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Messages - oblivion [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Re: LastPass - What are your thoughts?
« on: November 09, 2013, 05:05 PM »
Not me, I think it's safer to wait for a while, cause people are reporting many problems with this major version change.
Most of the changes seem to be cosmetic -- and, once you get used to them, the lack of need to keep clicking up in the toolbar or the Lastpass icon, are reasonably good.

I haven't seen reports of problems but have experienced some of my own -- running Portable Firefox, on a portable HD under WinXP, the new popup-when-you-click-the-icon-in-the-form functionality comes up blank, and the option to do autofill from the main Lastpass menu is several clicks away. But it's okay on my other systems, and you can restore the previous functionality from the "notifications" setting so I'm not entirely sure waiting for bugfixes is necessary.

(I've reported the problems to LastPass and tried some of their suggestions to no avail; it's starting to look like it might be a conflict with another addon but I haven't got it pinned down yet.)

And, like I said, on my other systems 3.01 looks pretty solid. It's just a change in behaviour that rattles people a bit, I suspect.

General Software Discussion / Thunderbird signatures
« on: October 21, 2013, 12:13 PM »
Okay, so graphic-heavy signatures are a Bad Thing. <sigh> But I use Thunderbird at work, because it lets me store a zillion emails without the same issues that plague Outlook users, and I need to update my email signature to include a new logo.

I HAVE done this before. But I can't remember what I used, and right now the editors I have that know about html are including

Code: Text [Select]
  1. <img src="filename" ...

instead of

Code: Text [Select]
  1. <img src="data:image/*;base64,...

The latter style works. The former, for some reason, doesn't.

I'm quite sure I could dig around and find an encoder and amend the code. But I'm lazy, and I'd rather find out either how to make the first style work, or a wysiwyg-type html editor that will look after things like Thunderbird-compatible html email sigs without having all the extra stuff you need to make websites.

(I'm completely sure that I've missed something terribly obvious, somewhere. But I know, every time I've had to do something like this -- and you can probably tell that it doesn't exactly happen very frequently -- I've had to jump through the same set of hoops and failed to make a note of what I did for next time!) :-[

Any helpful advice gratefully appreciated! (Well, almost any. "Encode your graphic and stop being lazy"-type answers will attract derision and may even encourage me to find out how to email a rotten egg smell.)

[Later edit]

Okay, so nobody actually wanted to say it... :)

I've dug a bit deeper. If I do the Recommended Thing -- basically, make a new email with TB, design away until I have something that looks right, then save it as html, sometimes it works.

But some of the time things go Weird. Like odd shifts of paragraph style, without any obvious way to put them back again. I've assumed that Thunderbird's documented preferences for simple html over "original" html are for better reasons than just processing oomph.

It annoys me that I seem to have to use TB itself to generate these files to have much chance of success -- albeit only about 70% if I'm trying to be too clever -- but that I can't edit TB-generated files inside TB.

Oh, and TB uses file links, not base64-encoded stuff. (I still can't work out what I did to make that happen last time round, a couple of years back.) And sometimes it just shows an outline where the graphic should have been, and more often than not attempts to make the graphic come out at exactly the right size -- in comparison to the text -- fail miserably too.

I wish they'd let me go back to sending plaintext emails. :(

General Software Discussion / Re: LastPass - What are your thoughts?
« on: October 17, 2013, 05:39 AM »
They replied:
Hello Lynette,

Thank you for reaching out. Please enjoy your extended Premium subscription, which is now due to expire 2014-09-25.

Can't get better service than that!  :D :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:
What astonishingly nice people. :)

General Software Discussion / Lotus Approach
« on: October 09, 2013, 11:26 AM »
I'm a bit of a fan of Lotus Approach. I'm not going to justify that here (but I have good reasons!) but this is more of a plea to anyone who might have any skills with LotusScript and might either be able to point me at some useful online howtos or give me some idea of how to achieve what I want.

