Saturday, July 20, 2019

Windows 10 build number should be added to System Properties dialog

I’m fed up with some of the patently obvious things that in various incarnations over the years Microsoft has left out of Windows, or have implemented poorly and let us suffer the functional or usability consequences.

Some of the omissions have been major items, while others have been small things, irritations and inconveniences. Indeed there have been entire books, such as Windows 7 Annoyances, devoted to listing Windows deficiencies and where possible providing solutions or workarounds.

One such annoyance, for example, used to be in File Explorer, or Windows Explorer as it was called until fairly recently. When you opened large directories or directories on a low device, you often got the angst-laden message “This folder is empty” when in fact it was perfectly healthy and all the folder’s contents were intact. That message of doom would sit there for a few seconds while you wondered what had gone wrong and how you would get back all of the missing contents.

Thankfully that message was improved recently, with the advent of Windows 10, was it? Thankfully the message now    says “Working on it” and I suspect this simple enhancement has averted many a heart attack.

These days, under the product name Windows 10, we are getting minor u[dates/fixes all the time, with major updates or “builds” being released every year or so. The latest on is the “10 May 2019” update with the build number being 1903 (year plus month, it was originally expected to be released in March 2019). Last year’s u[date was build 1809 (nominally for September  2018).

there’s no simple straightforward way to display the current build number. Users have no one-click, in-your-face option for knowing if their system is still on build 1809 or for confirming that it has been updated automatically to build 1903.

Therefore I’m asking Microsoft to make a simple enhancement to the System properties dialog to include the build number something like in the above screenshot.

Easy to implement, Microsoft, so do it yesterday!

Friday, May 03, 2019

TV closed captioning bloopers

For several years now, due to my increasing loss of high-frequency sounds, I've been using subtitles for movies and TV. They're also called Closed Captions (CC).

It has been quite amusing at times reading CCs that are produced on the fly for live TV programs (no time to prepare the subtitles in advance). I can imagine it's quite a challenge for the people doing the captioning, both in keeping up with fast talkers, and in accuracy.

Every now and then in a program an error or two appears, such as:

  • "conscious vote"  [conscience]
  • "drug cartels operating with impurity"  [impunity]
  • "Chatswood maul"  [mall]
  • "tie raids"  [tirades]
  • "the daughter gave her father glands as she entered the witness stand"  [a glance]
  • "eternal combustion engines""  [internal]
  • "the sour"  [this hour]
  • "astro fizzicist"  [astrophysicist]
  • "the hurricane left these tropical islands Baron and round"  [barren and drowned]
  • Discussing the State of Victoria's Assisted Dying bill:
      "people must get signoff by a dog"  [doctor ]
  • "aero diet"  [erudite]
  • "dodging tacks"  [tax]
  • "three yuk kids"  [young]
  • "history is often told by the vicar"  [victor]
  • '21st entry"  [century]

and many more like that.

It's a laugh a day in the world of closed captioning!

The most recent one that I've noticed, from last night's ABC Australia late evening  News (Victoria, 02 April 2019) relates to the firing by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May of her Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

She blamed him for the scandal caused by high-level leaking of Britain's position towards Chinese telecommunications company Huawei's participation in 5G roll-out.

The spoken headline for this news bulletin was captioned as:
"Theresa May sucks her Defence Secretary over leaking claims"  [sacks]

I imagine that the captioning file will be amended by the ABC if and when they notice this blog post.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

New motoring anti-theft accessory

In which cities/suburbs around the globe would you want to use this?

Attribution unknown

Friday, March 22, 2019

Open Live Writer (2019)–Demo of issue when including images

It seems to have been caused by Google’s closing of Picasa, and the deprecation of certain image-handling APIs used by Open Live Writer (OLW).

It all depends where you’re getting the images from, see for example OLW Fix for Google Photo publishing

I don’t use Google Photo, or any other image sharing service, and I decided to carry out a simple test related to the way that I use images in OLW (that is, images that have been uploaded to my own website).

Image 1
URL entered into “From the Web” dropdown
(not resized)

Image 2
URL entered into “From the Web” dropdown
and then resized
…  OK

Image 3
URL entered into “From the Web” dropdown
(an animated GIF)

Image 4

Image pasted from website page  FAIL

Image 5
Image pasted into Open Live Writer directly from local file system …

ERROR DIALOG …… Can’t publish files

                               The remote server returned an error: (400)
                               Bad Request.

I can live with this, but there’s no doubt that the way OLW used

Sunday, February 24, 2019

How to make dialectical life choices that are Bigglesworthy

Earlier today I was musing about consciousness, the meaning of life and such matters. This led me to dig up a post I wrote in one of my other blogs way back in November 2005, see What are the "basic questions" of life and the universe?

I made a quote from the frontispiece of one of the James Bigglesworth a.k.a. Biggles books, see and/or for an introduction to this fictional WW1 and WW2 pilot adventurer.

