scribbles tagged ‘software’

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 3)

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Thomas alone in the Carparkwendy:  when I bring Thomas in for his new tyres I’d like you to upgrade the software aswell – but I don’t think I should pay for the software update

Service engineer: (disarming giggles) Good luck! You’re booked in

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Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 2)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

ParkedDuring Thomas’ annual service the battery was disconnected forcing his onboard computer to reboot. After reboot the Diesel Particle Filter malfunction warning still showed.

The mechanic said the filter looked ok. The nice chap at the Mini Dealership explained that the software might be malfunctioning and would cost me £90 to upgrade.

£90 for a software update!

What?! Software malfunctioning? Software not doing what it was designed to do? That sounds like a programming bug to me, a design fault. Software doesn’t suffer from ‘wear and tear’ like mechanical components. It sounds like Mini manufacturers, BMW, are passing on the cost of fixing their poor original workmanship to their customers! Atrocious. Most software providers release free fixes for software bugs. Hmmmmm…..

An internet search suggested that driving above 40 mph consistently for 10 minutes on a regular basis should burn-off the diesel particles and remove any mechanical problem – if one actually exists. There were lots of discussion forums talking about the warning light showing when there was no malfuntion on BMW cars. Consistent with an actual software design fault.

I changed my driving pattern to include regular periods of driving over 40mph for 10 minutes. Bye Bye to beautiful back-road Oxfordshire. The warning sign still showed. Sigh.

Time to re-visit those lovely chaps at MiniCooper Reading…

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windows 95 start up theme

Monday, February 28th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

According to wikipedia Brian Eno said of this piece

The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — solve it.”

The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,” this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said “and it must be 31/4 seconds long.”

I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel.

In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.

Brian Eno’s 3 1/4 sec piece for Windows 95

windows 95 start up theme
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sentient lay person

Monday, December 27th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Different software programs use language in different ways to do similar system-related activities. The tone of voice they use when talking to the person using the software can create different attitudes towards the software supplier. Below we see how the software program Mozilla starts talking to its user immediately after the program has crashed. It opens with an apology, it doesn’t brusquely announce and ‘error’ it talks directly to the users experience and deals directly with the emotional reaction of the user to the experience of a crash.

Well done Mozilla.

Mozilla are sorry

By contrast here we see Google, talking in its own internal language, showing that language to the user ‘Client Error’ what’s that when it’s at home apart from being a pain to me.

Poor show google.

Client Error

I have a growing collection of different ‘error’ messages from different major software providers. That Mozilla’s opening apology is the only one approaching engaging, even personable is a sad inditement on the software industry. Major companies could define their tone of voice as something that speaks reassuringly to me as an sentient lay person.

I wish they would

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portraiting iterations

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Producing a painting is very different from producing high quality software, it also has some key similarities. The similarities stem from the fact that you can’t do something this complicated right the first time, you need to take steps and reflect on how well each step is working, then make changes to improve it. You need to iterate.

Different iterations have a different focus. Below are the iterations for my last portrait, of Jasper. The inspirational photograph is on the left hand side, the 6 iterations move from a sketch on the right to the final version next to the photograph. I planned 4 iterations and had to add one because iteration 4 (the pale one) didn’t work aswell as I’d hoped.

Portrait of Jasper - photo and different painting production stages

Plan: The conceptual work for the painting is done before the sketch; getting to know the subject (Jasper) and the ‘user’ (Jaspers owner) what does the user want from the picture, where would they like to hang it in their home, how do they see the subject? This is the eqivalent of market research, product planning, and conceptual design explorations for a software project

Architecture: The first sketches are of the composition, the placement of features the use of space. No paint. How is the information organised in a way that makes sense. You can see how I made Jasper’s eyes look more upwards and towards the viewer than in the photograph. I wanted Jasper to look more directly at the ‘user’ . This is the ‘Information Architecture’ for a software development project – where is everything in relationship to everything else

