Monthly Archives: May 2007

XHTML links and comment RSS feeds

I’ve just fixed a small bug in the comments pages, which may result in old comments reappearing in RSS readers.

Basically XHTML (which is), doesn’t allow for the name attribute of links (used to jump to part of a long document) to start with a number. The previous numeric name attributes have now had the letter c added to their names, which makes everything valid, but may cause RSS readers to treat the updated feeds as if they contain new comments. Apologies to anyone who gets caught out by that. It’s a one off change, in order to make the pages fully validate.

This change also applies to the motorcycle and mobile phone sites.

T-Mobile web’n’walk (UK)

About a month ago I switched my mobile contract away from O2 to T-Mobile, lured by their web’n’walk data packages, and so far I’m absolutely delighted by the service.

Unitl recently, mobile data in the UK has involved slow speeds (GPRS mostly), high charges, and walled gardens.

Rather, than tying myself into a contract with a branded phone, I went for £7.50 a month sim only deal, with 50 minutes of calls a month, and a one month minimum term (note that I’m not a heavy voice or SMS user). OK, I have to provide my own handset, but the service is cheap, and I don’t have to put up with any carrier branding.

Next I added web’n’walk plus for £12.50 a month. That gives me 3Gb of data (including 3.5G HSDPA), with the only restriction being a ban on VOIP applications.

The experience has been a revelation. I can now get connected almost anywhere I want, without concerns about the cost, and often at very high speed. No problem with connecting via a laptop or my N800.

At long last, the promise of useful 3G connectivity seems to have arrived in the UK.

Apple should release a $449 (£299) Mac mini

As a Mac mini owner, I’ve been left rather cold by all the hype surrounding the Apple TV.

The Apple TV is just a crippled Mac mini, without a full OS X license.

Some of the most useful apps on my Mac mini aren’t available unless you install OS X, and that usually means paying for a new OS X license.

VLC, Safari, Firefox, full iTunes, MacTF, Google Earth, YouTube. All these apps run beautifully on my Core Solo Mac mini, and are far more powerful than Front Row.

There’s also an awful lot to be said for having USB and Firewire ports, so that it’s easy to connect to external devices.

Rather than having people hack their Mac minis, Apple should reintroduce the Core Solo Mac mini, with 40Gb of disk space, and sell it for $449 (£299), exactly halfway between the price of a Core Duo Mac mini and an Apple TV. It’s not as if the hardware inside the Apple TV is going to be significantly cheaper to manufacture, so $449 should be a completely achievable price point.

Until Apple do this, I’d recommend a used Mac mini over a hacked Apple TV.

As a related aside, I’ve discovered that a trackball works much better than a mouse when you’re sitting on a sofa. No more leaning forward to move a mouse round my coffee table. However, the fact that I care about this is pretty damning…

Updated layout and ads for

Nothing major, but I’ve altered the left column width to allow for slightly wider ads there, while removing the header and footer ads from most pages. This should make for a cleaner site.

As long as the ad revenue doesn’t crash, I’ll make the same changes to the mobile phone and motorcycle sites in a few days time.