This blog is a cross between a scrapbook and a diary. I hope you find something here of interest. If you’d like to keep up with things as I see them then you can subscribe to my news feed by clicking the icon below:
Please note that any reviews/recommendations are based solely on my own experience and does not constitute a guarantee that you will have the same experience. Please do your own research before parting with any money - the risk is all yours!
Looking for my world famous US to GB English spelling converter?
I bought a TP-Link TR-MR3420 to replace my aging D-Link DIR-300 router which was beginning to play up.
I’d been looking at the Unifi wireless modems which seem very good (from a first hand account I received) but a bit more expensive than this model, which has the added bonus of allowing you to use it to beam the internet signal from an EVDO USB modem around the house. As we have one of these sticks (we use it as back-up in case we lose our normal connection, and also to access the internet if any of us goes away somewhere) this seemed to fit our needs perfectly… and so it proved. [Read More…]
I think the title above is descriptive enough to answer the question which I’ve seen many people asking about this printer. We bought one for the office today along with a wireless print server not knowing whether we could get them to work together or not, but the answer is a resounding YES! [Read More…]
A pair of Diadora shin guards proved to be the perfect solution to help Georgi use his standing wheelchair without having the leg restraint cut into his skin.
After Georgi had his operation we needed to buy him something to let him stand upright. A standing table would have been the cheapest option but that would have been static and quite a problem to lift him up and get him strapped in - and probably quite boring for him too!
A sit-to-stand chair would have been and improvement but, again, quite a static option.
So we splashed the cash and bought him a motorised standing wheelchair which, while we still need to lift him into it, allows him to sit or stand and motor around the house destroying the furniture at the flick of a joystick.
However, due to his contractures, he can’t straighten his legs sufficiently well to allow him to stand up straight and although the machine we bought came with a foam restraint to keep his legs together and allow him to stand, because his knees are always bent this restraint actually pressed into his shins and caused terrible sores… and sometimes bleeding too.
The solution was one which Georgi himself thought of - a pair of football shin guards (or shin pads, as I’ve always known them) proved to be perfect for stopping the restraint from cutting into his legs.
The result is that Georgi can now stay standing for much longer and until he gets tired, instead of when his legs start hurting.
Open Live Writer is the new open source version of Microsoft’s wonderful blogging tool Windows Live Writer, and users of the latter will feel VERY at home with the new open source version (as it’s pretty much the same thing!).
In my previous post I gave you my first impression of it - there was a slight hiccup when I tried to set it up with my first blog account, but here is how to add another blog account once you’re up and running. [Read More…]
Windows Live Writer is/was a great blogging tool but Microsoft haven’t really supported it for some time now, so thanks to them for allowing it to become open source so it can be developed by the large community of users who love it to bits.
This is my first post using Open Live Writer on FlatPress and it was relatively easy to set up, but not so straightforward as it could have been… so here’s what FlatPress users may* need to know in order to get it working. [Read More…]
If you own a Dell laptop and suddenly find that the orange battery light is winking at you then maybe it’s time to get a new battery… or maybe your laptop’s power meter is simply lying to you. If this happens to you then here’s something to try first before all else. [Read More…]
Cheap way to add USB 3.0 for short-term use (e.g. to save data from an old machine)
I tried this on 2 nearly identical machines and it worked well on only one of them - the other was a little temperamental. The little plastic spacer is difficult to attach so that it stays put, and pushing the USB plug in the end of it actually made the card pop out of the slot, so I resorted to attaching the USB cable before inserting the card.
That being said it was cheap and did the job I wanted it for (to transfer a lot of data from one machine to a Buffalo Drive), but I’m glad that the newer machines all have USB 3.0 sockets built in.
If you’re looking for something a bit more permanent then I would have a shop around for something which gets a few more thumbs up than I can give this.
Still great games but beware that Underground “needs help” to run on Windows 10
Beware that only Underground 2 and Most Wanted will work on Windows 10 - “Underground” appears to be too old for Microsoft’s liking and falls under the growing number of old games which use SafeDisc DRM (Digital Rights Management). Due to vulnerabilities with SafeDisc Microsoft did not include support for it in Windows 10, and have also disabled it via updates in previous versions of Windows (though there is a workaround to get your games to play in Windows 8/7 & Vista).
In case anyone has a problem installing one of the games after installing Most Wanted then you need to rename the Most Wanted game exe file in your Program Files folder from Speed.exe to something else (e.g. SpeedMW.exe) before trying to install the other game, otherwise the Underground installation program thinks that you already have Underground installed, showing you a “Play” option instead of “Install”. Just one star off for that little inconvenience.
