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I have been trying to retrain myself to use WINDOWS+E to launch Windows Explorer, rather than Right Clicking on Start, partly because the latter means that Explorer is launched within your profile, rather than at the Computer level, which is usually fractionally closer to where I want to be.

Anyway, by pure accident, this morning I discovered that WINDOWS+R is a shortcut to the Run... dialogue, which is good news, because I use that a lot (it's faster to type 'excel' or 'iexplore' {for those rare occasions where I need IE} than it is to navigate Start/Programs/Microsoft Office/etc...).

Was offline over the weekend - doubly frustrating because I'd arranged to play Forza 3 online against my brother over XBox Live on the Sunday. Alack, alas, not to be. Some other time, then.

On Saturday evening, P and I teamed up with [personal profile] cynthia_black and her family to watch Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief; overall, I don't think it did justice to the books, and was mostly an underwhelming piece of cinema.

Work is busy, and not particularly good right now.
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One of the mild irritants of Windows 7 is that the Control Panel is kinda fragmented with multiple folders and stuff, but no readily apparent means of seeing everything in one go...

Well, news is out on the Interwebs of Windows 7 GodMode, which gives you a single folder view of the various Control Panel options.

To do this, all you need to do is create a Folder, anywhere you please, and give it this exact name (copy and paste):


The folder itself is displayed simply as GodMode (I'd have been unimpressed if it had displayed the rather impenetrable extension), and at least Works For Me™.
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This is me logged onto my work PC from the confines of Castle Fox...

The advantage of this is that I can work from home (such as now).

The disadvantage of this is that I can work from home (such as now).

Anyway, this is the reason that Ione is now running Windows 7 rather than Ubuntu - the client software I need for the VPN doesn't play nicely with Linux, which is a pity. Windows 7 runs OK, though (bearing in mind this is an atom-based nettop, and not a remotely 'serious' computer), although I've turned off all the prettification, and am trying to get it to ape Windows 2000 as closely as I can.

This PC (the work one I'm kinda-typing this through, if not at, exactly) is still running Windows XP, although I hear we're moving to the promised land of glorious 7 some time in the New Year.
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Now that's inspiring, no?
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The Register alerted me to the fact that the Windows 7 preview download would be closing on the 15th of August, so I thought I should avail myself of the opportunity to install Windows 7 for free whilst it lasted.

Thus scarlett's hard disk got wiped last night, removing 64-bit Fedora 11 and installing Windows 7 (yes, I could double, or even triple boot, but I do write software for Windows for a living, and I rather suspect that it will behoove me to become acquainted with The Brave New World of 7 sooner rather than later).

Early impressions are mixed: that it runs on an Atom processor with just 1Gb of RAM is kinda impressive. It's slow to boot, when it boots - this morning I just got presented with a mouse on a black screen, but no login prompt or nuffink. So I rebooted (Microsoft have evidently taken pains to ensure that Windows users feel right at home ;-P), this time to discover that the sound card driver had failed to load. Fortunately, 7 pops up its 'Action Centre' warning dialogue thingy, which attempts to fix the problem like some Brave Little Toaster*.

Action Centre failed to cure the sound defect (which is weird, because it had been working last night). So I rebooted again, but to no avail. Anyway, I'm going to give it a chance, but I may revert to Linux yet.

I didn't have time to fully investigate the cause of the sound issues (or lack thereof - sound, that is, not issues, of which there was a manifest instance, obviously), because I'd been out walking Mali.

Well, I say I was out walking Mali, but I have my doubts, since it seemed very much like I was out with my Fully Autonomous Organic Discarded Chocolate Detection System: honestly, the merest hint of a Twix wrapper, and that hound wolfs it up...

The ride in to work was sticky. Not about my person, I hasten to add. No. The stickiness is, I assume, a side-effect of living amongst these leafy, tree-lined avenues: it must be the pollen that's coating the tarmac with some kind of tacky residue. The bike tyres sound as though they're rolling across S(p)ellotape™, and it makes for some interesting handling at times.

* a reference I know only from Buffy, where Xander's watching Willow dance at the Bronze, presumably post-Oz-breakup (which puts it in S4)
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[personal profile] alicit found this story on IT Wire which explains a little bit more about that .NET Assistant for Firefox that was included in Windows Update.

The bit that I was wondering about, given that some of you were reporting yourselves unaffected, is explained by the fact that the particular Update in question only kicked into play if you had the .NET 3.5 framework installed.

The .NET framework is a set of code that makes other programs work (a, uh, framework, if you will). Whilst most of you will have some level of .NET framework installed, you might not all be up to 3.5 yet. So this possibly explains why some of you didn't have the .NET Assistant 1.0 installed.

However. Do keep a periodic eye on the list of extensions to Firefox - once you do install .NET 3.5 (and at some point, unless you never download/install any new software on your machine, you'll have to), it may be that Windows Update will identify your machine as having this particular need, and sort you out accordingly.

Hopefully, by then they'll have learnt their lesson, and actually inform you of what they're doing...
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Y'know, I've often wondered, whilst watching the Microsoft Updates download to the work PC (for Castle Fox is a Linux domain), what on Earth is that 'Malicious Software Removal Tool' that seems to be a perennial feature?

Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool )


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