Archive for the 'Windows' Category

Giant BSoD

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Here’s a link for Jade: somebody has worse PC problems than she does…

Desktop Managers Redux

Monday, January 30th, 2006

My desktop manager demo at work (i.e., on Evil!Windows) finally expired, after several betas, new versions, a record 18 days of Windows uptime, and other tricks to keep it going. I considered paying the shareware fee, but I didn’t like the looks of the e-store, and it didn’t like the looks of my PayPal information. So I uninstalled and went looking for more.

I found zillions of them listed at TimelyWeb. I had to cut-and-paste to get to the product websites, to check whether they looked legit or like spyware. I decided on enable Virtual Desktop, which has the same functionality as my last desktop manager, more or less, a nice, if busy, preference pane interface, and a 30-day free trial. If I get addicted to it, I may even brave another e-store.

Desktop Managers

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Book of the Day: Conventions of War, the third and final volume of Walter Jon Williams’ Dread Empire’s Fall series is out! I snagged it at Borders yesterday.

My desktop was getting cluttered with too many windows at work, so I went looking for Windows software to simulate multiple desktops. The Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager (a powertoy) was far too buggy to use, but AltDesk turned out to be wonderful. I may even have to pay for it when the demo expires.

For my Mac, though, I prefer free software, so I went with Desktop Manager, rather than the promising you control: desktops or the traditional CodeTek Virtual Desktops. Right now I’m using the stable 0.5.3 version of Desktop Manager, but I may upgrade to the developer build for more fun and excitement.

Red Screen of Death

Monday, May 9th, 2005

Here’s a break from my all-Tiger-all-the-time coverage: Longhorn has a new Red Screen of Death. It’s nice to see that Microsoft is giving so much attention to core Windows functionality by sprucing up the traditional Blue Screen of Death. How will Tiger compete with this vaporware, should it ever come out?


Friday, May 6th, 2005

It seems that iTunes was just the beginning of Apple’s Windows invasion. Bonjour, the software formerly known as Rendezvous, is now available for Windows. It’s not really end-user software, but it’s an interesting sign of Things To Come.

Color Wheel PNG Follies

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Color wheel user Jim wrote in to say that he was having trouble with the transparent shading square in both FireFox 1.0.2 and Internet Explorer 6. I couldn’t replicate the FireFox problem, but my IE at work is doing the same thing. More breakage from the perpetually broken browser is frustrating, to say the least, but you can still use the shading box without the color background (while you’re waiting for a real browser to download).

So if you want the geeky explanation, here it is: I use a directX thingamajig (DXImageTransform.Microsoft.AlphaImageLoader filter) to get around IE’s fundamental brokenness as it manifests itself in PNG transparency. The latest service pack (SP2) seems to have turned off directX stuff for some people, which is, I suppose, what I get for using stupid proprietary extensions to broken browsers.

If you’re interested in stupid proprietary extensions for your antique broken browser, here are some other links about PNG alpha transparency support:

Or just use FireFox.

Windows Strikes Again

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

Windows has been lying low for a while now, lulling me into a false sense of security. But while I was away from the PC overnight, it decided it really needed the latest update. So it downloaded it and rebooted on its own. Any work I was doing yesterday is now lost.

I don’t remember what I had open; at least I know I wasn’t in the middle of the Great American Novel.

Browser Security Check

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

iPod link of the Day: iPod icons

GeekPress linked this handy browser security check. I ran it at work (the Place of the Evil OS) and discovered that my Java plugin for Firefox was insecure and needed an upgrade.

I was surprised. I guess I assumed that since Firefox was open-source, it would behave like Safari and keep itself up to date on security issues along with the OS. After all, Java bugs me every other day to download its latest updates. (I have two versions of the SDK and five or six of the runtime environment for work.) You’d think it could update its own plugin while it was at it.

No such luck. I checked out some Firefox plugin advice, but there was no faq entry for “I already updated Java but the plugin won’t update.” I tried updating Firefox to 1.o.2, but still the plugin remained stuck in the Java Stone Age. In the end, I deleted all the Java-related bits from the Mozilla plugins directory and reinstalled the runtime environment yet again, and it finally took.

I was glad to come home to my mac.


Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Trek quote of the day: “I mean, we started out with 13 million viewers on the pilot, and we somehow managed to drive 11 million of them away.”Jolene Blalock

CherryOS, a vaporware Mac emulator that died back in November has risen from the dead. Slashdot has links. Apparently the fresh-risen zombie is still a ripoff of PearPC.

[Update] has a CherryOS Roundup.


Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

I’m not so concerned about getting the evil PC to look like a mac, but I do want it to act like a mac. I want to hit my usual Mac key sequences and have the usual things happen. Lovely user interface things like QuickSilver (command-space) are just a dream (but for a not-so-cheap imitation see ActiveWords). Cutting and pasting is a day-to-day activity.

In short, I wanted a command key so I could hit command-c and command-v for cutting and pasting. This virtual command key would actually be a control key in disguise, since control-c and control-v are the cutting and pasting commands in the evil OS.

Windows does have a rip-off of the command key—the Windows key—but no one uses it. (Apparently it’s so unpopular it’s even left off the keyboard on some Windows laptops.) In any event, it’s in the wrong place (in Alt territory), and the Alt key is where the command key goes on a Mac. So I had a lot of rearranging to do.

Before I get into sordid things like regedt32, I should mention that in the OS of Goodness and Light, you swap keys by downloading the free keyboard mapper uControl.