Angelic Paranoia

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All change
Sunday 7th May 2017 6:05 pm

This week has not been what I expected at all.

First, I'm now going to Rock Choir this term. This is because ballet was cancelled for the term (long story), so I thought I'd replace it with Rock Choir. Whether I carry on after this term depends on what happens with choir, because I'd like to only go out two nights a week and having them both be choirs is a bit much. But I enjoyed this week more than last week. Partly because I knew what to expect, but I also ended up sitting at the back, rather than the front, which was a different experience. And it was less repetitive since we went over the song we learnt most of last week, then learnt the bits we'd skipped, which were the hard bits.

Then this weekend I bought a new computer. I was planning to because mine is very slow. There are websites, which if I want to visit them, I open them up, then go away and do something else while they load, it's that slow. But I was planning on getting it after Wimbledon, when things stop for summer. But I randomly checked on the one I wanted and it was a third off, so I got it. I am, in fact, typing this on it. Although in a terrible Firefox because I haven't copied over my settings yet, and the resolution on this computer means I keep having to zoom into websites. And that's after I dropped the resolution - it was originally 3200x1600 and I needed a magnifying glass to see anything.

And I had to install Linux twice because 500GB and 500MB are very hard to tell apart when it's written in bytes.

But those websites that took so long on my old computer open instantly on this one. Mind you, I don't have any add-ons in Firefox yet, slowing it down...

And then, for the first time ever, I picked up a pinch hit for Not Prime Time. I'd read been reading through the requests while sign ups for open and there were a few I liked the idea of writing for, one in particular I really wanted to write. The trouble with not having a deadline is that I don't prioritise writing and instead do the other 1001 things I need to do. So as much as I wanted to write a treat I knew it probably wasn't going to happen. But there wasn't anything I really wanted to receive. So I was very excited when I found the request I really liked was a pinch hit. It was the first time I've ever put in for one and now it's all mine!

I have some ideas, they're just percolating before I write it. The deadline I don't need to write down because it's the start of Wimbledon...


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VR
Monday 6th March 2017 9:16 pm

I've heard loads about VR and seen it on BBC Click a lot, but given that I've also heard it gives you motion sickness, I thought I was doomed to never trying it out. Until Redemption...

There was a VR panel, which was really interesting. They said that the more expensive VR headsets were better for motion sickness because they have a frame rate that matches films etc, whereas the cheap ones have fewer frames. Although they weren't kidding about the price - Google Cardboard is a few quid, but the Oculus Rift is the best part of £1000. And then you need a computer that costs more than that to run it.

I got to try the Oculus Rift, courtesy of Gaspode who left his setup in the room for anyone to try. The headset includes headphones, so although you can hear the outside world, what's in the VR is louder. And unless you put the headset on loosely, you can't see the outside world either. It's very disorientating sometimes.

It is cool to be able look around in every direction and see the virtual world. It's even more cool when you move your hands and see your hands moving in the virtual world. I think that without being able to manipulate stuff in that world it's something that would get boring after a few minutes.

I played a starship game. Well, the first tutorial on how to fly it. I was fine while I was stationery, but as soon as the ship travelled in the game, then it gave me a bit of motion sickness. Everyone else who tried it seemed to be ok, but then I also find the beginning credits of Doctor Who make me dizzy.

I then played one where you shoot things. There was one point where the zombie (I think) was right up by me and I had to remember to whisper my surprised, given that Wobblevision was going on in the room at the time.

So in summary I enjoyed it and I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it. I sort of knew what it was going to be like, but it's not quite the same as experiencing it for yourself. But I definitely don't need it - I have a game I bought on Steam for about £3 and haven't got round to playing it since about November.


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iPod Touch case help
Monday 14th December 2015 7:52 pm

I have an iPod Touch. In terms of looks it's very similar to an iPhone 5. When I got it, a year and a half ago, I asked my sister what to get. Knowing what I was like, she suggested the Griffin Survivor. Which is red (and black) and it's been great. I drop my iPod about once a month on average and my lounge floor is really solid.

