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Topics - iphigenie [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Anyone on DC do Actinic (UK)?
« on: February 26, 2012, 01:16 PM »
Hello all

In a strange twist of fate I have acquired a small wine business (yay!) and inherited a website that runs on Actinic (less yay).

Now I come from much more state of the art ecommerce projects, so am banging my head on Actinic a bit, and trying to figure out what is possible in up to date Actinic (site is quite old, so has accumulated workarounds from v6,7,8,9 etc.) and what is not possible etc. is proving quite a challenge.

All I knew from Actinic was helping get the data off it for people migrating to something else, although it's actually not a bad package within its limitations and design choices. It is frustrating to me, though.

I know some of the lovely people on this forum often supplement their software income with a bit of IT services, any of you have Actinic on your product portfolio? Might be a day's worth of review/advice/sanity checking in it, and perhaps more onwards (unless I decide to replatform)

Living Room / Donation gamer: Games to give
« on: August 27, 2011, 01:00 PM »

I have a bunch of games on gamersgate and steam (and a few direct from developers) which I meant to give to friends but, I must notice, in quite a few cases I have failed to convince individual friends to be interested enough. In other cases I received as a bonus or gift something I already had...

So I figured, this is donation coder, I'll be donation gamer

None of them are expensive, but still, a freebie is nice  :P

Here are the "rules"
* Please be nice, I'll try to do first come first serve but I might get something wrong and apologise in advance
* actually think you'll play the game a few hours in the next month :)
* If on gamersgate or steam, I'd expect you to add me to your network (iphigenie/superiphi) so I can bask in the warm glow that at least someone is playing the games my friends wouldnt play
* removed the 4th rule on intending to donate - intending to participate is fine too :)

On Steam:
Several copies of "Defense Grid". That one is so awesome I first had it on Direct2Drive, then on Steam, then I bought a 10 pack on sale to spread the love :). 4 gone, 1 left
Detour - a bit clunky but a neat idea, and probably will get patched. Pipeman with weapons. Mac and PC, iirc. 2 gone
Hoard - Mac or PC. Xbox port, best played with a gamepad
Portal 1 - 1 copy. Mac or PC
Vertex Dispenser - an action puzzler game about lines and colors Mac or PC. 2 gone
NEW: Sanctum - First Person Shooter Tower Defense

On Gamersgate:

Infans Solaris - asteroids with co-op mode
Woody Two-Legs: Attack of the Zombie Pirates
Guilty Gear Isuka - a fighting game http://www.gamersgat...GI/guilty-gear-isuka
Stronghold 1 - old but good :)
RIP - old school shooter
RIP strike back - old school shooter

Directly bought from software developer

Creeper world - hard to describe, but awesome little game, with a huge amount of content. small web demo here http://knucklecracke...erworld/web/play.php
Din's Curse - an excellent indie game, mix of diablo and rogue with emergent storyline


First, I feel profoundly stupid.

I would have sworn that when I last reinstalled it last year, I logged in and I had the license code saved somewhere - either in my licenses folder or in a saved note. But it's not in any backup I can see of my backup folder, and it's not in opera notes, or in my abandoned evernote, or in my fastmail notes... not sure where else it might be. Probably saved somewhere on the work computer I have since returned to the company I am no longer working for...

And more stupidly I went on the site earlier this year as I suspected I would need it again and was checking whether there was a new version to upgrade/buy etc.

And now they seem to have vanished. And I should know better.

Anyway, what did spherical tracker do?

  • log the address bars of all open windows, application and document name, email subject/recipient etc.
  • track breaks and interruptions, calls and meetings
  • allow you to review your work every day and assign activity to projects
  • learn to automatically assign particular documents, folders, programs to particular clients. Allow that to be changed over time without affecting past entries.
  • produce nice reports that help when building timesheets
  • it had more features for companies, groups etc. but these are what mattered to me

Question 1: anyone does by any miracle know this company or people in it that could help me get my old key back and continue using it  :tellme:

Otherwise considering that once in the flow of a day of work I am unable to remember to click buttons to track what I am doing, I need something like this.

