Web site problems with Safari on MacBook Pro

December 4th, 2010

Ever since the latest update of Safari I have had numerous problems with multiple web sites. The RicRac stopwatch page has flash film of the stopwatch application on it which works fine on other browsers, but with the latest update causes Safari to close. The navigation buttons do not work correctly with Hotmail and I have just tried to download an application from Download.com which does not work. I am now losing confidence in Apple that their updates are indeed downdates.

Delphi Array vs C# Array

November 25th, 2010

I have a function I wrote in Delphi which I would like to use in a C# application, the problem I have is with the following bit of Delphi code which simply sets a constant array of chars.

QuotedStringChars = [#0..#255] – [‘”‘, #13, ‘\’];

Letters = [‘A’..’Z’, ‘a’..’z’];

I have spent some time trying to find out how this should be done in C#. I ideally do not want to set each element of the array, but if this is the case and then I think Delphi has another advantage over C#.

Advice on how to report software bugs

November 18th, 2010

As a software developer I get reports of issues with the software, sometimes the user can be very helpful and will guide me through the steps to reproduce the error or bug. Recently I have dealt with users who don’t want to know and just say that a ‘System Error’ occured and are unable to report the problem correctly. I have decided to produce a document that gives some advice to software users and how they should report issues they have. Click here to view the document.

Softpedia 100% Clean Award for RicRac

October 25th, 2010

Softpedia AwardSoftpedia has awarded a 100% clean award to RicRac for the following Applications.

  • BarMirror Wine Journal
  • Stopwatch
  • Passwords
  • Backup

This is good news and confirms that the software is free from Trojans, Adware and Viruses.

iPad Point of Sale

October 21st, 2010

Currently the company I work for is developing an iPad application for point of sale. I have noticed various other companies developing such apps but how good is an iPad as a POS solution? I can see quite a few pros and cons. To read my full article click here.

Delphi fix for Windows 7 issue

October 15th, 2010

Recently had a problem with an application written in Delphi running on Windows 7. I noticed the problem when running a query which was returning an invalid timestamp error. The software worked fine on XP it was just on Windows 7. The regional settings for the date and time on the PC’s where correct and I could not understand why the problem was occuring. However the fix I found was to put the following bit of code in the project dpr.


This will require SysUtils to be added into the uses clause.

Changing Delphi SpeedButton Glyph

October 14th, 2010

While developing I wanted to change the glyph on a TSpeedButton to another image. My first attempt was to has 2 different actions in an actionlist, then at run time I would change the action on the button depending on what was required. This did not work, the only solution I have found, which is not very elegant is to put 2 non visible buttons on the form each with a different glyph, then in code when I want to chanage the image I do the following:


This does the trick but it would have been nice if when changing the action of a button it does not just change the caption but also the related image.

Pivotal Tracker Project Management

October 8th, 2010

I recently started using a great web site called Pivotal Tracker which is a free agile project management site that lets you setup projects to manage. I’ve only just started using it with only some knowledge of agile project management and I am finding it very useful. At the moment I have setup various projects including web site projects for RicRac and BarMirror. I believe this tool will also be useful for software development allowing other users to access the project from anywhere in the world.

jQuery Innerfade

September 16th, 2010

I have recently been working with jQuery (search google for jQuery it is the top result), which is a Javascript library that allows you to easily produce cool effects on your web site. I spent sometime playing around with the effects and found a cool plugin that does innerfade. You can see this on the BarMirror home page, what is cool about this is that it fades between images of wine which looks good, but also if you click on the bottle it takes you to the relevant review for that wine. I am continuing to look at what is possible with jQuery and have been happy with the results so far.

Google Instant vs Google Traditional

September 14th, 2010

Google has launched a new type of search site called instant, which brings up search results as the user types. After logging onto my Google account I had a quick play with the new search. My first impression was why, I like Google search because it is simple and quick and easy to use, this at first did not seem to do much apart from displaying results without having to click on ‘Search’ or using the ‘Enter’ key. Google sell this feature as it will save you 2-5 seconds per search, I think you must be a very busy person to think ‘Great this will save me loads of time, which I can do something else with’. At the moment I still like the traditional search and there is an option to use this. I cannot see myself using this new instant search on my PC, however I can see how this development might be more useful on mobile devices.

Hash (#) key on Mac

August 20th, 2010


Last year I started using a MacBook Pro and it soon became apparent after carefully going though each key on the keyboard that the hash/number (#) key was missing. I thought that apple had made a mistake and that no one at apple uses the ‘#’ key so they did not bother to include it. I recently found that the ‘#’ character can be done by holding down the ‘Alt’ key and pressing ‘3’.

There’s no place like

July 30th, 2010

I have recently been working developing an application that accesses a third party web service. The application has been developed in Delphi 5 so there is no WSDL importer, to view the XML communication I use the Microsoft SOAP trace utility. I thought this would work great, I installed the utility on the server which was running Windows 2008 Server and set it up how I thought it should run. When I made requests to the web service it did not trace anything, after various conversions with the supplier of the web service we found that even though the default server for the trace to listen to is ‘Localhost’ Windows 2008 does not recognise this and you must always use ‘’ instead of ‘Localhost’.

