Showing posts from March, 2014

Email list unsubscribe link page handlers

I'm sure everyone at some point has created an account for some online shopping site or blog site, only to be auto-subscribed to their regular email newsletters. Most of these email newsletters have an "Unsubscribe" link somewhere in the fine-print footer, which should allow an easy way to opt-out.

However, what happens when you click the "Unsubscribe" link is non-standard, and ranges from some website opening up that:

Confirms you have been unsubscribed (and optionally also sends you a final email saying you've been unsubscribed).Asks you to click a "Confirm" button before processing the unsubscription request.Asks you to enter your email address and select from a range of unsubscribe options.Asks you to login with your username and password, which takes you to your account subscription settings page, where you can click more stuff to unsubscribe. In my opinion, option 1 should be the preferred implementation - if I'm in my email client and I …

Google Analytics custom event tracking

Google Analytics can be very useful for tracking visitors to your website or other web-enabled applications. The reporting interface enables you to drill-down on your visitors across many dimensions to get a clear picture of the demographics and to analyse visitor patterns (top pages, top referrers, time on page, etc.).

Analytics also enables you to track your own custom events. So, for example, you can attach a javascript listener to log every time a user hovers the mouse cursor over a DOM element, or every time a button is clicked, or any other data that you can think of. You may then use the reporting interface to drill-down into these events to get even deeper insight into your application.

Using custom event tracking is pretty simple to implement.

First, load your analytics profile as usual:
(function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = '…

VW Golf start/stop button placement annoyance

The MK7 VW Golf series are equipped with VW's Bluemotion stop/start system, meaning that when your car comes to a stop while driving, the engine will shut-off to conserve fuel.

This feature seems good in theory, but it can be pretty annoying in heavy traffic where you move two meters at a time every 20 seconds. Having the engine shut off and restart that frequently makes for an unpleasant ride, and I'm not convinced it's good for the car long-term either.

Thankfully VW has included a switch that allows the driver to disable the stop/start feature. Unfortunately though, the button for this is placed exactly behind the gear-shift lever, making it impossible to see from the driver's normal line of sight.

So, to push this button to disable the stop/start feature, something I do at least a few times per trip, I have to lean over towards the gear stick and take my eyes off the road for a good two or three seconds.

This is far from ideal, especially as I would reach for this …

WMC Video Error crash on some channels (GEM, 7)

I recently setup a new Windows 7 HTPC with Windows Media Center (WMC) for live TV watching. The HTPC (an Intel NUC core i3 Haswell) is connected via HDMI to a 2013 model Yamaha 5.1 receiver. The TV tuner is a Winfast USB Dongle Gold, which has served me well for many years.

The problem with this new setup was that while some channels worked fine, others would have no sound, and would eventually cause WMC to crash with a "Video Error". This would require restarting WMC to get sound back on any of the other channels too.

At first I thought it was video codec issues, since different channels may use different encoders for SD and HD. I tried installing the Shark7 codec pack, but that didn't fix it.

Turns out the issue is actually audio related, and a workaround is fairly easy:

Go to Playback Sound devices and click on the output device.Click Properties and go to the Advanced tab.Untick the two checkboxes for "Exclusive Mode" and click ok.Go to WMC and perform the Sp…