Snow in Ireland

It snowed quite a bit here in Ireland over the last two weeks – not much compared to the levels of snow in the UK and the rest of Europe, but a lot compared to recent years in Ireland. We took the opportunity to have some fun – involving sliding (slowly at first, then faster) down a hill on a piece of softboard. Just wish the slide was longer, but it was fun nonetheless and the kids had a great time (the kids, including me that is!) Check out the videos below.

Apple iPod Touch banner on

Apple are renowned for their product innovation and design prowess with their Mac computers and iPods, but when it comes to marketing they are also a very innovative company. Their brand is one of the strongest in the consumer electronics world, their print advertising is young, fresh and consistent with their products, and their website is one of the best I can think of in the consumer world. I recently came across one of their banner advertisements on the website promoting their iPod Touch line of portable music players. It’s probably the most eye catching and innovative banner ad I’ve ever seen – so good that it was worth me taking a minute to capture it and share it. See below. I think you’ll agree that Apple simply have it nailed when it comes to their marketing both online and offline. Top notch stuff.

Delay system lock in Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard

One thing that really started to annoy me in the new Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard was how quickly my computer would lock after the screensaver kicked in. There appeared to be no delay as there had been in Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard. The experience was consistent across my two work computers – a Macbook Pro and a Mac Pro, and my Mac Pro at home. In my previous world running 10.5 I had been able to move my mouse really quickly once I noticed the screensaver kicking in and the process of the OS locking would stop. Under the new OS 10.6 this didn’t seem to be the case – the very second the screensaver was enabled, the OS would lock and I would have to enter my password to unlock it.

Thankfully it turns out that this is configurable. Under System Preferences -> Security, there is a setting which allows you to cause a delay before the password lock happens. Watch this very short video below to see how you can configure this delay and hopefully improve your Snow Leopard experience even more. This video was recorded using the new Quicktime Player screen recording function, and cut, cropped and uploaded to YouTube using iMove ’09.

Massive Attack – Olympia Theatre Dublin Oct 6th ’09

I had the great pleasure of seeing Massive Attack live in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre last night – October 6th 2009. Below is a video of the song ‘Angel’ that I shot on my Flip camera. It was a superb gig – top quality performance, amazing set and light show. Being in the pit and only feet away from the stage was the icing on the cake! Massive Attack are a band I’ve been listening to for years. The diversity of their music is incredible and they manage somehow to reproduce it all live. Their music is timeless. I can’t wait to hear the new album and see them again soon!

** UPDATE *** I’ve also now added the video below of the intro track Massive Attack played at the gig in Dublin. Not sure what it’s called. But I like it!

Massive Attack Dublin

I recently picked up my tickets to see Massive Attack in Dublins Olympia Theatre, and to catch up on some tunes I dialed in to the very cool Grooveshark. I normally shy away from buying compilation or ‘best of’ albums so hadn’t ever got Collected. So given the opportunity to do some catching up on some old school and more recent Massive Attack I decided to give it a listen on Grooveshark. In doing so I came across a tune I’d never heard before – the very cool ‘Live with Me’ which was recorded especially for Collected. Check it out below. That’ll be one of the last times I skip past a best of album!

*** UPDATE *** I’ve posted some video of the Massive Attack Dublin gig on my blog.

Twitter Test Account – Testing the Twitter API with a temporary account

I’ve recently been doing some development work with the Twitter REST API, and I ran into an interesting dilemma – what to do when I want to test a post – and especially a batch-post? In my case I don’t really want to use my live account, as I have an established account with followers I will surely annoy. I really want to do this quietly on a Twitter test account – so that nobody sees the updates, and nobody knows it’s me messing around. There’s no such thing as a developer account if you are a mere mortal like me with a standard un-whitelisted account. The answer is quite simple. You should:

  1. Create a test twitter account
  2. Protect your updates
  3. Do your testing and bugfixing
  4. Change the Name, Username, and Email under account settings
  5. Delete the account
  6. Do the real thing on your live account

See below for step-by-step instructions on how, and why to do all this.

1. Create a test twitter account
First thing you want to do is create a test twitter account so that the junk you upload won’t pollute your live production account stream, and also won’t be seen publicly (see point 2.) since if you’re like me, you’ll be making many mistakes before you get things working right! Create your test account in the usual way here.

2. Protect your updates
To avoid your updates appearing in the public timeline, search, and other third party apps and twitter sites, as well as to avoid people following you without your permission, it’s a good idea to ‘protect your updates’. You can do this by clicking Settings, check ‘Protect my updates’ and ‘hit Save’.

3. Do your testing and bugfixing
You can now play around with the Twitter API. Do your updates, follows, favourites – all that stuff. Fix your bugs, test again and get to the point where you are happy with your code. Note that if you’re doing more than just ‘updates’ (ie: posts) and more than 100 requests per hour, you’ll need to get your account or IP whitelisted. You can find out more about this here.

