Tag Archives: Fell out of my head

Will my Surface Pro 4 explode on an airplane?

Ok .. this might be slightly melodramatic – but I was faced with this question when flying back with British Airways from Tenerife yesterday evening.

We were about 2 hours into the flight, and my 5 year old son was knackered and reverted back to his 3-year-old inner self and asked to watch Peppa Pig (this is a rite of passage for UK parents) – something I didn’t pre-load onto his tablet, but I did have on my Surface (for my 16 month old daughter).

But imagine my *surprise* when I pulled my Surface out of the overhead locker to find the screen bulging out so badly I could barely engage the hinge.

“what does f$%k mean Daddy?”



“erm .. nothing .. I just need to go speak to someone”

I had read numerous reports of exploding batteries – particularly at altitude – so I was worried .. VERY worried.

Luckily I DID know about this problem, and took it directly (and very discretely) to the flight crew.

I expected to have to spend a good 5 minutes explaining why this was a problem but to my (pleasant) surprise they seemed to be well drilled and knew exactly about this problem.

They immediately called up the senior cabin crew member who came armed with a large metal container.

He quickly powered off the device (something I was kicking myself for not doing!) .. checked it for any signs of heat (it was quite cold) .. and then placed it inside the metal canister. I must say I was extremely impressed with how quickly and calmly the BA cabin crew dealt with this.

They told me they were going to check the temperature every 10 minutes, and if it showed any signs of heating up they would fill said canister with cold water. I was of course totally fine with this – my data was all backed up to OneDrive .. plus after I’d thought about it I didn’t really want my laptop exploding, especially on an aircraft full of people.

Luckily nothing happened and the Surface was returned, along with a written incident report (for which I needed to confirm contact details).


So as well as an interesting “anything interesting happen on the flight back?” story for the pub, I hope this helps to serve as a reminder to anyone out there travelling with electronics.

If you EVER see your tablet / laptop / phone / device bulging out like that on an aircraft then please take it to the cabin crew immediately. This story ended happily, but this could very easily have gone VERY VERY wrong …

Me? I’m just glad my son wanted to watch Peppa Pig.

64GB of RAM in a Laptop, and why I want it …

Well, the rumour mills have been well and truly circulating recently about the potential for high capacity DRAM chips which could allow laptops to have up to 64GB of memory. I was recently directed to this article (https://www.anandtech.com/show/7742/im-intelligent-memory-to-release-16gb-unregistered-ddr3-modules) from the ArsTechnica forums.

This article basically describes a new method of DRAM stacking (as opposed to the standard method of NAND stacking) which allows the production of 16GB SODIMMs chips. My current laptop has four SODIMM slots (like pretty much every other high-end laptop on the market) so with the current maximum of 8GB SODIMMs my laptop supports 32GB RAM. If I could use 16GB SODIMMs then I could theoretically swap those chips out for a straight 4x 16GB SODIMMs (i.e. 64GB of RAM).

The best news is that these chips could be on the market this year!

“Mass production is set to begin in March and April, with initial pricing per 16GB module in the $320-$350 range for both DIMM and SO-DIMM, ECC being on the higher end of that range.” (source: Anandtech article linked above)

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Migrating from Blogger to WordPress

So I’ve got myself a shiny new blog design, and more than that it is running on both a shiny new hosting provider (Azure Web Sites) and a shiny new platform (WordPress). So this post is going to run through the reasoning behind why I moved, why I chose WordPress and (equally importantly) how I actually did it.

I can say that I am very pleased so far with the WordPress experience. It has been a relatively quick and painless experience and migrating all of my old content from Blogger.com to my new hosted WordPress site (including setting up the theme and a bunch of “widgets”) only took me a few hours (easily achievable in one evening). I am quite a fan of the interface although I admit the current style still requires a fair bit of polish here and there.

The main issues I’ve faced have been post formatting as the migration doesn’t appear to have brought over all of my images (although most of them appear to be intact). Also the formatting of code blocks appears to have stripped out what it obviously thought were harmful scripts (a lot of my JavaScript code samples have magically disappeared) so that will need some cleanup

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Conditional Query String Panel – CSS which is only used in a dialog

This is something I initially knocked up so that I could add CSS to a page conditional on the query string present. I basically wanted to change the CSS if the page was showing a dialog.

It is a very simple control which extends the ASP.Net “Panel” class (which basically outputs a DIV). I added some Pre-Render logic to check for a query string value and only show the contents if that Query String is present.

public class ConditionalQueryStringPanel : Panel
{     public String QueryString
   { get; set; }

   protected override void OnPreRender(EventArgs e)
   {       base.OnPreRender(e);
       this.Visible = Page.ClientQueryString.Contains(QueryString);


In the example usage below I am using this panel to conditionally change the margin of one of my containers when the page is showing in a pop-up dialog

<MJH:ConditionalQueryStringPanel runat=”server” QueryString=”IsDlg=1″>
    <style type=”text/css”>
         margin-left: 0px;
      }    </style>

Something quite simple but hopefully you should be able to make use of it.