Archives for: "August 2007"

Time to put republicanism back on the agenda

It only took a few brief seconds hearing Prince William reading from St Paul's letter to the Ephesians at Princess Diana's memorial thing to remember why Britain should become a republic.

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.

I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thanks be to God.

Republicanism should go back on the agenda for the left. The church must be separated from the state, the monarchy must be abolished. How can we call this a democracy when the Prime Minister needs to ask the Queen for permission to form a government? What kind of democracy has the House of Lords unelected and unaccountable?

Britain should and must be a democratic socialist republic. An opportunity will arise within the next generation to get rid of the monarchy and the House of Lords for good, we must cease it when it comes.

Andrew Grygus - arrogance & stupidity

Check out this nonsense. Only Gutmann comes close to spreading this number of lies and FUD.

Upgrading to Windows Vista has been banned by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), technology giant Texas Instruments and other corporations and government agencies

False. They said they would not be upgrading to Windows Vista for X number of months. I notice you used and underlined the word banned, indicating to me that you're lying.

Small business and consumer demand for computers with Windows XP is very high, but Microsoft has moved swiftly to make sure they can't get it. No sane person wants Vista, so Microsoft is making sure they have no choice.

Windows XP is still available in OEM channels and retail, it is also available from most PC manufacterers as an option. So that is wrong, did you just make that up or are you getting that from an even more nutty source?

A confusing new user interface. Vista actually reduces user productivity according to a consulting firm's study

They're not a Linux firm like you then are they?

Blamed for so many security problems, Microsoft has placed security responsibility right where it doesn't belong, squarely on the shoulders of the average user. Confusing security pop-up dialogs are so common users get used to just hitting "Yes" automatically to everything, including malware.

Which "yes" dialogs would those be? If you even bothered to use Windows Vista you'll see they're labeled Continue or Cancel. This brings it into line with elevating like on Linux (which you don't moan about I see) and Mac OS, and others.

Most existing software is not compatible with Vista. You will have to purchase upgrades to almost all the software you run and many programs will never be upgraded to Vista.

False. I have yet to come across software which doesn't work with Windows Vista, in fact I put out a request for software which won't work so I could do a tutorial video on troubleshooting these issues. Most software, come on get real.

It's an exercise in frustration to try to upgrade an XP computer to Vista. Few Vista drivers are available except for new devices designed for Vista, and manufacturers don't plan any.

Two and a half million drivers, yeah nothing has any drivers, right.

Developing Vista drivers and getting them approved by Microsoft is just too expensive.

Drivers don't need to be approved by Microsoft, they don't need to be signed by Microsoft. On 64-bit they need to have a certificate which can be obtained from any number of 3rd party providers, this is no different than how SSL certificates are obtained for websites.

Vista is effectively a Windows price increase.

False, even Windows Vista Ultimate is cheaper than Windows XP Professional. See here. In short Windows Vista Ultimate: £123.36, Windows XP Pro £123.73 and Windows 2000 £124.55.

Vista Activation, should it fail or be aborted, phones home to Microsoft with enough details to identify your computer and possibly your location

Your own websites can "possibly" get somebody's location from an IP address. Activation generates a key from the hardware in the machine, but this cannot be reversed to identify the computer. Nothing but scare mongering. Microsoft of course operate websites and no doubt record the IP addresses of everybody visiting the website, like every other website on the internet, they have the same ability to get your location as anybody else. Getting the country isn't always reliable and getting the city is a good result, that's as far as anybody can get without getting the police and your ISP involved.

Windows Update is now mandatory.

False. Windows Update can be turned off. If you bothered to look in the Control Panel you'd see the same options as Windows XP SP2 on how Windows Update works.

Their most basic mistake is "one size fits all", holding that an entertainment device is equally suited for business.

What the hell are you smoking? There are six SKUs of Windows Vista, Business for example, doesn't have all the entertainment stuff.

He then goes on to ask... What should you do? I'll tell you what people need to do, drive this FUD spreader out of town.

HD DVD inching ahead

On top of last week's shock announcement of Paramount and Dreamworks going HD DVD exclusive, HD DVD has pulled ahead on From

Sales rank top 10 HD DVD vs Blu-ray

Average sales rank of the top 10 products for HD DVD (in black) and Blu-ray (in blue).

