Month: December 2004 (page 1 of 3)

Tsunami

Words fail when trying to describe what has happened in the far East. Better to point you to the South East Asia Earthquake & Tsunami blog which gives advice on how to donate and what help is really required. If in the UK donate via the Disasters Emergency Committee or Oxfam. Why does it take something like this to bring nations together?

White Christmas

snowMerry Christmas everyone – hope you all had a good time. We had a White Christmas for our first Christmas in the new house. If I’m being honest though there was very little snow, but it made the day a bit more special. Christmas TV was awful though – hardly anything to watch so I ended up viewing my new Spider-Man 2 dvd – quality film.

For the rest of the holiday I’m off to Peterborough – just an excuse for an extended gaming session really but it will be good to catch up with friends whom I’ve not seen for ages. Anyway – must go and pack – nice 6 hour drive tomorrow although I’ve prepared a best off the year CD for the car – must get the iPod wired up for car use.

 

MSN Toolbar Suite…

…is it’s official name but it includes MSN Desktop Search, Microsoft’s entry into the desktop search market. First impressions were very good. It quickly indexed (my recently formatted) drives and allowed me to content search Office App files, Outlook mail, Text files and also title search all files including music and pictures. Results returned were quick and accurate. It also worked across a network. Great – as fast as Google desktop with a lot more content. Annoyingly you also had to install the MSN Toolbar at the same time which meant IE and Control Panel etc. had a MSN search bar – once installed you can remove.

However after a reboot it stopped working. Only logging in as administrator allowed the desktop search to work – anything else failed. So it’s uninstalled but one to keep an eye on. MS have created a Wiki to track developments.

WordPress Login

After the upgrade I also realised I had lost my WordPress login – getting shoddy in my old age. The username and password can be found by browsing the my-sql tables but the password is encoded in md5 format. I used an website that encodes english to md5 to generate a new password which was then updated to the table. Problem solved. Thankfully.

Re-installing XP

The new PC (who am I kidding – it’s 6 months old and out of date) was struggling with Windows. Seemed to have a lag at the start where no matter what program I selected it would wait for a couple of minutes before launching. After that it was fine. Shutdown also had the odd blue screen. I spent the last 2 or 3 weeks trying to find the problem but gave in at the weekend and formatted it again.

I’ve always been against re-installing everything every 6 months or so but the results have been dramatic. No startup lag, no shutdown problems and I’ve got most of the programs I use re-installed. Only snag was that I forgot a couple of things before formatting. I had an electronic download of Half-Life 2 via Steam. 3 gig download later and it was sorted (apart from the game save – swine). Also, I was sure I had moved my Outlook folder to My Documents (which is backed up and on a separate drive). Nope – looks like I hadn’t. SWINE. I still don’t understand why something like Outlook keeps the main pst file outside My Documents but that’s an excuse really for my fools rush in attitude. Got all important e-mails re-sent though so nothing lost. One utility that is a nice find is Startup Control Panel. It’s a small download and install which allows you to easily control what will be automatically started the next time XP boots. Accessible via Control Panel it’s and essential app.

So I thoroughly recommend that you do a proper (format the drive and re-install) refresh of Windows and applications at least once a year. Also – sort out a good backup regime. I’m trialling Norton Ghost with a main backup and incremental’s (weekly) onto my old pc. So far so good. End of public service announcement.

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