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?)