Ooops my bad (2)!

So sadly it didn’t take long at all for episode 2 of Ooops my bad!

I treated myself to an android smart watch and I was really impressed that you could sync it to your mobile phone via Bluetooth and send/receive calls as well as texts and you could even add a micro SD card and a SIM card and it would work as a standalone device and make calls and texts without the phone connected. It even had a 3g connection so although slow, I could still use data. The downside was that although it had a Facebook and WhatsApp icon, they were in fact just shortcuts to a webpage and the built in browser was pretty lame (yeah I know you can’t expect too much from a cheap gadget).

So my idea was to “hack it”. I wanted to get into the watch, seeing as it didn’t have a play store or a simple way to install new apps, even when I tried to download an APK file directly from my cloud storage it didn’t know what to do with it.

So I searched online and realised that I could use a flash tool which I have never had the pleasure of using before. All I had to do was install the drivers for the watch first and then I could set the flash tool so that it backs up a copy of the ROM, then lets me alter it and then it on to the watch.

This is where it all went horribly wrong…
First of all I was using Windows 10 which, in the device manager, did not show the ports section so I couldn’t setup and distinguish which COM port was my USB in the flash tool software.

I did try installing the drivers by using the legacy hardware option but then when they did show up they had an exclamation mark against them. I was getting absolutely nowhere and Microsoft were telling me that its a manufacturer issue as its drivers needed for their MOBO (Motherboard) and HP were telling me that this laptop, which I had only purchased in 2014, hasn’t been tested with Windows 10 and basically couldn’t be bothered to provide any updated drivers for it and I went between the two for about 3 days.

It concluded that I would just have to take the hit and recover back to Windows 8 which HP do provide the drivers for. The problem with this is that since my upgrade, I decided to clear the previous version files to save space. All HP could then tell me is that I needed a recovery kit and it would cost just shy of £35.

I went to Microsoft online support chat again and got someone to remote into my laptop who set off 2 downloads – one being software to burn a bootable ISO to a flash drive or DVD and the other was an ISO for Windows 8. He actually stated that they not longer had the Windows 8 available to download from Microsoft so I assume that he must have got the ISO file from a 3rd party site, which I am sure hasn’t been tested and for the paranoid out there, who would agree that getting Operating Systems from a 3rd party source or places like torrent sites can also install a virus in the background, a Trojan or key logger software so it is ALWAYS recommended to use genuine software from a reliable source.

As I went into the BIOS to change the boot sequence I faced another struggle – as my SSD it classed as a flash drive and so was the flash drive with the ISO on, the bios could not distinguish between the 2 and that wasn’t going to work.
I then decided to burn the ISO to a bootable DVD and try and set the boot sequence for that to run first. Finally I had some success, right until I got to the point where the laptop couldn’t recognise my SSD and this is about the point I am ready to cry myself to sleep but I DID NOT GIVE UP!

I put my old HHD back in my laptop, I spoke with Microsoft again (for the 4th time) and got to the point where they actually became useful – they gave me a link to a tool that would directly allow me to add a bootable ISO directly to my flash drive and I could choose the version of Windows I wanted to install and it downloaded it. I was then able to change the boot sequence back to flash drive first and then the HDD and this worked! I was able to go through the motions and after a slow hard drive I got my Windows 8.1 installed.

Now I was making progress I decided to bring back my original issues with my smart watch, downloaded all the drivers and tools again and opened the flash tool. It now recognised the COM port I Was using through the USB connection to the watch. The downside at this point was that it said my phone must have turned on too quickly for it to step in on the start-up so I turned it off and tried again but then the touch screen froze so had to pull the battery. I tried one more time in a different USB port and it was exactly the same.

So just to confirm at this stage, I have my old HHD in my laptop now with Windows 8 to use for the purposes of this flash tool software which doesn’t even work.

I have now put in my SSD drive again and have decided that I really don’t need my smart watch to be all singing and dancing now.

I did however find out on my quest that Windows 8 is being supported by Microsoft until 2032 and always make sure that your device has been tested with Windows 8 and whether the manufacturer will support Windows 10 and the drivers you will need.

And seeing as though I am on the subject of Windows 10, it is actually a good operating system and the likely hood is that you might not even need to use it for the things I try and do with my gadgets so you will be fine. The free upgrade to Windows 10 does actually run out at the end of July 2016 though so if you still haven’t upgraded yet then it would be recommended to do so.

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Hull Raspberry Jam 25th June

Why not join in on the fun and learn more about the Raspberry Pi and how to code by attending a Raspberry Jam.

The next event takes place on Saturday 25th June and starts at 10:15 until 13:15.

The venue for this event is Malet Lambert School – James Reckitt Avenue, Hull, HU8 0JD

This is a free to attend event – tickets plus more information is available from the Eventbrite website.

