Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Furry flashing creature

So what have I been doing since I returned? Well, last night I plugged in my new mouse. It’s actually for my laptop that I’ll be getting for my birthday in May, but the price in Fnac (€31.95 – or £21) was much cheaper than over here, so I got my parents to buy it there and then.

It’s a Logitech Pilot Wheel Mouse Optical, to give its full title. It’s one of these new-fangled optical mice, which is good because it won’t need cleaning and it’ll run on more surfaces. It’s also USB, so if I suddenly have the urge to switch to a Mac (which I may do someday) it’ll work there too, which is especially useful as Macs tend only to have one measly button. It does come with a PS/2 adaptor just in case my laptop lacks USB support.

Since my existing mouse is also a Logitech (a normal Pilot Wheel Mouse that came with the machine), it was simply a case of unplugging the old mouse and plugging the new one in. Since it was USB, Windows just needed to install its own drivers, then the pre-installed Logitech MouseWare picked it up and ran me through its configuration wizard – it has profiles for each mouse on the system so you can switch between them if you have more than one connected. Unfortunately you can’t use more than one mouse similtanously – though why anyone would is perhaps beyond me.

The new mouse took a little getting used to – I had to adjust its movement sensitivity so that it was slower, for example. This is because the removal of the ball makes the mouse much lighter, so it’s easier to move, and after a few minutes I found myself overstepping buttons and clicking in the wrong places. The red light is also intriging – it’s used for the tracking, but when the mouse is moved it gets a bit lighter. This is slightly annoying, because when I’m typing the vibrations from the keyboard make the desk move slightly, so it ends up flashing like some red warning siren. But I guess I’ll get used to it.

College was good today – we started our computing projects in preparation for the exam. I have to develop a database for a hospital, which keeps track of equipment that has been loaned to patients. Fun? Not really – remember, we’re talking Turbo Pascal here… Fortunately, I should be able to get help from friends who did the course last year, so I’m reasonably confident of getting a working program. Also, I won’t have any geography lessons on Friday or all of next week, since the teachers are in the Lake District with their lower sixth students. Though it does mean having a lot of work to do in the mean time.

Something that was brought up in the ODP forums was the difference between a weblog and a journal. You may not think there was a difference, but there is, and it seems that this falls into both categories. It’s a journal, because it reports what I’ve been doing in my life (you only have to look at the lengthy Brussels post to see what I mean), but since I also post information about what I’ve been doing on the internet, it’s also a weblog. Maybe it’s a ‘blogjournal’, or something?

Well, anyway, to the ‘weblog’ tidbits. While I was away, Randy “Furo” Nieland posted a link to this article on 3DSpotlight.com about sound cards, and I’m sure you may pick up some useful stuff on there (I did). Although I don’t read it much, it’s a very good site, and I’m in regular contact with Thomas McGuire, one of its editors, through Xteq. Those guys are very supportive of our work, probably because of our range of hardware tweaks.

Which reminds me, TeXHeX let drop that there’s a new Easter Egg coming in the next X-Setup release. I’m not telling how to activate it, but keep your eyes on the About box…

I’m starting to lose patience with Tiny PF lately. Why? Well, it seems to stop some programs from accessing the net completely (eg AudioGalaxy) and I’ve been unable to work out how to enable them. Normally it asks me whether I’d like to grant it permission, but lately it hasn’t, and I’ve been unable to create a rule that permits it. I’ve had problems with AudioGalaxy and ZoneAlarm before, but by permitting access to its home IP address I was able to get it to work.

So, is it back to ZoneAlarm? Well, maybe. Ciaran pointed me to the LangaList, Fred Langa’s newsletter (which I previously didn’t subscribe to, but have joined today), which has a good article about firewalls. It’s early days yet, but I may give Sygate Personal Firewall a spin. It has a recommendation from Steve Gibson, and seems to perform well. Plus the interface looks a little more easier to use than Tiny.
And speaking of Ciaran, he seems to have really jumped on the blogging bandwagon with his Journal – there are quite a few new posts since last week. His blog has now become a journal – I’ll update the link in a day or two to reflect the change. And he also mentioned my text message that I sent on Saturday from Brussels.

Anyway, I’ve already missed 5 minutes of ‘Fifth Gear’ on Channel 5. See you later!

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