Category Archives: Computers

Have you chosen Internet Explorer as your browser?

Hello.  Microsoft here.  We just broke your computer.
Hello. Microsoft here but we don't say so. We just broke your computer in revenge.

Well I feel sorry for those of you who say “What’s a browser?” or “What is internet explorer?”  I suspect a huge number of people will be saying just that this week.

Microsoft have just implemented the patch to beat all patches.  It’s job – to satisfy the EU Regulators that users of Windows have had a chance to select their web browser, albeit retrospectively, instead of being “forced” to use Internet Explorer, bundled with every version of Windows since the Ark.  Microsoft have just been fined an extraordinary amount of money for this “violation of anti trust laws” whatever that entails.  If I buy a Sainsburies pork pie I don’t expect to be warned at the checkout that I didn’t need to buy Sainsburies tomato sauce to go with it, so why on earth if I choose Microsoft Windows can I not be trusted to choose my own programs to go with it if I don’t like what they provide me with?

This whole farcical Windows Update, inflicted on Europe this week, means that everyone who has been happy with Internet Explorer to date will now see an anonymous warning screen next time they start their computer.  It is titled “Information Regarding Web Browsers” and looks to all intents and purposes like one of those infuriating virus related popups for which I spend half of my professional life warning customers how dangerous it is to click on a link on an unexpected email or popup window.   

Now how about a new browser?  We have hidden the ones you wont want, on the right.
Now how about a new browser? We have hidden the ones you wont want, on the right.

So this week Internet Explorer will cease to be your web browser of choice until you select it again from a list of five..  no wait theres more hidden ones if you scroll along…. possible candidates.  How bloody stupid can it get when someone who didn’t know they had a choice is now able to select a totally inappropriate tool for the job, some of which I have never even heard of.  Even more ludicrous is the only option if you want to keep Internet Explorer is to press a button marked “Install” which doesn’t install anything luckily but simply tells you how to put things back how they were before.

Is the EU going to pick up the bill for all those who break their computer while trying to put this back to how it used to be?  Don’t we have any rights to make our own minds up about this without being told we have to?  This moment certainly has to go down in history as the first time Europe demanded a supplier deliberately broke their product leaving the consumer to piece it back together again.  I expect the phone’s going to ring a few times before this one lies down.

But wait a minute …..  I bought an Apple Macbook Pro last month and it came with Safari browser.  It must be faulty.  I must call the European Parliament immediately………………..  My human rights are being violated.  I wanted a red one too, like Dell do, but Macbook Pro only comes in aluminium……   aaarghhhhh.

Screenshots using Vista’s Snipping Tool – useful for illustrating blogs!

Due to working this week I haven’t had much time for boating so here’s a windows Vista tip instead.

Try the Windows Snipping Tool to take a “picture” of anything on your screen and either paste it into an email or document, or save it as a graphic file which you can then include in a blog.  It can save you hours on the phone trying to describe what you can see when you could simply take a snapshot and mail it within 10 seconds.

This is also ideal for bloggers who want to show a small part of a photo without having to load up a photo editor.

To find it, Open Snipping Tool by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Snipping Tool

Use the snipping tool like this
Use the snipping tool like this

If the option is not there then you need to add “Tablet PC Optional Components” by going to Control Panel | Programs | Programs and Features | Turn Windows features on or off at which time you will see a list of Windows components.  Tick the box beside Tablet PC Optional Components and press OK.

The Snipping Tool is extremely simple to use – you draw a box around what you want to snip and thats it – you can then draw or write onto the screenshot and then mail it, save it or paste it into a document.  The options are fairly self explanatory but there’s a much better tutorial than this at  http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial135.html

To take a screenshot including a dropdown menu its a little more complicated but this will work.

1. Open Snipping Tool by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Snipping Tool
2. Press ESC, and then open the menu that you want to capture. 
3. Press CTRL+PRINT SCREEN. 
4. Select the type of snip you want, and then capture the menu.

Screenshot of windows menu
Screenshot of windows menu