I have a table containing nearly 2 million records, the last 1500-ish of which were created from a dubious source and almost certainly contain some corrupt data. I want to squirt out those last records, along with some info collected from a joined table, for analysis.

Approach doesn't seem to "do" record numbers. If it were dBase (look, I'm old, okay, deal with it) I could just open the table with no active index, position the current record somewhere around the point where the problem first occurred and issue a command like "copy next 1600 to outfile" and that would be that. Approach won't let me do that. The record number is dynamic, effectively, so if there's a sort in use, record 1 will be the record that was sorted to the top rather than the first record in the table.

The best I can come up with is to create a numeric field to hold a record number and find a way to work through the records, auto-incrementing that field.

Approach will let you create a field that auto-increments when new records are created, but it won't work retrospectively.

Apparently, this sort of problem can only be solved with LotusScript. There's even a handy LotusScript function that would allow me to get the record number: docwindowobject.CurrentRecord = recordnumber

But how to write a script that will let me use that to create a usable record number that I can then use to identify records I want to export even if I have a sort applied? No idea. Does anyone have any experience with making Approach jump through this sort of a hoop?

Though I do advise to make a clean W7 install, if only for stability and sanity.
W7 can quite easily be installed from an USB stick. Step-by-step procedures all over google.
In case it's available at a discount from the standard version, I would also say that my netbook (which came preinstalled with Win7 Starter Edition) works fine with that version. The only notable issues for me are: you can't set wallpaper (but there's a freebie called Oceanis Change Background that works very nicely) and you can't spread your desktop over multiple monitors (but if your netbook allows you to plug in an external monitor W7SE will cheerfully use it AND remember what screen resolution is appropriate for it.) There probably are other deficiencies but I've never found any reason to consider upscaling to a fuller version of W7...

General Software Discussion / Re: LastPass - What are your thoughts?
« on: October 08, 2013, 02:07 AM »
[...] I increased the iterations (from 42? "Don't Panic" I guess) up to 5000 [...]

Interesting. Mine was at 500.
Ye gods. Mine was at 1. Now fixed. Agreed on the "they should communicate this stuff better" point -- and I AM a paid user.

Personal problems

Wow! Sounds like you have a pretty full plate right now. Hang in there.

+1 to that. Been there, got the T-shirt -- it's not going to be fun but I'm sure you'll get things sorted out.

General Software Discussion / Re: Sagelight Image Editor
« on: September 30, 2013, 01:59 AM »
I get more impressed with Sagelight the more I use it. The HDR tools -- which effectively allow you to simulate HDR effects from a single Jpeg -- are quietly impressive, a definite +1 on the noise reduction tools, the Bokeh thing can also produce stunning results and it can use Photoshop-compatible plugins. What's not to like?

I've only recently discovered a workflow that's my current new toy: the undo brush, used in reverse. For instance, increase the saturation of the entire image to a level that you envisage for just (say) a flower, use the undo brush, use the feature within it to fill the entire workspace with the image state before you increased the saturation, then use the brush to remove the undo from the flower: effect, a supersaturated flower against a normal background.

Most "serious" image editors make you think in layers and Sagelight is different: it took me a long time to understand how to work with it and get the sort of results I could see (from the examples on the website) were possible, compared to the other image editors I use. There are still things I wouldn't use it for, but I've reached the point where I won't do ANYTHING with a photo before I've taken it through Sagelight at least once.

I also have no affiliation with the software or its author beyond the normal loyalty you might expect of any happy user. :)

Living Room / Re: Sci-fi novel now available from DC member kyrathaba!
« on: September 09, 2013, 10:25 AM »
No,you have a recent copy. When I get home I will send you the very most recent file, just to be sure...
I really must write more clearly. :)

The copy I'm reading and found a couple of misplaced apostrophes in is the one Amazon delivered to my Kindle. The copy YOU sent me either doesn't respond well to me searching for "it's" or has already been corrected.