Except that I either have a problem with my iPod or the case and one of those is cheaper to replace than the other... (the iPod gets hot and the case gets condensation on it - this might be related to the battery problem). I've got as far as establishing that cases only cover the back, so then you need a screen protector as well (I think).

So I am drawing on the collective wisdom of people who read this, to tell me what they think I need. What I need from something that covers my iPod is:
- can cope with being dropped onto my laminate floor from a couple of feet/a metre ish up on a regular basis
- can cope with getting wet/splashes from when I listen to podcasts when cooking/cleaning
- makes the whole thing a bit bigger/wider so I can actually hold it

In an ideal world it would also make the screen less responsive, as without anything on it I just have to think about touching the screen and it acts like I have, which is really annoying. Although, from reading reviews, it seems like this is the opposite to most people's priorities.

I should also point out that I am accident prone. If it is breakable I will end up breaking it. If it is not breakable I will somehow end up breaking it.


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New netbook
Sunday 18th January 2015 8:42 pm

My netbook was, if not dead, then a bit ill on Friday morning. I bought a new one on Friday evening, failed to install Linux on Saturday morning (because it either didn't like my DVD or DVD drive) and had it all set up and sorted by Saturday evening. Which must be some sort of record.

I'm sure you're all dying to see what it looks like: Read more...


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Life is never simple
Friday 16th January 2015 8:51 pm

It must be January - January seems to be the time when things break.

Last week I opened my (plastic) sewing box and the lid came off as if the hinges had never existed. So when I bought some house stuff (and books) at the weekend I also got myself a tin to use as a new sewing box. It is bigger than the old one, which means that my crochet hook will fit in it. That was the only measurement I took to ensure it would be the right size...

Then my netbook went. I do have an old netbook, my Windows laptop, my work laptop, the iPad and my iPod, so I'm not bereft of computers. But my netbook was useful for using while sitting on the sofa, especially when too dizzy to sit up at a desk. My laptop is just too big. Fortunately, I mostly liked the 11" one in Currys, so I now have a new one. And I get to spend the weekend putting Linux Mint KDE on it. Which wasn't quite my plan for the weekend. Or how I was planning to use that £250.


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Smartphones
Monday 14th July 2014 8:12 pm

It's not quite a Smartphone, but I do now own an iPod Touch. It's red. If it hadn't come in red I would probably have thought longer about whether I wanted one. I have been holding out for an Ubuntu Phone but it always seems to be coming in a few months. There have been a few occasions something similar would have been handy - either to use the WiFi when I don't have much money on my phone to call Dad with, when I've forgotten my book on a train at night when there's nothing to look out the window at, and when I've forgotten my camera at Rotary events. I got a bonus from work, so I've used a bit of that money to buy it with (the rest is going to savings and charity, as soon as I can decide on the charity(ies)).

So far I've googled how to do lots of things, as Apple make the hardest to use operating systems I have ever used in my life, installed Fruit Ninja and been unable to type my own name first time (I have a pen in the post). I now don't get to use it except while sitting down while I wait for the indestructible case (red) to arrive.


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Tablet computers
Saturday 10th May 2014 5:55 pm

I remember when tablets first came out and I couldn't see why anyone would want one (unless they had lots of money to spare). I've had my sister's old iPad since Christmas and I'm still struggling to find a use for it, beyond playing games (and most of the games I play on there are also on my computer).

My trouble is that I use computers a lot and therefore I use keyboard shortcuts, rather than the mouse a lot of the time. There are quite a few things that I would struggle to find on a menu, but I know how the keyboard shortcut for it. The best thing I ever did with Gmail was to turn the keyboard shortcuts on, so I never have to use the mouse in Gmail any more.

Tablets don't have a keyboard. And the browsers on it tend to have symbols instead of text for menu-like items and you can't hover over them to get a tooltip telling you what it does. As a result I'm limited to randomly pressing things in the hope that one of them will do what I want it to.

