Welcome 2013

So… its been 2 and a half years since I last posted anything to a blog. Now its 2013, the year of (hopefully) my graduation from University, I have decided to start posting again. I will use this blog as an outlet and a kind of journal for my projects and any potentially useful information that I come across.

Things to come:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Web Development
  • Electric Guitar building and learning
  • Anything generally related to Technology, the web and Computing

Follow this blog if you like, follow me on twitter @AdamPMatthews.


I just moved to the University of Kent, and the Study Bedroom Service internet access has been down since saturday. Its so strange without access to the internet at all, apart from when I have to go on campus to get wireless access.

I hope it sorts itself out soon, then I can blog about uni some more!

Useful apps: Gladinet Cloud Desktop

I’ve decided to start a useful apps part of this blog, mostly will be for apps that will be useful for new university students (as I will be in 3 weeks!). I will kick this off with Gladinet Cloud Desktop.

This application can mount “cloud storage” services such as Amazon S3, Google Docs and Windows Live SkyDrive. The SkyDrive support for me is the best thing, because it now has 25GB of online storage for free. Once the storage service has been mounted you can use it just like a normal drive on your pc/laptop and copy files to the ‘cloud’ without having to use the web interface.


There is a free version, which includes the professional version trial for 30 days. After that you lose the ability to backup stuff automatically and some advanced features. There is an academic license, which is the professional version for a cheaper price. All you need is an academic centre email address (@college.ac.uk if your in the uk) and you can get the £39.99 application for £7.48.

If you worry about losing your precious work and you will have less than 25GB of the stuff, buy this and you can auto backup to Google docs and SkyDrive and access your stuff anywhere.

This is much cheaper than getting a MobileMe account with Apple and using the 20GB of storage, and you don’t have to worry about needing Firefox on your campus computers (I have mobileme, I back up to there too!)

Sign up for a Windows Live ID

Get Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Facebook for iPhone v3

After complaining to my peers about the lack of features and general uselessness, Facebook finally updates its application for iPhone from v2.5 to v3.0!

The app now allows you to manage your events, which is very useful for when your on the go and want to check the location of an event. (I will add a photo as soon as I can download the screenshot from my phone!)

The news feed has been updated and now is more user friendly and is much more useful. Updating your status is easier too.

I have been playing around with this app for a while now, and I’ve not had a single crash! This is amazing because I’ve used the old FB app on two iPhone 3G’s and both kept crashing. 

Overall verdict, 9/10!

Save your spare change!

Last Christmas I received a novel gift, a tin can with a slot on the top, into which you put spare change. I put the tin in a drawer and over the last 8 months I’ve been putting my spare change in. I decided to put odd amounts of change in, so if I had £3.25 in my pocket, the 25p would go in the can.

It got pretty full, and I couldn’t be bothered to wait any longer so I broke that can open!!

CRW_5317 CRW_5320 CRW_5322

Final totals

Value Amount Money
£1.00 7 £7.00
£0.50 12 £6.00
£0.20 43 £8.60
£0.10 32 £3.20
£0.05 52 £2.60
£0.02 31 £0.62
£0.01 76 £0.76
  Total: £28.78
So each month I was saving I saved £3.59, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it added up. The money has been donated to my Fresher week fund!
I would like to get another for Uni, but I cant seem to find any on the interwebs. If anyone stumbles across one, could you post a comment??

EMC is gone, Acronis True Image is in!

Retrospect EMC Express is a waste of time. It cant run in the tray, it cant run backup unless its actually running when the scheduled time rolls around. It doesn’t even look nice.

The backups it makes done allow you do go in and take files out. So I googled around and found Acronis True Image Home 2009. I’m using a trial at the moment, but after 30 days they ask for £39.99. Not too bad for an application that does an awful lot!


I have it set up to backup my entire hdd at 22:00 every day, on an incremental basis. Meaning that it will see what has changed and back that up. It keeps backups for as long as you specify, or until a certain number of backups have been completed. It will then get rid of older backups to make way for current ones.

The software has a way of editing the boot loader to allow for the user to recover and restore their PC/Laptop at boot time. Just press F11 when it says to and it will run its stuff. It keeps system settings and files in a secure area called the Acronis Secure Zone. This is encrypted, just like the backup archive on the external HDD.

The software also allows you to create a bootable version of itself to run the restore from. It allows you to create a bootable CD, directly or an ISO can be made for burning at a later date.

There are also utilities included in the main application to allow a drive partition to be cloned or securely deleted by ‘zeroing’ out the data. A file shredder and a system cleanup utility for deleting old system files and caches. I tried the Acronis Drive Cleanser on an old 100GB external drive, but it hang for ages and later failed. Back to Eraser for that then!

