For a while now I’ve been struggling to remove games I’ve played on Google+. Typically I grant a Third Party game access to all of my private data, play it for a few days and then I’m done with it. This is true of all the games I’ve played on Google+ with the exception of Triple Town, which is simply awesome!

Anyway, once I’ve finished with a game, I want to block it from accessing my private data. Annoyingly Google doesn’t seem to provide an obvious way to do this in their settings. That was until I came across this link. This page allows you to revoke permissions from any Third Party application that is connected to your Google account. Google take heed – please provide a link somewhere on Plus to this page!

A Kindle for reading PDFs

I have been reading quite a lot of PDF eBooks of late at work, such as Implementing CIFS. As I don’t like reading on a bright computer monitor for long periods, purchasing a Kindle seemed like a good idea due to the high contrast, non-backlit E-Ink display. Having loads of free classics books available to download was an added bonus.


“…displayed like an image, and not text”

PDFs on Kindle almost work, but are a bit of a pain. Unlike regular Kindle formatted books, they are displayed like an image, and not text. The major difference is that you cannot resize the text of a PDF, instead you have to “zoom in”, as if the PDF was an image. This is a bit annoying, because you cannot make the text to a big enough size to read on one page without rotating it – so you end up using the Kindle in landscape, rather than portrait mode. This is not as comfortable as the page turning buttons are now on the top and bottom of the device. Still, the PDF formatting is perfect, e.g. images and tables look fine.*


On the plus side

  • The online store is better than I imagined for finding books, even free ones. They literally download in seconds, which is very satisfying, but a little disconcerting as you could easily flutter away all of your money very quickly.
  • Minesweeper can be played by pressing ALT+SHIFT+M from the Home screen. Press G to play GoMoKu (4 in a row).
  • I’m currently experimenting with Instapaper, which sends long articles from the internet to your Kindle, so they’re easier to read.

What’s Missing?

More games! Some text-adventures would be nice (lots of hacking in this area!).
I would love to hear from you if you have any similar Kindle experiences of reading PDFs.

* As an experiment, I e-mailed the CIFS book to my amazon kindle email which automatically converts it to Kindle formatting. The theory being that I can then resize the text and read it the normal way around. Unfortunately it loses the formatting of the columns and images, so it seems the “rotation method” is the best solution at the time of writing.

Hardcore Linux users will tell you that copy and paste is as simple as selecting a piece of text and middle clicking. And if you’re stuck with a two-button mouse or trackball, the usual trick is to click both left and right buttons simultaneously. This used to work out of the box on Ubuntu, but recent versions (since at least 11.04) do not have the middle button emulation.

What to do? – Install this cool little program:

sudo aptitude install gpointing-device-settings

Then run it and check the middle button emulation box. 🙂

Having problems playing Counter Strike on 02 Broadband?

Symptoms include not being able to connect to a game, VAC security errors or getting disconnected shortly after joining. The problem isn’t related to your internet connection, but rather the free Thomson modem that comes with it:

Thomson Modem

Got one of these?

The Fix

  1. Click on the start button and run cmd.exe. If you are on Windows XP you may need to click on Start->Programs>Accessories->Command Prompt.
  2. This should bring up a black box. Type telnet and hit return.
    1. If you are on Windows 7 and you get an error about telnet is not recognized as an internal or external command, then you need to enable telnet first.
    2. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Program -> Turn Windows Features on or off, and check Telnet Client.
    3. Press OK.
    4. Repeat step 2.
  3. You have now logged into the router. Type :connection bindlist and hit enter. You should see something like this:
    Application  Proto Portrange   Flags
    LOOSE(UDP)   udp   69
    LOOSE(UDP)   udp   67
    GAME(UDP)    udp   27010-27011
    JABBER       tcp   15222
    JABBER       tcp   5222
    FTP          tcp   21
    IRC          tcp   6660-6669
    H323         tcp   1720
    ILS          tcp   1002
    ILS          tcp   389
    RTSP         tcp   554
    RAUDIO(PNA)  tcp   7070
    CU/SeeMe     udp   7648
    SIP          udp   5060        SIP_ALG:E RTP_predict_for_term_SIP_ALG:E
    IKE          udp   500
    ESP          esp   0
    IP6TO4       6to4  0
  4. Type :connection unbind application=GAME(UDP) port=27010-27011 and hit enter.
    1. If the Portrange shown above is different, then edit the unbind command to have the same value.
  5. Type :connection bindlist and hit enter again. The GAME(UDP) line should have gone, which means you have fixed the problem.
  6. Type exit and hit enter.
  7. Restart Steam.

