Fixing up TripIt and Dopplr Integration

I’ve had my TripIt Personal Calendar Feed specified as an iCal feed into Dopplr for some time, to keep the two in sync by adding every trip in TripIt into Dopplr automatically (I’d give up on Dopplr entirely, as it seems a bit overdesigned and buggy - but it is a bit shinier than TripIt and produces nicer stats, so I’m hanging on to using it against my better judgement). But unfortunately the folks at TripIt broke this integration recently by adding exact geographic locations to the feed. This caused Dopplr to be over-zealous and make the destinations too specific (regions of Madrid and Paris, for example - rather than the whole city).

So I wrote a Yahoo Pipe that fixes up the stream - by removing the exact geographic locations and any items that describe activities and not the trip. Feel free to use it if it’s helpful - the single parameter for the pipe is the URL of your TripIt Personal Calendar Feed, and you’ll want to grab the URL of the pipe as an iCal feed to specify in your Dopplr account.

Burn After Reading

Went to see Burn After Reading with plv last night. It’s a bit of a slow starter, but when it gets going, there are some real solid comedic moments. It’s not laugh-a-minute, and is a little disjointed, but it’s sure entertaining as the plot gets more and more mashed up, and could almost be classed as a farce if it were a little clearer. Indeed, as the CIA boss says at one point:

Report back to me when ... I dunno ... when it makes sense.

It’s definitely worth the price of admission, and is a Coen brothers pic I actually like (they vary a lot). Brad Pitt and George Clooney both do a good job of playing bozos (Brad’s attempt to blackmail John Malkovich is hilarious), and J.K. Simmons as the aforementioned CIA officer is also very funny.

Threadless's Customer Service

  • Ordered a t-shirt from Threadless.

  • It never turned up.

  • They offered to refund me in full, no complaints needed.

  • They also gave me a $5 voucher for future orders, bringing the whole deal even further into the red for them.

This is pretty excellent customer service. I struggle to see this happening in the UK.

NBA @ O2

I went to the see the NBA game at the O2 Arena on Sunday evening on a last minute whim - Chris had a ticket spare.

The game was certainly entertaining (everything the Telegraph says about attention deficit disorder is true), even though I know little about basketball. It gave me a chance to try out my (new to me) telephoto lens. I was a little disappointed with the results once I pulled them off the camera - I had trouble sucking in enough light whilst getting stable shots - but I still ended up with one or two reasonable ones, although mostly not of the game itself.

Reinstalling The Thinkpad

My work Thinkpad (a T61) was becoming a little crufty, so I decided to reinstall it from scratch. Here are a few lessons I learnt along the way:

  • Making a hot copy of your entire drive onto a USB hard disk with VMWare Converter beforehand is a great idea. This basically means you have your entire previous installation still bootable, so you can rescue any data or settings you forgot about, after you’ve done the reformat and reinstall. VMWare Converter is free.

  • Windows XP won’t install if the BIOS has the SATA controller set to AHCI mode - it won’t find the HD to install to. Read the install instructions for the SATA driver before installing Windows. Doing this without a floppy drive involves installing Service Pack 2 first (see below).

  • Windows, surprisingly, does not contain a driver that can work with the Ethernet controller. Have a copy of it ready on a USB stick.

  • The redistributable version of Service Pack 3 isn’t standalone, despite claims to the contrary; it pre-reqs. at least Service Pack 1. Windows Update won’t take you the whole way there, so it’s easiest to get the SP2 and SP3 standalones.

  • The USB ports will not operate at high speed until you install the Intel Chipset Device Software.

subscribe via RSS