scribbles tagged ‘Microsoft’

Pull the plug

Friday, July 1st, 2016 | tags: , , , ,  |

Mum: can I switch my computer off while I’m away?

Wendy: yes, there’s a button on the side…

Mum: No, I mean can I just pull the plug out of the wall, I want to use the socket for a timer and side light?

Wendy: Yes, that should work

Pull the plug
3 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

Windows 10 on one surface, not the other

Sunday, September 6th, 2015 | tags: , , , ,  |

I wont be downloading windows 10 on my 2nd surface. I want to savour the excellent tablet oriented design  of Windows 8. Design that didn’t assume that a physical keyboard was attached. That’s how I use my surfaces. I’ll miss Windows 8. It looks like Microsoft has focussed the design of Windows 10 on the assumption of a keyboard attached as the primary use context. Not designed for me, or people that enjoy the tablet form factor (without they keyboard). Ho hum

Here are a few moments I went through with the windows 10 upgrade process, rated on a scale of 0 thru 5 where 0 s atrocious and 5 is excellent, followed by a description of what I’ve rated

5* It downloaded in the background

2* It has completed downloading – now install – message  not displayed on tablet UI, I missed it for a couple of weeks

5* I liked be able to set when to install. I choose midnight, when I’d be asleep

0* It actually start installing until when I wanted to use my computer in the morning, not at midnight. A significant, unexpected, disruption to my planned use time

0* I had to reset my preferred colour scheme and desktop background after installing. Come on! These are personal settings that should be migrated!

2* After install was set-up. Just when you think you’ve finished, you have to do something else

2* Set-up encouraged accepting default options that included sharing information with advertisers to tailor advertising to me. I used the option to review and set all the options rather than accepting defaults to remove this default, and the automated sharing of location information. I was unsure what some of the options really meant, for example the automated connect to networks. It offered to automatically connect to my contacts networks. Interesting, but I opted out of this, I want to know what networks I’m connecting to and approve that connection

2* Very new UI that gives prominence  to the “Desktop” interface, is not immediately intuitive, takes time to learn. M experience of everyday use MAY  be better once I’ve learned it. But the first experience of the new UI is not inspiring or encouraging

1* The “start menu” is back. Undoubtedly a crowd pleaser, but the way they’ve constructed it is to move (downgrade) the tablet selection UI and ‘squeeze’ live-tiles into a space within the start menu space, effectively making what was once  “All programs” into a group, scrollable, tile selection.  Leaving the left hand side of the stat menu a a traditional work list.  it’s a strikingly conservative design.  They’ve got lots of old crowd pleasers in the start menu like “file explorer” the power menu, and settings. And they’ve ‘forced’ a grouping on the live tiles rather than re-using my groupings. They’ve added things tracking the stock market! What does that say about the product development team! Hah.  I’ve been ‘un-pinning’ these personally irrelevant things from the menu and trying to regroup everything and rename it back to my original arrangement. The live tiles have lost a lot of functionality, e.g. for showing summaries of their contents

0* Had to trawl through virtually all the PC settings to find out how to ‘get back’ some of my windows 8 positive experiences. Glad to be able to set the menu as full screen tiles. Disappointed windows didn’t detect my lack of keyboard and set this as default that could be offered for adjustment when a keyboard is first attached

0* Keyboard auto-arrival is SO MUCH WORSE. I have to manually open and close the virtual keyboard

0* inconsistent and rare screen reformatting when virtual keyboard is opened, much worse than windows 8. I’m often unable to see key instructions or entry fields on my screen because they are obscured by the keyboard, previously this was not a problem

3* It hook quite a lot pf use o work out how to move between my Apps an desktops. The new multitasking navigation model. This could be god for on going use. I’m still not confident I fully understand it

3* Resetting passwords for things that Windows didn’t already know my passwords for – it’s gathering knowledge of all my passwords. I’m not overly happy with the forced linking of all that knowledge about me. I can see this is a step towards being able to upgrade without having to reset all the passwords, but its a standard pain in the upgrade process and I wasn’t expecting it this time round

*1 Skype asking me to install an update again, feels like about 4 in the last month, but I may not of completed them to the software’s expectations because the process was so convoluted and unintuitive. Maybe I’ve only done this 2 times. I hope this second time has re-instated the effective use lf my tablet camera. I doubt it given all the other enhancements have been a step backward for tablet users

0* I got so frustrated on the first hour after installing that I rebooted the surface – just out of learning from past experience, mot any help or advice from windows or it’s apps. It installed updates! I guess the settings changes I made required rebooting. They should have advised me. But maybe it was something else… the update was from Microsoft, within an hour of a Microsoft update, so I feel justified in directing my anger and frustration towards them

5* The ability to roll back to windows 8 within 4 weeks. But the fear of facing equal resetting pain after the roll back is a blocker…  not yet sure whether to roll back..

