Recent hail storm in Palmy – the whitest I’ve seen it in my 23 years. Note my arm – it’s only a few days after my surgery and was still in the plaster cast. Also, apologies for looking bedraggled – I was spending most of my days after the operation sleeping – and I had only just woken up.

Dell, and how not to create online forms for addresses

I just purchased a new Dell laptop. I quite like Dell, but their online process leaves a little to be desired, as shown in the image below:

Why are there only four ‘State and Country’ options, those being Auckland, Christchurch, Rotorua (?) and Wellington? I conveniently don’t belong to any of those ‘states’, although I do live in Palmerston North, which is located in New Zealand.

I actually had to ring Dell up, wait on their phone system for 10 minutes, and then be told “I always tell people Michael Dell didn’t study his geography – just choose Wellington”. I then asked – how do I specify Palmerston North – she wasn’t sure – so I just added it in the line above my suburb.

My order is now being shipped to:

3a Huata Place
Palmerston North
Jonathan Giles-Ph:06 3551198
Wel , New Zealand

Which is some frankenstein city that spans over 200 kilometres. Additionally, my suburb (Riverdale) now subsumes my city (Palmerston North), which are both subsumed by the fact they are apparently located in ‘Wel’, New Zealand.

Ah well, here’s hoping it turns up here…but if anyone sees a lost looking courier in the next few weeks, can you point them my way?

How to win $1000

I’ve mentioned in the past that I listen to The Rock when working, as it’s possible to pick up their Auckland broadcast online here. I can’t pick them up locally as there is no reception. I always found it curious how they have a ticker on their page that shows the currently playing song. Also curious is that it would quite frequently be out of sync with the song I was listening to. Clearly the music was being streamed and cached on my computer.

The Rock has a ‘no repeat workday’ where they’ll give $1000 to the first person who rings up to tell them of a repeated song. This week they are doing a guaranteed repeat each day.

I wondered if the website was exposing any additional data that could either tell me the schedule of songs (highly unlikely) or at least give me the currently playing song, to get me on a level playing field with the rest of the radio-listening population.

What I ended up doing was writing a very short Java program (yes, it could probably be written in one line of Ruby or Perl but I’m a Java programmer). It isn’t supposed to actually be used, but it does work as expected – it tells me the currently playing song, and warns me when a song is repeated. I don’t recommend you actually use it (I certainly won’t be), but it’s there for your personal education.

The code is as follows (I recommend you click the ‘view plain’ link if you see the formatted Java code):