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Messages - oblivion [ switch to compact view ]

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Not sure if this is more appropriate here or not, really, but the current Humble books bundle is a pretty decent collection of sci-fi. Or speculative fiction. Or whatever Harlan Ellison now calls the collection of (excellent) short stories that are also available as part of the bundle. (There's three tiers to this one: pay what you want gets a set of books, beat the average gets a few more, more than $12 gets everything.)

Mostly, people are familiar with the Humble Bundle outfit as a source of (usually decent) games. However, they've done a couple of ebook and comics bundles in the past and they're usually pretty good.

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: GS-Base Mini-Review
« on: May 28, 2014, 04:38 PM »
Another addendum... I've been using GS-Base (now up to version 13.3)  for a small variety of things -- from interrogating multi-gigabyte xbase tables to designing a replacement for a userID and password generator that I originally wrote for my old and now long-dead Psion and although I've got a few minor niggles with the user interface, the author's extremely helpful and responsive -- he fixed a couple of bugs I encountered with large tables within hours of me reporting them -- and, as wraith808 says above, you just don't find this level of functionality in a database even for $20.

It's not a "proper" relational database. However, you can build links between tables in a way that allows you to replicate quite a lot of the functionality you're likely to want, and the sheer speed of it compared to my (yes, I know) aging copy of Lotus Approach coupled with the fact that it's actively supported has to mean it's worth me migrating my various weird databasey bits into it.

So far, I've only tried the portable form on a reasonably beefy 64-bit Windows 7 machine, but I suspect it'll still be fast and functional on more limited systems -- I'll experiment and try to remember to report back. ;)

Oh yeah; and the installer is under 2Mb. That's Two Megabytes. For a full-featured database application.

Can you tell I think it's pretty darn good?

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: GS-Base Mini-Review
« on: May 21, 2014, 05:29 PM »
I saw this via the newsletter yesterday, so I'm coming late to the party.

The spreadsheet style is a bit of a culture shock for me -- I'm used to record-oriented databases rather than Excel-ish stuff. However, the developer is extremely responsive and finding a modern database package that can cope with multi-gigabyte files in all of the various xbase formats I have a lot of legacy data in is a complete delight. Particularly seamless support for Clipper and FoxPro memo file formats (as of today!) is more than slightly marvellous!

I'm less sure about the techniques for building joins between tables -- but that's probably more a culture thing than a real problem, and for people who are migrating from Excel's db management methodologies, the mechanisms for doing stuff -- particularly pivot tables -- will seem like home from home.

Overall: excellent!

I've read this with some interest.

My main home desktop machine is an aging Vista box. I have used it to dip a toe in the Windows 8 water, by setting it up to dual boot to 64-bit 8.1.

My initial reaction was: I hated the Metro interface. Get me to the desktop, Jeeves, and make sure I never leave it again.

(It was worse than that. I have a Wacom graphics tablet that I use all the time as a mouse replacement. Under Vista, that's completely okay. Under Windows 7, once you've disabled flicks and all the other allegedly helpful things Windows does when it sees you wanting to use a stylus, that's okay too. Under Windows 8, some of the behaviours you don't want are really hard to get rid of. Some of them won't go at all. The right-click is really laggy, the left-click unresponsive and sometimes fails entirely. Yuck. I have tried to put up with it.)

The best solution to the loss of the start menu (Classic Start Menu) is pretty good.

However... I decided, after a week or three, that I wanted to see just why Metro was worth potentially alienating tracts of previously happy Windows users. So I set it back to the default screen.

The news app -- quite likeable once you get into the idea of horizontal scrolling -- tries hard to be useful and configurable and attractive. But I have to say, that's about it, on the apps front. I've dragged, stretched, moved, deleted, added and personalised and it still doesn't feel like MY working space. (That's because it's not? Well, quite.)

And at some point recently, something has gone terribly wrong. Now, all the apps do is load to a wash of colour then open the desktop. And apparently the only way to fix it is a full Windows reinstall. (Will I bother? Good question.)

You know what? It's only advantage is better security. (And I'm generally okay taking responsibility for that stuff anyway.) That aside, I actually don't think it's better than Vista. (But don't get me wrong: 7 knocks Vista into a cocked hat.)

