Monday 28 June 2010

Xara Problems

We use Xara Xtreme Pro 5 to assist in graphic design for things such as web sites and brochures. It is useful product and moderately priced. Like most graphics tools it doesn't do everything, but it is the one that we turn to the most.

Xara have recently produced an upgrade version called Xara Designer Pro 6. We downloaded this and licensed the product. It was pretty annoying to find that it repeated a problem that was in Xtreme Pro 5 in that you cannot use the website export or preview facility. On Xtreme Pro 5 the problem was fixed with a zip file to apply a patch to windows registry. On Vista that is not as simple as it seems, but we got it working in Version 5. We are currently awaiting a response from their tech support team. Other people are having problems too.

We've just discovered another fault. Templates available under Xtreme Pro 5 are not available in Designer Pro 6. Yet another problem report to the Xara team. To be fair they are usually quick to resolve the problem, but I thought we'd bought production quality software. We didn't intend to sign up to their Beta Test programme.

Friday 25 June 2010

BT 21CN in London

Our local phone exchange in Deptford is one of the early candidates for upgrade to the local fibre connectivity. Yippee! It arrives in Sept 2010. I "registered interest" on the BT site about three months ago.

Yesterday I had a brief almost curt automated email from BT informing me that our house in SE4 would be connected to neither Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) nor Fibre To The House (FTTH). I don't see what is the problem with the FTTC, as our local street cabinet is less than 100 metres away. As a consolation they offered BT Broadband over the existing copper exchange line! Whoopy-do.

BT gave no reason for this sudden unavailability, but it is a bit of a coincidence that the new Government budget just snatched the funding honey pot away from BT a few days ago. Are BT sulking and refusing to invest in any more street cabinet upgrades? The "distance from the exchange" should not be limiting factor with FTTC.

Wednesday 23 June 2010


It looks like you get what you pay for when you use one of Microsoft's free addresses. I'm currently having an ongoing saga because I cannot send email from any of my hosted domains to the addresses. The mail is either blocked at the microsoft servers or marked as SPAM and buried in the junk folder of the addressee. I don't use my domains for SPAM.

Verio blames Microsoft and vice versa. Apparently these two giants are unable to communicate and do not respond to either's emails.

My query has been running for weeks, but it sounds like the problem is broader and affects other domains too. According to Verio, their senior technicians are working hard on this, but do not have any estimate about when it might be resolved. It doesn't help things when I get a different person dealing with each email that I send to them. The whole thing must be incredibly wasteful of their resources.

My take on the situation? Don't expect any email you send to will reliably arrive! It is not just Verio/Hotmail. I've seen the same thing with other email service providers and Hotmail.

Thursday 10 June 2010

BT & British Technology

Remember when BT chose not to go with a british supplier for the massive IP enabling of their infrastructure? Instead they chose a chinese supplier - Huawei, to the detriment of UK based technology providers. Now the Indian government is concerned that that the equipment may contain spyware. Imagine the chaos if the Chinese government was able to issue a single network command that would ripple through the UK backbone phone system? Scary stuff, huh?