London to Brighton 2014 : Thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who sponsored me for the 2014 British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Ride!

Between us all we’ve raised £200 for the BHF – great work everyone! It’s not too late if you fancy donating on my JustGiving page 😉

I had a great (but slightly exhausting) day with my brother – setting off from London soon after 9am and not arriving into Brighton until gone 3pm… Hardly a record smashing time (and will not do my average speed any good on Strava!)

Get on Your Bike…

I have bought myself a new bike!

Finally I’ve joined the cool guys in the Road Bike world and made the jump from a Marin Mountain Bike to a Specialized Road Bike.

After a trip on Saturday afternoon to the Gatwick Evans Cycles store I’m in love! It’s safe to say that the bike and I are currently in our honeymoon stage as I can’t keep myself off the thing…

I’ve been finding new routes to ride near my home in Sussex and here’s one I rode on Bank Holiday Monday 🙂

Switching to Android?

iOS or Andorid?

For a while now I’ve been thinking about jumping ship and switching to Android from iOS. In the past I have dismissed the idea, as in my view iOS was superior. It worked for me so why break something that works?

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been using iOS for over 6 years now, and if I’m honest I’m starting to get a bit bored. iOS 7 was a nice facelift – but under the reskin things are pretty much in the same place and work in pretty much the same way.
I asked myself what do I actually use my iPhone for?

I decided the easiest way to split my use was into four categories; communication, organisation, entertainment and travel. Admittedly travel possibly comes under organisation but as it is such a huge part of my phones use I decided it warranted it’s own category!

The 4 uses of a mobile phone Communication, Entertainment, Organisation and Travel

Communication:
1) WhatsApp – YES
2) Twitter – Tweetbot – SORT OF
3) Facebook / Facebook Messenger – YES
4) iMessage – NO
5) SMS – YES
6) Email – YES
7) Instagram – YES

Organisation:
1) Fantastical – NOT QUITE
2) Banking Apps – YES
3) Evernote – YES

Entertainment:
1) Spotify – YES
2) Safari – YES (Chrome)
3) Digg Reader – YES
4) BBC iPlayer – YES
5) YouTube – YES
6) AirPlay – SORT OF (requires some setting up!)

Travel:
1) Apple Maps – NO
2) Google Maps – YES
3) CityMapper – NO
4) Tube Lines – YES
5) Live Train Times – SORT OF

So having split my usage up and looked at my most commonly used Apps could I switch over to Android? Probably yes.

The mobile phone is the most personal device I own. It travels with me everywhere and I’m happy it does. As for creating a “personal device” I think Google already have a better idea of who I am than Apple. Apple know what sort of music I listened to (from iTunes) and they know where I am (Apple Maps) but Google know what I’ve been looking for, how often I’ve been looking at it and even guesses where I’ll be going at the weekend when using Google Now. Google is most certainly a major part of my digital life, because of software (I’m referring the the web as software). Apple is only part of my life because of an OS and some hardware.

The question should be “do I want Google to tell me what to do” not “Is now the time to switch to Android?”
I can’t be bothered to hold off any more and just let Google know 100% who I am – next time my contract is up I think it’s time to make the jump.

Maybe.

XBMC on Apple TV

Put your Apple TV on Steroids with XBMC

So if you’re anything like me you’ve had an Apple TV knocking around connected to your TV for a while and unless you have a Netflix subscription it’s a little pointless. Sure, the Apple TV is awesome if you’re willing to invest hundreds of pounds into the iTunes ecosystem – in the era of Spotify though I really don’t see a place for iTunes anymore.

So why do you need XBMC on your Apple TV? Basically you need it because without it your Apple TV does (pretty much) nothing.

Getting Ready

If you’d like XBMC on your Apple TV first off you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the second generation Apple TV. (It’s Black, looks like a hockey puck and importantly it is the 720p version NOT the third generation 1080p version.)

Once you’re sure you’ve got the right Apple TV you’ll need to jailbreak it. Do a quick Google search for Seas0nPass to see how to do this.

Installing XBMC on your Apple TV

The installation is pretty simple. First off SSH into your Apple TV. If you’re using a Mac do this by opening up terminal and entering the following in a new terminal window (replace the “Apple_TV_IP_Address” with the IP address of your Apple TV though!):

ssh [email protected]_TV_IP_Address

The default password is “alpine” so give that a go as that’s probably still your password – think about changing this though as it’s not very secure!

Your Terminal window should look a little something like this:

Using Terminal to connect via SSH to an Apple TV

With terminal ready to roll simply enter the following commands and you’ll be up and running with XBMC within a few minutes!

Begin here

apt-get install wget
wget -O- http://apt.awkwardtv.org/awkwardtv.pub | apt-key add -

I’ll just point out – when terminal returns to “Apple-TV:~ root# ” it’s ready for the next command line.

echo "deb http://apt.awkwardtv.org/ stable main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/awkwardtv.list
echo "deb http://mirrors.xbmc.org/apt/atv2 ./" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xbmc.list
apt-get update
mkdir -p /Applications/AppleTV.app/Appliances
apt-get install org.xbmc.xbmc-atv2
mkdir -p /Applications/XBMC.frappliance

Almost done, restart the Apple TV with this line

reboot

Wait a couple of minutes and when your Apple TV boots back up you’ll have the latest version of XBMC ready to go on your Apple TV. Awesome.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll formulate a post explaining how to get the most out of XBMC.