I thought the fact that Vista occasionally just stops for a think -- CPU not maxed, no serious disk activity, nothing obvious going on apart maybe from the fact that you're trying to move all 60k of my documents\bilgepumpdiagram47.doc to my documents\bilge\2014\diagrams\ -- was one of the many known problems that Vista suffers from. If so, they fixed it in 7 and threw out the fix in 8.

Like many, I shall probably wait for 9 rather than fully migrate my desktop PC to 8.

Just a note here to say that I finally -- too late, as usual -- got round to testing the new version with VirtuaWin under XP and it still doesn't work the way it used to.

[It didn't used to matter what the loading order was, LBC in an autohidden toolbar would appear in the VirtuaWin window in which it was used. For the last couple of versions, LBC had to be loaded before VirtuaWin for that to work -- and if the LBC config is changed, VW has to be exited and reloaded to prevent an attempted activation of LBC flipping you back to the VW window that was active when the LBC config was changed.

This is less important to me than it was: I don't use XP as much as I did -- only running it on one PC, now -- and I gave up trying to make VirtuaWin work properly with Win7 so I'm using a different solution for virtual desktops now :) ]

Anyone tried the beta?
Some people are just SO pushy. :)

I'd forgotten all about it. Cleverly.  :-[ I've picked it up now and I'll have a play with it this afternoon.


Looks fine so far, but my main host PC (this is still portable LBC on my portable hard disk) is now 64-bit Windows 7 and I couldn't persuade VirtuaWin to work on it.

I'll try it in XP with VirtuaWin later on.

In the meantime, is there any specific aspect you want tested?

Webcam Video Diary / Re: Recording and post-processing problems
« on: March 23, 2014, 01:36 PM »
For all my optimism, I didn't crack it. Mostly because the need sort of evaporated -- the MOOC I was trying to find time to participate in apparently couldn't manufacture any more hours in the day for me to use for it, sadly.

I may re-enrol next time it runs, but I'm not going to do that until I'm sure I can get everything working first -- so sorry, I can't help. :(

There's something slightly Crocodile Dundee about this guy's argument with his neighbour.
It might not really be true at all.
I sort of hope it IS, but even if it isn't, it's still pretty funny.  :D

A cross-cultural argument that had me laughing out loud. Lots.

There's something slightly Crocodile Dundee about this guy's argument with his neighbour.

Found Deals and Discounts / Re: RightNote Pro 50% Off Thru January 31
« on: January 24, 2014, 10:19 AM »
I stuck my nose in to see if anyone had pointed this great deal out already and find that (again!) I'm behind the curve!  :D

I'd add my own vote for RightNote, though: I'm permanently on the lookout for the perfect note keeper and RightNote is one of the two I keep running (the other being CintaNotes -- which is faster, needs less screenspace and is tag focussed but falls behind when you care about formatting and image stuff.)

I used Easy Screencast Recorder yesterday to "watch" a program being used so I could compare what was being done onscreen to what happened behind the scenes.

Worked brilliantly. (Capturing a VNC window -- I wondered before trying it if it'd work at all and was delighted to find that it was completely fine with it.)

However... I used the preferred / default settings, which means that I have a .ASF video. And the first six minutes of it is filled with irrelevant stuff I'd quite like to delete. (If you're squeamish, you'd probably rather not know that the bit I don't want to keep contains photographs of the insides of someone's lower intestine. Oh. Sorry. Too late. :-[ )

The easiest answer, particularly given the starting file format, seemed to be Microsoft Movie Maker. Impressively, it carved the video up into sort of chapters -- presumably on the basis of what appeared to be going on onscreen -- so I could delete the colonic bits wholesale. And I could even add titles and credits. Gosh.

Only thing was, when it came to saving the amendments, the quality had dropped through the floor. Most of the onscreen text wasn't readable anymore. This despite the fact that the filesize had gone from under 4Mb to over 17.  :o

Presumably MovieMaker re-encoded the output using something completely inappropriate. (I can spell "codec" on a good day but -- even having read Vurbal's brilliant explanation above -- trust me, I'm definitely drowning rather than waving!) There don't seem to be any useful options to tweak quality or active codec or anything...