I found the following:

* Qlockwork, for Outlook. Tracks all activities but shows the resulting timeline and reports within outlook. I like how the time usage shows up as a calendar (although it would be even better as a diary, imo, especially as the calendar seems to be picked up by synchronisations etc. which is undesirable). I used it less than a day and the report seems to freeze, could be because it is less than a day. But obviously if it cant do a report without a crash it is out.

* Chrometa. Modern "app" look. Seems solid enough. Far too much of a pain to use to assign things (mouse interactions sluggish and selection jumpy). Also the program window always makes it look like you have only 20 minutes active work, although the report comes out correct. I have only the desktop standalone tool, havent tried the webapp aggregation yet. Does catch break but I am getting too much time wasting around the assign-to-project phase to disqualify it.

* Timesprite. looks quite a bit like Spherical. Assign-to-client via "grouping" windows, almost a 1-right-click action. Didnt look like it at first but best option perhaps so far

* Worktime. Fancy reports by type of activity, top sites, top documents - havent quite figured out the assign-to-client angle, seems you create it by typing simple rules or by setting a general context for all you do and then changing anything that was an interruption. Manual logging of other stuff. Has frozen on me.

* open tempus - free software tool. not clear where to start

I also remember that there is a coding snack that does the logging on this very site but I am not manually doing the analysis and reports :)
There are also 2 web based solutions that claim to do the same, but they are pay-per-month and I am not sure I am interested in pay per month.

I want spherical back, but failing that, are there others I should consider?

PS: will go get the URLs and add them asap

I found that as I install lots of software to try, and lots of games, and several portable, no installation or command line utilities, I spent too much time cleaning up and managing menus and entries, and still had broken links, removed programs still appearing, and missing entries that I had to go seek in the file system and create and edit shortcuts for.

End up reinstalling a machine and you need to redo it all, or having to artificially reinstall software which would work perfectly directly... just because it is missing shortcuts (and sometimes installation on a new windows wont be able to reuse the old configs so not reinstalling is best) and if you split your time across several PCs, well, you never have quite the same set of apps on each, and it's just far too much time wasted with menus and stuff. And almost every startup or menu utility out there relies on you manually adding every entry. Not fun when you are a software addict.

So when I found Task Commander I loved it - it will add a little menu dot on the task bar which starts the menu. And it autopopulates the menu from every software that is triggered by the user - whether from the start menu, command line, a tool like FARR, or post an installation routine. The software could do that because as a task manager it was monitoring tasks anyway. It would catch more executables than I really wanted (install programs, for example) but I found it was WAY less work for me to quickly hide all these and organise the rest.

It was quirky but made my life easier. All the other features of task commander I didnt really need, but that one I miss.

But it hasnt made sense for them to port the tool to Vista/7 because most of these other features are now covered out of the box and I must be rather unique about the self populating menu

I really miss that, and I wonder, anyone encountered that feature elsewhere?

Living Room / Trend Micro blocking
« on: September 03, 2010, 07:10 AM »

I just got this today on my work PC which has a remote "Trend Micro" security module...

Client/Server Security Agent

Page Blocked

Rating:    Dangerous

Threat details:

Verified fraudulent page or threat source.

I already submitted a report to Trend Micro, and thankfully my config allows me to "allow locally" for links I want to get to, but isnt this strange?
This beats false positives in some of the software...


My in laws have been talked into donating one of their old PCs to a lovely old lady, and I am tasked with cleaning it and putting some reasonable basics on it.

Problem is the machine is running win98, and has been gathering dust for a few years now so it has very out of date software and updates on it. I can't seem to be able to download the browser(s) to do anything useful (netscape 4 just refuses to go to any page as it is out of date) or to get any updates.

I know some people use win98 around the forum - either on old machines or as a testing platform, so you might have a collection of links for the updated MS libraries and perhaps basics such as browsers, virus scanners etc. Would love any advice eg small utilities, tricks etc to make it more friendly/up to date.

Browsers: Opera is available for Win98, if the memory fits I might use that (not sure about the memory yet). Amaya is available too. As far as I can tell IE 7 or 8 are not available for win98, neither is ff3. Chrome and Safari don't work. Kmeleon works, i have been told. And I have heard of another browser called "the world". So far that is all. If I dont have the ram for opera it'll be an odd set of choices.

