back to article For pity's sake, you fool! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it worse

It’s decided: I am going to be an actor. Apparently, actors have better sex lives than any other profession. In fact, according to the press release in front of me, they shag 550 per cent more often than bankers. Oh, hang on. The survey didn’t quote “actors” exactly, it said “those in acting and performing”. Given that some of …

  1. AlexV

    Accented characters in windows

    You could try a character composition utility, like https://github.com/SamHocevar/wincompose

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Accented characters in windows

      Thanks, Alex, we might give that a go.

    2. Andy Non Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Accented characters in windows

      Or try this:

      http://www.avisoft.co.uk/Accentype9/Accentype9.htm

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Accented characters in windows

        Or just press the alt button and type the code of the accented thing, such as ALT-136 for e with an accent (îê.)

        Most of them are in the extended ASCII set. You could then either print out a list (or more usefully) stick the common ones in macros tied to something she can use easily like the F1-F12 keys which are usually unused.

        1. Annihilator
          Facepalm

          Re: Accented characters in windows

          "Or just press the alt button and type the code of the accented thing, such as ALT-136 for e with an accent (îê.)"

          Did you read the article?..

          "Or I could pin up a printout of Windows ALT codes for her to use in order to produce accented characters, bearing in mind that it would mean a word such as bébé would require 12 key presses and the single-letter word à would require five."

          Also Mac keyboards use the function keys for a variety of things like volume, screen brightness etc

          1. PJI

            Re: Accented characters in windows

            about the mac function keys: you can change that behaviour using Preferences::keyboard to use standard function keys by default (special by pressing the <fn> key with the desired mac function key).

            This lock-in to Windows for the cloud seems odd though. Presumably it is just some protocol unless the cloud end of the software does some cunning check for the OS.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Accented characters in windows

              Or it could be that the interface you are being asked to use isn't a browser application, but a thick client application written for Windows...

          2. PJI

            Re: Accented characters in windows

            re the cloudy incompatibility: does this mean that even Microsoft's OSX versions of Office can not work with it? MS do sell the cloud version for OSX and give advice about using it.

            https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Set-up-my-current-Office-for-Mac-apps-with-Office-365-for-business-c113166e-9491-46ef-aadb-9ca75112baff?CorrelationId=fb62e308-d5f0-418f-a953-f932ced47fb2&ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Accented characters in windows

      but Mac OS also happens to be a popular choice for multi-linguists because of its direct support for accented characters while being OS language agnostic.

      Oooh yes. And it's done this for a while as well. I recall trying to get Thai working on a PC (long ago, think Worries for Workgroups at best, or earlier). The PC platform put up quite a fight to punish us for having the nerve trying to use anything but American (no, it's not English - that too took some work).

      In contrast, the Macs had been happily doing this for ages, even on OS9. No problem whatsoever.

      As a matter of fact, the only language related challenges I have ever had with Macs were either with Dragon Dictate (but that makes sense - that IS language specific) and (and this is IMHO pretty unforgivable) the rampant idiocy that is the nation lock on the App Store, which allows you to only use one country, and only payment instruments (credit cards etc) issued in that country.

      The latter, I must add, is the only blight on an otherwise rather good customer experience, but it is a blight so massive that it is busy driving someone like me who tends to work in a LOT of countries actually away. I may have to switch back to Microsoft simply because it's the only platform where I can keep software bought in the US up to date even when I move to another country. According to the Apple App Store model, the moment I dare change country, every purchase I made elsewhere is basically cut off from the update cycle which (AFAIK) none of us can afford.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Accented characters in windows

      You could try a character composition utility, like https://github.com/SamHocevar/wincompose

      Well, yes, but that's fighting the symptoms, not the cause. How on earth can anyone designing a platform not design it platform agnostic, ESPECIALLY for the translation market where Macs are almost the default? I would consider this platform quite simply functionally deficient - that should have come out early in the design phase or latest during testing, not during roll out.

      Where the hell did that company find these clowns? Lowest bidders? Had plenty of government references (as we all know how wonderful that is going)?

      Yes, Alistair, I understand and even share your frustration. That isn't just worth swearing at by end users, but even by IT hacks.

      Question: can't you just use a Windows session for the link and transport, but remain on the Mac for everything else?

      1. trialanderr0r

        Re: Accented characters in windows

        "ESPECIALLY for the translation market where Macs are almost the default?"

        SDL Trados studio: no Mac version

        MemoQ: no Mac version

        DejaVu: no Mac version

        I think not...

      2. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Accented characters in windows

        Question: can't you just use a Windows session for the link and transport, but remain on the Mac for everything else?

        Unfortunately not. You have to use the .NET generated web interface to enter the translation.

    5. Mike Dimmick

      UK Extended Layout

      Install the United Kingdom Extended keyboard layout. This supports pressing AltGr+a key with an accent-like character on it as a 'dead key' - press another letter to add that accent to that letter. In addition, just pressing AltGr+a vowel gives you the acute-accent version of that vowel (plus also w and y which are used in Welsh).

      The back-tick key ` becomes a dead key without requiring shifts. If you need to actually type this as a programmer, just hit space afterward.

      The only annoying part is that Windows tracks keyboard layout per program, so if you have more than one layout installed you have to check which one is selected for every new program you run.

      1. Philip Hodges

        US International keyboard layout

        What works well enough for me is to install the US International keyboard layout on every Windows instance, delete all the other layouts so that individual applications cannot unexpectedly revert due to some inadvertent hot key combination I didn't bother to disable, and warn colleagues / family not to touch my keyboards while I am logged in. To do accents in Windows I just have to remember to hit a dead punctuation key instead of the Mac's Option key. I also install a picture of the layout as desktop wallpaper so that I can find a degree symbol or a euro currency sign.

  2. slightly-pedantic

    surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT

    Our experience is that the real villain here is probably the translation company. We've wasted a load of time to try and set up a good way of working with them to get our client and web text translated: it's been a world of pain. Every time we ask any of them "what's the best way of managing the data transfer"- thinking there must be some savvy folk who do this right- we get blank looks. It seems they generally prefer excel, although of course they will change the code table and try and sometimes translate any HTML tags.

    Why translation companies should be so bad at this stuff I don't know...

    1. Bassey

      Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT

      "Why translation companies should be so bad at this stuff I don't know..."

      The answer is quite simple. Like many companies today, they are an IT company - but they haven't realised it yet because all the people at the top are translators. Banks are IT companies - literally every little thing they do is IT. But they haven't realised this yet because everyone on the board is a banker. Accountants are pretty much the same. There are loads and loads of examples of entire industries which should now fall under IT and therefore should be driven by IT at board level. But they aren't. Because nobody at the top as the least idea that they became an IT company over a decade ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        they are an IT company

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^This

        If I could upvote 1,000 times I would.

        It's taken me 2 years (plus) but I have finally got my organisation to start thinking like this. We're not an insurance company. We are an IT company that has specialised in insurance.

        The trick for me, was to point out that BCP and DR plans invariably relied on restoring the IT infrastructure, and to ask what plans we had for working indefinitely without IT support.

        Any company that can't function without it's IT base needs to bear that in mind.