Foundations: The first coat of paint is a base, it wont be seen in the final version but it emphasises or mutes the colours on top. For darker areas use a dark base, for brighter colours use a light base. For software this is  equivalent to wireframing the user-journeys through the software. The text may not be accurate, but the general idea of the interactions are in place

Technical investigations: With this painting I tried several techniques that I had never used before such as layering a watery-thin layer of white paint then using a brush to partially remove it, hoping this would create a finer texture impression of fur than I could achieve with a brush. For software projects the developers are often trying out how new technologies that can solve technical challenges and add value to the design. I love watching software engineers get all excited about technical proof of concepts

Filling in the framework: Successive layers add more detailed colour and texture, I had trouble getting the colour-mix to work. Between each coat the artist reflects on how well they are achieving their vision, making adjstments with each coat. Gradually the painting begins to look like the final product. But it’s clumsy, edges are not smooth, features are slightly mishapen, colours are too bright.  For software products this is the production and testing of the code

Fit and finnish: The final level details, this might be a glaze wash over the painting. For software this can be checking the details are consistent, the performance is smooth, the visuals are complete.

Commissions considered…

portraiting iterations
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IE, Firefox or Chrome

Thursday, October 14th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

I have no idea what the worldwide statistics are for the actual use of different browsers. I do know what browsers are used by the people (IP addresses) who open Wendy House pages because Google Analytics has snooped on them and told me! (see below)

Unsurprisingly IE in all its versions is the most common browser. Obviously. Almost half these visits are made by me in the cupboard. If we remove the numbber of visits made by myself we are left with Firefox being the browser of choice for my visitors. ‘Choice’ because someone choose to install it on the computer and open it to visit the wendy house.

I understand that some people have more than one browser on their computer. For a gal like me this is potentially confusing. Where possible I like to keep  things simple; one credit card, one set of parents, one kitchen, one bathroom, one type of tea bag, one car. This simplicity reduces the everyday cognitive load of decision making. I’ve removed the need to make many daily decisions. Obviously there are some details that are significant and require reqgular decision making resources such as – which cheese? which hat? Which password?

Currently I’m toying with ‘which browser’. I am not an ‘early adopter’ of new technologies. I like to use things which lots of other people have used and found OK. Firefox is looking like the browser for me because it’s open-source, should play well with Thunderbird and lots of people that read the wendy house use it already, pressumably because it works well for them.

Browsers visiting the Wendy House

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let the squabbling begin

Monday, October 11th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Thunderbird - not playing

Oh! Looks like Mozilla Thunderbird is having a sulk. She’s ignoring me and legitimising the offense by using psuedo-medical jargon – ‘not responding’ to treatment by wendy. Less than 24hrs after putting her in the cupboard.  TUSH!

After reading this message I went in search of a way to  ‘close the exsiting Thunderbird process’ . I’m not used to closing a process and a quick look in the Windows 7 starter task manager confirmed my suspicion that this was pretty scary.  Instead, I decided on the more familiar, easier, way to close something. I closed the only program I knew that I was using at the same time. I closed IE8. Then tried to start Thunderbird.  That worked. That sorted the problem. 

Close IE to fix Thunderbird. Confusing. Two programs that just aren’t playing nicely together, squabbling and leaving me to be doctor and arbitrater. Sigh.

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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!

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Windows 7 Starter – how is it like XP?

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Earlier I mentioned that my first impressions of Windows 7 Starter reminded me of XP.  It’s the little things, like having

  • an hour-glass next to the cursor to indicate that the computer is doing something
  • partially obscured notificiations, or hover-overs, hanging around on the desktop – poor fit and finnish
  • a task manager that looks exactly the same as XP’s
  • No snipping tool, just like XP. I quite liked this built-in Windows tool, but I guess its not widely used tool

There are some ways that Windows 7 starter is definitely not like my old XP Pro. These are defintiely not little things, for example,