Anti Virus: Clamwin and AVG are the only ones offering a win98 offering that I can tell, at least in the free crowd.

I'm going through a "windows 98" word search on fileforum to see what's available

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

I got introduced to Kiva via a blog I read, - a site by an engineer who joined the UNHCR and writes about aid and development (a good site to read to get one's horizons widened and one's perspective adjusted).

Kiva's principle is simple, aggregate normal people, who can perhaps only contribute a small amount (amounts start at $25), to offer microcredit to people all over the developing world, via existing microcredit organisations.

on a personal note last week when I was feeling quite worried (still no job, savings decreasing, can't decide what to do, take a 'lesser' job, try to go self employed, ah poor me!) I went and lent 2x$25 to people, and frankly it reminded me that I am far far far from poor. Here are their stories:

Rosa is 40 years old and lives in the Laureles Norte section of the capital, Managua. She is married and has three children in grade school, ages 2, 7 and 12. She hopes to offer her family, her children, a bright future and to leave them an inheritance. Rosa has a small business selling homemade food. She has ten years experience in customer service, and would like to improve her business, expanding it and increasing sales by offering new types of food. In order to increase her income and sales, Rosa plans to invest this loan in new products and appliances, such as staples and perishable items for food preparation, a grill, and new tables and chairs to provide for and attract new customers.

Silvia is 55 years old and lives in the Laureles Norte neighborhood of the capital, Managua. She is a single mother with four grown children. Thanks be to God, she has been able to help her children to prosper and has started her own business, a guest house. Silvia hopes to leave her family something worth inheriting. In addition to the guest house, she also sells cosmetics retail and on credit. For the past ten years she has rented a room to bring in more income and to help herself financially. Her goals are to expand and buy new product lines. Thanks to loans from Afodenic she has been able to buy products such as perfume, lipstick, nail polish, shoes and silver jewelry, generating higher profits and offering her clients better and a greater variety of products.

The site is extremely simple to join and use, create a basic profile, browse entrepreneurs by type, country etc., and make your loan. Payments are over paypal.

My oldest loan is less than a month old so I do not know much about what kind of information one might get from the lenders in the long run, but I did get a fairly generic email from each of the organisations about the loan and its recipient, and I assume I will get more.

It feels quite good to be able to do something that feels *useful* - although I find it very hard to choose between all the people. They are all tales of courage, self reliance and dignity, and of lives much different from our own (I remember the old grandmother whose children are all dead and who is working to get all her orphaned grandchildren a future)

Because these are loans, you do get your money refunded eventually, which you can take out or re-lend.

I like the spirit - and I'm planning to lend a further $50 in the next month, probably in Africa this time around.

PS: I would be quite happy to join a donationcoder group if others are also on kiva, make donations in the name of cody ;) - here's my profile

(please fix this if i am doing it wrong)
I can't quite make it fit the theme, but it seems more potentiall useful than my "count your blessings" idea.
This is a tough call as I am gone abroad for the holidays, but I figure I ought to be able to fall back to a web based service option.

Application NamePermanent Persistent Toothbrush (codename, for now)
Versionnone yet
Short DescriptionPhase 1: generates passwords that are both strong and easy (for 1 person) to re-create.
Supported OSesnot sure yet, could be web based only
Download Link

The premise:

We all have to come up with a phenomenal number of passwords both online and offline. More than we can remember. Current solutions are:
1) use the same 2-3 usernames and 2-3 passwords. Rather insecure in that once someone has one
2) use a strong password generator, and store these in a password manager. More secure but has a single point of failure
3) central ID systems like openID - great, but not widely used

I always preferred finding passwords that were easy to remember/trigger but strong. Then all I would need is a reminder manager - no need to store my passwords, just reminders that are only useful to me.

The key idea is that we remember sentences and stories far better than we remember random combinations of characters. And we remember patterns/processes fairly well too.

I will give an example - say I am joining the book site and I need a password.

I start with the trigger "book", the program will then find a poem or quote about books (if it can) in its database (not sure whether i will store it all or use openly available content sites online in the background).