        Of course this will run counter to the shareholders pressure to offshore, outsource, and diminish. But the sudden realisation that IT is a critical infrastructure should give you scope to include such things in your risk register. With reference to the spectacular consequences (RBS et all) of failing.

        1. Fatman Silver badge

          Re: they are an IT company

          The trick for me, was to point out that BCP and DR plans invariably relied on restoring the IT infrastructure, and to ask what plans we had for working indefinitely without IT support.

          Any company that can't function without it's IT base needs to bear that in mind.

          Of course this will run counter to the shareholders pressure to offshore, outsource, and diminish. But the sudden realisation that IT is a critical infrastructure should give you scope to include such things in your risk register. With reference to the spectacular consequences (RBS et all) of failing.

          But you can't do that as it does not increase shareholder value.

          Secondly, manglement would not care one bit about DR and business continuity because they are quite likely to be gone before the shit hits the fan. it is the girls and boys in the trenches that have to worry about such things. They are going to be the ones that will have to clean up the mess left by the `Seagulls`.

      2. bri

        Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT (@Bassey)

        Although I wholeheartedly agree that many companies are highly IT dependent, hence should upgrade their capabilities in that area (for instance in UAT or vendor cooperation), they are not IT companies, their business lies elsewhere. It's like we don't call air lines aircraft manufacturers, although bigger ones have often significant say during the airplane development and they have large service departments full of aircraft engineers.

        On the other hand IT vendors often pose as 'solution providers', but then you find out that they don't understand the problem their solution purports to solve. Because part of the problem is often in areas of usability and company culture, which are areas where IT really does not shine.

        The problem is of bridging the gap.

        1. PJI

          Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT (@Bassey)

          Agree. IT is essential to so many companies. But then so are buildings, chairs, desks, filing cabinets and, still, paper. This does not make a bank a furniture company, nor a paper archive, nor a buildings or office management firm - though the amount of office space and buildings possessed or leased by some companies makes one wonder - sometimes the properties are worth more than the companies apparent business.

          We in IT must not overestimate our worth. Firms existed without us, some still do to a large extent and no doubt they will again in the future. Mishandling their IT is a common error, just as it is with buildings or car fleet management (or staff).

          1. DN4

            Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT (@Bassey)

            > We in IT must not overestimate our worth...

            Even pure IT companies tend to have buildings, furniture, etc. So differentiating IT and non-IT based on that makes little sense.

            I would like to see a criterion that can tell computer game development is an IT business while banking is not, if there is one. Buildings and furniture? Amount of non-IT expertise? Amount of core business carried out inside/by computers? How customers use/interact with their products? None actually cuts it.

          2. A Long Fellow

            Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT (@Bassey)

            The difference is that replacing a broken chair requires no specialised skills. Thanks to codification, even mains electrical work and plumbing are probably more tractable than the inherent complexities of a comprehensive IT implementation. Ironically, the more codified a profession or trade, the less autonomy practitioners typically possess, but the higher the salaries they can typically command.

            I suspect that even the best-constructed IT infrastructures cannot be managed and maintained by a succession of replaceable technical folk.

      3. Mark 65

        Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT

        There are loads and loads of examples of entire industries which should now fall under IT and therefore should be driven by IT at board level.

        I really wouldn't recommend this, it would just be a variation on the disastrous idea of letting lawyers or accountants run companies. In IT's case things could only happen on a 2 weekly release schedule only once properly scoped and entered into an ITIL workflow etc etc. The division that likes to say "no".

        Seriously though, business people should run the business it's just that it'd be really handy if they had a clue about IT or were willing to listen. Companies don't need to be driven by IT they just need to have a clue about it.

      4. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT

        The answer is quite simple. Like many companies today, they are an IT company - but they haven't realised it yet because all the people at the top are translators.

        I don't think this is the case. The people at the top are business people - nothing wrong with that. To me, the new system looks like what an IT person thinks translation software should be like. Someone's had a look at Google Translate and thought "That's it!" It's a bit like seeing an infant's ABC toy and rolling that out to authors as a word processor.

      5. veti Silver badge

        Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT

        I don't agree.

        You're an IT company if, and only if, "the thing that your customers pay you to do on their behalf" is IT.

        Banks? Are not IT companies. I don't really care how my bank looks after my money, what kind of computer system it uses or if it does the whole operation with quill pens and pneumatic tubes, it's all one to me as long as I get the services I'm accustomed to, such as online banking.

        Insurance companies? Same argument. IT is a means, not an end.

  3. Fihart

    Lock Apple and MS in a room......

    ...and let them fight it out.

    Your story should be obligatory reading for all software developers.

    Sums up my brother's contention that personal computers just aren't fit for purpose yet -- if they ever will be under the current mindset..

    Even as someone owning PCs since 1985, I am endlessly swearing at Windows or the stupid hardware manufacturers. Stuff is too complicated and barely finished -- and the people selling it don't give a damn.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

      Shouldn't Apple (bootcamp) or Parallels supply the appropriate keyboard layouts?

      If Parallels finally do it in Parallels 20 then they will give it a shiny feature name and spend 6 months spamming you about it so I'm rather hoping it's Apple, but I doubt it's very high on Apple's OS development team's priority list, they've been held hostage by Marketing who've decided they need a major OS release every year so we actually have the pleasure of upgrading yet again.

    2. JohnMurray

      Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

      Updating windows.

      Do not turn your computer off

      Configuring windows updates

      Update failed reverting changes

      Do not turn your computer off

      Shutting down computer

      Restart:

      Updating windows.

      Do not turn your computer off

      Configuring windows updates

      Update failed reverting changes

      Do not turn your computer off

      Shutting down computer

      An hour later...

      Updating windows.

      Do not turn your computer off

      Oh fuck off...CLICK...remind me..again..why I bought W7...ahhh...the printer driver kept going awol on Linux....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

        Sounds to me being unable to print is less of an issue than being unable to boot.

      2. H.Winter
        FAIL

        Re: Update failed reverting changes

        This is why I haven't (can't) upgrade to 8.1

        No idea wtf the problem is, I bought the PC with Win8 already installed, but the upgrade to 8.1 fails bad.

      3. veti Silver badge

        Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

        @ JohnMurray: Windows 7 gives me days like that. Vista, before it, gave me whole weeks like that, so that's progress I guess.

    3. Triggerfish

      Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

      Anyone developing things like this, interfaces etc, should be made to sit next to the people who have to use it for a month or so and explain their changes.

      "See that annoyed person using win 8 there, good I've just told them you ok'd the new interface. I'm going to lock the door now, try and ignore the baseball bat they have."

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    My flabber is ghasted

    Not that the imbeciles actually implemented this steaming pile of poo, but that they didn't consider the needs of their primary users at the earliest possible time - when they first started thinking about it. Y'know, where all the project management books say things like 'stakeholder' and 'consultation' and 'specification'... idiots.

    Though of course the problem goes a lot further back than that: if there were, say, a standard mechanism for transferring something as simple as text transparently between different systems and that works for all scripts/languages? Wait, UTF-8 or -16, that'll do the job.

    Now if only some well-known company hadn't built a wordmangler processor that couldn't tell the difference between content and presentation, and taught an entire generation of users that they should change the style of each and every bloody character, and as a result produced huge and incomprehensibly incompatible file formats...

