* Posts by hitmouse

483 posts • joined 15 Dec 2008


There can be only one... Microsoft Excel Champion


Re: Excel is why we can't have a simple "quick'n'dirty" database app in Windows

User inability to conceptualise relational databases is the main reason, or their desire to treat every problem as the nail matching the hammer they've mastered. Hence the resourceful person who haunted user forums in the 90s with the relational database they built with Word tables and WordBASIC.

Users mostly want tables with some cleverness, hence so many focused tools for table management.

The sins of OneDrive as Microsoft's cloud storage service turns 15


OneDrive has to sync to multiple client OS, so path length, allowable characters etc are lowest common denominator for those and various web standards.

The number of files limits are well documented. There's a single page (easily locateable via web search) detailing limits.

"a customer couldn't restore a file because it said she had it open. She didn't. Then it wouldn't let me view files online because the option just disappeared from the right-click menu." Probably created files or folders past the path length limit. I've seen this behaviour.

Microsoft tests CD ripping for Media Player in Windows 11


Let me introduce you to the concept of a "driver"...


Lame MP3, FLAC and other add-ons for WMP have been around for free for many years. Anyone who can string two search terms together would have found them. It's the codec licensing issues (copyleft in one case) that have precluded shipping with Windows in the past


Re: Centred start

Microsoft had prerelease builds of Windows in the late 90s with a centred start button. It's not as if it's such a blindingly unobvious design choice as to require copying,

The movement from mouse-centred to pen/finger-centric selection in the intervening decades is more relevant as Fitt's law issues are weighed differently.


Microsoft did have a tool focussed on ripping LP and cassette in the late 90s. It had some UI for how gaps and tracks were mapped, and to deal with audio books.

First-ever James Webb Space Telescope image revealed


Re: Larger still

And then have a referendum to vote ourselves out of contact with them

UK Info Commissioner slams use of WhatsApp by health officials during pandemic


Re: Here's a clue bozos!

If you use Teams chat (as mandated in many regulated environments) it's rated for medical privacy and content is not cached locally.

However you can't tell a doctor that they've made a choice showing they aren't brilliant in technology understanding...as they just stare you down and say "people will die" .... mic drop.


They gave their data to everyone. If they used WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger then the transmitted images land in local phone storage where they are freely available to any backup provider plus random image app vendors

Netflix to crack down on account sharing, offer ad-laden cheaper options



I dont think that Netflix is worse than the networks are with respect to series cancellations. It does have at least oodles of detailed viewing data, as opposed to selective polling and advertiser apathy.

Google's plan to win the cloud war hinges on its security aspirations


" They sent a "your name has been mentioned in..." email when someone mentioned me in a office365 app"

That means that your name has been @mentioned just like on Twitter or other message platforms. So it is simply a message via lookup in your organisation's active directory. You may as well complain about receiving emails because someone looked up your email address.


If you're in a regulated environment outside the US then Google is simply not an option. Google's servers are in the US, so data residency laws mitigate against using it. Also Google's Ts & Cs are a big raspberry to IP and confidentiality so if you're doing research then you don't want to be sending your data to Google to train its AI.

Contrast Microsoft and Amazon who offer regional or in-country data centres.

Microsoft brings Cloud PCs and local desktops together in Windows 365


Re: What am I missing?

It's exactly what systems/data managers in regulated environments (eg healthcare) have needed for years. Relying on doctors and reception staff to honour patient privacy and record security is way too much to ask for.


Re: New, new, new!

It's very likely that they are just surfacing Teams/Yammer features in the OS just as with file favourites, tasks and other M365 features

Windows 11 growth at a standstill amid stringent hardware requirements


Re: Why move to Windows 11 ?

If you haven't noticed the substantial improvements across versions then you're in the wrong industry.


Inflation and supply chain issues are not making hardware updates a priority item for most.

Russia labels Meta an 'extremist' organization, bans Instagram


In other news, samovar calls chaynik black.

IT blamed after HR forgets to install sockets in new office


Re: I've seen many deparments terrified by HR

HR's response to unhappy staff: advertise for a "Happyness(*) Specialist" at a rate higher than all the underpaid and unhappy staff.

*yes that was the spelling

HR secret is to employ their own staff in inflated job levels to boost the levels of their managers

Saving a loved one from a document disaster


My late father would allow anyone to install anything on his work computer.... leading to me having to diagnose problem from faxed printouts of config.sys and autoexec.bat

Ah the days of malware only arriving on a floppy disc.

The end of free Google storage for education


Re: Until when?

Adobe abandoned the student-to-grave strategy a long time ago.

France says Google Analytics breaches GDPR when it sends data to US


Many countries have data residency requirements for specific uses such as research or medical data.