There is also the problem that you can't choose to install old versions of programs on it. There are lots of things I can't install because they require iOS>5 and it can't cope with iOS>5. The more annoying thing is apps that refuse to run until you've upgraded them, but I can't upgrade them. There's nothing at all wrong with the old version, you're just not allowed it. And yet this iPad is not as old as my netbook - where I can not only choose what versions of software to put on it, but also what operating system.

Given that the cost of a decent tablet and the cost of a computer are pretty similar, I think I'll just stick to computers. I can put Linux on them. Also, my netbook is far easier to use while lying down and is lighter than the iPad.


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iPad apps
Monday 30th December 2013 3:18 pm

Since my sister gave me her old iPad, I'm now trying to work out what to do with it. I have put Words With Friends on it, so I am paranoidangel on that, if anyone else has it and wants to play. I will be slow since the app is slow and it depends on me checking it to see if it's my go.

Does anyone have any recs for other apps to add/use on it? Nothing that I can already use on a computer (unless for some reason it's better on the iPad).


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Christmas and Yuletide
Saturday 28th December 2013 8:08 pm

I have finally made a dent in my Yuletide reading. And when the Madness archive opened I got another ridiculous Ten Stupidest Things I've Heard Since Richard III's Remains Were Identified fic: Tudor Spies and Perfidy. This has been a fandom I've enjoyed reading this Yuletide - it is different from everything else.

We opened presents on Boxing Day, as that's when my sister arrived (and they were a month late in any case). My sister decided to give me her old iPad, so I've been trying to work out how it works. In general I find Android more intuitive than iOS. I can't work out what to use it for - technically there are things, but I have a netbook and a laptop and my old netbook if I was desperate that does all the same things, but with the bonus of a keyboard. I have started Words With Friends on it, but it doesn't email you when someone's had a turn, so you have to go and check, which is not terribly well designed.

I have a Harry Potter Lego game which we are yet to play but took me about 45 minutes to construct...


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Wind and work
Wednesday 25th December 2013 3:50 pm

Monday night's wind didn't do much for my back fence. Although I opened the curtains and watered the plants without noticing. It was only when I went to leave for work that I noticed the view out the back was a bit different to normal. Fortunately, it's my neighbour's fence, so I don't have to worry about it.

Despite it being quiet at work I managed to spend all of Tuesday morning working. Then it quietened down. But although in theory I have three bank holidays and three days when the office is closed (including today) I still need to do some work.

Today I woke up annoyingly early, drove in the rain with sunglasses on (it was bright and sunny when I left) and am now copying the files on my netbook so I can change to a different Linux distro.

I have read a grand total of one fic in Yuletide: mine (excitingly, I have another waiting for me in Yuletide Madness). It's R for Richard and is in The Ten Stupidest Things I've Heard Since Richard III's Remains Were Identified (Blog Post). I asked for something completely ridiculous (as far as I can remember anyway - sign ups were ages ago) and what I got was really utterly ridiculous and I love it.


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Linux
Sunday 13th October 2013 5:57 pm

I got very excited this week when Cerulean Studios announced they'd released a beta of Trillian for Linux (Trillian being an instant messaging program I like better than any others available on Windows or Linux). It was a bit sudden given that although they have a version for every other platform, whenever anyone asked about Linux on the forums there was no answer - but in their announcement they said they'd been working on it since 2011!

I got unexcited quite quickly as I couldn't install it on Ubuntu because it was too old. It being old and not supported any more has meant more things not working, so I was thinking about upgrading anyway, I just hadn't got round to it. Partly because I hate the new versions of Ubuntu, so I'd have to find another distro to change to.

So this weekend I've tried Lubuntu, Kubuntu and Linux Mint KDE and concluded that I like the KDE based ones. I am not going to install anything until Christmas, though, when I can sort out the crap on my netbook and have time to play around with the settings and install all the programs I want.