    Not mentioning any names, but *that's* where the problem is. After thirty years you'd have think we'd have sorted out inter-system compatibility.

    </rant>

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: My flabber is ghasted

      "Y'know, where all the project management books say things like 'stakeholder' and 'consultation' and 'specification'... idiots."

      The whole point of that process is to ask as many people as possible in as many different ways as possible so as to get as many different answers as possible. That way, there's no obvious "right" answer and the one which was decided on before the consultation is just as "right" as any of the others, "because we listened to stakeholders and did what they asked for"

      PS. No, I didn't downvote you :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My flabber is ghasted

      >> After thirty years you'd have think we'd have sorted out inter-system compatibility.

      That might be the case if the IT industry actually cared about its end users, businesses, etc.

      Whereas, in reality, like other sectors whose motivations are rationally commercial, the industry seeks to maximise its revenue, not least by continual introduction of new versions, upgrades (backed by restrictive practices such as limited life support arrangements), etc., and b) by achieving as much lock-in as possible whilst keeping the risk of customer desertion (churn) to an acceptable level.

      The result is that far too high a proportion of the economic activity in the burgeoning IT industry is spent furiously struggling to maintain existing capability, rather than on creating new capabilities that have genuine business value.

  5. Fuzz

    bébé

    Whilst I agree that typing accented characters can be a pain in windows bébé is not a good example of a word that's hard to type the é character is just Alt Gr+E

    Of course I doubt a mac has an Alt Gr key

    The best keyboard for someone who wants to type in multiple languages that I've found is a Spanish one. Loads of accents but it retains the qwerty layout.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bébé

      For less frequently used chars, you can also use AltGr + NUMPAD numbers to select characters by code. i.e. AltGr+65 produces A, AltGr+169 = ®. You can find the char codes in Character Map

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: bébé

        Then you have to remember all sorts of esoteric numeric codes for characters.

        A lot harder to remember than say: Compose, e, ' = é or Compose, /, u = µ. The latter being particularly useful to me to type values like 470µF. (They seem to miss out on omega though.)

        In my case, I have Compose mapped to the right-hand "command" key. (Yes, I'm running Linux on a Mac.) I'm surprised that Microsoft hasn't adopted a similar system.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: bébé

          It' a bit harder than you think, because in some languages you have different types of accents, for example Italian uses both è and é (note the different orientation) thereby "compose" + e + ' what should generate? Ok, maybe a good speller can then select the right one, and no, in a professional text you can't really just use one type. Otherwise you need a fairly good composer for the target language.

          Anyway the real solution is the one adopted by a colleague of mine. He believes his a real "hacker" because he uses only ASCII7 characters, so he will always write e', a', o', etc. in any documents (I just wonder he don't use only a monospaced font as well), making each document of his look like coming from the '80s....

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: bébé

            Compose + e + ' produces é, compose + e + ` produces è. Simple. I don't think I've encountered a keyboard yet that doesn't have the ` key on it somewhere.

            You can also, if you're wondering, get a ´ by typing compose + ' + ' which is... well it's `interesting´ I suppose.

            At least that's how it is on debian. I'm going to assume it's the same on OSX.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: bébé

              Makes me wonder how compositing works when you head east where you start getting even more accent characters like circles, umlauts, and all those letters with attachments.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: bébé

                Makes me wonder how compositing works when you head east where you start getting even more accent characters like circles, umlauts, and all those letters with attachments.

                Try Arabic, or even Chinese..

                Arabic was already fun when we were still using ASCII because you have more than 256 characters, and it goes right to left - a late friend of mine specialised in making regular PC platforms and billing systems work in Arabic even before the days of Windows, and Chinese strikes me as interesting because I have as yet to see a keyboard with 40 000 keys - from what I have seen, characters are composed by different keystrokes. This must make computing interesting - maybe it's faster to draw the characters on a tablet..

                1. jonathanb Silver badge

                  Re: bébé

                  For Chinese, they have a US English Keyboard and they type in Pinyin which gets transliterated into Chinese Characters.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: bébé

                    Wow, 9 thumbs down because someone pointed out a (less known) feature of an operating system. I see no suggestion that it is or should be used as the preferred method, it even states "for less frequently used chars".

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: bébé

              Compose + e + ' produces é, compose + e + ` produces è. Simple. I don't think I've encountered a keyboard yet that doesn't have the ` key on it somewhere.

              You can also, if you're wondering, get a ´ by typing compose + ' + ' which is... well it's `interesting´ I suppose.

              At least that's how it is on debian. I'm going to assume it's the same on OSX.

              I am currently using a non-accented keyboard, so I enabled the accent composer. It means I need to hold the relevant character down a bit longer and I lose auto repeat, but typing é means "hold in 'e' a bit longer, then pick from menu by choosing the number. This is also where Apple's usability shows again: it keeps the same digit for the accents. The é above is typed e1, ë is e2, ê is e3, è is e4, ę is e5, ė is e6 and ē is e7. I'm not sure if all will even show up on your screen (they do on my Mac, but I have found that's no guarantee, and online is even worse where a lot of this just gets nuked by the still prevailing "the world is ASCII only" inheritance).

              However, if I need to type a lot in a a foreign language I tend to jack in another keyboard. Much faster :).

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: bébé

      The Alt key to the right of the space bar serves as Alt-Gr in Parallels.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: bébé

        The Alt key to the right of the space bar serves as Alt-Gr in Parallels.

        So I need to get an extended keyboard. This is never-ending.

        1. keithpeter
          Windows

          Re: bébé

          https://medium.com/backchannel/the-last-of-the-typewriter-men-729f150c5083

          Steampunk solution: A few typewriters (one for each major language), a microphone and some of the software that GCHQ/NSA may be developing for use near the Kremlin might solve the problem.

          Seriously: the main issue is the project management of this new system. Reassuring that the commercial sector is just as bad at this as the public sector...

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: bébé

            I suppose for someone who got used to compositing accented characters nothing else is going to be equally easy to use. However, as a windows user frequently working in two different accented languages, I find that laguage-specific keyboard layouts simply map troublesome stuff over in the ";'[]=\" corner, making them accessible with a single keystroke - and as someone who never used composited input I find this working perfectly well. In fact, the only difficulty is that the new location of those symbols that got displaced has to be learned again, but how often one needs to type those is a big factor in how much of an inconvenience that is.

        2. Fuzz

          Re: bébé

          you can simulate Alt Gr using CTRL+ALT

          Also if you use the UK extended layout the ` key becomes a dead key for typing grave accents

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      30 years of desktop - shouldn't all this be working by now?

      The Mac has an equivalent key.

      Having typed in Welsh(accented w and y are nigh on impossible to put into text) and French, OS X is much easier to deal with than Windows and I can understand I can understand Dabbsy's wife.

      On a separate note, globally, we have had IT on the desktop for the best part of 30years, and spent billions on implementing "state-of-the-art world class" systems. Tech firms have been trying to dictate to users what they "need" for too long, and have made the same classic Systems Analysis mistake for ever(Why is that cartoon still relevant? Have we not learnt anything?). It's not just the fault of the tech companies, but also the users who have a "perfect" working system, but are being told they need to change to improve "efficiency and productivity"(i.e. shouting at the screen, and going back to square one - paper and pen).

