Cleaning suede or nubuck shoes - what I've learnt

Etnies Ronin skate shoes (angle profile)
How a boxfresh Ronin should look...

In autumn and winter, it gets wet outside! Suede and nubuck HATES water, mud, snow and rock salt to boot (natch).

So, protect your shoes BEFORE you destroy them! Get some suede or nubuck protector spray, I mention some later in the article, and give your shoes a good treating before you step out.

I always spray treat my shoes straight from the box, and they're all still great. £5 and 15 minutes' work makes a long-lasting difference.

Back in 2010, I ventured out in some brand new trainers (a pair of Etnies Ronin skate shoes, which are black and white suede/synthetic material mixture with a white trim round the sole). Unsurprisingly, it rained the next Saturday evening, and when I came back my shoes were DESTROYED.

Unfortunately, mine weren't quite caked, but were fairly smattered in nasty looking mud. But what to do? Well, after some careful research (and even more careful testing), here's some tips for cleaning these kinds of skate shoes.

Shoes like the Ronins aren't all suede - they have what Etnies describe as an "action leather upper" combined with synthetic, woven sections (for example, the material around the E motif on the side of the shoe is a different fabric). However, in my case, the whole lot was just smothered with nasty, gunky mud.

So, what to do? First things first... read more after the jump.

Tiplet: Force Ejecting stuck DVDs from Macs

Once again, the MBP I (have to) use at work encountered a problem: OSX refused to eject a perfectly good audio CD from an external Lite-On DVD burner. I tried the usual things - dragging the disc icon to the Trash, right-clicking and choosing Eject... Nothing worked.

Fortunately, the MacRumors Guides site had a page with some protips to help eject stuck CDs/DVDs - including a nice drutil command which solved the problem nicely. Once again, the Mac Users community saves the day 🙂

Tiplet: Disabling PHP Safe Mode and open_basedir in DirectAdmin through the control panel

One of my many tasks on a daily basis is checking up on various web sites and the servers they're hosted on. I needed to disable Safe Mode for a WordPress but, for the life of me, I couldn't find an easy way to do it via the appropriate Reseller login. (I read a blog entry on lampdocs but a crucial screenshot was missing and the other instructions weren't very helpful without it!)

As it turns out, it's as simple as three mouseclicks. Continue reading "Tiplet: Disabling PHP Safe Mode and open_basedir in DirectAdmin through the control panel"

This made me firmly in favour of the postal strikes

I'd recently been doing my usual fencesitting with regards to the postal strike, particularly as my workplace is directly affected by the deliverability of Royal Mail items but not wholly convinced, as it's been fairly obvious for a good long while now that the management of Royal Mail are almost completely inept at running a business in a profitable manner. (Aside - curiously, although we're affected by them, my boss supports the strikes.)

I then came across an article from September this year written by postie of seven years 'Roy Mayall' (geddit?), where he quite matter-of-factly describes the scenarios faced by RM staff on a daily basis: edicts are implemented from upon high with no real workforce consultation; posties essentially forced to lie about their work volumes in the logbooks and regularly do unpaid overtime just to keep up with the sheer volume of work; union representatives railroaded out of any serious decision-making... Plus something which surprised me the most: Royal Mail's official average of mail per bag, which they use to calculate yearly volume through their network, was not even close to the actual amount when a manual count was undertaken a little while back.

So, setting aside some of the very worrying (and arguably endemic) problems 'Roy' describes one of the Royal Mail's core claims - that volume has been down year on year necessitating all the cost-cutting measures - is most likely little more than a spurious, disingenuous statement, completely contradicted when the hard facts are examined.

If you're undecided about the postal strikes, I strongly suggest you read the article. It's a real eye-opener, and might just convince you to change your view to supporting the RM staff in their strikes if you're not 100% sure just yet. The full article can be found on the London Review of Books web site - click here to read it.