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Messages - IainB [ switch to compact view ]

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...I want to model the processing of some cases, so I know the process time of each case and the number of employees, so I can find the end date. ...
Off the top of my head...hope it makes sense and helps or is somehow useful:

Suggestion #1 - Project Plan:
If you are wanting to treat this as a time-and-resource dependent process plan, then a good project management tool (e.g., MS Project) using Gantt or Network/PERT diagramming might be the most useful. It will help you plan it out over a projected calendar period, to a planned/estimated $Cost and with planned/estimated resource utilisation (and output). Any changes to those factors (time, $Cost, resources) can be adjusted for in the plan, as reality may (it usually does) necessitate from time to time as the plan is executed.

Suggestion #2 - Process Model:
If you wanted to model the process steps for each of several case types, then, from experience, a functional process modelling tool using the *IDEF0/3  **FIPS would probably be the most useful - i.e., one that has DFD (Data Flow Diagramming) and ABC (Activity-Based Costing) built-in.
*   IDEF0/3 - Integration Definition [for Function Modelling] /[for DFD].
** FIPS - Federal Information Processing Standards.
Avoid using BPMN (Business Process Modelling Notation) modelling tools unless all you need is a diagramming tool (i.e., not a FIPS candidate).
An IDEF0 model shows the process ICOMs:
  • Inputs: to each process step.
  • Controls - e.g., including SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), Rules/Regulations, applicable to each process step.
  • Outputs from each process step.
  • Mechanisms: Physical systems and human resources used in the operation of each process step.

Modelling with this would be more about process analysis and/or re-engineering and would only be relevant/useful where your processes were already at *CMM Level 3 or higher - i.e., stable/consistent (not in a dynamic state of change), well-defined and documented and with defined process owners. Such processes would be well-understood and generally more or less in statistical control and thus have relatively predictable performance. Thus each case type will have typical process step performance characteristics (step-time/duration) in computed best/middle/worst case scenarios.
NB: *CMM - Capability Maturity Model.

Using such a modelling tool on CMM Level 3 (or above) processes, you will be able to model the processes to establish overall performance (e.g., including output results and throughput times) and $Costs. To do this, you will need to have established (from sampling and observation) average times for each process step and allocated a notional $Cost for each process step. The model will thus be able to tell you the incidental and accumulated process duration and the incidental and accumulated process $Cost at any point along the process, right up to the end-point.

NB: Use of spreadsheets: You could do most of the number-crunching aspects of this in a spreadsheet, if you did not have an appropriate modelling tool. The use of pivot tables could speed things up and a proficient Excel user could also produce static model diagrams in Excel, alongside the numbers (which could be useful).
You could also easily add Gantt-chart calculation/function to a spreadsheet model.

Living Room / Re: Help!
« on: September 24, 2018, 08:26 AM »
I use Gmail and I would only very infrequently get any spam in the Spam bucket, and hardly ever get any spam in my Inbox. However, ever since Gmail was overhauled recently, I have been getting lots of spam in the Spam bucket and some spam in the Inbox too.
I think Gmail has probably had its learned spam-catching rules expunged/cleared, or something, and is maybe having to learn them again from scratch. Pretty annoying anyway.

Post New Requests Here / Re: Tally folder contents by file date
« on: September 24, 2018, 07:14 AM »
From here: Powershell version ...
Ohh...nice find.   :Thmbsup:

Another potentially helpful privacy sanitisation list from (too long to post here, so just the link): 8 Steps to Secure Your Facebook Privacy Settings

A salutary tale with a recommended privacy sanitisation list, from
(Copied below.)
The Shadow Education Secretary wants to make teachers more vulnerable
tags: Civil liberty & Regulation, Education & Academia, Internet, Privacy & Panopticon, UK affairs
Natalie Solent (Essex) - September 23rd, 2018

The Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner MP (Lab), has called for a ban on anonymous online accounts.

The education spokesperson also called for social media companies to ban anonymous accounts, complaining at a fringe event organised by the Guardian in Liverpool that most of the people that abused her online did so without using their real names.

Rayner said that social media firms should take greater responsibility for their users and complained in particular that Facebook seemed to have indicated that politicians should accept a higher level of abuse.

When asked what she thought about social media, Rayner said: “One of the first things they should do is stop anonymous accounts. Most people who send me abuse me do so from anonymous accounts and wouldn’t dream of doing it in their own name.”

Rayner conceded that using real names would not stop abuse but “it would certainly help a little bit. I think they should do more, they do have a responsibility for online”.

