Chris Rand Writes

How to get the screen locked in position on your iPad

23 November 2010

Without even thinking about it, when lying in bed with my iPad, I get the screen into the orientation I like, then flick the little switch on the side to lock it in place. Now I can roll around as much as I like without the screen deciding I’m pointed 90 degrees in the other direction. Until the new iOS 4.2 update, that is. Magically, or should I say tragically, it’s turned the little switch into a mute button. Why? Sometimes the folks at Apple really should leave things alone….read more

Delete and move to the next message with GMail keyboard shortcuts

14 October 2010

I’ve got very used to using keyboard shortcuts in GMail, especially “]”, which just archives the message you’re reading and moves on to the next one. Bang-bang-bang through my email, luvvly jubbly. Now, I know Google doesn’t really want you to delete messages, but I often like to, because I don’t want junk messages appearing in searches in the future. So what I really want, alongside “archive and next”, is “delete and next”. Unfortunately, that’s not available, but there’s a quick enough way to do it. If you hit “#”,…read more


Building a tiny bookcase/bookshelf hi-fi

12 July 2010

OK, here’s the task: I wanted to build a discreet music system to go in a room with a bookcase, using an old third-generation iPod from about 2004, whose battery had long since died but which worked perfectly sitting in its original dock. The challenge was to make use of two nice Gale speakers, which sat neatly on the bookshelves, rather than buying a brand new (and poorer-sounding) iPod speaker system. Clearly then, the missing link was an amplifier which could sit inconspicuously in the bookcase. With a depth of…read more


First thoughts on the iPad

30 May 2010

I’ve had my Apple iPad for 48 hours now, and here are a few observations on what’s happened so far. It’s extremely covetable. The only person outside of the family who’s seen it took about ten seconds to decide she wanted one. And she’s a completely IT-illiterate (but smart) mother of two, who wouldn’t know what the term “fanboi” meant even if you tried to explain it. The bloggers who said “everyone in the family will want one” were right. Mrs R wants one of her own, seriously, as soon…read more


New Panasonic Breadmakers launched

20 May 2010

Stop Press: Full Panasonic SD 257 review – with video – now here. My online review of Panasonic’s SD255 breadmaker has been one of the most widely-read pages on this site for the past three years. Now the Japanese electronics outfit has introduced a couple of replacement models, and although I’ve yet to get my hands on them, there are just a couple of small upgrades to the design. Anyway, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the new Panasonic SD-257 WXC breadmaker.  If you enjoyed this post or…read more


Woo. Just had 50Mb/sec internet installed

18 February 2010

OK, bit the bullet and had my Virgin Media cable internet connection upgraded to 50Mb/sec. Quite painless, smart guy did the installation. That’s the result above. The only problem is that my Devolo dLan 200AV, which I’d used to connect the internet around the house, turns out to max out at around 20Mb/sec, which was OK for the old connection, but not now. I’ll have to do some homework on that one, but in the meantime, I’ve had to go wireless (that’s a wireless result on the iMac above). No…read more