Category Archives: Technology

New Blog

I wont be posting any more webdriver tips on this blog. But fear not, you wont be missing out on your needed updates from all things webdriver as these posts will be making their way ot

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My iPhone is now unlocked. What next?

I unlocked my iPhone last week and as I had no other micro sim card lying about the house, I set off on a quest to get some free sims from the different network providers. I initially hadnt thought about switching from my current provider (Vodafone) but the offerings from some of the other providers looks a lot better. But it usually all comes down to the same thing: how good is the network coverage where I live?

So to begin I tried to order free micro sim card online from each of the other providers. There are two providers that insist you pay money upfront, PostFone and 3 Mobile. €10 or €20 etc. depending on the package you want to go for. So that was them ruled out. I had tried the mobile broadband offering from 3 Mobile before and the network coverage at my house rendered it useless, so I wasnt going to be paying upfront for something that may not even work. Take note 3 mobile. Also I dont know whose network PostFone use so I wont be opting for that choice either.

Next up to be ruled out is eMobile. I tried to order a free micro sim card from their online store but always on the last page I get an error message stating that my session has expired. While they do have a pretty cool onlince chat feature, the customer support agents did not seem to understand the problem. I was asked to refresh the page and to try another browser by two different customer support agents. The last one did offer the telephone number for their sales team, but I have yet to call.

So I was able to order free micro sim packs from O2, Meteor, 48 Months and Tesco Mobile and I will update how I got on with each one below:

From O2’s online store I ordered this sim only plan
I received the sim pack yesterday in the post. I switched the sim cards and I was able to confirm that my iPhone had in fact been unlocked; I got a confirmation text from O2 about the plan that I had chosen. But then the same O2 problem occurred as before when I used to be an O2 customer. The network coverage where I live is basically shit. It might work outdoors, or pressed up against the glass patio doors or hanging out of an upstairs window, but essentially there is no coverage inside. With all of the talk surrounding new 4G networks I thought that things may have improved. but alas no. Same old, same old. 4G? Not even 3G coverage. Not even adequate 2G coverage!

Tesco Mobile

I am not expecting anything from Tesco Mobile as they use the O2 network, see above!


I was also previously a Meteor customer so at least I will be able to access the network. I think.

I was correct. My Meteor sim pack arrived yesterday in the post, coincidentally from the the same place as the O2 sim pack was sent. Radius Communications in Ballywaltrim Business Park in Bray, Co. Wicklow. So I switched over to the Meteor sim and I had the same network strength as per my Vodafone sim. I think that Meteor have a roaming agreement with Vodafone so this was to be expected. I was able to receive texts and phone calls on my Meteor number no problem as as they appear to have a better option than Vodafone it looks like Meteor have jumped into an early lead.

48 Months

I know absolutely nothing about this network, so I am looking forward to testing out their micro sim card. A bit of research led me to learn that 48 use the O2 network, so not looking good there. Which is a pity.

I got the sim pack from 48 months, but its a standard sim card, not a micro sim. So that wont work, didn’t matter anyway as 48 uses the O2 network.


Last but not least is my current provider: Vodafone.

Vodafone’s price plans for pay as you go are shockingly bad. Needless to say I will be switching from my current provider so long as one of the others network is accessible from my home.

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Ive upgraded to iOS7

After many attempts on the launch day (evening in Europe) I gave up and waited for the masses to download iOS7 and I would try again the next morning in relative peace. The plan worked well.

I got up at 7am the next morning (my 16 month-old daughter demanded her breakfast) and started the download process. I thought that I would have had plenty of time. In the end it took an hour or thereabouts to download and an hour to apply the update. My iPhone was still applying the update as I left for work at 8:30.

It was still updating as I pulled into the office carpark just before 9am so I put it in my pocket and went into work. I didnt get a chance to look at my iPhone again until nearly 10am. Now the update had finished and the final setup steps had started. I completed these steps and started exploring iOS7 and all of it neat tricks and new animations.

So far I have to say that I am happy with iOS7 and my favorite new item is the multi tasking view, much better than the previous wiggling icons.