  • Indexed desktop file search. With my thousands of photographs this is wonderful
  • Tagging for files. Excellent, this is a real bonus over XP, especially if, like me, you spend the long lonely winter evenings drinking vin chaud and classifying your lovelly photographs of Matrix
  • No cascading menus. finding stuff in my ‘Start’ menu is easy as ‘search’ none of those fiddly cascading menus. HoooooooooRAH
  • Network and sharing centre. this is lovely, it arrived in Windows Vista and has a network connection troubleshooting tool. While I use it rarely it does a great job worth doing
  • Task based control panels. In the control panel the controls are grouped, sensible groups, easy to navigate by tasks and no option to view them in ‘classic’ (XP or Windows 2000) list format. I like this. It’s relatively easy to find out if a control exists or not
  • No Windows Movie Maker. There is no windows moviemaker onWindows 7 starter. This is an application I rarely used, but it would have been nice to be able to edit the media-clips that my digital camera produces. Ho hum. If a cheaper version has less features this is one that I would vote for excluding
  • No mail client. XP included Outlook Express which I used to use so that I could manage all my email while offline, store it on my laptop. Windows 7 expects you to be online, using the cloud all the time. They provide a complimentary free trial of Office 2007 but it doesn’t include the Office mail client – Outlook. I enjoyed the benefits of having a local store of my mail from multiple email accounts. Now I have to go online or purchase a mail client. Sigh.
  • Sync centre. There is a sync centre with a control for setting-up offline file sync, but nothing happens when I click on it, not even any feedback that says I can’t do this or what I need to do to set it up. I used to use this in XP Professional on Darling
  • Personalisation. can’t change the desktop background, or pick a fun colour scheme, lack of this fun functionality is just silly.  Even ‘starters’ want to personalise thier stuff

A quick look at the questions and answers on this forum for super users implies that they would rather have XP on their Netbooks than Windows 7 Starter. On balance, for me, Windows 7 starter is working well enough with the exception of  not being allowed technically or legally to change the desktop background.

I will probably find more differences as I start to fully use the Cupboard, for now these are the immediately noticable differences.

XP-like graphics - hour glass

Windows 7 Starter – how is it like XP?
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the good, the bad and the ugly

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Matrix and Neverland share a glass of wine with meHere we see Neverland having dinner with Matrix and I in a farmhouse style restaruant that tolerates ladies with laptops on their tables. That was


Once you’re up and running with your new, budget, computer, what do you do next? I change the desktop background to that gorgeous picture of Matrix.

When I used the fabulous easy transfer migration wizardy thing to move my files and preferred settings from Neverland, this desktop background picture didn’t move. For a fleeting second I thought this was odd but not a big problem because its so easy to pick a picture and I do enjoy picking and changing the picture.

Can you hear it coming? Can you?

Windows 7 starter does not let you change the desktop background !!!!


my new cupboardApparantly ‘Starter’ means we’ll take away the frivolous fun and your ability to personalise the desktop.  The available colour schemes for the desktop are the ‘Classic’ which mean make it look like Windows 2000 and the high-contrast schemes that make it easier for people with vision defects to use the computer. I can live without personalising the colour scheme but being forced to look at the windows logo on a blue background is a bad decision. Everyone I know enjoys chaning their deskop background.  At work they have to have dull corporate or business backgrounds, but on  their own machines and phone’s they can make it personal, put their own picture as a Background. Even cheap phones let you change the background picture, but not windows 7 starter. That was a big suprise and a major disappointment. It’s a mean not user-focussed decision, that’s just


the good, the bad and the ugly
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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)
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please welcome the cupboard

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

my new cupboardNeverland has retired. Hardware failure due to wear and tear. She will be donating her organs to my home network. Screwdrivers at the ready!

Please welcome Neverland’s replacement, Cupboard. Neverland was a top of the range Sony Viao TT with fab processor, delicious styling, lightweight gorgeousness. She was yummy. Cupboard is a cheap Windows 7 starter Netbook, smaller and heavier than neverland. Another Sony Viao, I’m a bit of a brand loyalist. Lets hope the cheaper hardware is more robust.