Happy gaming 🙂

Studying Java at University should give you enough grounding to get by in your day job, but can you really call yourself a Java programmer unless you know the language inside and out? In this series we will outline the lesser known features of how the language works, taken from the SCJP objectives. Mastering these will increase your understanding of the language, and possibly (no guarantees) elevate you to demi-god status in the workplace. If you are studying for the SCJP examination you may also find these examples to be useful revision.

Variable Names

Identifiers in Java can begin with a letter, underscore or $. The characters after the first one can include digits too. These are all valid variable declarations:

int myVar;
int $var;
int _var;
int _var2;
int $$$;

Normally you would stick to using the alphabet, with following words capitalised:

int myLongVariableName;

Beginning local variables with an underscore (_) is a common convention as well.

int _aLocalVariable;

Interface Constants

Given the following interface:

public interface ConstantInterface {
    int x = 2;

and an implementation of it

ConstantInterface impl = new ConstantInterface() {
   void test() {
      x = 2;

This will not compile! The variable x is implicitly public static and final because it is declared in an interface. The code could be made more readable by capitalising the variable name, to show the intent that it is a constant. Alternatively, move the constant out of the interface as constant interfaces are rarely a good idea [1]

What do protected methods really mean?

Everyone knows that public methods can be called anywhere and that private methods can only be called within it’s own class. So what about protected methods? First, lets explain what no access modifier means:

package com.example.epiccode;
public class Ping {
   void myMethod() {
      System.out.println("fuzzy wuzzy was a bear");

myMethod can be called from any class within the same package. i.e. any class that belongs to the package com.example.epiccode. This is because it has no (default) access modifier. If a class belonged to the package com.example.epiccode.winner it cannot call this method because it is in a different package (no exception made to sub-packages).

Protected methods follow exactly the same rules as default methods, except they also allow access to subclasses by inheritance only. This is a very subtle point as shown below.

package com.example.epiccode;
public class Ping {
   protected void myMethod() {
      System.out.println("I'm default yeh");

We have changed myMethod to be protected. Now let’s subclass Ping.

package com.example.anotherpackage;
import com.example.epiccode.Ping;
public class Submarine extends Ping {
   void dive() {

This code is perfectly fine – dive can call myMethod because Submarine extends Ping (even though they are in different packages).

The following code will not compile:

package com.example.anotherpackage
import com.example.epiccode.Ping
public class Submarine2 extends Ping {
   void dive() {
     Ping p = new Ping();

We are not accessing myMethod through inheritance, instead we are creating a new instance of Ping and trying to call myMethod on it. This will not compile since Submarine is not in the same package as Ping. Funnily enough this subtlety is too much for Eclipse to handle:

eclipse error

The method is already protected, so the quick fix will not work.


[1] Effective Java 2nd Edition by Joshua Bloch – Item 19: Use interfaces only to define types.

Here’s a little script I wrote to look up words whilst reading a book or browsing the web. It uses the Aonaware web-service to get the definitions and prints them out to the console. And if you misspell a word it will offer some suggestions.

You will need to install the LWP::Simple and XML::XPath modules from CPAN to get it to work, but other than that it should be clean sailing.

If you have comments, bugs to moan about or feature requests then let me know 🙂