Outlook Express and Hotmail… no more

An Outlook express icon that I made from scrat...
Outlook Express

This may seem like old news to someone who’s stayed in the loop (I hadn’t), but as of June 30th 2008 – officially – Outlook Express users could no longer access their email via Outlook Express. Instead, Microsoft decided to force everyone to download their newer Windows Live Mail program (an edition of which was included with Vista from the start).

I don’t know the reasoning behind this other than the branding exercise whereby MS have tried to tie together all their online packages – the toolbar, MSN, Messenger, Mail and so on. Simply, it just makes things complicated for the very casual user when their email stopped working for no apparent reason.

Which is what happened to a friend today. Almost a year after the cut-off date that they knew nothing about. On their work’s email.

Yes, I know having your work email on a freebie service like Hotmail (or is it Live Mail these days?) isn’t ideal but that’s what they’d gone with and it worked for them. As I said, until today when they could receive mail but sending it gave a “host not found” error. Strange as manually entering the host address into Firefox resolved it no problem.

The solution to the issue is simple – download Windows Live Mail from this link and install it. Make sure you un-tick all the boxes for the other stuff you might not want (there are six or seven packages listed) and let the install run. Once it’s in, give it your Hotmail login details and then allow it to search for your Outlook Express installation. It’ll pull in all your contacts, folders and email. Then ditch OE.

Simple, easy… and pointless. Also surprising, given that the official cut-off date was almost a year ago. I guess it’s just one of those things that’s taken time to propagate across the servers.

But, really – making people change program not just have an upgrade?

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Guitar Hero: Iron Maiden

Guitar Hero: Iron Maiden
Guitar Hero: Iron Maiden

Dear Sony,

A simple request. You own Iron Maiden. You own the rights for the production of PlayStation software. I demand that you use these to force the manufacturers of Guitar Hero to do an Iron Maiden edition.

We’ve got an Aerosmith one with Metallica on the way (sadly including a load of crap from recent albums). Maiden have countless classics out there and as far as I’m aware only two have been used in past Guitar Hero games (“Number of the Beast” in III and a cover of “The Trooper” in the XBox 360 version of II, I think).

Who wouldn’t want to riff along to “Aces High” or “Fear of the Dark“? And think of the backdrops that could be used. Classic Maiden live stage sets, Eddie in his multiple forms… It’d shift thousands!

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Support the Gurkhas

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Actress Joanna Lu...
Nice lady - nicer man

There is an online petition which can be “signed” in support of the Gurkhas, and specifically in protest at the ridiculously insulting decision made by the government recently as regards their rights to enter the UK. I know it’ll make fuck all difference – when was the last time our government actually gave the slightest toss about public opinion? – but at least it makes you feel good to vent off with other people.

It just disgusts me that our government seems to be happy to wait hand and foot on filth like the chavs, but treats genuine war heroes with disdain. Please, sign it. Unless you’re a chav. In which case I understand that you probably can’t even spell your own name, likely change address every time you trash the house I’m paying for out of my taxes and wouldn’t know a Gurkha if he came up behind you and slit your throat.

Hell, if one did that he could have my room.

And, no. I didn’t sign it just because Joanna Lumley looked hot in various frocks in The New Avengers all those years ago. And Sapphire and Steel. I really should dig out some copies of those.

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65 Questions You’ve Probably Never Been Asked

Detail Of Sol Lewitt's 1971 "Wall Drawing...
Random questions, random picture

Happily plagiarised from Muddy’s LJ.

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
Head and what’s left of my hair.
2. What color is your favorite hoodie?
I don’t own any hoodies.
3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
I hope to, though the last kiss was just a peck on the cheek.
4. Do you plan outfits?
Pff, no.
5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?
Kind of “meh”. Hungry. Bored. Buried. A little freaked. Tired, but perky. Just… weird.
6. Whats the closest thing to you that is red?
A big plastic M&M dispenser.
7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?
Can’t recall any. I seem to forget about them really soon afterwards.
8. Did you meet anybody new today?
Got talking to a couple of the staff in GameStation. Nice guys.

9. What are you craving right now?
Food, basically. Think dinner’s on.
10. Do you floss?
Yup.
11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?
The food I had in Tokyo the other week. It was awesome.
12. Are you emotional?
I can be. Rarely, but I can be.
13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
Not that I can recall. I remember counting to 200 once when I was little.
14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
Depends on the type of ice cream. If it’s a cone, I usually lick.
15. Do you like your hair?
What hair? It’s OK as far as it goes.
16. Do you like yourself?
Sometimes. Not 100% right now.
17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?
Hell no. Not unless I was allowed to beat the shit out of him and steal his dessert.
18. What are you listening to right now?
Spoony on 606 (Radio 5 Live)

