Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Android must-haves

I've had my Android phone for a couple of months now and it seems to me that it's best treated, in some ways, as you would a Windows PC. By that I mean that, just like Windows, Android comes with apps that are basic and can/should be replaced with something better.

So here is my list of (free) apps that every Android owner should look at.

Browser: Opera Mini/Mobile

The built-in browser is ok but it's slow, not particularly easy to use, and lacks features. From my perspective the biggest flaw is the lack of XSLT support which is a must-have on browsers with limited bandwidth. Opera fixes all this. The Mini edition uses Opera servers to grab and render pages, which are then sent to your phone compressed. It's much faster than the built-in browser, has more features and is easier to drive. The Mobile edition is similar but does it's rendering locally, so it's probably a bit slower (I haven't tried it so I can't say).

Email: K9 Mail

The built-in email client on my phone was a bit clunky to start with but after a few days it started behaving strangely; it lost account details, changed ports at random, and would get stuck trying to download mail. Enough was enough.

K9 is much better. It's easier to set up, has more configurable options... It just works. Enough said.

Calculator: RealCalc

The standard calculator is truly horrible, and that's all I'm going to say about it.

Enter RealCalc. It has all the configuration options most people would ever need, includes many unit conversions (including imperial measures - not surprising because it's British (yay!)) and all kinds of constants. Best of all it does RPN!

In the next post: some useful add-on (as opposed to replacement) apps.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Inception: the best movie I've seen in a long time

If this movie doesn't win Best Picture in this year's Oscars, something is very wrong. Enough said.


Monday, January 31, 2011


I used to write blog posts a bit at a time as I got a few minutes here and there through the day. Then I'd post them before leaving or maybe the next day.

Then quite some time ago now, we were advised not to use the office computers to access sites for personal use, because there were no guarantees that any passwords we used would be kept safe. Well, that threw blogging out the window, because I wasn't about to risk my blogger password. This is why I haven't written for such a long time.

That changed just a few days ago, because we bought Android smartphones, and then I found and installed a blogging app that works with blogger.com. This is what the small test post was for yesterday - to test the app and make sure it works, which it does, so far.

This is perfect, because it means I can blog the way I used to, a little at a time through the day.

But it gets better; I'm not tied to only writing while I'm at my desk. I've entered the age of mobile blogging. I expect to be blogging much more frequently going forward.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eighteen Months

It's hard to believe it's been that long since I posted anything here. I used to post from work, writing a bit at a time as I had a few minutes here and there, but that became impossible and so I got out of the routine. Eighteen months though - wow.

Now at last I can get back into it though, for reasons I'll go into later. I'm keeping this post short as it's something of a test. I'll be adding more shortly.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Get rich quick (or at least, as quick as possible)

The money has been rolling in better than I expected. Since the other day I've now made numerous trips out to Sholazar Basin to mine saronite, and I've made two complete sets of Savage Saronite Battlegear as well as selling stacks of ore directly. The first set sold almost completely (the only piece that didn't sell was the gauntlets, which is a shame because they're about the highest priced); the second set is up for sale as I speak and I'll check later to see if there's been as much interest as there was for the first set. After buying my bird the other day I had a bit over six hundred gold; last night I was up to almost two thousand.

The fast bird makes things very much easier for gathering ore. The full set of armour requires two hundred and four chunks of ore, as I mentioned in the last post; even with others mining around (some of whom are greedy, rude bastards) I can collect that much in something like an hour. Most times I've also been able to collect enough titanium to cover a day or two's manufacture of titansteel bars (Kate currently has a stack of fifteen bars; once this stack is complete I'll start making my own stack again and then probably make two complete sets of titansteel armour, one set each for me and Kate).

I mentioned before that the saronite deposits also often yield crystallized earth and crystallized shadow, both necessary for making the saronite armor (actually they need the 'Eternal' equivalents - ten crystallized X converts to one eternal X). However the armor requires crystallized fire, air and water (and the titansteel bars need fire) - and that doesn't come from saronite deposits (titanium deposits often throw up crystallized fire but those deposits are rare; cobalt deposits give crystallized water reasonably frequently, but I don't really have time to mine cobalt just for the crystallized water; I have no idea what mineral nodes might yield crystallized air).

