Saturday, July 29, 2023

Delight over this insight into hindsight and foresight


CS168047 - "The boss wants me to create a computer algorithm that converts hindsite into foresight."

Yet another incisive comment by Aaron Bacal 1939-2015 (professionally known as Aaron Bacall).

As shown here a man of many talents.

I especially like that he was a chemistry teacher, since I was one too (in Victoria, Australia, during the 1960s, before I joined IBM in 1970).

Find out more about his work bt doing a web search like this.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Supposed "New Amazon Browser" deceptive e-mail threat

If you use any of the Amazon services, this may be of value to you.

Today (30 April 2023) I received an unsolicited e-mail as per the following screenshot:




Clicking on the top of the two highlighted links doesn't open a page on the offocial website, but instead opens the URL shown in the top arrow, which actually opens URL  which presents a "Save As" dialog that invites you to download and run the executable AmazonBrowser.exe

Clicking on the second link similarly does not visit a page on the official website either, but presents a prompt inviting you to open a spreadsheet file named invoicedue/xlsm

Of course, I didn't take up either of these invitations, because I'm sure they would have caused malware.and/or scamware to get installed and run on my Windows system.

So be on th elookout and avoid what seems to be yet another instance of online threats (which probably won't be restricted to just Amazon).

Thursday, April 20, 2023

TIP - the key misunderstood step needed to rearrange multiple displays in Windows

For years I have been using multiple monitors on my Windows desktop systems, as in the following photo for Windows 7, more than a decade ago, when I used four 1920x1080 (FHD) displays, all in landscape mode:

You have to configure multiple monitors so that Windows knows their relative positions (it has access to their resolutions via device properties of each display).

The animated GIF below shows how you carry out the relative positioning under Windows 10 (Windows 11 is similar, earlier versions of Windows looked slightly different).

These days I use larger 1920x1200 (WUXGA) monitors, with the rightmost monitor in portrait mode (better for long lists and tall documents):

You use the "Identify" button to show the device number that Windows has given to each monitor.

People seem to encounter trouble with using the mouse to drag-and-drop the rectangles during this relative positioning of displays, I can tell you that I did myself early on when I started using multiple monitors It can be a little tricky to get the relative positions to "sticK" (a web search like this reveals the annoyance that it has caused some people).

The key action, as demonstrated above, is to drag each rectangle right across the border of the adjoining rectangle and release the mouse button.

After that the rectangle that was being dragged springs back and leaves a small visual gap between the two rectangles. It seems that his gap causes people to keep trying to get the two rectangles to touch each other, but you just have to get used to the fact that this is not how it works.

The procedure often fails of you merely drag each rectangle near bit not right across the border of the adjacent rectangle.

I hope the above tip resolves this annoying issue for you.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Solubag - biodegradable material for the creation of non-polluting bags

From a Chilean company ....  which says "The material was created in 2014"

So I'm wondering why we haven't heard about Solubag. Well, before chancing upon it today today I hadn't seen a mention of Solubag anywhere.

This makes mw wonder what are the pros and cons of Solubag. (Comments welcome)

YouTube channel:

Watch at least this onw:  This Plastic-Free Bag Dissolves In Water Within 5 Minutes

And also watch:  Chinese tech help Chilean company create water soluble plastic bag
which demonstrates that the dissolved bags form a potable solution! See the video segments starting at time 0:26, 1:02 and 2:38.

Image result for martini cartoon

So, anyone for a Solubag martini - shaken, or stirred?

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

A few simple tips for ordering (and fast delivery) via Amazon Prime

I joined Amazon Prime very soon after it was offered in Australia (a couple of years) ago, and find it a compelling service offering.

There are some wonderful TV series and movies on Prime TV, Kindle Unlimited is an excellent source of e-books, and Amazon customer service is pretty good (for example, easy returns of unsatisfactory/faulty goods), all which lead me to remain a happy customer.

When choosing and ordering items, there are a few things to consider, which I've tried to demonstrate via three screenshots, which are for my account on Amazon Prime AU (Australia), but should be applicable to other Amazon country websites.

(1) Amazon Prime membership should offer you fast delivery



(2) Seek out the best purchase/delivery options




(3) Choose items carefully

DO YOUR RESEARCH … Amazon items can usually be found at great prices, but not always the best. Be sure to compare with other online sources, such as eBay.

Exactly the same item from different Amazon AU web pages (that is, different sellers) will usually be priced differently.

Once you've decided on a particular item, be sure to search for the identical item on different Amazon web pages.

Sometimes it's a matter of only a few cents or a few dollars. but occasionally the price difference can be huge, below being one glaring example:



Sunday, October 11, 2020

A view of the White House–2020 and 2021

2020 .. "Trump House"


2021 (hopefully) … "Peoples' House"


See There's one headline about Donald Trump that has not been printed but makes the most sense of all
          (Sydney Morning Herald – 11 October 2020)

"…there is one headline that has not been printed but that makes the most sense of all: "Donald Trump suffers from a dangerous incurable narcissistic disorder which makes him incapable of empathy or reason. He is a grave danger to the US and the world."

