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James Rutherford

Web, design, Newcastle, games and fun!


Archive for March, 2010

This got annoying pretty quickly.

When I took a call, or opened up an app after the phone had been resting, it’d ask for my iTunes password. Entering the password or cancelling the dialog would make the request disappear- until next time.

A web search found others with the same problem, so here’s the solution:

One of my apps was updating and had been paused part-way.  The dialog was presumably reappearing every time my wi-fi reconnected. Take a look through your apps and see if any have a static horizontal loading bar across them (it can be difficult to spot), or the word ‘paused’ below. If so, touch them to unpause.

I’d presume that updating the apps via your computer and then synchronising the phone would also work.

Simply beautiful:

This month’s meeting of SuperMondays started with a talk from PayPalX ‘Chief Wizard’, John Lunn (@johnxcom) about PayPal’s fledgeling services for mobile app integration. These are likely to be available across the mobile platforms, but will initially be available for iPhone developers.

Apple’s terms require that 3rd party payment services must be used for ‘real world’ rather than ‘digital’ goods, so they’re restricted in scope, but, in the right place, should offer a smooth payment flow without the security minefield associated with accepting credit cards through mobile devices.

John was joined by colleague Anthony Hicks (@anthonyxcom), Jon Nairn (@jonstep, working for @neverodd), Alex Reid (@alexjreid) and Peter Bull (@RoguePlanetoid) for a panel Q&A session.

General points of note from the session and pub discussions:

  • Perhaps surprising to some, the iPhone market accounts for a small proportion of mobile devices, and Android mobiles are apparently selling at twice the rate of iPhone.
  • iPhone users are generally more comfortable with app purchasing, and represent a more general consumer demographic.
  • Submissions and updates are developer-driven for Android, so app deployment can be rapid- especially when compared to Apple’s approval process.
  • Development for the less popular platforms may attract incubation or start-up funding.
  • Some high-qualify third-party technology exists for integration, e.g. Bump, OpenFeint.
  • Commercially, producing good middleware may be a better gamble than a good app.
  • Windows Phone 7 Series sounds promising.

Events like SuperMondays are great for setting bits of your brain in motion- even if the talks don’t directly relate to your field of expertise, and your thoughts don’t directly relate to the talks!

See: SuperMobile event listing, @SuperMondays.

North-East mobile app developers, and those requiring app development should check out Paul Smith’s AppNorth group for contacts.



Mar 29

This sort of thing keeps me going!..

President Obama looks at awesome things.

The Daily Mail song [YouTube].

Ah, Amiga!

Mar 28

I picked up an old Amiga 1200 from the ‘computer jumble sale’ organised by Polytechnic:

More junk? Yes, well.. no!

I’ve got a few boxes full of old Amiga discs in a cupboard, which will have been gradually magnetically deteriorating. Quite a few of them contain bits and pieces I entertained myself creating in my teens- music, graphics and code. I can try and salvage this nostalgia by buying an Amiga PCMCIA CompactFlash card adapter and using that to transfer the data to my PC- and should then be able to revive it under an emulator.

The machine seems to be in great working order, and came with 1084S monitor too.

It appears to boot up into a music player unless I insert a disc, which isn’t what I was expecting, but I’m sure I’ll figure that out… :)

The plan is to transfer all personal data from these Amiga discs, then I can (finally) chuck ‘em!

I’ve got a big soft-spot for the KLF- BRING THE BEAT BACK!

Tyne Twestival took place at The Tyne Bar last night.

Tickets were available for £4 (or £20 for generous donors), and included two free £3 drink vouchers. Even my rusty mental arithmetic can tell you that’s a good value night- especially when the ticket cost is a charity donation… thanks, sponsors!

So, a night of drink, chat, cupcakes, raffle prizes and live music- and a good opportunity to put faces to Twitter names, and meet some new people to boot.

There was a good mix of people I knew, knew of, and didn’t know at all- and it was certainly well attended. The outside area was a bustling mass, especially for the raffle call (which was compèred by the rather smooth Paul Smith).

Personally, I shied from the music- I prefer something a bit less attention-grabbing when there’s good chat to be had – though I appreciate it adds to the atmosphere of a space like the Tyne Bar pen.

Altogether, Tyne Twestival 2010 looks to have raised more than £1450 from ticket sales, and another £590 on the night for charity Concern, neatly smashing the £1500 target. [Update: £2,803.05!]

See: Thomas Jackson Photography, Shepy’s photos, Specular’s photo set, , Audio clip (warning, it’s a bit ‘Eurovision’!), blog entry, Brittany Coxon (photo set, video1, video2, video3).

YourFilm video:

(more photos linked as and when I find ‘em!)

Follow: @TyneTwestival for future events.

You’d think that after so many years of PCs and Macs co-existing that they’d be very interoperable.

Not so- and I’ve been struggling trying to set up an external hard-disk drive that I can use on both systems.

Mac prefers its own format (HFS/HFS+), PC would like another (FAT/NTFS). NTFS is partially compatible, but natively, Mac can only read, not write, in that format.

