Monday, August 18, 2014

Why I moderate comments

Many blogs have a rather free-form comments policy. I chose from the beginning to moderate comments on this site. Here's why.

Sometimes comments are inflammatory, or attempt to derail the discussion and take it in a different direction, or are personal attacks on the author or one of the other commenters. That's not what this blog is for. This blog is meant to entertain, to make one think, and to give me, the author, someplace to vent. Once I got an anonymous comment chewing me out royally for saying how I felt about someone — for showing some emotion and expressing an opinion. Um, am I not allowed to have my own feelings or opinions? If that's what you think, then you can go eat rocks.

Many comments say things like "Love your site, glad to hear you talking about this," followed by a link to someone else's site. That linked site is always spam. The comment is basically unpaid advertising. If I were to allow these comments, then anytime someone looked at my blog, the linked-to site would get a boost in its ratings, and some Web users would think that the site was reliable or trustworthy because its link appeared on my blog. I don't want to be responsible for that, and I don't want to give spammers any assistance. So these ones automatically get the boot.

I have approved comments that disagree with something I've written, or provide an alternative viewpoint. I'm not at all afraid to do that.

Most people who discover my blog like what they see. They like to read what I have here. I want to keep it that way, for their benefit. As for the rest, well, nobody's forcing them to read this stuff.

UPDATE, AUGUST 28: I received a comment on this blog entry today. It was a spam comment.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I hate Microsoft's Click-to-Run.

For the record, I hate Click-to-Run.

I bought Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Student Edition two years ago. Taking advantage of the diskless download bargain prices, I bought just the product key and downloaded the bits, direct from Microsoft.

The thing ran fine, as far as I can tell, until this morning. This morning I really, really needed to type up some meeting agendas in a hurry. First, when I tried to open Word, it was very slow. It flashed a dialogue box at me that said something about Click-to-Run, which I didn't remember installing or activating, and the only option on the dialogue box was "OK". SO I clicked OK.

Once I was inside Word, every time I tried to do anything like open a recent file, or Save As ..., a message balloon appeared on the status bar, saying: "Microsoft Office is installing the required upgrades" and "Your office application may be unresponsive during this blahblah."

It turns out that Click-to-Run is meant for users on a broadband network, to get constant, unattended upgrades of their software. This is Microsoft taking control of my computer again. It makes no sense for a "Home and Student" computer to have this feature enabled by default. A corporate or office computer, perhaps, where a broadband connection can be assumed, but not home or student.

And there's no way to disable Click-to-Run. If you installed the software by clicking on the Download button, you've got it. The alternative to Click-to-Run is to install Office using the old-fashioned MSI installation package, and allow Office to inform you once it knows an upgrade is available. But Microsoft has very carefully hidden the MSI package so it's difficult to find.

I am following the instructions on to delete my Click-to-Run version, but the MSI version is not there, in spite of what the instructions say.

If this doesn't work, and if I can't find an MSI package, I'm ready to dump MS Office and go with LibreOffice or OpenOffice. Microsoft loses again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Things you don't have to do when you don't have a dog

When you don't have a dog:

You don't have to put the couch cushions up when you leave the dog alone in the house.
You don't have to cover the living room furniture with blankets to hide the shredded cushions.
You don't have to find chewed-up books and other important stuff around the house.
You don't have to go through the ordeal of potty-training the puppy.
You don't have to clean the dog poop that's been smeared on every square inch of the bathroom floor by a puppy that didn't want to be left all alone while the family went out to dinner.
You don't have to shut all the bedroom and bathroom doors, all the time.
You can throw your used Kleenex tissues in any trash can you want to, because there's no dog to fish them out and chew them up and swallow them.
You don't have to chase the dog off the couch, off your bed, and so on.

