Not about everything

July 25, 2014

Zoook, puzzle app for kids

Google Play Store
Amazon App Store


March 15, 2014

March 12, 2014

The horrors of upgrading to Windows7

Filed under: windows — takaita @ 09:08

Windows XP is going to be obsolete. Banks threaten that it can not be longer used for internet banking. Microsoft and everyone else is sending out warning signs. What else can a poor boy do then upgrade. I decided to upgrade to Windows7, ordered a official copy and read the Microsoft instructions.

It seemed to easy. Dowload and install Windows Easy Transfer, run it, do a custom install of Windows7 and then import the stuff again from the file created by Windows Easy Transfer.

My advice: do not use Windows Easy Transfer, as it only breaks stuff. Think for yourself what you want to save, and do it manually. Microsoft has created a monster with Windows Easy Transfer, giving you hours of work extra.

Here is my story. I did as Microsoft suggested. First thing was that Windows Easy Transfer wanted to “transfer” all my photos with I have stored on my D: disk. That is not trivial, because I own a DSLR and I have Gigabytes of photos. Of course Windows Easy Transfer did not “know” that I wanted to upgrade on the same machine. There is no need to transfer files from D: as they are supposed to stay untouched. Windows Easy Transfer could have asked. On the first try I let it run by default, until I noticed it was trying to pack 250 GB of photos which would take about 15 hours. There is no “cancel”button, but it possible to stop the process by quitting the program. Fine. Next time I made sure it was just packing the user profiles.

After a custom install of Windows7, I did again as suggested: import from the file created by Windows Easy Transfer. Did not work. It said that was because my new Windows was of a different language then the previous. Yes, that is right. I went from English to Dutch, because I now have kids who can not read English, and they will be users too. I used to prefer English, because Windows error messages in a non-English language are hard to find documentation about.

So. That left me with unimported accounts. I decided to create the accounts manually. My wife is called Eva, and had an account with that name. So I created a new account with that name. Tried to create. I get an error message that I can not create that account, because I can not use the characters /\[]”:;|+=,?*. Litterally it said in Dutch: “De opgegeven accountnaam is ongeldig, omdat accountnamen de volgende tekens niet mogen bevatten: /\[]”:;|+=,?*”.

That left me flabbergasted. I was not using any of those characters, so the error message makes no sense at all. Searching on the (Dutch) error message gave some results, but no solution – as I feared. I tried to translate it into English and search for that. That gave results which pointed me in the right direction. It turned out that it might happen after a unsuccessful effort to import settings from Windows Easy Transfer. What actually happened was that the accounts were imported but were hidden. They showed up at the command prompt with “c:> net user”, but they were not visible in the users list in the configuration panel and they were not visible on the login screen.

Next suggestion was that they can be made visible by running the command prompt as admninistrator and then type this: “net user Eva /active:yes”. I tried that, and it succeeded but the user account was still invisible. Then I decided to take a look at the account specs and noticed that it was not a member of any group. That can be solved to from the command prompt: “net localgroup Gebruikers Eva /add”, which adds the account Eva to the loca group “Gebruikers”. And only after that the account showed up.

So I had my accounts back. Only their settings were not there. I am not so bad with computers, so I wanted to restore some setting manually from the old profiles. But then it turned out that those were gone. The “Documents and Setting” directory had been deleted. Either by Windows7 install or by Windows Easy Transfer. That is quite shitty. Now I found a way to open the file created by Windows Easy Transfer and could partially restore the “Documents and Setting” directory from there. The file is called MigViewer and I downloaded it from here.

So. Windows Easy Transfer did not transfer anything, except creating hidden accounts which caused an obscure error message when trying to manually create these accounts. I took me some hours to find out. Then it (or Windows7 install) deleted the old settings from the “Documents and Setting” folder, which makes it extra hard to recover user settings.

I am still working on getting things right.

January 31, 2014

Open Street Map: good or too many?

Filed under: app,internet,nature — takaita @ 13:27
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In the old days I bought maps everywhere I came. Then I used them there. Then I saved them in a box. I have boxes full of old maps.

But now times are changing. There are easy devices with GPS. Since about one year I have a tablet-with-GPS. And I love it. My tablet only has WiFi connection, so whenever I am away from WiFi there is no downloading of maps. And maps are mostly needed when away from WiFi.

