Still tinkering

I used to be a computer programmer and I haven’t lost the pleasure to be had from figuring out how to alter or fix anything related to software. Nowadays this is likely to be exploring web design using HTML and CSS rather than writing computer code.

Using CSS within WordPress it’s possible to alter the design of a blog (providing you’ve paid a little extra for the upgrade). It can sometimes be quite a challenge. Here is an example of before and after screenshots of some recent changes I made to how an image gallery is displayed. I wanted to remove the Comment area, the view full-size option, as well as to centre the description text and to emphasise the ‘close gallery’ icon at the top. For the really curious, a screenshot of the CSS code is also shown.

Before CSS edits

After CSS edits

The CSS code!

It looks like a UK web site, but….

buyerbewareWhilst looking to source a camera battery I came across a web site with a web address and which in every respect looks like a UK web site.

But on the About page it states….

“We digsin to provide thoughtfully server for every battery buyers.”

I’m not sure what was intended, but it makes no sense to an Englishman! A simple check using shows the company is located in China!

Never 10. Never again!

2ba7b-computer__sadI came across a recently promoted utility called Never 10. It claims to easily and safely stop the regular reminders from Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10. I checked out the reviews and all were positive. So I thought I’d give it a go.

The utility works by modifying the Windows Registry. Before doing this one is always recommended to back up the Registry first. I didn’t.

I ran the utility from my non-administrator login on my Windows 7 laptop, supplying the administrator password when prompted, and the utility appeared to run without problems. However when I tried to login the following morning (having shutdown the PC the previous evening), I got the message

“The User Profile Service service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded”

It was just my login that was affected so I was able to login as the administrator and to follow Microsoft documentation for recovering the situation. Sadly this simply made all the other logins disappear (other than the administrator login)! Fortunately I was able to reverse this step, so I was back to the situation of just having my login inaccessible.

At this point I gave up and decided to abandon my inaccessible login and to create a new login for me to use. I have a small issue with accessing my files associated with the previous login, but I can work around this.

So there you go. My experience of the problems I encountered running Never 10, and which no one else on the web seems to have had.

For the record, Never 10 did switch off the regular prompts to upgrade to Windows 10!

Microsoft Bob

I came across a great site of screen shots of versions of Windows and other graphical user interfaces. Ah, Windows 2, I remember it well. And then there’s Microsoft Bob, which was “designed to replace the desktop of Windows 3.1 and 95 with an interface designed mainly for novice users”. At first I thought this was a joke, but no, it existed, though it turned out to be a flop. Not surprising, I say!

Find more screenshots of Bob and other systems at



My days in IT are over

codeI’m old enough to have been involved in the early days of ‘computing’. Of course it’s now called IT (or is it?).

I was bookshelf-browsing and I came across some of my old computing books and it just seemed to be the right time to clear out a few of them.

So out goes Access 97 Programming For Dummies. My days of Access database programming are well and truly over. Back in the late 90s this was a well-used guide.

Out goes Web Design For Dummies. The only web design I do now is selecting a pre-designed blog template and adding some customisations using CSS (I have a manual!).

Out goes Short Order HTML 4 and JavaScript for the World Wide Web. Ditto previous paragraph. Two lovely books but I’m a blogger now and HTML and JavaScript, neither of which I really got going with, are no longer of use.

One thing always leads to another….

Google and the browser took me from one computer language to the next, from Mercury Autocode to Algol 60, then on to the very strange language APL (here there was a diversion after I came across an APL programmer I played badminton against many decades ago), then on to FORTRAN, then on to Prime’s operating system Primos (which, unbelievably, was written in FORTRAN!). Such memories – I could go on and on!


Prime User’s Guide


APL – a peculiar language