I know this isn’t a very in-depth review, but for users with Windows Vista/7 Home Premium this package is very good as a solid backup solution.

Remember, to go forward, you must first backup!


Acronis True Image Home 2009 Product Page

Review: Iomega Prestige 1Tb Desktop HDD

Today I got this drive from Tesco, £69.99. Not bad for a hard drive, and the reviews I had been reading at Amazon were very impressive.

I was under the impression that it was going too be a Samsung drive, but Windows states the device name to be “WDC WD5000BEVT”, which for those who don’t know, means its a quite nice Western Digital drive. I haven’t opened the case yet to find out but will in the future and update this post.

Anyway, after plugging in its power supply and the USB port into my 4 port hub it was away. No issues, drive name formatted as “Iomega HDD” on the NTFS file system.

One great thing about this drive was that it came with a license key to some OK backup software, as the main role of the drive is to backup my laptop. EMC Retrospect Express is the name of the software, and its just finished backing up my 500GB internal drive (150Gb used so far!). This took about 6 hours, quite a long time but its done now.

I kind of like the software, but having actually looked through the settings it doesn’t run as a background process and i don’t think it can replace a file in situ from a backup copy. Which is a bit crap and I might have to buy some more bloody software!

Other than that, good HDD so far. It runs a little hot, but I’ve got it in its stand so it shouldn’t melt the desk. I will update this post if anything changes/when I bin the software.

“I’m In”, Blog connected to twitter!

Using twitterfeed I am now fully connected into twitter, with new tweets coming up when I make a post. Maybe I will get more exposure, maybe I wont! If I do get more clicks I hope my AdSense ads come up, I cant seem to get them working.

Hmmm, maybe another round of emailing and getting nowhere with the giant is needed. Bah.

“Your PC is running slow”. Yeah, sure it is!

I hate this! I got passed a call from an Indian fellow stating that my computer was running slow. Now as I know a thing or two about computers, I thought it would be good to toy with this person!

Firstly, he said we have Microsoft Certified Technicians to help me get my PC running faster again. Oh right? “I am one, what do I need you for?”. I’m not an MS Certified techie, but if I was I think it would have been courteous for the gentleman to say “have a nice day” and leave me alone! He now tells me to turn on my PC and he will show me why its running slow. Well, if he knows my PC is slow, why doesn’t he know its already running!

After a little bit of arguing about why I need to listen, he asked what my OS was and then he must have got out the sheet for Vista to guide me through the process. “Press the windows key, located on the bottom left of the keyboard.” Oh rly?? To him I’m a MCT, so surely I should know where the frecking windows key is! Next he gets me to load the run dialogue box. Then he said “type e.v.e.n.t.v.w.r” Getting that out of him took about  a minute, as he said every word with its phonetic, which were wrong but I couldn’t be bothered to correct him!

Once I’d done this, the UAC box opened (yes I still have it enabled, it doesn’t annoy me). Now the idea of the User Account Control baffles the man, he doesn’t understand that a normal user would get stuck by this because its asking for permission to run a program, some old people might be a bit baffled by this! If he had Microsoft techs writing this script then they should know some users will have this enabled by default.

Once we got past that bit, oh yeah your going to show me some log entries that show that something closed unexpectedly. Which he then did! He said keep scrolling, there will be something wrong. There was, according to him. Some warnings about things that didn’t run properly, this is what he wanted to hear!! Then I said that these warnings don’t affect a PC’s speed and to go away I know what I’m doing.

Then I pressed the nice red button and hung up.

Thinking back I really wish I had kept going with the call, to see what the person was selling. He must have been selling me something to ‘fix’ my issues, because there has to be some money in it somewhere! My worry is that a lot of people will get baffled by this, because a lot of PC’s do run slow over time, so its a safe bet that the fellow on the phone will find someone who is not tech savvy and will fall into the trap. The gullible and the elderly is who I’m worried about with this.

Also, I think its a little bit misleading, because someone lies to gain entry into your home via your phone and trying to tell you that your PC isn’t working in order to sell you something you don’t need. If only these people understood English…

iPhone Battery Life

Most blogs and tech review sites say that iPhone battery life is appalling and if you want to survive the day you need to charge at mid day.

My iPhone can last 2 days, just about. How do I do it?? Use SMS and don’t listen to the iPod too much. To be honest, don’t be a loner and sit and listen to music all day and surf the internet constantly on Wi-Fi.

If you don’t like how long the iPhone batter lasts, change your usage habits!