Computer Stuff: August 2003 Archives

Inquirer dispels myths

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This was up some time ago, but I thought it best that I put it up sometime, since the "myths" it talks about are rightly quite silly ones.

Probably up there with "Outsourcing is the work of the devil", "all spam is foreign", "everyone should install and pay for antivirus and firewalls", "product activation/copy controls benefit users/deters piracy".

David Coursey


There are things I think I probably should be doing now, but at least I feel that instead of doing those I can come here and mouth off.

I would like to write to David Coursey about a number of things but I just doubt he would read it, and I'd probably just end up sounding like an idiot. But then again I have real problems with some of his opinions which are exclusionary in the extreme - which is all the more frustrating for his disapproval of Republicans.

Makes me suspect that he's a particular brand of soft-core liberal whose concern for others is grounded in an affective kind of sentimentality.

And him writing a switcher's guide, yeah fine whatever, but him writing a book on troubleshooting windows? I could probably do a better job than he would. Norton Utilities my ass.

But then again I wouldn't want to be reading Dvorak on PCMag. In that case, it was so annoying I can't even remember what it was that he was an ass about.

Donkey and Mule


In a move I should have done much earlier, I've paused most of the downloads on the Donkey, and my CPU usage has gone down dramatically. I suppose having 500 simultaneous queued downloads isn't the most efficient way of going about things?

Individual downloads now have a higher download speed, which is good. I really wonder how I managed to fill up the entirety (almost) of a 120 gig hard drive with temp files... :P. Hope it doesn't overflow when I go off and leave it running.

I was testing out the Mule, but really can't see the evangelism that accompanies it. It's still not the quick fix that Kazaa is, and by the nature of the protocol I suppose, there's not a noticeable speed differential with Donkey.

Oh, and getting rid of older corruption prone temp files seems to help. None of the more recent files are getting the frequent corruptions that have plagued some of the older files.

Would people be interested in finding out about places that host the gazillions of ed2k links out there? If you want it, you're going to have to ask. Forum link's on the right.

Economist on Blogs


Huh, it appears the Economist has decided to do a fluff piece on blogs and say nothing particularly insightful (and get things very much wrong - eg: Blogger was selling Blogger Pro long before Google). I suppose the whole thing about the corporatising of blogs is something interesting, but then we know this already.

Like most mainstream newspapers the Economist tends to fall into the trap (less often than most though obviously) of writing about things that simply exhibit how little they really know about what's really going on.

Just because it's news to the doddering old and the intellectually stunted, doesn't excuse you talking nonsense about something you obviously have very little investment in, and something that you're obviously not too clear about. Worse when they decide that they should put aside anything they've ever been taught about tone and come off as completely uninformed and cack-handed.

What's especially disappointing is that for a newspaper that so often makes it its mission to push boundaries in how people think about things - to persuade and illuminate - as well as to provide startling and insightful observations about the unusual sides of overworn arguments, it can so often resort to this kind of sensationalised wolf-crying.

Regurgitating the opinions that could be found by any idiot in the know, much less by Slashdot responses reduces your newspaper from the bearer and illuminator of knowledge, to the rather pathetically journalistic function of nutella - all you do is spread.

If people have been having problems contacting me it's because Fastmail is down for the moment due to the power outage. If you need to contact me urgently (esp because you think I'm deluded for thinking so) you can find an alternate e-mail address on a different server here. Of course IM is another cunning plan.

I'd just like to indulge in conspiracy theory and rumour mongering for a moment to point to speculation on the Inquirer's part (because they're so reliable) that MSBlaster took down the power grid :D.

On a very side note, kudos to TypePad for fixing the alignment issues with their blogging interface with Opera before they go gold - though obviously they should have done it much earlier. Now they just need to do what any good forum software is able to do with aplomb, be able to have hyperlink assistants that work cross platforms (ie in Opera).

This is to all my rather technologically challenged friends (ie: all of you except Michel, who a) would know about this already and know better b) is running linux and hence unaffected). The rest of us mere mortals who run Windows should take note (this only affects NT based systems, meaning Windows 2000 and XP, NOT 98 and ME as far as I know). Just to say, in all probability, everyone who's running XP WILL be affected. You'll probably notice that you involuntarily reboot about a minute after each time you go online. The way to overcome the rebooting is posted in the fix below.

There's a worm on the loose, which is much like a virus only you don't have to execute anything on your computer, like an e-mail attachment, for your system to get infected. You can tell it's on your computer if you right click on your task bar and click on "task manager". If you're infected you'll see a service in the "processes" tab that says "msblast.exe"

To remove this from your system you should follow these instructions. If you want to find out more about what's going on you can read this.

And for god's sake, visit once in a while to update your system before this crap happens again. People who are on broadband using Windows XP (and actually some earlier OS's as well if you get the right updates) can set your systems to download updates automatically. With dial-up you're better off making periodic trips (though using auto-update as notification might be a good idea).

I'm only doing this because 2 people have come to me so far with miscellaneous problems that have ended up being caused by this. Please get this fixed before I have to thump you on the head for asking me what's wrong with your computer.

CD "Copy Protection"


I found this on Michel's site, thought I might as well share about it, since I've not as yet gone off on one about this particular topic - and thankfully the site does it for me.

Say NO to corrupt audio discs

As bad and as futile/alienating as product activation - stupidity worthy of complaint - return such tripe to the stores as a sign of your protest.

Apparently the Michelle Branch album isn't protected in the US, as it is in the UK. So I might actually get it.

I would put a button on my main page, but unfortunately the buttons are a bit ugly - I'll probably put one in the Links page though.