Number of HD DVD and Blu-ray in the Top 100

Number of HD DVD and Blu-ray titles in the top 100 "DVD"s. A sign of things to come I hope, let's get this format war over and done with quick, looks like the media are running some stories of Blu-ray losing already.

Victory to the prison workers

The prison workers are today out on strike. Most of the press are blasting the strike action as being illegal, and will cause chaos in the prison system.

Why are the prison workers on strike? Because 9 out of 10 members of the Prison Officers Association voted to strike, they're being run into the ground like so many other public service workers, privatisation looms on the horizon, this year they were given a pitiful 1.5% pay rise in April, and are due to get 1% in October. This is utterly pathetic, this is the fifth year running they've had a pay cut, due to below inflation pay "rises".

All the Tory press can say is its illegal and the government is taking the Prison Officers Association to court over its illegal action. Let's not forget why it's illegal. It's illegal because the Tory government made it illegal in 1993. So forgive me if I consider such laws to be oppressive and worthy of being thrown out onto the scrap heap of bourgeois reaction. Labour's 12 month notice is a joke.

The way they are being treated by this so called Labour government is disgusting.

Putting my money into HD DVD

I've decided I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and join in fighting this whole format war thing. *Sigh*.

The Xbox 360 HD DVD drive is only £100, so even if over the next few years we end up seeing dual-format players taking off it's not that big of a loss.

No I don't see HD DVD going anywhere, I just don't see Sony ever supporting HD DVD and will, if it comes down to it, try and run alone with Blu-ray. Thanks a lot Sony for dividing the market, slowing uptake, keeping prices high and screwing everyone over.

Anyway, what sealed the deal was Paramount going over to HD DVD exclusively. Most of the films in my tiny film collection are Universal and Paramount, both of which are now exclusively HD DVD.

On top of that we had the sales data from last month showing HD DVD has 74% marketshare in Europe, and for the second quarter HD DVD hardware sales increased 37% on the first, film sales increased 20%, while Blu-ray hardware was down 27% and film sales were down 5%.

Paramount drops support for Blu-ray moves to HD DVD

In another round of the format war, Paramount has dropped most of its support for Blu-ray and moved over to HD DVD. Only Spielberg films will continue to be released on both formats, Paramount has moved its DreamWorks Animation SKG, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films over to HD DVD exclusively.

DreamWorks Animation CEO said:

We believe the combination of this year's low-priced HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home.

This is a good result for HD DVD which should help advance it further over Blu-ray over the coming months, perhaps finally consumers won't be screwed over and we can have a quick end to the format war. This comes on the back of the Blu-ray promotion group in Europe admitting "(HD DVD) does have sales advantage for several reasons", we need a quick resolution.

So long Perry DeAngelis

I checked my feeds this morning to see that Steven Novella posted the sad news about the loss of Perry DeAngelis.

Perry's popularity was easy to understand – Perry had presence. The power of his personality went into everything he did, and every relationship he had. He made his opinions known and actually delighted in not sugar-coating them. Truth and reason were very important to him, so much so that he felt the truth had to be brutal. He would not diminish it with mere social nicety. This also means that when he expressed friendship, you knew he meant it.

The SGU will not be the same without you.

And remember, chi spelled backward is crap.

- Perry DeAngelis, a human being of some note.

So long Perry. You lived in such a time where science and technology had advanced far enough that your opinions and thoughts can be recorded, stored and distributed not only throughout the world, but down through time as well, you pushed our science and understanding forward in your own way to help make this possible. As a result people shall be reading what you have written, and listening to what you have said, throughout the history to come. In this sense it is science and technology that has unlocked the ability for people to hear you, no matter where you were or when you were. It is science that allows you to speak from beyond the grave.

Science 1 – Mystics 0.

d3dx9.dll is missing or not found or installed

So this error message has been doing the rounds lately.

This application has failed to start because d3dx9_32.dll was not found.

Or other error messages around d3dx9.dll, dxdx9d.dll, d3dx10.dll, xinput.dll, xact.dll, d3dx10_33.dll, d3dx9_40.dll and other variations being missing, not being found or installed.

These are all optional components to DirectX that may not be installed with the version of DirectX you already have on your system.

Typically these will be installed when the game installs DirectX, however for historical reasons a lot of gamers, knowing they had the latest version of DirectX didn't bother (I never do either). Microsoft a couple of years back provided these optional components in the SDK, and as such may not be installed with the version of DirectX present on your system.