As I mentioned earlier, Angela Rayner is the Shadow Education Secretary. That ought to mean that she is aware that teachers, like MPs, are often subject to harassment. The Times Educational Supplement had an article on that very subject just a few days ago: “Why your social account is not as private as you think”. It began:

The teacher’s Facebook account was set to private. She was certain of that. Yet, in the past week, she had received four friend requests from former pupils. She could not work out how they had found her.

So, as I am a researcher at the Greater Manchester Police – and her friend – she asked me to take a look. Within 10 minutes, I had not just found her, but I also had her full name, her partner’s name, the school she worked at, the name of one of her children and multiple images of the street she lives on.

The writer, Chris Glover, proceeded to give ten tips that teachers should employ to protect themselves:
  • 1. Keep accounts separate.
  • 2. Vary usernames.
  • 3. Check posts about you.
  • 4. Beware of public posts.
  • 5. Review privacy settings.\
  • 6. Don’t follow your school account.
  • 7. Avoid using your real name.
  • 8. Change the friends-list setting.
  • 9. Switch off location.
  • 10. Delete dormant accounts.

Following the above advice should help ensure that teachers can enjoy participating in life online while minimising the very real risk of being tracked down by former or current pupils bearing a grudge, or simply by people whom it is best to keep at arms length for professional or safeguarding reasons.

Until a Labour government gets in and makes Nos. (2) and (7) illegal outright, and demands that all of your personal details are held in one place by a social media company so as to be conveniently available for hackers and identity thieves.

The context here (for the benefit of non-British readers) is that the UK currently has a Conservative-led government, so the Labour party is the party "in opposition", as it were, and has "shadow ministers" for each of the main ministerial departments, of which Education is one.
There are 2 rather depressing things about this:
  • 1. Rayner - who is in the important role of Shadow Education Secretary  - would need to know about current issues in Education and would be expected to have her fingers on the Education pulse, as it were, yet she was apparently recommending a ban on anonymous online accounts, and she would have presumably been stating that as a Labour policy approach.

  • 2. However, despite being Shadow Education Secretary, Rayner seemed to have been unaware of the article in The Times Educational Supplement on this rather important matter, published a few days prior. This looks to be a classic clueless and foot-in-mouth response by the Shadow Education Secretary and it could have adverse consequences - e.g., tend to make floating voters (and possibly others) think twice before voting Labour in the next general election.

Though it is rather telling - and Labour voters could be forgiven for weeping or doing a face-palm over this, just as the other voters could be forgiven for having a LOL moment - if we look on the bright side, then the article  in The Times Educational Supplement gave us 10 very good points for improving privacy. These are points that we could extract and all follow to our advantage - i.e., not just teachers - and if Rayner had not made the gaff that she did, then we might never have heard of the 10 points and they would have remained buried in the article in The Times Educational Supplement.

Living Room / Re: How to do funky text?
« on: September 22, 2018, 02:41 AM »
;D The caption on options name it right "f**k it up"
So it does. Very droll.

@Renegade: Is that what you were after?

LaunchBar Commander / Re: Can't get Sendkeys to work
« on: September 22, 2018, 01:53 AM »
maybe try ^(+(b))
Ahh. The penny just dropped.
Thanks for that. It helps solve a bit of a puzzle for me. I had been meaning to go back and read the rest of the LBC Help file about this, as it had been niggling away at the back of my mind. I mean, if I had been wanting to do the same thing as @kimbriki seemed to be wanting to do, then how might I go about it? I didn't actually want to do it and couldn't immediately see "why" (i.e., the user requirement) for his wanting to do it, as I thought that, if it was me, then I would usually use AHK (AutoHotkey) to do send a text string or hotkey and did not see that LBC was necessarily the "right" tool for that job. However, after reading the rest of that page of the Help file, I think I see that LBC may have other potential uses extending beyond the obvious and that I had not considered - e.g. (say), it could be used to invoke AHK functions - effectively as subroutines - opening the way to the possibility of providing a higher level of automation (which I am usually all in favour of).
This had been a minor puzzle for me  - one that I had been idly wondering about in the first place, in my exploratory use of LBC.
I looked in the Help file for something that seemed relevant to what you had written (above). This was the bit that caused me to think:
(Text partially copied below, with my emphasis.)
Sendkeys Documentation
Special strings that you can use in a {sendkeys} clip, from the TPushKeys help file:

Function key definitions are enclosed within braces, keys from F1 to F24 are represented by:
State Modifiers
Shift Key                +
Ctrl Key                        ^
Left Alt Key                %
Right Alt Key (Alt Gr)        !