      We seem to be holding back our own progress here through our own pig ignorance.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bébé

      The best keyboard for someone who wants to type in multiple languages that I've found is a Spanish one. Loads of accents but it retains the qwerty layout.

      That would be a good save. I had to switch to the Swiss layout, which takes a while (it's QWERTZ) but which gave me otherwise good access to all accented characters. However, I have no idea how the Swiss write code because you lose the # and [ ] keys :)

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    The solution is easy

    You need to hand-roll your own Windows keyboard layout to match the Mac's keyboard and install it. Use the Mac's virtual keyboard menu thingy to see all the dead key combinations and put same keys into the Windows keyboard layout.

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=22339

    Of course you need .Net 2.0 which if you install in the wrong order with the other .Nets has a funny turn. Oh, and as it was released when Vista was around it might not work with Windows 7 or 8. Who said IT was pointlessly complicated?

    1. Fuzz

      Re: The solution is easy

      This looks like a good solution you can create dead keys for the accents or map the accented characters to modifiers.

      No need to install .NET 2.0

      On Window 7 .NET 3.5 is pre-installed which covers 2.0

      On Windows 8 or 8.1 you need to enable the .NET 3.5 feature from the control panel

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: The solution is easy

        Somebody's already done it. You can download the UK Mac keyboard layout for Windows here...

        http://www.logikdev.com/2010/02/18/apple-uk-keyboard-layout-for-windows/

        Problem solved, wifey happy.

  7. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    progress...

    And pity the poor helpdesk minions. They are armed only with a 10-line set of instructions and no other knowledge of anything in the world.

    Reminds me of a helpdesk in the bad old days of AOL actually being an ISP - a customer of mine told me that they rang AOL when their broadband wasn't working, and after half an hour on the phone confirming that their browser was indeed internet exploder, the helpdesk zombie asked the customer to follow the *yellow* lead from the modem to the phone socket. The customer said that that was a grey lead. The AOL operative replied "I'm sorry, we can't help you, as you're not using the equipment that was sent out to you. Please find the yellow lead and call us back"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: progress...

      A friend has been having problems getting her TomTom to update for months. It says it is downloading but never completes in many, many hours of waiting.

      The TomTom helpdesk replied to her latest email saying it was her wifi disconnecting, or her Firewall blocking, or her ISP needed to permit some ports. Direct connection - Windows Firewall disabled - to no avail. Does an ISP block ports in their infrastructure?

      Yours truly was asked to translate the following into "user-speak".

      -----

      "The firewall's settings might require knowledge of ports used in MyDrive

      All the communication (inbound and outbound, local and remote) via the following TCP ports should be allowed:

      80 Main communication port

      443 HTTPS (required for logins, associations and all kind of encrypted contents)

      3128, 3129 Internal communication ports

      4000 The Web connector port of MyDrive Connect (to communicate with the browser)

      If the issue still persists, I would request you to please address the above points and try the installation process again. If the issue still persists, please try updating the device using an alternate computer with a different Internet connection and this will definitely resolve your issue."

      ----

      Google not only reports many TomTom users complaining about the problem - but the same helpdesk missive seemed to be the uselessstandard reply.

      She's tried different PCs - and temporarily unplugging the USB connection to the TomTom.

      Must admit that I haven't yet tried to explain to her how to reconfigure her Netgear router's Firewall to allow selected unsolicited inbound connections - and how to track the DHCP IP address the relevant PC has been allocated. When was the last time a standard application needed INWARD ports opening all the way through the firewalls?

      The TomTom update process seems unnecessarily complicated for a device that users buy for the car expecting it to just work. The problem possibly lies in the TomTom device controlling the update download in real-time - rather than the PC doing the download and then feeding it to the TomTom. Apparently that's how it used to do it before the introduction of the "MyDrive" updating application for an improved user experience.

      </rant>

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: progress...

        Perhaps it's some kind of torrent download to save them bandwidth, but unless it does UPnP the average user doesn't have a hope in hell's chance of getting it to work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: progress...

          The next try will be on one of my home PCs. That has failed in the past - before it was realised that the problem was intractable. Then Wireshark can take a capture.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But I thought upgrades always made things better. That's what all the reviews say. That's what Apple and Microsoft say. I don't understand.

  9. BongoJoe
    Windows

    To Bach

    I have the same problems with the 'to bach' in Welsh on the Windows machines. The To Bach (the little hat that's Esc 6) seems to work fine with the ancient henges carved from slate and bluestone but try anything on Windows and it's a nightmare waiting to happen.

    I suppose if they made a Cymraeg keyboard then I could use that but it would be useful to have, say, the 'x' key even if it's used for the cutting part of the cut and paste operation. And with said keyboard having no 'j' would useless for the eternal control-j usage in browsers.

    So it would have been useful if Microsoft, who have been making Windows operating systems for over thirty years, to have considered an easy way to add accented text without all sorts of alt-key codes (I can still remember the Norwegian codes from decades ago so this problem is hardly new).

    Anyway, if anyone is still looking for a way to handle Welsh characters then may I point one to this very excellent tool: http://www.interceptorsolutions.com/products/tobach

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: To Bach

      Wordstar on CP/M could at least print them!

      Character

      Non-destructive backspace

      Accent by typing ` ' ^ ~ etc or even over print a | or =

      The problem is a USA centric view.

      Earlier Androids (< 4.1 etc?) only can use a USA physical BT or USB keyboard correctly,

      I do use the "Character Map" utility, but it doesn't work with every application.

      The Spanish keyboard and some others I think single quote requires the single quote key to be pressed twice.

      Why doesn't Alt GR with USA and UK keyboard give accented letters on EVERY key instead of only € á é ú í ó ?

      Why is the USA keyboard lacking a character (key actually) if you pretend it's some other language and tippex the key caps?

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: To Bach

        Why doesn't Alt GR with USA and UK keyboard give accented letters on EVERY key instead of only € á é ú í ó ?

        Because they didn't want to support a separate Irish English keyboard. Alr-Gr plus vowel gives you a fada.

  10. OzBob

    Doesn't the mac

    have voice recognition that could type it for you?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't the mac

      Is voice recognition any better than last time I tried it?

  11. jason 7 Silver badge

    Take a look on the Amazon reviews for IT Hardware/Software...

    I would say 80% of the 1 star reviews say -

    "Grrr wouldn't work with Mac!"

    Or words to that effect. Usually quite short reviews either way.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Take a look on the Amazon reviews for IT Hardware/Software...

      Application software that is Windows-only is perfectly acceptable to me. However, a cloud-based system intended for multi-user access should be OS agnostic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: Take a look on the Amazon reviews for IT Hardware/Software...

        > Application software that is Windows-only is perfectly acceptable to me. However, a cloud-based system intended for multi-user access should be OS agnostic.

        I'm having a hard time sussing out why *any* cloud service wouldn't be OS agnostic.

        Surely in the 21st Century it is as easy to make a network service OS agnostic as it is to make it OS specific. We do have standards for this kind of thing right?

  12. Dr_N Silver badge

    This story just goes to prove...

    ...we need a keyboard with LCD/eInk keytops that can be configured by the OS to the language/character-set you select, instead of configuring the O/S to accept different keyboards.