Here's the publication order of Biggles books -- I read many of them, they were very popular at that time. (See this)

In that blog post I quoted Biggles' philosophy -- from the front matter for the novel Spitfire Parade -- and suggested that perhaps Biggles' dialectical approach might the way to go in general (not just to piloting an aircraft):
When you are flying, everything is all right or it is not all right.

If it is all right there is no need to worry.

If it is not all right one of two things will happen.
Either you will crash or you will not crash.

If you do not crash there is no need to worry.

If you do crash one of two things is certain.
Either you will be injured or you will not be injured.

If you are not injured there is no need to worry.

If you are injured one of two things is certain
Either you will recover or you will not recover.

If you recover there is no need to worry.
If you don't recover you can't worry.
Perhaps you could use it to decide who to vote for in the next election, or to decide between an Android or Apple smartphone, or whether you'd like to be buried versus being cremated …  if you get my drift.

I can certainly see that his way of thinking would solve some problems or clarify some murky issues being debated.

Nobody ever commented on that 2005 blog post. Here's your chance!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

A matter of perspective - Melanoma post-surgery embarrassment

I underwent melanoma surgery early in 2013 involved removing a circular patch of skin (plus hair) on the top left of my scalp. I have a circular bald patch where the flesh was replaced with thin skin via a donor graft shaved from underneath the top right arm.

The bald patch has, at times, embarrassed me, but after the first few years I'm less worried about it.

Today I read this story about Jess Van Zeil and I doubt that I'll ever be embarrassed again. Her left eye was removed in 2015.

You'll see what I mean when your read the story.


Here are links to Jess Van Zeil’s Facebook page and her website.

There’s also Jess Van Zeil’s YouTube channel.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Being kind to people you hate, and dealing with difficult people

It's time to decide on your next New Year's resolution, and I'm suggesting that in 2019 dealing better with difficult people, even somebody you hate, is well worthy of consideration.

Get some ideas about this from the Medium article:
Why You Should Be Kind to People You Hate

Also there's the excellent (free) Bookboon e-book
    Dealing with Difficult People
    (a PDF with
this direct download link).

This is available at the Bookboon website as a short article
    Seven tools for expertly dealing with difficult peopleimage

That's not asking too much of you, I sincerely hope.

Note that I' have no claim whatsoever for being good at doing any of the above!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Amazon Australia’s men’s polo shirt rip-off pricing

This image was just sent to me by a friend, his written comments say all that’s necessary

He calls it the Amazon “Australia Tax.”


(click the mage to view a larger size)

You must be really vigilant about pricing when purchasing from Amazon Australia, so check each item’s price carefully.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Contrary messages about the benefits of versus harm done by antioxidants?

Medical news items can claim one thing while the latest research from a given source can be pointing to a different, and perhaps the opposite, conclusion.

For example the following (May 2018) seems to be saying that antioxidants are good for you:
       How can antioxidants benefit our health?

However you don't get the same impression from this article (November 2018):
      Melanoma - More evidence that antioxidants speed up tumor spread

  • "... after investigating certain antioxidants that bind to mitochondria, the team has produced further evidence that the substances either do not affect tumor growth or speed it up "
  • "... further research into the mechanisms through which antioxidants influence tumor growth and spread is required."
  • "… we know that once you have cancer, even if it has not been diagnosed, antioxidants can contribute to increased tumor growth."
So the jury certainly is out on this

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Blinkers -- for bicycle riders

Show this review to anybody you know who’s a bike rider:
Blinkers are to bicyclists what parachutes are to parachutists - life saving
                        (Gadget Guy Australia - 18 November2018)

Watch the brief video to see the blinkers in action.


I would like to see a gadget with bright flashing light that sits atop a tall fibre glass pole, my idea being that by being higher than the cyclist's head level it may well be more visible to motorists. IMO the blinkers are lower down, and might not be quite so apparent to motorists. Just a thought, I’m not really sure.

Will I ever ride again?

I have been scared stiff of riding since a couple of years ago, when I was deliberately riding slowly and carefully along a quiet nearby street on the way to a nearby off-road track. The late afternoon summer sun was behind me.

As I passed a parked SUV, its driver suddenly pulled out from the kerb and bumped into me, not violently, but knocking me off my bike into the path of oncoming traffic.

Luckily the approaching cars were far enough away to see what had happened to me and stop without hitting me.  I escaped with some grazing on one arm and the legs.


The driver of the SUV probably didn't check before pulling out from the kerb, and AFAIK didn't use her turn indicators to warn approaching traffic that she was starting to move off.  (She later mentioned because of the low position of the late afternoon sun she didn't or couldn't see me coming. So perhaps she did TRY to check after all, who knows?)

Another of my nine lives was used up by this incident.  I haven't been keeping count, so don't know how many more lives remain.

See the source image