Differences I noticed before purchasing when I tried the Netbook in the Sony store:

  • More pushy – The key-push experience needs slightly more push, the keypad is not as sesnisitve. A subtle quality thing. More pressure is also needed on the ‘mouse’ keys.
  • Small but chunky– despite being smaller than the Viaio TT the Viao netbook is heavier and thicker.
  • Skinned windows XP – Windows 7 Starter looks like a visual treatment overlay on Windows XP. Yuck. That’s really ugly, like an old person dressing in clothes for a smaller teenage person.
  • Easy file transfer is possible.

So EXCITED about getting to use the CUPBOARD, what little suprises will she have IN STORE for me!

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emotionally vicious software

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Data execution preventionprograms are aborted

processes hang, are hung, then killed

and data is executed

I wonder whether anything is  slaughtered, murdered, guillotined, or assassinated by abbatoir processes. Maybe things are slowly drawn, quartered and impaled.

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Error of the week

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Which of this weeks ‘errors’ do you think should win my error of the week award,   and why?

  1. Transient notification of a ‘USB Device Not Recognised’?
  2. Network Diagnoistics ‘Windows tried a repair but a problem still exists’?
  3. Or the classic old favourite from IE8 ‘Internet Explorer has stopped working’?

Still a problemUSB Device MalfunctionWindows closed IE

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more high maintenance than a t-mobile relationship

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Blue Screen RecoveryAfter the perpetually  irritating, poorly designed user interface,  web n walk software appeared to completely fail I removed it from Vista.  

The removal process involved webnwalk software telling me to reboot my computer.   As my computer re-started Vista Blue screened,   I scrambled for my camera but sadly missed the moment.   When Vista started it made sure that I knew about this unexpected shutdown.

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ping remote host

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Words of wisdom from  an almost stranger*.  in this case Windows Network Diagnostics:

When planning your party make sure you employ communicative DNS servers to hand-out the canopes and if your host is being a bit remote,   just ping him a bit and he’ll deliver cuddles all round.

ping host

*  past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist, a mini salesman, a neighbour  and Reading Police
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stopped working

Sunday, June 7th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Outlook Stopped WorkingAt least I get diversity from my regular doses of reactionary software,   it’s like the early 1970’s all over again, retro-chic software on a 3 day week working to rule.   Your guess is as good as mine over what rule it will work to.

At least Windows is acting as an arbitrator, looking for a solution on my behalf,   this is on top of the 169 problems it recently investigated on my behalf.

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bad request

Saturday, June 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Dad:   you can make elecronics stop working just by walking into a room
Wendy:   I thought I was being paranoid
Dad: No.   Not Paranoid. You have a talent for disrupting electronics
Wendy: thanks dad,  its good to know I’m not paranoid

Bad Request XULRunner stopped working connection failed

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problem reports and solutions

Friday, June 5th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

169 problems!Windows Vista provides problem reports and solutions. That  is helpful for people who want to try and fix something now, cheaply.   We don’t have to  pay for a service specialist or spend hours fiddling in the depths of the control panel.  This  is quite nice of them.   Or is it?

All Neverland’s 169 reported problems are atribbuted to Windows rather than other applications.   Should I be alarmed by Windows?  Or, iIs this because other programs don’t use the Windows  problem reporting system or is it because Windows has an infinitely  higher problem rate?

On planet wendy there are no problem reportsbecause the program causing the problem would receive the report, fix it then make me a cup of tea and compliment me on my choice of frock.

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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.


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stack overflow

Saturday, April 18th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

I was browsing along minding my own business, or rather minding the business of Schrockthehouse when suddenly,   without warning I was accosted by a stack overflow on line 1.

What is a girl to do?

I was totally unprepared for this outpouring of stack,   this flow from line 1.   Do I need help?     Do I need a new stack?   Do I need  a stack-removal operation from a highly qualified expensive surgeon?   Should I phone a stack-support line?   I was confused and frightened.

