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Move on, move on...

Change is the only constant. I left Oracle in the Autumn and joined a small start up here in the Bay Area.  I'm moving some of my posts from the Oracle blogs site - as I don't know what the expiration policy is on those items - but I find those items useful reminders of what we in software should always be mindful of - whether we design, create, test, sell or implement software.

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How to get the BBC iPlayer running when you live outside of the UK

(subtext: Get the World's most famous detective on your favourite browser)

The new series of Sherlock has started on the BBC. If you live outside of the UK and you are too impatient to wait for your local TV content provider to host it for you - then fear not !! These simple instructions will get you up and running. In addition to the iPlayer you can access most of the other UK TV channels using the same method. Note: you can use the same method to access content in other countries - such as Hulu in the U.S.

How it works:  In simple terms, the BBC iPlayer, like other players, perform a check to determine whether your internet access is originating from the UK.  So the trick is to ensure that your access to the BBC website will originate from the UK.



First you are going to use a free piece of open source software that was designed to keep your internet access anonymous. You will add a setting that will ensure that the software makes use of servers in the UK whenever making requests…

Create an Alexa Skill for your Amazon Alexa or Echo Dot

So you've bought an Alexa Dot and you want to create your own voice app - but you are wondering how difficult is it to build, how do you build the app and how much will it cost to run?  If you have basic programming skills then building the application is really easy. If you have written a function or script in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets - then you can build an Alexa voice app. I'm providing all the basic stuff you need to get started ...

Note: This post is not intended to give you an exhaustive guide to building a skill. Instead it aims to give you the overview to get up and running quickly. Amazon provides a build-it-yourself walkthrough (here), samples (here) and a free course on Udemy (here).  I recommend starting with the free course then following the walkthrough.

How much does it cost ? It costs nothing to build and run a simple Alexa app. $0 / £0 / €0.  Zero.  Furthermore the app is hosted on Amazon's cloud, it's secure, load balanced and managed for you …

Watch the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player when outside of the UK on Ubuntu

This is a follow up to my post of a year ago. The instructions are simpler than last year's post. If you want instructions for the Mac go here.

I re-imaged an old laptop last year with Ubuntu (12.04 LTS).  If you've never tried Ubuntu before, head over to http://www.ubuntu.com/download  to try the latest version. The installation is straightforward and you can install it without affecting your Windows image (if that's what you're running). Not only is this fast (boots in seconds) it also has better support for a wider range of devices - specifically Wifi.

To run the BBC iPlayer on Ubuntu, do the following...

Step 1: Download tor from this site : https://www.torproject.org/.  The download button should detect your operating system. For Linux the direct link is here. Alternatively you can use the command line and enter sudo apt-get install tor.

Step 2: Unpack the tor tar.gz file. Open the folder that was extracted. On my machine it's called 'tor-browser_en_US'.…