April 2018
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Old and new

I bought a second hand computer with Windows 7 on it – the 64 bit version. I’m not too impressed. I can’t run Virtual PC on it -  well I can but it’s the new version that is integrated into Windows (with no uninstall) which is vastly inferior to the previous standalone version. It wont boot half the Virtual Discs I have and wont install without a fight some of the operating systems I have. I might have to install Sun’s VBox, which worked quite well with most of the old OSs I have.

I also did the usual uninstalling of software not needed to create more space on the hard drive. I came across a shook: Adobe Reader 9 MUI takes up 650 MB of space! For a PDF reader! What are they thinking? Microsoft Works took 750MB; it too was unceremoniously dumped as it’s the new ‘with ads’ version. If I need Works I have plenty of previous versions lying around. The apps taking up a lot of space might be the difference between 32 and 64 bit software but that’s a hell of a lot of space for a limited program such as the Adobe Reader; and considering a word processor, spreadsheet and database suite only took one hundred megabytes more.

The good news is that I was able to register my copy of Microsoft Office 2007 on it. I bought a 3 licence copy a few years ago. I’ve successfully installed and registered four copies, which over about three years is good – even though technically I’m only allowed three installations. There’s probably some leeway within the system; as long as I’m not installing it on hundreds of systems they’ll probably allow a little over the amount.

I bought and read One Who Walks Alone by Novalyne Price Ellis. It’s her reminiscing about the time she spent with Robert E Howard. I’ve been re reading a lot of Howard lately and one of the books I flipped through was the paperback edition (first time in paperback the cover declares) of Dark Valley Destiny by The de Camps and Jane Whittington Griffin. I bought it in the eighties at the Science Fiction Bookshop in Edinburgh and was a little disappointed at it when I first read it. There wasn’t too much available about Howard in the early eighties Scotland and it was like gold dust as far as I was concerned. On first reading it I was perturbed by the constant harping and sniping at Howard’s writing by De Camp: there are constant snipes at the stories Howard wrote, more often than not putting them down. I was puzzled at the time but now I think it was just jealousy on the part of de Camp.

Anyway, apparently Novalyne Price Ellis was angry at the way Howard was portrayed by de Camp and dug out her diaries to set the record straight. The result was the book, also filmed as The Whole Wide World. Another book followed later.

It was a good read but about a third too long for my tastes. I began to loose interest near the end as I felt I was just slogging through it and she was beginning to repeat herself. It did shed a lot of (her) light on Howard and was a good peek into the way they lived their lives in a small Texas town in the thirties.

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