Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Damned tech

A while ago I saw and fell for a cheap ‘scope from Lidl’s, after seeing it online and thinking always wanted one of those.  Realised, after getting it home that many (many) years ago, I actually had one; albeit a plane old boring one that produced the same amount of eye-strain as a bunch of partying adolescents dancing in a quiet carriage, would cure a migraine sufferer seated behind them.

After months of inhabiting the dark the microscopes time had come.  Removing webs and giving it a quick dusting, it once more stood proud and glittery finally released for it’s sixth outing.  Then I plugged it in.

The bloody thing doesn’t work. 

Well not properly.  Previously when the USB viewer was connected, a little green light would appear indicating it was ready and in the receive mode.  This, however, now remained steadfastly mute.  Despite trying to access it through many imaging programs littering my beige, box just in case I had forgotten an important step, the electro-mechanical contrivance-bloody thing, still gave the same outcome.  Nothing.  Which technically, isn’t true. It’s just that I wasn’t actually after a nothing result on this occasion.

Uninstalled then reinstalled the drivers held on the original CD.  Still no change.  Either XP is working its way towards another fresh install (and it has been a while since the last one), or - if any of the next crop of Linux distro’s eventually decide to work with my creaking HD2600 pro, been dumped into the virtualisation zone of darkness; as the device is actually working, maybe there’s something I’ve overlooked.  Which might be mentioned.  In the manual… 

A continual piling heap of nothing.  Until I decide to run it via the Scanners & Cameras option.  

Instead of having resolution choices up to 820 x 670(ish) pixels in size, the current image resolution is only 176 x 144 pixels – a squintingly sharp drop.

But even with the major drop in res., I can still peer that much closer, to see previous miniscule dots that shuffled poking and prodding across my vision, as now decent sized corpses.  All the while remembering this could only be the tip of a vast infestation iceberg.  As no doubt, the vast legion of their still alive fellows, are working hard at decimating as many of my indoor plants as they can spin a web to.

And here are some images of the dead crits…

 Picture 003 Picture 005 Picture 006 Picture 013 Picture 027 Picture 028 Picture 030 Picture 031

Now that I’m vaguely aware of the species, all I need to do is to decide if I go down the path of natural predation (although using more mites, I would be able to rest back, happy in the knowledge of dead corpses littering the undergrowth replenishing nutrients stolen from the plants), or just use the best brand of poison which will get rid of the critters in hours. 

As one of the plants from the cheap shop was covered, that is where the blame will lay for been the source of this outbreak.  Even though I’ve cropped it to fifth of its previous size and sprayed, I might have no other option but to ditch it, and then make a trudging journey to a proper nursery.  Oh dear.

Ah yes, why is this in tech?  Because as any veteran user of tech knows, at that moment when you really just want to use something, that is the time it decides not to play ball; what should have taken minutes, end up taking hours.  Leaving you slightly more frustrated and harking back to a time when the only thing technologically advanced, was a limestone wall and burnt carbonised embers!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Back to the fox

Well i decided to do a little test on the newly downloaded 99% there Firefox not quite a rc…

Oh firefox, blub!


Chrome was opened with 7 tabs, and still flew past all the others, apart from Opera 10 which was only 0.1 second behind.

In a few months it will all be down to personal preference sans/com add-ons, as base speeds will no longer be an issue. 


Firefox – pile of crap!


Was my final assessment after all the extensions I had installed meant my one and only Firefox profile, ate up 1GB of memory.  Took over 2 minutes to load.  And rattled along like a paddle steamer in the middle of a drought.  But it had all my passwords, bookmarks, automatic this, auto that, and – once it loaded, settled down, browsing however slovenly was somewhat a joy.

But it was time for radical treatment, to prune this overwhelming bush back to something more manageable.  As used to occur with XP once to many applications were in/uninstalled, caused it to run like a brick pulling a tractor, the only cure was a format and clean operating system re-install.

So down I dug and created two additional profiles, two bare bone profiles. 

But even with the extension list pared to the bone, there are simply some things I can’t live without: i.e., noscript, finjan and mouse gestures.  Simply typed those into the add-on search section of mozillas’ website downloaded and installed.

A quick restart later, everything in the browser was looking a bit sparse (I had forgotten how boringly dull the default theme looked), so decided to install adblock. 

Final browser restart, visited my usual sites and considering the time and connections, I was once more impressed with how speedy it (Firefox 3.0.10) actually is when it’s not a bloated loaded down monster.  Admittedly it’s still slower to start up than Chrome 3 or Opera 10, but it’s faster than IE 8 and Safari – on my system. 

fabfox With Firefox’s faster engine and other associated tweaked bits in 3.5 soon to bolt from the stable, my three suitably primed profiles armed, it looks as if my love-in with FF is back on, in the love fest that calls itself the interweb!