There is little clarity from the major cloud services providers (Google, AWS, Microsoft Azure) as to whether cedata processing e.g. for voice, is done locally, in "region" or in US. There's even less clarity over whether third-party plugins to their platform services obey any residency laws.

No more DRM-free downloads as Amazon's ComiXology app set to disappear inside Kindle


Amazon and Comixology have not figured out how to deal with customers who have Comixology content from USA (odiginal sole option), and Kindle book content from anothrr Amazon store e.g. Amazon.co.uk

Apparently they are unable to transfer content from one store to another.

Never mind the Panic button – there's a key to Compose yourself


Re: A much better method is single-key cycling

That only works for UK keyboards. Other parts of the English-speaking world use the US keyboard.

You could remap the keyboard in software, but it's confusing if the keypad labels aren't updated too.


Re: International keyboard layout

I've never seen EN as a standard before. That does sound like local admin policy botched.

It's important to get the keyboard locales right as that is what triggers the correct spell checker lexicon in desktop software. Chrome ignores desktop settings at install time (acknowledged by its developers) and forces users to navigate settings to get UK, Australian etc spellcheck. Mozilla is not much better.


Re: International keyboard layout

The Windows keyboard layouts follow some older IBM conventions used on their kit around the world.

Some of the differences are attributable to physically different keyboard layouts used in different EN locales. Some of them have the Alt GR keys, some have English pound or not. The international keyboard layout is mostly for the benefit of those using the minimalist US layout which has no dedicated compose keys (that would be "bloat").

Another option is to enable Windows onscreen keyboard which allows you to do the press and hold for variant letters that you can do on phones, tablets etc.


International keyboard layout

On Windows, I just use the international keyboard layout setting to compose these letters. It's been part of Windows for at least a quarter century. It's trivial to toggle between standard and international layout if you don't want the compose sequence active all the time.

There's a zillion articles on the web about using it.

Google sued for firing staff who claim they tried to follow 'Don't be evil' motto


I assume they thought employees would click through the Ts and Cs without reading them, and any complaints would go to one of Google's many abandoned customer forums that are still linked to the products. (Google doesn't have link crawling tech that works on its own domains.)

Talent shortage? Maybe it's your automated hiring system, lack of investment in training


Re: To which you can add ...

They don't even know if the candidate is gay, disabled etc in most cases as the question is not asked and the diversity may be invisible.


Re: To which you can add ...

These are indisputably valuable to the hiring company, but may be threatening to the hiring manager snd completely over the head of the HR recruiter.


How do you talk to a 26 year old HR "talent acquisition specialist" who has worked for five companies since they leapt out of the reception pool?

AWS launches BugBust contest: Help fix a $100m problem for a $12 tshirt


Dear Amazon - there's a typo in your Kindle user interface

Amazon Customer Service - have you tried rebooting your device?

[actual event]

Words to strike fear into admins' hearts: One in five workers consider themselves 'digital experts' these days


This will surely pur "digital expert" into the same bucket of resume euphemusms as "proficient in Microsoft Office" = "can type".

Customer comment and contributions no more as Microsoft pulls the plug on Office 365 UserVoice forum


Feature Parity

So now Microsoft feedback is at the same level of Google, Apple et al who just strangle their forums or busy threads every few years ... or Amazon who simply don't allow customer feedback any more.

Apparently all the people who are supposed to be fixing bugs and analysing user feedback just spend all their time writing comments on other sites.


I think this was flagged as a Smart Tag feature about 20 years ago and the world and its dog said "hell no". Then Google did an amped up version of it a few years later, and everyone rolled over for a good rogering.

1Password has none, KeePass has none... So why are there seven embedded trackers in the LastPass Android app?


Re: Not in my settings!

In one of LastPass' numerous UI design fails, there is also (from the browser)

Security Dashboard -> Account Settings . A dialog comes up with a "Show Advanced Settings" button at the bottom. Click that and scroll down to the bottom, where there is a Privacy section with two checkboxes:

* Keep track of Login and Form Fill History

* Send anonymous reporting data

This is different to what you get from the Account Options menu on the browser add-in, and also to the Advanced Options on the Security Dashboard

The Security Dashboard is just a clusterf*** of poor design that this latest news and the imminent expiry of my LastPass Premium subscription has motivated me to move to another product.


Re: Not in my settings!

Not in Chrome Windows nor Android app.

Lenovo's ThinkPad line goes under the knife: X13 models look a bit taller but worry not, the 'nipples' are still intact


I would definitely like to see the 3:2 aspect ratio trend continue : I read more documents than I watch movies on my laptops. I suspect that those wanting to watch movies in bed do so with a tablet/phablet these days. Even so, I can only pray that we quickly get to having 15-16" screens with a resolution that that allow true A4/Letter 100% presentation.