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Software Development Assignment – Java

We were set an assignment at college to create a program in Java using IntelliJ.

The assignment criteria was to create a currency converter that converts GBP into 3 different currencies where the end user can manually input the exchange rates.

The challenge set by the tutor (for a clear distinction) was to add an extra feature so that when you click a button it will pull the latest exchange rates from the internet.

As I am stubborn and not one to back down from a challenge, it was one I was willing to accept.

The user interface was quite difficult to create with IntelliJ and all the tutorials online showed that people were typically using NetBeans which I downloaded and found it so much easier to create a user interface as it was just drag and drop rather than worrying about spacing.

I created an action listener so that when the appropriate buttons were created they would act upon the code I had set to each button click. So the clear button would default the text field back to its original state using a jbutton.setText(“1”); I used an action listener for each button.

The currency exchange button turned the input number from a string to a float variable and then I calculated one float by another, example: GBP*EUR and then converted the float back into a string to output it into the area to show the amount.

For the auto generate section of the program, I used JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and set the URL from Yahoo Finance as a string but added a variable called currency in the middle of the URL so that it would change the variable fromto section so that when you click on the auto generate button next to the Euro it would change the variable to GBPEUR and pull the latest Euro rate, when you click on the auto generate next to the US Dollar it would change the variable value to GBPUSD and pull the US Dollar rate and the same again with the Chinese Yuan.

You will need to download Java Runtime Environment to run this .jar executable file but please feel free to download and play around with my program. Download can be found here: Java Currency Converter

I have also added the code in a text file in case anyone would like to have a go. Download code

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Ooops my bad (1)!

I have numbered this as (1) as there are bound to be a few of these posted throughout the years.

Basically I want to write about my mistakes so that others can learn from them and not make the same silly mistakes I have made along the way.

I decided to upgrade my laptop and so treated myself to a SSD (Solid State Drive). This is faster as there are no moving parts so the read/write speed is increased and therefore it takes seconds to boot to Windows (instead of hours).

The idea was to take an image of my existing hard drive, just the way it was, and then put that image on to the new SSD. What actually happened was that I used the cheap imaging software that came with the hard drive caddy which decided to give the SSD drivers that Windows did not recognise!

Then I realised that the Samsung software that was available (for free) with the SSD came with cloning software but now it would not recognise the SSD as the other software had “screwed” it up.

So I decided to carry out a system restore which seemed to take forever and then I was going to use the Samsung software but by this time I realised that you cant take shortcuts and so I backed up my files to my external hard drive, asked Windows 10 nicely to do a clean install and then finally got to use the Samsung software to clone the hard drive.

After all of the above I could then download all my programs again and then add my files. In total I think I saved a fair few GB in storage space by having a clean copy of Windows to clone.

The moral of this story is to not use cheap cloning software that puts rubbish drivers on your system and also to take the time to put a fresh copy of Windows on your hard drive before cloning because it saves time and space.


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Code Club


Since last week I have had the privilege of volunteering on a weekly basis at a Code Club held at Hull Central Library. The Code Club teaches 9 to 11 year old children how to code. It starts with using the MIT software Scratch and then advances to teach CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which is used as a formatting tool for HTML documents and then goes in to JavaScript.

I think its amazing that children from a young age get to learn these skills and I know I certainly wish I had the chance to learn more when I was younger.

I was in conversation with the Code Club on Twitter previously and they asked if I would be interested in volunteering and my reply was “I do not have enough knowledge”. I am now glad I took the next step and questioned my ignorance. The only skills you need is the ability to read. All the documentation is available for you to follow step by step and there is a teacher version as well as a child version.

I would highly recommend becoming a volunteer and searching the Code Club website to see what clubs are running near you. Not only are you giving to the community but you are also in a position to learn new skills of your own.

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Maths exam – vectors and matrices

So before the last half term I had a maths exam which included finding the cross and dot product of vectors, find the equation of a plane using 3 points in space and determine the inverse of a 3×3 matrix.

I am happy to announce that I got a clear merit in this exam.

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Hardware Meeting

After a visit to C4DI in Hull last night for a hardware meet up, I am now even more inspired to build a lot more with my arduino.

I met and spoke to some really interesting people who pointed me in the direction of shift registers which are used for 7 segment displays (digital number displays).

After much thought I have decided that my next project will be a small cluster of LEDs on a breadboard that can be controlled using a remote control and an IR receiver – watch this space!


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Hull University Applicant Day

Today I attended the Hull University applicant day. I have been previously and very much enjoyed the talks which inspired me to make Hull Uni my first choice but today was to attend the talks about “what happens next” and student finance.

I spoke to a few people from the Admissions stand, Finance stand and also the Student Well-being and everyone seems very welcoming and friendly. I know this sounds like a sales pitch but I have never had the experience of a university before and so this is an exciting period for me.

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