19. Are your parents strict?
Not as strict as they were when I was little.

20. Would you go sky diving?
Been there, done that.
21. Do you like cottage cheese?
Nope.
22. Have you ever met a celebrity?
Loads. I used to DJ for student and community radio so I interviewed a load of bands.
23. Do you rent movies often?
Nope.
24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you’re in?
Actually, yes. A gold ribbon on a basket sat at the foot on my bed. My mum’s not cleared her stuff out of here yet since I moved in.
25. How many countries have you visited?
I think the total’s around 54 or so at the moment.
26. Have you made a prank phone call?
Years ago, aye.
27. Ever been on a train?
Lots of them.
28. Brown or white eggs?
What’s the difference? They’re all the same inside. Are the brown ones wholemeal?
29.Do you have a cell-phone?
No, but I do have three mobiles.
30. Do you use chap stick?
Depends on the weather.
31. Do you own a gun?
Only for my PS2
32. Can you use chop sticks?
Yes.
33. Who are you going to be with tonight?
The folks and the dogs.
34. Are you too forgiving?
I used to be. Not any more.
35. Ever been in love?
Yes. In fact I am right now.
36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?
I don’t really have a best friend any more. Just quite a few good mates.
37. Ever have cream puffs?
Probably. And no dirty jokes about gay guys, please.
38. Last time you cried?
About a week or so ago.
39. What was the last question you asked?
“What was the last question you were asked?”
40. Favorite time of the year?
None. All of them have their ups and downs.
41. Do you have any tattoos?
Yup, four.
42. Are you sarcastic?
Hell, yes.
43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?
Yup. And I’ve downloaded the sequel as I hear it’s shit.
44. Ever walked into a wall?
Not that I can recall.
45. Favorite color?
Black and white.
46. Have you ever slapped someone?
Yup, many years ago when I was in primary school.
47. Is your hair curly?
When it grows (which it doesn’t any more), yes.
48. What was the last CD you bought?
Machine Head’s The Blackening, I think. Been a while since I bought one. Not very convenient media when you’re living out of a rucksack.

49. Do looks matter?
Not as much as what’s inside. And I know that sounds cheesy but I wholeheartedly believe it.

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?
Yes. I did once. Not that it made any difference.

51. Is your phone bill sky high?
Nope. I have a flat rate contract and very rarely spend more than that.

52. Do you like your life right now?
It could be better.

53. Do you sleep with the TV on ?
No, as I only use it for my PS2

54. Can you handle the truth?
Yes

55. Do you have good vision?
Ish. My right eye needs another operation, but it’s going to be a pain to get it organised now.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?
Probably. I try not to think about it.

57. How often do you talk on the phone?
Maybe once a day or so.

58. The last person you held hands with?
My little cousin last week.

59. What are you wearing?
Jeans and Slayer t-shirt from the Australian tour I saw them on.
60.What is your favorite animal?
Don’t have one. I like pretty much all animals.

61. Where was your default picture taken at?
What default picture?

62. Can you hula hoop?
I think so.

63. Do you have a job?
Ish. Technically I think I’m still being paid for the overseas job for support.

64. What was the most recent thing you bought?
Six more games for the PS2. Well, they were cheap.

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?
You know, I probably have but I can’t remember when.

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Seriously, what is this country coming to?

The flag of the United Kingdom (3:5 Army version).

Or, perhaps, what has it already gone to? I’ve only been back her a week or so and I’m sick of the place already. Don’t get me wrong, life up in Perth with the folks is laid back and relaxed. But there are things which just don’t feel right and news stories that are driving me nuts.

A daft one to start with. All of the bins along the main road into Perth have been removed. If there’s somewhere you expect to see a bin, it’s by a bus stop. They’ve all gone. So rather than pay someone to empty them, someone’s decided that they’ll just take them away. Maybe they’ll be replaced, but I doubt that very much. I might look into this and see if the council have an answer.

[Update: the bins are back – new ones. So only bad planning, not a removal of a public service]

Then there’s a budget and the general economic mess. Gordon Brown refusing to apologise and people making more fuss over some potential letters to “smear” some other sleazeballs. As if we don’t have enough problems without parlimentarians calling each other names. Pathetic. I wouldn’t trust these overgrown schoolchildren to cook their own dinner, let alone run a country.

The decision to only allow about 100 Gurkhas to apply for residence is a complete disgrace as well. We hand out millions each year to lazy, good-for-nothing, workshy filth who can’t even be bothered to look for a job… and turn our backs on people who fought for our country every bit as bravely as any British soldier. Disgusting. I don’t think there are words strong enough for me to describe how repugnant we must seem to push them away as we are.

If we’re bothered about “thousands” of people trying to move here then the solution is simple. Check their military record and if they were a Gurkha, let them in. And stop giving money to the chavs who just spend it all on drugs, booze, fags, crappy gold jewellery and Sky TV. Let those bastards starve until they find a job. That’s not what these brave men fought for, nor my grandad, nor anyone else.

And a final one. Just one incident, but similar things have happened before, and recently. A young girl, 11 years old, shot while queuing for an ice cream on Merseyside. The shooter described as being about 16 or 17 years old. Shot her then cycled away.

What. The. Fuck.

I am so thankful she seems to be OK as far as shooting victims go, but it just staggers me that something like that can happen in this country. An isolated incident, a one-off by a loony.. OK. But this kid was part of a gang, and it’s happened in the past. How can this keep happening?

In a week that’s seen St George‘s go by with barely a blip outside of some mentions on Twitter and the like, I should have been proud – for a day – to be English. Instead, I’m ashamed. Not to be English as such. But of the state my country has fallen into.

Yes, I know England‘s just one part of Britain but I see myself as both English (born) and British (bred). They are, to a large extent, one and the same to me. And I’m saddened at the state I find both of them in now.

Is it too late to dig ourselves out of this hole? I genuinely think it is, short of some kind of major upheaval in the social and political systems of this country. We need someone in charge who’s not afraid to strip away the last 40 years and get back to some serious basics. Strip people of a lot of their “rights” (criminals, chavs, filth who run our streets, politicians…) and make people realise that they can’t get away with this any more.

Because right now they can. And will. And do.

And that’s just not good enough for my country.

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