The solution is of course very simple: offline maps. It needs a couple of GigaBytes but then turning the GPS on opens a zoomable map. I am especially fond of MapsWithMe. Maybe simply because it was the first that made me satisfied, maybe there are other or even better apps available.The lite version is free and the maps are free. Actually I liked it so much that I bought the pro version – the first and so far the only app I paid for. For a lot less money than I used to spend on paper maps each year.

Besides the tablet mentioned above, recently some new Android devices have entered my household. Luckily it is possible to share apps that are bought. I bought MapsWithMePro on what I would call my family-account. I created a Google account with the only purpose of sharing stuff in my family. Sharing family-wide events, contacts and also apps. And because Android devices support multiple Google accounts, each family member can also have an individual account with individual stuff. The good thing is that an app bought with the family-account can be installed on each device with that account.

So, it is time to throw away the boxes with old maps. It will save some space.

But. The boxes are replaced with GigaBytes of maps. Maps are freely available from Open Street Map. Great project. Many apps use it. And there is also a bit of a problem. I now have three different apps using Open Street Map for its own purpose. And each uses its own collection of maps. That means that in stead of 3 GB of maps I have to store 9 GB. And maybe more, if I want to have more parts of the world in my apps.

Apart from MapsWithMe, I also use OsmAnd (a navigation app) and ObsMapp (for recording nature observations, see for example this blog entry). And each has its own Open Street Map format and requires me to download the those maps.

It would be so much easier if only a single set of maps was required. It would save space on my SD-card and it would save download and updates. Maybe it is too much to ask.

January 18, 2014

Please share to show my pupils how far a photo can go (even if you don’t want it to!)

Filed under: internet — takaita @ 22:17
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Sharing this, because it seems an interesting lesson.

I am teaching E-safety to my pupils at the moment and wanted to try a little experiment. Please share this photo and see how far it gets, I want to show my students how easily photos etc can go viral, even when you may not want them to. Share it and see how far it goes!


January 12, 2014

The vulgarity of facebook

Filed under: internet — takaita @ 22:16
Tags: ,

Facebook is getting worse. Or maybe it has been this bad all the time. I am not sure why, but facebook thinks I should cheat on my wife. Or maybe facebook does not know about my relation and simply supposes i need a Russian half-nude.

Here are the pictures in 4 of the 5 advertisement I see right now.


January 1, 2014

Upgrading windows xp x64

Filed under: windows — takaita @ 20:53
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Microsoft does want me to upgrade my windows. I am running Windows XP x64. Microsoft offers a download: “If you’re running Windows Vista or Windows XP, you can use Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant…”

Click it, download it, run it and get this message:

November 29, 2013

The stupidity of the twitter developers

Filed under: internet — takaita @ 15:14
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The Twitter developers can not even create a normal login page. The page is riddled with javascripts and apparently they made it so, that they must all be present in order to even login. Yes, through adblock I have blocked a script, because I blocked the domain (I do not wish to see any social media when I am surfing the web, blocking twimg helps). There is however an external script needed on the login page. It is a jquery library, at least it says “jQuery JavaScript Library v1.8.3” at the top.

Why oh why should my browser need jquery to login? It must be because the Twitter developers have learned that nothing can be done without jquery. They are not very bright.

October 27, 2013


Not sure how other men deal with it, so maybe you could let me know if you read this. My situation is this: I have a family, we are living in the house were I once lived alone. And now we are moving to another house. That means that all stuff stored comes along, and I found something which I do not know how to classify: a small collection of female underwear, apparently left by women who slept at my place. They are from before my current wife and me started. The underwear was stored somewhere and I just found it.

Of course I could have just thrown it away, they are probably sort of trophies from another time in my life. They do not fit in my current life. But then again it used to be my life and I care about my past.

Here is what I did: I took photos of them, and then threw them away.

left female underwear

April 8, 2013

A box full of exuvia

Filed under: dragonfly,nature,odonata — takaita @ 19:39
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Every year is the Dutch Dragonfly Study Day. It was nice to be among people who share the same love for dragonflies. People who sometimes are a bit strange. For example someone brought a lot of empty larval skins to give them away. I loved the box full of Aesha viridis. It is a rare species, but maybe not so rare if one knows where to find the skins.

Aesha viridis, exuvia

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