    It is a royal pain in the 'arris working at tech companies that insist on having AZERTY keyboards for no other apparent reason than the secretaries are somehow involved in the keyboard purchasing decision.

    AZERTY+UNIX is not a logical choice as you have to do finger gymnastics to get access to common special characters.

    Solaris/CDE and it's "COMPOSE" key was way more practical. Someone actually took the trouble of making up keystrokes that resembled the character you want.

    e.g. e + ' = é or e + ^ = ê

    1. haiku

      Re: This story just goes to prove...

      http://www.amazon.com/Art-Lebedev-Optimus-Popularis/dp/B0089XDG3I

    2. haiku

      Re: This story just goes to prove...

      A customisable keyboard has been available since 2012.

      The Optimus Popularis is available from Amazon for $1,500.

      It would probably be cheaper for Mrs D to switch professions ...

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: This story just goes to prove...

        Bit of a harsh statement about Mrs. Dabbs' revenue stream....

        But granted, 1500 bucks for a keyboard is a bit OTT.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This story just goes to prove...

      "[...] AZERTY keyboards for no other apparent reason [...]"

      Many years ago the terminal rooms in the EEC in Luxembourg were evenly split between QWERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ variants. You either had to queue for your national preference or type very carefully.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: This story just goes to prove...

        "[...] AZERTY keyboards for no other apparent reason [...]"

        My first job post Uni was working in tech support for BP France. Obviously most of their keyboards were AZERTY, I touch type in QWERTY. So I just used the option in Windows to use it as a UK keyboard. This went down less well with my two finger typing colleagues...

  13. Disko
    Go

    Copy/paste between OS's...

    ...doesn't necessarily work flawlessly, given text-encodings and character interpretation and whatnot, but it might be worth a shot - I'm pretty sure Parallels has the option of copying and pasting text between the host and virtual machine (sorry I can't check this for you right now, installing software is incompatible with my weekend), so one can copy text from the cloudportalthing on the "Windows side", edit text on the "Mac side" as usual and when done paste it back into the cloudportalthing on the Windows side. HTH.

    If every business is now an IT business - how are we ever going to get away from IT anymore? Logging maybe...

    [Go Icon] because props for your always entertaining writings. Please do keep at it.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Copy/paste between OS's...

      @Disko

      "If every business is now an IT business - how are we ever going to get away from IT anymore? Logging maybe..."

      I have been pondering that exact question for sometime. I have two choices, return to working in the kitchen, or get myself a potters wheel.... both?

      Icon as it fits the question.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Copy/paste between OS's...

        @Disko if by logging you mean timber, I know just the company. I used to support software for the timber industry, I think you'll find even that's an IT role now. Lumberjacks now carry barcode scanning PDAs which are then connected to the internet back at the main camp. This is to make sure your 100 feet of tree doesn't magically turn into 500 feet of logs...

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Chuuuck IT All?

    Mr. Dabs,

    I feel the same way some days. I get the feeling the patients are running the asylum.

    I would have solved the Mrs issue by accessing the site in windows, doing her work in word/pages/text edit on the mac, copy and paste it back into the VM accessing the "cloud".

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Chuuuck IT All?

      Copy paste ain't entirely flawless - more so if formatting is involved too. Can you imagine what a pain in the arse it will be if even 5% needs tweaking.

  15. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Read something similar the other day

    Where was it, what was it about,

    Oh Yes, El Reg and .gov.uk

    Creating a unified web service that ignored the needs of the users ( the public in this case).

    Worse symptoms, but same disease.

    Putting IT cart in front of function horse.

  16. Curious

    Is the Canadian Multinational QWERTY keyboard an option?

    http://www.timmitchell.fr/blog/2012/10/06/issue-acute-grave/

    Not for programmers as it consumes some of the special characters, but for natural language it could work.

  17. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Excellent recounting, Mr. Dabbs

    I think you might be interested into our new Scientofuntologic ReEmpowerator™ ISO9706 Agile© Prince2© TMMi PMI Capability CMMi Institute of the Insane Methodology, which will guarantee 100% success in all endeavors regarding upgrade proceduralics in spite of your team having no idea whatsoever about IT having been recycled from moribund industries℠. Success guaranteed. For a slight fee, you understand.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Excellent recounting, Mr. Dabbs

      BRAVO!

  18. gerdesj Silver badge

    I feel your pain

    I am a corporate IT consultant and I can usually deal with boring stuff like 5 nines uptime but that missing 9 is a luxury that I can ill afford at home.

    I now have two internet connections at home with a pfSense cluster after the last 20 min outage was unacceptable under the Wife Acceptance Factor terms and conditions. I also have to maintain a VMWare ESXi with several VMs just to support various strange applications that the WAF Ts&Cs also require. I have UPS and live in dread of the next major power outage happening during compulsory Facebook access time needing a bloody diesel genny. Where am I going to put it? ... and it will be too loud ...

    Windows updates etc - she now runs Arch Linux on her laptop after I blew up Win7 yet again which I have managed to make look acceptable (God that took ages) Now I ssh in from work, after issuing a Wake on LAN, to run pacman and reboot it when she's out.

    The day job is a piece of piss in comparison 8)

    1. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: I feel your pain

      "... and live in dread of the next major power outage happening during compulsory Facebook access time needing a bloody diesel genny."

      You don't want a diesel genset - too slow to come online and have nasty spikes in the supply (or so my sparky tells me).

      A mate has a small battery farm consisting of four old truck batteries (sourced for the cost of taking them away 'cause it costs the service shop to dispose of them) and a couple of solar panels to keep them charged. An old rack mount UPS provides the power management and fail-over is instant. Don't forget to hook the router up to it for full SWMBO Facebook service compliance.

      It still leaves you with the question of where to put it, having exchanged noise and diesel fumes for a chemical hazard.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: I feel your pain

        "You don't want a diesel genset - too slow to come online and have nasty spikes in the supply (or so my sparky tells me)."

        Your sparky needs to go on a course - you pass the output from the genny through errrr stuff, to feed the UPS which does err stuff <vague hand waving here> smoothing, capacitors, power eleccy things. You don't want the genny hitched directly to the devices anyway.

        Now I am very grateful for the idea of using truck batteries - that never occurred to me. I have a car battery hitched to a little solar panel in my summer house down at the end of the garden for lighting. I also have a 1GB connected WiFi AP as well powered by PoE - surprisingly easy to do. It's a 70+m run with a 20m drop and lots of 20mm conduit. I do like my toys despite my whingeing.

        Truck batteries - ChemHaz - pah. I live on the edge of a national park - what could possibly go wrong? Great recycling idea though, I'll do some investigations.

        Thanks Cpt Bear

        PS Cpt is an American Army abbreviation, all other uses of Captain I know of use Capt (as did my Dad many moons ago)

  19. jake Silver badge

    ::heh::

    "In fact, according to the press release in front of me, they shag 550 per cent more often than bankers."

    That much more than a Wunch of Bankers? Actors aren't getting any, are they?

    As for your wife ... SHMBO and I have used identical HP Pavillion zv5105s, with docking stations & proper monitor, dumb terminal on a serial port, wireless mouse & keyboard, for over ten years. They run Slackware-current, and have since the year dot. Don't tell me I'm archaic, AC, I can do everything you do WITHOUT spending money every $HARDWAREUPGRADE.

