Microsoft Spam !

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You wouldn't expect MS to send spam? No, neither would I - surely no major tech company is that dumb?

Well, they seem to have lost the plot on their Surface and OneNote emails.

Register your new Surface and you get a series of "helpful" emails telling you how to use it. Hmm, I don't need this crap, if I want to know something I'll Google it (yeah, not Bing!) - where's the unsubscribe button?

OMG - no unsubscribe!

Must be something in my MS account - but no, it's all set to the correct "don't send me crap" settings. The not-well-known Profile Center also looks clean.


And then, I get an email from OneNote.

"Notebooks are social. So pass it on." "Forward this email to family and friends so they can join the party!"

Ah, no. My notebook is absolutely not f*****g social, it's my notebook, if I wanted it to be social I would have said so but the default setting should be as private as possible.

Microsoft, get a grip - I'm pretty sure most people who buy a Surface are not aiming to turn it into a social hub, and are quite happy to read the documentation in their own good time without being spammed.

MS Surface Pro 4

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I've been using an old iPad for many years and generally find it OK for web browsing, watching videos and so on, but even with an external keyboard attached it sucks for "PC like" tasks. Maybe I'm just an MS slave, but the Office apps are hard to beat, and the limits on file access and sharing on the iPad make it really hard to do anything significant.

I considered upgrading my very old laptop, but then I'd also want to upgrade my iPad - so simple solution seemed to be get a Surface: laptop and tablet in one.

The model I got is a Pro 4, Core i7, 8MB memory 256GB disk - and it's brilliant.

Type cover is as good as most laptop keyboards I've used, and has all the keys in the right layout unlike all the bluetooth iPad keyboards I've seen.

Speed is what you would expect of a Core i7 and an SSD - basically very quick, no lag on doing anything that I can see. Of course I'll try to keep it light on servers and background crap that run on my main PC.

Pen is OK, but I don't really use it much - the writing recognition is amazing (even with my dreadful scrawl), but I can simply type faster than I can write, and the keyboard + built-in full width stand is really comfortable on my knee because the whole thing is so light.

And the screen - wow, the text looks like it's been laser printed. In fact it's so clear it looks kind of "big" - I keep checking the font size against other screens and it's comparable, but the clarity makes it stand out, even in paler colours that some people seem fond of using in emails.

So my conclusion is that it's the best laptop I've owned by some margin (unbeatably light, easily powerful enough), and almost as good as an iPad as a tablet.

OpenVPN on Raspberry Pi

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Kudos to Jonah for writing a Raspberry Pi OpenVPN server guide that works !

Combined with the OpenVPN app on my iPhone, I can finally remotely access my network over VPN and Pi.

Big Stumble by StumbleUpon

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One year ago:

"Our badge/widget isn't compatible with https sites; there are no plans at this time to change it."

Wow, how to ignore an ever growing set of your content base, specifically those most up-to-date and therefore probably interesting, in one sweeping statement.

Must be trying to compete with Reddit for the foot shooting prize.

Cute File Browser

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I found this very neat jQuery based file browser:

This uses a simply PHP script to form JSON output defining the filesystem, however in my case I want to serve files on a Windows PC using just static content. This is relatively easy to code - we just need to create the file listing in advance, e.g. into something called files.json, and modify the javascript to retrieve this instead of scan.php.

My batch script to do that is listed here - it simply scans recursively from the current directory creating the necessary JSON on the output; you can pipe it to the appropriate location for the files.json output.

@echo off
setlocal enableextensions disabledelayedexpansion

set p=%1
set n=%2
set comma=
set oldcomma=X

call:funcdo "%1" "%2"


set "p=%~1"
set "n=%~2"

echo {"name":"%n%","type":"folder","path":"%p%","items":[

set oldcomma=%oldcomma%%comma%
set comma=N

for /d %%d in (*) do (
    cd "%%d"
    call:funcdo "%p%/%%d" "%%d"
    echo ,
    cd ..

for /f "tokens=*" %%f in ('dir /b *.divx *.mpg *.mpeg *.avi *.mkv *.mp4 *.wmv 2^>nul ^| sort') do (
    echo {"name":"%%f","type":"file","path":"%p%/%%f","size":"%%~zf"},

echo {}]}

set comma=%oldcomma:~-1%
set oldcomma=%oldcomma:~0,-1%

It's not very polished and could no doubt be improved, but it works.

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