Windows 10 on one surface, not the other
2 votes rating 4.5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

Buying a computer in John Lewis’s

Monday, February 10th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

We wandered around the computer displays.

Wendy: which one do you like mum?

Mumsie: I can only choose based on how they look dear

Wendy: They’ll all work for what we want them to do, so that’s an ok way to choose

Mumsie: This one has a big space-bar, I want a big space bar. Why is that one [an Apple] so expensive?

Wendy: It’s for people who like showing off that they can pay a lot for their computer, I can’t help you with using that one, I can help you using with all the others.

The large store was very busy in January. We asked for an assistant and were put in a notional queue, we browsed while we waited for an assistant.

Assistant: How can I help you?

Mumsie: I don’t know, we want a computer with a keyboard

Wendy: Mumsie wants to do emailing, share her digital pictures, use Facebook and write the WI minutes. And I don’t want to push her into getting anything she doesn’t feel comfortable with

Mumsie: Oh, is that what we want?!

Assistant: You want a Surface RT, it comes with Microsoft Office installed for writing your minutes

Mumsie: Wendy, is that the ‘Word’ thing that I use? I just copy last month’s minutes and make small changes each month

Wendy: Yes mumsie [turns to assistant] Do any of the others have a version of word installed, and how much would it cost to add Word [annoyed because my surface pro didn’t come with any version of Office, just the option to purchase the full version]?

Assistant: Only the surface comes with Office installed, it is a reduced version but should be sufficient for your Mum’s needs. You’d have to buy and install it on other Windows8 machines

He started talking about Bluetooth and other technical features at this point and I could see mumsie getting disengaged.

Wendy: can mum have a go with it?

He took us to see three Surfaces, each with a different coloured keyboard. Mumsie really liked the keyboard because it had a decent space-bar, but mostly because it was backlit so the letters on the keys were really easy to see. We bought the surface because the value for money and enabling mum to keep using word was important.  Then on with the shopping, we wandered off to look at the winter coats. Mumsie carried the surface easily around the store as we continued browsing. Nice. It was like buying a computer had become just another thing you buy on a shopping trip. A bit scary for mum, but it was my money so it all went smoothly. The package even fitted under the table in John Lewis’s café as we stopped to treat ourselves to coffee and cheesecake. Mum doesn’t use a walking stick, but if she did she would have been able to carry the surface easily around John Lewis’s. Well done.

I was a bit scared about how right the Surface RT would be for her, I would soon find out, but that’s another blog post…

Buying a computer in John Lewis’s
3 votes rating 5

5 bits of fabulous banter »

Surface Pro first impressions

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

BoxedIn early September 2013 I bought a Microsoft surface. The box is firm, strong and its easy to both see and feel what to do next, pull the white box out from the darker gray box. It’s a tight fit, but smoothly pulls out revealing a continuation of the simple branding, without the typical set of legal, feature, geeky must-know information. Nice.

Lid offThe white box is opened by a lid, again it’s obvious and easily turned back to open. No latch or catch used because it’s not needed with the sleeve design lf the gray box. Pleasingly simple, it feels like playing pass the parcel with myself, and I’m almost at the prize… The inside of the lid is the same bright blue as the logo on the outside.

The surface is right there, wrapped in a shiny cellophane wrapper, not necessary but I loved being able to see it and having yet another level of the present unwrapping feeling. The power cable was wrapped in the same shiny cellophane, given the same gift status as the actual surface. They were Out Of the Box (OOBE) and plugged in within the minute.

Shiny packagingAt first I barely noticed the paper user-guide and electronic pen placed under the surface. I didn’t need to notice. The power cable had ‘snapped’ into position on the surface, there was only one place it could go and they were literally magnetically attracted, no need for me to be dextrously precise in placing it. Ooh! NICE! Below the surfaceOnly 2 buttons on the Surface, one looks like volume so the other must be power. I pressed both as I reached for what I presumed was either a user manual or quick start guide. It turned out to be a 3 page, concertinaed quick start guide labelling all the external hardware features. Easily digested, superfluous yet comforting.

I turned away from the packaging and logged into the surface using my ancient Hotmail account, it was so smooth, quick and immersive that I didn’t take any photographs and was finished in a couple of minutes, relaxed in my comfy chair, exploring the possibilities

Quick start guideThere were some minor demo’s of interactions that showed how to find the side controls and search, the bottom of screen controls and the stuff on the right. Possibly some more, I can no longer remember if I was told about or discovered the pinches, flicks, pulls and long-presses. They’re not intuitively discoverable so someone, sometime must have shown them to me.. ready to goIt wasn’t long until I white screened, while loading my thousands of photographs up to the SkyDrive, which couldn’t cope.