Living Room / Re: Sci-fi novel now available from DC member kyrathaba!
« on: September 09, 2013, 09:17 AM »
Thanks, oblivion. Please let me know the chapter and phrase in which they occur. I'll track them down and correct the manuscript, then update the ebook on the various sales channels.
I thought "easy" and then failed to find them in the document on my netbook. But I'm reading the Amazon ebook (my Kindle's more portable than the netbook!) and it occurs to me that might be an older revision...

Sorry -- I may be casting unwarranted nasturtiums ;)

Living Room / Re: Sci-fi novel now available from DC member kyrathaba!
« on: September 09, 2013, 08:40 AM »
I spent some time on CreateSpace (and with OpenLibre) and successfully produced a print version of the book with page numbers centered as footer at the bottom of each page.
...I've found a couple of misplaced apostrophes, that I haven't made a note of because I assumed it was beyond further edits... they've both been "it's" where "its" should be. Should I make better notes? ;)

Living Room / Re: Kiss Encryption Goodbye... :*
« on: September 06, 2013, 03:07 PM »
apparently GCHQ have a similar project (though given the UK don't seem to be able to set up any government IT systems that aren't obsolete before they get them working I am not losing any sleep).

That's mostly because most of the operational requirements are written by people who (a) are basically naive about what computer systems are capable of, and (b) are desperate to believe any line of BS that a salesman trots out. We'd write them ourselves, I suspect, if it weren't for the fact that real terms investment in the public sector keeps getting p*ssed up the wall by the same people responsible for (a) and (b) above.

Consider: the (UK) NHS National Programme for IT pumped several billion into a series of projects that were defined in terms of what was on the relevant wish lists at the time, not in terms of what was technically achievable. At least one of the systems procured under it went live before agreement about the dataset it was intended to manage and distribute was even agreed. It still works like it's broken and its data -- which should be the freshest, most up-to-date available -- is often inaccurate and sometimes dangerously so.

The UK paid a small fortune for systems that were not fit for purpose, in many cases never went live but somehow the suppliers got paid anyway. That's what we get for putting bloody old Etonians and Arts graduates in charge of Complicated Things. [/rant]

Still, the upside of the money wasted on NPfIT is probably that it couldn't be given to GCHQ instead. ;)

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: M3U8 playlists
« on: September 06, 2013, 10:24 AM »
Hmm. I'm not sure what is the cause. Is there any way you can give me an MP3 that has the problem so I can do some testing?

Yes -- please let me know as soon as you have it so I can take it down again! (NB this is now an encrypted zipfile -- I'll PM the password to you as the content is commercial.)

problem file

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: M3U8 playlists
« on: September 06, 2013, 04:32 AM »
Great! Let me know how it works for you!  :Thmbsup:
It's been okay, but I've just had something very odd happen...

It MIGHT be because the title tag of the last imported track was formatted as "artist name" + "forward slash" + "title" -- I claim no responsibility for that, it was as whatever online CDDB archive delivered for that CD when I ripped it -- but the upshot is that while the program still seems to be responsive (I've just dragged the file column wider to display the full filename and that worked fine) the Artist and Album columns for that track are displaying garbage and I can't delete that entry, I can't start a new playlist and try again, in fact none of the buttons respond to a keypress (beyond the tiny visual feedback indicating that they've been pressed). I can't even close the program.

Screenshot - 06_09_2013 , 10_20_52.png

I'll forcibly close it and see if I can pin down an exact trigger (assuming the behaviour's repeatable!) and let you know anything I discover...


Okay, I'm still getting garbage in the artist and album columns, but I'm wrong about what's causing it -- editing the tags in Opus to remove the slashes hasn't helped. All the tracks on the album exhibited something similar... However, the program's working as expected apart from that, now -- I can't replicate the bit where it went mostly unresponsive.

I'll have to drop the file into a tag editor that can show me more detail of the tag info to see if there's something corrupt I can't currently see.