Prefix any key definition with the appropriate modifier to affect the key press immediately following it e.g. +ab will result in the key strokes Ab being directed to the application.

To extend the modifier to affect a group of characters enclose them in parentheses e.g  !(ab) will result in AB being simulated. Parentheses may be nested so that !(+(ao)) will give ÁÓ.

Note: State Modifiers need not be used with standard keys as they can be entered directly. See example

IMPORTANT: When you want to trigger normal letter keys in combination with Ctrl Alt Shift, you *MUST* use lowercase versions of the letters, or a SHIFT key will be simulated.

To simulate the press and release of a modifier key then the key symbol must be the only character in the Keys string. See example ...

...(there's more).
This new functionality is provided by the TPushKeys component by Alan Warriner which encapsulates, and extends, Christopher Latta's PushKeys code ([email protected],
I think I now better understand why you embedded TPushKeys functionality in LBC.
Seems pretty nifty.

LaunchBar Commander / Re: Can't get Sendkeys to work
« on: September 21, 2018, 03:15 AM »
@kimbriki: Presumably, you want CTL+SHIFT+B to be sent to simulate a single simultaneous hotkey depression, right?
I am not familiar with using sendkey in LBC, but from the Help file it seems that keys are sent sequentially, which, if true, could explain why you see the output as "b" in both the cases you give above.

Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! - the exotic spresm.
« on: September 19, 2018, 08:55 PM »
I don't know who/what the guy is in this BBC clip, nor what he's on about, but he's apparently just introduced a new expression into the lexicon of the English language - "exotic spresm": <>

The pundits seem to reckon he (probably) may have been trying (and failing) to be clever/trendy, by saying "erotic spasm", as the lady here (watch the guy's eyebrows): <>

These both look like "priceless clips" candidates.

Interesting post + suggestions at
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
CCleaner Disregarding Settings and Forcing Update to Latest 5.46 Version
CCleaner Disregarding Settings and Forcing Update to Latest 5.46 Version
By Lawrence Abrams 
September 17, 2018 01:36 PM
Image: CCleaner melting

Reports are coming in that Piriform is forcing CCleaner to update to the latest 5.46 version even when users had configured the program to not perform automatic updates. To make matters worse, once the users were upgraded to the latest version, their privacy settings were reverted to default, which is to allow anonymous usage data to be sent to Avast/Piriform.

This was first reported on September 6th at Piriform's forum, where users stated that their installed versions of CCleaner were being updated to 5.4.6 even after disabling automatic updates. This was later confirmed in a post to our forums.

Post at
In that same Piriform topic, an employee replied and stated that "Since the release of v5.46 we have updated some users to this version to meet legal requirements and give users more autonomy and transparency over their privacy settings."

Post to Piriform Forum from employee
As a test, I downloaded and installed the Slim version of CCleaner 5.37 that we host at

During the setup procedure, I configured the program to not automatically check for new updates. Even with that setting disabled, CCupdate.exe was automatically executed by the installer and CCleaner was updated to version 5.46 before I could even start the program. This is illustrated in the video below.

... This is obviously a concern that CCleaner is ignoring user's preferences and forcing the update of a new version. BleepingComputer has contacted Piriform/Avast for comment, but have not received answers to our questions at the time of this publication.

How to disable CCleaner automatic updates
As CCleaner is ignoring a users preferences and forcing updates to be installed, if you want to disable updates you need to delete an executable called CCUpdate.exe that is installed along with CCleaner.

When CCleaner is installed, it will install a file at C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCupdate.exe that is used to install updates to CCleaner. This program is then configured to automatically run every day by a Scheduled Task called CCleaner Update.

CCleaner Update Scheduled Task
To prevent this program from running you should delete the scheduled task. To be even safer, you can delete the actual C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCupdate.exe executable.

Once the task and executable have been deleted, CCleaner will no longer update without you actually installing a new version.

Thx to Ivan for sharing the news tip.

Official Announcements / Re: - Our Favorite Websites
« on: September 17, 2018, 11:09 PM »
Shell Extension City was the first site to acknowledge donationcoder and send people our way that appreciated us.  It was the earliest and most important nod of approval for donationcoder, and it meant a lot.
Yes, and I think (not sure) that may have been how I first arrived at the DC forum. Shell Extension City is a great site, but they are not very active nowadays - they have made 10 posts so far this year; the last being Mar. 20th. I read the post titles via my BazQux feedreader and always go to the site if the post looks interesting.

Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: Clips in Favorites Disappear ???
« on: September 17, 2018, 09:44 PM »
@mouser: ^^ OIC. Thankyou. I was a bit worried there that I might be misusing CHS, if I wanted optimum efficiency (and I do want that).
As regards efficiency:
The way I use CHS, I actually don't often need to peruse the "New" group. Rather than use the Quick Paste Menu, I rely on scrolling through or searching for clips in a full-screen view of the 3 panes of the CHS GUI:
  • the narrow Tree pane on the left, and
  • the Grid pane on the right, with
  • the Memo pane below it.
(Each of the latter two occupy roughly half of the screen depth, immediately to the right of the Tree pane.)

A lot of text that I save is contained in text tabs of relevant/related images, which enables me to quickly see any text that is relevant to saved image clips.

I also disable automatic purging/deleting of older clips, preferring to manually periodically inspect and delete old surplus/unwanted clips.
This works well for me (after the modifications to CHS you made, per a separate thread), and CHS still seems to be blazingly fast, even as I accumulate more and more clips. The only thing that occasionally seems to momentarily slow CHS down nowadays is if I inadvertently save a humungously large image file (clip), where I guess the sudden resource demands required by CHS to display the image in the Memo pane are the cause of the momentary delay (the fix for which is to resize/reduce the saved image/file, which can be done in a trice, using irfanview as the defined external image viewer for CHS).

Cross-posted from another discussion thread:
I didn't watch this "indie" movie, after reading its (mostly unanimous) poor reviews, but I felt that one succint review in particular (below) was worth mention:
The Incantation (2018)
Rating: 1/10
Oh, the horror!
31 July 2018
"This is a great movie if you're blind, and don't understand english..."

Copied from: ohmanoid's Review of The Incantation - IMDb - <>

Living Room / Re: Movies you've seen lately - The Incantation (2018)
« on: September 17, 2018, 08:31 PM »
I didn't watch this "indie" movie, after reading its (mostly unanimous) poor reviews, but I felt that one succint review in particular (below) was worth mention:
The Incantation (2018)
Rating: 1/10
Oh, the horror!
31 July 2018
"This is a great movie if you're blind, and don't understand english..."

Copied from: ohmanoid's Review of The Incantation - IMDb - <>

Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: Clips in Favorites Disappear ???
« on: September 17, 2018, 07:47 PM »
@mouser: Where you write:
Personally I recommend people leave on the option that moves new clips to the old group and similar, as it keeps CHS really running smoothly if there are not thousands of clips in the New group.
- could you elaborate on the emphasised bit please? I'm not sure that I understand/appreciate all the implications of what you say there. (Thanks.)

Living Room / Re: EU to Stop Summer (or is it Winter) Time
« on: September 17, 2018, 05:43 PM »
This may shed a little more light on the subject: Daylight Saving Time 2018: A Guide to the When, Why, What and How

Summary: It's all Benjamin Franklin's fault, apparently, for "discovering" the earth-moving subject of DST (Daylight Savings Time).

Personally, I reckon that we should have heeded Buckminster Fuller's dymaxion (polyhedral) world map projection, which offered the suggestion that the geographical national electric grids could be easily interconnected to optimise supply/demand loads as the world turned.

General Software Discussion / Re: So, what pdf reader app is your fav?
« on: September 12, 2018, 12:36 PM »
I still prefer to use $FREE PDF-XChange Viewer v2.5.322.9 (2018-07-03). It does annotations, notes, highlights and other editing, AND it does OCR.
PDF-XChange Viewer has apparently been "replaced" by PDF-XChange Editor (the free version doesn't have OCR functionality), but PDF-XChange Viewer seems to continue to be updated, so it is not obsolete.
The latest version of PDF-XChange Viewer can be downloaded from:

Living Room / Re: Strange !!
« on: September 12, 2018, 12:20 PM »
@anandcoral: Maybe you forgot to turn on the brilliant LED flashing white and red lights that all husbands are obliged to wear on the tops of their heads (white light over the forehead, red on the back of the head).
For convenience, I have my lights affixed to my bicycle helmet, which I wear whenever I go out, day or night. I also have a GPS in the helmet, but my wife prefers to rely on the lights as they are less technical, and she finds it easier to look out the window of our 7th-floor apartment to see if I am travelling down the road.
Unfortunately, I absentmindedly had my helmet on back-to-front the other night. My wife couldn't tell whether I was coming or going.