It’s alright because there was a button telling me it was OK.


Stack overflow at line 1 of Schrockthehouse

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client error

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Client Errorwho me?

I’m a client of Google services,

I made an error in my request,   really?   ERROR?!

I do make mistakes.    The word ‘Error’ is not one that I use to describe my mistakes.   This message is agressively accusatory and not particulalrly helpful.   Google could easily adopt a more user centric tone of voice,  less personally offensive,  if gramatically flawed,  by saying something like:

”Ooops,   Google doesn’t understand what you just did.   Can you check  to see if you made a mistake please?

I suppose I should be glad that I didn’t have to abort, kill or delete anything though I have occassionaly been caught aborting a kettle,   deleting cat-poop, and killing my laundry.     Shit like that does happen, and not by mistake.

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Oh burgger

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

I accidentally deleted my blog database when trying to back it up.    

How silly is software that enables that accident?



My last back-up was Dec 17th.   All your lovely comments and my fabulous thoughts between now and then have just become a figment of our imaginative memories…

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Neverland’s first virus

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In keeping with the winter season of Norovirus bugs, flus and colds, yesterday Neverland got her first virus. I’m still not sure what exactly happened and how I fixed it, this is our story.


  • IE7 kept opening tabs with facebook as the homepage – signed into my facebook account.
  • Killing the IE process in the task manager didnt help – IE just fired more and more browser windows until all the processing power was used.

Is that some sort of script? How did I get it? I’ve got the fancy new Windows Vista User Account Control. I washed my hands before and after handling Neverland, I even did the laundry, my life is just THAT exciting and risky.

What Wendy did after the virus experience

  • Opened the start menu and typed ’system restore’ into the start search.
  • Restored the system for yesterday, before the virus.
  • Waited while the restore happened.
  • Opened IE and removed facebook as a homepage tab.
  • Ran a scan with my defualt (free with Neverland purchase for 30 days) virus software (MacAfee).
  • Opened Windows defender, discovered that it is turned off by default on the machine from Sony. Tush. Turned it on and ran it – No problems showed up with the ‘quick scan’.

Good to know that the fabulous system restore took me back just one day and pre-illness. If only life was that simple! I still don’t know how I caught it in the first place…. …and now I’m supersticious about opening Facebook, I’m not planning on doing it until someone’s told me what probably happened and how to avoid it happening again…..

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not you

Thursday, December 11th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Apparantly the new version of Windows Vista is not for me,   its for some other user…
not me, the computer wants an

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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
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8loody hail, breeding task manager

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Reasons to retire Darling,   part 3

1. Increasing requirements to contact computer support services

2. I am developing  obstreperous-w intolerance.

3. Generally increasing bizarre behaviours that do not actually require support calls because they are solved by reboots.  

In this example we see the results of my having hit control-alt-delete (CAD)  in an attempt to get the task-manager so that I can Zap the program that for some reason is now using all my processing power….   nothing happened… then…     …I didn’t press CAD that many times,   its been breeding…

8loody hail, breeding task manager


8loody hail, breeding task manager
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IE7, a cheeky little browser

Thursday, June 5th, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I am a little bit short-sighted,    

I can read my computer screen with normal font sizes despite their ridiculously small size.  

Then one day,  


IE7 decided to give me

buttons bigger than bars of soap

and black-out the page content.  

It’s a cheeky little browser.

That IE7

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Friday, December 7th, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

An End User Licence Agreement (EULA) is the long legal agreement presented to you before you can use a specific software service.   Wikipedia says:

“The enforceability of an EULA depends on several factors, one of them being the court in which the case is heard. Some courts that have addressed the validity of the shrinkwrap license agreements have found some EULAs to be invalid…     … No Court has ruled on the validity of EULAs generally; decisions are limited to particular provisions and terms

I suspect that end users rarely read or,   and even more rarely, understand the implications of the EULA.   This undermines a EULAs validity  beyond merely establishing a common-sensical understanding of software use.   I have no idea what a common-sensical understanding might be except perhaps privacy of the individuals’ information and the service providers intellectual property. I would value seeing an introduction of readable,  understandable, short EULA’s.   Eulas that are actually designed to communicate to potential users rather than  covering the legal-butt of the service providers.  

