Romantic Robot Working on it.

09:58 Wed 9 Jan 2008

Open another browser?

Filed under: Tech — 09:58 Wed 9 Jan 08

Is there a way to open another browser from in the default browser?

Example: Firefox is my default. I want to create some links that when clicked will open the target site in Camino. I can’t see a way to right-click and choose Camino. I can’t see a way to use anything similiar to mailto: and right now copy/paste seems the way and I’d really like to avoid that. Actually, I could switch the default browser but that really would be a PITA given the use of Firefox which would continue when using Camino. (I say Camino but I mean any other browser, I’m not fussy)
Anyone know of a way?

20:27 Sun 6 Jan 2008

Not buying a Netgear.

Filed under: Gaming,Tech,WWW — 20:27 Sun 6 Jan 08

I have a NetgearDG834PN – a wireless modem/router. It’s okay, it works, doesn’t get overly hot (unlike the Belkins I’ve owned) and at some point since getting the PS3 I’d read that they don’t play nice. I was being signed out of the PSN constantly and the download speeds were terrible. Couple of days ago I was having more connection problems than I wanted so I rang Zen. Turned out my wiring was slightly off and in the end the wired and wireless experience was almost identical.
After watching Casino Royale (on Blu-ray, so the PS3) I sat back with the laptop. Same distance from the Netgear as when I talked to Zen. I could barely ping the router. Rebooted router, restarted machine, network settings, renewed lease – did everything. Then I saw the disconnected PS3 controller. So I hooked that back to the PS3 and instantly the signal improved. I could get the net but it wasn’t that quick. So I turned the PS3 off – and it all got even better. I tried several settings in the PS3 Network menu and nothing would improve matters. Checking the Sony forums found lots of people with the same situation and both Netgear and Sony were doing nothing. So, some choices:
– stick with what I have
– buy a long cable to wire it up (about 20ft)
– buy something that does not have “Netgear” written on it.

At the end of January Linksys will be getting some of my money. I’ll stick until then and cable doesn’t appeal so much (why are the necessary sockets always on the other side of a room and there is a doorway involved?). I can’t game online unless I’ve got a better connection and the problems would explain some (but not all) of the Ridge Racer problems I’ve had). Actually, I’ll post to the Zen forums and see what is recommended there – it may well not be Linksys. I’ll not be buying a Netgear again though.

13:24 Wed 2 Jan 2008

After a tablet.

Filed under: Tech — 13:24 Wed 2 Jan 08

I’m in the market for a graphics tablet and the Bamboo from Wacom seems to fit the bill. It’s got 4 programmable buttons and the reviews are pretty good. This is not for high-end Photoshop use – far from it – but I’m wondering if anyone else has used one? We have a Volito for the PC which is nice but (1) it’s aimed at kids and (2) it’s used by them. It also has no mac drivers. Wacom do seem to be the people to go with – or is this model bettered?

15:29 Mon 31 Dec 2007

ZDNet miss a point.

Filed under: Tech — 15:29 Mon 31 Dec 07

Users who install Windows XP Service Pack 3 will not be required to enter Microsoft’s product activation key before they use the operating system, according to a Microsoft white paper. ZDNet

For some reason ZDNet seem to think this a good thing. It’s not, and the last sentence in the article says why:

Most Microsoft software asks for the product key before installation. If the key is not valid, the user is unable to install the software.

So what Microsoft are actually doing is not saying “You can’t have the new code”, they are really saying “We want you to upgrade to Vista because we can now lock you out”. They are enforcing the upgrade path. How many genuine users will get locked out and then get told “Hey, thought of Vista?”. You can bet that the SP3 does not warn of this at the time of installation.

17:13 Tue 11 Dec 2007

The quiet PC

Filed under: Tech — 17:13 Tue 11 Dec 07 – Excellent.
Due probably some wear, some dust and my inability to mess around carefully the PC was annoying loud. It was the fan on the cpu and the fan on the gfx card. It was not the one at the back – I know this because in the end I cut the wires to it. I really don’t like computers that make noise. And I really didn’t want to risk doing anything myself. I didn’t trust PC World at all (who does?) so I hunted around. popped up on a search.
Nimesh uses a helpdesk which is neat so the whole conversation is there. I listed the problem and the components. He replied, told me what was what, assured me on the cost. Took no money – despite my offering – and ordered the parts. A few days later the bits were there so after a call we headed over.
When there I told him about the noise again, a hum, the way it was odd when it booted and then left it with him. The next day it was fixed and ready. He had fixed the BIOS (my fault it went wrong) set temperatures somewhere, fitted the new back fan, the gfx card cooler and the Arctic freezer on top of the main CPU. All sorted. It’s been perfect since. No noise, boots properly, USB stuff works properly (he fixed that too).
There are some people who you come into contact with that you are very happy to deal with again – and Nimesh is just that. When the other machines need some attention it’s him I’ll be calling.