    Gut feeling is that humanity needs to change priorities.

  20. JQJ

    US International.

    I don't know about iMac, OSX or Parallels, but in the Windows environment I would suggest using the US International keyboard layout. HTH.

    J.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      "US International"?

      US International keyboard layout

      My exceptionalism!!

      I think even white house spokespersons (currently blondemonster Pzaki, I think) will affirm these do not, and never did, exist and any rumor to the contrary are terrorist inventions.

  21. 4gats

    US International layout (Windows)

    In Windows, you can use the US International layout, it works in this way,

    E.g. I type:

    ' then e, I receive é

    ^ then e, I receive ê

    - then space, I receive apostrophe

    etc.

    AFAIK this layout permits to type (almost?) all the characters used in the Western European languages (e.g. including Icelandic), no need to learn several layouts :-)

    So e.g. I declare French as input language but I select US International keyboard (I hate the AZERTY layout).

    For Greek letters, I use the Greek polytonic layout, it's very intuitive.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: US International layout (Windows)

      This advice is all well and good BUT

      (the following mostly applies to Windows)

      1) Many corporate devices are so locked down that you can't change the keyboard from US English. This applies to devices in used all over the world.

      2) Plugging in even an international English Keyboard is a possible sacking offence even in non financial/medical/defence companies.

      Even worse the keyboard needs a driver that you can't install because... you can guess the rest.

      3) These corporate devices sometimes won't let you even change the handiness on a mouse.

      4) Most US based support desks don't have a clue when you mention things like a 'cedilla' and think this this # is a pound sign and can't understand that this '£' is.

      Currency signs other than $$$$$ are just not in their Vocabulary.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: US International layout (Windows)

        @Steve Davies, since Mr Dabbs is building Mrs. Dabbs operating system this doesn't really apply in this case I think. I do agree however that some companies are going a little OTT with their IT policies.

        I don't know what keyboard layout Mrs. Dabbs is using, but this was going to be my suggestion as well. US international layout works a treat once you're used to it.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: US International layout (Windows)

        @ Steve Davies

        This is, at root, exactly the the same problem as Mrs Dabbsie's.

        In IT if you don't start by finding out what the user needs you're doing it wrong.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. 4gats

        Re: US International layout (Windows) ... corporate policies...

        Yes, I see all these corporate policies may be impossible or hard to overcome but in the translation related environments one has usually more liberty.

        Even in a very stupid I.e. one may explain he really needs these French, Polish etc. letter when translating to French, Polish etc.

        Of course, it may take some time :-)

        And it depends heavily of the society and typical tasks of the employee.

        E.g. in Autodesk I worked for many years ago I had almost an absolute freedom to configure my workstation in order to meet my very specific needs but I imagine a standard bank clerk or a salesman has far less power there.

        Ad 4.

        True, the US case is extreme but it's not only US related problem.

        E.g, you probably can't even imagine how many CAT (computer aided translation) programs handle incorrectly AltGr (for diacritics) vs Alt+Ctrl in shortcuts...

        In the CAT software context it's simply a prove of extreme stupidity and/or lack of competence of programmers.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Perhaps I could try sheep farming instead. It’s got to be easier than this.

    Em, hm. If you want to be a modern sheep (or any type of) farmer you need to endure the joys of interacting with various arms of government (and their IT systems).... Eye watering doesn't start to cover it ;)

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps I could try sheep farming instead. It’s got to be easier than this.

      Ewe need to upgrade your ram.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps I could try sheep farming instead. It’s got to be easier than this.

        That sounds like wooly thinking.

        1. Sarah Balfour

          Re: Perhaps I could try sheep farming instead. It’s got to be easier than this.

          I reckon he's had the wool pulled over his eyes been fleeced enough. Pig farming's quite lucrative I hear, you'll always be the one bringing home the bacon. Dairy…? Sorry, I'm milking it now…

          1. Swarthy Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Perhaps I could try sheep farming instead. It’s got to be easier than this.

            "... be wary of any man who keeps a pig farm" -Brick Top

  23. plrndl

    Alternative Technology

    I've heard of a device called a "fountain pen" that allows one to draw any desired character directly onto the paper. Remarkably the ink for this amazing device can be purchased cheaply at most stationery stores. Worth investigating?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Alternative Technology

      Cheaper to use a mechanical pencil. And since they're recommended in many areas, refill leads are everywhere.

      But that poses the issue of what if you need to transmit it electronically in a non-graphical format?

  24. Pookietoo

    Can you not install two keyboards?

    A French one for the Windows instance, and the iMac one for OSX?

  25. Tannin

    Surprising how little mention there has been in these comments of the morons who wrote that software. Are just accepting such stupidity as normal?

    Are these new idiots? Or just the same idiots who used to write stuff that barely worked on Internet Explorer 6.0 and didn't work at all on anything else?

    PS: not saying that .NET is always evil, just that it is patently the wrong tool for this task. Well, OK, it's only mostly evil. At least I'm sure that there are lots of good uses for it. Or at least a few. I can't think of any examples just now, but there is bound to be some. Most likely at least one. Probably.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I think there are more suggestions than complaints because there's infinitely more chance of getting it fixed at Dabbsy's end than at the cloudy end.

      Odds are that it was something they already had and they wrote the requirements to fit the software rather than the software to fit the requirements.

      Of course it's normal - how many shiny piles of shit from Accenture, Crapita, etc... have HM Govt paid for?

    2. captain veg

      Wrong tool

      I've seen .NET code running under Mono on a Mac. WinForms too. And on Linux.

      Yes, it's a bit like Dr. Johnson's dog, but surely worth Mr Dabbs trying. Unless there's any WPF involved. Then you're fúcked.

      -A.

  26. Gravesender

    Sheep farming

    There was a time when I very much enjoyed working in IT. Those days are long gone. The job no longer involves solving interesting problems and making the world a better place to live. I now spend all my time dealing with idiots. That's why I've decided to give up on being a computer geek and take up technical writing.

  27. G R Goslin

    have you tried....?

    It would appear to me that Mr Dabbs is approaching this problem from the wrong direction. It is obviuos that the problem is that his wife is incompatible with the system. Therefore, he needs to upgrade his wife or to exchange his present wife wirh one that has a different set of working parameters. Say, in the estate agency field, or accountancy, where the software is a popular is more up to date with demand.

    1. John H Woods

      Re: have you tried....?

      If you think upgrading software or hardware is expensive, wait till you try to upgrade your wife.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: have you tried....?

        Sometimes you can disable checking and side load another wife.

        Admittedly it's still at least twice as expensive as running a single wife.

  28. H in The Hague Silver badge

    Speaking as a translator

    Dear Mrs Dabbs,

    As a fellow translator I can appreciate your chagrin.

    Although I translate into English, I still occasionally have to use accented letters. The suggestion above of the US keyboard layout combined with using "Ctrl-<accent> letter" normally works well for me. But I just noticed that although it works in Word, it doesn't seem to work with the Register's Comments function, so perhaps also not with the !#!@@ apology for software you're forced to use. (Though accents are much easier to deal with now than when I started and used an Apple IIc - then I had to go through the hard copy of the translation and put all the accents in with a Rotring pen.)

