January 2009


Well the USB hard drive arrived and the laptop’s been ghosted.

Also here is Office 2007, Home edition. I have three licenses for it but I really doubt I will use more than one. By God it’s a terrible interface. And I’ve just kissed goodbye to 300 megabytes of bandwidth to update it.

It’s not the full package; missing is Access, the database. If they’ve destroyed that in the same way they have Word and Excel I actually don’t want to see: I like Access. It’ a good solid relational database.

I’ve never used One Note before. I suppose I’d better have a look around it – to see what it actually is and what it’s for – before judging it. If it’s of any use I might use it, if not – I probably will reclaim some hard disc space.

I really don’t see what was the point of all the changes; the ribbon, lack of menus. It’s hard for people used to the vagaries of software, new users unfamiliar to software would probably just give up. And I wouldn’t blame them. It is an appalling ‘upgrade’ and shame on Microsoft for even considering it would be an advantage to users.

If I can’t pick up or get used to the new interface I might uninstall it and go back to Word 2002.

I purchased Norton Ghost from Amazon for £20 to back up my laptop properly. But it’s filling up the USB  drive that I have so I’ve just ordered a new USB hard drive to be used for laptop backup only.

I nearly went for a one terrabyte version but seeing as it was for the laptop there wouldn’t be much point in getting that amount of storage for a 160 gb (I think) hard drive. I also took advantage of an offer to get MS Office 2007 Home Edition for £40. I suppose I’ll find out how usable or un-usable the new version of Office is when I get it.

I bought a couple of books from Amazon, including one from Robert Silverberg. He is one of my favourite writers. I haven’t read anything from him in years though. He’s a prolific author and during the eighties I devoured his work, and some of his books remain among my all time favourites. I’m looking forward to re-aquanting myself with his work.

Lightwave 9.6 was released and I rushed to download and install it only to find out that LWCAD doesn’t work with it. I still have version eight on the computer and it works perfectly with that but I get a dialogue box when launching 9.6 telling me the plugin isn’t written for Windows . Which is a shame as by all accounts 9.6 is a major improvement. I’ve had a brief look through the What’s New Guide but very little with the actual program itself. While online on my NewTek account I also took the chance to download updates for SpeedEdit. Again improvements but the program still doesn’t like wmv files.

And last but not least those 50 free downloads ended up costing me £10.99. Emusic took that from my account on the same day I signed up for the so called fourteen day trial. I’ve sent them emails and they’ve responded that ‘the situation is resolved’ but still no refund on my credit card.

There was an offer in a UK paper (The Telegraph, an impulse purchase at the shops) this weekend for 50 free downloads. I signed up and promptly ate up 370 megabytes of my bandwidth in a couple of hours. I bet they think I’m a freeloader, having signed up then canceled the 14 day trial a few hours later.  But there was not really any point keeping the trial going when my allocated amount of tracks were used up. Like Amazon they have their own download program and the downloads seemed to be very fast. I’ll need to remember to uninstall it sometime.

It was emusic, a reasonable service but based on a monthly subscription rather than individual purchase price. I’m not really decided on that business model. I got a fourteen day trial but, as I say, I downloaded my allocated 50 tracks within a couple of hours. They don’t have a lot of the major artists; when you search for them you get a message about staying competitive with itunes on price.

Having said that they had albums that I haven’t seen anywhere else (including the incomparably unique Richard Strange) and a very good range of music. I’d definitely buy if there was an option to purchase tracks the way Amazon, 7digital and itunes do. That said my fifty downloads got me three full albums and a variety of tracks from other albums, eleven artists in total. DRM free too.

The most recent interest rate, bringing interest to an historic low, has taken my ISA down to 0.10% Half a percent off by the Bank of England and one percent off by the Bank of Scotland. Bloody effin gits. I couldn’t have 0.10% percent on an ISA so I went in a huff to the bank and took it all out to put somewhere else. The problem is that you’re not getting any good rates – long term rates – anywhere at the moment. The mortgage is down too –  in fact it’s lower now than when I first took out the mortgage on a fixed rate –  but that’s not really much compensation for savings being devastated.

I cashed in a policy at the end of last year and treated myself to SpeedEdit, the VIdeo Editing program from NewTek. I like NewTek products.

It took me a little while to get used to it –  it’s alike yet not alike to other programs in the same vein such as Premier (I’ve got that, the cut down version, Elements) and Vegas (Got that too) – but there is enough difference in the way that it works that I read through the manual. PDf, printed ‘Getting Started.’

Vegas and Premier were around fifty pounds each. SpeedEdit was more. Sort of mid priced for a video editor. Again I bought it from OneVideo as I have found them to be great with prices and service.

SpeedEdit has a few tricks that make it nifty (Cut to Music) and a few wobbly bits (It doesn’t seem to like wmv files on my system) but it is fast. A lot faster than Vegas at rendering (While editing.) This has to do with background rendering which I noticed as I was reading the manual. With Vegas you load a video on and it can take ages to conform so you can see what you are working with and begin editing. SpeedEdit takes some time but it is quicker.

The big plus is output. There are lots of options available, even options for preparing video for YouTube. Like all NewTek products once you get going it is relatively easy to use.

Akismet, the plugin that is built into WordPress has now caught 100 spam comments. It’s all coming from Russia –  or at least has dot ru at the end of every link for the wondrous products that will change my life if only I bought them.

I’m planning a little shake up up the site. Nothing major, just re arranging and re organising of the Blog links. I should be adding some and removing others that have dun gone dead or went silent. Hopefully I will have time at the weekend to do this. It shouldn’t take more than half an hour or so.