Universal Analytics 404 Tracking

Recently at work all the talk has been of Universal Analytics (UA), so I thought it was about time that I take the plunge and upgrade my personal WordPress to Google’s all singing all dancing analytics solution.

One of the nice things about UA is that it is now possible to pass data back to Analytics in a “Data Layer”. I decided a simple 10 minute task that would help with running the blog would be using Universal Analytics 404 tracking. Using UA in this way will fire an event each time a 404 error is experienced by a visitor to the blog.

If you’re looking to do a similar thing with your WordPress blog the first thing you need to do is make sure that your using a Universal Analytics account. Check out the Google Dev guides for more information on upgrading to UA.

How to get Universal Analytics 404 Tracking on your Blog

Next up locate the 404.php template file. The easiest way to do this is to log in to your WordPress dashboard and go: Appearance -> Editor and then select the 404 Template on the right hand side.

Once you’ve selected the correct template pop these lines of code in:

<script>
jQuery( document ).ready( function( $ ) {
ga('send', 'event', '404', 'Visit', '404 Error Page - Visit - Page');
});
</script>

This script now sends to UA the useful data that’ll fire an event, helping you track down pages that users are stumbling onto that don’t exist.

Here’s how it’ll look in Analytics:

Using Universal Analytics to track 404 error events

I’ve added in a secondary dimension so we’re displayed the page so we know exactly where the visitor has experienced the 404 error (jeffmainwood.co.uk/bob and /ask).

If you’d like more information just send me a Tweet.

Introduction to The Raspberry Pi AirPlay Radio

For a couple of months now I’ve been trying to decide what to do with a Raspberry Pi mini computer that I bought last year. Today I finally had a chance to have a play around with this brilliant little toy…

As somewhat of a novice to Raspberry Pi & Linux I had some fun getting used to the GUI before using terminal on my Mac to SSH into the Raspberry Pi. SSH is an awesome way to remotely control a computer…

Using SSH I was able to remotely install ShairPlay – a little hack that enables AirPlay streaming from a Mac or iOS device to the Raspberry Pi.

I then had a little bit of a brainwave – why don’t I convert an old 1970’s radio into a modern day wireless speaker? It would be awesome, I can use the vintage radio to play music through Spotify and use TuneIn Radio on my iPhone or iPad for listening to any internet station live in my bedroom.

As an additional bit of fun I’ve long been thinking about mining for Bitcoin… While thinking of projects for my Pi I thought actually, why not have the wireless speaker set up AND mine for Bitcoin at the same time?

A project was born: A radio that prints money…

20140121-075349.jpg

The current home for the Pi is a Sports Direct mug… I think the radio will look a bit better!

Over the next few weeks I’ll post updates about the project and a step-by-step guide to give you pointers if you also want to make yourself a wireless speaker.

Hello. A New Home.

Hello, you might realise that the blog is looking slightly different!

I’ve made the jump from Tumblr and am now hosting the blog myself. Over the next couple of weeks it should start to take shape…

For now the job is importing all the old content!

Welsh Ride Thing

Welsh Ride Thing 2013


I’ve been talked into doing something again! This time it’s a weekend “bike-packing” around Wales. I’ve got my brother to thank this time and weather permitting we should have a really good weekend riding through the Welsh countryside.

Closer to the time I’ll put up a map showing our expected route.

I’m trying to raise a little bit of money for UNICEF, who are one of the largest organisations helping children around the world and back at home, here in the U.K get the support they need.

If you fancy supporting a great cause It would be great if you could visit my JustGiving page and possibly donate.

Tell the world, Retweet, Reblog, Share… Talk. Here’s the address: http://justgiving.com/jeff-wrt

Introducing Grand Prix Line

Here’s an exciting project of mine: http://grandprixline.comGrand Prix Line

GrandPrixLine is a new Motorsport website, dedicated to providing news and discussion for fans. It’s my hope that this website will blossom into a first stop shop for Motorsport fans and have some exciting plans for covering the 2013 season. Watch this space.

You can also follow the coverage on Twitter: @GrandPrixLine, follow the season in pictures on Instagram: @GrandPrixLine or have the latest in F1 and Motorsport news direct on your Facebook Newsfeed by giving the page a like.

Movember 2012 Complete

The final image of Movember 2012

Movermber 2012 — Done.

A big thank you to everyone who donated online to my Movember page and also those from my local area who gave so generously to collection boxes – this time round my upper lip hair helped raise over £160!

Remember it’s never too late to donate to Movember — so if a sudden burst of Christmas spirited generosity has sprinkled over your wallet head over to http://mobro.co/mainwood to donate!

Until next year happy Mo.