TideLog Archive for February, 2010

Football looks set to go ahead this weekend, it’s been raining all week, so the pitch will be muddy. I know that, because I’m aching all over from yesterday’s last minute rugby match!

Yesterday was fun! It was raining all day, the ground was nice and wet, and I fancied a game of rugby. So, I got on the phone to my partner in crime, and co-head of our gang The Stretford Saints, Pete, and challenged him and the guys (and the girls) to a nice rough game of rugby. Our gang is about 24 strong, with 7 ladies, 3 of which have rugby skills. I’ve never done this with them before!

So, I got Rikku to go to Manchester to pick them up, and bring them back. She was on a quiet day, and quite liked the idea of watching me play rugby. Off she went, and while she was gone, I got my footie kit, rugby boots, and rugby ball ready. The guys and girls got here, got changed, and Rikky drove us to the public rugby field.

The game was absolutely brilliant! Wet, muddy, fast, competitive, with the added bonus of me and the guys in my side playing against the girls of our gang in the opponent side. They were really awesome! Women go so well in football and rugby! Annie is the best, she’s the same height as Rikku, 5ft 9″, and she runs like a bullet, even on a muddy rugby pitch.

I had the ball, running as fast as I could towards the goal, Annie chasing me, with Rikku cheering me on to go faster, “She’s right behind you, RUUUNNN!”. I wanted to pass the ball to one of the guys, but two quarters of me wanted this sexy babe to pull me down into the mud. I wasn’t going without a fight though, so I ran as fast as I could! No matter how fast I ran, she still caught up with me, diving at my legs, pulling me down. I slid for about 2 and a half metres, leaving a massive muddy skid mark in the grass, and a big muddy streak all down my shirt and legs.

She’s such a babe, our Annie. She looks after the residents where our gang is headquartered, like an angel. I’ve never seen her as cute and feisty as she was yesterday though! Something about her in her rugby kit, all muddy, with a ferocious look on her face in a scrum is something else!

I have to do that again! The achiness of being bear tackled by a rugby chick is sooo worth it!! That pitch was like a swamp, but I love a muddy rugby game, I tend to let myself go, and play a lot more competitively, specially if there’s ladies!

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UltraSexyHeroines is a good site. They have sexy women, in tight shiny spandex superheroine pictures. That is about it. Their customer support is crap, their pictures are at a resolution that was used back in 1980, and the quality is degraded. The webmaster is ignorant, and  blocks comments on the official blog if you complain. Oh, and some of the girls on the site have fake boobies, which I’m not really a fan of.

Bailey is one of those girls. Why she had to go ruin her figure I don’t know. But, those boobies seem to make this shiny seductive costume sooo much sexier, and you end up wanting Bailey to come rescue you, then you can have her exercise her dominant powers on you! Phwoar!! Take a look! I’ve left the topless ones out, remember, TideLog is a clean blog, so sexy goes, but not topless or nude.

I just wish these pictures were proper high res, we’re talking 1920×1200, but the guys who own UltraSexyHeroines and SuperSexyHeroines never listen, even though they claim to. I joined several times, on both sites, but all the SuperSexyHeroines guys seem to be bothered about is doing their comic strip rubbish. They don’t listen, I don’t join, and I share their content on my blog!!

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Microsoft has just this minute released the EEA browser choice screen update to users of Windows 7, that it agreed to do in line with an EU ruling:

Cool. Don’t need it, though. I’m using the king of all browsers, Firefox, already. The one and only! (Until they change the UI to look like the crappy Ribbon and Chrome monstrosities, in version 4, that is.

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I’ve bought a Polaroid TLU-01511C television on eBay, as a test TV for laptops and consoles we repair in the workshop. There’s a red tinge to the screen, which gradually goes to normal white. After 5 minutes the backlight goes out completely.

