Tech Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts of 2017

Over the last twelve months I have published 26 posts, many of these were about my return to fibre. So it is nice to see that the tenth most popular post on the blog this year was from nearly a year ago.  We will have fibre in “12 months”!  I said back then that according to BT Openreach we would have fibre within twelve months, I was slightly sceptical, but nine months after publishing that post I did get fibre.

new fibre cabinet 25

The ninth post was about when my iMac Fusion Drive Failed and had to have it replaced.

The post at number eight was another post about my fibre journey, Still checking… was when the cabinet was activated, but alas wasn’t accepting orders.

The seventh post was from 2012 when my HP Photosmart printer died. My printer is dead! was a sorry tale about how replacing the ink cartridges on the HP B110a resulted it in destroying the print head.

The post at six was about  Dusting off the Pogo my old Polaroid Bluetooth pocket printer. Still going strong.

Polaroid Pogo printer

The fifth post was how I don’t like BT FON which was originally published in 2011.

The post at number four was wondering Where are my Comic Life Styles? I found them.

The third most popular post was about the free wifi (or lack of) on my holiday, Haven no wifi

The post at number two was Comic Book Fonts which was about the amazing comic book fonts from Comic Book Fonts.

So the most popular post on the blog was my post about QR codes on chocolate bars,  Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling was published in 2015 and was one of many posts I published on the use of QR codes back then.

Cadbury Twirl Bites QR Code

Tech Stuff – Top Ten Posts of 2011

Here are the top ten blog posts (by views) for 2011.

10. Joikuspot s60 limitation

This blog post which described a major limitation with Jokuspot on the Nokia N95 was the principle reason I bought a MiFi.

9. No joy with Sony PSP and JoikuSpot Premium

This was quite an old post, from nearly three years ago, when my primary method for mobile internet was using Joikuspot on a Nokia N95. Since then I have used a MiFi and now in the main use the portable wireless hotspot on a Google Nexus One.

8. Insufficient Bandwidth

This post described how a problem with my FTTC was causing me to have issues with iPlayer streams. I think in the end it was more of an issue with BBC iPlayer than an issue with my internet connection.

7. New Sony Tablets, the Tablet S

In this blog post I was looking forward to the new Sony Tablet. Having now seen the Tablet for real I am slightly disappointed. It didn’t feel like a Sony product and seemed overpriced for what it was.

6. Instagram on the Desktop

My sixth most popular post looked at a couple of Mac apps that allowed you to view Instagram images on your desktop. I really like Instagram, but sometimes feel disadvantaged when I want to see a feed of Instagram images on my Mac.

5. ITV Player and 4OD on the PS3

An update to the PS3 provided access to the watch again services from ITV and Channel 4.

4. iPhone Portable Wifi Hotspot

Back in January Apple announced a new feature for the iPhone, that allowed you to turn it into a portable wifi hotspot, something I had been doing for a while using my Froyo Google Nexus One.

3. I don’t like BT FON

My third most popular post was a rant about BT FON, well actually it wasn’t a rant about BT FON itself, it was rant that BT routers configured for BT FON also broadcast a BT Openzone SSID which wasn’t a real BT Openzone and so as a result my iPhone (which has free access to BT Openzone) couldn’t use it.

2. BT Openzone-H

This post was a follow on to my BT FON rant, it was apparent that BT were aware of the problem I discussed and are in the process of changing the settings on the BT Homehubs so that instead of broadcasting the BT Openzone SSID they have renamed it to BT Openzone-H. I should say that though I posted this in July, here nearly six months later my neighbour’s BT HomeHub is still broadcasting BT Openzone and not the new Openzone-H.

1. Live BBC TV on the iPad

My most popular post was not really a post more of an addendum to another post reviewing the BBC iPlayer app for the iPad.

The addendum mentioned that the main advantage of the app over the web interface was that you could access live TV through the app.

BT Openzone-H

Well though I am guessing that BT didn’t read my blog about BT FON, however a comment posted by Matt says that BT are aware of the problem i discussed and are changing the settings on the BT Homehubs so that instead of broadcasting the BT Openzone SSID they have renamed it to BT Openzone-H.

