12 December 2009

More glitches

I have a couple of Win95 programs, a decade old but never bettered, that Windows 7 refused to Install - surprising, as Vista hadn't quibbled. Maybe it's a 64-bit problem. Anyway I transferred the folders over and they ran fine, complete with previous settings since Win95 programmes store those in their own folders.

Webedit is a long lost HTML editor that has enough bells and whistles for me, and WS/FTP LE is the old freeware version of that transfer program.

03 December 2009

Windows 7 arrives

My Vista machine never really recovered from its overheating problem and recently lost contact with its graphics card, defaulting to the onboard graphics. So, an early Yuletide prezzie - a brand new Windows 7 desktop, 64-bit OS, with a Radeon 5750.
Overall I'm happy - as promised it's all rather smoother than Vista. I'm slowly loading in stuff and so far the only program that didn't want to know was PGP, I needed the 64-bit version.

(1) The speakers by default had inputs off, it took me a while to find out how to connect them to Line-in enabling me to use them for the TV.
(2) My Second Life TV isn't working. This seems to be a streaming glitch with Quicktime, I can see other streams in RL and SL and Liz can see it fine - she spotted a friend of hers being interviewed ("look look it's Amber!") and all I had was a blank screen.
(3) Not a single Blue Screen of Death so far! The graphics card has paniced and reset twice in SL, both times when I was working it hard, so I'm guessing at some minor OpenGL problem.
(4) Today, the screen blanked out. It turned out the HDMI cable had come loose, the 5700s only have HDMI output plus a rather grudging DVI socket which I haven't tried. Fortunately the HDTV has several HDMI inputs since I need another for the satellite box.

HDMI is fine with graphics, not so good with text but then the TV isn't optimised for that. Tweaking text size and Clear Type has made it readable.

04 October 2009

Winterfell pictures

The Primgraph: Issue 8 - October 2009 has articles and pictures featuring my Second Life homeland, the Dark Victorian regions of Winterfell. The link is to the First Life online edition, though I read my copy sat on the bench in my castle garden.

Er, not in this weather though - a photo I took last winter. Brrr! Click on the pictures and they will appear full size. The next one is of Port Amaranthine and Uni Ninetails Disney castle:

And finally another wintery scene, the sky garden above the clouds:

14 August 2009

Website Stats

I use, an excellent free service. It records stats for the most recent 500 visitors, and thus provides a rolling snapshot of Internet user preferences.

MSIE 55%
Firefox 30%
Safari 5%
Chrome 4%

MSIE is split between versions 6, 7 and 8. MSIE 6 is the bugbear of webpage designers due to its many faults that require workrounds, but it is now down to 11%.

1280x1024 40%
Unknown 27%
1024x768 25%
1152x864 7%
800x600 1%

It now seems safe to regard 1024 as the lowest width that needs to be accommodated. 'Unknown' is surprisingly high, looking elsewhere it seems to be mostly variations on 1280 such as 1280x800.

Operating Systems
Windows XP 54%
Windows Vista 28%
Unknown 8%
Linux 4%

And that with new improved Windows 7 almost here is as high as Vista will go. It remains to be seen how long businesses will hang on to XP 'because it works' and remain unconvinced that upgrading would be a financial net gain.

06 August 2009

Spot the religion

Another contest folks! This is a graph of audience reaction to the latest adverts on American television from - let's say a certain well known bona fide religion that isn't a cult. You have guess at which moment in the advert the name of the religion was first given.

24 May 2009

24 hours in limbo

On Friday Mr Blue Screen overran my machine and I had to call in the repairman. Fortunately I got a good (though expensive!) one as it took several hours to get everything sorted. It turned out the CPU fan was not speeding up when it should have been, the CPU was overheating and that most likely killed some memory and corrupted Windows.

So it was full reinstall time, after which Vista got down to downloading 30 months worth of Updates while I reinstalled programs. It took 3 days for Service Pack 1 to arrive, presumably Microsoft sensibly had security updates at the front of the queue.
The only glitch so far was overwriting my Firefox Bookmarks (duh). The latest Nvidia drivers didn't work well with my budget never state of the art card, so I reverted to the previous set. Thunderbird made no objection to my copying over all its data files in a single block.

The only problem that threw me was that my router had reacted to all this by dropping its Download speed, causing Second Life all kinds of problems. Rebooting it forced it to renegotiate speeds.

07 May 2009

Let there be light

This is really just an illustration of how the Internet just works.

Houses have light switches. But can Second Life houses have light switches? I'm in the dark about this (ha ha), but let's try 'remote light switch second life' in Google.
Here's not only the code I need but also two YouTube clips with the author's Avatar demonstrating how to do it. So I can download the code, Cut&Paste it into a Script holder in Second Life, and there it is.

Oh. One alteration required - American light switches are upside down. Easily changed...

11 April 2009

Spot the Scientologist (2)

Difficult this one isn't it? The photo was taken outside the Scientology shop in London during an Anonymous protest. It inspired one of my leafleting callouts: "Scientology - the unhappy religion!"

20 March 2009

Infinite Complacency'll have to read the Infinite Complacency blog to find out where Jonny Jacobsen found the title! He's a journalist who has been observing Scientology from the sidelines for quite a while, and is now blogging his notes for what may eventually become yet another book on the cult.
Here he concentrates on David Miscavige, the violent psychopath who has led Scientology since the 1980s.

