Sep 22 2010

[Insert Geek Joke Here]

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:17 pm

OK, it is time I start clearing out some of the bookmarks I have spread across three different browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer), and three different operating systems (Windows 7, XP and Vista, if you choose to honour that with the title of an OS!). Over the last 19 months, since Anna was born, I have not had as much time to blog about the things I used to. However, I have tried to Ctrl+D whenever I read something of interest, in the hope that one day I’d be able to write about them.
These posts will be in no particular order, and I’ve discovered that quite a few of the articles/sites have either been removed or become totally irrelevant. I also need to go through a few hundred favourited tweets that, again, I’ve wanted to write about, but not found the time.
First up we have a Castle/Tower Defence type of game based on the TV series IT Crowd. You may well need to be a fan of the series, and remember computer systems from the 80s and 90s to get some of the humour in the game, but if you run out of things to do in your next lunchtime, give this a shot! I’ve recently got back into this genre of games, with Azgard Defence getting the most time on my main PC (Plants and Zombies gets a bit repetitive once you have completed it a few times), and Tower Wars: Time Guardian on my phone. I wish someone would answer my previous post – I’m still stuck on the American War Of Independence Level 🙁 .

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Sep 15 2010

Alexa Toolbar Comes To Chrome

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 11:10 pm

The title for this post probably doesn’t require a great deal of clarification, but just in case…

Chrome – This is an internet browser made by Google. Like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera or even Safari. (There are others of course, but as people using them make up less than 2.5% of this site’s visitors, I’m happy to gloss over them for now).

Alexa Toolbar – This is some code that will tell you how popular a website is when you visit it. The lower the number, the better, so if your site had an Alexa ranking of 1, you would (theoretically) own the most visited site in the world. Until recently, only Internet Explorer and Firefox users had access to the official Alexa toolbar, and I believe it was only this one that actually registered visits to the sites you frequent, within Alexa’s system. (Other toolbars/extensions exist that will tell you the rank, but they do not tell Alexa to +1 to the number of visitors for a website on any given day.)

Comes to – It now exists 🙂 See their blog post here, or if it is down again and you don’t fancy checking Google’s cache of the page, head on over to here directly for the download link.

I should point out that some people (and anti-malware programs) will report this toolbar as something that needs to be removed. It does, after all, meet most definitions of spyware – a company records details of every site you visit. However, if you decide to locate the download, and then initiate the installation procedure yourself, I’m assuming you know what it does and are happy with this system.

Finally, many people make the argument that Alexa’s stats are not reliable (they only count people with the toolbar installed) and are easily gamed. So don’t go losing sleep if your site slips down in the rankings, or assume you’ll be able to sel your site for a 5 figure sum, just because you make it into the top 1000.

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Jun 03 2010

Step By Step New Hotmail Account Guide

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 12:41 am

If you are Roger (Dad’s next door neighbour), this post if for YOU! If you aren’t him, and are just reading this blog post because it is on the front page, feel free to keep reading if you need a step by step guide to starting a new Hotmail account. If I was in Evesham right now, I’d probably try and convince Roger that a GMail address might be a better idea, but that would take too long using Dad as a message relayer 🙂

Anyway, onto the guide.

1) Turn on the PC. Start your preferred internet browser (likely to be Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome)

Start Your Internet Browser

Start Your Internet Browser

2) Enter in the address bar, and press Return or Enter on the keyboard

Enter The Address

Enter The Address

Press Return Or Enter (Thanks Wikimedia)

Press Return Or Enter

3) Click the Sign Up button located in the lower left of the screen
(Hoping a screen shot isn’t necessary here 🙂 )

4) Decide whether you want a or a address. It makes NO differences, other than personal preference. If hotmail is your choice, proceed to step 5. If you want, click the first drop down box and click on

5) Pick an address you want to use. It makes sense to choose something that is difficult to mis-spell, easy to remember, and finally, something someone else will not have already registered. Bad choice examples: , , . All of those are either easy for other people to spell incorrectly, or will most likely have been registered already.

6) Enter your chosen e-mail address in the first text entry box. Click the check availability button. Swear loudly as you discover someone else already has the exact address you want. If it isn’t free, Microsoft will ask for your name and some relevant interests and suggest available e-mail addresses you might like. Either follow their steps, or click on the little X in the Windows Live ID advanced search box and type in a new e-mail address. Again click the check availability button. Repeat these step until you are informed that your chosen address is available. (If possible, try not to select an alternative address they offer that has a number on the end. Again, easy for other people to mis-type/remember it).