Books to the ceiling
Books to the sky
My piles of books are a mile high
How I love them
How I need them
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them

~Arnold Lobel


Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read -- Groucho Marx

Now several passwords can be generated, but by either taking a sub sentence or first letters of words, swapping 2 to numbers and swapping 2 to upper case, you have a strong password.

And strangely enough, it is easier to remember this whole sequence than it is to remember something like "1aD1tDtr" or "Ih4lbbttIrt", and a trigger such as "outside of a dog" or "books to the ceiling" can be all you need even after not using it for a year.

The name comes from a memorable quote:

Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don't let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.
Clifford Stoll

The plan:

Phase 1: password + password reminder generator

- keyword/topic based database of quotes and poem
- supports contraints such as length, number of uppercase or digits required
- option to search online in open content
- supports the option for multiple language-specific source databases
- can save and export lists of generated passwords

Phase 2: reminder manager

either: (maybe, not happening within NANY): web widget to show password reminders on website log in forms - javascript bookmarklet perhaps?
or: (maybe, not happening within NANY): modification of open source password manager to be a reminder manager.

Feedback more than welcome, even if it is "don't bother, already been done, cant be useful" :D

Living Room / A rant on religiousness about OSes
« on: December 09, 2008, 05:31 AM »
(this was triggered by a near-religious linux post in a thread about windows XP. I figured I wouldn't pollute that with my rant and will just rant where people can ignore it easier)

Please don't come and tell me that your particular OS is the bestest of them all, super stable, easy to manage, easy to learn, no security issues. It isn't. None of them are. If you think so you have forgotten all the times you scratched your head or tore your hair trying to figure out how to do...

It always bothers me when I see people get religious about an OS (or programming language) - this started as an open minded conversation and at some point it starts being an advocacy discussion - with people using the usual myths about each other's OS (linux is not that user unfriendly and mishmashy, neither is windows that insecure or unstable). The worst is that most of the people get all religious not about the reality of their OS (or language) but the idea of the OS, and the image it projects about them.

Once someone gets religious, then others feel they have to defend their choice (even if they weren't religious about it, their image has been attacked, implying that they are morons/heretics for using something else. Hard to shut up after that)

I have used: several flavors of DOS, Vax/VMS, SunOS, Solaris, Opensolaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, desktop distributions of BSD, Windows 3.11, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows Server (NT, 2003, 2008), AIX, OS/2, HPUX, SGI, MacOS, about 20+ flavors of linux over 15 years.

I have administrered/managed, in a commercial setting: DOS, SunOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, Windows (the whole list above except for server 2008 which i only played with), AIX, OS/2, MacOS, Linux: Slackware, Redhat, fedora, debian, DLD, Suse, Centos, and a few specialised one (router/firewall) i can't remember right now. Some as servers, some as desktops.

So when people talk to me about how wonderful X is, or how innovative, I tend to see red.

First, If you cannot list at least 3 ways in which the other person's OS is better than yours (things you wish your OS had) then you don't know enough to debate in the first place. This is called Nebbe's rule when applied to programming languages, i'll call it iphi's rule for OSes.

1. All OSes suck - they fall way short of what an OS should be and might be one day - but most of them don't suck enough that we cannot get used to them and like them

2. All OSes are unstable - at least any one I have ever used with a GUI has had mysterious crashes, problems, freezes. The worst was probably redhat/fedora, and that even without a GUI.

3. Updates and software install are a problem on all OSes. There will be numerous cases and people who have had things mess up just by trying to install or uninstall on any OS - whether windows, macos, solaris, bsd, aix, linux distributions. If you think you haven't had any you either have been extremely lucky, or you have forgotten the teething problems in your enjoyment of the idea of your OS.

4. All OSes are insecure in the hands of an uninformed user. Granted, some are safer because an uninformed use cannot even begin to use them.

5. All OSes are frustrating - With any OS, there's a time right out of the box where they are fun. Then as you start to really do work with them, especially with deadlines, the cracks will appear and you will tear your hair out. Then if you stick with them you will get to the point where they are stable, work to your satisfaction, and you will be comfortable like and old couple. It can take a month or 18 to get there, depending on luck, the match between the chosen OS and the task you are trying etc.