Big Tech workers prefer 3 days at home, 2 in the office. We ask Reg readers: What's your home-office balance?


Re: It all depends ...

The problem I found is that irrespective of which days I'm in the office there are people I need to meet with who are WFH. Because we have few quiet rooms for online meetings now, it can be very difficult to schedule useful meetings.

Covid distancing rules have also meant that large meetings can no longer be held in a single room, so some attendees have to find somewhere to remote in from. In one instance, it seemed that all the meeting spaces on our floor were taken up by individuals remoting into the same meeting!

Diplomats are supposed to be subtle and clever. Australia’s just leaked 1,000 citizens’ email addresses


Re: classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

The email package is irrelevant - people misuse lists from list servers just as often.

Government agencies do not value IT training, and so you have an endless stream of these basic failures in digital competencies. They also fail to appear on mandatory reporting lists for such breaches.

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log


Re: International Standards Organization

The English language strategy is usually to borrow the foreign word, otherwise there is no special need to have a single word to express every concept. Some languages will have single words, others will have compound expressions and others use phrases, e.g. English "ninety" vs the French "four times twenty plus ten".

A phrase translation is more than adequate. That's why I get peevish about articles on "words that can't be translated into English" which then proceed to translate all the foreign words into English. The article title should be "words that have no single-word equivalents in English".


Re: International Standards Organization

"mispronOUnciation" is the most common mispronunciation


Re: International Standards Organization

There are multiple "language" options for software that are independent of each other:

1. UI language -> what the menus, dialogs etc are displayed in

2. locale -> basis for units such as dates, temperatures, weights and measures

3. doc language -> for instance a word processor can display, edit and proof text from dozens of languages in a single document, although you might need to download add-ons for specific tasks such as Finnish hyphenation.

Problems (usually worst in Anglophone countries, but officially multi-lingual places like Canada and Switzerland have their own issues)

1. (not as bad as before) Manufacturers distribute computers with US English settings that are never reconfigured by the user or IT department to meet local expectations. Consequently every bit of software subsequently installed reads the system default and matches settings.

2. Vendors confusingly conflate the different language settings, often using the locale names (e.g. English (US), English (New Zealand), French (France), German (Switzerland) ) in place of language names.

3. Browsers download as US English and ignore the system settings. Each browser has its own complement of language and locale settings to cover date display, spell-checking etc.

4. Online software is generally worse at handling this than desktop software. For instance Microsoft 365 seems to have US date formats hard-coded all over SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams etc so that any string 01/02/03 could be a dd/mm/yy or mm/dd/yy depending on the browser you open it in or indeed if you open a document in a desktop app rather than online. Google. Apple, Facebook and Amazon have similar problems across their platforms and services. Websites also perform weird redirects based on language to subdomains in different locales.

5. Most of the developers (even in open-source land) are in the US and cannot be bothered fixing bugs to do with non-US issues. There are bugs in Chromium relating to such stuff that go back over a decade, and are constantly merged and deferred.


Re: Simple solution

"until Excel has a tool to swap format without altering the digits in the string displayed. "

There are literally so many ways to deal with this via formatting, functions or scripts and they have been there in Excel for roughly three decades. I can only assume that you're a geneticist.

A bridge too far: Passengers on Sydney's new ferries would get 'their heads knocked off' on upper deck, say politicos


Re: Make use of the problem

They need to be labelled. I can't tell them apart.


You can fit a skyscraper under those bridges, so a ferry should be a doddle.


The current govenment - who are engaged in pointless moves of existing buildings from the city to Parramatta - would think that is an excellent idea. It also gives them an exciting opportunity to extend the floodplain.


We have bad news for non-US Microsoft fans: The incoming Surface Duo is underspecced, overpriced, and over there


Re: "irritating its non-US fanbase" by not offering them the phone

There are hundreds of consumer IT hardware products that you can't get outside of the US except by personal import, and even then you'll be faced with electrical adaptor and warranty issues. This is not news.


Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

I call BS. Jobs tried to poison the well with Tablets because Microsoft beat him to it. Mr Calligraphy was forced to tell the world that no one wants a stylus. Apple basically had to wait for Jobs to die to start doing an Apple Pen etc.

The Surface came out of frustration with OEMs making grey boxes and mobile grey boxes. Far from copying everyone else, Apple, Google , Amazon etc are full of ex Microsoft people doing stuff that was initially done inside Microsoft.


Re: Why?

At one point Microsoft had more hardware designers than the top 10 OEM PC makers put together. To a degree it's providing a kick in the pants to hardware companies that are not innnovating and/or are dying slowly by only selling low-margin grey boxes.

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data


This is how we get bloat, creating features to "solve" a problem that exhibits for 0.0001% of users who could easily RTFM and circumvent the issue.



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