(see – I do praise where something is worth praising!)

23:58 Sat 8 Dec 2007

The book stays good

Filed under: Tech — 23:58 Sat 8 Dec 07

Inviting a failure of course but the MyBook is holding up okay. I have 4 sites backed up nightly onto a drive, then that drive is backed up to the MyBook. It chugs away while doing the compare and copy so it’s noisier in that respect to the other external HD’s I have but it’s doing what I wanted – so far…. I fully expect it to shatter in a few hours now :)
Ideally I’d have a USB switch so I could also flick to backup the mac. There’s bound to be something on this I’d miss if it crashed.

22:35 Mon 26 Nov 2007

Ta-ta PC for now.

Filed under: Tech — 22:35 Mon 26 Nov 07

And now it’s the turn of the PC. It died briefly a couple of weeks ago but that was probably a short in the main PSU (lots of dust, very small place) – it was thanks to Steve that I even looked there. Somehow it fixed itself. One of the fans – the CPU one I think – has been sounding odd. The graphics card fan had quietened after a good blast of air but there was a slow rhythmic hum which had got louder and the air coming out at the front had got warmer.
And it just died. No sound, no sparks, no big ‘ta-da!’, it just stopped. Fan stopped and a minute or so later the machine shut down. So far – this is an hour later – nothing has brought it back. So I’m hoping the fan was somehow responsible and that it can be repaired. That’s tomorrow’s task – find a repair man. (And no, the chances of me taking it to Muppet World are below zero.)

27th Update: It’s okay. Weird. And early next week it’s going to have 3 new fans/coolers (rear / cpu / gfx) fitted, the hum found and eliminated and I’ll probably ask him to check the boot options. But fixable it is, and affordable too. Turnaround will be a day apparently.

11:35 Sat 15 Sep 2007

The speaker thing again

Filed under: Tech — 11:35 Sat 15 Sep 07

I can’t work this out.

Only a small amount of sound comes from the R speaker. This happens when playing Winamp or a game.

Test each element:
– Remove audio plug from back of machine and plug Zen headphones into machine. Sound is good and even.
– Plug the speakers plug into a Zen and sound comes from both speakers evenly.
So this establishes that the output from the computer is good.
It also establishes that the speakers both work when sent a stereo signal

So why does the one speaker fail to make enough noise?

If it were a sound setting in the computer the headphones would show it.
If it was a problem with the speakers the Zen hookup would show it.

I have no ideas.

15:20 Fri 14 Sep 2007

Replace what to get sound?

Filed under: Tech — 15:20 Fri 14 Sep 07

I still have only the tiniest sound from one speaker even if the other is booming.
Every driver (nvidia, realtek) is up to date. I have uninstalled and reinstalled more than once.
Machine is clean, everything well seated.
Sound settings correct.
Headphones direct into the socket in the dead speaker work properly.
The speakers work perfectly when plugged into my zen.
I have tried everything I have found.
But I have no clue as to where sound is actually driven – motherboard or gfx card?
So what do I look to replace?

It’s hardware. Somewhere between the wiring from the headphone jack inside the speaker to the actual noise-making parts it is damaged. How on earth that happened I have not the slightest clue – I’ve never had a speaker just break before. So it’s off to a box-shop tomorrow to get some new ones. Neverwinter just isn’t good in mono through the one.
And I’m annoyed that I didn’t take it all apart and test with known good parts earlier. I’m meant to be able to troubleshoot stuff ;)

19:03 Sat 1 Sep 2007

To av or not av

Filed under: Programs,Security,Tech — 19:03 Sat 1 Sep 07

Do I install av software on the reinstalled machine?

– viruses are bad
– its expected that you do

– malware is much worse
– av eats more resources than it ‘gives back’ in results
– safe practice is most of the battle against virii anyway

So right now I’m veering to No.
I do have spybot installed and hijackthis available. Clamwin is a purely on-demand solution which sounds okay but I have yet to dig around for reviews and comparisons.

Got av?

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