6. All OSes are fun if you use them to dabble. If you use an OS mostly to have fun and dabble, without pressure, you will like it better. So if you used windows at work but linux at home, linux will feel infinitely more easy, fun, stable - because you can just put up or ignore things that are less than ideal, and what projects you conceive will be projects that fit within the limitations of your chosen platform. If you have linux at work but windows at home (for games and chatting), you might feel otherwise. I have at some point or another absolutely hated every single OS I have had to use, except for the ones I have only ever dabbled with.

I hope its the card, way cheaper than the screen, although the screen is on warranty

I am getting weird lines of dots, especially on blue and dark flat surfaces (like the start button or window title bars). The lines and dots flicker, and they seem to follow the image (i.e. if I move the window, the pattern of dots follows). The fact that it follows suggests to me that it is the graphics card rather than the screen, but I suspect there are utilities out there to test screens and graphics cards for problems and failure.

I am going to go trawl the search engines now but if anyone can recommend utilities they have used, let me know

Living Room / Sourceforge grief
« on: May 12, 2008, 05:21 AM »
I think I got to sourceforge a few times a month for one software or another.

But this week when you try to download they have started showing a big ad-intersticial page.
And 80% of the page is about the advertiser, good luck finding the link to download... At least for me the ad stays there forever, there is no automatic start of the download. It even freezes my opera for something like 20 seconds.

I find this extremely annoying, enough that it just put me off downloading something because I just didnt want to risk a crash again.

When did this start?

check the screenie - found the download link yet?

Living Room / Silly: Best web error message?
« on: May 11, 2008, 10:50 AM »
when an unknown errors happens on seems you get the following:

Error: Rampaging elephant error. Hide the peanuts and try again later.

Made me laugh!

I try so many sites as part of my work, and most of the time I find them lacking - I have registered to literally hundreds at one time or another and I haven't gotten stuck and participated in any of them the way I do in forums or newsgroups.

Until last weekend. This little one is clearly a labour of love and well suited to its planned purpose, and as a web application it is near perfect in delivering what it wants to deliver and nothing more.

What is it
it is a simple, no frills, 1-a-day photoblog type service.

Sign up - human checked - upload one photo a day (which goes up for the day you took it, thats the one rule), put a bit of text with it. Receive nice welcome comments. Go around and get amused, impressed and probably inspired by all the weird and wonderful things other people have come up with that day. Want to go out and take yet more pictures.

The challenge is to try to do something daily. It's easy and yet it is fun, and because it is so minimalistic it doens't feel as self centered as the classic blog/diary thing.

I mentioned it elsewhere https://www.donation....msg109694#msg109694 with screenshots, but I thought that some people in DC might enjoy that little creative challenge every day so I would point it out again.

Why it works
- it is easy. the site is easy to use, upload takes 2 steps and no time at all... and we're talking 1 pic a day
- it feels accessible - most of the pictures are nice but normal. some frome expensive kit, some from mobile phone cameras. The community is all about positive pats on the back
- the design enhances the message - it is simple and keeps the images to a small size, which reinforces the message that it is about seeing and capturing life in its variety rather than a contest of impressive images.
- it is inspiring - I was very surprised that something so simple can get the creative juices flowing, i just love checking the site at random in the evenings
- it is a bit of a challenge, but one that you can achieve (besides there is no problem in not posting every day, many don't).
- there is no pressure. you dont have to be technically great, or original, to get a bit of feedback and recognition
- there is nothing unneccessary (a big thing for me, i have trouble with websites with too much stuff)

What it is not
- you wont get improve-your-photography criticism
- theres no competition
- not the best place to show off your best pictures

What could be better (for me)
- i would love a way to mark/remember specific pics i liked, to find them easily later
- it would be nice to have some form of conversation support across comments
but i suspect these might take away some of the simplicity of the concept and break some of the magic, and I dont really miss it that much.

What it did to me in one week:

Now I have always carried a pocket camera around, with the intention of taking more pictures, but I often didn't. This has managed to give me the little kick to try - snap something...  Take more risks (I come from film, I just didnt snap like mad) I just try to actually extract something out of whatever pictures I manage to take that day.

