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Mnemonics and Acronyms

August 31st, 2010

Like a lot of other I.T. professionals I’m dyslexic and as a result I find it difficult to remember spellings and lists or groups of ordered items. What good is trying to remember SOHCAHTOA if you can’t remember how to spell it! So I would like to use this article to document all the Mnemonic Acronyms.

I’m describing a rhyme or saying where the first letter of each word in the rhyme or saying is a memory trigger to help you remember another word. English is big and I’m sure there is a particular word which describes what these are but I don’t know what it is, does any one know?

So here is my current list. Please add more to the comments and I’ll incorporate them into the article.


Order of colours in our visual spectrum:
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.


How to work out the Sin, Cos or Tan of an angle:
Some Old Houses Creak And Howl Through Old Age.
Sin=Opposite/Hypotenuse Cos=Adjacent/Hypotenuse Tan=Opposite/Adjacent.


7 Layers of the OSI Model (top-down):
A Pervert Shagged Twenty Nine Dead Pigs.
Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Datalink, Physical.

7 Layers of the OSI Model (bottom-up):
Phil, Demands, New Trainers Starting Promto, Alright?
Physical, Datalink, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, Application.


Colour order of electrical resistance:
Black Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Virgins Go Without.
Big Boys Race Our Young Girls But Violet Generally Wins.
Black = 0, Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, Grey, White.


Cranial nerves, type and foramina

mnemonics: My New Experience On Memorising Odd Names Is Carefully Selected.

General Life

The 7 P’s:
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Which internet connection is my Nokia N900 using?

August 18th, 2010

Sitting here on the Reading RailAir coach travelling to Heathrow and I look up to see there are WiFi stickers on the windows. Top bananas, me thinks, so I got about setting up the connection.

The connection manager says it will scan every 10 minutes for a new wireless connection, so I wanted to check that I’ve left the Vodafone 3G network and was now on the bus’ local WiFi network.

The bit which tells you which network you are on is not in the connection settings, it’s in the status and profile section.

  1. Get yourself to the desktop where the time and remaining power icons are located.
  2. Click the power and network strength icon.
  3. This will pop up a really useful window which lets you change aspects of your phone like Profile.
  4. The bottom left button is called Internet Connection and it has written under that which network you are on.
  5. Incidentally, you can change your network from here too.


Switch off "Advanced Text Services" (ctfmon.exe)

August 10th, 2010

My biggest bugbear is the fact that the Windows Exploder, erm I mean Windows Explorer will hang for what appears to be no reason. The integrated nature of Windows Explorer means that if one hangs then it blocks other Windows Explorers from loading. Pressing the windows key and E to load a new instance of Explorer works but you don’t actually get an Explorer window. They all get loaded in but they can’t open their gui until the current blockage has timed out.

I mean who decided that 30 seconds was a good time out value for a home computer that sits on a local network. No one connects to windows shares over the internet, SMB is just too chatty for that. Even back in the modem days when Windows XP came along no one used to do it.

So as well as 30-second-timeout-man I’d also like to thank block-everything-while-we’re-waiting man.

This blog will join a list of other blogs which I have written to help with Switching off Windows XP “features”.

Right, on with the post. This is another Windows-Explorer-hangs-for-no-reason problem. This one is caused by the Advanced Text Services which is a service that comes with Microsoft Office and provides an alternative user text input processor (TIP) and is responsible for the Microsoft Office language bar. Ctfmon.exe monitors the active windows and provides text input service support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, keyboard, translation, and other alternative user input technologies. So the majority of people using Microsoft Office will never need to use it.

So here are some simple instructions to switch off “Advanced Text Services” (ctfmon.exe) which causes Windows Explorer to hang (particularly when used with IE7) [Serves you right for not using Firefox!]

  1. Open the Control Panel (in “classic view").
  2. Open Regional and Language Options.
  3. Click the Languages tab.
  4. Click the Details button.
  5. Click the Advanced tab.
  6. Make sure that Turn off advanced text services is checked
  7. Click ok, until all the windows are closed.

AnalogDuck has quite a comprehensive list of ways that Windows Explorer will try to scupper you. For a list with solutions checkout his Explorer Hangs page.

Nokia N900 Microb browser control codes

August 2nd, 2010

Nokia’s N900 comes with a web browser called Microb which is based on the Mozilla code base but was written by Nokia for Maemo to run on smart phones. There weren’t any instructions that came with it so I thought I’d create some here. While the browser is active there are several operations that may be initiated by pressing a combination of the control key and a letter.

I started looking because I really missed control+u that my desktop Firefox supports in order to display the source code of a web page. Control+u didn’t work so I went off looking for its equivalent.

The control+? key press will only register when the address bar is not being displayed. If the address bar is visible the control+? key press will have no effect.

  • a - select all text on the page.
  • b - opens your bookmarks.
  • c - does nothing; doesn’t even open the address bar.
  • d - add current page to your bookmarks or as a shortcut on the desktop.
  • f - find text on page.
  • n - opens a new browser window.
  • r - reload the page.
  • s - save page locally.
  • o - open local file.
  • x - does nothing; doesn’t even open the address bar.
  • z - does nothing; doesn’t even open the address bar.

c,x and z don’t appear to do anything, but they might be doing something in the background that’s not immediately obvious. All other combinations pop up the address bar.

… and I never found the show source shortcut. Does anyone out there who knows how to view the source in MicroB?

Loading VirtualBox snapshots

July 12th, 2010

VirtualBox allows you to take snapshots and restore them. It works some of the time and to be fair this has got a lot better in recent versions. The process for restoring a snapshot is unusually awkward to the point that I’m blogging it so it must be difficult to remember - either that or all those years of excessive fun at university are finally coming back to steal my sanity.

  1. Load VirtualBox application.
  2. Look at the Snapshots(n) tab on the right hand side.
  3. Highlight the snap shot you want.
  4. Click the “Restore Snapshot” icon and click “Restore” to confirm.
  5. A progress bar of “Restoring execution state” will appear then disappear.
  6. The writing on the left hand side under the machine operating system icon will switch to “Saved". On the right hand side the snapshot name will go bold and the “Current State” will move to just under the snapshot you had previously highlighted.
  7. Strangely the snapshot doesn’t appear, now you have to click “Start".
  8. A progress bar of “Restoring virtual machine…” will appear then disappear.

If you are lucky this will work and you will see the snapshot reformed in the state you left it. If you are unlucky there will be a brief flash of what should have been and the virtual machine will reset.

When you have finished don’t bother shutting the machine down just click the “X” to close the Virtual machine and select “Power off machine".