Monday, December 31, 2012

VentraIP 2012 end of year bargains, but not for all

When a business makes an offer, it needs to be very careful about the exact wording of the offer. And especially so if it’s sent out by mail when the wording cannot be retracted as it might if the offer appears, say, on a web page where it can be edited at any time.

I’m an existing customer of VentraIP with website, starting from mid-2012 when they made an offer that was too good to refuse, and I’ve had website hosted with them since then (and going very well, no issues whatsoever).

I receive their regular marketing e-mails, and was very happy to read the following one that arrived in the early hours of Boxing Day (26/12/2012):

Email Header

Hi Tony,

We made it!

Looks like it wasn't the end of the world after all, and as promised we're holding a massive sale celebration to see out 2012.

75% off new web hosting services

You and your friends, family and colleagues can purchase any new Economy or EconomyPLUS, Multi-Account and Multi-AccountPLUS or Business and BusinessPLUS cPanel hosting service and take 75% off the first invoice. Simply place your order via our website and use the coupon code 75OFF to apply the discount.

More than 50% off 1 Year EasyTrust SSL certificate

Grab a new EasyTrust SSL certificate for just $24.95 for 1 year when you place your order via our website and use coupon code 25OFFSSL.

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and cheers to 2013.

Kind regards,

Cheyne Jonstone
Chief Executive Officer

This was something I’d been waiting for, an offer similar to the one that I’d taken advantage of on mid-2012, so I jumped online and started the ordering process, I wanted to sign up for the same sort of deal as previously, paying up front for three years of web hosting.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the following web page:


(The yellow highlighting and question mark are mine.)

Compare the above wording with that of a VentraIP offer made earlier this month which in part reads:

80% Off New Hosting Services!

Santa Bear is feeling very generous this Christmas, and this year he has a coupon for 80% off the first invoice for any new Economy, Business or Multi-Account cPanel web hosting plan for up to 1 year.

To take advantage of this extra special offer, simply use coupon code SB80 when placing your order online.

You’ll notice immediately (since I’ve highlighted it in red) that this offer made earlier in December clearly does not extend past one year of hosting. I examined the Boxing Day offer very carefully, and could find No such phrase, so before starting off the ordering process I certainly didn’t expect there to be any such restriction.

I raised an eTicket explaining the above points carefully and precisely.

Subsequently I’ve had a couple of e-mail interactions with VentraIP staff, who claim that the offer is for up to one year of web hosting and don’t agree with me that the wording does not state this restriction. (They gloss over the fact that it says “You and your friends, family and colleagues can purchase any new . . . cPanel hosting service and take 75% off the first invoice.” where I’ve highlighted the key term in red.)

In one of my e-mails, I asked to be put in touch with VentraIP CEO Cheyne Jonstone himself, to no avail. I’m still waiting, but not holding my breath.

My philosophy is always to ask to go straight for the the top person in the organization, but the dragons guarding the door very rarely let that happen!

Hell, I’m running a business myself and as CEO of that business I will always let any customer or prospect get in direct touch with me to discuss my software and services. After more than forty years in the IT business I have no doubt whatsoever that rapid and effective communication with prospects and customers is one of the very top attributes of a successful organization.

Communication, communication, communication! … Equates to Service, service, service!

In this case, all I’m after is for VentraIP to admit that their Boxing Day offer was deficiently worded, and that they should have been more careful.

Cheyne, that e-mail went out over your name, so I await a call from you. And when you do call I’ll happily update this post with your view on these matters.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The premise is … I’m getting even madder

I was reading this IBM Redbook today, and it didn’t make a good first impression:


I really love IBM Redbooks, but not at all the way that this one starts off. Integrating cloud systems with on-premise systems? You don’t say!

The Redbook makes lots of incorrect statements, such as this gem (one of many) on page 5:

Monitor and manage resources in a standardized way across on-premise and off-premise resources.

Then today there was this article in Climate Spectator concerning the stand taken by  Australian senator John Madigan:

In his concern for the potential health effects of wind turbines, Madigan has put before parliament a series of amendments to the Renewable Energy Act. These would suspend the accreditation of a wind farm to create renewable energy certificates if it creates “excessive noise”. He defines that to be when the level of noise that is attributable to the wind farm exceeds background noise by 10 dB(A) or more when measured within 30 metres of a household or business premise.

