I wonder if new surgeons feel like this? Thursday, Jun 4 2015 

Cracked open my 4 year old lap top today to see if I could fix an overheating problem.

That’s a nervewracking time – wondering how delicate it all is in there. (I’ve done stuff in towers before, but that was easy things, drives, and they are designed to be like Lego, and easier to get into).


Google and Microsoft ARRRRRGGGHHHHH Sunday, Apr 26 2015 

I have Excel and Word 2013. MS think you want to save everything to OneDrive or your computer. Just OneDrive, nobody elses cloud drive, just theirs. It is inconceivable that you would have anything stored anywhere else.

On the Laptop this isn’t a problem, because Google Drive acts like another drive/folder. Fine, can just go to My Computer and save in that handy little subfolder which also happens to be a cloud drive. Google Drive easy to use on MS Windows.
Now I can open that file on my tablet using Excel for tablets (but see next para). BUT I can’t save it to Google Drive. Why? Because Google have hidden Google Drive, buried deep withing Chrome WHICH IS PUBLISHED BY GOOGLE. When you do find it, after a tortuous path, each document has its own folder, with a name like 2he7whdhw8d28hh2hhsnm – I kid you not. You can’t save to these so it appears in Google Drive.

Oh, the same with opening on a tablet- I can’t see Google Drive in Excel, but I can open by opening the Drive, and opening the file that way. But because I can’t save it is read only – so no editing on the go.

Of course Google can’t believe I’d want to receive emailed documents in anything other than the manure-like ‘Google Docs’.

“Its a Word Document. I have Word. Open it in Word”
“I can open it in Google Docs”
“I don’t WANT IT open in Google Docs – you won’t let me edit it.”
“Howabout we download it to Google Drive”
“Howabout you Bleeped texting open it in a programme of my choice”

How to solve “Missing Flash.ocx” the simple way Monday, Jul 11 2011 

If you get this error message it can be a bit of a puzzler – You return to your computer after half an hour and you get this as a warning box, even though everything was fine when you left it.  What’s happened?

Well firstly you have probably just installed the latest Adobe Flash update, yes?  Then your screensaver tried to kick in.  The problem is your screensaver needs Flash.  Of course it could happen if you have tried to use a Flash reliant programme.  The reason is the Adobe update renames the Flash programme.  Now if you Google this problem you’ve probably been taken to any number of sites telling you to uninstall stuff, down load special fixer programmes etc.  These are all over complicated.  Below is the easy method:


How did I ever program a ZX81? Tuesday, Jul 20 2010 

When I was 11, and in the first year at Secondary school, I found a book in the school library on teach your self BASIC, an early programming language (remember this was 1980).  I taught myself to program and thus started a love/hate relationship with silicon filled plastic boxes.  This has all been brought flooding back by the discovery of a ZX81 emulator to download.  In a fit of nostalgia I downloaded it. Mistake. (click below the break for more self indulgent memoirs)


Converting DOCX files for pre Windows 7 Word Tuesday, Jan 26 2010 

My wife had a job application form sent to her in .DocX – *X is the new file format for Windows 7 and IS NOT Backwards compatable (thanks MS!)

So some advice (after an hour sodding about trying to read the forms). IGNORE the programmes you found on Google that say they will convert. They are all limited versions, and if you want more than 1 page you have to pay upwards of $20 for the licence.

INSTEAD MS site has a update that makes old versions of Word ‘Forward Compatable’ – CLICK HERE

Now when you are emailed something with a docX file save it without trying to open it (a folder you can find easily)

Now when you use OPEN in your older version of Word navigate to where you saved the download, set the file type to All Files (so that the docx shows up), and double click on the DocX documents. You can then resave as a normal Word Document (make sure you set the type before saving)

UK Government apologises for its treatment of Alan Turing Friday, Sep 11 2009 

For those who don’t know, and frankly you should, Alan Turing was one of mankinds greatest brains, jointly responsible for the first electronic computers, using it to break the Wehrmacht’s Enigma ‘unbreakable’ codes. Station X was one of the most important parts of the Allied war machine in World War 2. The Battle of the Atlantic was won because of ‘Station X’ at Bletchley. German troop movements throughout the campaign in North West Europe following D-Day were known in advance, sometimes Churchill was reading Hitler’s messages before Hitler was.

Not just that, but the fact that you are reading this is due in no small part to Turing. He was a also a major factor in how we see AI today.

He was also criminalised because he was gay, eventually commiting suicide.

However Her Majesty’s Government have now made an official apology, in the wake of a petition signed by many thousands of us, gay and straight.
Full text below the fold

Purchase Win Tuesday, Mar 3 2009 

My monitor has been playing up- it brightens and then darkens as though on a dimmer switch.  I’ve been waiting for it to go altogether, then bitch about having to buy a new one.  In town on Saturday (28th) I dropped into the Curry’s, which is closing down- there is a large Curry’s on the trading estate, plus a PC World (also owned by DSG) next door, and the restructure was announced pre-credit crunch, so it was only a matter of time.

There, sitting on a shelf, was a CRT with a label “£5, please buy me”.  I asked, and it turned out nothing wrong, just been sitting in store for years, no box, and in these LCD days they wanted to get rid of it. 

£5! So I bought it. Only down side was having to carry a boxless CRT monitor over a mile!  Carry heavy purchases home appears to be a new hobby.  On the 22nd I had to buy a new car battery, and carry that 2  miles (on account of having no working car).

Hard drives- WOW. Thursday, Nov 27 2008 

Found over at ***Dave’s place- why you shouldn’t thump your computer to fix it.

Hard drives, by analogy

 We are so blasé about hard drives and how they work. But the precision involved is astonishing:


The dimensions of the head are impressive. With a width of less than a hundred nanometers and a thickness of about ten, it flies above the platter at a speed of up to 15,000 RPM, at a height that’s the equivalent of 40 atoms. If you start multiplying these infinitesimally small numbers, you begin to get an idea of their significance.
 Or, to give an amazing analogy:


Consider this little comparison: if the read/write head were a Boeing 747, and the hard-disk platter were the surface of the Earth:

  • The head would fly at Mach 800
  • At less than one centimeter from the ground
  • And count every blade of grass
  • Making fewer than 10 unrecoverable counting errors in an area equivalent to all of Ireland.


(via kottke)

Wow indeed- do you really want to jog something floating at 40 atoms height?