7) Select a password that you want to use to sign into this e-mail account. If possible, choose something you do NOT use anywhere else online. It needs to be six characters long, and if you use a mixture of lower and UPPER case letters, numbers and special characters (£${ etc. etc.) it will be harder for other people to guess your password and hack in. It will also make it more difficult for you to remember, so try and find a balance 🙂 Type this same password into the retype password box.

8) If you have now selected an e-mail address and password that Microsoft isn’t complaining about WRITE THEM DOWN NOW. TWICE. Keep each piece of paper in a different room, so if you ever forget your address or password, and can’t find the 1st piece of paper with the details recorded on, you have a second chance.

9) If you already have a different e-mail address that you can still access, enter it in the Alternate e-mail address box. This is the address that Microsoft will use if you ever ask to reset your password if you’ve forgotten it (and lost both pieces of paper). If you don’t already have an e-mail account, click the “Or choose a security question for password reset” link. If you clicked the link, select a question you won’t ever forget the answer to, and enter that answer in the Secret Answer box.

10) Fill in the rest of the boxes down to Birth Year with your relevant information.

Fill In Other Boxes. ZIP=Post Code

Fill In Other Boxes. ZIP=Post Code

11) In the text box below Birth Year, you need to type the eight characters shown in the image just above it. This is Microsoft’s attempt to make sure you are a real human asking for an e-mail address. They apparently had problems with hamsters and motorbikes pretending to be humanoid and asking for addresses. Or it could have been people using automatic systems for spamming. I can never remember which.

Capcha Code

Capcha Code

12) Untick the “Send me e-mail with promotional … ….” box. Double check all the boxes on the page are correctly filled in.

13) Click I accept. If all information has been entered correctly, you will now be logged into your e-mail account. The first time you send an e-mail, you may be asked to enter another eight letters from a strange looking image. Again, another anti-spam step.

14) In the future, visit, and if you see your e-mail account on the right hand side, click sign in. Then enter your password, and click sign in. If you are on a different computer or internet browser, you will also need to enter your e-mail address.

15) Ideally, repeat steps 1-13 and create a second e-mail address that you will use when signing up for other accounts online. Why? Your first e-mail address is for friends, family and people who you trust to send you real e-mails. The second account you create can be given to anyone/any company online. This way, if these companies spam you, it won’t interfere with your personal e-mail account, and if the spam ever gets too bad, you can just create a new second account, and not have to tell all your friends to use a new e-mail address.

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Apr 23 2010

Amsterdam Page

Category: AmsterdamChrisM @ 5:27 pm

OK, one more quick post, I have finally got around to starting an Amsterdam specific page. Check the list of pages at the top of this site, or click directly through here.
Firefox and probably other non-IE browsers still show the 2nd widget column below the main content, and there isn’t yet a lot of new information on there, other than links to some GPS POI files I’ve created.

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Apr 06 2010

Mid Atlantic S and Z

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:53 am

I finally remembered to change the dictionary Firefox uses to check my spelling. I am not sure at which point Mozilla decided I wanted the US-English version installed, but I am hoping I will start to look like I know when to use an S or a Z in certain words. Harmonise and harmonize. Arrrgh, no, neither of them has some red underlining. However less debatable words and spellings are highlighted nicely. If I type in faucets, Firefox refuses to offer any alternatives at all, meaning I have to remember to use the word tap all on my own! Sidewalk triggers the same spell check alert, so I’m guessing that S and Z have become more interchangeable than I realised?


Jan 20 2010

Color Helps Mistakes With Colour Spelling Obvious

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:11 am

I have only just noticed that since installing Windows 7, and therefore a fresh install of Firefox, I have have inadvertently been using the English (US) dictionary, rather than the UK one. For any posts missing a U from neighbour, an S or a Z from theorize/theorise (OK, I admit I still never remember whether S or Z is more prevalent on which side of the Atlantic in certain words), please accept my belated apologies.

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Oct 28 2009

Wow. Pretty. Wonder What That Does?

Category: WordPressChrisM @ 11:27 pm

Due to an ongoing problem with an auto-tagger plugin I use (it only seems to work if I use the visual (WYSIWYG) mode for creating/editing posts), I thought I’d try switching to aforementioned mode for a while, when creating posts.

Having done so, I’ve just noticed there are a few more buttons available in TinyMCE’s editor than before.