I also got distracted in writing this by playing with Windows 8.1 (conclusion: not an improvement on Windows 8).


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Catch-up
Wednesday 31st July 2013 8:22 pm

Some of the things I've been doing since I last posted:

- Working. There was one day last week that I spent the whole morning working on one script. Well, I say one, but it had 414,000 characters and our software only allowed 32,000 characters per script. It was splitting it up that took the time. I was a bit worn out after all that

- Trying to find an alternative for TweetDeck when it suddenly stopped working. On Windows I found I really like Janetter, which works on every platform except Linux. After an entire evening and an entire morning spent trying different programs, I eventually discovered that the best one is TweetDeck - and that's only vaguely usable. That's because in Chrome it uses Chrome's notifications which has two of them pop up for a few seconds and then vanish before you can read one. In Firefox notifications don't work at all. I can't download the Windows version because it seems to think that 4 bytes/second is an acceptable speed and I'm not sure if it works in Linux anyway. And of course there's nothing to tell you what you've read/is unread because who would want to know that sort of essential information anyway?

- On Sunday I went to the Olympic stadium for the Anniversary Games. (There are photos, of course). Our seats were amazingly not in the rain, but two rows in front of us were! We were in the sun at the end, but fortunately it wasn't out for too long. It was a great experience and we had a good view of the long jump. It was interesting to see them warm up - they put a little marker by the side of the runway and had a run up without really jumping. Then the bloke sitting by the take-off point put his finger on the board where they jumped from, so then they went and moved their marker, so then they knew where to start. They still seemed to get a lot of fouls, or so it seemed. It was interesting that the women with one leg all jumped off the blade, which suggests it has an advantage.

- Today I was only in two days, so they ended up being two days of hard work to get everything in. But tomorrow I am off on the annual windmill trip.


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Browsers
Wednesday 24th April 2013 9:50 pm

At work I have a whole load of browsers on my computer because we have to test things in a variety of browsers. At home I use Firefox and get out Chrome/Chromium if something doesn't work in Firefox or if I want to log into two Gmail accounts at once, for example.

At work I use Internet Explorer because the software we use used to only work with IE. Now it works with most browsers, but I've got used to think of IE as a work program. If I had to upgrade to IE9 then I might reconsider. There aren't many keyboard shortcuts in the software, but Ctrl+s to save is one. However, in IE9 that does nothing. Which is quite annoying, but not nearly as annoying as Chrome which refreshes the page to put it back to where it was when you last saved. Annoying is putting it mildly.

Back when Chrome was new I disliked it for its minimalism. I once spent a while on it trying to work out how to bookmark a page (without using the keyboard shortcut). I gave up when I realised I also didn't know how to see my bookmarks. I could have looked it up, but if something so basic isn't obvious then it's not a piece of software I am going to use.

So I really dislike that IE, Firefox and Opera all think that looking like Chrome is a good thing. It's not. If I wanted a browser that looked like Chrome, I'd use Chrome. Since I don't want a browser that looks like Chrome, I use Firefox. So making Firefox like Chrome is not a help. The only way I can cope is that at least IE and Firefox give you an option to put the menu back. In fact there's something weird going on with my Firefox on my laptop because I still have all the buttons I had on 3.6. So I don't touch any of that in case they go away.

I'd go on to talk about Firefox's release schedule and Chrome updating when you check your version (which is really unhelpful when trying to check things in old versions of Chrome), but that feels like enough of a rant for one post.


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In defence of the Page Down key
Wednesday 3rd April 2013 7:58 pm

One of the (many) things I dislike about the new Compose in Gmail is that once I've got it in a position to be able to reply, I go down to the bit I want to reply to and then get completely lost. There's something in the way it's done the scrolling that means that when I press Page Down it goes down further than I think it will.