A little research suggested I might be able to use Ext2, a mature Linux format, and install plugins on either machine to handle it. The plan would be to create a three partition drive. A large main partition and one smaller one for each platform onto which I could store Ext2 drivers- so I could travel to any computer with the drive.

I tried three times to create this partition layout on the Mac (I couldn’t find an easy way to create an Ext2 partition on PC). Each time resulted in a system lock after about an hour – with a serious-looking ‘Press the power button on the back of your computer’ dialog that I haven’t seen before. Disk Utility was unable to repair the Ext2 partition.

The eventual adopted solution was to ditch Ext2 and…

  1. Using the Mac’s Disk Utility, I created a two partition drive- with a large PC partition (FAT) and a small MacOSX partition (HTS+ /1GB).
  2. On the PC, I reformatted the FAT partition into NTFS using Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management.
  3. I picked up an open-source plugin called NTFS-3G for the Mac. This permits writing to NTFS. There’s a commercial version of the code called Tuxera, but also a free-use one [NTFS-3G] buried away, but available.
  4. I installed the package on the Mac, and also copied it to the Mac partition of the external hard-drive, so I can install it anywhere.

If you do set up your drive like this, make sure you always safely eject the drive before disconnecting it- otherwise the Mac will whinge and you may lose data.

Ebony and ivory living together in perfect harmony. Maybe!


Newcastle / Tyne Twestival will take place tonight from 7pm at The Tyne Bar.

It’s a social meet-up event for folk who use Twitter, featuring local bands and competitions, organised to fundraise for a charity – Concern.

I know a slice of the attendee list, follow a larger chunk, and know of most of the rest, so it should be a nice mix of familiar and partly familiar for me.

We seem to be well on the way to making the fundraising target, but I believe there are still tickets available. Grab one and come join in the fun!

Twitter: follow @TyneTwestival / search for #TyneTwestival

Tickets and more information: Newcastle Twestival Website

BarCamp North East 3 took place over the weekend, with around 45 attendees and pleasing geographical pull (a fair few ‘campers’ caught early trains from around the country).

It had a different feel to BCNE2. The environment was a bit more formal and there didn’t seem to be as much in the sessions that I connected with- though a good tip of the hat should go to Tim Nash’s talks (“PayPal Hacks” / “Get off Your Arse”), Richard Hyett’s “Dashboards” and Harry Palmer’s introduction to his eccentric work.

Sadly I couldn’t stay for the breakout sessions (since I’d booked in for 3D Disco)- and, as such, missed some of the livelier action and a bunch of night-owl attendees.

Nevertheless, It was an entertaining weekend, with engaging people – and left me energised and buzzing with thoughts.


I hosted a couple of sessions, and was pleased that both were well attended:

“Finding Creativity”

An attempt to pull ideas to find out how people best foster their creativity / problem-solving. Particularly interesting to me were people’s attempts to catalyse the subconscious- thinking very hard about a problem before going to bed; listening to a single looped tune; and distracting the conscious mind deliberately. I’d like to have explored much deeper, and in a few different directions, but time ran away.

“80s Videogamers Anonymous”

A fun session – a little early for the ‘late-session’ style, but I pressed on regardless. We started with a bit of nostalgic confessional, before moving on to an ‘A-Z’ of 80′s videogames knock-out and a “What am I?” game styled on daytime TV favourite, ‘Going for Gold’. Bubble Bobble stickers were won, mostly by Ian Pouncey and Chris Neale. Ian took the grand prize too – a Space Invader keyring (yes, yes, that’s 1978, I know!!)


Huge thanks to Alistair for his masterful organisation of the event; Newcastle’s Centre of Life for hosting; Yahoo and Microsoft for sponsorship.

Looking forward to BarCampNE4… :)

(Partial) Attendance List

[Contact me if I've missed you off!]

  • Alex Kavanagh (@ajkavanagh)
  • Alistair MacDonald (@alistair, Alistair’s blog)
  • Brian Degger (@sctv)
  • Caroline Mockett (@cazm)
  • Chris Neale (@onion2k)
  • Christiano Betta (@cbetta)
  • Danni Matzk (@Dannilion)
  • David Batty (@DavidBatty)
  • Dom Hodgson (@TheHodge, The Hodge)
  • Eric Nelson (@ericnel)
  • Harry Palmer (Harry Palmer)
  • Ian Pouncey (@IanPouncey)
  • James Rutherford (me!, @jtruk, @designnewcastle)
  • Lee Cann (@leeky)
  • Martin Cunningham (@martin88)
  • Melinda Seckington (@mseckington, Miss Geeky)
  • Mr Duck (@duck365)
  • Neil Crosby (@NeilCrosby)
  • Peter Bull (@RoguePlanetoid)
  • Rebecca Parker (@Rebecca_Parker)
  • Rich Quick (@richquick)
  • Richard Hyett
  • Tim Nash (@tnash, Tim Nash)