Archive for February, 2007

Getting Command Shell working on Windows Mobile 5

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Microsoft provide a command shell for Windows Mobile as a part of their Developer Power Tools package.

I fancied giving it a try tonight (for no particular reason other than that I like using the command line, and my phone has a full QWERTY keyboard) so followed the instructions to install it.

No luck – it didn’t work. No errors, it just didn’t work – nothing happened.

It took a bit of playing around with, but I’ve managed to get it running…


The weirdest spam I’ve received in a while…

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Dear Sir,
i have some valuable information about top al-qaeda leadership in Pakistan. Can u help me to give some e mail of top official to contact him and give him the information.

This was an email sent to me at work from a Yahoo webmail address.


Thank You…

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

…to the ‘anonymous’ who donated £5 to Solent Youth Action via my JustGiving link. I am gobsmacked.

I added the link to my blog as a bit of a long shot – not really expecting that anyone would go for it. Since we signed up with JustGiving, we’ve not really made much use of it, so I thought it might be worth a try.

So thanks very much. 🙂

Streams are cold. And wet.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

I took a day off work today to help with a Solent Youth Action activity (a chance to use my renewed MIDAS certificate! 😉 ).

We took a group of 11-13 year old kids for a day of stream clearing – pulling out rubbish, clearing weeds, and cutting back overgrown plants. It’s half-term week so it was an all-day activity. They did a great job – it’s impressive what a group of enthusiastic people standing up to their thighs in cold water can do!

Today was a Taster Day – a chance to introduce some young people to volunteering. As the name suggests, Taster Days offer a variety of different activities that young people can try out without needing any long-term commitment. If they enjoy it to want to do more, they get help finding similar activities to do in the future. If not, they can always try something else.

By the end of the day they all seemed to have enjoyed it, and hopefully will think of “volunteering” as something fun that they’ll want to do again.

Does it matter if a charity gets it’s money from the government?

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

I read something which surprised me in the Guardian today:

Some of the biggest and most famous charity brands are now all but dependent on the state. These include Barnardo’s (78% of annual income), NCH (88%) and Leonard Cheshire (88%) … the National Family and Parenting Institute (97% state funded) … Even conservative estimates show that the sector now derives 38% of its funding from statutory sources, compared with 35% from individuals, which means that the state is now the biggest “donor” to charities.


Safer email and web browsing with psexec

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

When using Windows, I log on with an ‘Administrator’ account. I know that this isn’t too clever – I’d never logon as ‘root’ on my Linux box all day. And it doesn’t take much searching to find a dozen pages which advise against it as it leaves me more at risk from malware and various other problems.

But I do it because it’s just too much hassle to run as a normal user. Some apps I rely on need Admin access to run, and other limitations make me think that I need to be Administrator.

The biggest risk is with Internet-facing applications. Any malware that I pick up gets to run with my credentials – as Administrator. So as a compromise, I run Internet-facing with limited credentials. If malware slips in, at least it doesn’t get to run as Administrator. I do this with a free Sysinternals tool, psexec.


This Week

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front – both here and on the WMQ one – this week. I thought it’d be interesting to touch base by explaining why I’ve been busy.

This week I:

  • Finally made the difficult decision over whether to federate our school with another local school
    In a long meeting between us and the governors from the other school, we came together, reviewed the results of the various consultations, and argued out the pros and cons of the proposal. It’s strange not to have more to show for work that needed a lot of time and consideration – this will be a big change to the future of both schools.
  • Worked ‘Mission Pay’ on some WMQ stuff
    Our slightly odd approach to overtime, essentially – when there is a lot to do we get paid extra to finish stuff in the evenings.
  • Met with the other trustees for Solent Youth Action
    Our regular monthly meeting – discussed a bunch of stuff, including our action plan for dealing with staff pregnancies and a trial of a new project we want to try
  • Met with the manager of OTL – the mentoring programme that I am a mentor with
    The meeting was a review of how the last few months have gone, and think about plans for the next few months
  • Went to see a friend in a brilliant production of King Lear
  • Added a bunch of new features to the database we use at Solent Youth Action
    Needed to take some time off work to do this – trying to add features to our homegrown PHP/MySQL database to make our administrator’s lives a little easier!
  • Set up a way to do Mail Merge from Microsoft Word using data from Solent Youth Action‘s MySQL database
    Actually, this one might be worth a separate post – as it was a massive pain to get this to work
  • Worked on the School Profile for my school
    I mentioned this on Monday – it’s still ongoing
  • Made some changes to my Windows Mobile wiki app to allow people to disable a feature I added a couple of weeks ago
    It seemed to split users down the middle, with half of the emails I got saying thanks for the new feature, and the other half berating me for breaking their existing pages! Whoops.
  • Worked on what I hoped would be a new SupportPac for WMQ
    Then found out that someone else (third-party company) has already done it. Damn.
  • Finally found a babysitter!
    Up until now, we’ve been using friends and family as babysitters for Grace. But that’s been getting harder recently, so it was finally the time to take the plunge and find a paid babysitter. Slightly nervewracking, but she comes recommended from a colleague at work, so I’m sure it will be fine!
  • And work
    Good to do some stuff that I get paid for every now and then. 😉 But we’re pretty busy at the mo.

Right – excuses over. Back to work!


Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Less something that I have learnt today, and more something that I need to learn. For Valentines, my wife has got me an entry into a fun poker tournament. Sounds like fun – but I need to practice!