I twitted about this and then got into a frustrating bug-diagnosis discussion with the surface twitter feed. Oh dear, a great start, packaging, went down hill dramatically quickly as the expensive device demonstrated poor usability performance and ill thought-out social media use which merely inflamed my situation. I didn’t learn, over the next few weeks. I had several frustrating interactions with Surface twitter who asked me questions I wasn’t able to answer, making me feel stupid, and not making any noticeable progress to solving my problem. Compiling the anti-climax of my first experience.

Alas, Mumsies experience this January went downhill from when we turned the power on, but that’s another blog post…

Surface Pro first impressions
5 votes rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »


Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  | ErrorThe second time that I tried to login to my ‘’ account this error message was presented and the experience hung Firefox.

How long have Microsoft been designing sign-in processes? How many products have they produced that require a secure sign in? How many user experience experts do they employ – how big is their archive on user experience research?

And this error detection and messaging is the best they can come up with?

That’s pathetic – with no imaginable excuse

Just think about this message from a users perspective – what to I do next?

  • browser back button?
  • navigate to the sign in page using a bookmark or URL?

Then repeat the sign-in action that produced thid error in the first place? Believe that doing the same thing twice wont produce the same error from a computerised system? I can think of several different ways that this service could have enabled me to do this, my only natural troubleshooting approach, in an easier way. For example, provide a nice friendly “Try again” button. An apology or empathetic sound would be a nice additional extra. I find “ouch” is working quite well with me at the moment. If Microsoft are serious about shifting from pre-packaged products to operating online services they are going to have to start using the knowledge of their user experience experts

Hall of shame for

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the blue flash of colonel panic

Sunday, January 13th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Blue Screen of DeathThe Blue flash of colonel panic is not a military award, one of the X-men,  X-women, a Transformer, or other superhero.

Windows 7 scary classic!

The file dump from Windows 7 “Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)” happens so quickly that we  rush to capture an digital image for posterity because maybe there will be a generation of computer users that have never see a blue screen. I hope so.

You can see the blue screen paparazzi in the reflection on an old Lenovo laptop.  The windows 7 message is already teasing the user with more text than they can possibly read in the time it’s displayed! Squinting at the photograph I saw the phrase “BIOS updates” – a phrase that produces a mild form of the gagging reflex.

Windows 8 is succinct, readable, understandable and less SCARY!

The message has changed for Windows 8, it looks like a more graceful failure message because it has larger, more readable, and understandable text. It looks like they’ve actually written it for the normal people that will see it rather than for the developers. They no longer mention “Caching and shadowing”, “removing or disabling components” or the gaggable “Bios updates”.  I wonder whether it’s still a ‘Blue Flash’. Excellent user experience enhancements.


the blue flash of colonel panic
2 votes rating 5

6 bits of fabulous banter »

sing along

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Apple fanboy: Have I told you what I don’t like about microsoft software?

wendy: No. NO. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what you hate about microsoft software, do PLEASE tell me, I MUST know, it’s important, I can’t go on without hearing you complain about microsoft software

Apple fanboy: you know how Office…..

wendy: LaLa LaLa I can’t hear you (puts on headphones)

sing along
4 votes rating 4

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troubleshooters – for hiding original design laziness

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Office 360 discussion - rejected!Grumble mumble


foot stomp

For goodness sake Microsoft if you’re still going to fail after decades of practice providing services then at least give me empathetic failure message not this ARCHAIC SHITE!

That’s empathetic with the emphasis on PATHETIC

I’m getting so annoyed that I’m getting all SHOUTY

If you effing bothered to test properly so you get the design right in the first place then I wouldn’t have to suffer your error messages and troubleshooters.

Grumble mumble

Bad mood

troubleshooters – for hiding original design laziness
2 votes rating 4

1 wonderful musing »

have some babies for windows 8

Friday, November 9th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Windows 8Several things make me think that Windows 8 is not for me.

The UK advertising campaign is my main source of thinking it’s not meant for me. For example, in an advertising email Microsoft appears to be suggesting that Windows 8 has been designed for either:

  1. young women who can afford to have kiddies who wear smart clothes indoors on the bed, or for
  2. people who want to have a young woman with a kiddie who wears smart clothes on a bed.

I am neither of these things – but I can afford a decent personal computer, unlike many of the young people who can’t afford to leave home let-alone have a kiddy.

