear Amazon Kindle Support

How to use an iPhone 4S on AT&T GoPhone

I’ve recently bought an iPhone 4S in the UK, knowing that I’ll mainly be using it on my AT&T GoPhone prepay plan while I’m in the US.

A quick web search on if and how this is possible showed various reports of varying clarity – so I thought I’d set the record straight and tell you that

  1. it WORKS, and
  2. you don’t need a jailbroken iPhone
  3. you WILL be able to use 3G data

Let me show how it all works.

There is an updated version of this article here.

Continue reading How to use an iPhone 4S on AT&T GoPhone

Apple gave me a brand new iPad today – NICE!

I’ve been witness to Apple’s amazing customer service today: My iPad had a minor screen problem, I bought it in a different country and didn’t have my receipt with me – and they’ve replaced it with a brand new one!

Cudos to all those involved and the mastermind behind creating a customer experience that’s second to none.

Continue reading Apple gave me a brand new iPad today – NICE!

Wacom Intuos 4 = Happiness

A couple of weeks ago I ordered us some proper Wacom Intuos 4 tablets – a small one and a wireless medium one. It’s love at first touch 😉

I’ve had a first generation Wacom Bamboo before and thought it would come in handy for touch up work in photo retouching and some other pen related activities, and even though it worked I never quite warmed to it. That was in 2008.

Back then I even invested in Manga Studio EX4 which had just come out thinking that my drawing skills would improve when I rtied the two together. Unfortunately the software is so unintuitive and the tablet was so basic that I soon lost interest in further explorations.

With the Intuos 4 that has all changed: it’s like drawing on a piece of paper with incredibly accurate feedback. It even recognises the angle of the pen to the tablet and changes the brush size and stroke accordingly. Whoa!

Continue reading Wacom Intuos 4 = Happiness