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The Other News From England.

19 Oct 1998.

We are currently redesigning The Other News From England. It will be somewhat sparse for some time yet, but as we now have the software to change printed text into typed text without typing it all in, the intenetion is to begin to publish some older stuff that was written as far back as 1990 (! pre-internet, almost) to give it more varied interest.

However, there are lots of articles on many subjects in earlier issues (which can be seen by clicking below) and new articles attached hereto.

Index of earlier issues.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

The Summer was a great diversion for everybody, but we hope these articles will continue soon.


Last week I put a single cartoon on the site. This week I will try to put another on.

The intention is that you will be able to download them, but I am still not quite sure how this is done. Presumably you just select `view source` and copy it.

If this can be made to work, I will then know how to make the sheet music accessible (some people have complained!).

(I find I`ve got nothing that will do the right file format in my current W311 - see miscellany below- so no new cartoon this week).

One cartoon to look at.



Office World are a pretty aggressive trading company.

...... that was what I wrote last week, but my friend Daisy reminded me of another even more aggressive office suppliers - Viking. I was reminded of the answering machine I bought that would do whatever I specified that I needed it to do, only to turn out to do virtually none of it. I will say they took it back, but I offended a few customers by not knowing they had rung me.

Daisy`s problem with Viking was that they offered her a printer with a discount of 30 pounds only to bill her for the full price after delivery. I recommend that she should not pay the full price but the price agreed and leave them to go to the county court, but it will mean she will have to go elsewhere for her supplies, and might not get any credit elsewhere owing to the court action over the thirty pounds.

The council do this to me from time to time, and so I have no credit rating - but I still don`t pay them, and have been considering suing them for the damage they have done to my credit rating. I couldn`t buy anything on HP, and although I currently have a mortgage if I paid it off there would be no possible way of getting another no matter what my income.

Luckily, I don`t like borrowing any more. It used to be profitable, but I doubt that it is now, since the banks discovered how we ordinary folks were making a profit out of staying in debt.

There is something extraordinarily seedy about it all, don`t you think?


It all started with making a recording. The recording was one to send out as a demo tape to agents to get work playing in hotels and the like.

I will not go into the detail of how many days I spent overhauling the fifteen-year-old recording equipment I raked out of cupboards - in fact some was over twenty), but it did all work exceptionally well by the time I`d finished.

But I wanted to do the whole job well, so I decided to print proper labels for the cassette. It would mean struggling with a graphics programme for a bit, then learning how to use a label-printing programme, then borrowing Daisy`s new printer to print it out, and finally sticking the labels to the cassettes (ah -that was another thing. Where do you get C45s, preferably without any wrappers or sleeves, for very little money?).

I searched high and low for label-printing program and eventually found one. Everyone I had spoken to had said there were plenty of them about, but none of them offered me the chance to use their one.

Then there was the question of the printer. If I did them on my machine would they print on Daisy`s printer?

So whilst I was ordering cassette label blanks (yes, they don`t stock them except for laser printers!) I noticed that I could have a printer, scanner and fax machine all in one for about 300 pounds. I`m actually a bit short of money, but given that the idea was to maximise my chances of getting work I thought it probably a good idea to buy the machine - particularly as they had offered me a ten percent discount (see last week and above).

When I installed the machine in Windows 95 the LPT port would not find the printer, except once for about half an hour, so I spent a day or two trying to get it to work. It had some nice programs with it, and I wanted to try them out.

Towards the end of the second day, I decided that it might be a good idea to format the hard drive and start again, so I asked the machine to do that, but it replied that as a program was still running it would not co-operate. The program that was still running was the printer/scanner program, that had the grip of a bulldog - it was trying to find the printer and would not give up till it did. It was grabbing a large amount of memory too, so everything went rather slow.

An hour or so later, I decided to see what would happen if I tried the emergency startup disk (this machine had W95 pre-installed), because if it put back in whatever was missing from the printer`s point of view then everything would be OK.

The machine told me it couldn`t read the disk in drive A:. So whilst I at least had the a: prompt, I decided to type `format c:`, and as it was completely the wrong disk the machine finally formatted itself!

If only I had known before it would have been easy.

Now all I had to do was to take the dos disks and load up some dos followed by simple Windows 311.

But as the machine now had no operating system it wouldn`t accept the dos, because the dos was just an upgrade, so I had to go out and buy a set of non-upgrade dos disks, and finally I had some dos. Then I put in the Windows, followed by all the other programs I had wiped off the drive.

Now I have to learn all the new programs before I can print any labels.

Should be done by the end of the week.

The recordings were made on the 3rd. October!

That`s all for this week folks