No problem with the quality of the product supplied - excellent on that front, just beware if you have Windows 10 then you’ll only be able to play 2 of the 3 games without a little work (all three will install - but only 2 will play) unless you set your computer up to dual boot with (say) Windows XP to play your older games, or you hunt around for a no-cd crack (which is illegal, but it seems as if that’s what Microsoft are forcing genuine owners of these older games to do). If you do go down that route then you’ll probably have some success if you replace your installed game EXE file with for one suitable for NFS Underground Euro Version 1.4, if you bought this set from amazon uk, like I did* ;)
* note that although this is a “No CD” crack it DID ask me to insert Disc 2 into my computer, though when I did this it seems as though the DRM check was avoided and the game then played as normal.
A nice upgrade from Windows 7 - maybe not worthwhile if you have Windows 8
Apart from some niggles running games I actually quite like Windows 10 - not enough to give up on good old XP Pro on my own computer just yet, but I upgraded my son’s Windows 7 machine and much preferred it. I’ve never used Windows 8 but if you’re happy enough with that then you may as well stick with it - especially if you own a few older games such as NFS Underground which use a particular type of Digital Rights Management because Microsoft have blocked these games from running in Windows 10.
If you’re not a gamer then Windows 10 offers a familiar-looking interface with a Start button. I first installed the free version a few months ago and, now that most of the teething troubles seem to be sorted out, I bought this and just used the serial number to activate the version I already had installed - the nice looking USB stick with Win 10 on it is still in the box but I did install my current version from a USB stick and it was very easy.
Aside from removing the Activation watermark from the screen the activation key also unlocks the customisation options which let you choose a profile picture and set a folder of pictures as your desktop wallpaper, etc. We could probably could have got by without activating it, but I bought this as a present and it’s nice to see a nice watermark-free screen with everything working as it should.
Beware that Windows Media Player doesn’t seem to be included in Windows 10 but I just downloaded and installed Media Player Classic which is part of the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, which is my own favourite.
I also installed Office 2003 on Windows 10 64 bit and it runs perfectly, as do all the other programs I’ve installed (IrfanView, 7-Zip, Windows Live Writer, Opera 12, to name but a few).
Shortcuts Search And Replace just saved me loads of time when I moved a whole folder structure from one computer to another, leaving me with hundreds of shortcuts all pointing to the wrong place.
It was simple to use (the program is self-contained so there’s no installation required) and I found and replaced a matching pattern in the Target Paths of about 350 shortcuts in less than a minute - fantastic, and well worth my small donation which went winging it’s way back to the author once I’d tried it out.
In addition to replacing a matching pattern in the target path this program will also check for dead links - it found 8 “potential troubles” with my shortcuts and flagged them with a helpful yellow warning triangle in the search results preview (a useful break in the process) so I could skip them during the replace operation.
Just one tip: for quickest results run this program directly on the machine where your shortcuts are stored - it will still work across a network, but it works a lot slower that way.
During my search on how to do this I saw lot’s of people struggling to write complex scripts of their own to achieve the same thing, but look no further as this little tool gets my full seal of approval:
User Profile Wizard 3.9 by ForensiT is a simple to use tool to migrate your Windows user profile from one account to another. I used it on a computer with multiple accounts which I decided I just wanted one account left, but wanted to use all of the settings (desktop, programs list, etc.) from one of the other accounts. This program did the job - easily.
For more information and to download this great little program (the Personal Edition of User Profile Wizard is free to download) click below:
If, like me, you’re less than impressed with the latest versions of Acrobat Professional (I have Acrobat XI 64 bit installed) and wish you could go back to good old 32 bit Acrobat 7 with it’s dockable toolbars, batch processes which run really quickly, and overall familiarity with a product which you use on a daily basis, then here is some good news… for some of you.
As Acrobat 7 is no longer supported by Adobe they’ve decided to give it away (activation key and all) for FREE to qualifying users and, while you can’t install this directly in Windows 7 64 bit you can install it from within Windows XP Mode running in Windows Virtual PC on a 64 bit version of Windows 7.
While you still suffer from a few problems caused by Adobe not fully supporting 64 bit in so far as you can’t easily see thumbnail previews of you PDFs in Windows Explorer or (inexcusable) the PDF document PROPERTIES in Windows Explorer, there are ways around these problems. [Read More…]
Batch processing of PDF files was a powerful feature of previous versions of Acrobat Professional. Since the release of Acrobat X Adobe have renamed batch processing as “Actions”. While these are just as easy to set up and retain much - if not all - of the functionality of the previous versions there is one major problem with Actions - they are incredibly SLOW TO RUN, in comparison with the good old batch processes.