You don't have to vacuum up dog hair every week. (However, you will find it in the vacuum cleaner bag for several months after the dog is gone.)
You don't have to pick dog hair out of the food you're preparing.
You don't have to tell the dog to shut up whenever someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell.
You don't have to tell the dog to shut up when the UPS or FedEx truck goes down the street.
You don't have to tell the dog to shut up in the middle of the night when his snoring and whimpering wake you up.
You don't have to go sleep on the couch because he won't stop snoring and whimpering even when you tell him repeatedly.
You don't have to open the front door carefully or shut it quickly to keep the dog from bolting.
You don't have to drive around the neighborhood on July 5, helping your children post "lost dog" signs because he ran away during the fireworks the night before.
You don't have to carry him into the house after Animal Control returns him to you three days later, with the pads of his feet worn away and bloody.
You don't have to go to court, plead guilty and pay a massive fine, because he bolted out the door and bit the mailman one day when you weren't even home.
You don't have to rent a P.O. box because the mailman won't deliver mail to your house as long as you still own the dog.
You don't have to fight the dog to see who goes through the doorway first.
You don't have to deal with his incessant begging for food from the table.
You don't have to deal with him scratching or licking himself inappropriately in front of guests.
You don't have to take him for walks in cold, wet or otherwise miserable weather.
You don't have to pick up his poop, put it in a bag, and dispose of it in your trash can where it can smell up the place until garbage day.
You don't have to clean up after him when he poops or pees on the carpet.
Or when he vomits on the carpet.
You don't have to protect him from rambunctious little children who tend to run over him.
You don't have to take him to the vet when he overdoses on jars of pills he pulled off the counter.
You don't have to yell "it serves you right" when he eats an entire batch of something off the counter while your back is turned, and he looks at you with pure misery in his eyes when you notice.
You don't have to trip over him in the dark when you get up in the middle of the night.
You don't have to endure his cold nose waking you rather abruptly in the morning.
You don't have to worry about running over him when you push out your chair after a meal.
You don't have to step over him or yell at him to move while you're preparing meals or cleaning up after meals.
You don't have to take him to a kennel when you're leaving on a long trip.
You don't have to pick him up from the kennel and endure his enthusiastic welcome-home affections when you return.
You don't have to take pictures of him frolicking in the snow like a puppy, in the winter.

You don't have to wish you had taken video of him running at full speed, pure beauty in motion, in the fields near your house.
You don't have to imagine the rabbits laughing with glee as he chases them up and down the street at 11 at night.
You don't have to take him for rides in the car, and think of how much like a little kid he is, in that back seat with the windows down.
You don't have to sit with him and comfort him during thunderstorms or fireworks shows.
You don't have to sit and scratch his head, his back, his belly or any other body parts while he snuggles up next to you during a movie.
You don't have to feel even the least bit guilty about leaving him at home alone, yet again.

You don't have to endure his joyful welcome when you're the first one to return home in the evening.
You don't have to call out his name and listen for the sound of his tags or his footsteps when you return home.
You don't have to fill his food or water dish every day.
You don't have to receive his thanks for filling his food or water dish every day.
You don't have to give him doggy treats and see the look of delight on his face.
You don't have to make him do tricks for doggy treats.
You don't have to see him smile when he's playful or happy.
You don't have to waste perfectly good bacon or ice cream on him, or see the doggy joy in his eyes when you do.
The same goes for waffles.
And steak.
And anything with cheese.
You don't have to deal with him snuggling up next to you, or lying on your feet, or lying next to your chair, or nuzzling up to you and fishing for affection.
You don't have to envy him snoozing in that patch of sunlight on the carpet.

You don't have to pretend that you don't like him when people are watching.
You don't have to watch him slow down as he gets older and arthritis sets in.
You don't have to give your money to a veterinarian as easily as you would give it to a pediatrician, if only the doctor can make him stop hurting and be healthy again.
You don't have to worry every time he lies down, that he might not be able to get back up.
You don't have to wonder if he's in constant pain and just being stoic about it, because he doesn't want his humans to worry about him.
You don't have to make that agonizing decision about letting him live in misery or putting him to sleep.
You don't have to hold him in your arms and love him while he takes his last breath.
You don't have to watch his lifeless eyes staring at you as you gently lower him into that hole in the ground.
You don't have to endure being eaten by mosquitos as they fill the hole with dirt, burying him once and for all.

You don't have to scratch his name into the dirt of his grave as a first, makeshift memorial.

You don't have to keep finding his possessions around the house for weeks after he's gone, and enduring the heart pains when you do.
You don't have to miss him when he's gone.