    Might I propose a potentially less frustrating and ultimately more rewarding solution? Ditch the agency and work for direct customers. In my 25 years' experience it's much nicer working for direct customers, you're more likely to get sensible replies to your queries and the rates are better. I often get the impression that quite a few translation agencies know little about either translation or running a business, and it appears that in this case we can add IT to that list.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Speaking as a translator

      while I applaud the concept (ditch the agencies, work with direct clients), it's in the same league as "why don't you get paid much more". Remarkably accurate, yet not very...helpful, given that most people are intelligent enough to figure it out for themselves, yet still so many of them are still not paid "much more". Venture a guess why this might be?

  29. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Sounds like incompetent deisgn...

    I can't imagine why anyone would roll out a new document management system that requires a .NET client to be installed. Server-side? Do whatever you want, if you want to use ASP and .NET type stuff knock yourself out. Client-side? Sounds like the kind of thing that (if they really aren't going to just exchange Word files any more) should be done in-browser.

  30. gtardy

    Apple builds crap computers designed to fail after just a couple of years

    "a perfectly good computer for email, web and document editing, and for those functions alone it should be good for another 10 years at least", really ?

    If you think an iMac can last that long, your are day dreaming. Apple has a long history of building crap computers that are designed to fail after just a couple of years.

    Only yesterday, The Register reported on the latest Applegate : like a repeat of the 2007 scandal, newer MacBook Pros built in 2009 and later exhibit a badly soldered discrete graphics card that often fails shortly after the end of the warranty. And Apple won't make any effort to keep you happy, unless you start a class action against them.

    So if you really need an Apple computer for any reason, beside the $3'000 that costs a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro, you better put aside 10s of thousands for your future legal costs against the crap company.

    1. Sarah Balfour

      Re: Apple builds crap computers designed to fail after just a couple of years

      I'm sorry, I can't accept that. I've a Mac Plus still in perfect working order, although I WILL accept that they've not been AS reliable since the switch from PPC (although I do still have an early Intel MP that works, but it's got 3 rather tiny HDDs).

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Apple builds crap computers designed to fail after just a couple of years

      My iMac bought late 2007 begs to differ. This is why the newer Macs which aren't upgradable annoy me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple builds crap computers designed to fail after just a couple of years

        This is why the newer Macs which aren't upgradable annoy me.

        I found a very solid reason for liking the non-upgradability of MacBooks: it makes a locked down new MacBook basically unsellable if it is stolen. If you set up both FileVault and the firmware boot password (which only comes up if you try to boot of another medium), even a more competent IT hack will find it a challenge to reformat the built-in SSD.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Apple builds crap computers designed to fail after just a couple of years

      If you think an iMac can last that long, your are day dreaming

      Dreamer I may be but my personal experience is that Macs remain operational and usable longer than PCs by a factor of 3 at least. I keep meeting people who are still bashing out work on a Mac Plus. The only Mac that ever lasted the usual PC lifetime (four years) before collapsing in a heap of rattling, burnt-out parts was one of those Mac OS clones so favoured by Gil Amelio.

    4. Dexter

      Re: Apple builds crap computers designed to fail after just a couple of years

      My iMac is still going strong after 5 years.

      I've seen Macs well over 10 years old still working fine.

      Come to that, I've seen Windows machines over 10 years old still working.

      Just because you once had a bad experience, don't assume it is typical.

  31. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Devil

    Decaff soya latte

    People who drink this piss hardly deserve any better.

    Seriously, I think a lot of us have been there (i.e. update hell, not soya latte). And likely will be again. I wonder when the age of proper IT starts...

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Decaff soya latte

      Just think about how long it for trains, planes and automobiles to become reliable and comfortable and easy to use.

      Yeah, about that long.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Decaff soya latte

        These things are full of computers nowadays.

        But there sure is a difference between "consumer-tier data processing clobbered together by 'engineers'" and "stuff properly developed by actual engineers".

  32. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Pint

    I feel like this every day working in IT

    Yes, sheep farming would be easier. I don't know if I'd like to trade wading in metaphorical shit all day long for the real thing though.

    As a side note, I misread "sex workers servicing clients ten times a night (plus matinees)" as "...plus manatees", which conjured up a picturesque mental image...

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: I feel like this every day working in IT

      The manatee in question will be Dominique Strauss Khan.

  33. ecofeco Silver badge

    Does it work? Then break it!

    Modern IT vendors of all stripes seem to offer one thing consistently: millions of ways to break things that already work and making it even more needlessly complicated and inscrutable.

    "Tech bling" as I call it.

    Is this some new ITIL specification we haven't heard about?

    There are SOME vendors that get it right. Tiny Firewall is one of them. After Commodo bloated out and my trust in Windows Firewall all by itself became forever jaundiced, (do not get me started about all the other popular brands) I finally found Tiny Firewall. Lightweight, intuitive and works like a champ.

    It's not rocket surgery, people!

  34. Barry Rueger

    Who Doesn't Hate Upgrades?

    The Significant Other in this house is still running Windows XP, and steadfastly refuses to upgrade software because, in her words, "It ALWAYS breaks something."

    Sadly she's right.

    Strange thing is, the one exception seems to be my Mint Linux box, that merrily upgrades everything without a thought, and which thus far has had only one or two niggling issues with software changes.

    So why is it that I tend to dread software upgrades on our Windows machines, or my Android phone, or even my goddamn Smart TV?

    It honestly feels like the attitude is a) we have your money. b) unless you want to give us more money for a new version you don't matter.

    And what company any longer thinks it's acceptable to create "solutions" that only work on either Apple or Windows? Particularly stuff that's "cloud" based?

  35. regadpellagru

    Still baffled ...

    we have this kind of problem, now in the 21st century, aka, problems of issuing the right letters with a keyboard.

    Me, I'm still in my walkaround from back in the early 90s: map my keyboard of employer provided (crap) laptop to french kb, no matter what reads on the keys, then type by memory.

    Good for french and english, wouldn't work with spanish, russian, chinese or arabic.

    Also, gives me good laugh whenever anyone else is trying to type anything :-)

    Would appreciate any Windows or Mac perma solution ...

  36. Peter in Seattle

    Windows' pre-supplied US-International keyboard layout works great for French ...

    ... and (for people used to the standard US keyboard, at least), there isn't much of a learning curve. It uses dead keys for diacritics. You type the dead key first and then the letter you want to apply it to, or a space if you want to type the dead key's originally assigned character. So:

    grave key:

    `a = à

    `[space] = `

    single quote / apostrophe key:

    'e = é

    'c = ç

    '[space] = '

    circumflex key:

    ^o = ô

    ^[space] = ^

    double quote key:

    "e = ë

    "[space] = "

    tilde key [shift+grave]

    ~n = ñ

    ~[space] = ~

    The dead keys work for uppercase characters, too, and there are some useful AltGr (right Alt) key combinations as well:

    French quotes:

    AltGr+[ = «

    AltGr+] = »

    degree sign:

    AltGr+shift+; = °

    euro symbol:

    AltGr+5= €

    pound sterling symbol:

    AltGr+shift+4 = £

    and more.