For those who are either stuck with Acrobat X+ or who are perfectly happy with the new interface then this article explains how to set up an Action to add the file name and page number to a whole folder full of PDF files. If you’d like to learn how to set up a batch process in earlier versions of Acrobat Professional then click here for my earlier article on how to do that. [Read More…]
Having finally been forced to use Windows 7 on my computer at work I was faced with the loss of a couple of handy features which I’d become accustomed to in Windows XP.
One such problem concerned the apparent inability to show more than the barest of information in the little popup you get when you hover your mouse cursor over a file in Windows Explorer in Windows 7.
Actually that’s only partially true - it still works for local files (e.g. files on your own hard drive) but for files viewed on a network drive - whether mapped to drive letters of not - you only see the file type, last modified date, and it’s size, none of which is really worth the effort of showing the InfoTip in the first place (you can turn the feature off in folder options).
However it IS possible to get all of the extra information that might be stored in the File Properties (e.g. the document title, subject, and comment) by making a simple change to the registry. Here’s an example of how it looks in Windows 7 - you can see there how useful it is to show more information than you can easily display in the columns to the right:
Note that you must have administrative rights to the computer you’re working on in order to make this change.
WARNING! It is also assumed that you are familiar with the Windows Registry and are happy about taking the risk that you could seriously screw your day up if you do something wrong in there. If not then stop right here and go fetch someone who is. For this reason the instructions below are written with less detail than I would normally provide.
If you’re not confident about doing this then please stop right here!
Otherwise, here’s how to do it:
1) Click on the windows button (normally at the bottom left of your screen) and then type “regedit” in the “Search programs and files” box, then hit return.
2) RIGHT click once on the regedit.exe file you should see in the box above the search box and choose “Run as administrator”. REMEMBER - don’t try this unless you know you have administrative rights to the computer - if you know you can install new programs, then you’re probably going to be ok - if not, then you’ll probably be wasting your time doing what comes next because Regedit won’t let you save your changes after all your efforts.
3) Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREClasses* and add the following to the end of the existing values in both InfoTip and QuickTip:
Type (or copy and paste) everything in blue - don’t forget the semi-colon at the beginning of the line as that’s the “follow on” from the entries which you’ll already find there.
The reason you need to change it in both keys is that Windows will prioritise “QuickTip” over “InfoTip” when you hover over a network file. Microsoft did that in case you are viewing files over a slow network connection, so it’s useful to know you can make that little tweak if your computer slows to a crawl trying to display the popup information.
In some cases (for local files) I also needed to change the InfoTip value in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSystemFileAssociations - for instance, for my Word docs (my VBA only generates 2003 versions of Excel and Word files) I needed to make the same change to the InfoTip in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSystemFileAssociations.doc
4) Close regedit.
It should be enough, at this point, to simply close and re-open Windows Explorer in order to see the effect of your changes, or you might want to log off and back on to Windows just to make sure.
My other problem (I’m sure I’ll find more - I won’t even mention my hatred of ribbon menus) is the sad loss of the Folder Description column I could add which allowed me to add a comment to a folder using a truly excellent program called HobComment. While this may still work for 32-bit versions of Windows it certainly doesn’t in 64-bit editions but, fortunately, all is not lost!
In my case I still have my old Windows XP PC connected to the network so I simply access this via RealVNC and add my comments there. Displaying the folder description in a column in Windows 7 is actually a piece of cake - simply right click on the column headings in Windows Explorer and add “Comments” column :) Curiously that trick DOESN’T work in XP, but who cares? Here’s how I’ve got it looking in Windows 7:
In case you don’t have an XP machine which you can use to add your folder comments then all is not lost because you can run XP on your Windows 7 computer in order to run old programs like HobComment, by using Microsoft’s very own Windows Virtual PC. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m sure it will work.
For anyone who has run into a message when trying to open Outlook - this applies specifically to version 2010 but it may happen with other versions - which goes something like “The set of folders cannot be opened. You do not have permissions to open the outlook.pst file” (the message may vary) then here’s one very quick fix you should try before anything else. [Read More…]
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Encephalitis - it really sucks.
If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing please consider tipping a few pennies in the jar to help look after Georgi, to whom this blog is shamelessly dedicated.
Georgi contracted encephalitis and fell into a coma in the summer of 2007. He’s a strong boy and survived, but he suffered brain damage and still can’t walk or talk (well, not very well - but he does try). He’s growing all the time and every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.