How To

How to fix IE from seeing your Windows PC as a Mac

When Microsoft Update thinks I’m using a Mac. Yes, last night I went to get some updates from Microsoft Update and I got the message…

Thank you for your interest in obtaining updates from our site.

This website is designed to work with Microsoft Windows operating systems only.
To find updates for Microsoft products that are designed for Macintosh operating
systems, please visit

Nice. I was using Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP MCE SP3.

It knows which system I’m using from the “user agent” but one of many websites which displays your current user agent information, showed that I was happily using Windows. Weird.

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1) ; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; Media Center PC 4.0; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.30; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.648; .NET CLR 3.5.21022; WTClient2)

Weirder still was that if I used IE Tab in Firefox, the page would appear without a problem. As IE Tab simply uses Internet Explorer but in Firefox, it shouldn’t have been any different. Again, I checked the user agent and that was the same as running it under IE normally.

Double weird.

Anyway, after a reboot even IE Tab stopped working.

Googling the issue found that most people seemed to have Spyware or Virus’. In panic, I did a check but found nothing. However, I also came across a Microsoft blog on how to reset all of IE 7’s settings – I tried that and Microsoft Update is now working again.


We'll Meat Again

My good friend Ruth was a young 30 last week and we all went out on Saturday night to – and you can tell she must be a good friend – a vegetarian restaurant.

Now, I’m not averse to vegetables. I just like them to accompany a good piece of meat (or fish). So, with another good friend, Dufty, we devised a plan. We will open our own restaurant. A carnivore restaurant named “We’ll Meat Again”. The only vegetable allowed will be potato (for chips). It will be meat, meat, meat and pudding. And we’ll site it across the road from a vegetarian restaurant so pale-faced people can get their fix.

Since that discussion I think “Would Like to Meat” would be an even better name.

And if that fails, I think my plans for a meat-based perfume would be a winner.


Danger! Geek at home

Well, some time ago I showed some photo of my geek-palace at work. Kind of geeky.

Anyway, it’s now time for home. There’s not a huge amount of kit on show – most of it is either bundled away in the loft or on shelves somewhere. Never-the-less. So here’s my gallery (cue music)…


First off, this is a kind-of tower that’s at the side of the desk. At the top is an old Lexmark printer/scanner. I intend to replace this with a new scanner soon. Under that is my Netgear wireless router with a VOIP phone converter sat on top. To the right of that, a 300Gb USB hard drive which is connected to the 500GB Maxtor NAS to the right of that. At the bottom of the tower is a Mono Samsung lazer printer. That too is connected to the NAS. On the floor, looking very dusty, is the bass speaker for my speaker set-up.


Next up, we have my desk. Starting from the left we have a Hawking Technology antenna (for my wireless network). The silver box on a cable is the control for my Creative I-Trigue 3300. Next up, in shiny black, is my iDECT phone (working via VOIP), followed by my classic Sony Clie PDA. My I-Trigue speakers can be seen flanking my 17″ Viewsonic monitor (a few years old now, but the best at the time). My Logitech webcam is perched on top and my Hiper metal keyboard is in front. Resting on the desk in front of the keyboard is my Streamzap remote control and my Logitech wireless mouse. Moving on from the right of the monitor is the dock for my mouse, which you can’t quite see in the photo, a SanDisk media card reader and Belkin USB Hub. After the lamp is my TomTom One sat in a desktop dock, followed by a cheap Logitech microphone and, finally, a USB connected Competition Pro joystick. Oh yes.


Finally, my PC. The last time I showed a picture is was my lovely metal cased home-brew PC. But after it never quite working, I bought one from Mesh. It’s plastic, loud, but it’s warranted! On top of it, apart from all the dust (and a well placed hand-print), is my 60Gb WD Passport. This is the hard drive I shift around from work and home and has most of my web development code on it. It gets regularly backed-up, not surprisingly. However, only about 11Gb on it is used, so the next time it fails (and it does after about a year of my wrenching it about) I’ll probably change it for a 16Gb USB Key (about the same price). The PC is plugged into an energy monitor, as I’m keeping tabs on how much power I’m using (I’m good like that).


They think it's all over

Well, it is now. As predicted, I didn’t get the Vice Chairman role. I knew it before I got there. But, never-the-less, I still gave it 100%, my speech was loved and I let no-one down.

But I still feel robbed. Kind of. Without the behind-my-back nasty comments, how would I have done? It might be that I still wouldn’t have got it. But why?

The person who did get the role has been performing the Patrons & Subscriptions role which I handed over to her 4 years ago. This has been her only position on the Committee. The subscriptions part of her role is now virtually non-existent as most are now done via Direct Debit. Never-the-less she didn’t spot the fact that for 8 months last year I changed my DD to that of a non-acting member. How do I know she didn’t spot it? Well, she had last years show programme show me as an acting member. Plus she makes a big thing of ensuring ALL money is in by the end of the year because of the accounts. Although I had good reason for this change, I was never given an opportunity to explain it.

The second part of her job is recruiting and looking after Patrons. The patron numbers have halved during her 4 year tenure.

So, what has she been doing?

Well, first of all, nobody probably knew this because NO-ONE asked her any questions after her speech. I assume I was the only one to have done some homework.

So they’ve elected, as Vice Chairman, someone who has shown during the last 4 years that she can do a below-average job. What does that say about the fact that I lost?

Last year, for the first time, I was acknowledged during the AGM for my work, especially on the website. This year, once again, it didn’t happen.

So, my conclusions are… I’m not seen as useful (certainly not wanted as a useful member of the committee) and work, which I don’t actually have to be doing, is un-appreciated. Charming.

Of course, I’m wary that all of this will look like sour grapes. But how else am I supposed to interpret this? As a vote of confidence it’s damning. And, let’s be honest, after the “rumour” that’s been floating around, I may as well throw my toys out of the pram as it’s probably what people will be expecting.

Here are a few things that made me think the voting wasn’t going to go my way… nasty rumours being spread behind my back, friends not responding to emails asking for their support, the out-going Chairman making a joke to my competition about not being on the committee YET… and so on.

So what to do now.

I’m certainly not feeling good vibes towards my friends right now but, then again, I never like to make a hasty decision. I suspect a long dose withdrawing my assistance may be called for. But I’ll admit that the damage may already have been done.

Maybe my CV will end up in the post to some other local groups.

Maybe I’ll give up on this theatre malarkey altogether and concentrate on friends who aren’t spiteful behind your back, and appreciate you a little more.

I assume they exist.

Life Theatre

All shook up

Apparently the UK gets a lot of earthquakes. But they’re not usually very strong, so last nights was the first time I’ve experienced one. And it was a doozy. Okay, so a magnitude of 5.2 isn’t huge, but if it’s your first time, it’s rather frightening.

At 1 o’clock I was rudely awakened from a bad dream by the whole house shaking, in particular my bedroom wardrobe which was vibrating violently. Coming out of a nightmare into that meant that reality and my dream blurred and it caused me to panic. Living close to the M1 and a train line doesn’t help either, so I had no idea of what had happened. Anyway, I soon calmed down but then suffered from shock. Nothing was on the TV for quite some time, but eventually the news of the earthquake trickled through. It was quite some time before I wandered off to bed again, so I’m feeling rather (yawn) tired today.

Tonight, I attempt to become the BMTG Vice-Chairman. My speech has been modified again, but I made a final print last night. It’s actually quite good, even if I do say so myself, and I’ll publish it here afterwards.

Fingers crossed.