This week I have taken pictures of bits of plants, even though I thought my camera probably wouldnt cope (it did, better than i would have thought). I have taken pictures of my coworkers (who never want to) using the excuse that I am trying to get more photos for that photoblog challenge (and they let me get away with it). I have had people chat with me on the street because they saw me take a photo of a flower/brick/bit of sidewalk and tell me how they try to take pictures and how fun it is now that you can fix it on the computer and I have just made them think they will take their camera with them tomorrow...

I have had a blast offline and online  :Thmbsup:

This one if for work - we're looking for a tool that makes it easy for normal people to put in drawing what they have in mind, beyond the scribble-on-paper approach.

Of course this can be done in tools like fireworks, visio etc. but these are expensive and not necessarily that accessible to the average sales person or writer.

So I wonder if someone here uses a simpler tool to sketch user interfaces that could be use to create some simple web wireframes

What it needs to do
- usable by non technical people who are familiar with pc software
- very simple drag-and-drop way to sketch what a webpage, section, newsletter can be
- have elements for boxes, forms fields and buttons
- be cheap (or free) - we cannot affort the $199 some of the diagramming tools are, not for the purpose of this

What it doesnt need to do
- it doesnt need to be a web tool (no generation of html etc. needed)
- it doesnt need to be cut up or exported (it is mostly a briefing/communication tool so printouts would be enough)
- it doesnt need to deal with photos/graphics elements

I'm sure there are tools out there that might not be meant for this but perfectly adequate for the purpose -  - maybe a free IDE that has a nice drawing mode, or a shareware diagramming tool that has web page elements, or maybe one of the online website or diagram generators that could be used for it.


General Software Discussion / The lazy user's guilt
« on: March 11, 2008, 03:11 PM »
I have been more and more conscious lately that I am a lazy software user.

By that I mean that I often use only a small fraction of a tool's capabilities, and that, very often, if those capabilities need a lot of configuration, or scripting, or even a lot of reading... then I often don't do the necessary legwork. I might even end up looking for a tool to do something that a program I already own would be able to do with some configuration or scripting.

Now I am sure I am not alone in this, but the strange thing is I ought to be perfectly capable of learning these and doing it (after all I made a good living as a developer before I started making a good living creating and running development teams), but in truth I don't.

Some examples:

Total Commander is my file manager of choice, and it has quite a powerful set of scripting and extension possibilities. I have seen what can be done with it. Yet in 10 years I have never tried to understand it, I had even never (until December 2006) bothered to create a custom menu in it, and never gone beyond installing a few of the plugins... I finally looked a tiny bit in December after someone posted some screenshots in here that showed some capabilities - but even then it was a few hours and then I parked it.

I have the wirekeys tool, which has a lot of features. Again, it can also be scripted. And yet, in the 3 or more years I have owned it I have never started to use more than a tiny fraction of the features, never written anything in it, and never done much more than trawling the help file for a few tweaks (like the file open/save dialog improvement plug in). There are zillions of shortcuts that I ought to try to remember because they would save me a lot of time and hassle, yet I dont. I know I ought to create a "cheat sheet" and learn a few ones every week... but I haven't.

Opera is highly customisable yet I only bothered once to download alternate menus/toolbars - at the moment the most customisation I do is changing the search.

I had ahk installed for about 2 months and did exactly nothing with it, so I removed it. I didn't even install some of the great ahk scripts available here, although I downloaded about 20  :o

When I was looking at time tracking software I had to settle on one that would spy and record on my active windows, and then I would tag them, because no way I was going to set up all the kind of clients, categories etc. that the normal time trackers seemed to expect. I tested quite a few before realising that!

I own the stardock object desktop, and have had for years, but I have only once or twice tried to customise DesktopX or objectbar to create an environment that would suit my work and tasks. I know if I did it could be very cool and useful, but it is just a lot of work, so I haven't (actually i did an objectbar once and kept it for 2 months until I had to reinstall windows and realised I had never backed this bar config up).


You get the picture, it's just quite pathetic!

I guess I am at one extreme of the developer scale - the one who doesnt want his/her personal computer time to feel even remotely like work and likes simple tools that dont require too much configuration etc. The other extreme of the scale is the developer who likes to customise or write everything he/she uses.