Given that the software providers MUST know that their users DO NOT READ and most likely DO NOT UNDERSTAND the provided EULA,   merely providing a requirement to accept before progressing is INSUFFICIENT safeguard for either the service provider of the user.    

A google search on the phrase “guidelines for producing understandable EULAs” did not find any such guidelines.   In my opinion the software and legal industries are morally obliged to produce short, succinct, clear EULAs otherwise a Nation’s court systems wealthy users will have to pay,   through expensive disputes,   to establish the precedents that may be limited to nation,   state, laws rather than developed for the general good of people who I suspect behaive in a consistent way when dealing with EULAs.   Less empowered people will pay through loosing their privacy and rights through lack of awareness of what the service is actually costing them.   Recently a friend on facebook invited me to join a group called  â€Against Facebook integrity rape“.   The group’s point appeared more generic to EULA’s generically,   treating facebook as a specific case.   The group description says:

Automatically people who join facebook accept a 13-page legalcontract. This contract in short makes ALL your info, pictures and EVERYTHING you do on Facebook their property.
You don’t have to accept this. If enough people empty their photoalbums and only have a protest or nothing as profile photo, then perhaps they will react. Also if enough people join this group and mail Facebook that this slave contract isn’t OK that would help to keep pressure on them.

I chose not to join this group  because I object to the groups  unwise choise to  use of the terms slave and  rape to describe Facebook’s EULA agreement.   This choice under-emphasizes the extreme negative experience of slavery and rape,  the absolute  lack  of free choice available to slaves,    in a EULA  people have CHOSEN to publish information that could be used in (EULA detailed) ways that  are more akin to the experience of THEFT than RAPE where there is no consent.  Understanding how your information, writings, pictures, held by a service  will or wont be subject to proliferation,   republishing etc is a fundamental civil rights issue that deserves the attention of people equipped to make good decisions on behalf of normal , click and explore rather than read essays, software users.

Why hasn’t it happened already?

Has it happened and I missed it?

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Monday, September 18th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

should cc be replaced by copy in e-mail writing, compose,  templates?

When you write an e-mail there’s normally an address entry box below the one marked to this box is consistently labelled cc in every software that I checked:

  • Gmail
  • MSN Hotmail
  • Windows Livemail Beta
  • Outlook 2003
  • Outlook Express on XP

The  consistency supports people’s ability to move between different e-mail softwares.   It doesn’t support virgin e-mailers that have never seen or heard of cc.    Everyone will be a virgin e-mailer, at least once 😉

Cc is shorthand for Carbon Copy.   Do you remember carbon copies?   Do the children you know have an idea what a carbon copy is,  or was?   Imagine you are a child,   learning to use e-mail.   Look at a new open e-mail can you easily guess what cc means?   Can you guess why you might want to use cc,   when is it appropriate to use cc rather than the to address entry line?   Imagine that you have to describe what cc means for an e-mail?   How would you do that?   I  suspect software producers  didn’t label it copy becasue copy has two more letters than cc and that takes up valuable screen real-estate.

I remember carbon copies,   in the US, the check (cheque) books still use carbon copies! Carbon dating,  rather than Carbon copying,   is probably more familiar to today’s youngsters.   Personal opinon,   no research involved.

Then there is bcc.   Bcc, Blind Carbon Copy introduces a whole new can of worms for both virgin and experienced emailers that I will temporarily turn a blind eye to, for brevity’s sake.

beyond a criticism of the use of cc within email software  my point is:

Software that  uses the shorthand acronym (or small picture; icon)  for a current technology (i.e. carbon) may enhance understanding of its meaning for the people familiar with that current technology but can have a long term adverse  impact on subsequent generations’ ability to learn what the label means and how to use it effectively.

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