This problem isn't limited to Gmail Compose. I just had it on the setting pages, it's on 'new' Twitter and just about any page where they put a stupid popup thing along the bottom - basically any page where there's a part of the page that doesn't scroll. In these cases page down moves you down a whole page, but since you can't see a whole page at a time you miss bits. In the case of Twitter it amounts to a whole post. It annoys me so much I can't tell you. I want to read the next page by pressing page down (or spacebar), not press it, wonder if I missed a bit, then press the up arrow.

The trouble is that as far as I can tell, no one else does this. I didn't have a big choice of netbooks when I bought this one because there were only two that had actual Page Up and Down buttons - the rest required you to press Fn+an arrow key, which requires two hands and more effort (and moving between tabs in Firefox would be so much more of a pain, since that's Ctrl+PgDn or PgUp). And yet I see people hold down the arrow key or scroll with their mouse. Admittedly that makes me dizzy, but even before I was dizzy I didn't do it.

A big thing in LJ RPing back when I was doing it was a site called Plurk, which is Twitter only you scroll sideways. It was their big feature, and it might have been ok, had they used a keyboard shortcut to page left and right. But they didn't, thus making it incredibly hard to read (so I didn't). The best thing ever in Excel was when I discovered how to page left and right (Alt+PgUp or PgDn, incidentally).

Despite monitors being wider than they are tall (unless you have a tablet or smartphone) there's not a lot on them that scrolls left and right. Which is fine by me.

But tell me I'm not the only one who uses the Page Up and Down keys to read.


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How I spent my Easter weekend
Tuesday 2nd April 2013 9:43 pm

I went home, so there were computers involved. I spent ages sorting out RSS readers, so I now have RSSOwl on both computers and syncing, so I can read my feeds on one computer and then not have to mark them as read on the other. Which took longer than it should due to me not reading, not typing the right folder name and then, once it was finally working, deciding that I would run out of space in Dropbox and it might be better to use Ubuntu One.

Saturday I spent helping Dad taking apart my sister's netbook to get at the hard drive, which was at the bottom, but you could only get to it from the top. It wouldn't have taken so long except that we had one screw that we couldn't get to move. We tried pliers on the screwdriver, three hands, hammering it and heating it up with a hairdryer until I discovered that it required a PH0 screwdriver. Despite Dad having something like 100 screwdrivers, it turned out that none of them were a PH0 and the tiny flathead one we were using instead just wasn't up to the job. A trip to Maplins and sixty more screwdrivers later, we ended up with about four PH0 screwdrivers and it was easy after that.

Saturday night I dreamt about screwdrivers...


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Desktop
Wednesday 14th November 2012 7:42 pm

Since [info]just_ann_now did this yesterday, I'll copy her and do it today. Only I can go one better and show you the desktop from two of my computers. Read more...


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Mac keyboards
Saturday 3rd November 2012 7:51 pm

I first used a Mac when I was younger and in the staff room where my parents worked. I couldn't cope with the idea that it didn't have a right mouse button or a button to eject the floppy disk. I struggle with my work laptop a bit when I use it unplugged and it doesn't have a right mouse button on the keyboard.

While I was home the other week, my dad demonstrated to me the Mac keyboard he had. He pointed out how it didn't have a delete button, I pointed out that it was missing the page down, page up, home and end buttons. He then showed me his friend's Mac that he was sorting out and how its operating system works differently to Windows and the versions of Linux I've used. I think that annoyed him more, but it was the keyboard that got me.

This afternoon I went into town and to kill a bit of time while I waited for my car to be washed I wandered into PC World to play with the computers. While I was wondering if they had any netbooks (they don't - the tablets and ebook readers have taken over) I came across a Macbook Air and I looked at the keyboard. It didn't have the page down, page up, home and end buttons either. Which baffles me.

Admittedly, I think I am unusual because I use them all the time. I always scroll with page up and page down. Since I've been dizzy it's the only way I can scroll without getting dizzy, but it's always been the easiest way in the past. When I bought my netbook a couple of years ago the most important thing for me was that page up and page down had their own keys and weren't Fn+another key.