Within 30 metres of a household or business premise, really? (I wasn’t aware that a premise can be location-based, were you?)

What have these two got in common? Surely you already realize what I’m getting at? If not, take a peek at this post of mine back in April 2010 and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Unfortunately this particular mangling of a beautifully bizarre language goes on every day like the above two examples. We see it a lot in Australia due to the roll-out of our National Broadband Network and use of the term whose acronym is FTTP

So I must trudge wearily on, trying to make sure that the final “s” is used wherever necessary.

I know, I know, I should do something better with my time, but it gets under my skin and irritates me intensely, so I scratch and scratch and therefore need to do something about it.

So my campaign struggles on -- based on the premise that if I continue to highlight this sad matter then at least a few people might see the error of their ways.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Suffer Not the Little Ones – Monsters and demons on the Internet

Not my usual sort of post. Reading the following feature article on MakeUseOf I quickly decided that I simply HAD to point you all towards it for your careful consideration.

Without further comment:

Unfortunate Truths about Child Pornography and the Internet

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Aussie 8-year-olds learning atomic structure and the Periodic Table

Before I joined IBM Australia in 1970, I spent most of the 1960s teaching Chemistry, General Science and Mathematics to older high school students.

A couple of times at the start of each year I would take classes of junior grade kids newly arrived from primary school. I always admired their freshness, openness and willingness to learn – that is, before years of high school regimentation wore off some of that freshness and keenness.

After more than forty years in the IT industry, I am attempting to undertake a broad-brush relearning of all things scientific, on various aspects of physics, chemistry, life sciences, cosmology, climate science and other things that have developed so much over those four decades and still intrigue me.


This includes wondering about how high school science teachers go about things these days. So I was extremely interested in a segment earlier this evening in the 7.30 program on ABC Australian television.

Physics and chemistry are the bane of many a high school student, but what if we're pitching the ideas to them too late? Can eight-year-olds absorb atomic theory? One teacher has asked that question in a bold experiment at a Brisbane primary school. And he says it shows young minds are much more advanced than we think.

Read the transcript and watch the recording here… Weird science reveals more advanced students … I think you’ll be surprised, or even a little amazed.


How to install CDBurnerXP (and WinSCP) without Open Candy

CDBurnerXP is free and very good software for burning CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray disks, but unfortunately the default installer installs OpenCandy which troubles some people.

Cranial Soup, for example, states:

They claim to be doing something noble, but the only thing sweet about OpenCandy is the sales pitch to naive developers that might just fall for it, tricking them into thinking it is somehow different than the typical common adware/spyware. … A lot of developers do seem to be biting the bait, but no matter how you slice it, it's still adware/spyware, and to me it stinks worse than the old fashioned kind.

The WinSCP program ( a free SFTP, SCP and FTP client for Windows) gives its reasons for including OpenCandy:

WinSCP uses OpenCandy advertising module in its sponsored installation package. By using this version of the installer you support WinSCP development. Thanks you! [sic] If you do not want to support WinSCP development in this way, you can always use the other ad-free installation package.

The OpenCandy module shows at maximum one ad and only during the installation. WinSCP application itself does not contain OpenCandy and does not show any ads.

OpenCandy is advertising application. It is similar to Google AdSense, except it displays advertisements in installation program instead on a website. These advertisements promote another software packages. The advertisements are selected by providers of software being installed (in case of WinSCP it means WinSCP developers). When user installing a software (WinSCP) chooses to install promoted package, revenue is generated and shared between OpenCandy and software providers (WinSCP developers).

The Wikipedia article on OpenCandy provides a partial list of software that uses OpenCandy, and states:

OpenCandy has attracted criticism because of privacy concerns. Past versions of OpenCandy were considered adware by Microsoft Security Essentials as they "may send user-specific information ... without obtaining adequate user consent". OpenCandy have claimed that this is because another company used OpenCandy without the formal warning in their EULA.

Well, as a software developer and vendor I can understand the supposed benefits of OpenCandy, but I wouldn’t use it myself and am not so happy about Windows installers that use it.

