Monday, September 29, 2014

Carbonite's coloured dots stop working after installing Dropbox

Last night I spent a long time with a very helpful guy from Carbonite's chat service (a major improvement over what they had a few years ago) because I have just installed a new subscription of Carbonite on my new Lenovo Z50 Windows 8.1 laptop, and the coloured dots weren't showing. I had also noticed that some of the dots had stopped working on my old Windows Vista laptop.
It turns out the problem lies with DropBox. Or Microsoft. Or something. Dropbox has a whole bunch of overlay icons that it uses, and these tend to crowd out any other programs, like Google Drive or Carbonite. Frankly, I don't care about Dropbox's little icons, but I do rely on Carbonite's coloured dots to tell me what files still need to be backed up. So after uninstalling Dropbox and doing a reboot, the dot problem went away. But I need Dropbox and Carbonite.
I was reading a Dropbox helpdesk article "Why aren't my Dropbox icon overlays appearing correctly?" when I found the answer. There is a Windows registry key called "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers" that stores the details of programs wanting to use Shell Icon Overlays, the technical term for Carbonite's coloured dots. If you are technically minded and brave, exit from Dropbox, delete the 8 Dropbox entries in this registry key, and start Dropbox again. This fixes the problem, at least until Dropbox updates itself with a new version.
I'm not surprised that the Carbonite tech support people didn't suggest this, but I'm not entirely sure that "uninstall Dropbox" is good advice either. But if you don't mind fiddling with your registry keys, you may want to give it a try. It works on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The President in the Room

Dear President Zuma
It should not be necessary for me to tell you this, but you seem to have lost your way and are too stubborn to resign; or something.
Our parliamentary democracy has a concept known as question time, during which the elected representatives of the people are allowed to ask you questions, and you are required to answer them truthfully and in full.
Now I know this may come as a shock to you, but there is a big difference between responding to a question and answering it. You know how to respond to a question already: that's the process by which you talk about a subject similar to the topic of the question without saying anything meaningful or important, and hope the issue goes away by itself. It's a weasel tactic used by cowards and liars to avoid responsibility. Lawyers, politicians and marketing people do it all the time.
Honest leaders (or brave ones) choose to actually answer questions in a truthful manner, even if the answer is difficult, embarrassing or uncomfortable. It's a sign of a good leader and it builds trust. As the President you are expected to be a good leader and build the nation through good and honest leadership.
You have not done so. You have lied to parliament (and thereby the people) about the finances of your home in Nkandla. You have done this more than once. So it came as no surprise when during question time in parliament, Mr Malema asked you a direct question and you didn’t answer, but merely responded with the kind of vague platitudes we have come to expect. You seriously underestimated the determination of the EFF to obtain a forthright answer, and now you look like an idiot. What’s worse its that you have handed a major public relations coup to your most vocal opponents. You deserve what you get as a result.
Do you really think that you can misuse millions of Rands in taxpayer money, especially when those Rands have been collected from the voters who pay VAT on things like groceries and fuel? Do you think the voters will let you get away with it? Clearly you think the voters are too stupid or gullible and will just keep voting for the ANC “until Jesus comes”.
I would also like to point out the “elephant in the room” of Parliament: the ANC does not have the support of the majority of eligible voters. 25,388,082 people in South Africa are eligible to vote. Only 11,436,921 people (45%) cast their votes for the ANC. The remaining 6,965,576 votes were cast for other parties, and 6,985,585 did not vote at all. So the “official opposition” is not a party in parliament, but the voters who are sufficiently pissed-off with lying politicians and their empty promises to stay away from the polls.
Do you or anyone else in the political parties understand how dangerous that is? Do you think service delivery protests or the eTolls boycott are a sign of a healthy democracy, or the sign of a country that is losing faith in its elected leaders? Is that why you had a “fire pool” installed at Nkandla, because one day a crowd may just decide to burn your mansion to the ground? Is that why you need all the extra security?
When is the ANC going to start taking seriously issues of service delivery, competent and transparent government, and alleviating poverty seriously? Time is running out for you and your kleptocratic party. And there won’t be much mercy when the mob starts chanting “Pay Back the Money” outside the gates of Nkandla.
So I think it is time for you to stop ducking and diving and start leading the nation the way you are supposed to. Quit being distracted by your wives, lovers and architects (they are all screwing you one way or another) and start leading your party like an adult.
Before it’s too late.
P.S. Being appointed to a position of leadership is not the same as actually leading. Its time you started leading.
Click on the image to see it in a readable size.

Friday, September 05, 2014

"Never Trust a Phone Company That Makes Fridges"

Deon Meyer is a great author, and in his latest thriller, "Cobra", he has some interesting throw-away comments about smart phones. The first one deals with Samsung becoming "the new Illuminati and taking over the world".
This comment is made by a cop with an opinion about everything. I laughed out loud when I heard it on the audio book, and then looked it up on Google Books for the screen shot shown here. Does the comment "Never trust a phone company that makes fridges" apply to Hisense as well as Samsung? I wonder ...
Tyrone is a pickpocket in the novel. He keeps and uses the Windows phone because it has zero resale value and because he stole it anyway, but he won't pay for a replacement one, even though the money was stolen. Microsoft definitely has a marketing problem: "Nobody wants a Windows phone". And Microsoft used to be really good at marketing. Nokia too, until they started making unreliable phones. My last one is only 18 months old and it reboots at random.