So if I had a Mac I would literally not be able to cope with the keyboard, never mind the mouse, operating system or price.

Incidentally, my laptop keyboard has a number pad, so I have two of each of the page up, page down, home and end buttons. Which isn't completely necessary, but I'm not complaining.


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Computers
Saturday 20th October 2012 12:37 pm

Yesterday I got to play with an iPad, Office 2013 and Windows 8. All of which are varying degrees of frustrating/awful.

The iPad was frustrating because it doesn't have a keyboard and I keep wanting to do things with a keyboard. And then its scrolling makes me dizzy (when it actually scrolls and doesn't think you've clicked on something instead or just completely ignores you). I really need to page down, not scroll, but even the keyboard doesn't have a page down key (or home or end or delete - I don't know how you can survive without those). Ultimately I just got bored with it - there are only so many games of Fruit Ninja you can play, even if it is Fruit Ninja HD. It doesn't help that it's harder to use lying down than my netbook is. Siri was amusingly useless. He didn't know most things, couldn't understand most of what I said and told me it wasn't raining when it was.

I didn't think that Office 2013 could possibly be that bad, given that it's like 2010, which is what we use at work and I've got used to. It isn't in the sense that they haven't touched the functional parts much. But they have made it all white, which just makes everything hard to see, and the menu headings are all in capitals. Which looks even worse when you hide the ribbon. And they've made it harder to open documents that you haven't opened recently, and there's no facility to pin recently opened folders, which I use all the time in Excel.

Windows 8 is fine if you use the desktop - it looks just like Windows 7, with one important part missing. Then there's an app-opening version, which is probably alright if you're using a tablet, but not so much if you're at work. The important missing part is the start menu - there isn't one. If you want to open a program that isn't on the taskbar or desktop, then tough. To be fair, there might have been a way of doing it, but I can't remember. But it also means that the shut down function is well hidden. I spent about fifteen minutes clicking everything until Dad gave me two hints (he'd looked it up) and even then I had to click on things that made no sense and I couldn't work out how to do it with the mouse. It's just as well Windows 8 is the every other release that you skip.


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Coming at you from a whole new computer
Monday 7th May 2012 9:33 pm

Today I spent pretty much the whole day installing things on my new computer and playing with settings. I had a break when I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom. It is nearly done. Currently the only way I can find any programs I want is from the Quick Launch - the Start Menu and Desktop are too much of a mess to find anything, and I haven't installed the printer. But other than that it's done.

It was very handy I have a computer running Linux. The folders with things like my Firefox profile and my RSS feeds live in folders that you need admin access to get. But this computer refused to copy them or access them from the hard drive of the old computer. Ubuntu, on the other hand, didn't care. So I copied folders from my old computer onto my netbook and then across to my new computer.

At the moment I am really struggling with the keyboard. I'm fine with typing, it's just once I need to go further right than the return key that I'm struggling. The old one had Home, End, Page Up and Page Down down the right and that was it. The new one has a number pad. Which does mean there's two of each of those four keys, but they're all in a different place, as are the arrow keys, so I keep being slowed down by having to look down and check where I am. So I have established that I like the trackpad!


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Updatey thing
Sunday 6th May 2012 5:24 pm

I now have a new computer. I have now remembered how unusable all the default settings are in Windows. Not to mention IE9, where I spent five minutes trying to find the address bar. But it has a 1TB hard drive (10 times what I need) and 8GB of RAM. It should be fast and able to cope with anything I throw at it.

Yesterday I had a party to celebrate my birthday. Which basically consisted of spending a relaxed afternoon sitting around and chatting.

Aside from the epilogue I realised it needed, I've finished the second draft of my Big Bang fic. I just need to go back and make it less boring now. And add 3500 words, which shouldn't be hard.

I'm sure there was more I meant to add, but I keep waking up early and not being able to fall asleep any earlier, so I'm tired. I'm just very glad this is a three day weekend.


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