I’ve been using CDBurnerXP for a number of years, but only today came across its somewhat obscure option to avoid using OpenCandy. (Perhaps I’ve missed this option because it was only recently added, does anybody know when it appeared?)

Image (A) shows the regular CDBurnerXP download page, where I’ve placed a bubble to show the relevant link that’s very easy to overlook:


Clicking on the link “More download options” leads to an alternative download page, as shown in image (B), with the trimmed-down installer links circled:


WinSCP has a similar installer that omits OpenCandy.

I wonder how many other programs offer a bypass like this. While OpenCandy is fairly benign, it can be an unwanted intrusion on your Windows system, so bypassing it should be a universal option.

Monday, December 03, 2012

She’s Arnold Pointer’s pet Great White Shark

A friend of mine just emailed me the following amazing photos:

image00331  image00441
image00551   image00771

What inspiring affection by the huge beast, truly an uplifting tale coming to us over the Internet tubes for our enlightenment and edification.

Now I know that Great Whites are capable of being much more than just primitive, mean chomping machines, so I can be far more unconcerned about dark shapes when I’m out surfing along Victoria’s coast.

The trouble is… Well, see for yourself: Link1 and Link2 and more going back to year 2007/2008 -- why do these persist, don’t people have anything better to do with their time?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Recommended personal copyright statement for all Facebook users

I just came across the following recommendation for ALL users of Facebook:

For the reasoning behind it, see Facebook debunks viral hoax that it owns users' content

I wonder how many Facebook users have even considered this aspect. Would they have the same concerns. Do you (and why)?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What causes Ice Ages to come and go? (cross-link)

Over at one of my other blogs, Basic Questions, I’ve managed to get my grey matter into gear again, see:

What causes Ice Ages to come and go?

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to fix Eudora spell checker when it locks up (hangs, freezes) when the Send button is clicked

The Eudora mail client is still treasured by some people, myself included, even though it was decommitted by Qualcomm some years ago. It still does a very good job, and I don’t want to move on to some other mail client and lose functionality that I’ve come to depend on (not to forget nearly 20 years’ worth of mail logs).

I’ve just upgraded to a new desktop PC, and had to re-install Eudora. Back came a familiar problem: it kept freezing when I clicked the send button on some messages.

Luckily I’ve been through it all before, and knew the solution, no sweat. Here it is for you other Eudora users who might still encounter this problem – I know that I’m not the only one, we dinosaurs are not yet extinct!

Eudora locks up (hangs, freezes) when the Send button is clicked.

Most likely due to one or more of the three spell-checking files have read-only attribute set, meaning that they cannot be updated when any spelling is corrected, even a single word and even if the only spelling error is in the Subject line.

The files are uchange.tlx, uignore.tlx and usuggest.tlx


Selecting the option Warn me when sending/queuing message with misspellings
is what triggers the lock-ups (hangs, freezes):


Be sure to switch off this outgoing messages option.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fellow procrastinators… DO NOT put off doing this!


Time flies – tempus fugit. Should I do it? When should I do it? Why not put it off until tomorrow?

Yes, that will be fine. Mañana Is Soon Enough for Me

It was after a fierce struggle with myself that I wrote this blog post today -- or at all.

What I actually meant to eventually get around to recommending is that you do not delay in reading the following New Yorker book review:

What does procrastination tell us about ourselves?

“The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy.”

Go on, learn more about yourself, read this New Yorker article NOW.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ESLUG evento: 20 de septiembre en Madrid, NotesTracker presentación


I am extremely happy to announce that leading Spanish IBM partner Domino Plus has been appointed European value-added reseller and regional support point for NotesTracker. See the blog of Alejandro Ahumada here.

For the last few months I’ve been working with Dominique Perarnaud from Domino Plus who is implementing NotesTracker for a client in Spain.

He is delighted to have been given the opportunity to give a lunchtime presentation this Friday for ESLUG, the Spanish Lotus User Group.

Dominique plans to introduce NotesTracker and then share his leading-edge experiences using NotesTracker with XPages.  Below are the meeting details…


Evento de ESLUG 2012
que celebraremos el dia 20 de Septiembre

12:00 - 13:00

“Seguridad de aplicaciones con Notestracker”

IBM Forum,
calle Corazón de María, 44 esquina con Santa Hortensia,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We Drive NOTES Further

Ah, nostalgia. The following page has been on my website for years, and nobody has ever commented, I wonder why!

