undyingking: (Default)
It seems to be impossible to build a selection from a non-contiguous block, eg. I want to make a chart from the data that would in Excel be a1:a6,c1:c6, but Google just interprets that as a1:c6. Which is a bit of a pain. Surely that's not too abstruse a requirement? I can understand them not letting me build a non-contiguous selection by using ctrl-click as in Excel, but not to be able even to type one seems a bit harsh.

I would like to be able to use Google Docs generally for more stuff, but it often seems that once you get beyond the very simplest of operations, it's still somewhat lacking.

[Poll #1674584]
undyingking: (Default)
It seems to be impossible to build a selection from a non-contiguous block, eg. I want to make a chart from the data that would in Excel be a1:a6,c1:c6, but Google just interprets that as a1:c6. Which is a bit of a pain. Surely that's not too abstruse a requirement? I can understand them not letting me build a non-contiguous selection by using ctrl-click as in Excel, but not to be able even to type one seems a bit harsh.

I would like to be able to use Google Docs generally for more stuff, but it often seems that once you get beyond the very simplest of operations, it's still somewhat lacking.

[Poll #1674584]

Search me

Oct. 22nd, 2010 10:43 am
undyingking: (Default)
One annoying feature about Windows 7 is that it now only uses (what used to be called) Windows Desktop Search, and has ditched the perfectly fine file search included in XP. (This change may have alredy been made in Vista, I never used that.)

Although in theory more powerful, in practice it has some very irritating features. Boolean logic allows you to combine search terms -- good. But there is no way to escape some of the various operators etc as string literals. So if you want to eg. search for a file whose name includes the string "(1)", it will return all files that match "1", as parentheses are used in the syntax to combine search terms. You can escape the operators which are words by using quotes, eg. ""fish and chips"" will return differently to "fish and chips". But that doesn't work for the punctuational and mathematical symbols.

I spent far too long searching Microsoft's own help, and experimenting with various possible escape characters, before I gave up and Googled for the answer. It turns out that what you need is a search like "name:~"*(1)*"" which does the job perfectly.

(I scarcely need add that neither the tilde nor the asterisk are documented anywhere by MS, afaics.)

(Note: comments along the lines of "serves you right for using Windoze" are probably unnecessary :-)

Search me

Oct. 22nd, 2010 10:43 am
undyingking: (Default)
One annoying feature about Windows 7 is that it now only uses (what used to be called) Windows Desktop Search, and has ditched the perfectly fine file search included in XP. (This change may have alredy been made in Vista, I never used that.)

Although in theory more powerful, in practice it has some very irritating features. Boolean logic allows you to combine search terms -- good. But there is no way to escape some of the various operators etc as string literals. So if you want to eg. search for a file whose name includes the string "(1)", it will return all files that match "1", as parentheses are used in the syntax to combine search terms. You can escape the operators which are words by using quotes, eg. ""fish and chips"" will return differently to "fish and chips". But that doesn't work for the punctuational and mathematical symbols.

I spent far too long searching Microsoft's own help, and experimenting with various possible escape characters, before I gave up and Googled for the answer. It turns out that what you need is a search like "name:~"*(1)*"" which does the job perfectly.

(I scarcely need add that neither the tilde nor the asterisk are documented anywhere by MS, afaics.)

(Note: comments along the lines of "serves you right for using Windoze" are probably unnecessary :-)
undyingking: (Default)
Since my last Firefox update (to 3.0.12) my browser history hasn't been working. The History display is completely empty, and when I navigate away from a page, the Back button doesn't work. I checked the Options to see if it had magically turned itself off, but no, the "Keep my history" box is still ticked.

Anyone else seeing / seen this?
undyingking: (Default)
Two roundups which between them demonstrate just how useless humans are at thinking things through.
  • Does ideology trump facts? Studies say it often does
    "If the findings of some political scientists are right, attempting to correct misinformation might do nothing more than reinforce the false belief...
    "Could this response be why, despite being repeatedly refuted in the media, the percentage of Americans who believe Sen. Obama to be a Muslim continues to grow?
    "It seems to suggest that this effect might lead to problems when it comes to efforts to educate people about controversial or politically charged topics..."
And, as if to neatly support those findings:
  • Green idealists fail to make grade, says study
    "According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad...
    "Some people even said they deserved such flights as a reward for their green efforts...
    "[O]ne respondent said: 'I recycle 100% of what I can, there's not one piece of paper goes in my bin, so that makes me feel less guilty about flying as much as I do.'"
I'm sure I'm as guilty of this sort of thing as everyone else. Systematic denial of this sort is a mechanism that humans must have evolved very early, as an important species behavioural trait: if we estimated risks and consequences accurately, we'd probably never have bothered coming down from the trees. What's interesting though is that clearly it is possible to overcome it under certain circumstances. How can that effect be spread wider?
undyingking: (Default)
Bah! -- when I suddenly crave Hobnobs, I want them to be sugary, salty, and so fatty that they leave greasy marks on paper.

