Windows is shit. Sorry.

by Matt Johnston on September 17, 2014

I got home to a Windows problem. Every time my wife tried to print something from a app she uses for college on her HP laptop, it would throw up an Office Error. Somehow Office had taken over the entire printing process.
She tried to launch Office 365, it would complain there was an error. It said to Repair Office in Programs and Features.
I eventually found Programs and Features (you have to switch to Desktop mode, then open File Explorer, then click Open Control Panel and then hit the little arrow beside the Control Panel in the location bar and View all Control Panel Items)
I selected Office 365 in the list and the options were Uninstall and Change. There was no Repair option. So I decided to try Change. Nothing happened. I tried Uninstall. Nothing happened.
I rebooted the laptop and tried again. Nothing. I tried this three more times.
I ran all updates and tried again. Still nothing.
I ran a malware check. It found 8 cookies. And disabled them.
The Microsoft support site said to reinstall Office so I went to the Office site and downloaded the installer. Initially I tried Run but nothing happened so I specifically downloaded the installer exe and tried by double-clicking it. Nothing happened.
I ran the services.msc command which opened the console displaying all of the services. I found the Microsoft Office Service and it was stopped. I tried to start it. Error. Tried again. Error.

We managed to get the printouts we needed by running the app we needed to generate the report, taking a screenshot, putting the image files on a USB stick and then printing them out on a Macbook.

How is this acceptable?
How would a normal person be able to fix this?

Now obviously there is something wrong here but really it’s maddening how everything gels together in the Windows world. Is it any wonder that the IT service industry is in such a mess. Everything has to be a super managed service because otherwise nothing works. When Nortel moved to Windows, we had to triple the size of the IT team to cope. It was a disaster in every way.

I didn’t like Windows 8 before but I fucking hate the bastard now.


Who Watches The Apple Watch Men?

by Matt Johnston on September 17, 2014

My wife is fabulous. She gave me some insights on the Apple Watch that I’d not thought of.

  • Women will not be happy with one-size fits all. Not happy at all. While I have a Pebble sitting in a drawer out of charge, she has eleven watches including a series of six Michael Kors in Yellow Gold plate, Rose gold plate, White Surround, Stainless steel, Stainless Steel with Pink Face, Stainless Steel with Square Face. I’m sure there are men who feel the same way, I’m not one of them.
  • Part of the utility of the watch is when it’s within a community of Watch wearers. If there’s no uptake, especially not with your SO, then you can’t use any of the sentimental features.
  • Film stars won’t wear them unless they’re being paid to. And that’s going to be on Phil Schiller to dig deep.
  • Exercise watches have issues with condensation and sweat. Garmin and others have tried (and in some cases failed) to do this with screens misting up. The Watch isn’t water-resistant to any great degree.
  • Apple doesn’t mind statement but they shy away from vulgarity (referring to @Grubers predictions on price). She reckons even the Gold will be probably £1200 (admittedly that’s nearly $1800). A $10,000 watch is just a physical version of the “I AM RICH” app.
  • Still no real confirmation on whether the Edition is solid gold or gold plated which makes a huge difference to the price.

The bit I’m most excited about is the communication features. I feel a resurgence in morse code coming along and it’s certainly going to be a way to surreptitiously send messages to people while being otherwise engaged. Everything from teens tapping “The Coast Is Clear” to warnings and alerts. It’s got great potential as a low bandwidth, non-verbal communications medium.

I find too many times that my communications are blocked by the structure of buildings and that again reduces the utility of new comms media.

If the Watch has access to Multipeer Connectivity Framework (MCF) (Wired Article) then it opens up a whole new way of communicating. I just hope the design team has already thought of it.


Selling three bits of kit…

by Matt Johnston on September 13, 2014

The first is a Mac Pro (Early 2008) with 12 GB RAM and a Quad Core Xeon 5400 at 2.8 GHz. I’m not selling disks with it because you’d be wanting to put a SSD in there anyway. Bluetooth keyboard and mouse are available but I’d rather not part with them, so they’re extra. The Graphics are ATI Radeon 2600 XT with 256MB RAM which is decent for most Mac games. I’ve two 19″ displays usually hooked up to it that I could let go as well. It still runs Yosemite (the latest Mac OS) and I also have it running Windows 7 (but as I mentioned it wouldn’t be shipping with the hard drives). I can stick the original disk in it with an OS. Target price £600.

Read about it here.

The second is a MacBook Pro (15″, Mid 2010) with 4GB RAM, 2.67GHz Core i7 processor, Apple Superdrive and a 500 GB hard disk. Id suggest you put an SSD in there too -but then my currebt machine has an SSD and im spoiled. Runs Windows and Yosemite fine. Target price £600.

You can read about it here.

The third is an iPad mini, 32 GB with WiFi and 3G in Black. Currently running on iOS7. Target price £200.

Read about it here.


NOCT: Now on Kickstarter, beautifully done.

September 10, 2014

Depicted through the eerie glare of a thermal imaging satellite, the game will have you hunt weapons and items while fending off the bug-like horrors that await. (Link to Kickstarter) It’s a fabulous idea and one that is worth repeating. In fact, it really reminds me of Zombie Gunship, depicted below:

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September 7, 2014

This is best viewed with headphones. The eruption of Mount Tavurvur volcano on August 29th, 2014. Captured by Phil McNamara. The boat was about 2.3 miles away from the volcano. Great illustration of the speed of light, the speed of sound. the low pressure created by a shockwave..

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September 6, 2014

The Sequel to… Awesome.

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Coder Dojo Bangor – book now.

September 3, 2014

The first session for Coder Dojo Bangor just went live for booking. It’s free to attend and it’s in the evening on the 18th September and will be on Thursday evenings. The initial age limits are 14-21 and we’ll be focusing on building games first. What is Coder Dojo: it’s free tuition for young people [...]

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Profile Ennui (or a plea to the EU regarding digital identity)

September 2, 2014

I would ask that in future EU funded packages, there is an end to the endless demands for websites to be built where the first activity is to “make a profile”. Over the last six months I have made around six profiles on six different EU funded project sites. In six months they will all [...]

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Electric Vehicles – can they be Made in NI?

September 1, 2014

From this LinkedIn conversation I’ve never held with the notion that ideas should be secret. They have to be out there to grow. And they’re worthless anyway without great people to lead them. So my idea is: Electric vehicles are currently limited by two things. Cost – they cost 1.5-2x the price of conventional cars. [...]

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