I’m still driving that trusty and comfortable Mitsubishi, got it when I first started working with Notes Release 3 way back in 1993. … Have no real desire to change, it still does a great job, and newer models don’t offer all that much more (the 80/20 rule at work again).

Here at
Asia/Pacific Computer Services
We Drive NOTES Further!


Beat that!

Friday, August 24, 2012

MailWasher Pro 2012 for PC–100% OFF daily deal coming soon

Here’s a rare chance for you to get a MOST EXCELLENT anti-spam/malware tool for nix (normally about $30).

I rely heavily on it and use it day in, day out.

MailWasher gives you ultimate monitoring and control over your incoming mail while it’s still on your mail server, before you allow the auto- or manually-selected good messages into your PC.

Made by some very friendly and competent people in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I recommend it unreservedly -- even if it were at full retail price, much less as a giveaway. It looks good and performs extremely well.

If for some reason you happen to miss the deal, buy MailWasher anyway and help some people in Christchurch recover from the recent earthquakes.
-- Cheers, Tony.


MailWasher Pro 2012 for PC - Coming Soon

100% Off … See the Deal
                      Download Trial

MailWasher Pro is able to stop unwanted spam and virus-laden email messages before they're downloaded to your computer, on an unlimited number of email accounts.

Read more…

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How I overcome the Windows 7 mouse properties dialog hanging and permanently showing “Not Responding”

Here’s a tip reminding myself how to do this (months later when I’ve forgotten all about how I solved it last time), and hopefully to assist all you other sufferers who will be equally perplexed by this baffling behavior…

The situation is that this evening I wanted to make a minor adjustment to my mouse wheel’s scrolling speed. So I opened the Windows Control Panel and selected the “Mouse” option.

Unexpectedly, the Mouse Properties panel went into a permanent “hang” state. Notice how the dialog is greyed out and the “busy” indicator does not disappear after a second or two (this is a spinning circle in Windows 7, an hourglass in earlier Windows versions):


These days I use the built-in Windows 7 Firewall, and Microsoft Security Essentials (once called Windows Defender) antimalware service. I find them pretty much as good as any of the third party offerings (Norton, Kaspersky, etc.) and I’ve always been warned of any potential “nasties”.

Some time ago, I happened to notice that the Windows antimalware service executable “MsMpEng.exe” was running flat out, using a continuous 24 to 25 percent of the CPU. This really shouldn’t happen: it’s errant behavior, but I’ve learned to live with it, there are more important things for me to be concerned with.

Please note that this 24-25 percent in my case represents a runaway task. On your system a higher percentage may occur, but I use the excellent and very highly recommended Process Lasso to keep this service throttled back so that it doesn’t swamp my CPU. In fact, I specify that this service can use only one core of my quad-core processor (the so-called processor Affinity setting) and that it should run at a low priority.

Process Lasso enables you to do all sorts of smart things like this to control your applications as well as Windows tasks and thus keep the performance of your system equitably balanced across all the applications that you run.

So, looking at the Windows Task Manager I notice how the MsMpEng.exe task is more active than it should be:



Based on experience, fearlessly I now cancel the MsMpEng.exe task:


A warning now pops up:


I either click the “Start now” button or simply ignore it, knowing that Windows will automatically restart this important antimalware service within a few seconds (for the first two failures, at least).


Going back to the Mouse Properties dialog, I see that it is now responding (no longer in a hung state), and contentedly make the intended change to mouse properties.

Easy when you know how, huh?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Informed consent, software-wise (or software-dumb?)

You must learn something new each and every day of your life, so I keep reminding my young grandsons. It’s a maxim that I still follow myself, in a desperate bid to keep my brain alert and defer that day when my grey matter finally degenerates into a useless pile of wobbly jelly.

As an example, this morning for the first time I came across the legal term “informed consent” which is explained thus at Wikipedia:

“An informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and future consequences of an action. In order to give informed consent, the individual concerned must have adequate reasoning faculties and be in possession of all relevant facts at the time consent is given.”