ICQ Lite


I can't believe I'm saying this, but ICQ lite now doesn't seem half bad - no doubt because I removed those god-damn ads - which I'd never click thru just on principle, not because they were ads per-se, just because they were annoying. I'm again more than appreciative of Google's subtlety of ad placement (how's that for ass-kissing?).

And at least AOL has gotten enough of it's act together so I don't have to run both AIM and ICQ. Isn't interoperability just shiny? Can't wait till MSN can joing the fun. But then again I can't wait for pigs to fly out of my ass - some things are just shy on probability.

This does NOT mean I in any way like or endorse the use of ICQ, which remains a plague on human existence. MSN remains my IM of choice. If only MSN messenger would find out how to work with OE like Windows Messenger does - but then that would get around the buddy list ads... I see it all now. Not that I have buddy list ads...

Again, things that flash? can go and suck eggs. Static content is a wonderful thing.

Remove ICQ ads and another keyboard


I've found a lovely site that assists in removing ads from ICQ and ICQ Lite, which many of you might be interested in. Very effective I must say, and looks like a rather organised little setup, so they should be around for a bit before AOL Time Warner shut them down... It's called This is the link to the cracks page.

I've also got my lovely old school Natural Keyboard, and I'm pretty sure it was the Intellitype software that was making the Alt and Ctrl keys sticky.

Opera Fanboy


Due to the overwhelming, and fantastically funny, responses on the MyOpera forums, I've put up what I could whip up in an hour as a placeholder for my Opera Fanboy site. The "You Know You're An Opera Fanboy" link at the moment just links to the forum thread, but this should expand as I go along. You can find Opera Fanboy at and

Yeah, I'm feeling a growing boredom at writing about events and occurances. Who really gives a flying fuck?

That said, I've had a spike of activity on my forum from random people coming to my site to download the RJC teacher clip. Some of them are obviously people that I know, and who are the ones I posted it for. The rest are probably fuckwits who don't quite understand the wonders of P2P file sharing. Not that the 2 groups are mutually exclusive... (what? I can't call people I know fuckwits? have you *met* some of the people I know?) (now that was rather bitchy wasn't it?) (I obviously think myself inordinately funny)

But yes, I'm probably not too interested in maintaining people who just come here to download crap off me - though the idea that people would come here for the sparkling wit and second rate computer commentary blows my mind. I have a feeling that the entry to follow might be the one where I defend my use of Movable Type to my potential (but increasingly unlikely) employers at Google, who now own Not to mention the fact that I've been promoting TypePad.

And please, honestly, the new blogger interface for "alternative" browsers? Absolutely fucking lame. While I admit that it's at least a try, and that there are things that Opera just can't do, the fact that they have to put it as a seperate page with no other settings is just not good enough. And the archiving bugs are hell hell hell. (If google hires me, I'm so going to slink off and delete this...)

Which brings me to say that I really really do want to get hired by Google, even though there are so many reasons why it just won't happen. The fact that I don't like one of their products doesn't (to me) mean very much. As it is, the way I see it, Movable Type and Blogger service very different markets. Not to be rude, but people go to Blogger cuz it's free, despite the fact that it's not great for anything but ease of starting-up.

People willing to pay money, and who aren't intellectual midgets, aren't going to pay what blogger pro charges, along with the cost of blogspot hosting (which is exhorbitant) when they can get cheap, reliable hosting from $5 a month (and all the other wonders that that brings) and figure out how to install Movable Type. At least the basic Typepad service is cheapish.

The fact that neither of them has a fantastic interface that Opera can use means that I'm sticking to a free solution and using hosting I would have gotten anyway.

Which brings me to the point where I insist that people who are canny enough to use browsers like Opera, Mozilla and Safari are the people that should be treated the best. These are the people, who, like me, are more than happy to buy everything they can online, who are willing to pay for genuinely useful services, and spend more time online than any other activity during the day. I can't even stand the way that IE loads pages nowadays, all heavy, with a feeling of weight. Presto is a nice rendering engine. Mozilla is okay, and getting better, but it's really not that fantastic.



Well, so Louis has been a bit tetchy recently, but can you blame me?

Anyway I've got an offer for you guys, if you want to move to a blogging tool that's worth a damn, you might want to try TypePad, which I've been beta testing for a bit, and which is going public soon. It's from the same people who do Movable Type, which powers this blog, so I thought some publicity was in order.

I, being a beta tester, can recommend friends to get a lifetime discount of 20% off on signing up (I get nothing from doing this, just so you know) and the accounts start at about $5 a month (before discount), which is pretty reasonable - esp after the discount and when you're not quite proficient enough to buy your own hosting/domain and install Movable Type (which, trust me, is just that much better). Caveats are of course that you'll probably want to be an IE user, Opera isn't the best idea (which I should pillory them for, but I'm just too tired).

So if you're interested, post in my forum or e-mail me, the link is on my main page.

Small sample of what your blog might look like can be found here.



This is how you permanently remove the ICQ bar from Outlook. Bastards.

And yes, it was the cluster size that was fucking up Outlook, but I suspect I'll be sticking with Outlook Express for the immediate future.

If you find me talking about computers boring you can fuck the hell off.

Clean Install


Putting your OS on a RAID setup is underated I must say. Remarkably zippy.

ATI is very naughty - just for the record, the way to get my graphics driver to work after a clean install is to go to device manager and uninstall it from safe mode. And yes I so need a setup CD.

And the way to fix the scrolling issue is to just reinstall the graphics drivers.

Thankfully Opera's not the one at fault. It's a pity 7.2 beta 2 is so unstable. And they didn't fix the startup bug in Klipfolio - I'm off to complain about it right now.

Oh, and what the hell is up with Outlook slowing down after my nice new install? Viewing mails now takes ages, the loading is so slow. Have decided to move back to Outlook Express until Office 2003 comes out.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Computer Stuff category from August 2003.

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