Archive for July, 2007

SMS to speech at 1:30am

July 21st, 2007

Prepare for a mini rant and waffle…

I received a call last night from an automated service asking “where are you?”. No, it is not the next generating of Twitter, but what appeared to be a service that translates text messages to voice for land lines.

A similar service caused havoc at our office when it kept calling back, then stopping, then calling back, and stopping, calling back, stopping, etc, etc. This was caused by a customer sending a media message to our land line by mistake and a bug in the BT system at the time.

The first thing I did was call the phone company at 1:30am to have it disabled, and they transform me somewhere, and then again, and then to BT faults despite me not being a BT customer and there was not actually being a fault. Fortunately they had the instructions to hand.

The magic instructions were to, and you may want to do this now, call the automated service on 0800 587 5252 and follow the instructions. You can restrict the times it will call you, or disable it completely.

While disabling the service I discovered I should not be called in the middle of the nigh with the default settings. Considering the number I was supposed to call to cancel the service (according to the message) was an 07 number I am presuming it was from another telephone company, or more likely a scam to get me to call that number and charge me a fortune (some 07 numbers are still premium rate).

Update: The originator has not been tracked down! Apparently the message was sent in error, with the aid of alcohol, from a Virgin mobile.

July 20th, 2007

I am not a top user of Twitter as I don’t want the world to know where I am or what I am doing every single second of the day, and I really can’t be bothered to continually entering such information. What I do use it for is when something strange, daft, annoying, significant or interesting happens, as well as when I post something to one of my blogs, or upload a photograph.

To date I have been doing all of this manually as there is no way to use plugins with Blogger, Vox and flickr to do this automatically. I was considering creating an online application that monitored the RSS feeds for the blogs and photo sites and used the API to update Twitter, but I waited long enough and someone else did it for me by creating twitterfeed.

You simply login using OpenID and tell it the Twitter account and RSS feed details that you want to link. You can also alter the frequency that it checks the fee, the maximum number of items to notify and a prefix for the tweets if you like.

There are a few services that offer a live blogging service like Twitter and can do the same. Jaiku has this RSS monitoring functionality integrated and I am hoping that Pownce will in time integrate feeds in a smiler way. As for Facebook, the Facebook API, need I say more. Also Tumblr can monitor RSS feeds for you as well. Finally if you just want a combined feed of all your feeds without complication then I recommend the simple to use afeeda that Dave demonstrated for us at BarCampSheffiled.

The speed of cheques

July 18th, 2007

Let’s be honest about this, it takes a silly amount of time to clear a cheque with today’s technology, but we have come to expect that. One thing I have relied on is that all cheques take the same time to clear, so if I pay in a cheque and wait a couple of days, it will clear before any cheques I write are drawn.

I know that people say that the money leaves my account instantly and the bank holds on to it for a while, but it has worked for me until I tried to pay the tax man. I received a letter from the bank yesterday informing me of a £39 charge for bouncing my cheque. After calling up it appears that organisations such as Revenue and Customs, and customer who pay extra, can have cheques cleared quicker.

I politely told the bank that they will be refunding this charge, and they did.

I have my Yahoo! Mail back :-)

July 12th, 2007

Some good news, and I am officially happy at the moment. My Yahoo Mail account has been reactivated.

The reason why it has been such a hassle to do is because my Yahoo email address is actually a Rocketmail email address, and this can not normally be reactivated after long periods of not being used. I have moaned about this problem before and it is something that has been niggling me for years.

I would love to tell you how to recover your Rocketmail account if you have one, but I am not really certain why it was done this time. The customer care were able to “reactivate it on an exceptional basis” so I guess it is not a change in policy, just that I was lucky.

Update: I can not receive email yet, but it is sending fine and I presume it will just take a while for everything to sync up.

Update 2: Over a week later with many emails to support and it is still not working. :-( I guess I will never have Yahoo! Mail again, but at least I can play with the API now.

Update 3: Two months later and still not working, but lost of emails saying that they are still working on it.

Update 4: Over 4 months and guess what, still not working. :-(

Should I go to d.Construct 2007?

July 9th, 2007

Should I go to d.construct 2007 in Brighton? A simple question, but I don’t really know if I should and registrations open tomorrow.

I have not been to the event before and I am not certain if I would benefit or not. I will also need to pay my own way (£85+VAT entry, plus transport, plus accommodation) so it will not be cheap for me.

The reason I am considering this is that there is a BarCampBrighton being organised that looks likely to be a good one because of the fellow attendees, so I may be around Brighton anyway if I can get a place.

So do you think I should go?

Update: In the end I decided not to go this time round, although I have pencilled it in for 2008. I will be listening to Jeremy Keith’s d.construct podcast.

My feeds are a moving

July 5th, 2007

Recently Google purchased FeedBurner, a service that processes RSS feeds for computability with most readers, compiles statistics about who is using them, and does some fancy trickery to make podcasts easier to publish.

I have used FeedBurner for a long time now and love the service. Being someone who likes to keep control of my feeds I have the feeds URL on my site ( and for example) and then use a temporary redirect to pass the user to the FeedBurner domain ( in this case). Now that Google are at the controls the MyBrand service has become free allowing me to use a domain of mine instead of the FeedBurner one ( You will hopefully not notice any change, but if you see a few old posts reappear then this is why.

One closing thought is that now I see no reason why you should not start using FeedBurner today for the benefit of the people reading your blog, listening to your podcast and you.