I was led to this learning opportunity by David Platt’s MSDN Magazine Blog post The Myth of Informed Consent (go read it yourself before continuing here). He finishes with:

“We developers are the experts, and users depend on us. We cannot abdicate our responsibility by asking for guidance from someone who cannot possibly know. Informed consent in computing is a myth, and companies that claim it as an excuse for their malpractice are weasels. Stop it. Now.”

“Low Risk”? Who knows?

David was commenting on the a dialog box generated by Norton Internet Security which leaves the hapless computer user to work out and decide on the significance of the meaning of an obscure message. Actually, I’d go even further and call the message is obscurantist (rather than just obscure), leaving the user most likely to have to guess what to do, rather than coming to a reasoned conclusion.

Software tends to be rather difficult to design, develop and test, and in my experience the people involved typically focus on the the technical architecture/design/coding accuracy rather than the textual precision and accuracy.

Usability testers should always be involved, and if worth their salt they should pick up on wordings and meanings that are obscure, incomplete, misleading, indeterminate, and so on. I wonder how much software gets released without any significant degree of usability testing.

Sensible and accurate wordsmithing takes time and effort, hence adds cost (which is doubtless the reason why it’s often not done). Further, not all people are good at writing clearly and concisely – not to mention spelling properly, as well as using accurate terms and terminology.

As an aside, my pet peeve at the moment is the schoolboy howler error of referring to a single building as a “premise” when discussing broadband (such as Australia’s National Broadband Network), using terms such as cabling is laid right up to the premise and  in-premise terminating equipment. However it wasn’t my intention here to focus on poor writing, spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and the like, bad practice as they are.

David Platt’s security warning dialog box is just one example of the sort of rubbish that software designers and developers keep forcing upon us.

You’ve surely got your own examples. Below, without further commentary, are a few others: inane, puzzling and meaningless gibberish from software vendors big and small,  that I’ve collected over the years …

Mr. Software Vendor, I do happen to run more than one application at a time,
not just the one YOU developed, whichever it is of all that are currently active!
And I have multiple hard drives.

At least I know that the problem’s occurring with Eudora,
but that’s about all I know.

Thanks for telling me, so what?

I knew this was associated with Acronis True Image. but what should I reply?
[It took some time to discover which of the drives was “hard disk 7’ and
I wonder why they don’t make it easy by quoting the drive letter instead]

image  image
You don’t say!

  image image
I do really like Lotus Notes, but all the same …

Techsmith does it too (not just IBM Lotus Software) …

… about as useful as the following:

Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?


UPDATE: here’s one that I got just a say or two after posting this story…


The above are laughable, but for God’s sake:
Stan Cross (in Smith’s Weekly, 1933, Australia).

This is one of my favorite illustrations of all time!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Walking briskly for health management (and exercise for avoiding cancer)

You might be interested in a couple of entries that I’ve just added to the Sciences, Medicine & Health page of my website, at and its backup

There’s a lot more of general value on that page, go check it out!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Simple Signer version 1.2 for IBM Lotus Notes released (freeware)

Simple Signer version 1.2 is now available for download.

It’s your simplest and easiest way to “sign” Lotus Notes database applications, that is, to stamp tall the design elements that make up each application: forms, view, XPages, agents, etc. When signed with your own organization’s Lotus Notes signature the applications are properly prepared/authorized to run in your organization’s IBM Lotus Notes/Domino production environment.

Signing is usually required when you obtain a Notes application from an external source, or before your own in-house-developed applications are moved from the development stage into productions.

Simple Signer was developed to make application signing easy for anybody to carry out.

You can download Simple Signer version 1.2 right now from (Australia) or (USA) web servers.

UPDATE: Please download a refreshed copy of Simple Signer v1.2 that was uploaded on 23rd June, without local encryption (which was causing the error "This database has local access protection"). Apologies for the slip up.

The self-extractor requires a PASSWORD … NotesTracker (what else would you expect from me?)

Apart from a few minor changes, the main enhancement is the ability to keep an audit trail of the various database signing events, for example:


As usual with applications provided by Asia/Pacific Computer Services, it is fully documented -- via the built-in Help About This Application and Help Using This Application menu items.

