Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Finding fond hearts

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

What an unmitigated piece of monkey tripe!

Alison has been away now for 9 days - and due to return in another 13 - and I'm not feeling anything except loneliness. What will happen, is when she returns, I will feel so much better than the wretchedness of the previous 22 days, that I will think things are so much better than they were before. I do not need enforced absence to underline to me how much she means to me, I already know it.

It applies the same with my kids. I really miss them when they are not here, which unfortunately is most of the time. I feel great when I see them, but I certainly don't need to be separated to increase my love of them.

I have heard this annoying little platitude at least half-a-dozen times now in the past two weeks, even once from Alison. If I was a murderous man I'd easily have achieved the status of serial killer. Alison would be pretty safe, though.

I think it must only apply to people who are sick of the sight of each other: "Yeah. Go away. How long do you want? Two, three months? OK."

Then, some time into the three months: "Gee, his nose-picking wasn't really all that annoying compared with his ability to take the garbage out. And that pile of garbage is really starting to smell."


I really miss her. She would enjoy this little rant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Postal sorting snafu

Compare these two addresses:

Number 1:

Miss Sarah Jones
Unit 26 14-18 Johnson Street
Campsie NSW 2194

Number 2:

Miss Britney Smith
Unit 26 18 Camptown Road
North Sydney NSW 2060

Now, if you were living with Miss Smith at North Sydney and received the letter addressed to Miss Jones, would you be surprised? Now there are similarities in the street numbering and the name of Miss Jones's suburb is remarkably similar to Miss Smith's street name, and of course they both have the same christian name (Miss), but standing at the letterbox at North Sydney and holding the letter addressed to Miss Jones, you could be forgiven for wondering about the intelligence or otherwise of the postal sorting system.

This is a true story, only the names and addresses have been changed to protect the innocent.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Wow is gone

Well the balance of the upgrade from Vista to XP went quite smoothly. Friday afternoon I was still suffering a little bit of the effects of the work Christmas party and Saturday morning I went shopping with the girls. So I didn't get back into it until Saturday afternoon. There was a ton of downloaded software which I installed onto the thing following mostly this guide

Aside from the hours (unattended) copying files, the biggest delay has been searching for the drivers disk for my motherboard. Who would have thought I would keep it in the empty motherboard box stacked on top of the bookcase in the spare room?

And the results?

Initially I was astounded at the difference in speed; XP really flys along compared to Vista. The HP printer driver and Yamaha USB-Midi port drivers installed without any problems. I am yet to install Sibelius, though am confident that it will be successful. When I installed Comodo Personal Firewall it slowed a tad, and little windows kept popping up telling me what was going on, but the whole machine did not stop, and the messages are getting less and less numerous the more I use it.

[Just as a side note, while I could have used the in-built Windows Firewall, I have read a number of reviews which indicate that it is less than effective. ZoneAlarm and Comodo seem to be the best choices (see for instance]

And to top it all off, this morning I read yet another review of a Vista-to-XP upgrade. This amusing story is written as if the writer is reviewing the "new" XP operating system, and comparing it to the older, slower, Vista. Superb.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Going, Going, Gone.

In a follow-up to my previous post about upgrading from Vista to XP.

I got home quite late last night after attending Josephine's Presentation Night -- she won the Teacher's Choice award for her class -- so I was in a great mood. I thought I'd continue on by getting started with cleaning up my computer.

I began the task by uninstalling just about everything I could on the computer. I wanted to get it's footprint down small enough that I could just copy the whole disk across to my USB portable disk, and then deal with copying the data back later. I also ran up a few crucial programs and backed up the data where I could - E-Record being the really imporant one. After a number of hours, I managed to get it down to about 40Gb and started to copy across to my USB disk. I had already at this point started to copy the Users directory from drive C: to spare space on (internal) drive E:. To be sure, to be sure...

40Gb seems rather large for a Windows installation, Vista or not. I hunted through the files and removed all the obvious things (an Oracle Vista iso disk image?), and discovered that Alison's iPod software is not content with merely reading the MP3 files off the E: drive, it also has to copy them into her home directory as well into some other format. Hmmmm.

To do the copy I used this great little no-install utility called Unstoppable Copier. It just powers through everything, blat, blat, blat. Superb. I left the copying at 3am (!!) to get some sleep, figuring that it could work on it's own for a little while.

And all copied this morning. Before leaving for work I reformatted the partition and started the XP installation. I ran out of time and will get back to it this evening.

Seems I am not alone in my use of the term "upgrading" when going from from Vista to XP. See here and here for just the tip of the iceberg. Nor does my choice of title seem to be unique.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Wow stops soon

I've had it with Vista.

The final straw came on Tuesday when I was helping Alison copy some photos over to her iPod. Three times in the space of two slow, slow minutes it did the black-screen thing and asked me to confirm that I wanted to do this. If the security system can't tell the difference between a user copying files and suspect activity from some virus, then it is not bloody worth it's salt.

So on top of the slowness, the trouble with drivers for the HP printer, the fact that it won't run Sibelius properly, and that it won't share files properly with other PCs on our LAN; the stupid security blackouts have finally done it for me.

So I'm "downgrading" from Vista to XP. I challenge that the terminology is incorrect; in my mind I'm actually upgrading from Vista to XP.

I'll let you know how I go.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lazy web developers

Having once booked a flight or hotel through Expedia, I now receive periodic email mailouts from them with their latest offers. This is a snip from the latest I have received.

Here's the email with the images included:

But my email client does not automatically include the images; they are blocked by default. I have to enable them for each individual mail or by sender, and this is the email as I originally saw it:

Note the ALT text descriptions in the space where the right-hand images should be. "Uhhh"? "No time for Description"??

No time for professionalism is more like it.