    But if switching from a UK layout to a US-based layout is problematic, you may be able to create a custom keyboard that is more suitable for you by using the latest version of Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator (MSKLC), which supports Windows 7 (but not Windows 8). You may even be able to replicate most of the OS X keyboard layout your wife is used to. A London software developer named Steve Marshall apparently came close, and he used a UK keyboard as the basis for his work. Better yet, he made his custom layout available to download. Here's the link to his journal entry, which in turn contains a link to the keyboard layout file:

    http://stevemarshall.com/journal/mac-os-x-keyboard-layouts-on-windows/

    (In case links are a no-no in Register comments, just search the Web for "Mac OS X Keyboard Layouts on Windows".)

    Final remark: switching between QWERTY and AZERTY layouts is bad news for most production typists, unless they're some kind of savant. *Years* after switching from AZERTY to QWERTY, "muscle memory" from the old layout still had me hitting the wrong keys when I started getting tired.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Windows' pre-supplied US-International keyboard layout works great for French ...

      Thanks, Peter. We will give this a try.

      1. 4gats

        Re: Windows' pre-supplied US-International keyboard layout works great for French ...

        I use the US International layout for French for translation from eternity :-)

        Compared to the standard AZERTY layout for French (France), it's a little bit slower (two strokes for most letters with diacritics except accent aigu with AltGr) but:

        - it's very easy to learn and use in mulltilingual scenarios (unlike the AZERTY).

        - it's far more flexible (you can also type diacritics for Spanish, Italian, German, Scandinavian languages etc.);

        - it's compatible with the US layout which is widely used as a basis for many other layouts (e,g, Polish "programmers"),

        Of course, it's a lot of Windows keyboard layouts which handle diacritics e.g. Canadian ones, they may meet better the needs/habits of your wife, just make some research...

  37. Adrian Harvey
    Unhappy

    Why aren't Word shortcuts made to work in the rest of Windows...

    In MS Word:

    CTRL + ' then e gives é

    CTRL + : then o gives ö

    etc, etc

    These would be fine for most people, and I use them often for typing loan-words, etc, but for some reason the MS guys in the Office team aren't into sharing so they're not built into the OS.

    1. 4gats

      Re: Why aren't Word shortcuts made to work in the rest of Windows...

      Because they're Word shortcuts :-)

      The right (i.e. universal) solution is to use some keyboard shipped with OS (often not defined by default) or some available external layout, one may find incredible layouts over the Web, e.g. Futhark and old English ones on languagegeek (google for "languagegeek Fuþark").

      You can even create your own layout if really necessary, google for "Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator".

  38. heyrick Silver badge

    Probably already been said...

    Reading in the car on a phone so going through 115 replies isn't an option.

    Anyway, switch to English British keyboard layout and pick the one with extended or international in the name. It retains the familiar British layout but adds the typical European accents.

  39. Paw Bokenfohr

    Use http://www.autohotkey.com/ - it's trivial to set up a macro (eg: Crtl-e to make é, Alt-e to make è etc etc) - it's what I do. Can send you my macro if you can't cope ;-)

    1. Richard 111
      Thumb Up

      I second the use of AutoHotkey, it can make short work of such annoyances. Although I don't have to translate anything these days I do use its text expansion features to save a lot of typing of the companies product names etc.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Thanks, Paw. I'll give it a go.

      1. Paw Bokenfohr

        ^a::

        SendRaw á

        return

        ^+a::

        SendRaw Á

        return

        !a::

        SendRaw à

        return

        !+a::

        SendRaw À

        return

        ...and so on. You can even use the Windows key as a part of the macro if you want:

        #s::

        SendRaw ß

        return

  40. Czrly

    The two most relevant words I have to offer are... "Google Maps"

    Honestly, who permitted the "new" version of Google Maps to be thrown over the wall? It is so pathetically slow (on desktop and Android) that there's no point even considering whether the new "user experience" might be nicer than the old one and, like all "upgrades" everywhere, the old version is gone. (On desktop, at least, you can have it if you dig through menus every single time you visit the page. On mobile, there is no way to get the old app back.)

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      On mobile, there is no way to get the old app back

      Ask around, somebody might have an older version they could extract and send you...

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Forget Google Maps and use Here, it's out out of beta and available from the Play store.

    3. Peter in Seattle

      If you protect the Google Maps cookie, you can make Old Google Maps stick (on a desktop, at least)

      Good news: in a desktop browser at least, you CAN in fact "permanently" set Google Maps to the old version. You just have to avoid deleting the relevant cookie (which I *believe* is clients5.google.com, though I couldn't swear to it). I use CCleaner with CCEnhancer to do my cookie-cleaning (because it targets all major browsers with one setup and one operation), so after reverting to the Old Google Maps, I just moved the cookie's CCleaner listing to the "Cookies to Keep" list. Of course, you still have to revert to the Old Google Maps separately in each different browser that you use, but just once for each, so long as you don't delete their Google Maps cookie(s).

      But tell me about it. I have a seven-year-old laptop that officially meets the system requirements for the New Google Maps. In real life, however, actually *using* the New Google Maps on it was an exercise in self-flagellation. If I hadn't figured out how to bring back Old Google Maps "permanently," I'd be using a different service.

  41. H in The Hague Silver badge

    "Venture a guess why this might be?"

    In my experience many translators have fairly low self-confidence and are not that keen to approach direct clients. Oddly enough, they do seem to be prepared to put up with the crap the less competent agencies (such as the one referred to here) throw at them. Fortunately there are now support networks and books such as "The Entrepreneurial Linguist" to help translators develop their businesses more effectively. Incidentally, it's not only a matter of being able to charge higher rates, but also making the work more enjoyable by getting more involved with the subject and receiving more feedback from the client.

    (Note: I'm not against agencies per se, some of them do a good job, especially on projects involving a number of languages and subjects. So I'm happy to do the occasional subcontract job for folks like that - unfortunately I get the impression they're the exception.)

  42. txj

    Accents in Windows in Parallels on Mac OS

    This sounds oddly familiar: a few weeks ago I had the same problem. Friend of mine is a translator (Spanish, French, English), has a Macbook, but had to use MemoQ (no Mac version as with a lot of professional translation software). So I installed Parallels for her and experienced the Windows-7 keyboard-nightmare. Wasted several hours and only came up with the not-solutions indicated above like ALT-keys and dead-character-mode, and the crazy program-specific keyboard switching.

    Made it finaly work on my iMac with Windows 8 and Parallels 10. These have Apple-keyboard options, so I can choose a "Belgian (period, Apple) - Parallels" input method in Windows 8 Configuration, and huray, it just works even with my azerty-keyboard. I suspect that this has only been fixed with these last versions. This too has been bugging me for years, that something so essential was missing.

    PS beware of the ALT-SHIFT-keyboard-switching monster ;-)

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Accents in Windows in Parallels on Mac OS

      Unfortunately,, this iMac won't run Parallels Desktop 10... because Parallels has designed it to work with Mac OS X 10.7 upwards ONLY. As far as I'm concerned, they're as bad as the bloody .NET lot.

  43. Alan Denman

    Now you have 2015 tech to be made obsolete in 2017

    'Cloud based'.

    Are you having a laugh. It is proprietary garbage to be paid for time and time again.

    If it was Cloud and HTML based you could have planned for the next 10+ years of Firefox, Chrome, Opera etc.

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