A recent work I'm presently reading is John Duignan's "The Complex", subtitled "An insider exposes the covert world of the Church of Scientology". British booksellers have refused to stock it due to a threat from the cult, it is available from Ireland where it was published.

18 March 2009

Google is watching you

I wrote a satirical comment to a Youtube video yesterday with a :-) at the end to indicate humor and got the usual humorless replies such as "let me guess not a real person just a part of the scientology PR machine". Guessing is not necessary however - Google is your friend! My name is almost unique on the Internet, and a Search on it produced this (snipped for brevity):

Results 1 - 10 of about 2,480 for "hartley patterson". (0.14 seconds)
Search Results

1. User:Hartley Patterson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2. News From Bree A Tolkien interview, a medieval spreadsheet, a secondary universe and some enturbulating entheta.
3. Hartley Patterson Directory of critical information about Scientology.
4. Protest Activity in the UK
5. Picket Report, Hartley Patterson
6. User:Hartley Patterson - Wikinews, the free news source
7. User talk:Hartley Patterson - Wikinews, the free news source
8. 1972 - A Year in Diplomacy by Hartley Patterson
9. ZoomInfo Open People Directory > Patterson, Hartley
10.Patterson, Hartley | Patterson, Hazel | People Directory | Facebook

Only (9) appears to be spam, the others catch a selection of my Internet interests. but 2,480 of them? Oh no, I've just added the 2,481st! Must get out more...

02 March 2009

Do not do this in Real Life

Oriella: Oh
Liz: whatwhat?
Our neighbours have demolished their house again
seriously? it's gone again??
I'm standing in a very empty field
i'm on my way
it is gone
I thought I might need new glasses
don't get too happy...they might rebuild

Added: They didn't and abandoned their land. Our present neighbour is an actress currently appearing at the SL Globe Theatre, but not given to drama off the virtual stage.

12 February 2009

I don't believe this

This picture is from The Guardian 12 February 2009. The caption reads:

"A mysterious metallic object that crashed through the roof of a New Jersey family's home in January 2007 was not a meteorite after all. Scientists say it is a stainless steel alloy that does not occur in nature and is most likely orbital debris, perhaps remnants of a satellite, a rocket or some other spacecraft component".

Now come on guys, we know what space debris does. It either falls as a pile of recogniseable junk or it burns up as it descends. It does not melt into something that looks like an iron meteorite. A stainless steel object falling from a plane would not melt at all.
Stainless steel is iron with 10-20% chromium, 5-15% nickel added. Whilst all metal meteorites are iron-nickel alloys they include no chromium, hence the mystery. Chromium is mined as FeCr2O4, no nickel.
So what is it? I don't know, I merely don't think there is a likely explanation. Some phenomena don't presently have explanations, and 'scientists' shouldn't be grabbing the nearest available one and saying 'that must be it'.

26 January 2009

Spot the Scientologist

On Saturday a couple of dozen protesters visited the CoS 'secret' headquarters in rural California. Lawyer Graham Berry's interview with the local Fox News station was interrupted by the Scientology PR Director who handed the reporter contact details but answered a request for a comment with "No".
Larger image, photo by cameraanonymous.
Sorry, no prizes for spotting the Scientologist - the look on Graham's face says it all...
The full story of pickets at 'Gold Base' can be found elsewhere, here's a link to a lot of videos. The current series has kept up the cult's reputation for bizarre and creepy behaviour in the face of Americans standing up for their First Amendment rights to say what they damn well want.

19 January 2009


Second Life has several Rosen Maiden costumes, the Gothic Lolita Paradise shopping mall has all of them. Here is one of my avatars posing. They are not visible in the screenshot but I managed Suiseseki's dichromatic eyes by making green eyes in the normal way and then adding a red one as an attachment. Long red hair that spills over her dress would also have to be specially made, and I don't have the patience for that!

Shinku is particularly striking in her crimson outfit, and 'Feather' have a proper teaset for her.
So now I can wander about ~desuing and demanding cups of tea, to the confusion of most mundane residents.

16 January 2009

HD TV arrives

It did several months ago actually.
I live at the bottom of a narrow and twisty valley so terrestrial TV is and always will be poor, the nearest cable is several miles away and across the Thames so satellite is my only option, doubly so when analog is switched off in 2012 as digital doesn't do poor reception. That leaves me with satellite.
Rupert Murdoch used to have a monopoly on this with Sky TV, though in a rare display of determination the government forced him to offer the channels that are normally free for no subscription and I got my dish that way. From the same satellite there is now a BBC/ITV joint service, Freesat which I recently switched over to.
Is it better? It has less rubbish channels including Sky - Sky makes its money from sport and movie subscription channels which are of no interest to me. And it does have HD for free, for which Sky charges an extra subscription on top of a normal one.

So I watched the Olympics in HD, which was excellent except that with its limited number of HD cameras that meant the BBC either showed everything or nothing, with some sports being totally ignored.

As for normal viewing, the BBC offers evening only HD and mostly endless repeats since they don't have enough cameras to do much production. ITV came up with the brilliant marketing strategy of keeping their HD scheduling secret, only putting up an 'also in HD' message up on their main channel at the last moment.
I guess we'll have to wait until the American switch to HD before more is available.

HD TVs do generate a good computer picture though, with a reasonable 1360x768 resolution.