4. Change your account settings
Now you are done with your testing and bugfixing, but you’re a good Twitter citizen and you want to delete your account so someone else can use it – maybe even you. Since it’s difficult to re-register the same account name once the account is deleted, and since it’s impossible to signup under the same email address again, it’s important that you change these settings before you go ahead and delete your account. Thankfully, this is a simple process. You simply go to Settings, and change the Name, Username, and Email settings to something other than what they are already, enter your password and hit Save. Note: To reduce the chances of using up a useful account name, please consider making the new one as usless as possible – eg: 986sfsdfkjlblah.

5. Delete your account You’ve done the right thing, and changed the account details. Now you simply hit ‘Delete my account’ at the bottom left of the Settings screen, confirm and you’re done. Someone else, including you, can now signup for that original account name again. Don’t you feel good about that ?

6. Now do the real thing Now you can go update your script to reference your real account login, and go do your bad-ass thing on your live account without fearing making any major screw-ups on your precious live Twitter feed.

It would be great if Twitter would introduce the concept of a Developer Account, or test posts that are visible only to the poster in a live account, but in the meantime the above is the best way to go about doing things.

Hope this has proven useful. Please leave a comment below if so.

Be seeing you …

While I have your attention…
This website costs money to keep up and running. And to help fund it, I’m offering a limited edition set of high quality prints of my own unique photography. Below are just a few examples. Please considering purchasing or click here to view more of my work. I’d really appreciate the support!

Lotto Results

If you need to check the Irish National Lottery Results for previous draws you can do that right here on my lotto results page. This page shows the lotto results from August 2003 to present. The main purpose of this site is to show the results for my private lotto syndicate but it also provides a way for the general public to see the lotto results for the last six years. One day I may consider building some reports around this data to show the most frequently drawn numbers in the Irish Lotto, but for the moment the results from the Irish Lotto will have to do you 🙂

Installing Mac OSX on a Dell Mini 9

I’ve just completed something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while – installing OSX on a Dell Mini 9. The process is detailed widely across several blogs online already, so I’ll refrain from explaining exactly how it’s done since that’s been done already. Instead I’ll provide links below to the best online resources for more information.

What I will say though, is that if you start off with the right hardware and software and if you follow the steps in the correct order this is a relatively simple install process and the end result is really fantastic. My Dell Mini 9 (16GB SSD option with no webcam, and Ubuntu pre-installed) cost me 380 Eur inc VAT, inc shipping. The machine runs really nicely, seems pretty-much 100% stable and compatible with all the hardware I’ve thrown at it. So the end result is a very usable, very functional Mac(ish) Netbook 🙂

Online resources for step by step instructions and help

This ZDNet blog post details the step by step process on what you need hardware and software wise to make this happen. That post also refers to the older, but slightly harder to read, Gizmodo post on the same process. If you follow both processes, and set aside 3 to 4 hours to complete it you’ll be ok. One thing that isn’t gone into in either post is how to deal with the recent OS X update to version 10.5.7. Both posts were written when the latest version was 10.5.6, and doing a software update to 10.5.7 needs some special attention.

Installing Mac OSX 10.5.7 on a Dell Mini 9
Once you upgrade to 10.5.7 during the install process, the DellEFI installer mentioned in the requirements won’t work. It will install with errors and when you reboot off the SSD, it will fail with a ‘No Operating System found’ error. When I did this, I looked back and realised that maybe by using the ‘Software Update’ method rather than the ‘Combo Update’ I had made a fatal mistake and would have to go back and start again. Not so. What you need to do at this point is reboot again off the Type11 cd, boot into OSX on the SSD with networking (-f option) and download the DellEFI 1.2 alpha 5 ( file here. Unzip this and install it on the machine with OSX 10.5.7 running and all will work well. You will now be able to reboot for the last time without the Type11 boot cd and begin playing with your new Dell/Mac Netbook.

Please note that I will not be answering any detailed questions on this process. If you need help, please refer to the MyDellMini forums here.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

New website live

Well as you can see, has been redesigned and relaunched. I’ve moved the blog infrastructure to the fantabulous WordPress after a lot of nagging by some fanboi’s I know. I’ve also simplified the design and layout. This is the first step in what will prove to be a more active I intend to start blogging more on topics such as photography and Irish current affairs (ie: I’m going to rant!). I hope you like the new design. Please check out my photography, get in touch and come back soon for more.

lifetime ago

lifetime ago
Originally uploaded by Mark Stanley

Here’s a picture of the kids I took last year. I was trawling through photos yesterday looking for something to get my Lightroom teeth around since I haven’t taken anything lately. Came across this one which struck me for two reasons: 1) the relative serenity of two otherwise pretty active kids and 2) the shorts which seem so alien now in this cold wintery snowy weather. Anyway, here it is – my latest little photo upload. From now on I’m making a conscious decision to move away from the ‘vignette look’, which has become part of my comfort zone, and to push my bounderies again. It’s a new year – it’ll be interesting to see what I’ve achieved with my photography by the time it’s out.