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Raspberry Pi NOOBS

For the uninitiated, NOOBS = New Out Of Box Software and here is an explanation from the guys at the Raspberry Pi foundation:

NOOBS is a way to make setting up a Raspberry Pi for the first time much, much easier. You won’t need network access, and you won’t need to download any special imaging software. Just head to the downloads page, grab a copy of the NOOBS zip file, and unpack it onto a freshly formatted 4GB (or larger) SD card. When you boot up for the first time, you’ll see a menu prompting you to install one of several operating systems into the free space on the card. The choice means you can boot the Pi with a regular operating system like Raspbian, or with a media-centre specific OS like RaspBMC.

Here is a screenshot of the main OS selection screen.
From this you can see that the following Operating Systems can be installed:

  • Archlinux
  • OpenELEC
  • Pidora
  • Raspbmc
  • Raspbian
  • RiscOS

There is now also a recovery partition on the SD Card and this allows you to go back to the Main OC selection screen (see above) at any time to re-install your selected OS, or try a new one. Just hold down the [SHIFT] key when botting to launch the recovery console.

You can download the NOOBS zip file from Raspberry Pi Downloads or get more ionformation on NOOBS from

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Icons in iOS6 and iOS7

Here is a comparison of the icons from iOS6 and iOS7 as generated by @pawsupforu

New icons in iOS7 compared to the older versions in iOS6

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Mac App Store Top 10 Free Apps (March 15)

Here is the current top 10 free apps available in the Mac App Store

  1. Memory Clean
  2. Xcode
  3. Evernote
  4. Head Soccer
  5. Kindle
  6. The Unarchiver
  7. Full Deck Solitaire
  8. Twitter
  9. VirtualDJ Home
  10. Blood and Glory 2 : Legend

See the most up to date chart at How many of the top 10 apps have you already installed on your mac?

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Introduction to PHP’s MySQLi

The mysql extension is being deprecated in php, but it is being phased out very slowly. See here for more details on the deprecation process.

So my next step will be to move towards either MySQLi (the i stands for “improved”) or PDO. I think I will go with MySQLi as it is not all that dissimilar from mysql. So in that vein, I have been reading MySQLi for Beginners as an introduction to MySQLi. If there are any other good resources that you know of, please add a comment.

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Raspbmc RC5

I have installed the latest version of Raspbmc on my Raspberry Pi and so far it is working great. It is also the first installation of Raspbmc that I have done that my internet connection was working from the Pi after the install. So that was a major plus for me. Also, another major plus for me was that when I insert a USB flash drive it is picked up by the system and available straight away. This was never available for me before, at the very least I had to reboot with the flash drive attached.

USB Flash Drive
I was able to play some avi files that I have on the USB flash drive without any problem.

I followed the same installation steps I always use with Raspbmc. Its very handy the way the Raspbmc installer can wipe an SD card for you.

  1. Wipe SD card using Raspbmc windows installer
  2. Install Raspbmc on SD card using installer
  3. Add card to Raspberry Pi and power up

The installation does take a while so I left it run by itself and came back to it a while later and XBMC was up and running for me. I installed the Quartz skin, as indicated in the tutorial linked to below and now it looks like the Apple tv interface.

Video Add-ons
This time I was able to successfully install some video add-ons. I added CBS News and Fox News from the list of available video add-ons. I installed the VODie plugin for the RTE and tv3 players but the script failed when I tried to run it. This plugin was able to run on the XBian version but I was still never able to actually run some video on it.

btw if anyone is looking for a good tutorial to follow, I used this

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Official YouTube app available for iOS

As Apple have previously announced that they are removing their YouTube app from the default set of Apps that come packaged with iOS6, Google said they would create their own official YouTube app.

And the good news is, is that it is available to download from Apples App Stote right now.


And here is a screenshot of the new official YouTube app in action:


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XBMC Success – with XBian

I can now report that I have successfully managed to get XBMC running on my Raspberry Pi. And I can add add-ons. Previously I had XBMC ruuning on my Raspberry Pi with Raspbmc but I was never able to add any add-ons, or add any media files. Never knew why, but it is irrelevant now anyways.

I have added the CBSNews and YouTube add-ons so far and both are working correctly. My next task will be to add the plugin for RTE and TV3 players. Who knows what after that.

Here is the list of features that comes with XBian (shamelessy snagged from here) :

  • Fits on a every 2GB SD card
  • Very smooth UI
  • Auto mount USB
  • Boot’s up very fast
  • Boot’s up XBMC automatically
  • AFP support
  • NFS support
  • AirPlay support
  • CEC support
  • Lirc support
  • Samba is installed by default

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