Today's Hobnobs are so flippin' healthy, they're more like eating compacted sawdust. Jamie Oliver, you have a lot to answer for.

Linguists?

Sep. 5th, 2008 11:24 am
undyingking: (Default)
From the BBC news magazine:

"Tesco is changing its checkout signs after coming under criticism from linguists for using "less" rather than "fewer". But it's not just huge, multinational supermarkets that get confused about this grammatical point. The grammatical question of fewer versus less has been raising the hackles of plain English speakers for years."

I see two errors in this excerpt.
  • First, it would be more accurate to say that Tesco has come under criticism not from linguists, but from pedants. (Some of whom may also be linguists, or at least think of themselves as such, but that's not what characterizes them in this context.)
  • Second, plain English speakers couldn't give half an etiolated toss about fewer vs less, because they care about clarity of communication rather than smug pseudo-intellectual one-upmanship about fanciful and arbitrary grammatical "rules".
I've never understood why so many English-speakers seem keen to stifle their language -- the most versatile, flexible, powerful and expressive in the world. I'm pretty sure though that it is a social / intellectual insecurity thing -- if you know a bunch of made-up signifiers by which you can claim that you are "right" and lots of other people are "wrong", you mark yourself out as somehow better than the norm.

(Please note that I'm not saying that there should be no rules in English; that would be ridiculous. What I'm saying is that some of what are claimed as rules -- like less vs fewer, not splitting an infitive, not ending a sentence with a preposition, etc -- are meaningless, hallowed neither by usage tradition nor by innate sense, and frankly pathetic.)
undyingking: (Default)
St Peter's Brewery sends out an irregular email newsletter, with offers and so on, but it doesn't actually include a link to, or even the url of, their website so you can go and buy stuff. Charming amateurishness in this over-commercialized age, or bewildering incompetence?

Anyway, they currently have Organic Ale and Organic Best on special, to mark National Organic Week or some such bibble -- that's £16 for 12 * 500ml bottles, down from £22. Add a fiver for shipping, that's still pretty good value I reckon, for two very nice beers.

Every now and then they clear short-dated beer out at just £10 or £12 a case, which is clearly even better value. So it's worth signing up to the newsletter, even if you then have to oh-so-laboriously use your bookmark to go to the site.

In other annoyance news, my wireless network connection has decided to go on the blink today: it keeps going in and out every few minutes, causing web sessions to drop and so on. I am at fairly long range for the aerials, but it normally works OK. Obvious suspicion was that one of the cats was sitting on the router, but no. Maybe next door has installed a big electromagnet: I heard a load of banging earlier. Have any of you experimented with Pringles-tube-waveguides etc to improve wireless transmission?
undyingking: (Default)
Maybe not by the standards of the newspaper that proudly supported the Blackshirts, but most people would probably think this was pretty low:

"I am urgently looking for anonymous horror stories of people who have employed Eastern European staff, only for them to steal from them, disappear, or have lied about their resident status."

The suggestion of concocting fake stories to waste her time is a useful one, but maybe it would also be nice to send in some happy stories of reliable and trustworthy Eastern Europeans, just to shake a little good karma onto her dismal world-view.
undyingking: (Default)
"... this is science, science, science! That is what is so fantastic about it."

I know we get the newspapers we deserve, but really, FFS.
undyingking: (Default)
Hmm, Firefox seems to have gone naughty on me (after a browser crash) and is refusing to access my remembered passwords.

I've upgraded to the hyper-new 2.0.0.3 which apparently fixes a related bug about not populating password fields, but it hasn't helped.

The annoying thing is I can see them all sitting there (encrypted) in my signons2.txt file, but for some reason neither Firefox itself nor the Password Exporter extension is able to read them out -- apart from my LJ one, which I've just now re-entered so as to be able to post this.

I found some online discussion of an edit to signons2.txt that might help (putting the url at the foot of each block as well as the head), but no help.

I wonder if the encryption key's got screwed somehow...

Anyone else seeing this problem, or are you all too security-conscious to be letting it remember your passwords in the first place?