The promotional picture of the UK Windows 8 upgrade website is equally excluding me from its focus. Below we see what looks like a young family, a beardyman wearing pink corduroy flares, a woman with a strappy dress and a child with a big smile. They are all bravely ignoring the wind storm that is about to take down the palm trees in the background. Is this the Windows 8 user-group or representing their aspirations. I am very far from being either of these. I wonder if it’s Microsoft’s imagination of what they aspire to have their users be like. Tush. I can see I’m a disappointment to them – too old with insufficient babies.

Windows 8 upgradeI’m a bit peeved at this persistent exclusion. When you see their TV adverts for the Surface, it gets worse. I’m not ready to go there yet.

Looks like my next computer will be the Nexus 7. Ironically, a friend who’s a recent mother is raving about how she can feed the baby with one arm while using the Nexus with the other….


have some babies for windows 8
2 votes rating 5

6 bits of fabulous banter »

welcome Sparkle!

Monday, November 5th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Sparkle on my tableSparkle a ‘Champaigne’ coloured Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook running windows 7 home premium joins my list of personally owned computers, dating back to 2004. Hooray!

Here’s how it all started:

In 2004 my employer provided me with a really good laptop and didn’t mind me using it at home. No need for a 2nd computer.  Until a 17 year old Swedish exchange student moved into my life, my home. My official role was “Host Mother”.  I didn’t think I’d be chosen when I offered my skills to the local Scandinavian society:

I drink, I smoke, I work long hours, live alone with 2 cats and have absolutely no experience of being a parent or living with teenage kids except with my brother but that was over 20 years ago so it doesn’t really count. If she and her mother are OK with that then I guess we can work something out

Much to my surprise, and slight horror, they choose me – for a year. At work my Canadian manager  told me I was crazy.   Unconvincingly, I tried to reassure him:

She’s a half Finnish Swede, studying cookery, we’ll work something out


You’re crazy, I left Scandinavia to get away from the bossy women and you’re inviting one home!

When a 17 year old moves into your home, is studying at Redmond High School (almost everyone’s parents work at Microsoft), you have to make sure they’re equipped with a computer.  I bought a HP Compaq and set-up a home wireless for her. She would be able to do schoolwork with privacy in her room, or join me on mine downstairs. There were times when we sat next to each other on the Sofa using MSN Messenger to talk to each other.  It was surreal and fun. When she left, she left the laptop.

Quickly I got used to personalising the machine and not carrying my work laptop home.  I started blogging and met other people who had their own laptops and blogged. I was hooked.  Sparkle makes me smile, helps me to sparkle.

Meanwhile, a few of you may remember my blogging from these laptops:

  1. Tinkerbell Silver HP Compaq Windows XP Home  – suicide in 2006 (Motherboard failure)
  2. Darling Maroon Sony Viao Windows XP Home  – retired in 2008 (XP irritatingness – traded-in for Sparkle)
  3. Neverland Golden Sony Viao TT Windows Vista Professional – suicide in 2010 (Hardware failure – power socket – much loved and missed)
  4. Cupboard Maroon Sony Viao Netbook – Windows 7 Starter – suicide in 2012 (Hardware failure – Screen-crack, touchpad left-click not working, some keys getting fussy and CRAP performance. I never liked the Cupboard much)

Can you guess how long I expect Sparkle to last and the likely main cause of her demise?

welcome Sparkle!
4 votes rating 4.3

11 bits of fabulous banter »

Windows H8

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

In my research for replacing my home laptop I’m stumbling across a lot of scathing press on windows 8. I’ve not seen or used a copy so this is all speculation based on rumour and such-like. I’m hearing that Windows 8 will alienate:

  1. current windows users migrating because it’s so different and current windows loyal customers are not seeking really different. Microsoft will alienate their core customer-base.
  2. software developers who produce the applications that run on windows because its a more significant investment (time and learning) to produce compatible upgrades of their programs.
  3. corporations who supply PCs for work because Windows8 is so different the cost of staff learning,  making mistakes, being trained, to use Windows 8 will be prohibitive.  Better to stick with, in many cases Windows XP  or Windows 7

I suspect Microsoft are trying to apply an approach that has worked well with the Office Ribbon. They deliberately chose to accept the initial backlash that comes when the first-use experience not optimised because they knew that once learned it the experience is significantly better for regular use. One suite of products, one release, one core user-group – Corporations. The Office user experience team undertook a lot of high quality research to make sure they knew the impact of introducing the Ribbon on ongoing productivity.

