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This page documents random thoughts, observations, hardware and software reviews, criticisms, rants, anecdotes, tips, tricks, and discoveries by Blake Nancarrow. The notes here pertain specifically to information technology. They are dated and arranged in reverse-order, the newest items at the top.

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | the '90s


Index of Postings

  13 Dec   -   BART PE again new!
  2 Jul   -   Meebo's gone
  15 Jun   -   one less drive bay
  30 Apr   -   SSD price watch
  27 Apr   -   Visio 2010 ribbon lacking
  25 Apr   -   removed Paradise Cove
  19 Mar   -   iOS apps crash a lot
  1 Mar   -   I tought I taw a puty tat
  27 Feb   -   blogging for Beezix

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13 Dec 2012 - BART PE again new!

Used BART PE again!

Bart's Preinstalled Environment bootable live windows CD/DVD...

A month or so ago, I successfully used BART PE to restore Phil's ASUS netbook. In the end, we never learned the root cause of his problem. But he was very happy that the little computer was up and running.

When our ASUS netbook crapped out, at first it seemed very suspicious, time-wise. Was it the same issue? Was a life-time issue? But upon investigation it was clearly a different problem. A "classic" problem. The Master Boot Record had been damaged.

The previously prepared live CD came to the rescue. Ran FIXBOOT and FIXMBR.

Thank you, Bart!

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2 Jul 2012 - Meebo's gone

Meebo's gone. Well, all but gone. Closing on 10 July. Swallowed up. A pity. It was the instant messaging tool I had been gravitating to of late. In the cloud, no matter where I went, with enough features to satisfy me. I downloaded my chat logs. Gone. Now what?

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15 Jun 2012 - one less drive bay

Spotted a solid state "hard disk" drive for a desktop computer in an (admittedly old) Tiger Direct catalog. And there was no drive. It was just an adapter card. And as soon as I thought about it, it made perfect sense. You don't need to use up a disk drive bay anymore. Put everything on a card and use a high-speed modern bus to get fast and close to the processor. Smart. And expensive! Over 1 large...

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30 Apr 2012 - SSD price watch

The Tiger Direct (Canada) e-flyer today showed a 120 GB OCZ solid state drive on sale for $90. One day only.

The SanDisk drive with "noise reduction" is $145.

It was in 2009 that first I first spotted SSD drives for sale... 80 GB for over $200.

Good ole' Moore's Law.

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27 Apr 2012 - Visio 2010 ribbon lacking

Another illustration (no pun intended) that departments inside Microsoft don't talk to each other. MS has communication problems like the rest of us...

The Visio 2010 product is shackled with the ribbon. I.e. dumbed down. But why on Earth did they not create a Page Layout tab. Like all the other MS products?! You need access the page settings as much as another other document, maybe more. You want to fiddle with paper orientation and margin settings. And the header and footer... Some clever people moved the header and footer settings out of the "view" domain and put them in the "insert" category back in Office 2007. Desperately needed in Visio. I've always described headers/footers in Visio as a "buried" feature. That's what the Ribbon's about, eh? Exposing feature set! The Visio team didn't read the memo, I guess...

It's like Access. MS is trying to make Access easier to use. Particularly for newbies. But for crying out loud: what about the rest of us? You slap the hands of the power user.


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25 Apr 2012 - removed Paradise Cove

As much as I enjoyed playing Tap Paradise Cove on the iPod Touch, I had to remove the software. The developer was completely unresponsive to technical problems and failures in the software. The game does not work on older iOS devices. On their forums page, users of the 1st generation iPad and early generation iPhones are complaining. Some have spent serious money with the game and are demanding refunds.

For me, even at the early stages, the game crashed / aborted suddenly. Or the main screen would freeze, that is not dynamically update or allow dragging or zooming, but still responded to taps. The most recent bug showed the sailing ships in the middle of land, in the middle of the islands, in some cases, over people's houses. I had to remove the game because after the latest update, it would not even start. After the splash screen, it would immediately terminate. Couldn't play it anymore.

I've developed software. I know what it's like from the programming side of things. And, me, personally, I'd take a different tactic. I'd try to make more people happier. So I'd resolve and close bug reports and problems before implementing new features.

I understand similar problems occur with the other games from PG.

I would suggest you complain to the developer directly and on their forum. If you've lost money, demand a refund. Advise the Apple App Store.

Very bad customer service. The wrong approach in development. Poor design philosophy. It's a pity because it was a game I think I would have enjoy immensely...

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19 Mar 2012 - iOS apps crash a lot

I'm pretty new to the iOS arena. But I'm astonished at the crash rate of apps in the iPod Touch. Across the board. Almost every third party app.

Is this the new normal?

It sucks.

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1 Mar 2012 - I tought I taw a puty tat

Looking for an old tweet? Try SnapBird.

Good for searching for an old or archived tweet on twitter.

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27 Feb 2012 - blogging for Beezix

I'm writing tweets and blog entries for Beezix Software Services. The tweets are short software tips and tricks; the blog articles are for bigger issues in applications. Visit the Beezix sites for the current buzz.

This is given me a forum to share tips, help get humans more comfortable in their software, faster. And it's letting me vent. Get things out of my system. Like that it bugs me to no end that no one at Microsoft, in the PowerPoint department, has effectively dealt with the total number of slides issue.

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This page was last updated on 26 February 2013.
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