Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Our new dictator

It will be interesting to see if our beloved leader, Tony, insists that he has a "mandate for change" in England. His party got fewer votes than the excreable Tories, yet wound up with more seats - 73 of them.

One of his first, and rather crap, ideas is toll charging for the whole of England - and it's being sponsored by a secretary of state (Darling) who sits for a Scottish seat - so even if it goes through, his constituency won't be affected.

I fully accept that we need to do something to reduce congestion, but I don't think that this hare-brained scheme is the right thing. I can see loads of attractions fro HMG - huge increase in income, more speeding and parking tickets - but for the average citizen, it's another nail in the coffin for privacy in the UK. And it'll be a cheats' charter - get your car chipped or simply switch off the tracker and you can drive for free. Plus, as it's a government IT project it'll be hugely over budget, it will be delivered late and it won't work. So that's all right, then.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Getting Older Games to Run on Windows XP

Clearing out some old CDs, I realised I have a huge collection of old games - I was rather fond of, and pretty good at, Wing Commander. So it's serendipitous that MS have published an article on how to get these to run under XP - see http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/games/expert/durham_og.mspx

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Outlook 2003 SP1 bug

Another bit of MS software, and another bug hunt - shades of Robert Heinlein...

The problem I was experiencing related to Outlook not sending outgoing mail via my chosen default account, even though that was where I had specified it should go from. I have seven different accounts, three of which require server authentication. And this, apparently, is the cause of the problem - where one or more accounts have authentication for outbound SMTP traffic, the most senior of those accounts will be used in preference to any other nominated default acount, or eben your normal reply from address.

To get over this, it is necessary to go into the "more settings" bit for each of the non-authenticated accounts and force the system to think it has to authenticate by ticking the "outgoing server requires authentication" box on the Outgoing Server tab.

It seems to work for me - job done!

XP2 - Web connectivity loss

Since reinstalling XP on my box at home, I've been suffering from an intermittent loss of web connectivity. Not that the whole internet falls over - remote desktop, email, newsgroups and so on still work - it's just web access that dies horribly.

After a fair bit of hunting, it seems as though this is related to a known "feature" of SP2 - according to Microsoft, some 5% of users will experience this problem. It's caused by various packets getting lost in the NAT system between my PC and my router. So, if I go back to a direct ADSL connection, this should cease to be a problem. But if I want to use a home network, the problem will persist.

So I'm trying a fix - a quick registry hack:

the registry key that must be added is as follows (without the brackets):

[HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\IPSec\AssumeUDPEncapsulationContextOnSendRule = REG_DWORD]. The value data should be set to equal 2. In an e-mail, Mitchell noted that “You can reset the behavior to Default SP2 by changing the Value to “0”. A value of “1” will only enable a Client with a public (i.e.non-NAT’d) address to connect to a NAT’d server. The value of “2” enables both public and NAT’d clients to connect to a NAT’d server. The value of “2” is equal to the pre-SP2 behaviour.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Real or fake?

I leave it to you, gentle reader, to make up your own mind. Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr was indeed HM Ambassador to the USSR at the time, but in the UK, the Freedom of Infomation Act only became operative on 1 January 2005 - and not 2000 as the annotation would have us believe.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tony's terror threat

Our beloved new Home Secretary, Charles "Fatty" Clarke, has announced HMG's response to the Law Lords' ruling that the detention without trial of terrorist suspects at the Belmarsh Hilton was illegal. The Home Office's reading of the judgment is that the detention is unlawful because it discriminates against people who are not British citizens - i.e. only Johnny foreigner could be banged up without so much as a by-your-leave.

So we are going to have a new system where anyone the Government thinks might be a bit dodgy can be put under indefinite house arrest. No trial, no right to challenge the accusation, no right to see the evidence. Oh no, that might prejudice national security. Instead, we have to accept the word of a politician that it is all tickety-boo. Of course, as our politicians are the best in the world, they're bound to get it right, and there is clearly no chance of double standards. After all, they are as Caesar's wife - not only pure, but seen to be pure. Certainly, it would be unthinkable for a Home Secretary to have to resign because he'd fiddled his expenses or cuckolded someone. So that's all right, then.

I think I must be missing the blindingly obvious. Of all the countries in Western Europe, which St Tony assures us are at risk from a bunch of evil ragheads, only the UK has decided it needs to be able to act like a banana republic. At this rate, we'll all become terrorists simply to reassert the fundamental freedoms we thought we had. Even good old King John had to concede on habeas corpus; he clearly needed a better First Lord of the Treasury to advise him.


Ho hum.

The time has finally come when I have had to go on a diet. Week one was not too bad - the WW ready meals at least don't taste too much like cardboard, though the same can't be said for what purports to be bread. That really is yucky. According to the weigh-in, I have lost the princely sum of seven pounds (that's about 3.2 kg). The other half lost eight! And men are supposed to lose more and faster. There is simply no justice in it.

Only another 68 kg to go... or about 18 months of not having beer. If nothing else, this will probably cure any latent George Best tendencies.

I am very glad I have a decent mandolin - the kitchen implement, not the musical instrument. It makes short work of slicing tomatoes, cucumber and onions, so at least making salads is pretty easy. Not that this is really salad weather - about 5 degrees C at the moment.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Happy New Year

I know it's a week late, but...

I had an excellent Xmas - in Austria. Very sunny, quite warm in direct sunlight but rather cold in the shade. Being halfway up a mountain on Xmas day, sunning oneself in a deckchair and wearing jeans & a t-shirt while people with lots of warm clothing on are zooming down the mountainside on skis or snowbaords was rather surreal.

And now back to the UK - and work. Ho hum. Still, only around 350 shopping days left until next Xmas.

One can tell it's the beginning of the New Year as the supermarkets have hot cross buns - and pretty soon will have Easter eggs, even though Easter is not for some months.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Thoughts for the day

1. Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

2. The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

3. Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

4. There are 2 kinds of pedestrians - the quick and the dead.

5. Life is sexually transmitted.

6. An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

7. If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said, "Quit while you're ahead?"

8. Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

9. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

10. Get the last word in; apologise.

11. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they wont bother you for weeks.

12. Some people are like slinkies.... Not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

13. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

14. Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they use to?

15. Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

16. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

17. Why does a slight tax increase cost you £200 and a substantial tax cut saves you £0.30?

18. In the 1960s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people taking Prozac to make it normal.

19. Politics is supposed to be the 2nd oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

20. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a barbecue?

Random musings

I planted some birdseed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

I had amnesia once -- or twice.

I went to San Francisco. I found someone's heart. Now what?

Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.

If the world were a logical place, men would ride horses sidesaddle.

What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

They told me I was gullible ... and I believed them.

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows
up, he'll never be able to merge his car onto a freeway.

Two can live as cheaply as one, for half as long.

Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

One nice thing about egotists: They don't talk about other people.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

What was the greatest thing before sliced bread? Hmmmm?

My weight is perfect for my height -- which varies.

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.

How can there be self-help "groups"?

Is there another word for synonym?

Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"?

The speed of time is one-second per second.

Is it possible to be totally partial?

What's another word for thesaurus?

Is Marx's tomb a communist plot?

If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off.

It's not an optical illusion. It just looks like one.

Is it my imagination, or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?