Simple Signer’s design is unhidden (“open source” more or less, you might call it) so you can tweak it to work exactly how you like.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Simple Signer version 1.2 for IBM Lotus Notes released (freeware)

Simple Signer version 1.2 is now available for download.

It’s your simplest and easiest way to “sign” Lotus Notes database applications, that is, to stamp tall the design elements that make up each application (forms, view, XPages, agents, etc. When signed with your own organization’s Lotus Notes signature the applications are properly prepared/authorized to run in your organization’s IBM Lotus Notes/Domino production environment.

Signing is usually required when you obtain a Notes application from an external source, or before your own in-house-developed applications are moved from the development stage into productions.

Simple Signer was developed to make application signing easy for anybody to carry out.

You can download Simple Signer version 1.2 right now from (Australia) or (USA) web servers.

The self-extractor requires a password, which is NotesTracker (what else would you expect from me?)

Apart from a few minor changes, the main enhancement is the ability to keep an audit trail of the various database signing events, for example:


As usual with applications provided by Asia/Pacific Computer Services, it is fully documented -- via the built-in Help About This Application and Help Using This Application menu items.

Simple Signer;s design is unhidden (“open source” more or less, you might call it) so you can tweak it to work exactly how you like.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Just found out that I’m strong minded… Are you?

I have no attribution for this, but I surprised myself by tearing through it like greased lightning. At warp speed, in fact, which you would expect from a warped mind like mine!


Mens sana in corpore sano, indeed.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Testing Windows 8 Release Preview in desktop mode – not a nice story

I have today installed the recently-released Windows 8 Release Preview.

As I did with the earlier Consumer Preview version, I installed it as a virtual machine running under Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager (which as you may know came to Oracle as part of the Sun Microsystems acquisition, but  started off before that a German product).

Here’s the Windows 8  Release Preview, running in desktop mode, as I would only want it to be on my main work and development system:


I might look pretty, but so far I’ve found it VERY, VERY awkward to use via mouse and keyboard, compared with Windows 7 (and all previous Windows releases that I’ve used, back to Windows 3.0).

Keep in mind that I’ve been using all sorts of computer systems since joining IBM in 1970 (and even for a few years before that), so I cannot in any way be considered a mere beginner.

I certainly do understand that Microsoft is trying its very darnedest to move its cash cow user base along into the touchscreen/tablet world. That makes a lot of sense for a sizeable proportion of the emerging market. If I had a tablet PC, I assuredly would like the “metro” mode that Windows 8 embraces.

But, frankly, as a “power user” (intense technical user) I find the “metro” mode to be extremely annoying and timewasting.

The icons occupy far too much screen real estate, the constant swiping is highly frustrating (especially when using  mouse to mimic finger movement), and what was a single click under Windows 7 (and its predecessors) now usually will take several clumsy actions under Windows 8. Multiply all those extra swipe/click actions by the  hundreds of times per day that I carry them out, and it results in a major loss in productivity for me – and, I’m pretty confident to postulate, for a big slab of potential Windows 8 users.

As shown in earlier Blogger posts of mine, such as this one and this one, I happen to use four 1600x1200 monitors arranged in an inverted T fashion (enabling me to open windows as wide as 4800 pixels or as tall as 2400 pixels), often with numerous  windows open on the various monitors:

ND851_with_ND703_under_Win7_XP_Mode_at_top_thumb%5B1%5D[1] PICT0007

Now, I understand that (compared with the earlier Consumer Preview version) the Windows 8 Release Preview apparently supports multiple monitors, but since VirtualBox only emulates a single monitor [as far as I know] couldn’t test this.

The support of multiple monitors has been outstanding since at least Windows XP, so I wouldn’t expect any less for Windows 8. I wonder whether the experience would work for multiple touchscreens running in “metro” mode (has anyone tried it?).

What I wanted near the very start of Windows 8 installation was a single radio button or checkbox option to have installed Windows 8 in a pure desktop mode, identical (or as closely as possible) to the way that Windows 7 and earlier version get installed, with all the old Windows 7 style features supported in as close as possible to the same way.

Why impose a far from trivial re-learning effort on users of previous Windows versions by foisting the “metro” way of doing things upon them when they’re still using non-touchscreen PCs? … Let them enjoy the new mode when they get their first touchscreen device.