I want my tool to be immediately useful out of the box, with a few simple adjustments. In all these cases and many others the tool is either good enough in its "immediate" form I will just stop using it, it will not give me the kick to learn it... If it is good enough out of the box I am more likely to never scratch the surface of what it could do with tweaking...

Launchers are a similar case. I have farr, and use it more as a search tool. I think I even installed and downloaded some of the plugins but never use them. And just like total commander and wirekeys, if I bothered to get used to using some of the features I am sure I would benefit. But I don't  :o Similarly I could set up a menu in Total Commander, but I dont (I started once, but too many programs). Or I could set them up in wirekeys (or stardock's keyboard launchpad and right click commander, i own that too) to make them into launch keys and right click menu. Or I could do an objectbar or desktopX instance. Or reinstall ahk. But instead I have gone out and found a launcher tool which suits lazy people like me, because it builds its menu by watching what i run, from all sources. Finally a menu that doesnt need work.

I do feel a bit ashamed that I am that lazy, but I guess I have so many other projects that I dont want tools that turn in projects. That's my excuse  :Thmbsup:

I think I am pretty clever with my pcs and I think I have had almost every stupid thing you can have with making windows disfunctional, but this one has me stumped

Lately on my laptop, I am having the main explorer functions (desktop, start menu, status bar etc) just freeze.
As far as the rest of the system is concerned, everything is fine (cpu, performance etc.) except i cannot use anything like the start menu or status bar, but everything else continues to work.

The trigger is always either
- right clicking on desktop icons
- right clicking on an entry in start menu
- (happened for the first time now) selecting and pressing delete over 2 shortcuts on the desktop
but only after the machine has been running quite a while

Now the basic task monitor shows nothing hung up, no undue cpu or memory usage, and all clear.... I cannot use explorer or file managers which were open at the point the trigger happened, but new file managers would work fine... I cannot kill explorer or file managers either.

In the end I cannot properly shut down windows, so I have to do a hard restart.

Looking in the windows task manager everything seems pretty normal except there are a lot of page faults in some places which means a lot of swapping - I suspect it happens when I havent used these parts of the interface for a while and things have been swapped to disk. And they dont come back fast enough... But thats just a wild guess

But how do I figure this out - I am going to dust up wintasks pro see if it helps see something I cant see right now, but what other tools can i use to help me puzzle this out - any better analysis tools? any of the "process juggling" tools (like process tamer) would help? if it turns out to be swapping the problem, is there anything that can be done to protect some things from being swapped out?

Tired of restarting my machine the hard way ;)


Normally when I change the motherboard/chip of a computer I just reinstall windows. That works. Avoids conflict.

But this is my old main PC and it has a LOT of things configured and installed. I really really dont want to reinstall it all. It takes days. That's why I made an image 2 years ago and update it when needed... but that wont help now.

At this point I might have shelled out for the Acronis 11 upgrade and the additional module, but I think it was Carol who said it doesnt work as expected.

So I am considering trying to do it manually.

I tried uninstalling (when available) or deleting from the hardware list all of the underlying drivers but it wont let me delete them all.

I have installed all the new drivers and they seem to be the only ones active, but I am not getting the kind of responsiveness I got on the old hardware, and this is much better hardware, so obviously this is not optimal.

I just thought there might be a tool out there that clears all drivers that I could try. Clear all, reboot, redetect, tada, clean PC... I doubt that works but it seems possible that some driver admin tool exists with that feature "clean my board".... I can dream!

My next step if I cant find that is a reinstall "on top" but I dont think this will clear the drivers list, will it?

Another idea might be to find a way to export all the useful registry bits except for hardware, so i dont have to reinstall every piece of software... backup, do a clean reinstall, restore all app settings... but I dont think it is that easy...

I think i could spend days trying to come up with a solution so might as well spend days on a clean install, bust still, I thought I would just ask here...

General Software Discussion / Idea request: "Site discovery tool"
« on: November 05, 2007, 08:03 AM »
I'm trying to find a pragmatic solution to the following task:

Find new pages/sites/posts around a set of topics in as automated a way as possible, in an ongoing way.
By new I mean either is newly arrived/posted, or not seen before because too "deep" in the "dark" web so we havent gotten to the 21000th page on google where they are...