Does this strategy work for an operating system across multiple form-factors (phone, tablets, laptops, Desktops)?  Once Windows 8 has been on the market for 5 or more years will most of the use problems fade into distant memory? Assuming that Windows customers stick with Windows and undergo the pain while everyone adapts to the new interface, this could happen:

  1. Customers will experience of the new operating system’s interaction patterns on one or more devices and learn how easy it is to move between different devices re-applying the fundamental interaction concepts. Windows 8 will start to feel familiar and easy. Maybe it will even be fun?
  2. Software developers will have changed their development practices to align with the new Operating System requirements. New and innovative programs and updates will be efficiently produced. Maybe it will even be fun?
  3. Corporations research the total cost of ownership of alternative operating systems and realise that they are more expensive than Windows 8. Mainly because of things like outrageous hardware outlay costs (Apple) or lack of speedy, deployment infrastructures within secure environments. The need to shift operating systems will be becoming imminent as Microsoft removes support for the legacy systems that corporations will still be using. I have difficulty imagining that this could be fun.

The big risk that Microsoft is taking appears to be that in this time period many customers may have researched, learned, built, commitments to other operating systems (Mac, Android etc) and not be prepared to move ‘back’.  It’s a huge, brave, bet by Microsoft. I hope they’ve done their groundwork research to know this is going to work.

I’m buying a computer in the next couple of weeks. Will it run Windows 8?  What’s your guess?

Windows H8
2 votes rating 5

7 bits of fabulous banter »

media management

Friday, February 11th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Engadget recently posted excerpts from a Nokia internal ‘Burning man memo’ from its new CEO Stephen Elop originally published to all Nokia employees. Essentially the memo describes Nokia’s current declining market position, attributes this to lack of management and leadership. This information is not actually anything new or suprising, not really news. Two days later the British national newspapers all contain exerpts from, and an analysis of the memo. Most of them appear to have missed the point, understimating Elop’s skills, by calling this a ‘Ratner‘ moment. Ratner jokingly denigrated the quality of his businesses products outside any plan to change that quality. It is fairly obvious, that Stephen Elop has been doing what he was employed to do, analysing and planning a strategy to rectify Nokia’s current declining share of the phone market.

Stephen Elop has a wealth of experience of fast moving, competitive business. His former job was President of Microsoft’s Business Division (Microsoft Office etc). Elop joined Nokia in late September 2010.  He’s scheduled to announce Nokia’s strategy later today. The ‘burning man memo’ release is so clearly a step in the media management to hype the coming announcement. Any Microsoft President knows that a memo or email to all staff is sure to be released to the press, they write their memo’s with that knowledge – they are written as press releases.

For me the story is that in approximately 4 months he can learn the internal business processes, influencers and work with the senior management team and partner companies to develop an achievable, convincing, publishable vision and plan for changing the companies direction.  Assuming it will be all those things, that’s impressive. The public version of this plan comes at today’s conference. The UK National press has all joined in on creating free publicity hype around this plan before they even know what it is. Elop is doing a great job of media management, and the press don’t even seem to realise he’s doing it.  Even I’ve got wrapped up in the story. Doh!

media management
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the word is incompatible

Monday, November 29th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

programsI used to have Microsoft Office 2003 installed on Neverland. I haven’t yet bothered putting it in the cupboard because I don’t have the patience to wait for 7 years worth of updates to install. Many of my files are word files, (.doc). When I tried to open them in the Microsoft Works Word processor it didn’t recognise their format, neither did wordpad.


Scritti Politti sang the Word girl

the word is incompatible
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accidentally uninstall

Friday, October 8th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

How to get rid of an unused program on Windows 7 Starter

  • I clicked on the ‘control panel’
  • Under ‘adjust your computers settings I clicked on ‘uninstall program’
  • I chose Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 from the list
  • I clicked uninstall program
  • But windows doesn’t want to accept this action without further confirmation, I might not mean it, this might be an accident, do I REALLY want to uninstall this program?
  • I clicked on the ‘yes’ button with extra force to demonstrate my certainty.

Are you sure?


Large and bold, that’s how I felt. That’s what I wanted the button to say. This was no accidental uninstall. 

I wonder how often people do accidentally select something to uninstall, click ‘No’ on this dialog. If it is a genuine problem then fixing should happen before this point, improve the users ability to select the program initially, more information with larger clickable target rather than questioning the users ability to be ‘sure’.

This reminded me of the XP shut down process where you have to choose shutdown at least 2 times before it will actually do what you’ve asked, and only then if some programs haven’t objected to your wishes. Luckily Windows 7 Starter simply shuts down when I ask 

Shutdown Control Hoorah!

accidentally uninstall
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getting out of the box

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

My first day with the cupboard got off to a spanking start.  Hoorah!
Then things suddenly slipped to a chug, and 
Finally I went to bed without even getting to use the cupboard. Booooo!