So... does this apparently simple thing (remove the first 6:22 of an .ASF file) require me to install a zillion new programs, spend a couple of hundred dollars, face due north with a pencil up one nostril and recite poetry to appease the gods? Or am I missing something somewhere? :)

N.A.N.Y. 2014 / Re: NANY 2014 Release: Process Piglet
« on: January 21, 2014, 02:03 AM »
Read this with some interest, and I've shoved The Piglet onto my netbook to see how it behaves.

Neat little program. (And I also think the name, and the associated notifications, are a tiny bit fabulous: "Process firefox.exe has pigged out!" I think this is the first notification I've seen that's really made me smile since an old DOS program gave me "Unknown error: get drunk!")

I'd like to cast a vote for leaving it separate to Process Tamer: I use Process Lasso to look after cpu usage but Piglet's a useful adjunct to it, whereas I wouldn't want to risk running PL and PT alongside each other...

« on: January 01, 2014, 08:19 AM »
Happy New Year to everyone -- and, well, what THEY said.  :Thmbsup:

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: M3U8 playlists
« on: December 20, 2013, 11:42 AM »
How odd. My MP3 player reads all of them without a problem.

Mystified. Oh well: thanks for trying.

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: M3U8 playlists
« on: December 19, 2013, 03:59 PM »
I am sorry I have not looked at this yet. To be honest, I got busy and just plain forgot. I'll try to get to this asap.  :-[
No worries. I hit the problem today, is all, trying to collect together a playlist of Christmas songs. Like ya do. :) I just did it by hand instead. :)

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: M3U8 playlists
« on: December 19, 2013, 05:32 AM »
It occurred to me that the problem here might just (hah! "Just!") be that the various fields containing track names etc might require unicode support after all, in order to display sensible content. (This isn't something I know much about -- I'd assumed that unicode would be a superset of the standard character set but if that's a naive assumption, then it might explain a lot.

At any rate, I'm still seeing the program occasionally just going completely unresponsive. Have you been able to look at it at all since we last discussed this?

I've uploaded a new version (1.39.02) with a minor fix for full screen window detection that may have been suboptimal on windows 7 (it may have thought a maximized window was a full screen window in some cases).
Have you taken it down again? The portable version is still 1.39.01...

And can I rattle your cage with respect to the new problem with VirtuaWin? Not that I'm threatening to stand over you with a whip or anything -- that would be WAY too easy to misinterpret -- but I keep forgetting I have to reload VW after LBC changes and I think the swearing may be upsetting the more delicate ears in my vicinity. :)

Coming late to this thread -- blame mouser for highlighting it in the newsletter :)

I've used a few graphics / photo editors over the years.

For all the proponents of The Gimp, it's always looked to me like the learning curve is way too steep. I have a copy but I've never used it for anything serious.

Sagelight -- the paid version -- is brilliant for photo work. The noise reduction and one-shot HDR functionality components are very new and have become indispensable to me already.

I like Xara Photo & Graphic Designer for object removal but it's a vector tool with photo capabilities added in later and again the learning curve is fairly hefty. And it's quite expensive. But it has a big and committed userbase and the fact that it combines vector and photo capabilities in one package may be a plus.

Serif PhotoPlus: I've had various versions of this for ages and still use it -- particularly if I want to add text or do object extraction, layer-based manipulation or, well, anything that's about changing the content of a picture rather than just tweaking it for whole-image improvements. It's a good companion to Sagelight but they definitely complement each other.

The various free tools mentioned in this thread: there are good points to all of them but -- with the possible exception of The Gimp -- I'm not sure any of them really delivers on all the functionality you're likely to want. Sorry -- I think you may have to spend money.

hmm.. and this is new since the latest version you think?
Maybe not -- this is my portable setup (used on my work PC, running XP)  and I might have missed the previous update.

Is there a virtuawin option to tell it certain apps should be considered to be on all desktops?
There's a window manager plugin I use that has that sort of functionality but it can only "see" LBC when the config window is open and selecting that to be "sticky" didn't seem to have any useful effect on docks.

I think one of the recent changes may have caused a small problem.

