A software bleg of sorts

The Windows 7 environment, new to me, is not overly daunting, though there are some things I have yet to get used to.

The following things don’t seem to work:

  • Panorama32, my wallpaper switcher of choice. Fortunately, Win7 has its own.
  • Lotus 1-2-3 and associated apps. Actually, these barely worked on XP, though 1-2-3 itself has dealt with my search-engine spreadsheets for years. Open Office 3.4.1 — I have had bad experiences with 4.x — seems to be able to do the job, and it reads all the old files well enough.
  • Adobe Photoshop Essentials, though this is my fault: I can’t find the original installation DVD.
  • Nero Burning ROM, which flatly refused my reinstall: “This serial number has expired.” This was a version-7 install; they’re up to something like 12 now. And I never could deal with the increasing bloat.

So basically I’m looking for a Nero replacement. Suggestions are welcomed. (And no, I haven’t tried whatever application Windows itself provides.)

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Another man’s treasure

One thing I’ve learned in my ten years in this neighborhood: if you put something out on the curb that might have some actual value, it will be gone long before the city sends the truck. I must assume that this is also the case elsewhere.

Some folks do a pretty impressive job of collection, too:

My big framed Ansel Adams poster of a snowy tree? The neighbors two streets over were throwing it out (along with two seascapes and some mirror candle sconces). The rattan end table on our Florida room? Another neighbor. The Ikea chair and foot stool in the office? Left behind when another neighbor moved out. Candles, sheets, picture frames, fabric, canned food, mirrors of every kind, clothing, lamps, furniture, fancy shower curtain rod; all found on the streets. I won’t say that you will find everything you need, and certainly never right when you need it, but there sure is a lot of stuff out there going begging.

I have had reasonably good fortune with fabric, without even having to go looking for it: I’ve had half a dozen towels (two big enough for bath use) blow into the yard. I’m wondering if I should toss out the curtain rod that fell on my head in the garage this past weekend.

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I feel bad for you, son

Well, we’re having sales problems, really under the gun,
We’ve sold 99 Cadillacs, the product’s done.

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Otherwise, it was a weak force

This might have been the best comment out of my Oscar-night Twitter feed, and to my delight, it comes from an astrophysicist:

Would anyone have gone to see it with that title? Of course they would.

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Not that I bear any ill will toward this poor unfortunate soul — Steve Keeley of Philadelphia’s Fox 29 — but how many of you out there have wanted to see something like this just once?

Here's the GIF of a plow dumping snow on Fox 29's S... on Twitpic

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

(Via Dan McQuade.)

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You put the cam on the coconut

From the Advice Wanted files:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: What is a good car to buy if I'm going to race?  I'm looking for a good car I can built and race. Don't say a Nilsson civic cuz I hate those.

“Nilsson civic”?

“Everybody’s gawking at me
Can’t hear a word they’re saying
Over my fart-can exhaust.”

(With apologies to Fred Neil.)

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Strange search-engine queries (422)

If you’re not outside in this Big Ball O’ Frozenness, give thanks to whatever force in the universe you think responsible, and settle back with this week’s weirdest search strings, harvested in this late-winter cold to be at the peak of freshness. Or something.

sequoyah county oklahoma drug bust cockfighting club in the 1980s:  I think it’s just terrible that they were giving drugs to those poor chickens.

where on my 2001 mazda 626 car can i find out what kind of transmission does it have:  There’s only one kind it could have if you’re looking for this: broken.

fedex intervarsity ann gerth scam walmart:  And they told me sorority girls had no ambition.

frognosticator:  So tell me: is Kermit finally getting to second base with Miss Piggy?

how to reset ford ef safety mode light:  Oh, yes. You wouldn’t want something on the dashboard telling you to be safe, now would you?

the only world number 1 largest,fattest,biggest sextube:  I imagine all kind of things go on in the London Underground.

judge barbara m scheper golf:  Look, if a public official wants to knock down 18 holes some afternoon, it’s no big deal, okay?

Cutie mark crusaders High maintenance bronies:  Not that I’d know this, but all bronies are high-maintenance. Just keeping all those pony manes tamed is a full-time job.

