Sirius Stuff

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Microsoft, I don’t want macros

March 30, 2006 at 03:03 AM | categories: Home Computers | View Comments

I downloaded something written in Word for my wife, who’s a Mac user, and printed it for her.  Now, every time I open Microsoft Word, I get an unintelligble message about “The function you are attempting to run contains macros or content that
requires macro language support. When this software was installed you
(or your administrator) chose not to install support for macros or

OK.  What function that I am trying to run?  Where is it? is totally unhelpful.  In searching Google, I ran across a pretty good screech about “Microsoft’s Scripting Addiction“.

This morning I sold my Microsoft stock.  I’m not upgrading to the next version of Office.  I’m pretty ambivalent about Vi$ta.  Whatever glitz they put on the front and however well it might compare to Mac OS X, you know they’re going to be going around underneath making it more difficult to use the content that you’ve bought. 

pingback versus trackback explained

March 30, 2006 at 03:03 AM | categories: Blogging | View Comments

I’ve never really understood the differences between “pingback” and “trackback”.  Google likes to display older articles, which has interesting effects  The first thing that I found that tried to explain the differences was published more than 3 years ago and has way more detail than I want.  But this whitepaper led me to more resources on pingback and trackback.

If I can summarize:


  • Just ping a blog (or whatever) with your own blogging software
  • No detail about what you said about them
  • Receiver doesn’t link back to you


  • Details about what was said
  • Receiver can link back if they want. 

SixApart has a trackback technical doc that explains more.

Simplify, simplify, simplify … is hard

March 24, 2006 at 03:03 AM | categories: User Interface | View Comments

WHY FEATURES DON’T MATTER ANYMORE: THE NEW LAWS OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY is a great article on why the iPod caught on and what to consider when designing anything. Tools (hardware or software) are overloaded with features that people don’t have time to learn.

Craig’s List drives me a bit crazy. It doesn’t let me work the way that I want, sorting things this way or that. But given that it’s a bunch of free ads for stuff that might or might not be still available, well, OK, sorting latest first works. What’s the point of sorting by make and price, then finding out that the item is gone?

And clearly the interface works for a lot of people.

Wal-Mart going upscale? Huh?

March 24, 2006 at 03:03 AM | categories: Marketing | View Comments

Laura Ries has a great article about Wal-Mart testing a high-end store in Texas. $500 bottles of wine at a Wal-Mart? What’s the message here?

This is especially interesting coming on the heels of her article about how to properly segment: Scion, Toyota, Lexus or Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic. Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart? Don’t think so.

Stop the paper … and make millions

March 23, 2006 at 03:03 AM | categories: Startups | View Comments

OK, I’ve wanted this for years and it’s still not available.

I don’t want paper statements. From anybody. I don’t want to file them away. I don’t want to scan them myself. And I certainly don’t want to pay someone to do it.

I want electronic statements that are secure. I want them backed up regularly. I want them authoritative - one of the big reasons that I don’t go electronic is that I figure the original statements will carry more weight with the bank, company, etc. Or the court, if it comes to that. I don’t want them alterable. If the bank has an error on their statement, I don’t want them to be able to be change it. If I have 2 statements for February 2006 - the right one and the wrong one - that’s OK.

I want this to be online for as long as I’m alive. Having my own local copy is fine but the hard drive in my laptop crashed last August. I was and am better about backups than most people but I still lost some data. So I want somone else doing the backup, too. And I don’t want to pay anything for it.

I have an account at Charles Schwab. They started charging for paper copies of transactions so I went electronic. Which is a pain in the neck. There are class action lawsuits filed about stocks that I owned years ago. They (courts, attorneys, company, somebody) know I was an owner because they’re mailing me. But now I have to show them when I bought the stock, how much I paid for it, etc. This is seriously not fun.

Schwab pokes at me from time to time to go to electronic statements. I have no idea why I would ever do this. They only keep statements online for 18 months. Which means that I’m supposed to downloading, backing it up, etc.

Things are getting better with gmail. Now the electronic stuff can come in and just sit in a folder somewhere. Google takes security seriously enough to require encrypted access. But there’s no guarantees about reliability or availability.

My house in Portland was built in 1914. It has a mail slot beside the door. You’re going to have to break into the house to steal my mail. A lot of other people have their mailbox on the parking strip. If you want to steal their mail, well, you’re going to have to open the mailbox. It seems like there are a lot more people in that situation than mine. A few years ago, many people thought it was crazy to have electronic statements. But now, with identity theft, a lot more people would be willing to do it.

So what you should do is start up a company.

More on that later.