Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

No sound (mechanical): can I buy a new audio jack socket & stick it in a PC?

I've no sound on my work computer which looks like it's probably one of these: "Windows 7, Dell Optiplex GX620 Desktop PC, P4 HT 2.8GHz, 1GB Ram, 80GB Hard Drive, DVD".

Apart from the mild annoyance of not being able to listen to YouTube playlists as I work, I also can't listen to all sorts of useful work-related audio or audiovisual clips - Prof Harold Thimbleby (in video below) is the Swansea PI on the CHI+MED project I work on. He's talking in London tonight and I thought I'd have one of his earlier talks on in the background.

If I turn the volume and hold my foot against the headphone jack I can hear things OK, through the left headphone. Moving my foot at all means sudden silence, and the unit (which also houses a speaker) is clearly a bit wobbly.

I'd previously checked the sound settings and used the little troubleshooting programme from Microsoft (available from that link once you've gone through the first bits) which found no problem. It's definitely mechanical.

How easy is it to
a) get a new unit
b)i) plug it in
b)ii) and what safety things to I need to be aware of? For example I'm wary of poking around in the back of a television (mine's CRT) because I understand there are fearsome capacitors within it so even with unplugging it there's still a high voltage... might be wrong, but if I unplug my PC do I need to wait hours / weeks before unscrewing things?
c) is it likelier that I can fix this by just opening it up and resoldering it, in which case I'd still need an answer to b)ii ;)

Ta :)

Honestly for the last year every time I've wanted to watch / listen to a YouTube video I've either emailed the link to myself and picked it up on my iPhone, or used an URL shortener to then type a short URL into iPhone Safari, which then automatically loads the YouTube app. There's always a workaround but it would be a nice sense of achievement to fix this!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

How do you write a date in an email to someone so that it's easy to make it into a calendar entry, with subject?

Edit later that same day:
Well it turns out that the system manages fine - it just takes whatever subject you give the email and uses that as the event name. So that's that one fixed :-) Not sure why I'd not spotted it before, but there we are.

Edit the day later:
On reflection I'd still quite like to know if what I'm after below is possible. I don't know if everyone knows that their email subject will form the name of the event, and it's possible that you might want to title your email one thing and the event another. Don't really think it's possible though.

Email addresses usually show up in received emails as hyperlinks, so that clicking on it opens up a new email message with the To: field set to send to that person. Even if you didn't 'set' the link before sending, most email programmes know what to do with something that looks email-ish.

You can also manually tweak the link so that when the recipient clicks on the link it will open a new email editing window that has both the To: field and the Subject: field already filled. - will launch an email to that address (with whatever you've got set up as a default mail program) even with spaces in - will launch an email to the same person with that subject.

Is it possible to write a time and date (in the body text of an email) so that, on smartphones, I can exploit the calendar programme which tries to turn everything into a new event?

Things like 5pm, 15 March 2008, Exciting event or Exciting event, 5pm, 15 March 2008 don't fully work sadly. See pic below.

Or is there some coding thing I can embed beneath it, conceptually similar to the ?subject= format?