LaunchBar Commander / Re: Open using default program eg .doc
« on: September 12, 2018, 09:07 AM »
@mouser: That's interesting.
I had been having a similar problem, but it was regarding running a VBS file. The file had just one line in it. It worked repeatedly just fine, if triggered (double-click) as a .VBS file from Windows Explorer or xplorer² and if triggered via a shortcut from either of those. However, it wouldn't run at all from LBC or FARR - kept giving this error in both cases:


So, I did as you suggested above, re LBC:
...Can n you try this: Go to the topmost "Options" tab and change the setting you have for "Use file launch helper" -- see if that makes a difference?
That setting was empty (not ticked), so I ticked it, and now the script works just fine when triggered in LBC. I realise (from the Options tip in LBC) that changing that option might enable or disable effective triggering of other files via LBC (depending on other factors), so I shall see what transpires, but at least I now know how to enable the .VBS file to be triggered via LBC, so, thankyou.
EDIT: That setting in LBC seems to be not sticky, unless the user Exits LBC nicely and then restarts it.

Now all I need to figure out is how to enable the trigger via FARR ...     :o
Any ideas?

General Software Discussion / Re: Et Tu, CCleaner! - and also CCupdate.
« on: September 12, 2018, 07:52 AM »
As well as Avast-Piriform rather sneakily effectively turning CCleaner into an apparently untrustworthy "telemetry" (Microsoft-style) personal/PC data-gathering device, it seems that they may have also effectively turned CCUpdate (which is part of the CCleaner installation) into a persistent PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program). It automatically loads via Windows Startup and runs continuously, doing goodness knows what - since you can't trust 'em (QED) - and which process oddly declares itself as "CCleaner emergency updater (32 bit)" (my laptop is a 64-bit system and I run the 64-bit version of CCleaner).

My approach to this so far has been to continue to use CCleaner, but ring-fence it using ProcessTamer and WFC (WindowsFirewallControl), whilst it is in use. However, I have to say that I am wondering whether I shouldn't ask Avast-Piriform for a refund of the licence fee, since the product (CCleaner+CCUpdate) was turned into a PUP in an underhand way without my knowledge and I thought that I was buying a licence for a pukka system cleaning software and wouldn't have wanted to buy a licence for a PUP.


General Software Discussion / Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« on: September 12, 2018, 06:29 AM »
@Shades: Quite a while back, I did consider using System Ninja from <>, but it's not really the same thing. I opted instead for their CCEnhancer software, as it really did enhance CCleaner's rigour.
I never run CCleaner now, excepting it is through CCEnhancer, and I have been very satisfied with the results. I often use cleanmgr.exe as a check to sweep up any bits that CCEnhancer+CCleaner might have missed, but there's usually not much left to do.
I could be wrong, of course, but I reckoned that the combination of the two things (CCEnhancer+CCleaner) was probably superior to what System Ninja does.

I'm glad to hear it worked, though it's a bit odd that that was required -- the guessing of margins and overlaps should have figured that out automatically..
If the default AUTO settings had been in place, then probably yes, but if they had been inadvertently changed, then perhaps not.(?)

General Software Discussion / Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« on: September 10, 2018, 08:11 PM »
@Curt: OIC now - thanks for putting that into context. Wow. What an unfortunate and extraordinarily derisive retort to make!    :o
Still, I suppose it speaks volumes about the speaker, in that context. Not being terribly interested in the US political scene, I hadn't read that report, so didn't know the background. I thought the image on the BleachBit webpage had merely been a silly dig at Straight-As-A-Die Hillary, rather than a quote about something she had actually said under questioning by Sen. Gowdy, or whoever it was.

Anyway, I have tried out BleachBit and found that it seems to do what it sets out to do but seems to overlap the functionality of CCleaner, rather than replace it.
Therefore, I shall continue to use CCleaner - but without any residual trust in it, as mentioned above. So, I shall continue to use ProcessTamer to control the CCleaner process(es). I have also blocked CCleaner at the Firewall - I use WFC, the Malwarebytes-Binisoft Windows Firewall Control $FREE software for that, though now that MWB have bought it, I am unsure whether it will remain $FREE without embedded "gotchas".
Just as the Avast takeover of Piriform would seem to have corrupted the straightforward CCleaner ethics (probably for increased revenue), I would not be surprised to see similar monkey business with Malwarebytes-Binisoft WFC, MWB seeming to have already demonstrated an unfortunate tendency of late towards incrementally changing their licencing terms for the MWB product, presumably to increase revenues.

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