Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: Semantically Speaking...

    So I've temporarily escaped from Azure to lend a hand with, as Monty Python would say, something completely different. And it's a bit like coming home again, because I'm back with the Enterprise Library team. Some of them even remembered me from last time (though I'm not sure that's a huge advantage...
  • 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: Seventeen Syllable File Delete in ASP.NET

    The days when I played with ASP.NET web sites all the time have, perhaps unfortunately, gone. Now my day job has me delving into grown-up stuff such as the wonderful worlds of cloud service infrastructure, design patterns, systems and software architectural, Big Data, and even open source projects named...
  • Blog Post: Bluetooth Made Me Un-picture My Contacts

    Can software become more complicated and yet still be easy to use? It seems that, unfortunately in some cases, it can - and does so whether you like it or not. I just spent two hours trying to fix the Bluetooth connection between my wife's phone and her car, and discovered just how unfortunate it can...
  • 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: Call In a Specialist

    In the rapidly expanding realm of computing technologies, it's reasonable to assume that most developers have only a limited spread of knowledge. I regularly hear it said that keeping up with the welter of new frameworks, platforms, systems, and capabilities is almost impossible. Except that it's only...
  • 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: Idempotent Photographical Categorization

    It's been many years since I switched from film to digital by selling my old Pentax SLR, extensive selection of quality lenses, and bag full of assorted attachments at some ludicrously low price. Since then my photographic arsenal has included several Olympus digicams. Yet I still haven't got the knack...
  • 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: The Network Ate My Shortcuts!

    It's a bit scary when you turn on your computer and it's different from when you left it the day before. I don't mean it's a different computer (though sometimes that would be nice), but that something changed while you were in the land of nod. This happened to me last week. As I sat yawning and stretching...
  • Blog Post: Who is We?

    Windows and its applications are getting even easier to use, and work far better than ever before for most non-technical users. It's a fact, I'm sure; but it seems to be having some unfortunate (and annoying) side effects for the more savvy members of the geekdom. I've been ruminating on various aspects...
  • 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: Over-egging the Curator's View

    At one time you had to work in a museum to be a curator, but the wonders of information technology mean that now we can all exhibit our technical grasp of complicated topics and elucidate the general population by identifying the optimum resources that help to answer even the most complex of questions...
  • Blog Post: Inverted Charting

    So I considered naming this week's post "Climb Up On My Roof Sunny Boy", but I'd probably get sued by Al Jolson's estate. Though, as we're now officially inverted here at chez Derbyshire, it did seem appropriate. What I wasn't expecting was the domestic strife that is a direct result. They don't tell...
  • Blog Post: Clock This Writer

    It's easy to imagine that the computer is a recent invention. A search of the web reveals a host of machines claiming to be the first electronic computer, and all are mid-20th century. However, what's harder to determine is the first appearance of a truly programmable computer. After watching a fascinating...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: Peeping Out From The Microsoft Matrix

    I suppose it's a bit like that film The Matrix - you realize that you live in an ethereal and closed world only when you actually get to step outside of it. Or, like some people who have never been to another country, your view of the rest of the world is shaped just by what you see on TV. I guess I...
  • Blog Post: Taming Microsoft Media Center

    So I'm still fighting to keep Media Center as the main TV system here at chez Derbyshire, despite the veritable aggro it seems to spew out at regular intervals. On top of the increasing vagueness of the program categorization in the guide (it seems to think that "The Only Way Is Essex" is a documentary...
  • Blog Post: The Windows Server Update Service That Doesn't

    One of the great things about being a technology pessimist is that you don't suffer that sinking feeling when something doesn't work as expected. And, of course, you get to experience a nice ripple of surprised elation when stuff actually does work as it's supposed to. This week I've experienced a roughly...
  • Blog Post: You've Got To Pick A Tablet Or Two

    So we've gone from a tabletless state to a twin fondleslab-equipped household in a little under two weeks. My wife no longer has to squint at Facebook pages containing 4 point text on a tiny smartphone screen, and I don't have to wait for Windows to get started on my "downstairs laptop" when I want to...
  • Blog Post: No Network? Forget It

    Sometimes I think I'm the only person who takes Wi-Fi security seriously. Unlike all of my neighbors, I run my Wi-Fi access point with a hidden SSID so that nobody casually browsing the available networks will be tempted to try and connect to it. I also run it on half power, which is plenty sufficient...
  • Blog Post: Re-chromed, But Still Not Shiny

    So here's a question: why aren't our European masters hounding a certain well-known company to stop them installing unwanted software on our computers? Every time a hole in the Flash plugin is fixed they insist on fiddling with people's computers in a way that, if not actually illegal, seems to cause...
  • Blog Post: Just Press F1!

    I'm increasingly seeing how big the disconnect is between people who use computers occasionally just because they need to do stuff on the Internet, and those of us who live and breathe computing. And we're not talking stupid people here; I see it most weeks with friends and acquaintances that are fully...
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