A bit of music from the lamented Radio Blog Club

Le Français

Toujours, je suis désolé pour mes amis( et amies) français(es), mais il est difficile pour moi d'écire en français. Peut-être un jour...
S.V.P. regardez ce LIEN

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Plug and Play? I think not...

Yes, another rant about computing, this time, peripherals.
I am at present in Paris, staying for a few days with my copine. By virtue of her work she is a consummate computer user. For the business she is starting she has bought a laptop and of course decided that this should be provided with a "Wi-fi" facility. To this end she has bought a pair of USB devices which are supposed to provide wireless functionality.
We installed these yesterday, and of course they don't work; "plug and play" - one of the greatest all-time lies. Typically for this kind of thing, Windows says "the device is functioning correctly". No it isn't: it doesn't work!
Many of you might remember Bill Gates's boast that had cars progressed the way computers had over the same period, we would have cars that would do 1000 miles on a gallon of fuel etc.
This sort of thing makes my blood boil: as far as I know only the computer industry seems able to get away with murder: imagine if you bought eggs that were merely empty shells, a new car with no engine, a washing machine that did not wash. What about a surgeon who sewed you up leaving your brain on the floor of the operating theatre? How long would the purveyors of such goods and services stay in business?
And yet so much rubbish is sold for computers and computing. I can recall several such experiences myself: a new printer that wouldn't work at all, another that worked for two months (both were EPSONS - I should have remembered Barry Waterhouse's famous dictum "you don't learn anything from the second kick of the mule") and of course Bluetooth, which doesn't work full stop. Another instance: according to the blurb in WIndows "help" all I have to do is plug in an Ethernet cable and my computers will "talk to each other". No they won't...
And yes, I have heard the computer experts' jokes about "problem lies between keyboard and chair", but I shouldn't have any problems: the suppliers are to blame, not me.
With the honourable exception of HP, whose support service is excellent, most of the help offered or provided is pathetic. Especially bad in this respect is Open Office; the support facilty is crammed with questions in esoteric technical language. Register a problem in simple language, with examples provided as I did, and get a shirty message back saying one did not formulate the problem correctly. Thanks Open Office - for nothing.
To summarise, my grievance is that if an organisation supplies goods then they should work - immediately without the presence of a highly-trained, experienced and expensive specialist. I do not want to hear e.g. "well, these are complex matters". This is NOT my problem, it is THEIR problem: if they supply goods to the public then they should work, period.
Cars are complex; they work, so computer industry do your job properly and stop supplying rubbish.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


This is a popular subject - well it seems to be judging by the amount of emails I receive from Fulvia owners keen to extract more power, better brakes, more grip and so on from their cars.

Since many are naturally keen to keep their ideas to themselves, my lips remain sealed, but I have seen some lovely things on my computer's screen

Perhaps some of you would care to share your developments with those reading this blog.

Email me on

I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

VISTA ("tm")

Hello again after a long gap. I have been quite busy and also rather lacking in inspiration, though thanks to one of my regular visitors, I have a Fulvia idea or two.

This piece (rant) is another that does not concern our favourite motor-car; it is about computers. Since one way or another, all of you must be using a computer to read this, I feel justified in claiming to be at least relevant.

Here’s what my dictionary says about VISTA:

vi’sta n. long narrow view as between rows of trees; long succession of remembered or anticipated events etc. Mental prospect or retrospect, (opened up new vistas or a new vista to his ambition); hence ~ed (~ad) a. [It. = view (visto seen, p.p. of sedere see f. L. Videre)]

A few things to ponder here: I especially like “long narrow view” whilst “long succession of [...] anticipated events” is to me, profoundly depressing.

No doubt you will have guessed that I have just acquired a new computer, and so I have. A nice thing I suppose, with lots of memory, a huge disk drive and dual-core processor etc. All well and good but for effing VISTA.

What a con! Virtually nothing works with it; most of those software CDs which one has stored carefully (or in a plastic bag in my case) are useless or virtually so. Nearly all those old friends, programs that were perfectly satisfactory, will not work in VISTA. I prefer not to mention the hardware position… Even worse, being in France, I have the French version, which I suppose is good for my French, if not for the migraines. And guess what? Uncle Bill will only provide other languages if one has one of the top-of-the-range versions of the system. Stingy I say. And, every time you want to do something, there’s the pop-up asking for authorisation, followed by yet another question.

Oh yes, VISTA looks nice and there is a good HELP section, but what’s the point? Apparently MS committed $500,000,000 just for the launch of VISTA. Oh dear; all that money (never mind what it actually cost) for a wash-out.

It seems that I have come late on the scene: Microsoft has delayed the putting to death of XP from January to June next year, following what appear to be howls of anguish from the professionals and perhaps mugs like me (if MS actually listens to us virtual cannon-fodder).

As soon as I can arrange it, this computer is going to be formatted – yes, the hell with it, XP is going in and VISTA can rot in the recycle bin.

You have been warned.

Sod the Law!


New Internet Speed test

Music and Radio Blog Club

Radio Blog Club, a good friend for a while appears to be in some legislative difficulty...

However, in tribute to its brave effort, I shall leave the existing track on this page (which amazingly still works)

Sadly my Playlist no longer works (hence its removal) thanks to the absurd "Hadopi" legislation in France. Apologies to all.