Category Archives: PC

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.


Unexpectedly large title bar

When installing a “device” in Windows (I think this was in 10), I noticed that the window it opened had a very large (double height) title bar:


Anyone know if this is a deliberate UI thing, or an MSFT accident?

Versioning is getting out of hand

I know the tendency these days is for rapid release of software, but I prefer the older, slower incrementing software. Consider that (MS) DOS went from 1.x to 6.x in over 10 years, while Firefox (for example) has gone up to 52 (!) in that time.

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Here’s something you may not have seen before!


Windows 7 installed on a PC with no networking!

By now it’s almost impossible to get a computer that doesn’t have a network connection. Windows 8 strongly encourages a connected system for its “Microsoft account” sign in, and future versions of Windows will undoubtedly make it harder to do this.

I’m mildly concerned with how this will affect the needs of people who have deliberately disconnected (“air gapped”) systems.

Apologies if you thought the title was going to be something less geeky.

EPSON does a quiet good

Note: I have no connexion with Epson, other than owning one of their products, which I paid for fully. Same thing for the software I mention.

I have an old Epson scanner (Perfection 1650) that I have used for ages whenever I needed to “reverse print” a document. On getting a newer, bigger SSD hard drive for my PC I reinstalled Windows 7. Evidently previously I was on x86, because now that I’ve installed x64, my scanner would no longer work!

Repairing to the Epson drivers site1 I found they did not have a x64 driver and apparently do not have plans to. This is understandable, since the scanner is old and not sold anymore.2 What isn’t understandable from the conventional, cynical viewpoint is that they openly mention in the FAQ for the scanner3 that there is a third party program that DOES support this old model on x64 based Windows.

This completely surprized me, since the “logical” thing would be to just say “sorry, time to upgrade! Go buy another Epson here” and make some more money. As far as I can tell, the third party is truly a third party and not owned by Epson or at all endorsed by them. I kindof wonder, did the editor of the FAQ slip it in the way someone behind the counter might say “Unofficially now, you could try …”?

I hope not. I’d like to think Epson knew about this an approved it. I certainly liked it. I followed the link, and use the software on my old Epson. I have no idea if I’ll buy another Epson scanner when this one has to finally be replaced.