Category Archives: 12349

One King Bearing Gifts


I got a new laptop on Friday (my old one gave up the ghost as explained here).


One of the major pains of a new laptop is re-installing all of those applications. It takes so long, and inevitably you will be working and you realise that you need another utility, which means you have to interrupt your flow to grab it and load it. I was more prepared for this installation than I usually am, I had compiled a list of those applications that I wanted, my directory structure, and URLs to the files, but I missed plenty (you just forget some of those things that you use, such as Inno Setup until you need them).


I am sure that many of you will be saying that if I had taken a disk image, re-installing would have been a breeze. That may be so, but I tend to see re-installing as an opportunity, an opportunity to get rid of much of the crud that accumulates over time, only install the things that you need.


As one would expect, some things went so smoothly, some things did not.


Installing Office 2000 and Office 2003 was a breeze, I remembered that I wanted VBA loaded (yes, I have forgotten it before), and it loaded so quickly, so effortlessly. I had to do all of the customisations, remove those stupid restricted menus and always show the full menus. I did get caught by not giving Trusted Access to Visual Basic, and one of my VBIDE routines failed, but that was soon rectified.


Office 2007 was no great problem, it took a lot longer than 2000 or 2003, but I guess that is the way that things progress. One of the pleasing things is the way that many settings seem to get inherited by all versions. I know this may seem like heresy, but I have missed 2007. I can’t say I am a fan of the Ribbon as I think it is a mis-guided concept and is restrictive and inefficient, and there are many things broken in 2007, but since I have loaded it I have tended to use 2007 as my default Excel. As I have said previously, I have enjoyed using Excel 2000 but I heave eased into 2007. I have also adopted Outlook 2007, but one email client isn’t much different to another is it? Word 2007 still grates with me, it seems perverse (but Word has always seemed perverse to me, just look at how it keeps messing bullet lists up). Building the QAT back up was far time consuming than I would like. I know Jon Peltier doesn’t believe in customising the QAT, he says that is subverting to MS’ ribbon philosophy, but I find that I have to have my most frequent functions on hand.


But why oh why do all new applications get added to the foot of the program list? Why doesn’t it get slotted in alphabetically. The bottom is usually the last place I want it.


And while we are at it, why is the Quick Launch toolbar hidden in XP, and locked down to boot?


One thing that went remarkably smoothly was my Firefox bookmarks. I use XMarks to synchronise my bookmarks, so a quick login to XMarks, tell it to synchronise with this laptop and remove all existing bookmarks, and I was up and running. All of my bookmarks, all of my RSS feeds were re-installed in minutes, and XMarks will keep me up to date ready for my next laptop crash (thanks Aidan!).


It took me a while, but I am back and active now. I am sure more things will arise over the next few weeks (I still need to add another partition and install Windows 7 dual boot), but essentially we are there.


One thing to finish with. Where we would we be without free software, open source and not. The following is a list f some of the free software I have loaded and use regularly


GParted
Inno Setup
Firefox
Revelation
MP3Tag
Audacity
Skype
Hamachi
FileZilla
IZarc
Belarc Advisor
CDex
CCleaner
Code Cleaner
NameManager
KeePass


Plus others that I am sure that I have missed (so, Mike Alexander, with quality free products like this, why shouldn’t  corporations trust them?)