The Grundig GU15WDT & Polaroid TLU-01511C/U are the same telly, both with/without Freeview. They’re made by ProView Technology Co., Ltd. The power supply model is PI-XXXXTLTX Version:A / 200-001-XXXXTLTX-AH. Unfortunately, it’s a common problem. I did the Grundig version of this a while back. The inverter is part of the main power supply, instead of it being separate, and either this or the backlights that go bad, so the PSU either has to be repaired, or replaced. The PSU boards aren’t the best, to be honest. And the backlights aren’t standard, unsurprisingly!

I haven’t repaired one yet, as I had a spare, but it’s either the output transformer on the inverter side, or a capacitor/switchmode transistor. The fault (once the backlight is verified as good) can either be just the inverter section, or a main PSU feed to inverter problem. The main filter caps will all be fine. The TV will stay on, and display a picture, you can see it under bright light. I use a fluorescent inspection lamp.

Other faults with these boards include:

1. Whining supply, due to overload, or failing capacitors. This can lead to 2. below.

2. Intermittent operation, with buzzing/whining/crackling coming from the supply, due to faulty/burst capacitor.

2. Complete failure, resulting in totally dead supply, with no Standby light. To verify SB, check voltage of SB output pins, they should have up to 5V, but no less than 3v, less than that, and there’s a regulation issue. If at 0v, check PSU fuse.

3. Red hue on backlight(s), sometimes getting better going to normal white, and/or loss of backlight after 5 – 10 mins. Verify backlight(s) condition using known good laptop inverter. Wire laptop backlights up to the TV inverter outputs. The backlight goes out because the load isn’t optimal, the inverter shuts down.

4. Completely dead backlight, caused by blown Schmitt Trigger, or failed backlight. See below. Check operation of inverter first to verify using laptop screen backlight. Test TV backlight using laptop inverter. You can’t use just one lamp, both outputs require a load otherwise the outputs fail to start.

The reason the inverter goes is because of their nature, high stress, and these cheap supplies. A CCFT (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Tube) requires a high voltage pulse, usually around 1000v AC, to light it, lasting less than a second, delivered by a trigger chip. Once it’s lit, the voltage to keep it lit varies, usually 300/600v AC, depending on if the panel is dual backlight, which these are, and the brightness setting. The stress on the inverter is immense at high brightness, and unless it is a high quality circuit, premature failure is imminent. Complete failure of the backlight under a known good tube scenario is usually always a blown trigger, seen in my photos as the black IC’s below the output sockets for the tubes.

There’s a lot of tiny SMC components on the underside of the board, and these include Triacs, resistors, capacitors, these can be culprits, too.

Affected TV’s:

Polaroid TLU-01511C/U 15″ HD Ready LCD TV

Polaroid TLU-02241C 22″ HD Ready LCD TV with Freeview

Grundig GU15WDT 15″ HD Ready LCD TV with Freeview

Element FLX-1510 20″ TV (Thanks to Jason Johnson!)

The Grundig GU19WDVDPCX 19″ Digital HD Ready LCD TV with DVD Player has the same chassis type, but was not affected, as it used an external power adapter. I worked on one that had no picture, but it was PSU unrelated. The signal processor developed a resistance fault.

I’ll update this list as I work on more TV’s that use the same chassis, and find info on the web.

My motto I use in PC and telly repair: KEEP YOUR BRIGHTNESS DOWN!!

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The headphone socket refused to work for me under both Vista and Windows 7. The sound would mute from the speakers, but nothing came from the headphones. I realised it was the driver that Windows was installing. The reason this happens is that the jacks are software controlled, meaning that when you plug something into the jacks, the software switches output to the correct socket, and pops up a dialog asking you what you plugged in:

The Windows driver doesn’t do this, so the headphones and surround jacks get no output. To fix it, install the VIA driver OVER the Windows one (don’t uninstall the Windows one first, the VIA install routine fails to detect the device if you do).

Once the VIA driver is installed, there is a utility that sits in your system tray/notification area, that will pop a dialog up, and detects what you’ve plugged into where (mostly automatic). You don’t actually need the utility running, the port seems to work even with it closed.

