Geeky stuff

Programming Palm conduits

In a particulary geeky manoeuvre, the Poorhouse has decided to learn the arcane technique of building a conduit to interface between Windows and a PDA running the Palm OS. Conduits are the type of software that ensure that your lovely shiny palmtop and desktop PC synchronise such that they have the same contacts, memos, events, news and so on.

It didn't turn out to be the simplest of tasks; the documentation for getting started didn't seem to make the early steps trivial at all. As such, this section will detail a few notes about how I got started in case either I need to do it again, or anyone else is in a similar situation.

Visual Studio for free

Don't know if the Poorhouse is just the last one to notice anything but it seems Microsoft are offering a cutdown but still useful version of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 for free, under guise of the Visual Studio Express editions.

The package includes:

  • Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C# 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
  • Visual J# 2005 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

No more nodding off

In case you thought yesterday's Japanese invention showed silliness (you fool), here is an entirely practical, useful and relevant-to-today tool: the Nap Alarm.

The device was invented by Kozo Samizo following a car crash, and looks like an especially ugly oversize Bluetooth headset. But no, much more usefully this device continuously monitors your head movements. Should it decide that they resemble the nodding movements that indicate the on-the-edge-of-sleep (which are apparently distinguishable between any other head movements by virtue of their "0.003 minutes speed" - stop the science talk!) the device will buzz to wake you up and furthermore "temporarily banishes the alpha waves which cause sleepiness". Apparently it's a bit ticklish too and known to induce giggles.

Ooh, you press my buttons

Sexy?: Click for "enlargement"Is wifey shouting at you for spending too much time on Second Life and not enough time on her? Or is your double-hand computer action just not satisfying every last human urge? So many problems, one solution - Angel Kitty USB keyboard for the naughty geeky lover.

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. Some clever dick has had the genius idea of combining a "sexy" maid outfit with a computer keyboard, to make a...erm...maid outfit with a keyboard situated on the prospective wearer's breast area.

WebMail Compose

Yet another handy Firefox extension worship session! Surely soon Firefox will take over the world and eradicate all other sources of software.

This time, it's WebMailCompose. The email services you access over the web (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo et al.) are cool in many ways, but they traditionally have quite some limitations compared to desktop clients. Many are being circumvented by wonderous AJAX and other new-skool technologies, but one that can't be controlled by the webmail software itself is the mailto issue.

The Notepad conspiracy

Windows users may regularly rejoice in the minimalist beauty of the built-in Microsoft Notepad, but who would have thought it was part of a US Republican Conspiracy to hide the truth behind the Bush administration's actions?

Sceptics - try this:

  1. Open a new Notepad document
  2. Type in the following sentence without the quotes "Bush hid all the facts"
  3. Save and close
  4. Reopen the file in Notepad. Notice how yet again there has been a cover-up to hid the dirty political truth.

(If you really want to know how Notepad has been owned by the Bush cabal, read on for the disappointing truth.)

Redirecting a webpage

Don't get too excited now Poor-viewers, but Steven Hargrove has written a particularly straightforward and easy to follow guide about how to permanently redirect webpages, for instance if you move them to a new domain address. Nope, not just the HTML meta tag redirect. Proper hardcore 301s.


Whilst the ubiquitous iPod does hold most of the techno-world in its strong grip, there are places here and there where usage is less common. One such place is the bathroom. Toilet-goers entertainment has so far largely been restricted to boring old magazines and short books with half-funny "trivia" in.

Fear not though iUsers - from July 21st 2006 you will be able to procure the iCarta. You'd never guess from its name, but think of a rather oversized toilet roll holder, except this one has a slot for you to inset your iPod into.

It then becomes a fully featured quad-speaker stereo with moisture-resistant speakers and recharging capabilities, allowing to listen to your 9 squillion downloaded music tracks as you luxuriate in the personal comfort of toiletry activities.

Cookie cruncher

Firefox keeps on ruling. Even if it wasn't so great in itself, the sheer number of handy add-ons means it's indispensable for serious web-work. The latest and greatest to enter the Poorhouse most-useful collection is AnEC - "Add and Edit Cookies".

Free Wink

Back on the subject of genuinely useful software you can get for free free free, without committing criminal acts, comes Wink. Wink is a not-so-greatly-named package for recording live screenshots into a mini Flash-movie. It goes on to let you add buttons, virtual Post-It notes and so on to your animated screengrabs in order that you can produce software tutorials, presentations and so on.

Once you're done, one click of a button later you have a fully functioning Flash reproduction of your screen video, and it even writes out a webpage that lets your audience see it clearly via the web.

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