Warning: Do not swat flies with an iPad

July 30th, 2010

I have recently heard that Apple has had a lawsuit filed against them after users reported they cannot use the iPad in direct sunlight as it overheats and switches off and that Apple claim the iPad is like reading a regular book. The iPad automatically switches off to protect itself when it gets too hot, I think this is a good feature of the iPad. Although Apple claim the iPad is like reading a book there are obvious differences because it is an electronic device. Users of the iPad should not need to be warned that although Apple claim using the iPad is like reading a book it is not a book or magazine and should not be used in the same way.

New Biometric Passport

July 25th, 2010

I recently needed to renew my passport, I thought this process would take weeks but I went into the post office on the Saturday and received my new passport on the following Thursday. I can remember years ago this process could take four weeks, so they must have improved the system dramatically to reduce the time to days. I did get the post office to check the form for any mistakes which cost a bit extra. Also they always return your old passport which you use to have to request and if I remember rightly cost more money. My new passport is a biometric passport which means it has a microchip built into it to help prevent identity fraud and forgery. This new passport also will give me access to automated immigration at airports which have the facility, I am hoping this means I can use the new iris scanner. Overall the process of renewing my passport is much quicker than expected and hopefully will speed up the passport control process when arriving at my destination.

BusinessLink web site very expensive for tax payers

July 1st, 2010

The UK government has released an interesting document on the cost of it’s web sites for 2009 – 2010 (http://coi.gov.uk/websitemetricsdata/websitemetrics2009-10.pdf), it shows how much each of the sites costs and also the number of hits. One site was the BusinessLink site which cost £35m in non staff costs and £788k in staff costs, this does not include OGD’s (whatever they are) or agencies (which I imagine would increase the cost a lot more). This web site does however get over 1 million hits a month so it does seem to be doing a job, but it does seem very expensive. The government web site for UK trade and investment cost almost £4m and gets 28k hits and month and so far has had 400k hits, this means that it has cost the UK taxpayer £10 per hit. Hopefully now the Labour idiots are out the new government will look at these web sites and decide which ones are cost effective and which ones just need scrapping.

Budget Calculator 2010

June 22nd, 2010

We have just had the budget and I wanted to know where I could find a budget calculator that would tell me whether I was better off or worst off. When searching google for this I found the links were from old budgets and cannot find one for the last budget. This raises an issue with the search engines indexing pages that are no longer relevant, why would I want to enter my details into the budget 2007 calculator which appears high up in the list. I think the search engines need to be able to look at pages and reduce the page rank if they contain details that are no longer relevant. I will continue to search for a site or a free application that can do what I require.

iPhone iOS 4

June 22nd, 2010

I have just installed the new iOS 4 on my iPhone 3GS and not much has changed. The first change I noticed was there is now a background image when browsing your apps, this can be changed in the settings. They have added a nice feature called ‘Folders’ and like the name suggests this allows you to put apps into folders, which is useful if you have loads of apps that you want to group together. The camera now has a 5x digital zoom which is OK, but the Gorillacam app is still better. They have added the ability for Multitasking, this allows apps that have been developed for iOS4 to switch between each other instantly. I think this feature should have only been allowed for iOS4 apps because it does not with current apps and when you select the app that has already been open it does not run from where you left it but restarts the app. Also to close the app down you have to double press the main button to display the multitasking panel and then hold you finger over the app you want to close which causes the wobble and then select the negative icon to close the app. Overall not much has changed which could be a good thing, I like the folders option but dislike the multitasking.

Delphi Internal Error L721

June 17th, 2010

Recently I have been using Delphi 5 on Windows XP and now and again get the error ‘Internal Error L721’ when I try to compile my application. After looking on the net to try to resolve the issue, I thought it might be a lack of memory and there was insufficient memory to compile the application. I tried closing other programs down to release some memory but the problem still occured. I best solution I have found for the compiler error is to either restart Delphi, or do a complete rebuild of the project.

Banner advertising does not work

May 28th, 2010

RicRac Banner

Recently I have tried banner advertising to try to attract more visitors to my site. I opened an account with a company called adlink via my host, this gave me 1000 impressions a month and I could view the stats. I was not expecting much and thought I would get about 10 hits a month. The last time any stats had been recorded was January, this means I have not had 1 hit on the site for 4 months from this banner, thats 4000 impressions and nothing. The most I got in a month was 4, but for some reason no one clicks on banner adverts anymore. Maybe people have just got use to them and have started ignoring them. Anyway I intend to cancel my contract, because banner adverts just do not work.

XCode now requires Snow Leopard

May 19th, 2010

I have a MacBook which is about 6 months old and have had XCode on the Mac for about the same time. I noticed that my iPhone requires development to be produced in a newer version of XCode, so I thought I would update to the latest version of XCode. Looking on Apple’s site they only do XCode now for Snow Leopard OS, this means I need to update my MacBook at a cost of $25. Is this another clever way Apple thought of getting money from their customers? After spending £1500 on a MacBook to find I need to spend more money 6 months later to update the OS it a bit annoying.