Hmm, no Russian option in the WP spell checker list, but then I use Firefox anyway so no issue with spell checking anyway. Combine that with the fact that my written Russian skills are obviously outstanding, and no problem, obviously 😉

Oh, insert custom code looks like it save me from pressing the Windows Flag+R and then typing charmap a few times, and the embedded media button looks interesting. I’ll have to try having a play with it later. If the blog suddenly appears borked, you’ll know why…

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Oct 23 2009

Subsequently, Razors Were Involved

Category: Kazakhstan,PersonalChrisM @ 1:30 am

This is the intro to the weekly vlog series from Jason/Lucky, down in Almaty. Also a short interview with one of the entrants to this year’s Mongol Rally. The same rally that the famous ‘Tupac In Kazakhstan’ video came from. Hmm, I thought I had posted that video already. Can’t seem to find it in my archives anywhere. More than likely it is hiding in one of the draft posts for this blog, or a series of bookmarked tabs in Firefox. I’ve got Kazakh related news articles from early 2008 in my Bookmarks menu. Not a lot of point in posting about most of those, I guess.
So, why haven’t I embedded Lucky’s video in this post? Because I want you to explore his YouTube channel for yourself. Once you’re knocked over by his style and content, leave a comment on a video or two, and consider subscribing 🙂

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Oct 17 2009


Category: Kazakh Driving,KazakhstanChrisM @ 11:34 pm

OK, so this one is out of order compared to the other Lucky21842 videos I’ve been catching up on, but I wanted to embed it now in case I forgot and closed the tabs down in Firefox on Monday when we return home. So, if you haven’t already seen them, there are a lot of YouTube videos that feature elite vehicles and excessive car accessories, parading up and down (and occasionally crashing) Almaty (& a couple of Astana) streets. The video below is a sort of antidote to such clips.

If you click the video, you’ll be taken to the proper page for it, where you can check out his other videos and see the comments left by other YouTube videos. I can understand where 777kuku777 (and indeed Jason/Lucky himself) is coming from when 777kuku777 says

Wahaha, you are so right about the Almaty cars, personally I don’t see the point of those videos. If it’s your car, then do whatever you want with it, make a video for you tube and what-not, otherwise, waste of time. P.S. Dude you being a gangsta is priceless though! Oh and next time for your version of almaty cars use some local songs would be even? funnier:)

However, if I was aware of the sort of media attention that Kazakhstan attracted in some of the tabloids abroad, and I felt proud of Almaty/Astana/Kazakhstan as well, I would want to make sure that people understood that cars were not pulled by donkeys, and that in all likelihood, there were more über-expensive dream machines parading around Almaty (at least) than in the European/American city of your average YouTube viewer…

Yes, I could have just left this as a comment on the video, BUT… 1) I’m currently signed into GMail. Which is tied into my old banned YouTube account. I’d have had to sign out, delete all Google related cookies, sign into YouTube, leave a comment, then re-sign into Gmail (I haven’t yet set up a separate FireFox profile on Ira’s Mum’s PC). Unless you have a banned YouTube account, you have no excuse – go check all the videos out, leave comments, and if you like Lucky’s output as much as me (you there, stop sniggering at the back), consider subscribing …. oh and 2) I ramble too much. Youtube comments are restricted to around 1000/1500 characters? I normally exceed that length. It is a miracle of modern science/txt speak & deliberate lazy spelling that I ever manage to convey anything in a single tweet!

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Oct 02 2009

Content Is Missing?

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:58 am

I know, I know, a whole page of the blog with nothing but my Xbox 360 moaning it hasn’t been played in over a week (not true, it just isn’t connected to the internet here), and a few random tweets. The reason for the lack of ‘normal’ (lmao) posts? We have been house/pet sitting whilst the in-laws are on holiday in Turkey, and as the PC is in the same room as where Irina, Anna and I sleep, I haven’t wanted to wake anyone up. (Friends/long term readers will remember that most stuff gets written, if not actually published, in the small wee hours). Combine that with rebuilding a friend’s PC (they finally bought a legal copy of Russian Windows XP (a real rarity over here in Kazakhstan), during which I decided flash drives were an unsuitable method of backing up his 64Gb worth of My Documents!
So, we’re returning home to our own flat soon (unless you’re a well read burglar, in which case I’m writing this sat in our own flat, polishing the shot gun and setting the trip-wires and bear traps), and I hope I’ll be posting more regularly again soon. Apart from anything else, I have a large collection of links sat in Firefox’s tabs, an even larger one lurking in my bookmarks in Firefox, and a few Anna photos to publish as well.

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