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Have some TACT

I've been asked why I no longer write about work.

What's to say? The bosses are good examples of The Peter Principle. They probably think of us dimwit employees in much the same manner. The yoghourt machine regularly pukes its contents on the floor. I pity the maintenance guys, it looks like the schematic and tech diagram were drawn by a five-year-old.

Today I had a presentation on the correct way to clean stuff...

The lesson? Water does not wet. Sure, if you walk home in the rain, you'd probably say your favourite shoes are pretty wet, maybe inside too. But when it comes to cleaning stuff, water isn't good enough. Would you clean a saucepan with water alone? You'd use washing up liquid which contains three things:

  • Detergent - cut through the grease
  • Antibacterial agent - kill the bugs stone dead
  • Wetting agent (aka surfectant) - lowers the surface tension of the water to allow it to better penetrate
It might sound odd. A nice shiny smooth saucepan. But if we see the saucepan with the kind of magnification necessary to see those pesky little microbes, the metal of the pan would look like a relief map of the Alps. The closest mankind has to perfect smoothness is the Hubble telescope. Your pan? It is smooth to your fingers, but considering you could put around 300 microbes side by side between two of the lines of your fingerprint, that's kinda not saying much.

And so to TACT. The naff acronym for the day.

  • Temperature
    washing up in cold water is pointless, you know that!
  • Action Chimique (chemical action)
    we all use stuff-in-bottles to get the job done, from the high-powered toxic biohazards I play with, to a gloop of Timotei on your head
  • Concentration
    no, not squinting and thinking really hard "you will be clean", though it might work?
    rather, if the stuff is supposed to be put on at 2%, using it at 20% isn't necessarily better
  • Temps d'agir
    that basically means "it takes time"; like soaking a burnt pan in soda-bic, you can't add the product and rinse and have a good result... this is what "Cillit Bang!" is all about - chuck the product on your plutonium stains, rinse, perfect results in seconds! [no, seriously, I s**t you not, that stuff is great for cleaning up nuclear waste!]
Just think - somebody somewhere was probably paid to come up with that acronym!


P..p..pick a browser

Microsoft's normal bout of upgrades and fixes come on Patch Tuesday, the first Tuesday of the month. Instead of, you know, when they're ready...

Yesterday I had an updates available popup. I never upgrade on the Tuesday, I wait to see if the world ends for anybody first, and also if there is anything sneaky being thrown in, like that god-awful Windows 7 validity check that wants to phone home every 90 days (ish?) to see if your copy is "still legal" and if it decides it is not, to revert to "we think this is a pirate version" behaviour. I think they will make a lot more enemies due to verification errors and other screwups than making friends. This isn't a one-off licence key check, this is over and over and over for the life of the product.

While this is in place, I will not run Windows 7 - AT ALL.
  • Firstly, I run older software. My old laptop limps by with Windows 98SE. Aiko, Ayleigh, and Azumi all run XP.
    XP has a new lease of life as netbook computers typically trade off processing oomph with size. XP is sufficiently heavyweight to get the job done, but not such a hulk that it bogs down the machine.
    Frankly, I don't trust Microsoft not to, at some future date, tell us that the automatic licence server will no longer be supporting Windows 7 and so we must upgrade to a newer version. Like - no longer supported equals "the check will now believe your copy of Windows to be fake" thus rendering it fairly unusable, thus forcing us to have to upgrade.
    I'm not saying this is what will happen, I'm just saying I don't have faith in it not being a possible action.
  • But perhaps the main problem I have is that, for whatever reason, it may - at its option - decide a perfectly legal valid installation is no longer legal and... click. Retrograded to non-legal status and behaviour (the whole black screen nagware thing). The onus will be on me to either repurchase a licence, or prove it is validly licenced. An annoyance, a headache, and a problem for me to have to sort out.
    I don't mind responsible on-installation checking, as I do recognise that piracy of Windows is widespread and rampant - but to be able to decide a licenced copy of Windows is no longer valid... that's a step too far. Either it is legal or it is not. It isn't "legal until 27 months later"...
    ...if the licence key was somehow obtained, the original legal version is still legal. All the others are not, and if Microsoft can't tell one from the other, that really isn't our problem. [WGA has recorded my MAC addresses in the Registry, this might be one way of doing it?]
    I do trust, of course, that they are no longer storing the installation key in the Registry?

Aaaanyway, one of the new arrivals is the EU browser choice. A lot of people think that thing that appears when you like the blue 'e' is the internet. They don't realise that it's just a way of looking into the net, and that other options are available. I hold a spectacularly dim view of MSIE, but that is more down to horrific lack of standards compliance than anything else. Whether or not there is a "better" choice than IE depends a lot on if the user actually understands what IE does.

Windows update for EU browser choice installation

I have IE8 for WindowsUpdate and for testing my pages actually work on IE (not that, in all actuality, I really care that much, I wouldn't stoop to inserting script to check for IE, but contrarily I feel absolutely NO obligation to support IE6 which I know makes a hash of parts of my b.log (like the title up the top, the text is too big on IE6).
And I have Firefox for everything else.

Thank you EU, thank you Microsoft... but no thank you.

It would be good to give people the choice of which browser to use, but I think to be honest the average Joe probably doesn't care. Those that know the difference between Opera and Chrome and Firefox are probably already using one of them.
Or to put it in context. The internet is not working.
The first time I 'fixed' this, the woman's kids pulled out the WiFi key and she didn't know where to put it (I found it wedged into the RJ45 socket, OMG!).
The second time I 'fixed' this, IE got itself in a muddle. A "repair installation" sorted it out.
The third time I 'fixed' this, the monitor lead wasn't plugged in, so the screen would intermittantly go black. Usually when she thumped the desk because it took so long to load with all those adverts. It was the adverts wot broke it, see? ☺

These are the people you'll need to explain "browser" to, and why one is better than the other.
As I write this, it s 4.27am and a howling gale. I don't wanna explain in laymans terms what a "browser" is and why it isn't the Internet. Just... you know... go find a local geek and get them to install Firefox with ABP and NoScript and walk through the sites you visit to authorise them all to NoScript. Then you'll be safer AND faster AND (whoo!) advert free. It's a win-win situation!


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Please note that while I check this page every so often, I am not able to control what users write; therefore I disclaim all liability for unpleasant and/or infringing and/or defamatory material. Undesired content will be removed as soon as it is noticed. By leaving a comment, you agree not to post material that is illegal or in bad taste, and you should be aware that the time and your IP address are both recorded, should it be necessary to find out who you are. Oh, and don't bother trying to inline HTML. I'm not that stupid! ☺ ADDING COMMENTS DOES NOT WORK IF READING TRANSLATED VERSIONS.
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