Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Creating a custom icon for web site

While there are thousands of great icon sets out there, such as Font Awesome, sometimes you just can't find an icon that you need. In my case, I needed an icon containing the client's logo.

After a fair amount of research, I came up with a process that seems to work fine. I'm documenting it here for my own reference really, but if you find it helpful then let me know.

First up I installed Inkscape which is a free vector editing package for Windows & Mac.

Then I went to and click on a random icon - selecting to preview it at 96x96 pixels. I clicked the "Generate SVG/PNG" from the footer menu to download it to my PC.

I opened this .svg file in Inkscape. The purpose of this exercise was just to get a correctly sized template. I then deleted the random icon and used its canvas space to create my own icon.

When I was finished I clicked on Path > Object to Path from the Inkscape menu before then saving it as a .svg file.

I then dragged this .svg file from my PC on to the web site and, assuming it looks right, I clicked the download webfont button which gives you all the files and sample code for using your custom-made icon on a web page.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

SwiftPoint mouse movements inverted on Windows

A few years ago I picked up a SwiftPoint 300 mouse which is a great little mouse that you can use as an alternative to your trackpad. Today I found it again in a draw and decided to try it out again. The only issue is that all my movements were inverted, i.e. moving the mouse up and down made it go left and right instead! The solution is actually to use the mouse's built-in calibration feature, as described on their official site:

1. Hold the mouse at a comfortable angle.2. Press and hold down both mouse buttons.3. After 2 seconds the mouse pointer will position itself at the bottom of the screen and move upwards.4. Release the buttons and move the mouse pointer in a straight line upward until the pointer moves in a small circle. The new up direction will now be set.

At point 3, as it moves up, continue to slide your mouse up in the same direction - this wasn't made clear in the instructions. It now works fine again. I've made the note here in case the official site goes offline.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Windows Live Mail stuck in offline mode / won't go online

From time to time my Windows Live Mail will get itself confused and prompts me with:

"You are currently working offline. Would you like to go online now?"

No matter how many times I manically and repeatedly click "Yes" the prompt just keeps reloading. Disconnecting from the internet and restarting the PC has no effect.

Thankfully there is a solution, and it's found within Internet Explorer (no really!). It seems that Windows Live Mail takes its on/offline status from IE. So, to resolve this issue you need to:

1. Open Internet Explorer and press ALT-F to open the File menu.
2. Towards the bottom of the menu, there is Work Offline which you need to untick.

Do this and the go back to Windows Live Mail. This time, when you get the "shall I go online prompt" - click Yes and it works. Hopefully this is useful for you (if so, leave a comment!). I found this solution courtesy of the Windows Live forums

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Using Windows: iOS provisioning files, private key and push certificate

While working on a project that involved a white-label (BYO) version of the Tapatalk app, I discovered the issue of trying to get the various iOS files you need in order to launch an app. The problem is that all the instructions from Apple are, unsurprisingly, based on the assumption you are using a Mac.

Thankfully others have been here before me and have kindly posted their solutions online.

Firstly, there is this YouTube video that takes you through the basics. Just take note of the comments, and in particular if you get an error message when trying to run the commands shown in the video then do use these tips.

1. Run CMD as administrator (right click on it)

2. Type in:
set OPENSSL_CONF=C:\OpenSSL-Win32\­bin\openssl.cfg (you may need to edit the path)
Then press Enter on keyboard, then type in:
set RANDFILE=.rnd
And press Enter again. Then try the video instructions again and it should work.

To create the .p12 file, first download your iOS Distribution certificate file from the Apple Developer area, then you need to watch this video and use the file you just downloaded where it says developer_identity.cer - in my case the downloaded file was actually called ios_distribution.cer

To get the Push Certificate file (.pem) I had to source some different instructions. This time I found them courtesy of this page at BrightCove, under the section heading "Setting Up Push Notifications" - which is about 2/3 of the way down. Even those these instructions are for something else, they worked for me to generate a .pem certificate for the Tapatalk app, so I'm guessing they are fairly generic.

This should help those running Windows and looking to develop iOS applications without having to get a Mac.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

[Solved] "No service currently available" on Blackberry

A couple of days ago I mislaid my Blackberry. Unfortunately I'd also left it with call divert enabled which meant I couldn't ring it and run around the house / car / garden listening out for the ringtone. So, having turned the aforementioned places upside down, I came to the conclusion I must have completely lost it. I called Orange and reported it lost, which led them to block the SIM card and blacklist the IMEI number. Long story short, I found the phone a few hours later and called Orange to lift the blocks.

Fast forward a few days later and I tried to make a call, but got "No service currently available". Strange, as I had full reception, so I put it down to a temporary network error and used another phone. Next day, the same thing - regardless of what number I tried to call, I got the same error. What's really strange is that I could happily browse the web via the phone, I just couldn't make calls or send/receive SMS messages.

The SIM card was fine, I tested it another phone and successfully made outgoing calls. I then tried properly wiping (factory reset) the Blackberry but still no luck. Eventually, after agreeing with Orange that it was my ageing handset that was at fault, I resigned myself to having to buy a new phone.

But then, through a bit of searching, I came across this thread. Now you can ignore the fact that it's on an O2 forum because, as mentioned, this is not a network issue. Anyway, the bottom line (and solution) is that when Orange originally lifted the SIM bar on my phone, they failed to remove the IMEI from the national handset blacklist - which explained why it worked fine in my spare handset, but not on the Blackberry.

When you call customer services (regardless of your network) ask them to double check that your IMEI number is not blacklisted on this national list of blocked handsets, otherwise you'll end up getting the "No service currently available" message like I did!

Hope that helps - if it did, then post a comment.