Madeira for Easter

At various points in its history it has had booms from sugar cane, wine and bananas and visits from Darwin, Napoleon, Picasso, Churchill and Banks.  We loved this place for delicious seafood Portinho, Rua do Portinho, 9370-410 Madeira, Portugal and had a slightly rain interrupted trip to the lava pools in Porto Moniz.  We stayed at a brilliant apartment in Paul do Mar called The Docks Apartments. There it is, just at the end of the dock in the picture below.  Scenery was stunning and there was a fairly challenging walk up the cliff the the Jardin Atlantico hotel (2.5km / 600+ metres of climbing) to keep us entertained between bouts of seafood.

PauldoMarMadeira

Le Verre Vole & Mary Celeste, Paris

Our friends at Apartments Actually recommended a great restaurant for us last weekend. We had a drink at the Mary Celeste, who sell pints of Brooklyn Lager and a twist on a the Margarita called El Curado. We tried Le Verre Vole, 67 rue de Lancry, 75010; by the Canal St Martin. Delicious selection of things to try and they don’t have a wine list as such but bring out a bottle or two to match whatever you’ve ordered.  We both couldn’t resist asparagus and bonito / tuna which was smothered in hollandaise sauce and a few other bits (fennel and raddichio) thrown in. Apparently bonito goes well with Crozes Hermitage so we had a bottle of 2013 C’est le printemps (R.J. Dard & F. Ribo from Mercurol (Drome)).

LeVerreVole

A few more recommendations to work through for next time. Les Enfants Rouge, The Fish Club, Beaucoup and for breakfast,  Rose Bakery

How to fix Outlook and Windows if it removes the ‘+’ from your International phone numbers

Another piece of brilliance from Microsoft where if you accidentally triple click on a phone number and bring up the dialing verification screen, Windows decides that you are using their own dialing rules and unhelpfully removes the ‘+’ from all of your phone numbers.  In order to fix this, you need to go to the Control Panel (search ‘Dialing Rules’).  From there, set the dialing region to ‘International Freephone Service’.

How to exclude a category from the wordpress default home page

Go to the wordpress theme top level directory eg:

yourdomain.com/httpdocs/wp-content/themes/twentytwelve/index.php

Replace:

<?php if ( have_posts() ) : ?>

                     <?php /* Start the Loop */ ?>

With this:

<?php if ( have_posts() ) : ?>

                         <?php query_posts($query_string .'&cat=-31'); /*EDIT TO REMOVE PRIVATE CAT 31*/ ?>

			<?php /* Start the Loop */ ?>

Where Cat = [whatever category you want to exclude].

Recovering an IOMEGA 2TB NAS drive

I experienced a complete failure of my 1 year old iomega external NAS drive and, after a quick web search, found this to be a common problem.  The issue manifested itself when I accessed the drive one day and it showed a completely empty drive structure as if it was the first time I had turned on the drive.  All the data that was present on the drive the day before but it was now no longer visible.  I contacted Iomega who were unhelpful and put me in touch with their recovery team who said they’d charge me around £400-£800 to recover the files depending on how long it took.  I will never buy another Iomega product again as this was a software failure from Iomega which it made no effort to rectify but should have.

I was not going to part with another cent to Iomega so I followed Tom’s Hardware forum and recovered all of the data using a tool called Universal File Explorer.  For my Iomega NAS drive (Iomega 34571 Home Media 2TB USB 2.0 Gigabit Network Drive), the files were stored as XFS so I bought the xfs recovery tool for €26.  To use this recovery software, the hard drive needs to be pulled out of its Iomega housing and connected to a PC using a SATA disk caddy.  I bought an Icy Dock from Amazon (Icy Dock MB981U3-1SA SATA Docking Station) for £44.

Favourite places to stay in Berlin

Adina self-catering apartments are near the central station (Hauptbanhof) and not far from East Berlin and great restaurants (c€100-150 per night)

The Kunst Hotel is something a bit quirkier but some of the rooms are right next to the railway line and we worked out very quickly why they put ear plugs on the bedside table.  So if you are staying here and don’t like the noise, be careful about selecting your room.  However it’s a fantastic place to stay and very well appointed.  Again, close to the Hauptbanhof and East Berlin (c€100-150 per night)

Otherwise, you can always go for my favourite German chain, MotelOne.  They have 8 sites in Berlin (c€70-100 per night).  Can’t go wrong if you can get in.

If you want somewhere stunning, try the independent luxury property called Mandala with massive rooms, delicious food and attentive service €200-300 per night.  For the penthouse suite, POA 🙂 but it is very very very very nice.  I’ve seen it but not stayed.

Bulk renaming files in Windows using the command line

This task is tougher than it should be but I found an excellent reference which helps decipher how the windows ‘rename’ command interprets the wildcards ? and *.  There are lots of examples to follow but I found the following works well in cases where you want to append a text field to a set of files without messing up the .jpg file type.

Example: rename the files called file1.jpg, file200.jpg to file1_edit.jpg, file2_edit.jpg.

>rename *.jpg ???????_edit.*

(where the number of ?’s equals the maximum characters before the ‘.’ in the files you want to rename).

Fixing a cloudy or scratched AGV S4 Helmet Visor

I have two AGV S4 helmets which I bought because they have a great 5* crash rating, (which is safe) but after a few cleans with water, soft cloth and soap, I couldn’t see out the visor (which is not safe).  Then I found some other reports of this online and an acknowledgement (via MCN interview) that there was a problem with the anti-fog coating.  I bought a replacement from Bob Heath Visors, which I have now had for a year and it is fantastic.  Problem solved, no fogging and the visor is easy to clean.

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