Edit: I've recreated signons2.txt, and new passwords I have Firefox remember into it are read back out fine. But pasting in, some of the old ones out of the previous signons2.txt, they're not recognizd. This seems to support the idea that the encryption key has unexpectedly changed. Bah!
undyingking: (Default)
Just a roundup of a few things which caught my eye / attention, and which other people might find similarly diverting.
  • Word Strips, a Flash game of spotting cobinations of lettert aht form words, quickly. There are loads of games like this about, but this is a nice realization and the scoring mechanism is pleasingly straightforward. Also, it's too difficult to be a real time-eater. My best is about 300...
  • The Slingshot -- "the Great British Paper for Young Chaps. Its watchwords are Patriotism, Clean Living and Fair Play... Immerse yourself in the healthy, hearty pages of The Slingshot and you will soon understand why it is that the sun never goes down on the British without asking permission first." Very much in the tradition of Ripping Yarns. Not truly brilliant, but with some good bits, especially the adverts.
  • When cake-icing software goes wrong. Poor Aunt Elsa, I bet she ends up getting the slice with the code fragment.
  • Did you know that Unicode incluides the Hebrew Alternative Plus Sign, for people who find the normal one looks a bit too much like a cross? I didn't.
No Black in Barack )

Orientalism )
undyingking: (Default)
Anti-water-company rant )
undyingking: (Default)
Today I got in change a pound coin with a sticker obscuring one face. The sticker says "Exchange this pound for a FREE Fruit Sourz at <bar>".

Now, call me obsessively pedantic if you like -- but to my mind, if you have to exchange a pound for something, that's not quite the same as it being "FREE". In fact, some might say that this would be slightly more accurately be described as "it costs a pound". But what do I know about the economics of running bars?
undyingking: (Default)
Your future, Moldo-Wallachian
Sadly it looks from a quick search as though spam uses of this excellent term are outstripping "genuine" ones.

In other spams, hello to my new correspondents Hairstyles O. Electrocardiogram and Gamey H. Flanders, who have apparently sent me an e-card.

In boring house news meanwhile, we had a guy in to service our boiler today, and he's condemned it, as apparently it was venting CO into the bathroom. Good job we never breath in there eh? We were kind of expecting this as it's an old boiler which the previous owners had never had serviced at all, but we were hoping it would get us through the winter before having to lash out gosh knows how much replacing it. Ho hum.

More positively, I've repaired the stairs to the cellar (which were so rickety I managed to amusingly fall through them) and I've made a start on taking up the flooring in the conservatory, which has a nasty sag in one corner. It's not as if these are original Victorian components of the house -- that stuff is all still sturdy and fine. It's the more recent bodge jobs that are falling apart. And no doubt my own fixes will disintegrate just as quick, in a cycle of destruction that will only end when (a) the house falls down, or (b) it's bought by someone who actually has enough money to get things fixed properly.
undyingking: (Default)
Bah, my lovely new shredder has jammed at just the second time of using, on a particualrly chewy piece of shrub. Anyone got any tips on unclogging? I've tried running it backwards, but it's jammed that way too. And I can't take it apart, it's fastened with special pecularily-shaped bolts.
undyingking: (Default)
I don't normally post this sort of thing, but I was rather touched by this heart-warming little story from the Chicago Sun-Times:

"Ronald Michalowicz, a fire inspector for the village of Bedford Park, was given a 27 percent chance to live as he battled a rare form of tongue cancer.
"The community rallied around him, raising about $25,000 to help.
"He fought the cancer into remission.
"But the village where he had worked for 28 years fired him for taking the contributions, in alleged violation of the Illinois Gift Ban Act and village code prohibiting employees from soliciting gifts that could affect their decision-making."

No further comment required really!
undyingking: (Default)
At the new house the people currently there are on NTL, but we wanted to transfer our BT account, broadband etc from here. BT tell me that to do so will incur an installation charge of 99 quid. I point out that there are what look like perfectly good BT fixtures already in the house, and as presumably they were in use before the cable came in a few years ago, they'll probably just be able to flick a switch and reconnect them. They tell me that in that case it might be less than 99 quid, but they won't assess it and quote us -- they'll only consider it if we commit to paying the full possible 99 quid if that's what's required. And all the while of course we'll be without phone / interweb / the ability for me to work / etc.

If it wasn't that from previous experience I know NTL are at least equally annoying and useless, I'd just say "well tough luck then, we'll keep the cable". I'm sure it won't be 99 quid, but it's their attitude that really tees me off.

(Sorry, just had to vent that.)
undyingking: (Default)
I just got a letter from the TV licensing people. "We have recently been advised that you purchased television receiving equipment in January 2006 from Dixons Store Group. However we have no record of a TV licence at your name for the above address."

good grief! -- when did my friendly neighbourhood electrical store become a lickspittle lackey of the secret police??

It goes on "If the item purchased was not for use at this property, please let us know the address of the property where it is to be used (you may then receive a visit from us to confirm the situation)." And you wouldn't like that, sir -- very flammable, this place looks.

(T has had a TV licence at this address for some years, so it seems a bit paranoid to be working on the assumption that I must somehow have fitted a separate household in here.)

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