On the (XP) machine my most customised version of LBC lives on, I use VirtuaWin for multiple desktops. Since I updated LBC (yesterday) I've noticed that it has started mattering which order I load LBC and VirtuaWin: if VirtuaWin is running already, the LBC dock is only available in one of my desktops rather than (as previously) all of them. So, for instance, if I move the mouse to the bottom of screen 4 to activate my autohidden LBC dock, I get flipped to desktop 1 before the dock appears -- which came as a bit of a shock the first six times. (Look, I'm not always wearing my most analytical hat, okay? ;) )

I can fix it by exiting from VirtuaWin and reloading it, but this is definitely something I've never had to do before...

It's not a perfect fix: if I modify something LBCish which results in it reloading the dock, it does it in such a way that it "sticks" to the desktop that was active at the time of the reload. :(

+1 again for stickies -- it's just wonderfully useful.

AllMyNotes is decent enough, but -- for what it's worth -- I've put it on the back burner now as I think RightNote is the best of its type.

I get a bit frustrated with the limitations of the tree format, particularly at note creation time -- first work out where to store this, make someplace for it, then create the note -- and although there's a place for it when reviewing quantities of stuff of a piece, for straight knowledge capture and retention I think you have to go a long way to beat Cintanotes.

General Software Discussion / Re: The Open Source debate
« on: November 13, 2013, 06:28 PM »
If anyone knows how to make a 16-bit netbios stack appear in Win7, they'll get their deus ex machina. But so far...

Does the app run on WinXP?  If so, Win 7's "Win XP Mode" might work for the app - if the machines are running Win 7 Pro or better.

XP Mode works. So does any other method of running XP in a VM.

Problem is, that's a VM that needs its own antivirus, distribution, individual configuration and an entry in the AD in order to see printers and the guys who worry about installing this stuff reckon it'll be a major job to distribute and maintain (my view: no harder than it is now, but there y'go) and in order to keep the machine happy, they also reckon that a new 64-bit machine with a spare couple of gig of RAM to give to the VM is about the minimum and the older kit around the place would all have to be upgraded, so vast costs all round.

The encapsulated problem and the only known solution is here and it appears that Sybase don't care enough to write an update to the relevant program :( With XP going out of support and increasingly not available on new kit, we have a bit of a problem. ;)

General Software Discussion / Re: The Open Source debate
« on: November 13, 2013, 12:44 PM »
He "won't allow" something? Lets get real, Napolean...IT works for the organization. Not the other way around. Software decisions are a management not an IT call.
Mm. Management are the ones who are peppering the place with Bloody iPads and demanding Bring-Your-Own-Disaster sooner than the infrastructure can support it. Management can't make decisions if they're not informed of the options; they also can't be informed if they have their fingers stuck in their ears because they're not smart enough to understand what they're being told -- or prefer to believe that a deus ex machina will materialise at the 11th hour.

If anyone knows how to make a 16-bit netbios stack appear in Win7, they'll get their deus ex machina. But so far... :(

General Software Discussion / Re: The Open Source debate
« on: November 13, 2013, 02:06 AM »
Thanks, everyone -- lots of useful stuff there, although maybe not the >BAM!< refutation I was after. :)

Interesting that this debate is OLD but still not put to bed.

General Software Discussion / The Open Source debate
« on: November 12, 2013, 05:27 PM »
I am still fuming over this.

Today, in a meeting at work, I mentioned that one of our senior doctors was looking at an open source product that might be a worthy replacement for the aging and soon-to-die (it won't run under Win7) clinical information system we use.

One of the IT attendees said straight away that he wouldn't allow anything open source running in our environment. Why? I asked. "Well, it's insecure. If the code's available to anyone, then anything could happen. A security nightmare."

Aghast as I was, I had no instant answer. I mumbled something incoherent about open source encryption tools that probably nobody there gave any credence to at all and the conversation moved on.

We all know that viewpoint's nonsense. But I could really use a short, understandable-by-idiots, refutation of the "common sense" view that open source software is "obviously" a security disaster waiting to happen.

The fact that 80% of the internet is running on open source software probably won't cut it. The idiots all "know" that the internet is a dangerous place and clearly everything's held together by string, cobwebs, eggstains, a little glue and the determined efforts of the only software houses worth mentioning, Symantec and Microsoft, and trying to tell them otherwise needs something solid, instant and understandable.

So does anyone have anything helpful -- and preferably unarguable -- I can throw at them?

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