[later still]

I did that, and couldn't see an obvious problem. The tags were v3.2 and looked as you'd expect.

So I rewrote them all anyway: inserted "various" into the album artist tag, cut the artist name out of each title and pasted it -- minus the <space><slash><space> -- into the artist field. Finally renamed the files themselves to <trackname><space><dash><space><trackname>.

If I were the patient sort, I'd have changed one thing at a time until it worked properly. I'm not the patient sort. Sorry. It works as expected now, anyway. Oh, except that I'm getting "various" for the artist, so presumably either you're using the content of the album artist field or the tag editor I used has it backwards. No biggie.

Strikes me that it's most likely that whatever created the tags in the first place (I have no idea but it would probably have been CDex or fre:ac/BonkEnc as it was in 2010 and that's about when I started using things other than CDex) stuffed something up and me rewriting the tags has unstuffed them. Unless it was something to do with the slashes.

[yet later still]

I think it's something to do with fre:ac. That's what I use for MP3 ripping and conversion pretty much all the time now and I've just seen similar behaviour from a track I ripped only a couple of weeks ago. Phooey -- I LIKE fre:ac.

No, it's not that consistent. The more I play, the less I can get an idea of what the problem is. :(

Any ideas about what might be going on? I should think the problems aren't worse than cosmetic -- I still haven't replicated the crash and it's only the (entirely non-controversial) filename that's being written out, after all -- but if the tags, as written by fre:ac, aren't behaving properly I should probably think about ways to identify and then clean up the problem...

I thought this was great, so I'm posting it:
 (see attachment in previous post)
That is wonderful :)

The current phrase describing people who care about this stuff appears to be "grammar nazi." The negative connotations for the phrase are clear: this is fanatical geekery and normal people need not care. The above is a beautiful example of just why the textual representation of grammatical niceties is rather more than just the icing on the cake, however!

Back on topic: my mic arrived today. It's an old-fashioned-looking thing I can arrange and angle reasonably easily. It's not studio quality but is a little better than the tiny condenser microphones built into most of the kit most people use. I don't have a studio to work in but a brief experiment "testing, testing, 1,2,3" with a radio playing in the background didn't leave much evidence of background noise in playback. I'm sure I won't achieve perfection but will do my best to be "good enough" :)

Enough already. I still have to finish reading the book. :)

Oblivion, care to chime in? (We've been PMing...)
Sorry, I thought I had notify switched on for this thread and ... well, I have now :)

I'm offering to do the audio but I'm not especially experienced in this stuff, so any and all advice will be helpful! (But first, I have to finish reading the book -- which yes, I'm thoroughly enjoying and will review on Amazon when I've finished -- and wait for my shiny new microphone to arrive!)

I’d be interested to know if your preference for PowerDesk is just about familiarity, or if it genuinely has acquired functionality or something ergonomic that gives it an edge over the other (increasingly extensive!) non-Microsoft competition.

Familiarity has a lot to do with it and have also tried XYplorer but found it still can't match Powerdesk's View>File Panes function and Drivebar toolbar.
-Midnight Rambler (August 19, 2013, 10:30 AM)
XYPlorer is much better at being pushed around into configurations that suit what you're doing at any given time but it's a lot less user-friendly out of the box. And, rather like Opus, it has a LOT of power and configurability that's available but not easy to get to grips with -- particularly early on -- and I'm still far from comfortable with the scripting language of either. However, it has tabs that are extremely configurable (and can have different settings from each other) and although I'm not sure everyone gets it straight away, there's a tree mode that effectively displays just the places you go. The drivebar was one of the things I missed when I ditched PD but Opus has one just like it and both Opus and XYPlorer have a drives dropdown that's just as functional in lots less precious realestate.

There was a time, with Opus, when the paradigm shift just happened, and I knew I'd got something I could work with. XYPlorer is taking longer to reach that point but I think I'm within sight of the time when the clouds will just suddenly part.