Games I've come across with this happening range from

Age of Empires III (3).
Battlefield 2.
Battlefield 2142.
BioShock (unconfirmed)?
Caesar IV (4).
Civilization IV (4).
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2.
Hitman Blood Money.
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth 2.
Lost Planet.
Need For Speed Most Wanted.
Virtual Skipper.

I'm sure there's probably a couple of dozen more games, feel free to list any additions in the comments below.

The solution is to either install the version of DirectX on the game's disc, or download the latest DirectX End-User Runtime from Microsoft (at the moment this is being redirected to the Games for Windows website), or from the Download Center.

MVP of the week - Richard Urban

My one off MVP of the week award has just gone to Richard Urban, I was just about to go to bed but just thought I'd check the Microsoft newsgroups for a few minutes.

Richard Urban was replying to this post:

I have a brand new notebook with a dual core 2.2GHz processor, 2G of memory and a 160G hard drive. It's an HP Pavillion. I turn it on. It takes 45 seconds to display the login prompt. I login. It takes 2 to 3 minutes to display the windows welcome center.

I look at the system configuration and I have dozens of services and startup programs running. I tried to remove all the Norton Anti-virus services and programs. But it still takes 2 minutes to display the windows welcome center. But that means it was taking 60 seconds to load the Norton Anti-virus stuff.

Also, the system is loading 970M of programs and data into memory. That is alot of stuff.

So far my impression of this operating system is that it is too slow. My XP Pro system is far faster and it only has 1G of memory and a single processor.

Also, my daughter just bought an Acer 5100 5674 system at Circuit City. It only has 1G of memory and a 1.6G dual core processor. It is running Vista Home Premium. It takes about 30 seconds to display the login prompt and 1.25 minutes to display the windows welcome center. It is not running Norton Anti-virus.

So I spend all this money on serious hardware, and I am let down by the experience.

Seriously highlighting the fact PC manufacturers need to stop installing so much JUNK on PCs. It has to stop.

Anyway Richard replies with the following:

Your computer has Norton crapware installed. Your daughters doesn't. Your computer runs slow - hers doesn't. And you blame the operating system?

I fail to understand your reasoning that the operating system is at fault!

You already KNOW where the problem lays! Do something about it! Uninstall it.

-includes link to free AV-

You heard the man, uninstall Norton, install some good anti-virus which doesn't ruin your experience. AVG (free), Avast (free) and NOD32 (moneyware) spring to mind.

I don't know how to use a computer, so let's blame M$

Here's something I came across, way to start out a blog post.

I hate Windows Vista again today. A lot.

Uhhh huh, why's that?

I put my machine nicely to 'Sleep', only to find that when it woke up, it had helpfully restarted to install some goddamn update, which I can always refuse and reset if I'm actually working on the computer, and lost my work and the browser windows I had open so that I wouldn't forget to blog about those things today.

Oh right, so I'm assuming Windows Vista was set to install updates automatically at 03:00.

Windows Vista Update settings

OK so let me guess, you're going to say "why the frakking hell did Microsoft do that?"

Well guess what, Windows XP does the same thing.

Windows XP Update settings

Ironically somebody posted this in one of the comments:

the more I hear about Windows Vista, the more I'm glad I opted to stay with XP

Heck it was worse with Windows XP because there were about 3 times as many updates, and they weren't all released one day a month, they were released all over the place.

Yet I don't hear anybody complain about Windows XP doing that. Maybe because very few people would put their Windows XP machines to sleep because it was about half as reliable as Windows Vista.

So here Windows Vista checkmates Windows XP on a feature, and thanks to user-stupidity Windows Vista gets another negative story in the blogosphere.

Stupid, frakking operating system. I'm planning on a Mac next time.

Yeah the Macintosh does the same thing, and when you're at the machine it's nagging you even more to install updates and that's only the start of it, on a Macintosh you're looking at multiple reboots to install updates, and that's assuming it doesn't brick the machine.

I never hear any of the Mac users I know complaining about this kind of stupid bullpuckey from their machines.

Well for a start there are about a hundred Windows users for every one Mac OS user, and they have much bigger issues to worry about, like the guy I just linked to, whose machine was bricked thanks to an update and couldn't even reinstall Mac OS. Or how Apple shifting their platform around so much breaks compatibility every few years.

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