Jim's Inchoate Weblog
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hits since 18th June 2002
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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!
Saturday November 16 2002
Loads of software to download
At MajorGeeks. Isn't that exciting? Some stuff here I've not come across before...
Posted at 11:05 pm by Jim Woods
Friday November 15 2002
Mpeg.org is an excellent starting-place for all things mpeg - software, technical information, FAQs. There isn't much on this subject you can't find from here. I've been costing a compressed digital audio system, ideally Ogg Vorbis, but maybe MP3, for home use (not my most critical listening though) and have yet to finally decide format and hardware. Ogg Vorbis is much more space-efficient for a given quality, but limits hardware to being a PC at the moment. Which is noisy, bulky non-portable overkill compared with a little hard-disk based portable MP3 jukebox - but capacity-wise these are expensive as one can bolt huge hard drives into a barebones PC pretty cheaply these days. Decisions.
Posted at 4:28 am by Jim Woods
Wednesday November 13 2002
More stonking free software
At it again, I am. All the usual caveats apply to these recommendations, to whit:
1. It's not my fault if any of this stuff breaks your setup or rogers your dog
2. I may well post here in future to say that a given package has proven more trouble than...
3. The more junk you install on your rig, the slower and less stable it'll get
However I shan't mention anything here until I've at least got it up and running and played with it a bit, ruling out total clunkers in the process. Oh, and with a few exceptions (you can search the archive for these with the snazzy new facility - I swear by Partition Magic for example) I don't believe in paying for software NOR pirating it. Freeware is the way...
So after all that, what's cool?
Fastnet99 has various net utilities built in like ping, traceroute et al, but it's chief "selling point" is that it does DNS lookups the once and stores the results on your system, thus speeding up access to (many) sites considerably. It won't speed up your connection per se (we're on the Latin today, Peacock), but it will make 'em start loading faster. Works well here so far, although the time sync thingy doesn't want to play ball.
Web2Text is another goody - it rips html web pages to plain text like many other utilities, but this one tries with some success to retain the layout and formatting thus making the results vastly more legible. This is a good one for info-hoarders like myself.
Lastly, a nifty little utility is Bookmark Wizard, which takes your favourites (selectively) and turns them into a web page, and a pretty one at that. I find this very handy; if you use a tabbed browser like Crazy Browser (which I never tire of evangelizing) you can set this page as your home and thus have all your favourites available on a tab in rather easier to read and access format than on the favourites menu - no more pointer slipping off the menus as you go for a favourite nested several folders deep. Sounds like nothing, but try it and you'll see what I mean...
Posted at 12:42 pm by Jim Woods
Here is a great source of info on tweaking your PC bios - something I've had "merry fun" with in the past.
Posted at 8:10 am by Jim Woods
I've agglomerated both links pages on this site so that there is just one, as things are simpler for everyone that way. While I was at it, I went to my old site on AOL and took the entire DOS links section and incorporated that as well. So, simpler site with more content - break out the seize! I love the music...
Posted at 6:48 am by Jim Woods
Searchable at last!
I have added a search capability to this site. Archive and all. This massively increases the usefulness of the whole concern, I'm sure you'll agree. There is a very small amount of non-graphic advertising involved, but I have weighed my alternatives carefully and adjudged this tolerable. Now you can look up all that stuff you saw here and - I don't blame you - weren't going to read the entire archive to find! I'm really pleased with this, and I hope that you have fun with it.
Oh yes - and there's a rather handy "what's new" function as well (also from FreeFind) which will doubtless prove useful in future.
Posted at 4:54 am by Jim Woods
Ah, sweet relief - I thought I was some kind of extraordinary, maladjusted freak for carrying things like torches and penknives about BUT...
Here is an article about a Frenchman who carries 1300 (yes, that's 1300) useful items around in his home-made utility clothing. He is truly the god of belt furniture.
Time I started amassing my useful item collection. I had weaned myself off this pursuit, but now I see that I was right all along!