So far, I’ve spent 3 or 4 hours fiddling with Windows 8 options that have only got me a small way along the path of making Windows 8 desktop look, feel and act like Windows 7 desktop. It’s been an extremely frustrating experience, and I suspect that it’s bound to fail not much further along the path. This is NOT good news for all of those confirmed Windows desktop mode users out there!

Microsoft made the move from Windows 200 to Windows XP not too difficult, with only a few things rearranged and/or hidden away in different spots. The move to Windows Vista was a bit more dramatic, but not unmanageable, Windows 7 was IMHO easier than Vista.

Based on my limited trials, but a good “gut feel” after decades in the industry, I reckon that moving to Windows 8 is going to be a real nightmare for users upgrading from earlier Windows versions.

However I surmise that the Windows 8 experience will be quite pleasant and rewarding for all those users – possibly a very large proportion – who get Windows 8 preinstalled on a tablet device. And this is where Microsoft is making a big gamble, I suppose. Time will tell.

What would a reactionary old codger like me know, anyway? … Then again, perhaps I’m not so technologically unaware as this other old-timer (it starts with a few sentences in German, no need for a translation, you will guess the meaning):

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Greeks leave large wooden horse as gift to European Central Bank


This needs no explanation, read about it here or here.

Πολύ καλή σχολίων …

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide deficiency (250+ million years out)

There’s great debate, fear and trepidation in the Australian population about the economic and lifestyle impacts of the Carbon Tax due to come into effect down here in July 2012. See this search or this other search for some articles about it.

But all things are relative, and it won’t be too long before the tax will need to be repealed, perhaps in 250 million years or so!

To quote from the fascinating article The end of Earth, the end of us, and the end of the universe 

It is a rare person indeed who thinks of 50 or 100 years in the future — but what about 1,000 years? Or a million years? Or a billion years? …

… Between 250 million and 800 million years from now, Earth will slowly become inhabitable [sic, surely meant to be uninhabitable], due to the Sun’s increasing luminosity (the old girl hasn’t reached her peak yet!) As temperatures rise, weathering increases, and the amount of carbon dioxide drops to a point where plants can no longer photosynthesize. 1 billion years from now, the Sun’s luminosity will have increased by 10%, resulting in an average Earth surface temperature of 47 degrees Celsius (117F). At this point, the oceans will evaporate into space, and shortly after, almost all remaining lifeforms will die.

So there you are, in a blind panic Down Under we’ve introduced yet one more piece of ultimately useless legislation that will need to be repealed a bit later on, a microscopically tiny way further along than today on the scale of our Sun’s life cycle:

Oh, aren’t politicians everywhere so impetuous and short-sighted. (wink)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rast in peas unty Josie

You just can’t get reliable staff these days, apparently, or at least good spellers.

Apparently a Russian-born assistant at a florist in Springvale (a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, not too far from where I live) earlier this month made some “grave” spelling mistakes when writing out a floral wreath card:


If the card had been inscribed “Rust in peas” perhaps I would give it a pass mark, since what happens to us after burial is a process somewhat akin to rusting!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

How to allow LibreOffice 3.5 upgrade and avoid being prevented by IBM Lotus Symphony quickstarter

I just tried to upgrade LibreOffice 3.5.0 to 3.5.2 and kept getting blocked by the error message: “Please exit LibreOffice 3.5 and the LibreOffice 3.5 Quickstarter before you continue. …”

As usual, I’ve decided to document my findings, to help others in the same situation.


To make a long story short, this was not caused by a concurrent installation of OpenOffice (which for the moment I have uninstalled in favor of LibreOffice), but by an installation of IBM Lotus Symphony. That’s fair enough, since it seems that all three variations of OpenOffice share the same installer checking code.

After a little tinkering, I found that to allow the LibreOffice installer to proceed in this case it was necessary to cancel the IBM Lotus Symphony quickstarter task called soffice.bin (thanks for the correction, Lars).

That’s all, folks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Working with Dragon NaturallySpeaking in IBM Lotus Notes

Following a query in another post, I’ve received an official answer from Nuance Communications about using Dragon NaturallySpeaking with IBM Lotus Notes.

See Working with Dragon NaturallySpeaking in IBM Lotus Notes either here or here