Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winter returns

Just when the flowers should be starting to show.... anyone still wondering about climate change? Kids used to be jumping into the outdoor swimming pools about now, instead of looking for their warm snuggies.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Making snow

Those white plumes along the skyline are from the snow-making equipment on a nearby ski hill. It is several degrees below freezing here this morning, so it is a good time to be doing this.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today's sunset

Vancouver panorama

This was made from images taken in May, 2007, and assembled using Microsoft's 'I.C.E.' which means Image Composite Editor, available from Microsoft Research. This is the best program that I have found yet for creating a panorama from several images, and it works automatically once you have chosen a group of images, and dragged them into its main window. Nothing could be easier. You really ought to try it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Windows 7 gets Service Pack 1

The SP1 for Windows 7 was released to the public on February 22, and most of us received it automatically on Windows Update.  However, some of us had a problem with it hanging while installing, and to resolve that sort of problem there's another hotfix available. It is called System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7, and you can download it manually from this Microsoft site.

One of my two computers got the SP1 without any problems from the usual update service, but the other one had a problem, and that's how I know about that special tool to fix it. While sorting out the problem, I got into Safe Mode, and then used the system file checker to check the files and drive. I could have re-installed Windows faster than it took that to finish. But it did have a happy ending, and in the process I discovered this new tool. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today in the hills

Now that we can see them again, here's the picture. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another PDF Reader....

If you'd like a versatile PDF Reader that doesn't come from Adorable Adobe then have a look at this and watch the demo video. There's life after Adobe if you know where to look for it. And thanks to my pal Peter for this one. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An update on the Shockwave Player problem.....

Today I got an email from Anthony at the British Museum, assuring me that he has fixed the problem with the missing plug-ins for playing their game. So if you or your kids enjoy that, it's now working again - and as mentioned, that link I put in a previous post also works to fix the player for you. Too bad Adobe isn't interested. After all, it's their player that is causing the problems.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is your Shockwave Player missing some Xtras?

If so, then here's where to get them installed for you. This will allow you to play older games that require Shockwave with a more complete selection of its Xtras than is presently available in their latest releases. 

Adobe doesn't seem to care about whether or not its Shockwave can still play legacy type games, such as 'Senet' on the British Museum's Family Life page of its Ancient Egypt site. Fortunately, someone has thoughtfully provided this other source for the missing bits, and even provide an installer that puts them into your player's program for you. When it starts asking your OK to install those, just click on 'Install' for each, and let it do that, and you'll have everything working nicely again. No thanks to Adobe, who love to tinker with updates but seldom really fix what we wanted to keep working. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

More about those mouse pointers

Apparently, those original XP sets of mouse pointer cursors are hard to find these days on the web. So if you're one of us who would like to have your favorite cursors from XP back again to add to Windows 7, click here and then scroll down a few posts until you see a link reading '' and then click on that. It contains all the original XP sets of cursors.

I suggest you unzip those into a separate folder you've created within the default Windows\Cursors one, perhaps named 'New Cursors', and then you can browse to those when selecting a new pointer, or creating a whole new set from a mix of old and new ones. Then save your scheme with a new name, click OK, and you're in business. (Works for me!) I'm now using one made from a mixture of XP and Windows 7 cursors, and it works just fine. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun with Windows 7

My problem is that I like to 'tinker' with the established system, and try to improve it a bit. For example, I've just spent about an hour finding, then downloading the old 3D Bronze cursor set from XP, and putting it into the Windows 7 system.

First, it was in the form of a .rar file format, so I had to get 7-zip installed first, to be able to unpack the files. Then, there was a little tinkering with the C:\Windows\Cursors folder, to add another sub-folder inside it to contain the 'new' set of cursors from XP. 

Then, back to the Control Panel -> Mouse -> Pointers -> Browse to go to that new folder to select the bronze pointer I like using.  And at last, I've got my favorite pointer working again. Today's Question Everything is: "Why couldn't the Microsoft folks make these available for us as an optional extra?" There must be lots of us who loved our XP cursors and still do, and still want to use them. Without modifying the program, that is...... 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The faraway hills....

There's actually two hills the same shape there, or else it is two parts of the same ridge viewed from one end of it, but it has to be in just the right light or it isn't noticeable. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things are growing

It's early yet, but Spring is showing signs of its arrival.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tonight's sunset

A picture really is worth a thousand words! Click on it to enlarge.

Winter's not over yet -

Looks chilly out there this morning.

And what day is this? It's Patch Tuesday - so you might want to check your updates, even if you do have Automatic Updates turned on. Sometimes, if you started your computer early in the day, it might not have received the latest updates yet, so do a manual check. There are between 9 and 11 updates today, depending on what you have installed. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another program reminder....

If you are like most of us, you may forget to check for updated versions of your favorite programs, and some of them may be outdated.

There's a handy freebie for that, too, and you can find it here. 

It may not catch all of your programs when they are updated with newer versions, but it will certainly get most of them, and show you a reminder. It also suggests what to do when it finds a problem.

Speaking of background wallpapers....

Here's another way to go - take a few shots of sky and clouds, and use them. During dull rainy weather, it helps improve the mood.

And just a reminder - even though Windows 7 has a built-in defragmenting program, there's a freebie that does it quicker, and you can see what it is doing while it does it, if you wish. You can find it by clicking here.

Another handy program, for removing things that deny you access to them or just don't want to go is called MoveOnBoot, from EMCO in Iceland, and you can find that right here. 

It works by letting you select the offending file or folder, and then choosing "restart now", and doing a reboot. It removes the unwanted item during the reboot process and before it can be reloaded into memory during the restarting procedure. When it's gone, it's gone! I love it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wallpaper - make your own....

This took a while, but it came out OK. I started with half of it in shades of black and gray, then created a mirror image of that, and spliced it together.
After that, I tinted it blue.

This was what it looked like in the beginning, before adding the blue.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Desktop wallpaper......

This is great on dull days.... or any other days. You can find it right here.

Another webcam view

My thanks to for the use of this image of the harbour, with one of the Seabuses heading across to North Vancouver from the terminal in the lower right of the picture. The structure with the sail-like roof is the Canada Place cruise ship terminal.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

After sundown.....

Thanks to Katkam for this nice view above the Burrard Street Bridge looking over the mouth of False Creek at the Inlet and parked ships.

As the day begins....

and the sun creeps slowly over the horizon.....

.... it's a frosty morning for the beginning of February.