Posted at 4:05 am by Jim Woods
Tuesday November 12 2002
Regarding my SpamPal tinkerings, either SpamPal or Pegasus Mail has a problem with coexisting. The result is that the username parameter in Pegasus gets altered at (fairly short) intervals, causing a user authentification error - and therefore no mail run.
Back to the drawing board for spam protection then :(
Posted at 3:30 pm by Jim Woods
Fiddling about with software update
Well, here's what's going on at Woods towers, where a paucity of rock and roll-type behaviour over the last few days has resulted in an outburst of playing with software (free of course).
I have installed SpamPal, in an attempt to get on top of - you guessed - spam. My private secret Bond-villain email address, the one which I never use except with known (personally) parties and once to wish the St Helena populace all the best for their quincentennial, has fallen prey to nasty dribbles of the dreaded. Giving the good people of St Helena the benefit of the doubt, clearly a spam address-harvester bot has been through their guestbook. What can you do? Well, don't even once break your own rules I suppose would be one thing. Anyways I will report the efficacy of this new measure in future.
I still love Crazy Browser, as the last post (non-cornet variety) will have told you. It's the tits. Am struggling to get to grips with the Literary Machine (link at least works, although it's all in Norwegian or something) I've talked about already, although I still use Maple for all my snippeting and scripting. I am beginning to see myself as more of a Maple man, although I would be sorry for this to be seen as a disrespecting of the LM. All depends how much indexing you need for your stuff, really.
I'm still trying to get to the bottom of WinMX, but this is probably more my fault than theirs as I'm pretty new to peer-to-peer.
Other than that, recommendations and setup are as before. I did write about this at some length a couple of weeks ago. Good luck trawling my archives for it. I really need that search function on the server. In fact, I may just get on that now...
Posted at 2:28 am by Jim Woods
Hamsters is good
Just went to see The Hamsters doing their hairy-arsed blues/rock thing here in Oxford and was very impressed indeed. Great playing, tight as quite a few things I shan't itemise, and really quite exemplary live sound. The exemplary live sound is down to Tony Jezzard, who if he had a website would get linked from here. All highly recommended...
For some reason that I doubt I'll have time to get to the bottom of, the menu on the left-hand side of their website has a disagreement with the otherwise godlike Crazy Browser but not with MS IE. As they are running the same page-rendering engine this is a little mysterious. It isn't the popup filter, which is what I initially suspected. Naughty, naughty Java thing of some kind. But Crazy Browser is fine with loads of other Java stuff I customarily surf to. Go figure...
Bah, I hate pretty things which don't always work. So select "Non-Java Menu" and you'll be fine - and keep on using Crazy Browser as if your life depended upon it.
Posted at 2:15 am by Jim Woods
Monday November 11 2002
Running Linux on the most inadequate hardware imaginable
Well, not quite. But here's a very interesting article on how you can get the Window-slayer up and running on something with only 12 meg of RAM and a titchy hard drive.
Honesty and even-handedness force me to say that Windows for Workgroups 3.11 is also a pretty handy tool (still) for old hardware - particularly if you just want to use an old laptop for email, word-processing and so on. Plenty of good 16-bit apps in them thar hills. You could go to my old site (bless you AOL, I may not be able to edit it but it'll be there long after I'm gone at this rate) where amongst other delights there is a whole section of links to DOS stuff.
The old site's here...
Posted at 7:23 am by Jim Woods
Anyone who can tell me what the picture at the top left of this page is will win - well, kudos.
Posted at 5:02 am by Jim Woods
Literary Machine tutorial
Here's an animated tutorial, probably the best way to begin to get to grips with the rather complex beast!
Posted at 3:43 am by Jim Woods
The Literary Machine is a great piece of software for storing information, mind-mapping and so on. At heart it's a relational database. It's pretty much impossible to describe here in a few sentences, so I'd recommend you follow the link to find out more. Note that this is a link to a download site rather than to the LM homepage. LM homepage is here, but is incredibly slow to load - at least at the current time.
Posted at 1:56 am by Jim Woods