Many Pies

Many Pies

Friday, January 04, 2013

How an IT Director chooses a phone

I've got a new phone, but I thought you might be interested in how a chose my old phone:
  Old phone
Let's start with battery life - 10 days on standby, not bad at all.

User interface - apart from one quirk (the "go away" button for a reminder and the alarm isn't the same) it's pretty much perfect. The thing you most want to do is on the top left hand button. So once I've composed a text I can send it to my wife with just 5 clicks on that button (so long as she's first in my address book).

Security - it has no internet access, so it you can't get at my email or into our corporate network. It can't get viruses. As an IT director this is important, so that's a great strength. One flaw - memory isn't encrypted.

Price - This has to be the one thing that clinched it for me - my mum swapped it for my old phone so it didn't cost me anything.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Raspberry Pi - doing something useful

My second most popular post of 2012 was Raspberry Pi in real life and a tiny wireless access point. (The first was the ever popular Firebug equivalent for IE written back in 2007.) My analytics shows that people are searching for Raspberry Pi and access points.

Anyway, I thought I ought to write another Raspberry Pi post. When I got mine I had problems with booting from the SD card. For some reason it would only boot if you put in on an antistatic bag and then used your fingers to short the bag to some of the pins. I got a different card which has worked fine.

Over Christmas I had time to do some more stuff with it. I got the latest Raspbian image which thankfully includes wireless support from an icon on the desktop, rather than fiddling around with firmware and typing arcane commands. I added VNC support, enabled SSH and I was cooking on gas, as they say.

I wrote a script which would detect when the SD card from my camera was plugged in and copy photos from it to the PC where I archive them. When I discussed with someone my plans to do this they pointed out that I would probably spend more time developing it than I would save in doing it the old way (running a script on the PC). However, that's not the point! The interesting thing is finding out how to do it.

Although I've been using Unix for 24 years I don't use it regularly, so it took a bit of digging to find out that mount -t smb is now mount -t cifs. The script is now working, so I need to schedule it with cron and we're away.