Marks & Spencer broaden their market

April 21st, 2009

Yesterday I was in Liverpool, and took this photo of the entrance of the large Marks & Spencer store:

Marks & Spencer Liverpool

See the woman with the child? You’d think she just came out of the store after shopping for clothes or something. Well, these days you can never be sure of anything — what if she just bought that child? Unlikely you say? Look at what I saw at the top of the escalator on the 1st floor inside the store:

new stock at Marks & Spencer's ?

As I said — you can never be sure of anything these days!

IE8 Blacklist: forcing standards rendering opt-in

February 13th, 2009

I thought IE8 was a good idea. Until I read this: IE8 Blacklist: forcing standards rendering opt-in. I’m so not impressed with Microsoft!


February 2nd, 2009

America has been seeing loads of snow for a while now, and this morning I found this picture in my inbox from my friend David in the UK:

nightly snow in the UK

In London it’s even better (or worse, depending on your point of view) – enough snow to stop tubes, buses, trains and planes.

But.. what do we get here in Holland? Yup, nothing. Some half-hearted promises by the weather forecast people, but really, as you can see on this picture I took of the path behind my house, this was the best we got:

And it was gone in 2 hours as well 🙁

How to solve the “Local access only” problem in Windows 7 beta

February 1st, 2009

About a year ago, my brother bought a laptop with Windows Vista on it, but when he connected to my wireless network, he didn’t gain access to the internet. He could see all the computers in the network and access shared files, but no internet. Vista showed the connection as “Local access only”. We tried all kinds of settings in Vista, but no luck. In the end we figured it must be the way my network was set up, and we gave up – he was only visiting for a day, and at home he would have direct internet access, no network settings needed.

Today I installed Windows 7 beta on a new computer, and when I tried to access the internet with it, the same problem came up: “Local only”. Naturally I went looking for answers online (no, not from the new pc!), but all I found was a description of the problem, and people offering all kinds of solutions that simply don’t work. However, in the end I ran into an old page that describes how to solve it in Windows Vista via regedit, by removing IPv6 altogether. Luckily I read “remove IPv6” before I read the ‘via regedit’ part, and I went into the network settings and removed IPv6 by unticking a box. It worked straight away, my network now says “Local and Internet access”, and I can surf the Internet without a problem.

Step by step:

  • click the Start button
  • click “Control Panel”
  • click “Network and Internet”
  • click “Network and Sharing Center”
  • click the link “Local Area Connection”
  • click the button “Properties”
  • untick the box in front of “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)”
  • click the OK button
  • close the Local Area Connection popup
  • observe the value of Access type. This should now be Local and Internet.

I’m not sure exactly why that change makes the difference. I can tick the box again, and the internet connection will remain in place. Also, while the box was unticked, I changed users and found the other user’s account to have “Local only”. I then *ticked* the IPv6 box, and the effect was the same: Local only changed to Local and Internet.

Of course I can’t promise it will work for everybody, as I only tried it out on my own setup, and I did it in Windows 7 beta, not Vista. Please let me know in the comments whether this worked for you or not, so maybe we can determine exactly which combination of settings does and doesn’t work in the whole setup.


Following the comments of Lorenz and Joe Vinas, I’ve tested it myself, and this seems to be the actual cure: disable and enable the network adapter. I think Lorenz is right, my fix of switching off or on IPv6 probably just causes the network adapter to restart. Still indeed, although it’s a cure, it’s not really a solution. It should not be necessary to restart the network adapter!

Hyves ignores privacy concerns, feeds members’ surnames to Google

January 23rd, 2009 is a Dutch profile site, and like any profile site, they have a Privacy Policy. The very last line of that policy says: “Privacy is a sensitive point, and rightly so. I hope it is clear that this is extremely important to us.”

This screenshot below is from their FAQ:

FAQ: "We will not give out information to third parties without your permission"

(click for full image)

I think they lied.

How does Hyves take care of your privacy?

To protect your privacy, you can determine for each section of your profile whether it is visible to nobody, friends, friends of friends, Hyvers, or everybody. I think that’s a good system. The same options are available for “who can search the Hyves site and find me by my surname”. This really is a good thing. If you set that to “Hyvers”, it enables you to be found by old school friends who already have a Hyves account, while not attracting any attention from outsiders. Even if the rest of your profile is closed for anybody but friends, at least people will be able to contact you via the site to ask for your approval to become friends on Hyves.

So, what’s the problem then?

The problem is, that Hyves decided to change the rules. Per 30 January, they will let Google find Hyves members by their surname. Including all the people who had set their preferences to let only Hyvers find them by their surname. Several members have expressed their concern in comments on Hyves HQ blog, but the answer remains the same: “we can’t please everyone, and you can opt-out if you like, so there is no problem”. The repeated requests to make it an opt-in instead of opt-out and to give one single good reason why it is opt-out instead of opt-in, are simply ignored or rebutted with “we don’t see the problem”.

