Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: Just Collecting Dust...

    It's Edinburgh Festival time again, and as usual they voted a winning joke. One of my favorite actors and stand-up comedians, Tim Vine, won it for the second time this year with a new one-liner: "I'm thinking of selling my vacuum cleaner. It's just collecting dust." Likewise, it seems I now have a...
  • Blog Post: Do I R2, or Just 12?

    We all know that hardware failures are not unheard of events, and - like most people - I try to cover for such eventualities. Many features of my network depend on a single server running a few Hyper-V machines, and so I have a cold-swap backup server all set up and configured to take over the tasks...
  • Blog Post: Six Buttons and a Volume Knob

    Probably there's not many people who can remember when TVs had just six buttons and a volume knob. You simply tuned each of the buttons to one of the five available channels (which were helpfully numbered 1 to 5), hopefully in the correct order so you knew which channel you were watching, and tuned the...
  • Blog Post: Snakin' All Over

    My new pet snake is installed, working, and really flies. Deathly silent, yet it instantly responds to every command. It's like somebody speeded up the world. Or at least speeded up my television. And, yes, this is a follow-on from last week's rambling post about our new "Mamba" Media Center box from...
  • Blog Post: Papa Loves Mamba

    Media Center is alive and well! Yes, you can buy a proper no-noise Media Center appliance that just works out of the box, does satellite and terrestrial TV, and looks good on your TV stand. You can even watch the YouTube video on it that inspired the title of this week's rambling post. Our current...
  • Blog Post: Recertified, Un-moused, and Port-holed

    You can't believe just how fast a year goes by. It seems like only yesterday I was rebooting all the Hyper-V virtual machines because the server certificate for Hyper-V had expired. And now it's gone and done it again. The certificate is renewed automatically, but it disconnects the VMs when it does...
  • Blog Post: Infinity = 40

    At last our phone company has managed to drag a strand of high-speed cable across the six miles from the exchange to the green box at the end of my garden. In a flash I've been transported from the "back of beyond" into the exciting world of the "digital now" (at least, that's what it says on the publicity...
  • Blog Post: An Automatic Upgrade to Uncontrolled Access

    How could they get it so wrong? I've been very happy with all the other Netgear hardware scattered across my network, including ADSL modems, switches, and the NAS box, but I'm beginning to wonder if the WNDR 4500v2 wireless router I upgraded to last year was such a great idea. Especially when a firmware...
  • Blog Post: The Royal We Is Working On It...

    I really am trying to get used to the dumbed-down (sorry, I should say "user-friendly") move towards simple language and a less technical description of the options and features in modern software UIs. Messages such as "We're working on it" and "Something went wrong" feel like they would have been programmer...
  • Blog Post: Re-balanced and Re-routed (a.k.a. Wanna Buy An Old Modem?)

    Maybe it's because I was a boy scout when I was young that I have this need to be prepared for every eventuality. Or maybe it's my default paranoia mode that assumes stuff will just break without warning, typically on a Friday evening. It's probably why you can't move in my office for piles of spare...
  • Blog Post: We're All Professional Publishing House Operatives Now

    OK, yes, I was tempted to find a title based on Slade's famous hit song Mama Weer All Crazee Now but finally caved in to the demands of the Word spelling checker. Not that this has anything at all to do with the topic of this week's ramble, which is about how home publishing has changed. I occasionally...
  • Blog Post: Doing the Right Thing

    So after I was castigated by Cisco's customer support people for buying from Amazon, who they class as a "grey importer", I decided to do the right thing this time. And look where it got me. I decided to upgrade my load-balancing router, and chose one that is relatively inexpensive yet has more power...
  • Blog Post: Deproxied

    Having run out of ideas, and given up Binging a solution for my intermittent connectivity problems around Windows 8, IE 10, and Outlook, it was time to stop playing nicely. Time instead for a day with my head in the server cabinet, a handful of network cables, some sticky labels, and decisive action...
  • Blog Post: All I Want For Christmas...

    So I continue to battle with Windows 8.1 and Outlook 2103 on my nice big Dell workstation. Our IT support department have given up on me, saying it's obviously a problem with my own network configuration. And it looks like they are correct. It's just a shame they can't tell me what the problem is. ...
  • Blog Post: Downwardly Upgraded

    So it looks like my upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 actually downgraded me to Windows 6.3. I know I don't keep up with all the latest whizz-bang O/S releases, but I can't say I've ever heard anyone eulogising Windows 6.3 as the ideal choice for today's modern computing environment. My regular...
  • Blog Post: Why Is There Only One Monopolies Commission?

    One of the old chestnuts you sometimes hear from disaffected and grumpy comedians is "How come there's only on Monopoly Commission?" They're not talking about the board game, but about the people who are supposed to guard us against being exploited by large corporations. And I'm going to hazard a guess...
  • Blog Post: Double Your Money

    How would you like to be guaranteed a price for your products for the next thirty-five years, and at double the price you sell them for now? Sounds like a great idea. However, there are a couple of downsides... For example, you'll be allowed to sell only the lowest priced item, even if the customer...
  • Blog Post: Mister (Sometimes) Fixit

    No I'm not talking about the clever "please mend my computer" tools that you can run on Microsoft's website. I'm talking about my regular tasks trying to fix all the things that break in our house, seemingly one per day at the moment. It's usually a wide and assorted selection of tasks; this week comprising...
  • Blog Post: Missing The (Access) Point...

    Let's face it, the only proper way to connect computers together is with real wire in the form of good quality Ethernet cables and switches. The current all-encompassing drive towards wireless was, I reckoned, just fad that would soon pass. At least, that's what I though a few years ago. The reality...
  • Blog Post: Electronic Misroutability

    For most of the morning Outlook has been glowering at me and reminding me that it can't connect to the server. Despite me patiently explaining that everything else that connects to the 'Net is working fine, it continued to sulk. Until suddenly an email arrived explaining that there was a major outage...
  • Blog Post: How Much Computing Power Do You Need?

    I discovered this week that online shopping is not something new and exciting, but has been around here in England since 1984; five years before the World Wide Web saw the light of day at CERN, nine years before the first commercially available web browser hit the streets, and eleven years before Amazon...
  • Blog Post: Watch or Glass? Or Both?

    My rather staid daily newspaper occasionally makes an attempt to be cool and trendy by squeezing an article about technology and lifestyle between the reports of war, famine, crime, and pictures of the Royal Family. But it was still a bit of a shock yesterday to see the headline "42% of People Admit...
  • Blog Post: Warning! Warning! New Laptop Encountered!

    So at last my new company computer arrived. And, like all competent technology users, I carefully perused the operating manual before starting it up the first time. You never know, it might say something important. And what I found has made me wonder if I actually dare use it at all. For a start,...
  • Blog Post: The Moving Hoover Hooveth

    Would you buy a vacuum cleaner just for your cat to play with? After my wife watched some videos on YouTube where kittens were chasing and sitting on top of one of those robotic UFO-shaped vacuum cleaners, I was informed in no uncertain terms that we should have one for our two cats to play with. ...
  • Blog Post: Touch, But Don't Look

    So my Windows 8 adventure has been terminated after only a brief foray into the delights of the new O/S. It's annual review time here an Microsoft, which means I need to connect to the corporate network. But my Windows 8 machine can't do that because the TPM module is faulty, and I need to have BitLocker...
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