I think, remembering back, when I first used Opus I tried hard to make it look and feel like PowerDesk, because that's what I was used to. My favourites list still has echoes of what it was when I used PD. XYplorer can't easily be made to look and feel like PD -- it has an economy to it that means a lot of things you think you need aren't instantly available (and sometimes turn out to be just eye-candy), but I can easily see that the transition from PD to XY would be difficult and even frustrating.

Reading this back, I suspect you're going to think that I'm trying to convince you to change. I'm not, really -- just reminiscing about the transitions I went through, as much as anything. I DO think that if you decide to jump ship you'll do better with Opus than XY -- because it's less of a culture change -- but I'd also suggest you go here and reconfigure it along the lines suggested before going too far, just because (a) it worked for me, and (b) a lot of ex-PowerDesk users seem to love the approach taken. :)

General Software Discussion / Re: Replacing the Control Panel
« on: August 21, 2013, 12:48 PM »
Just to make sure we're on the same page, how did you try launching it in Vista?

From a cmd.exe prompt.

It asked for elevated privileges nicely (via a UAC prompt), opened the Windows Features window, put "Please wait..." in the rectangular area below the descriptive bit of text at the top, and I did as it suggested.

I'm doing it now, in fact. Waiting, that is.

Ooh. I was too impatient this morning. It's populated the window with the stuff I'd expected to see.  :Thmbsup:

You can also try launching it with the following command line:
Yes, that works too.

Okay, so for what it's worth, it works in Vista. The "it takes ages to populate the dialog" thing might just be because this machine's a few years old -- and, of course, it's running Vista :)

General Software Discussion / Re: Replacing the Control Panel
« on: August 21, 2013, 10:32 AM »
I am not sure what should happened when I run explorer.exe shell:::{67718415-c450-4f3c-bf8a-b487642dc39b} but I used DOPUS as my explorer replacement and it opens my Desktop (I am running Windows XP SP 3).
In Vista, it opened the add/remove windows features applet and then sat for ages trying to populate it. I gave up waiting, so I don't know if it would have got there eventually. I can confirm that it doesn't work right in XP -- I have a suspicion that this may only work correctly in at least Vista and possibly Win7.

There's always another way to skin any given cat. :)
Now that you mention it... I get pretty bent out of shape about this... As is really bloody pissed.
Easy, tiger. :)
ALPass does what 99.999% of people need/want.
I thought, here’s one I haven’t heard of, let alone tried. Oo. Roboform plus support and maybe even some integrity. Mm. Lots of yummy features. Excellent.

Then I saw the last line of text on the page.
ALPass requires Internet Explorer. It does not currently support Firefox, Opera, or other alternative web browsers.

Really? Even now?

Is there an emoticon for “disappointed”?  :o

If you lose your ALPass master password, you're hosed. Completely hosed. Toast. Dead. Screwed.

I know people get worried about the cloud, but the same is supposed to be true of Lastpass. Lastpass have Firefox and Chrome versions, I even managed -- after a fashion, and before I finally abandoned it -- to use the published workarounds for Opera. They even have an Android variant -- although that’s outside the things that are available for free, and it wasn’t quite as functional as I’d like.

Keepass (I seem to recall) has a linux variant. For that matter, although we’re all wary of the company behind the product after lots of us (yes, me included) had our lifetime licenses summarily revoked, Roboform’s security and functionality was years ahead of everyone else.

If these products delivered what people wanted, everyone would have them already. Something. Any-bloody-thing. No, what people want is not to have to think about it, and to be able to use PASSWORD123 on every website, banking service, data repository and fire alarm they ever meet or, better yet, nothing at all, and still to be able to complain, loudly and bitterly, that they’ve been let down by IT when their security is breached by some script kiddie with nothing better to do for ten minutes.

THAT is what most people want. Clear text is just madness.