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It’s snowed again here in the North West, and in the Midlands it seems to be worse! Well, if Rikku hadn’t called footie off last night like she did, she’d have done it today!

I wish all this rubbish weather would go away (kindly), and Spring come! I’m going to stay here at Jenny’s today, I’m due in Whitefield tomorrow anyway, so I think it’d be best. I was hoping to spend tonight with sweet lil Mika, too 🙁

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I had a feeling she would. The weather has gone cold again since Thursday, and it has snowed and been icy in the Midlands, and now the pitch has frozen.

In a way, I’m glad. Given the choice of either a wet, muddy sloppy pitch, or a frozen one, I’d go for the muddy sloppy one, a frozen pitch is colder and harder to play on, especially for the goalie. Oh well. there’s always next Sunday!

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This time, it’s not Mac OS x86, it’s Linux. I’ve been trying to get OpenSUSE 11.2 to run, it installs fine, but then I get a corrupted display when I reboot to do the second stage of configuration. Failsafe doesn’t work.

So I went back to 11.1, and this does the same, even forcing my display to go to its native res of 1440×900. This time, though, I can get into Failsafe, but still can’t get it to go into normal. I’m not sure if it’s something to do with the nVidia Linux drivers, or the X-Windowing server.

I’m working on the OpenSUSE forums, to solve it, if you see me (Tidosho), say hi!

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I’m quite partial to girls in fancy dress, especially Supergirl. Something about a sexy Spandex clad superheroine in the tightest shiniest costume gets my heart racing. So, when I spotted this lil blonde cutie Supergirl, my heart melted:

What a sweetheart! I kinda think it’d be worth getting into a predicament, just to have her rescue me! Everything is perfect about her! Her pose, costume, long flowing cape, and her long blonde hair, and best of all, that sexy tummy, and cheeky smile! Not to mention those rather sexy strong looking slender pins. Imagine what she’s capable of….

I just wonder what Kassie would look like in that babe’s costume… An excuse to go get her one made for when she comes home? Me thinks so, definitely!

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Something we frequently do at work is a full backup and reinstall, my nickname for it is a Wash ‘n’ Wipe. It goes like this: Image the boot drive to one of our backup server drives, wipe their drive and reinstall Windows, find drivers and programs, then plug the backup drive in and copy their stuff back.

To cut a very boring long story short, Windows decided to letter the backup drive C:, called the boot drive F:, and once our drive was removed, it hung at the “Welcome” screen. It’s just so silly I can’t think of a decent analogy.

Fortunately, I had an idea how to fix it, and it worked. It works on Win XP/Vista/7. Reproduced here mainly for my own reference, and my techies, and so you can remember reading about a fix if it ever happens to you:

  • Run regedit (Windows key + R, “regedit”, enter, or, click Start, Run, type “regedit” without quotes On Windows 7, the Run command is under All Programs/Accessories)
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
  • Delete ALL of the keys listed, for example \DosDevices\C: to Z:
  • Pray, whilst rebooting, and pray some more as you come to the welcome screen

It worked for me, and that computer’s back with a customer hard at work. I’ve found this works on XP/Vista and Windows 7. I have a testbed with all 3 installed for this kind of testing.The more problems you can solve, the more custom you get, and don’t have to turn away! Here’s a screenshot under Windows 7 I did:

All the drives with ???? are removable USB drives maps (on my system!). They’re perfectly safe to delete! Yours will likely be different.

This particular registry key – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/MountedDevices – lists the mapping between the disk drives on your computer and their respective drive letters as visible in My Computer. Windows sometimes gets confused about how to refer to your boot volume (should be C:/), and if your boot volume’s drive letter changes after you install XP, it will likely get stuck starting up and hang just before the Welcome/login screen.

If your machine WON’T start, obviously you can’t just run regedit, but there are ways around it. There do exist commandline tools you could run from a floppy disk, but by far the easiest way is to grab a liveCD that contains a registry editor. I use Mini XP on Hiren’s BootCD, but this tool should do the trick easily enough for most.