So in a way it would be a tool that
- is able to trawl a bunch of directories, blogs, feeds
- is also able to run a whole list of searches in google/yahoo/ask etc. or some aggregator sites, possibly starting at page 100 to avoid all the noisy stuff at the top
- gather all URLs referred in this
- then it should be able to discard any site/url previously seen aka 'greylist') so as to produce a list of new things to review
- update the greylist

In a way this combines features from a search tool, and update watcher tool, a web ferret, and URL catcher etc.

If I had to write it I would probably write a perl application with a topic manager, a web crawler, possibly even plug in a bayesian toy to help ignore spammy sites, a results list with preview... But I dont have time, and I am not sure this is something I can just commission and hope to get something workable (= better than using manual methods) at a reasonable cost.

So it got me thinking about how some of the benefits of this tool might be achieved by combining existing tools, say by plugging website watcher with search engine results URLs with the different search terms hard coded in each. Now this doesn't quite work, as WSW would highlight too many other changes in content rather than purely new stuff, but there just might be ways...

So it's not really a coding snack, it's more of a software jigsaw puzzle.

Found Deals and Discounts / Wirekeys on giveaway of the day
« on: May 18, 2007, 03:53 AM »
I am a registered user of wirekeys. I use it for some hotkey automation, a minimalistic clipboard history, clipboard clean up and sorting, right click menu customiser, process killer...

It is another one of those automation / macro / text tool which comes with a lot of features. It is a bit quirky to set up (to me - I dont use 10% of its features cause I haven't found them yet...) but is very versatile and powerful and certainly worth a try and download.

General Software Discussion / DVD playback software
« on: May 13, 2007, 08:56 AM »
As I am on a contract I am stuck in hotels at night, and once thing that occurred to me is that it would be nice to watch DVDs on my laptop to escape from the boredom of TV

I then realised that the standard software installed on said laptop did not include any DVD codec layer.

I tried to find free codecs/players but the results were unsuccessful - couldnt figure out how to actually make the DVD menus work on any of them.

Right not i downloaded a demo and that works, but I am curious as to what people are using since these players are not cheap!

On my other PCs I had something that came with the dvd drive, called cyberlink but for some reason this wasnt sent or installed with this laptop... I am not sure what the licensing would say to my installing those on this laptop or if it is any good.

From what I can see I have 4 options:
* continue to fight with free options until i find one that actually works through the menus to the films
* buy a standalone DVD media player program
* buy a plug in for windows media
* use clonedvd to make files from my DVDs I can watch in a normal player - seems like hard work though just to watch a film

which brings me to the question, what do people use?

I have bookmarks and/or local copies of some of them, but this is a really nice list



I've just been sorting through old papers and one of the folders had old software licenses, old registration emails... It just got me thinking fondly of some old software I just liked (yes, fondly!), used a lot, lost... and some I still use...

So 3 questions

1) what are the earliest (independent) programs you "registered" - that can be paid registration, email registration, donation, postcard?

2) what are your favorite programs you no longer use?

3) what are the oldest programs you still use?
a) use a new version of / b) still use "as is"

General Software Discussion / uploading old mail to imap
« on: February 27, 2007, 10:27 AM »

I got fed up with the email service which came with my domains and, not wanting to run my own email server, I ended up signing up with fastmail. Anyway, it's a pretty nice service, imap and all, but I have all this old email accumulated in pocomail over the years which I would love to bring forward.

Alas nobody managed to get pocomail to connect to fastmail. Thankfully the mailboxes are in a standard format so can be imported in almost any client i have ever seen... so i need another imap client which lets me move my old mail to imap.

I tried thunderbird last summer, and didn't have much luck - i imported my old email in tb, set up the imap and tried drag-n-drop to move the local messages on to imap. It seems I have to do it one message at a time and the date of the message becomes the date of the upload, not the original date.

I tried opera and I can do multiple messages with it, but the date is skewed too.

At this stage I don't know whether the date thing is a limitation of the software or the imap server at my provider.

Before I download and test 5 different imap clients, I wondered if those of you using newer versions of TB and other email clients could let me know if their tool lets them move multiple emails to the imap mailboxes and does so preserving the original dates?


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