I think, if I’m honest, most people want to feel secure without having to take many actions to ensure their own security. I KNOW I take password security more seriously than almost every normal (ie non-techie, non-geek) person I’ve ever met, and even I have a few frequently-used passwords stored in a CHS database. But there are people (no names, no pack drill) I know who COMPLAIN when their (carefully chosen and configured) DNS service stops them from routing a url via one of the snoopiest websites known to man because it means they can’t always click on a link in an email to a “bargain” new shiny thing.

There IS an overkill issue. Throw enough computer power at any stored, encrypted password and it’ll -- eventually -- be hacked. We tell people this and then that they have to use passwords they’ll struggle to remember and the last bit -- there’s a thing they can use to remember their passwords for them -- doesn’t make them feel that there’s a solution to the problem, it makes them feel like they’re handing over even more control to the technology brigade. And we wonder why people write their passwords down?

This isn't really that new, people have been asking for a Master Password feature, (ala Firefox), in Chrome since about 15 minutes after it obtained the ability to store passwords.

Google's response has always been the same: not interested.
So don't let it store passwords at all, and do something with lastpass / roboform / password gorilla / keepass / whatever instead. Or, hell, run your browser from a Truecrypt container.

There's always another way to skin any given cat. :)

Still, can't imagine computing without that Powerdesk explorer GUI.
-Midnight Rambler (August 13, 2013, 11:52 AM)
PowerDesk was my first proper Explorer replacement; can't remember what version, but it was before VCom. Ontrack, wasn't it? Anyway, I too really liked it.

Then they (Vcom, that is) broke something and professed absolutely no willingness to mend it again. (It was something important to me but clearly not to them -- might have been .dbf viewing, might have been the synch tool, I can't remember now.) To say their support leaves something to be desired is about the most generous a statement I can imagine.

I played with a variety of desperately inadequate alternatives for a while. Then (cue sound of heavenly choir) I found Directory Opus.

Then, more recently, I found XYPlorer. (I like it quite a bit more than Opus for portable use, although the learning curve is perhaps a bit steeper, and I’d had it for quite a while before I started discovering its true power.)

Both of those two are so much better than Windows Explorer it'd make your head spin. And I don't even remember why I was so impressed with PowerDesk anymore, back in the day.

I’m completely aware that YMMV applies here in spades :) but I’d be interested to know if your preference for PowerDesk is just about familiarity, or if it genuinely has acquired functionality or something ergonomic that gives it an edge over the other (increasingly extensive!) non-Microsoft competition.

(And it’s okay if it seems stupid but marvellously great -- like, I think the ability to double-click on the desktop to open an Opus lister is a tiny bit brilliant, for instance!)

General Software Discussion / Re: Replacing the Control Panel
« on: August 19, 2013, 02:08 AM »
What are some simple command lines that would be good to have handy to have available on a basic system menu?
Have read all this with a combination of amused fascination and horror. You, sir, are a brave man. :)

Is chkdsk <driveletter> /f worth including?

Something I'd find useful -- a way to get at some of the control panel stuff when the logged-in user is restricted but I have an admin password I can run stuff as.

In these situations, I generally do runas /user:<whatever> cmd.exe and then try to remember which of the .cpls do what (control.exe whatever.cpl) since they're almost completely impossible to identify function from name. (If you don't already know, you'll never guess what main.cpl is for!) So something along the lines of what you're doing I could run from a stick and that I could fire an admin account at without having to log the user off -- now that'd be really useful :)

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: M3U8 playlists
« on: August 06, 2013, 04:56 PM »
I have the update available. You can now open .m3u8 files though it will not know the artist or album since there is no direct location for the files.
Brilliant -- thanks!

Too busy myself to do much testing for the next day or so, but I'm sure it'll be fine -- many thanks again!

Living Room / Re: When you make your 100'th Post
« on: August 06, 2013, 08:14 AM »
Aw, shucks  :-[

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