Caution: If you have programs installed to drive letters other than C:\, be aware this could cause issues with them. Windows may be intelligent enough to reassign the driver letters with respect to installed programs, then again, being Windows, it may not be. I haven’t tested this analogy yet, but will try to, and report back.

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I’ve discovered several ways to determine whether my laptop battery is good, or failing. Before I detail it, let’s understand a bit more about battery capacity.

A battery is rated in MilliWatt Hours (abbreviated as mWh), which determines how long it lasts. The higher the rating, the longer it lasts. There are 2 values that ACPI pulls from the battery, Designed Capacity, and Full Charge Capacity. Designed Capacity is the capacity hard coded into the regulator chip inside the battery, to match the total cells, and is how much charge the cells will hold when at optimum condition. Full Charge capacity is how much charge the battery is currently holding. Over time, it will get lower, as the battery cells (or regulation circuit) wear out.

Windows 7:

Windows 7 will notify you if your mwAh rating is low. It displays a warning, in the system tray (or Notification Area, as some know it!), that looks like an empty battery and plug with a cross next to it. Clicking it displays this:

Windows Vista doesn’t display this, so in Windows 7 it’s quite useful. It doesn’t actually display the values I described above, so you don’t actually know how BAD the battery is. This is where my next tool comes in.

HWMonitor:

HWMonitor is a tool made my the same guys who develop CPU-Z. It monitors the temperatures of your CPU, GPU, and HDD, and it also tells you your battery status, displaying the Designed and Current Capacities I mentioned above, in a nice window like this:

My battery is really BAD! On my Novatech, it is holding almost a 1/3rd less than it should! It has lost 34085 mWh of its capacity, all because the previous owner left it on the mains, and didn’t condition the battery!

ALWAYS CONDITION your battery, they’re not cheap to replace, you’ll wish you had when you need it! And NEVER buy ANY CHINESE or TAIWANESE batteries from eBay, or the internet! They’re INFERIOR, manufactured to LIMP standards, will NOT LAST long, and can be a dangerous FIRE RISK! I work with computers, and see it on a daily basis, “Oh, but the battery was really cheap!” Yeah, you get what you pay for!

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Today was quite fun, other than my earlier HDD disaster! I’ve started work on Rikku’s mobile disco, that started life as a Volvo B9TL, but with a difference! I started today by taking all the seats out, on both upper and lower floors, and I was surprised how much roomier it looks without them in! I’ve wired in a CD player (see why the B9TL/B7TL dash is good? The CD player slots!) and wired in some new speakers, to both the cab, and gangways, upper and lower. The thing is bloody loud too! I haven’t fitted them permanently, as I’ve got to mould and drill all the interior of the bus to accommodate them, and the wiring. I had it all trailing everywhere, and nearly broke my neck just 5 times, coming down from the upper deck! I’m glad the interior is plastic, if it was fibreglass, it’d be so much harder! The plastic Wright use is great, if you heat it up enough with a heatgun it softens just right, and is great to cut.

Hobbies are great, aren’t they? I’m doing this just for Rikku’s love, and maybe a ferry load of Pepsi Max!

I was going to do a photo diary, but the gearbox on my Nikon camera’s lens system is jammed, I think it’s been knocked around in my rucksack, and all I get is whirring, grinding, and “Lens Error” on the screen. Kassie gave me that camera, and it’s got a lot of sentimental value! Damn…

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Jesus! Sorry Lord, I just hate SEAGATE hard drives! Another server, crippled, and this drive’s only 14 months old! Click, click, click! AAARRGGHH!

Thank the Lord for Mirroring RAID arrays! And that my mirroring drive is a trusty Western Digital! Why is it that my servers die, yet Kassie’s are always fine. The rackmount ones we have have run for 4 years straight! The one in the server at Jenny’s will be replaced as soon as I can get there, later this week. Mika and I are going out for dinner tomorrow, she deserves it, she’s such a sweetheart!

