Reduce disturbances from Google Home/Nest Mini speakers

How to scheduled do not disturb in the Google Assistant, which has the most settings I’ve ever seen in an app. Its complexity is compounded by the multiple accounts you may have linked. Here’s how to set “Do not disturb” on a schedule so you can silence them at night.

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Full-time at SalesMaster

This week was my first week back into full-time work after four years freelance and long term contract at Honda. I’ve very happily joined the small development team at SalesMaster building Web apps for the automative industry. More specifically we I will creating front-end UI (that’s all the bits you see and click on) for their applications which do things like manage vehicle stock lists for used and new car dealerships.

This role is involves working with the very latest in Web technologies including Ruby on Rails, CSS3, HTML5, jQuery, SproutCore, Backbone, Cappuccino to name a few, which I’m very excited about.

Mo result

Thanks to everyone who donated to Movember via my page – I raised £260 during the month which is fantastic! Didn’t think I would get anywhere near that. The mo has now gone and I can go back to unkempt stubble.

My Movember team “Mo’ving Forward” made-up of mainly a bunch of guys at Standard Bank, were placed at number 30 in the UK, raising £11,514 – amazing!

Growing a mo

I’ve been roped into growing a moustache for Movember to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer. The idea is; start on 1st November clean shaven and grow a full moustache for the month. No beards.

Take a look at my MoBro page to see my progress and feel free to make a small donation.

Parasite Firefox extension

Today I have released Parasite, my Firefox extension (add-on) which enables switching to the same page between hosting environments. In other words, you want to open the same URN on a different domain name. Useful when working on a Web project that has multiple hosts/staging servers.

For more info and screen shots, visit the Parasite page or install from Mozilla Add-ons.

PC means Personal Computer

Having a rant about why Apple are wrong to refer to MS Windows as “PC”.

Something that bothers me everytime I see a advert for Apple Mac, is the way they refer to Microsoft Windows as PC. PC means ‘Personal Computer’, as in a computer that can run independently of others and is suitable for personal use; a household computer.

See what I’m saying? Therefore a Apple make PCs. iMac: a desktop PC. MacBook Air: a lightweight notebook PC. Mac Pro: professional standard desktop PC. Mac mini: compact home PC. They’re all PCs.

There seems to be a little confusion when descibing Apple’s main OS rival, Microsoft Windows. Windows and Mac are both operating systems which can be installed onto a PC. I’ll spell it out…


Fair enought if they were talking about any PC (e.g. Windows, Linux), but they’re not, they’re specifically referring to MS Windows. So they’re wrong.

Rant over.

Organise hidden tracks in iTunes

How to easily split a hidden album track into two separate songs using iTunes.

I’m not sure what the point in hidden tracks are. Y’know – you get an album with 10 songs on it, then track 10 it followed by 5 minutes of silence until an unannounced 11th tracks is aired. Maybe it’s because they’re not so confident about the quality of the song or maybe it doesn’t seemed to fit anywhere else in the track listing. For me it’s usually a pain. If I’m listening to music, I want sound, not nothing.

My solution to this is to break-up that last track into two separate songs, simply using iTunes. It’s easy, here’s how…

  1. Add ‘(Original)’ to the name of the song in question
  2. Play the track and find the time at which the first song ends
  3. From your menu bar select ‘File > Get Info’ and go to the ‘Options’ tab
  4. Type that time into the ‘Stop Time’ field making sure the tick box is checked
  5. Select ‘Advanced > Create MP3 Version’ – this may say AAC or another encoding type depending on what you have selected in your import settings, see Preferences. iTunes will then create a second copy of that track with a cropped ‘Time’ matching the what you entered in step 4.
  6. Rename the new track with it’s correct title
  7. Now repeat the process from on the original track from Step 2 for the second song, but of course this time altering both the ‘Start Time’ and ‘Stop Time’
  8. Remove start and stop times from the original track
  9. Delete the original track from iTunes but leave the actual file on your PC – (optional)

That’s all there is to it. Now you can listen to the album without any big gaps and rate the hidden track, fantastic!

Oh and also, those functions I selected from the iTunes menu are also available from the contextual menu (this little pop-up menu that appears when you right-click or ⌘-click).

Best before is advice, use by means use by

Best before June 1989
Best before June 1989

My wife was making a carrot cake at the weekend. When she went to use the baking powder, she found it was 3 months out of date and threw it out. We had just come back from the supermarket, but forgot to pick up some more. I offered to ask our retired neighbours for a teaspoon. They very kindly invited me in whilst they had a look whilst telling me it’s been a while since they had done any baking. Out of their flavouring and colours tray came this old looking ‘Butterwicks’ [I think] backing powder. I accepted the packet but thought I’d better check the ‘best before’ stamp – June 1989! That’s 20 years passed it best before date. Twenty years!

We got the other one out of the bin. Cheers though, good cake.

matharden and WordPress sitting in a tree

I’ve given up with MovableType. I’ve always liked it, but it’s just too difficult to do some simple things. The template/widget system is too confusing. I got very frustrated trying to remove file extensions from post URLs – I can’t believe they don’t make this easier to do. The final straw was when I somehow couldn’t allow comments even though the option seemed to be on in the admin.

WordPress 2 has so many great features and is a joy to use. I’ve taken me about 30 mins to sit down and get it all set-up including importing posts from MovableType. It took longer than to update MovableType from version 3 to 4! Let’s see how I get on with WordPress.

Review of the Apple iPhone 3G

I’ve had the iPhone for about 6 months now and I’m extremely happy with it. My previous phone was a Sony Ericsson W880 – that really flat one with the fiddly buttons. It had all the features I [thought] I needed and I was pretty pleased with it. I’d just got myself the Jabra BT500 Bluetooth headset and was getting used to the voice dialling. For me, the main thing was the size of it. This dinky little gem would be totally forgotten about in my sky rocket, and provide a handful of music which was just enough for commuting. I’d also installed the Java app which gave me good access to Gmail.

I’d seen the 1st iPhone in the stores and not really thought much of it. Thought the touch-screen might be a bit of a pain and the applications gimmicky. Little did I know…

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