Here’s my story:

1. get safely online

  • connect to the internet
  • download Windows updates, reboot
  • download MacAfee updates, reboot
  • download Microsoft update, reboot

It took about 10 mintues from pulling the Cupboard from its box to going online. Great start. It took about 4 hours and 3 reboots to get all the software security updates installed.  While I’m glad to have the live software security updates, 4 hours and 3 reboots seems a bit clumsy and dulls the shine of the new-computer experience that Sony manages to make really smooth.

2. get copies of my pictures, music, favourites and programme setting from Neverland

While all the downloading and installing and rebooting was going on I gathered all the files from Neverland using the file transfer wizard.  It’s really cool because it doesn’t

  • actually transfer, it copies
  • copy only files it, it does things you use like favourites and program settings. 

I adore that automatic copy everything wizard!  While it’s copying stuff on Neverland I can’t use Neverland for anything. This took about 2 hours. Urgh. While Cupboard was still installing and rebooting I couldn’t use the Cupboard.  This meant that both my computers were unusable for for several hours. Ouch! 

3. put copies on the Cupboard 

Part of the transfer process. Another couple of hours waiting before I can use the Cupboard.

4. Clean-up the installed software

Getting rid of all the stuff that Sony has put on Windows for reasons that baffle me. For example, Sony have built a navigation toolbar, it behavies like the Apple Mac Navigation toolbar and is on this PC as well as the standard, dull-but-functional Windows task bar.  After a quick investigation of the contents and functionality of the Sony toolbar I zap the bugger of my netbok – when the screensize is this small I dont want duplication functionality especially when it irritatingly appears and disappears.

I also have to unpin some advertising stuff, such as the free trial of the already dated Microsoft Office 2007, from the Windows task bar.

5. Backup everything. Windows and files

Sony Viao recommends that I burn a back-up disc, but the Cupboard doesn’t have a CD drive and they haven’t provided me with an external one.  This little hiccup was not made clear at the purchase point – they should have told me that I might want to purchase a USB CD burner/player so that I can back-up my computer. I used the Windows back-up to back-up on an external USB Drive. This took yet  another couple of hours while not using my new computer.  It wouldn’t suprise me if most people just go straight online, without adequate safety and not backing up their stuff.

6. go to sleep

it was getting late, I hadn’t started this process first thing in the morning.

7. use the cupboard

Windows 7 Starter - getting startedAfter a good night’s sleep, I will be ready to start exploring and finding out what the real differences are between a cheap netbook and a prestige laptop.

The first thing on the Windows 7 starter development team’s things to do is Discover windows 7. It’s the last thing on my start-up thing to do.

Here’s what the Windows 7 development team suggest for a new user:

  • a guided tour (Discover Windows 7),
  • getting my photographs, favourites, and programme settings from my old to this computer (transfer your files)
  • making sure my netwook is part of my home network
  • turning off the extremely unpopular, unintuitively named, yet valuable windows security feature (change UAC settings)
  • add something that’s not already installed which is misleadingly called ‘ essentails’ (Get Windows Live Essentails)
  • Now everything is on the computer and its connected to all the right places get the contents and set-up backed up (Back up your files)
  • Let other people use your netbook (Add new users)
  • Make the text into a readable size – because the default is clearly too small (change text size)
getting out of the box
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delayed forefront endpoint protection

Saturday, October 10th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

According to CNET news   Microsoft will release something called ‘forefront endpoint protection’.   I suspect this will protect your pumpkins from frost damage on their extremities.

delayed forefront endpoint protection
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opening in

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

sun drenched croci

Game-addict clinic opening in Amsterdam
Dueling piano bar opening in downtown Boise
Archived Items not opening in Microsoft Outlook 2003
croci opening in my garden

opening in
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not OK

Sunday, April 19th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Microsoft Visual C + + Runtime Library (MVCRL) kindly burst this  little message onto Neverland which left me

SCARED:    an  exclamation mark,   a red circle with white cross and   the word ‘error’.   This looks serious.   Something is broken.


  • application?   do I need to rub lanolin on my computer?
  • runtime?   do I need to run somewhere and time it?   what does this mean?   Why am I being told it?
  • Did it get stuck in the stack overflow?
  • Why tell me?

INSTRUCTED:   to contact IE7 and, or, MVCRL support teams for more information looks like I should  know more.

UNINFORMED: how do I contact them,   how do I find out how to contact them?

IE 7 runtime errorIf the Microsoft IE7 team’s program (application?)  is going to make unusual requests to the Microsoft VCRL team’s program (application?) it should do it directly without hassling me to learn technical jargon and find out how to contact them then PAY for the pleasure of talking to them because they can’t be bothered to talk to each other before shipping software that produces errors and causes me emotional distress.


not OK
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I want Vista

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Reasons to retire Darling,   part 4

1. Increasing requirements to contact computer support services

2. I am developing  obstreperous-w intolerance.

3. 8loody hail, breeding task manager

4. I WANT Vista

I’ve used a Vista machine and I love all the search-stuff (start menu, control-panel),     I no longer have to remember where I put things.