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After all the snowy weather here in the UK, I’m kinda glad to go back to football, it’s been boring, as I’ve got used to playing every Sunday, and seeing the nice sight that is Rikku and her ladies team all dolled up in their sexy footie kits, and I’ve missed it! Rikky’s gonna stand out in the team now, with her lovely new bright red hair!

Rikky’s only with Hopwood until May, and then the old captain comes back from maternity leave. We’re then planning on starting her own team up again, so we’ll be recruiting. She’s asked me to help manage the team, I don’t really know anything about being an amateur team manager, but she says I’ll be fine, so I’ll just follow her experienced lead! We’ve both helped each other in managerial roles before, and we’re a cool team!

The snow’s gone, but the rain’s back, so we’ll see how it goes closer to weekend!

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Recently, Paint .NET had its status changed to closed-source. It’s main developer, Rick Brewster, claimed it was because he was “sick” of seeing people re-releasing it as other programs, confusingpeople which PDN was the real one. Here’s what he had to say on the official blog:

Over the years I’ve had to put up with several individuals, and companies, trying to plagiarize Paint.NET by recompiling the program under a different product name and with their own name stamped into the credits. Sometimes they charge money for it. I even came up with my own term for it: “backspaceware.” Additionally, every once in awhile Paint.NET is spotted being sold on eBay.And, as many of you know, Paint.NET used to be open source. Or rather, it was “released source” – the source code was released, but it was never an open and collaborative project that accepted unsolicited code submissions. I liked releasing the source code this because I felt there was value in allowing others to study it. About a year ago I decided I was tired of seeing plagiarized versions of Paint.NET and I yanked the source code from the website. However, the source code was still out there at various places on the Internet (hardly illegal). Even without the source code, a clever and skilled person could probably still decompile, modify, and recompile the program to say or do whatever they wanted it to.

The biggest problem was that, even though these were clearly unethical and deplorable actions, the MIT License permitted all of it. Or, at least, it was unclear in some corner cases what was disallowed. So, legally speaking, it wasn’t clear what exactly could be done about it anyway. I am not a lawyer and did not want to spend thousands of dollars to get it all figured out. Some people have stated that I chose the wrong license, and in hindsight this is definitely partially true.

Also, this is not just about plagiarism and my own personal blood pressure. Having derivative copies of Paint.NET out there causes confusion and disrupts the mainline user base. I’ve had people e-mail me confused because they thought that Paint.NET had been renamed, but that features were missing in “the new version”. These derivative copies also cause a bit of a mess, because they often 1) uninstall the real Paint.NET (they use the same Windows Installer product GUID), and 2) still have the same updater logic (including the URL for the manifest). Which means you’d install the derivative copy, it would remove Paint.NET, and then once Paint.NET had a new update it would uninstall the derivative version and replace it with Paint.NET, etc. Or, the modified version would crash and the crash log would still instruct people to send it to my e-mail address. There is also a real risk of trojans and viruses.

All that stops now.

For the final release of Paint.NET v3.5, which will be very soon now, I am updating the license. For most users, this will have no impact whatsoever. It’s still freeware. There’s still no claim on any files created, opened, or saved with Paint.NET. You can still mirror the ZIP file on your website (e.g. Betanews, download.com, etc.) without having to ask permission. You can still sell stuff that you make with Paint.NET (assuming you have the legal right to do so in the first place, of course). You can continue using it in a business environment, deployed to as many systems as you like.

However, the license now states that you cannot modify Paint.NET itself, or create derivative works based on the Paint.NET software (that is, derivative software). Nor can you sell it. I don’t believe this will have an impact for anybody but those who wish to plagiarize or rip-off Paint.NET. I’m not putting in any restriction about reverse engineering or decompiling, e.g. with Reflector. I think that would be silly, and I still whole heartedly believe that there’s value in being able to study Paint.NET’s code – even if it’s Reflector’s best-guess disassembly. However, you cannot modify and then recompile a new version of Paint.NET from that disassembly.