This will mean (if my neighbour updates their hub) that my iPhone problem will go away, as my iPhone will no longer connect to the wifi hotspot thinking it has free access as it was broadcasting itself as BT Openzone. The different SSID can be used by BT Openzone customers, but owners of devices such as my O2 iPhone won’t “recognise” the BT Openzone-H SSID as a BT Openzone SSID and so won’t connect. In my case that means my iPhone should connect to my home wifi network instead and I won’t get annoyed.

However it is slightly disappointing that rather than actually provide access to iPhone O2 customers through BT FON Hubs, BT are merely changing the SSID so that they don’t need to.


I don’t like BT FON

I am sure most people who complain about BT FON are actually on BT Broadband… well I am not on BT Broadband and neither do I actually want to use a BT FON wifi hotspot.

So why don’t I like BT FON?

Well it’s an iPhone problem.


Well…. according to my contract with O2 I have unlimited wifi access (or near enough) and I can use BT Openzone wifi hotspots. I will admit that though I like this useful feature, nine times out of ten it doesn’t work as it should and I fall back on using 3G. I think part of the issue is BT, and I will admit part of the problem has to me. Why is it my problem? Well…. it’s much more about my web usage patterns on the iPhone when out and about. When I use the internet on my iPhone as I suspect most poeple do this, I want to use it quickly and for short periods of time. In theory what the iPhone should do is when I take it out and attempt to use the web is, connect to the nearest wifi hotspot, authenticate and then allow me to have access to the web. I can then check that e-mail, check for train times, tube problems, use Google Maps to work out where I am and where I should be. However I find with BT Openzone is that it takes longer than I think it should to authenticate and allow me access to the web. Sometimes I even have to go via the browser first, before I can use an app. As a result most of the time I have tried to use BT Openzone it seems to have taken ages. So fine if you are based in a coffee shop, not much use when just checking the phone in the street. Sometimes I have found that my app isn’t working, realise that I am connected to wifi, so I turn off the wifi, use 3G and everything is much faster and easier.

So what’s this got to do with BT FON then?

Well as you might know if you have BT Broadband you can configure your router to allow others access via BT FON, thus allowing you to use BT FON hotspots and BT Openzone when you are out and about. It’s a ploy or feature of BT to increase the availability of BT Openzone beyond it’s own network of hotspots and use home broadband connections too. Now this is annoying if you are out and about and want to use your iPhone and there is a BT Openzone in the area, yay… well tough! As if the BT Openzone is actually a BT FON hotspot then this won’t work with your iPhone, you won’t be able to use the hotspot and no internet! So for many people they think yay lots more hotspots that I can use with my iPhone. However the reality is that unless they are “official” BT Openzone hotspots which do work with the O2 iPhone, if it’s a BT FON BT Openzone hotspot then this won’t work with the O2 iPhone, these extra hotspots are basically useless.

I am guessing that many of my BT Openzone connection issues are in fact down to these faux BT Openzone BT FON hotspots rather than specific problems with BT Openzone itself. Really it should either be fixed, or don’t use the BT Openzone SSID with BT FON routers.

Is that it?

Well not quite, a recent problem for me has arisen. The problems with BT FON and BT Openzone of course (as you might expect) happen in the main when I am out and about. But last month a neighbour (and I don’t know which one) must have got BT Broadband and is now broadcasting themselves as a BT FON wifi hotspot. As a result when I get home from work my iPhone fails to connect to my wifi network and connects to the faux BT Openzone network instead. I would just stick with 3G, but 3G speeds are not as fast as they should be where I live, so depend on wifi. So as a result I use my iPhone and find that things aren’t working, e-mail isn’t been delivered, etc… then I remember the BT Openzone glitch, go to settings, “forget this network” and my iPhone connects to my wifi without any problems. Of course once I am out and about and connect to BT Openzone in the wild, when I get home again the problem comes back.

Solution, I don’t have one. It’s just annoying really, so I don’t like BT FON…

Of course if you know different… is it just me?