Its got a thing called ‘snippit’ which takes pictures of what’s on your screen in a much easier way that control-print-screen,   open-paint,   then paste.  

It’s pretty! The computer I used running Vista is a rather ugly thing,   unlike Darling.   I want to marry the two,   prettiness of Darlings body-work  with  the  human-memory-complimenting  functionality of Vista.

I want Vista
1 vote rating 5

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on the value of benchmarks

Sunday, July 6th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Not irritating graffiti or  marks that appear on your fabulous benches.  Benchmarking, to me,  means sensible comparisons.

While I was wandering along the corridors of Technorati,   I started to sulk because the Wendyhome blog only warranted an ‘Authority of  5’.   I have no idea what an Authority of 5 means,   but it sounded fairly lowly.   My bottom lip protruded as I read the  information provided by Technorati on who had linked to my blog.   Then.    OH YES… ….THEN,   I noticed that Raymond Chen’s blog got a Technorati rating of 9.   NINE.    

Lets look at this relatively.   I’m not related to Raymond but our blogs have relatively different readership and page-load numbers.   If my blog is rated 5 and I had to subjectively estimate what Raymonds blog would rate on  the same scale I would guesstimate Raymond’s blog would rate at  an approximate  3 zillion 4 million 5  thousand, two hundred and seventy-nine point  five.   Taking regular daily hits into account and deducting 5 points for nitpickers.    

In short,   which Raymond is,   relative to Average US adult male heights,   that my blog got 5 on a scale that rates Raymonds blog as 9 is a significant achievement.   My bottom lip retracted and the champagne bottles were popped.   Hoorah.    The Technorati Benchmarks are in my good books for today.   Just for today mind,   there’s no telling what tomorrow may bring…

on the value of benchmarks
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personal coach

Saturday, May 31st, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Feeling pleased with myself for first discovering how to create a useful survey in Microsoft Office Sharepoint 2003,   then created one,   I finally sent  a link  out to some colleagues asking for feedback on the survey content.  

Colleague:   Do you want feedback on all the typing, spelling,  grammar and spacing errors?

 The words ‘wind’ and ‘sails’, (or sales),  with a liberal dose of ‘removed’   colons; semi-colons, commas and apostrophes galloped around my mind as I wondered whether ‘discrete personal editorial coaches’ is a job description gaining momentum  in the  service industry  …

personal coach
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Sunday, April 13th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

a buffer is a description applicable to an  old man according to my folk memory and:

But not according to the majority of current online English-language dictionaries and encyclopedia, including:    

  • Wiktionary doesn’t (yet) list buffer as an old man, neither does wikipedia.
  • Encarta defintitions 1,  and 2  (Microsoft).

 I suspect that age is killing-off old buffers…

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overheard near Microsoft campus*

Monday, July 30th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

person wearing Khaki Cargo pants walks by and I hear this fade-in then fade-away:

 “…….so then I implemented the kill button which wasn’t that nice but it did the job,   all the ants died……”


*I’m not here, there, really.   I’m probably fidgetting on a plane flying over the Atlantic Ocean while the person behind me repeatedly  knees me in back,   the person next to me picks their nose whenever I look at them,    the other person on the other side is silently flatulent.   I used an automatic-doobry  to hide that I’m not there,    all not there,   already completely GONE.    

Gosh,   I hope I’m OK.

overheard near Microsoft campus*
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font tastic

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

even the extremely long list of fonts in my Microsoft Office Word 2003 doesn’t include this one on Nicholoson’s corneer shop in Sumner.   Small towns provide exquisite orginality and be-jeaned red car drivers

font tastic
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poems of mass destruction

Saturday, October 14th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

UK Poet laureate,   the official poet of the  United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.   I’m not clear on  the job description with this particular  position.   The published  income is a token  5,000  stlg per annum for 10yrs, a substantial increase on the prior poet’s stipend of 100 stlg  with a vat of wine per annum for life.  

Here in North America there has been some controversey over the indistinct job description and creative activities  of some US City poet laureates.   It’s a tricky job, in 2003, the Canadian poet Laurete accused American poets of producing “poems of mass destruction“, promoting fear.  Poems of mass destruction, like killer jokes (first broadcast in Canada) should not be laughed at.  Ottowa  is currently  advertising,  ‘wanted’,  for the  next Canadian poet Laureate (a 2 yr post).