There will undoubtedly be some confusion here. For instance, “Are plugins allowed?” Absolutely yes – the program is designed to accept these, and they are not modifications to Paint.NET itself. No doubt I will have to update the FAQ for this, among other things.

I expect there will be a very vocal minority that will condemn this license change. Before you speak out, please ask yourself this question: Does it actually affect you? Were you actually planning to do something that this new license disallows? My guess is that the answer is “no”, but please post a comment if the answer is a legitimate yes. Many people had condemned my decision to remove the source code, but upon further investigation it was purely a matter of principle: they had never downloaded the source code, never knew anyone who had done so, and never planned to do anything that would benefit from or depend on source code access. I’d liken it to being upset that your passport disallowed traveling to Antarctica … were you really planning to do that in the first place?*

The other thing I am planning to do is to release portions of Paint.NET v3.5’s source code, probably under an MIT or BSD-style license. Plugin developers will greatly benefit from having the source code for the effects, and for some WinForms UI controls. The best way to summarize things is that this new license (below) covers “the binaries”, aka “what you just downloaded and installed.” I can still create separate download packages that are covered under different licensing terms. Philosophically it can be confusing, but I’m willing to pay that price.

Here is the new license, for your perusal before the imminent release of version 3.5:

Paint.NET

Copyright (C) dotPDN LLC and Rick Brewster. Portions Copyright (C) Chris Crosetto, Tom Jackson, Michael Kelsey, Brandon Ortiz, Craig Taylor, Chris Trevino, and Luke Walker.

Portions Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Paint.NET is a registered trademark of dotPDN LLC.

License last updated: November 5, 2009

Paint.NET is free for use in any environment, including but not necessarily limited to: personal, academic, commercial, government, business, non-profit, and for-profit. “Free” in the preceding sentence means that there is no cost or charge associated with the installation and use of Paint.NET. Donations are always appreciated, of course! http://www.getpaint.net/donate.html

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software (the “Software”), to use the Software without restriction, including the rights to use, copy, publish, and distribute the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so.

You may not modify, adapt, rent, lease, loan, sell, or create derivative works based upon the Software or any part thereof.http://www.everaldo.com/crystal/, or the “Oxygen” icon set, http://www.oxygen-icons.org/. These icons are covered by the LGPL license, http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html. These icons are stored as “loose” PNG image files in the Resources\en-US\ directory where Paint.NET is installed. However, certain icons used in the Paint.NET user interface are from or adapted from those in the “Crystal” icon set,

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

* Like all metaphors, this one has its limits.

What an arrogant American idiot! Isn’t the risk of people stealing code, re-working it, and then re-releasing it, for profit, part of the risk, yet one of the allowances, of open source?
Yet typical American crybabies like Rick just can’t stand it. Rick, not just YOU worked on Paint .NET, what about all those other university students? Why don’t THEY get a say? You should have thought of the risk at project start, not YEARS DOWN THE LINE!!

I get the feeling Microsoft have said something, and Rick is covering for them, making everyone think it’s HIS decision. Some of the code in PDN is apparently, “Copyright Microsoft.” Sheesh. Ruin a bloody good piece of software, why don’t you? Friggin’ American conglomerates!!

Back to GIMP, for me! Or maybe I’ll continue Paint .NET from version 3.35, and continue it as my own program, as I HAVE THE SOURCE!! MWAHAHAHA!! Rick started crippling it by removing the installer source, claiming that it was Copyright, sometime before v3.35, I don’t know exactly. I found v3.05, which does have installer source.

I’ve got two versions, both below:

Version 3.01, complete with installer source: Click HERE to download it

Version 3.35, without installer source: Click HERE to download It’s still on Archive.org, HERE.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s jealousy. Rick’s just jealous that others can profit from this program, which, under the old license, they were, and still are, if they have the source that the license covers, legally entitled to.

As the old saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! And something else, called Risk Assesment. It applies to software too.

And before anyone comments to flame me, it’s my opinion, and my girlfriend’s a time served programmer, so I know what I’m saying.

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