Category Archives: Computing

The glory of computer errors

You know ’em, you love ’em (you know you do really) and now Technologizer has compiled the 13 greatest error messages of all time, beginning with this classic: Abort, Retry Fail.

It could indicate either a minor glitch (you forgot to put a floppy disk in the drive) or catastrophe (your hard drive had died). And by forcing you to choose between three options, none of which is likely to help, it throws the problem back in your face.

Things that piss me off

I recently bought a Dell Inspiron 1720. Last night I was fiddling about with DVDs and was delighted to find all regions played. This morning I tried it again and Windows Media Player insisted my DVD player was set to region 8 and refused to play anything. A check of the device manager showed the drive had gone from “no region specified” to “region 2” — and that there were only three region changes left of the five it came with. It’s a WMP problem, and is apparently another Vista blunder. Way to go Microsoft.


Whythawk over on Scholars & Rogues has written an interesting piece on Microsoft’s business strategy.

He points out that while the computer desktop “may have gone into a terminal holding pattern”, gaming and social networking have exploded (Halo 3 has made the computing giant a fortune, while its investment in Facebook shows how the established business players are flocking to get a piece of the rising action).

But the passage I liked best was the explanation for why Vista hasn’t taken off:

With each iteration [of Windows] Microsoft learned and improved. When XP came out it all seemed to come together.

It’s easy to mock Microsoft, but it’s just as easy to mock Toyota or Hyundai or any of the motor manufacturers that aim squarely in the middle-market. If you’re a super-geek (Linux) or super-artiste (Apple) then Microsoft seems very middle-class.

But 90% of the work I do (and most office-workers) is word-processing and spreadsheets. I haven’t needed a faster machine or better office package since 2001. I still use my same version of Office and XP from then. It’s stable and more than sufficient.

Many people felt the same way. Hence the rather hum-drum response to Vista.

Agree of disagree? You know where the comments box is…

Links o' the day

First OS X Trojan spotted — no need to panic just yet.

Greens means compromise. Harry’s in fine form: “As the saying goes, you say tomato, I say total and abject capitulation.”

How to educate yourself online. Sure, we’ve all been wandering the net for years, but now and then it’s good to get a refresher.

Tesco employee suspended over Facebook. He tracked a customer down and sent her naughty pictures.

And you thought you had a bad day… You didn’t get arrested after crashing your car, getting shot and stripping off.

A friend of a friend bombed Bali. That’s one way for a politician’s speech to make the papers.

Japan may track defence officials using GPS.

Another reason not to use Vista


Something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation.

Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into “reduced functionality” mode, where you can’t do anything but use the web browser for half an hour.

You’ll then need to reapply to Microsoft to get a new activation code.

Read the full story here.

I’ll be sticking with XP.  Sometimes I wonder how a company with so many intelligent employees can make such stupid mistakes.