Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making the web Readable.

During the launch of Safari 5 from Apple, it emerged that their new feature, Reader, is based in part on a project by arc90 called "Readability".  I hadn't stumbled across this before some of the reportage on Safari Reader but it basically uses a bookmark containing Javascript to reshape a webpage so that "excess" sidebars and formatting are stripped in favour of a clean block of text.  It does not do so automatically but only when you click the button, which may skirt around objections from content makers and advertisers who have invested much in this clutter.

Printing of webpages has been an ongoing bugbear for both my colleagues and myself and while this does not preserve layout, that is not always the goal.  Readability has in fact already helped me to read badly laid-out text obscured by overflow into an adjacent column.  Have yet to find a showstopper, merely some occasional clashes with inline images and it renders home pages only with a prior caveat, and it may come in useful to people with mild vision issues.  If you have Firefox or Chrome it's as simple as dragging the bookmark to your Bookmark Bar, for IE right-click and add to Favorites Bar.

Get your bookmarklet here: Readability

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Remote Desktop Connection Manager - a boon for admins

I subscribe to a bunch of Microsoft blogs and one of them revealed a gem in the past month.  RDCMan, a tool which allows an admin to group together remote desktops, preset their username/password combos and connect to those groups with a right-click option, has been invaluable in my work lately which involves quickly jumping from server to server or from servers to a group of workstations.  The gorgeous thing about it is not merely a gallery of thumbnails of the connected sessions, but the ability to interact with the thumbnails with sufficiently accurate mouse clicks.  Heartily recommended.

Here's the original post:
Introducing Remote Desktop Connection Manager 2.2 (You had me at EHLO - the Microsoft Exchange Team blog)

Blackberry 8530 rebooting problem when activated on BES

We just got one of the new Blackberry 8530 EVDO touchpad devices from Bell Mobility, but returned the first one which we thought was defective.  When the second one went down at the same point in getting it set up (being added to our Blackberry Enterprise Server) this raised a flag.  It turns out the software currently posted on RIM's site has a bug which causes continuous reboots when policies such as memory cleaner are enabled.

A customised loader to enable the OS to be patched to the point where the device resuscitates is available, but you need to talk to Bell Data Support for it.  The loader was a bit finicky and threw errors a couple of times but eventually declared no patch required (i.e. the patch had taken) and the device rebooted.  Happy days.

UPDATE August 6th - the updated software (Package 5.0.0.1319, Applications 5.0.0.782, Platform 4.2.0.352) is available on blackberry.com for a conventional update, but I'm not sure you won't need to patch using the support tool if it's already in the reboot state.

Sorry it's been so quiet

And I can't guarantee it won't be again... but I'm going to share a few things of a technical nature.  Also - comments on posts more than 14 days old are now moderated after a certain number of unreadable (by me) comments were left on the post on Arthur C. Clarke.  If I can't read them, comments won't be staying.

Update (July 18th) - comments are now fully moderated.