Kate mentioned that the water elementals in and around the lakes in south-east Wintergrasp often drop crystallized water, and I also found that the fire elementals further east, and the air elementals to the south, are similarly the best sources for crystallized fire and air, so I've been starting out the last couple of days by taking a trip into Wintergrasp to gather these things before moving on to Sholazar, and for the most part it's been fairly quick - the revenants in particular usually drop at least two pieces of crystallized X, so grabbing enough to make a couple of days' supply doesn't take long.

Unfortunately all this mining means that other things have had to fall by the wayside for the time being; I still haven't managed to get to Warsong Gulch and all my outstanding quests are still there waiting to be completed.

What's more, one of the biggest hurdles I have now is that my reputation with various factions is nowhere near high enough for me to buy certain items that I want. For example, the Alliance Vanguard quartermaster in Valiance Keep has blacksmithing plans that I want, but my rep with the vanguard is too low right now.

So at the moment here are my priorities: first, get my cash up to around 6,000. At that point I'll decide whether or not I want to spend a thousand on dual spec to that I can work as a healer or perhaps a tank in the battlegrounds. Second (and I can be doing something about this between mining runs) run quests or do whatever else I need to do to push my rep up with a number of factions - the Alliance Vanguard and the Sha'tar, just for starters. Third, get into more battlegrounds; I need honour points and marks of honour to be able to buy some better gear (if it's better than stuff I can make, that is).

So for example the plan for later today is: go to Wintergrasp if necessary to pick up more crystallized X; move on to Sholazar and mine saronite; then see what I can to to increase my rep with the Sha'tar (probably - maybe I'll try the vanguard first) and if there's any time left after that lot, see about getting into a battleground or two.

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Friday, July 24, 2009


I mentioned before that I'd decided on a target of 6,200 gold before I bought my epic flying mount; this would cover the training (5,000) and the cost of the bird (around 200) and leave me about 1,000 in the bank so that I wouldn't be completely broke.

I dropped my target to 5,500 last night, for the simple reason that while mining around Sholazar Basin I was getting beaten to one saronite deposit after another by two or three other guys mining the area. The final straw was one bastard who jumped on a deposit while I was standing next to it, delayed a couple of seconds because I fat-fingered my keyboard.

I had a little over 5,000 at the time, so I was desperate to get the extra I needed. However a while ago I lent Kate eight hundred gold (I think it was when we bought our first flying mounts) and when she saw my distress (i.e. the fact that I was getting truly pissed off) she paid it back, and it couldn't have been a better time.

I immediately hearthstoned back to Dalaran (Kate was right behind me), got flight training from the trainer at Krasus' Landing (the Dalaran flight platform) then bought a swift blue gryphon for a hundred and eighty gold.

What a difference. I flew the new gryphon back to Sholazar rather than taking a rented bird, and I swear it was faster (I'm going to time a couple of flights to compare - it'd be interesting to know for sure). Once there, I got back to ground-hugging saronite mining, and even though those other guys were still there I managed to collect over two hundred ore chunks in a fairly short time. My target was two hundred and four - enough to make a complete eight-piece set of Savage Saronite Battlegear armour.

Once I had all that ore I went back to Ironforge, made the armour and put it up for auction; if it all sells it should make about four hundred or so - enough to get me back up to about a thousand in the bank, right where I'd planned to be.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What to do, what to do...


I'm at 442, just eight points short of max. I also have a main bank slot full of cooking ingredients, and I need that space. Plan: cook eight more items to max out, then sell everything except succulent clam meat and musselback sculpins. After that, I can live on grilled sculpin and dalaran clam chowder.

Mining and Blacksmithing

Both maxed. Last night I mined about ninety chunks of saronite ore, and about a dozen cobalt ores, smelted them to bars and put them up for auction. I also had something like a dozen quite high value items for sale. I'm not expecting everything to sell but I should at least push over the 5,000 gold mark.


It turns out that I only have one more battleground to fight in to complete the one quest I mentioned yesterday - Warsong Gulch - so the plan is to get in there as soon as possible. Also, I still have to be in Alterac Valley during an Alliance win.


I still have a herd of old quests in Dragonblight and Storm Peaks, which I guess I'll get to eventually.

In General...

At this time I think my best plan is to continue mining and blacksmithing for stuff to sell, interspersed with runs in battlegrounds for honor points and also to break the monotony of mining.

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