This isn’t all though. They also have not officially informed their members of this fact. It was mentioned in the blog of Hyves’ PR man Raymond Spanjar, but while that post was briefly featured on the Hyves homepage, it is now only linked in the sidebar, hiding inconspicuously between other non-important links. Most Hyves’ members aren’t even aware that 30 January will see their Hyves profile linked to their surname in Google, even if they had specifically set “only findable by Hyvers”.

Bad form Hyves, very bad form.

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2009

Hot, home made apple beignets. They lasted not even 2 minutes…

apple beignets - finished very shortly after taking this picture

Windows’ own built-in virus finally found

November 12th, 2008

For quite a while now, I’ve been skipping one of Windows’ Updates, the Malicious Software Removal Tool. I don’t want it on my computer, because I’m (irrationally perhaps, but still) afraid it might remove something that Microsoft deems malicious, while I intentionally installed it on my computer for whatever reason that’s none of Microsoft’s business.

However, it turned out that the opposite can happen too: AVG anti-virus found a “virus” on Windows XP computers and removed it. Unfortunately it was an important Windows file, user32.dll, without which Windows XP just doesn’t run. You can read the details here, but.. if your computer didn’t start up, would you have a clue that it was caused by the AVG anti-virus program you had installed? Would you have a computer to surf around and look for answers to the problem? And even after you’ve gone to a neighbour to use their computer to find the answers, you’ll read that you need the Windows XP cd to start to solve it. How many people do not even have a Windows XP cd because their computer came from the shop with XP pre-installed? They’re stuck with these instructions (for which you’ll still need an extra pc).

For me it’s just one more reason to not allow any programs to automatically remove anything from my pc.


September 19th, 2008
pirate flag

Here I am, sitting at my desk, minding my own business (and that of my clients), when totally out of the blue, John sends an IM saying “Arrrrr, lass, bring me my boots!”. Huh? John usually talks Dutch with me, and also I’ve never had him tell me to bring him his boots (and I’d advise him not to start either! ;-)). So, I sit there staring at the screen, my brain running full speed trying to figure out what in the world he could mean by that. I think it took about 10 whole seconds, before I realised:

It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day today!

Lucky for me, I’m not a guy, so I can talk without going ‘AAAARRRRR’ all the time 🙂

Google Maps Street View on Symbian

September 17th, 2008

The news today: Google Maps has a new feature for the mobile phone. Street View.

Google Maps Street View on Nokia N73

Keen to see for myself, I followed the link to, which redirects to The instruction there is very easy: just visit with your phone. (or enter your phone number, but that only works if you’re in the US, so no go for me European person living in Europe)

I visited the link with my Nokia N73, downloaded a newer version of Google Maps than I already had, installed it, opened it, and… nothing. No Street View. Did I miss something in the instructions?

Looking at the info page again, I notice the small print below the title: “Personalize this site by choosing a phone”. It’s a link that leads to a page with 9 different models of phones to choose from, each showing a description on the right when hovering over it with the mouse. Nokia S60 phone seems to be the one for me, as it says it includes all N and E series, as well as other Symbian S60 Nokias. However, when I click that phone to see features Google Maps offers for my phone, the page all of a sudden does not show Street View anymore!

I’m okay with the fact that the iPhone can’t have it yet (iPhone is a special case of course, plus I don’t have one, so why bother ;-)), but.. a Symbian S60 should certainly be able to, right?

So, what about that other Nokia phone? It’s the standard Nokia phone. The description says this is for phones that run on S40, or legacy Symbian S60 sytem. It specifically says, that these phones are not part of the N series. But if I click that phone, Street View becomes an option. Hang on – can this be right? Do I need an older version of Symbian to be able to see Street View? It certainly seems to be so.

Despite Google saying you need a Java enabled phone (which mine is), if they can’t detect that when I visit the proper download page, there’s not much I can do. That is, until I read Sarah Perez’ post on ReadWriteWeb about the new Mobile Street View. She included a direct download link to the Java file. I downloaded that file, installed it on my phone, and voila – Street View on Symbian S60 🙂

Update February 2009

In the mean time a true Symbian S60 version of Google Maps came out, with both Street View and Latitude. Just go to where you can can choose your country and get the correct link sent to your phone.

Windows Live Messenger

September 10th, 2008

When logging into MSN with Windows Live Messenger, the contact list shows an advertisement at the bottom. Normally I don’t really pay attention to it, but just now I thought it was quite funny:

Download Windows Live Messenger