Windows 10 Upgrade

July 31st, 2015

Microsoft Windows 10Well I took the plunge and upgraded my Win 7 Professional install on my Fujitsu home PC. The installation went smoothly and on bringing up the new OS, I have to say I am suitably impressed. It is a little more radical but not enough to be awkward to use. The speed was impressive – not slow or unresponsive whatsoever. I opted for the Microsoft account login – which allows you to login with a pin tied to the PC instead of the traditional password.

The borderless windows were clean and I was even happy with the Edge browser. It seems quicker than IE. More standards compliant? I don’t know but I intend to stick with Chrome anyway as it has all my bookmarks and I use hangouts, not to mention there’s nothing wrong with Chrome as a result of running on Windows 10 so may as well stick with that.

I haven’t used the built in mail application yet – but Windows Live Mail works fine and there was no loss of settings so I just carried on. So far, none of my existing applications installed on the machine (Gimp, mIRC, Office 2013 and so forth) have crashed or behaved unexpectedly.

Microsoft have learnt from previous howlers (thinking Vista and 8.0) and from what I have read the tech press and public in the main are appreciating the new OS. Me too, heck, I would even consider a Win Phone / Tablet on the back of this experience. Time to upgrade the laptop I think…

A Swarm in a Teacup

July 31st, 2015
Port of Calais

Port of Calais

David Cameron was criticised by Asylum groups and the opposition over migrant ‘swarm’ language – Is it me or are these people nuts? If you have a large group of people moving quickly at say a football game, a music event or a big sale event, it’s often referred to as a swarm. By all accounts he is demonising the migrants at Calais by comparing them to insects. Insects are a vital part of life on this planet, so I don’t know why as humans we feel we have to be superior to all other creatures. If David Cameron passed a open borders law, the critics would complain about that too “we don’t mean just let everyone in” Oh no? What do you mean then? We must have compassion but not in my back yard? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

HP Thin Client T510 update woes

June 25th, 2015

HP T510 ThinPro 5.2Having recently purchased a couple of HP T510 thin client boxes, I was most bemused to find that running the full image update to version 5.2 bricked the unit. It tries to boot but Kernel Panics shortly into the boot sequence. To fix, I needed to go to the HP website, download the image and boot from a USB stick and do the install that way (could have done it via CD or PXE also). The disk creation software was a little flaky and it took 3 USB memory sticks before I found one that allowed the bootable drive to be created and to work.

The sad thing is its June 2015 but I found a thread here on the HP website that describes this problem back in December 2014. I wonder why they haven’t fixed this problem yet? Its not as if I went looking to upgrade, its the first section on the wizard that launches for first time use. The upgrade is worth it, things do look and feel nicer in version 5 of ThinPro OS, but why it takes going around the over the web upgrade – it does put me off HP somewhat. The hardware itself however seems robust enough for a commercial/industrial application.

Another shack change

May 15th, 2015

Mike M0SAZ Shack This month, I have gone back to a “big box” HF radio. My radio in the shack now is a Yaesu FT-950 with AC0C 2KHz Roofing Filter, Yaesu MTU 80/40, DVS-6 and N8BX weighted VFO knob fitted. Fully loaded, lots of performance!

I have purchased the Yaesu FT-7900 dual band (2m/70cm) FM Transceiver. I have programmed all the local repeaters and simplex channels in. Works well.Mike M0SAZ Antennas

Antennas now are the Diamond X50N for VHF/UHF, HyEndFed 5 band HF antenna and recently I added the 7 band version of the Cobwebb folded dipole. Works on 20m thru 4m (6 elements for 20-6m, but the 7th band if 4m that it happens to be resonant on).

Mail Merge is the Omelette of IT Proficiency

April 24th, 2015

Microsoft Word MailmergeWhen I watched Gordon Ramsay put some poor chef through their paces on his Kitchen Nightmares television show, he would get them to cook up a simple Omelette. His reason? An Omelette is a simple dish, but without the basics in place, a would-be culinary master is consigned to the humiliation and potty mouthed outbursts of G Ramsay Esquire himself.

When doing a small Mail Merge today, I explained to some of my colleagues I consider the lost art of Mail Merge an ideal demonstration of IT literacy. Why? Well it contains all the elements of using the essentials in many productivity/office suites.

Address data is normally extracted from tabular form, which, in itself is often created and manipulated in a Spreadsheet. From there, a merge is prepared in a Word Processor, which, using the aforementioned data, the two become a rudimentary database data/client setup. The completed merge is done in the Word Processor and is combined with a document already written or written after the merge is prepared.

Word Processor, Database, Spreadsheet.

I remember doing Mail Merge back in the Word 6 and Excel 5 days, running on Windows 3.1, ultimately running on MS-DOS 6.22. The sad fact is, that, in terms of everyday functionality, the current Word and Excel offerings don’t differ that much from these older versions.