60 Electrical Mechanical Instrumentation Company CEO livemail:  “Please help me spam these dudes.”

I didn’t know they still made records like this:  They don’t. Now shut up and go to the iTunes Store like you were told.

www.penislenthoil.com:  And to think I used to make fun of Quaker State.

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They can still scratch

This year’s Bobcats will be, more or less, next year’s Hornets; whatever the name, though, they’ve fought their way out of the Eastern Conference basement into something resembling playoff contention — at game time they were seventh in the East — and they definitely acted like it tonight in chilly Oklahoma City, taking an early 4-0 lead and staying close pretty much the whole evening, largely due to their prodigious ability to draw fouls. Really. A couple of minutes into the fourth quarter, Steven Adams, Nick Collison and Hasheem Thabeet had all been rung up for five fouls. Still, the standard OKC fourth-quarter defensive crunch was implemented — none of those guys actually fouled out — the offense suddenly caught hold, and the ‘Cats were sent out into the cold with a 116-99 whipping.

And this happened while Kevin Durant was not shooting well except from the foul line: 28 points, but 8-24 from the floor and 12-12 from the stripe. Russell Westbrook, staying under his 25-minute ceiling, knocked down 10 of 12 for 26 points; Reggie Jackson tossed in 17 and Serge Ibaka 15. (Ibaka also had ten rebounds and two blocks.) The Thunder owned the boards, 44-29, and tied the ‘Cats, normally the least turnover-prone team in the league, with 15 giveaways.

The reliable Al Jefferson led the Bobcats with 25 points on 10-16 shooting: three Charlotte reserves hit double figures, led by Anthony Tolliver with 17. And until about the 7:00 mark, they were well within reach; between then and 2:42, they managed to connect on only one shot (a jump hook by Bismarck Biyondo, 14 minutes into garbage time).

The usual 18,203 seats were sold, though a lot of them were actually vacant, mostly because it was 13 degrees at tip-off. It will be warmer Tuesday when the 76ers come to town, though I expect the reception they’re given will be decidedly frosty.

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You’d think we’d have heard something

I was struggling to fall asleep between midnight and 1 this morning, and the winds were just short of howling.

Apparently, though, they were doing a hell of a lot more than howling over at Wiley Post Airport:

Weather conditions at KPWA

4.0 is the visibility, in miles. But that’s not the big deal. I mean, gusts up to 81, or 100 mph, ought to be at least newsworthy, right?

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What wondrous things they do with strings

Circa 1955, what the well-dressed harpist was wearing:

1955 advertisement for Flatternit hosiery

The old mill in Morganton, North Carolina, which dated to 1882 and which was no longer being used for textiles of any sort after 1995, was acquired by the municipality’s Redevelopment Commission and repurposed for mixed use; City Hall and the local cable company were the first occupants.

Morganton North Carolina former textile mill

The result for the community:

The community benefits from the reclamation of a derelict area. The 4.5 block area has spurred the influx of new stores, restaurants, banks and pharmacies. The result is a new neighborhood with a historic feel.

Cue the harpist.

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Staying the course

There are times, admittedly not often, when you might actually want to vote for an incumbent. This is one of those times.

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Not the quickest response

This was posted in alt.tv.commercials:

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of a 1970s Luden’s commercial featuring Will Lee (aka Mr Hooper from Sesame Street)? This ad ran every winter for about 10 years into the early ’80s and I can’t find any reference to it on any website.

He did get an answer, of sorts: someone remembered the ad, and remembered the last line, which the original poster hadn’t, but we still don’t know where the commercial is. (A perfunctory check of YouTube turned up nothing.)

Here’s why you’re reading this, though: the answer was posted on the 2nd of February. The original request dates back to September.

September 2007.

And they say Usenet is dead.

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What we’re in for

I know this feeling rather better than I’d like to admit:

Your faithful correspondent is at her station no fewer than 10 hours a day, often 11+. Granted, your faithful correspondent has always been afraid not to work, in case work dries up and she is subsequently locked out of work forever. Your faithful correspondent is a nurse by trade so that unemployment scenario is extremely unlikely but even so let’s not take any unnecessary chances.

I do nine and a half hours, maybe a little more, but I do try to keep it under ten.