I wonder whether other large corporations,   other than Nations,   States and Cities, recruit poet laureates?   If Microsoft had a position for a corporate poet laureate  what might the  job description include?   Perhaps producing virus  destroying,    secure ,  patched and automatically updated poems.  

Microsoft branded sales booth in 'frys' store,  Kent, WA


poems of mass destruction
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so as to

Friday, July 21st, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

‘so as to’ is a three-sets-of-two-letters-cute phrase carrying two redundant words.   “in order to” is less letter-construction-cute while containing two redundant words.  


In both examples only the word ‘to’ does any real work.      Or am I missing some subtle spin these words  add to a message?    Maybe it makes the person who uses them sound clever.   What do you think?

So as to sound clever I will be using more words than usual and throwing in some new words for good measure.   In order to avoid getting poked in the eye today  I will not be walking within forking distance of Turdface.

so as to
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in convienient

Sunday, May 28th, 2006 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Our Barcelonean correspondent, Eyan,  wants to know about the Microsoft Word selection of Synonyms for that naughty word:

Why isn’t toilet in the Word synonyms dictionary for British English? Are we being coy? Sweeping things under the carpet again?

I think it’s outrageous 🙂 Toilet water and toilet block are there, but no toilet. What is a guy to do ? It’s there for US English, but not for British English.

I’m baffled,   I’ll have to rest in a room for a while to wonder whether the water closet (WC) should come out of the closet and declare itself a toilet  

in convienient
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hunt the monitor

Saturday, May 6th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

oOo look:  

Darling's device manager says 3 monitors

Darling‘s ‘Device Manager’ says she has 3 playful monitors!   I can only find one.   This baby is full of suprises,   I’ll keep looking for the other two…  …maybe they’re disguised…

hunt the monitor
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who? when? where?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006 | tags: , , , ,  |

My gorgeous little Sony Ericsson T610 mobile phone reminds me of the answers to all these questions.  


It synchronizes with my Outlook 2003  contacts and calendar.   Both Darling and my phone know where I have to be and when I have to be there.   If they are turned-on, they remind me.   Wonderful for a scatterbrain like me.   My phone is always turned on.   I just need to remember to charge and synchronize it.   I did have to buy a ‘Bluetooth adapter’ to enable Darling and my mobile phone to build a ‘partnership’.   Disappointing that a brand new laptop had neither an Infra-Red beam port or internal Bluetooth given how common these connection methods are on phones.  

Now  I dont ‘remember’ anyones phone number or where I have to be when,   my phone does it for me….  

Geeky GUSH!

who? when? where?
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Obiturary: Tinkerbell

Saturday, April 1st, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

Tinkerbell (HP Compaq nx9010) exceeded expectations.   Originally purchased as a ‘cheap’ functional laptop to enable exchange-student lovely, Swedish Frida, study and instant message from anywhere in The Wendy House.   Neither  were intended to last more than one year.   Rent a teenager,   buy a laptop.  

First power-up by Frida.   Connected to the internet with a new Microsoft wireless base station. (17 Aug. 2003)

Blaster worm  victim,  rescued by Mark and Fizzz  for the bargain price of a curry. (Aug. 2003)

New external wireless card.   Her internal wireless was Frida-irritatingly flakey. Irritating Frida is a very risky and dangerous passtime.   (Sept. 2003)

Bonding with Frida.  They regularly slept together (2003-2004).

Frida ceases torturing us by returning to Stockholm and leaves Tinkerbell with me. Tinkerbell becomes my main digital photograph store (Jul. 2004)

I bonded with Tinkerbell by  blogging on MSN Spaces (Feb 2005 thru Feb 2006)

Grinding noises  spook me.  I purchase a Network drive and use it to back-up Tinkerbell’s contents. (Aug. 2005)

Tinkerbell tours the UK.  I store my  travel photographs on  flick-r.  After several blue screen’s her hard drive ‘dies’. (Sept. 2005)

New hard drive. Installation was not easy.   Mark solved  the problem with  a bit of expert serendiptious trouble shooting  (Oct. 2005).  

Replaced Tinkerbell’s original Microsoft wireless base station with LinkSys wireless base station. (Nov.  2005)

Power-supply cable melts into Tinkerbell’s casing. (Jan. 2005)

Purchased a USB keyboard to augment Tinkerbell’s dodgy keyboard. (Feb. 2006)

Keyboard connection flakiness,   power-connection flakiness,  USB connections flakiness,   display reliability and recent bluescreens suggest that euthenasia is the best choice for Tinkerbell. (Mar. 2006)

Tinkerbell will be  dismantled to satisfy my curiosity and for parts. (Apr. 2006)

Tinkerbell pre-dismantling

Tinkerbell resting in pieces (RIP)

Obiturary: Tinkerbell
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