bouteillebleu: (Pocket watch)
Helped parents install Windows 7 on their laptop yesterday, by which I mean my brother and I installed it and occasionally told parents useful things about it when they came past.

Things I like about it:
- Plug and Play is what it says. Printer worked, mouse worked, scanner had to be searched for but didn't take very long. Only thing we had some problems with was the ADSL USB modem, of which more later.
- Internet access via ad-hoc network worked straight away with no need to change settings - just plugged the ethernet cable into its network port and it picked up the network and was happy. (More on this later, though.)
- UAC much improved since Vista and Win2K8 Server - it's more akin to the popups that one of the spyware blockers I use has, which tell you when something is trying to install or run that you might not have expected.

In general it looks like the operating system's grown up and really quite nice.

The not-so-fun has been today's attempt to get our Thomson Speedtouch 330 USB ADSL modem playing nice with 64-bit Windows 7. There are no drivers for Windows 7 in general or the 64-bit version in particular; we made two initial attempts, first with the drivers that came with the product (no go) and second with the 32-bit Vista drivers (also no go). A workaround on Technet looked promising but led to blue-screening every time we plugged the modem in.

Finally, another workaround on Technet gave us a working setup and a connection that would actually work! Hurrah!

Except now the Win7 laptop can't see the internet connection through the network like it could before, and I have no idea how to sort this.

FAKE EDIT: Brother has copied over the settings we had on parents' old laptop (for when it was using Internet Connection Sharing) and applied them to the LAN connection on the new one and it works fine. Huzzah!

I still think things might have been easier with an ethernet-based ADSL modem/router, but at least the duct tape on this setup is now in all the right places. :)

Bike

Aug. 31st, 2009 04:56 pm
bouteillebleu: (Lightbulb)
Friday: bike status as usual (occasionally the chain comes off and jams in fifth gear). Borrowed multi-tool from one of the sysadmins at work, who had helped me un-jam the chain earlier that week.

Saturday: set about adjusting chain in the evening. Bent one of the links, but that wasn't a problem as I took two links out. Got it back together somehow. Chain clacked alarmingly when pedals were turned. Made note to look at it again.

Sunday: left the bike alone.

Monday: realised that the clacking noise was from the chain passing under rather than over something near the pedals. Attempted to adjust chain again, this time working with the silver links (one of which has an empty bar rather than just two holes, for ease of adjustment). Swore a lot as the gears and pedals kept freewheeling. Managed to get chain partly back together, but with one of the silver links misaligned. Figured it'd be okay.

It wasn't. The silver link with two holes is now bent.

At this point, I have a perfectly serviceable chain (really, it's actually properly greased and oiled) that needs doing up again with some extra links, a bike that has no chain attached, and a whole lot of frustration. Also I need to clean the multi-tool I was using.

My plan for Tuesday is to throw money at this problem rather than more time, and take it to Station Cycles in the morning. I think I need to read up more on bike maintenance before I try this again myself.
bouteillebleu: (Default)
I've hit my second essay panic this term - quite predictably, on my second essay, which along with another essay has to be in next Monday. Given that I've only just started to read up for the first, this is going to be rather close.

Anyway, I've been reading through a book of collected essays on the division between semantics and pragmatics, while researching for an essay on various theories of meaning, and while flicking through the book I noticed that someone had underlined several passages in one essay.

This is not right.

Yes, I accept that the writing was only in pencil, and thus could be erased. I also know that the book is hardback and the paper is of fairly high quality, and thus the writing and subsequent erasing would not destroy the book. But still, why on earth would someone do this rather than take notes? There is no reason whatsoever that you must underline passages in a book, and that you cannot complete your essay/research paper/book without doing this.

What makes it more annoying is that this book has the sort of binding that means that it will quite happily lay flat, and the book itself is only four years old. This means that you would have little to no difficulty in persuading the librarians to let you photocopy pages from this book, and then you could annotate those to your heart's content. Heck, since that particular section is less than 10% of the content of the book, the Copyrights Act (or a related act pertaining to copying of copyrighted materials) permits you to photocopy it for your personal use. So why didn't you do this, whoever you were that had the book before me?

The restrictions on photocopying are because this book is in the University Library (also known colloquially as the UL), which is one of the six libraries in the country that gets sent a copy of every book that is published in the UK, and buys a fair amount from other countries as well. (I'm not sure whether it's technically a copyright library or not - the man who explained this at the orientation session I went to implied that it wasn't, but that it and the Bodleian in Oxford are treated as if they were). This means:

(a) There is only one copy of this book in the library. If you annotate it, deface it, or otherwise write in the book, anyone else who wants to read it will have to cope with the results.

(b) These books are supposed to be kept for posterity. In a hundred years, the books we regularly use now will be rare, and the UL wants to hold on to them - and keep them in good condition. What are they going to say when they find this book has been written in?

At least the UL have precautions against this sort of thing: if you damage a book, you pay the full restoration cost. Not so important with a four-year-old book like this, but if you damaged a hundred year old tome...

Okay, that's my rant finished. I also have nothing against people writing in their own books - I did it with my copy of Pride and Prejudice, as it was a set book in one of our English exams - but if there are people lending you books with the assumption that you'll take good care of them, please do.

Actually, the orientation session I went to for the UL did give me some thoughts about becoming a librarian. Nothing definite, of course, but being around books would be quite interesting, and is something I've enjoyed since I was young. Of course, something like this would be even more fun, but it is alas not possible. Though it would be very enjoyable. (Working for the British Library Special Engineering Force! :)

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