Monthly Archives: September 2005

Disabling the Insert key

MS Office 2003: Customise keyboardI can’t tell you how much I hate Windows’ overtype mode. Accidentally tap the Insert key, and you suddenly find your typing overwriting old text. Who would use such a pointless thing?

And it’s doubly worse in products such as Word, where the only clue that you’re in this stupid mode is the almost-invisible ungreying of the letters “OVR” on the status bar.

Even worse in other apps: Excel has it, invisibly, only when you’re editing cells. Powerpoint doesn’t have it. Thankfully Ultraedit noticably changes the cursor when it’s invoked.

It’s there, but invisible, in Outlook. If you set Outlook to use Word for editing messages, it does it invisibly because the Word email window has no status bar, but if you have a Word window sitting in the background, you can see the OVR status light up on that!

At least it can be disabled in Word:

  • Tools -> Customize -> click Keyboard
  • In the Categories, choose All Commands
  • In the Commands list, scroll down and find Overtype
  • In the Current Keys box, the word “Insert” should appear. Click on this, then click the Remove button. Then close the dialog boxes, and you’re done.

Wouldn’t you know it, this setting isn’t global throughout Office. So the Insert key will still do stupid things in Excel and Outlook. (Using Word for writing Outlook messages will get around it, but that might be too big a price to pay.)

See also: MS KB 198148

MS Office 2003 SP2

Microsoft have released Office 2003 Service Pack 2, which focusses on security updates.

The journal formerly known as Woody’s Office Watch are reporting problems already, and recommending people steer clear of it for a little while.

(The Office Watch web site could do with some work. They’ve written their archives page in such a way that sometimes the lines don’t wrap, but you have to scroll across to read them; and try clicking the “Contact the webmaster” link to point it out, and you get your email program popping up composing a mail to “watchit”… very bloody useful.)

All about @

The @ symbol has been around for ages in commerce, but has gained a new lease of life since email became popular. In English it means “at”, but in other languages it doesn’t, and is called a variety of things, such as in Danish: snabel, meaning elephant’s trunk. Find out more here. (Thanks Justine)

Google stuff

Google’s guidelines on web sites.

A Googler’s guidelines on how to get back in if Google kicks you out for something naughty.

It is a little worrying though that the process seems a tad secretive. While Google does an excellent job of keeping the spammers out of their index, and I suppose they don’t want to give the spammers too much information on how it’s done, legitimate sites do get caught up in it from time to time (sometimes through ignorance), and there seems to be little in the way of feedback from Google about what a site might have done to get themselves banned.


One more reason Lego rocks: they don’t mind if people hack their stuff.

Need to wipe, kersplat, zap, nuke, delete, a hard disk, but don’t want to have to physically pull it out of the machine and jump on it, drown it, then take a hammer to it? Like, if you want someone else to be able to use it? Try Darik’s Boot and Nuke. (via Colin)

With hot rumours of the Australian iTunes shop being about to launch, this guide to DRM covers how various online stores restrict what you can do with the music you buy.

More Apple stuff

Blogger Russell Beattie stirs up a hornet’s nest by declaring he’s thinking of switching back from Mac to Windows.

Reports are coming in that the new very groovy iPod Nano’s screen scratches rather too easily, so bad in some cases that the images get distorted.

Hot on the heels of the flawed (badly, for some people) iTunes 5.0, Apple has released iTunes 5.0.1.

Expensive Australian Apples

So, Apple still can’t get my iPod to synch my contacts and calendar even after an upgrade to iTunes they now seem to be charging me a premium for living in Australia.

If I wish to purchase QuickTime Pro in the US it will cost me USD $29.99. That translates to AUD$39.37 at toda Discus Care Made Easy y’s exchange rate. So why, given it’s a download and there’s no shipping or media involved, is the Australian apple site charging me AUD $44.95 for the same product?

Before the Appleites (you like, it’s yours to use too) get up in arms, yes, Microsoft do the same thing, as do Macromedia, Adobe and probably most major software houses but it happens that I want an Apple product now and they want to charge me more for it because I’m not in the United States and right now that’s really annoying me.

Discus Care Made Easy

Dodging Usenet morons

There are some real morons on Usenet. Most newsreaders have a Block Sender option so you don’t have to look at their stupid posts, but the worst ones (hello Matthew Goodyear) change their (alleged) email addresses regularly. And some poor fools keep responding to these trolls, so you still end up seeing a lot of garbage posts.

What newsreaders need is

  • An option to hide messages written by a particular person, and any responses to those messages
  • An option to hide messages written by a particular person, nominated by their alias (name), including wildcards, and not their email address

I wonder if any Windows newsreaders do this already?

Hurricane Rita

I’ve been notified by my web ISP that Hurricane Rita is approaching Houston. Why does this matter? Because (and a number of other sites I run) are sitting on a server in a data centre in Houston. I’ve been encouraged to take backups of important content, which I’ll be doing. It’s a reminder that regular backups are an essential precaution.

If the site goes down in the next day or two, you’ll know why. Best wishes to those in the affected areas.

Blatant plug

Piles of magazinesI’m clearing out a huge stack of Australian Personal Computer magazines and CDs. If you’re crazy enough to want such a thing, it’s listed on eBay.

(I hope someone wants them; I’m moving house soon, and could really do with not lugging them to the new place.)

No, There Is Another…

By now everyone on the planet should be using Firefox in place of Internet Explorere but if you’re too cool even for Firefox then it’s good news, Opera has just announced they are making their browser free.

Try ‘the third browser’ now – Opera Web Browser Free Download