Category Archives: Microsoft Windows

Estate sales are creepy things

I don’t know how widespread the term is, but in United States English, an “estate sale” is when someone dies and their heirs sell off their property. There is nothing inherently sinister in this, but usually they just put price tags on every thing and let you look around.

Upshot of this is that you end up looking at someone’s life almost exactly as it was when they died, and end up inferring very sobering things about them.

I went on an estate sale today, the second time I had done so in my life. The first one was very sad. From what I could gather, the woman was single, Jewish, and I suspect lonely but gave her time to breeding dogs.

The one today was interesting in a less sad way. There were two people, a couple, who lived in this moderate sized home in an older part of a medium sized town on its own (not really a bedroom community). What I remember was:

  • They had wired the house for telephone and/or doorbell bells everywhere. Very interesting, but I didn’t see any old phones from Ma Bell anywhere.
  • I almost bought a lazy Susan for the bottom, but decided against it.
  • The basement had a one-time coal hole.
  • I did score a PC for 100 USD that I ended up reformatting and reinstalling Windows 10 on. I intend to give this to someone else.
  • The dude was evidently very into “multi level marketing” back in the 1990s judging by the amount of old magazines on the subject in the kitchen.
  • There was a good deal of class to the house, but none to me poking around it.
  • There were VHS tapes and cassettes around.
  • The person conducting the entire affair was annoyed that there were no bags in the house.

I may blog more about the PC I bought, as I am going to work on it now.

Advertisements

Have you tried restarting the network, sir?

For most people who have fast (broadband) connexions to the Internet, and have called their ISP’s tech support, that line is quite ubiquitous. However, I have to report that doing it actually solved something for me!

Continue reading

Too many Firefoxes

Many of us remember the famous Windows XP Service Pack 2, which really marked when Microsoft started to get serious about their client systems’ security. Prior to that there was little to guide the end user that I remember. XPSP2 brought the first version of the Security Center, which made it easy to set up the Windows Firewall and actually told them they they needed an antivirus to be safe. This was still prior to Microsoft’s providing one.

Anyway, Windows Firewall is still around and rarely seen after maybe the first week of an installation of Windows, since it is on by default and by then, all the other programs will have been installed and configured to go through the firewall.

Sometimes, however, things glitch:

Firewall-toomanyffx

Three entries for Firefox in Windows Firewall.

I have no idea what the cause of this is. Is it a problem?

An unwontedly ugly property sheet

We all know that parts of a system that are used the least are generally the worst. They get the least attention and have the lowest priority when triaging bugs. In some cases they are so rarely seen that they don’t even get bug reports written about them. Vide the now notorious Windows 3.x font addition dialog that lasted until Windows Vista.

Here is a less egregious example from Windows 10 (current version, 1511):

UglyFTPProps

Note the background color problem under the permissions section of the dialog. I suspect that it has been there since Windows 98 or something. If it was removed, this would look fine. Maybe in the next version of Windows, the anniversary update, they will improve this?

I am not mentioning the UNIX style permissions because that is a function of the FTP server, rather than the Windows FTP client.

Hypermarking by a Microsoft coder

I’ve noticed something about industrial/intellectual property marking: the bigger or more established the company or undertaking, the more understated the marking. For example, Mozilla Firefox’s about box (The traditional place for dropping IP notices) just has a small type note that “Firefox and the Firefox logos are trademarks of the Mozilla Foundation”.

In contrast, small time operators usually go overboard with the ©®™ stuff. I have decided to call this “hypermarking”. The thought of the thesis above came from my observing an example of it in, of all places, Microsoft Windows.

Continue reading

Missing cancel option

In Windows 10, there is an option (well hidden) to require people to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete before they sign in to Windows. The technical reasons WikipediA explains here why this is a thing.

Anyway, in all previous versions of Windows, after giving it the three-fingered salute you could cancel out by clicking a back button, a cancel button, or hitting the Esc key.

Windows 10 for some reason eliminated these, so you can’t jump back to the lock screen, but have to either sign back in, or wait 120 seconds for the system to kick you back to the lock screen.

Does anyone know why this was done? Is there some security or usability benefit to this new behavior?