So, a merge requires basic Spreadsheet, Database and Word Processing skills and is therefore a good indicator of if someone can feel their way around a computer for more than a quick game of Medal of Honor or a discussion about the latest Star Wars trailer on Facebook.

EU Meddling in Corporate Success

April 15th, 2015

companies eu antitrustI find the EU’s constant meddling seems like another way the non democratic government can line its own pockets using fines. No more can they get net contributors such as the UK to cough up more money in this failed experiment, they resort to fines and sanctions and, well can’t leave anything alone.

I realised this when they had a view on the motor wattage on a vacuum cleaner and then put in legislation to stop the sale of anything too powerful (in their eyes).

After investigating (at our expense) the likes of Microsoft and fining them mega bucks for supposedly taking advantage of being a monopoly and now they are playing the same game with Google, it really makes my blood boil how they can do this. Just because a company Like Google, Apple or Microsoft have done well, it doesn’t and shouldn’t require power crazed politicians getting involved in largely consumer products we chose to buy or not buy.

Consider you are Mr Google, its your company and you have a search engine, maps software, shopping comparison site and so forth. Why the hell can’t you put your products on the top of every search result above your competitors? If, as a customer I am annoyed by your bias, I can go to another search company, hell, I can even start my own if I don’t like what’s on offer. The market decides if I am giving the customer a crappy deal, not the EU, not any government. You, MEPs go into public service and don’t like it that big corporation owners have 5 houses, helicopters, a fleet of sports cars? Tough. Don’t play the who’s got the biggest d**k with your fleeting moment of power. If you want the luxury and wealth, go out and create and stop hiding behind hard working people’s cash to fund your vindictive stance on big companies.

Seems like the season for wealth bashing. The sad fact is, Google can’t do wrong for doing right here. Their search results, based on PageRank take out the human element of “here’s a pot of money to get to the top of the organic results (SERP)”. Instead Google’s algorithms look at links to sites and other metrics to see whats the most popular, and therefore relevant pages. So, if everyone loves using Google Maps and, searching for maps brings Google’s offering up first, that’s because it is what people are looking for!! Shopping? OK that is a bit more “in your face” but, back to the 1st point, you don’t like it, go create your own search engine or use someone else’s offering.

The market decides and monopolies like Microsoft to some extent and Google specifically, haven’t become so because of lots of mergers and aquisitions (which could have been blocked anyway), but because their offering is what people wanted so it became a monopoly by the virtue of its popularity. Lesson for anyone wanting to do well in Europe and in other states also investigating Google on similar grounds – do well, but don’t be the best, or you will be shot down because of it.

Amiga 1200 upgrade

March 26th, 2015

Blizzard 1220/4 for Commodore Amiga 1200Until recently I had a Marpet 1207 RAM card installed on my A1200. It worked well, but I encountered a Blizzard 1220/4 on eBay at a good price. I received it, and replaced the CR2020 battery, I installed a 40MHz 68882 FPU and 40MHz crystal with I soldered directly to the board for best chance of reliability. I also soldered the jumper that switch the FPU speed to 14/28/OSC speed/or off.

Blizzard 1220/4 Sysinfo BenchmarksThe Blizzard 1220/4, whilst not the fastest accelerator in the world, is a very compatible one and it gives one’s Amiga a modest yet noticeable boost. The MC68EC020 25MHz CPU running at 28MHz (double standard clock speed), gives a great Amiga experience.


Commodore / Escom Amiga 1200 / A1200

Completed Amiga 1200 in my shack


M0SAZ Shack Update

March 26th, 2015

Yaesu FT-857DI have had a little change around in terms of layout and I have also sold the MD-200 microphone and replaced it with an MD-100. The MD-200, perhaps because of its high fidelity, I struggled getting anything like the power output I had the radio set to unless I put the mic gain up particularly high. The MD-100 “excites” the radio so much easier yet still produces a high quality audio. Happy with the setup. Enjoy the photo!

Initially perplexed by Android Lollipop on HTC One

March 6th, 2015
Application Organiser on HTC One

Application Organiser on HTC One

Following the update to Android 5.0 on my HTC one, I discovered Chrome no longer has a tab button and instead there’s app organisation buttons for the latest version of the OS that Chrome (and other apps) makes use of, on the bottom of the screen.

However, on my device I couldn’t see these buttons. I assumed HTC Sense had removed them but some webpages were saying they are restyled on the HTC but are still there. I tried everything until I finally found a site that said double clicking on the phone’s own home button will activate the application organiser where you can switch between and close tabs as well as other running apps.

Happy to report that worked and I can now use this new feature.

The Amiga and Ham Radio Man Cave Lives!

January 27th, 2015

Looking great. More tales from Mike / A1200 / M0SAZ soon!

A1200 FT-857D

A1200 Magic Workbench Screengrab