I had a three-year period of unfunemployment many years ago, and it’s motivated me not to have another one if I can help it. Still:

The point is I’m wearing down. I’ve always fancied myself to have the freedom to manage my own destiny and stop working anytime I felt was right for me. But I suddenly realized that I am too young for Medicare and that my work-provided insurance coverage is going to keep me tied to my job for years longer than I want to work. Such is my demographic detail and my on-the-record party affiliation that Obamacare is not good for me. Even though I am relatively issue-free now, it will only take one good fall or the discovery of one irregularly shaped mole to put me in a boxcar headed for the glue factory.

I am a little more hopeful, seeing the model for my future in a Malaise Era car from General Motors, probably with the word “Brougham” on a badge somewhere. I’ve never run especially well, but so far, nickel-and-dime stuff here and there has kept me on the road and away from my deductible.

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Parked outside the yurt

The descendants of the Mongol hordes, they do love their hybrids:

As we drove closer and closer to Ulaanbaatar, a totally new element came to light: the unbelievable frequency of the first two generations Toyota Prius as used right-hand drive Japanese imports. This is even more blatant in the capital, and I saw more first generation Prius in the first 20 minutes I spent in Ulaanbaatar than I did in my entire life before that! Sitting at a busy intersection for no more than 8 minutes, I counted 69 first generation Prius and 75 second generations, making Mongolia the country in the world with the highest penetration of Toyota Prius in its car landscape!

This is not, he hastens to add, because Genghis Khan believed in saving fuel or anything like that:

There’s a simple explanation to this madness: there is no import tax on used hybrid vehicles in Mongolia, and it’s forbidden to import a vehicle aged over 9 years. The equation is simple: the cheapest car to import into Mongolia today is a 2004, 2nd generation Toyota Prius which will see its share of the Mongolian car landscape increase further over the next few years to the detriment of the 1997-2003 first generation which is technically impossible to import anymore.

Ulaanbataar (we learned it back in the Jurassic period as “Ulan Bator”) has just under half of Mongolia’s population of 2.9 million, about as many people as Kansas but somehow squeezed into a space twice the size of Texas.

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Not even invited

Both “Cheryl” and “Amy,” each identifying herself as the Editorial Manager of specialistauthors.com, requested a guest-post slot here in almost identical words:

I hope you do not mind me mailing you but I would like to introduce myself.

My name is [name] and I am currently working hard to establish myself as a freelance writer. I have now written for several websites on varying topics and my articles have been well received.

The one real difference between the two is that Amy has an idea for a topic:

I am particularly interested in writing an article focusing on wild foul, and would love to discuss specifies with you. I am a keen hobbyist and can also suggest other topics if the first one doesn’t suit.

Not, however, a keen speller.

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The good, the bad, and the scarifying

Microsoft’s official Day of Death for Windows XP is the 8th of April; fain would I have run right up to that date, but my old XP box, pushing eight years old, was showing signs of imminent failure, so I decided to engage a local builder of my acquaintance, inasmuch as he assured me he could still get Windows 7.

He could. The new box is based on the AMD Athlon X4 750K, a modest little CPU running four cores at 3.40 GHz. It is, shall we say, decently quick. Unlike several AMDs of recent vintage, it does not contain its own integrated graphics, and neither does the motherboard, so a video card was thrown in. (The packaging for this card — a Radeon R5-230 — is hilarious, boasting of “what a real graphics card can do.” Generally, a real graphics card costs five to ten times as much. Still, I’m no gamer, so this is genuinely adequate.)

Microsoft’s Easy Transfer labored long into the night to move 130 GB of files from the XP box to Win7. It warns you up front that it doesn’t actually move programs, although this depends mostly on where you stored them on first install, and most of them will require a reinstall anyway. Of the three applications I was sweating most — Windows Live Mail, Firefox and Agent — Agent worked right out of the box, while WLM required a quick reinstall that found everything quickly, but Firefox demanded that its default profile be replaced, file by file, with the old ones.

Only one piece of genuinely bad news so far: the CD/DVD drive seems to be brain-dead, though it does have enough sense to open the drawer.

Update, 7 pm: CD/DVD drive fixed. Slightly twitchy connection to the mobo.

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