"In the space of a single week, Trump has exhibited three of the defining features of narcissistic personality disorder – sociopathy in defence of a “false self”, disordered thinking that renders him incapable of reason, and a constant need for adulation. Every headline on this president has spotlighted one or other aspect of his narcissistically disordered mind."

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Allavsoft video downloader – as easy as A, B, C


I've written previously about Allavsoft’s excellent Video Downloader and Converter for Windows (and Mac) and would like to repeat my commendation that it's an excellent way to obtain offline copies of a wide range of videos found on the Web.

Today I'd like to emphasize how easy Allavsoft is to use.

STEP A: Once you launch this downloader, you simply go to the Web page for a particular video and copy that page's URL (or copy the link of a video from within that page) to the system's clipboard.

A second or two later the link should appear automatically (or else, just click the "Paste URL" button):


Then click the big blue button (with a white arrow) in the bottom right corner of the window.

STEP B: If multiple videos are found on the Web page, you are given the option to download just the first video or all of the videos on that page:


This is especially convenient for downloading complete seasons of TV episodes.

STEP C: The videos are downloaded, and you can easily monitor the download status of each video:


You can play a video, as shown in screenshot (D), either by right-clicking it and selecting "Play Downloaded File…" or by right-clicking and choosing "Locate Downloaded File…" to go to the download folder on your system and then playing it with some other player such as VLC media player:


It couldn't be easier.

Allavsoft doesn't just download each video as single file, in a long-running single download stream, but does it in a smart and efficient fashion by the parallel downloading of small chunks (segments), followed by a short burst of activity at the end of the download to recombine those chunks into a single video file.

The screenshot on the right of the CPU Usage gadget (in Windows) with all 16 threads on my AMD Ryzen 7 processor close to being maxed out for a couple of seconds while this merging of chunks occurs.

You can use Option > Preference… as shown in screenshot (1) to do things like altering the download directory, and to tinker with things like the number of concurrent downloads, as shown by screenshot (2):


A useful tip is that you can hold down the Ctrl key (or the Mac equivalent) to enable access to some additional/expanded settings. For example, normally you cannot choose more that 7 video files being simultaneously down loaded:


However, the hidden/extended preferences allow you to choose up to 30 concurrent downloads (screenshot 3):


My empirical testing indicates that you would have to have an extremely powerful system to even consider going beyond about 10 concurrent downloads, otherwise your system will surely grind to a halt.

Most users will not need to do any such tinkering.

I started in the IT industry when I joined IBM Australia in 1970, and have decades of experience in dealing with software developers/vendors and the degree to which they support (or fail to support) their customers.

I can assure you that, as a paying customer, I have been quite impressed with the responsiveness and thoroughness of Allavsoft's customer support team. They have always replied quickly to any matters that I have raised, often with a few hours, which is a rare thing in the software industry.

In my case they have fixed issues quickly, usually within a day or two (even the same day, in some cases), so you can be sure that they will look after you. Often this may not be any sort of problem with the Allavsoft program itself, but the websites holding videos sometimes change the way that their videos are presented (say, when a video hosting website undergoes a sweeping design change), and Allavsoft have always been able to decipher the website changes and adjust the downloader to handle the changes.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Ugly non-transparent titles still being used by The Conversation

A year or two ago I contacted The Conversation (Australia) and pointed out that the then recent change in the way that titles of articles  were displayed was a turn for the worse.

My attempt to influence this poor design were unsuccessful, so for the last couple of years titles have been displayed as non-transparent areas with a solid white background superimposed on the image that appears at the top of each article, like this one:


Just like Closed captioning (CC) on free-to-air television the solid background is very ugly, and it hides sections of the underlying image (which can block out major parts of TV broadcasts such as charts and weather maps).

In my opinion, the captions should (perhaps selectively) be presented with transparent backgrounds, like the subtitling used by Netflix and Amazon Prime TV. (You may have to use configuration options to change from solid to transparent background.)

It is bizarre that on the home page of The Conversation titles utilise transparent text, such as:


Obviously they could use transparent title text everywhere, not just on the home page, and I remain puzzled why they don't.

I notice that both the  "Africa" and the "Global Perspectives" editions of The Conversation use the original layout, for example:



This is a weird inconsistency.

I promised myself that when once I became an octogenarian (which happened in early July this year) I would try to stress out and stop being annoyed by such things, and try to live a calmer life.

But it seems that I can't. Every time that I read an article in The Conversation I still have the same reaction. C'est la vie!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Stringent new rules for COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria (13 September 2020)

All residents of and visitors to Victoria should become familiar with these extended rules.


They will take effect from  11:59 pm on Sunday 13 September 2020.