Windows 10 Guest Account

Apparently, Windows 10 has removed the Guest account. There is some debate as to whether this is a bug or a feature, but either way it’s left a lot of people wondering what is going on.

Even though though the new interface makes no mention of the Guest account, it is still possible to enable it using the computer Management Console. However, the account still does not show up at the logon screen and there are reports that even after fiddling around with the user settings, the account doesn’t work correctly anyway, often refusing to allow people to sign in or behaving erratically once signed in.

The obvious workaround is to simply create a new local account with restricted privileges (called “Visitor” or something similar, since “Guest” still technically exists), but even then, there is no way in the new Windows interface to create a local account that isn’t tied to a Microsoft account.

It is possible to create such an account using the Management Console, but at this point it’s fairly obvious that Microsoft don’t want you signing in to your computer without a Microsoft account.

Windows Management ConsoleI’ll be keeping an eye out for an update on this from Microsoft. There is a substantial base of users out there that make use of the Guest account, and to remove it without notice is definitely interesting…


Ello, ello!

Some time back, I was invited to try out the new social network known as Ello. I signed up, poked around a bit and then promptly forgot all about it.


However, I have recently started to fire up my web presence again, and I’ve decided to use Ello to manage the professional side of my internet persona. Facebook is cool and all – annoying “features” aside – but it’s not really the sort of thing I want prospective clients or employers to read.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed of my opinions, or photos of my kid or the dog, but it’s all too easy to glance down someones Facebook profile and make snap value judgements without actually knowing anything about the person you’re stalking reading about. I recently built a website for a really nice guy, whose services I have been using for many years. But I gotta admit… If I didn’t already know him, I’d be put off by his personal Facebook page because the opinions expressed on it are the polar opposite to mine.

So… I’ve decided to forgo using Facebook as a contact mechanism on my website, and go with Twitter, Ello and Email instead.

Ello seems more geared towards artistic and creative topics and much less about controversial subjects. Maybe that will change in the future, who knows? It’s certainly a refreshing change from the endless parade of narcissistic selfies, political shenanigans and foodie pics that is Facebook. I’m certainly not naive enough to think that my Facebook profile will never be found, but I’m not going to deliberately advertise it either.

At the very least, Ello’s manifesto is intriguing and honest enough to make me want to stay and do my part to make it a success.

Facebook and the meaning of social media

Quite often now, I will read an interesting or provocative post on Facebook and when I scroll down to “like” it or add a comment of my own, I find that I cannot. The “like”, or more often the “comment” link, is simply not there.

I’m assuming this is due to some arcane user setting, where I am either not a friend of the person that made the original post, or they have set their privacy in such a way that non-friends cannot interact with them.

This is all fine and good, and I have no problem at all with people being able to adjust their privacy settings. After all, not everyone wants to hear my witty insights on the American political system for example…

The real issue here  is that Facebook keeps showing me things that I cannot interact with. For a “social media” app, it’s doing a pretty poor job at the “social” part. I really don’t care that I cannot interact with everyone on Facebook, but what really grinds my gears, is being deliberately shown things I cannot interact with!

gearsWhy bother showing it to me, if I can’t do anything with it? It makes no sense, and it’s just irritating. Perhaps Facebook should add a couple more checkboxes to its already overly-complicated user management tools that simply say:

[  ] Don’t show posts that I cannot “like”
[  ] Don’t show posts that I cannot comment on.

And then I would be happy. But as it is, I’m just waiting for the day when Facebook goes the way of myspace and something more useful takes its place.

Ello perhaps.

Six Years Later…

I honestly would have thought that WordPress would have deleted this blog by now, but apparently not!

Looking back through some of my older posts is quite entertaining, and I’m feeling this strange desire to start writing again…

First thing I’m going to do though, is change that banner. It’s not a picture of me and I just find it a little disconcerting to look at.

Watch this space – it just might get interesting again very soon!

Reply from AmieStreet

Yesterday, I sent AmieStreet a link to my blog post regarding their decision to disallow multiple downloads of your purchased songs. Here is their response (bold added by

Thanks for getting in touch with the post you made about Amie Street’s forthcoming change in download policy.  Although I know this isn’t necessarily an ideal change for you, I hope you might understand that as a digital music retailer we have to walk a fine line between keeping our customers satisfied and still respecting the wishes of the record labels that provide us with music.  With regard to this relationship we have with record labels, I was hoping to clarify some things with regard to ‘licensing’ and the cost of internet sales.

Although many users see a qualitative difference between the sale of a digital album and the sale of a physical CD, the legal framework surrounding royalties and payments is not different – a digital album is still considered a ‘product’ accompanied by license for personal use as opposed to a ‘license to a product’.  As you might not be aware, that means that every distributed download of a song (note: download, not purchase) is considered equivalent to the creation of a physical CD and so accompanied by a mandatory mechanical license fee of 9.1 cents per song, an amount set by the US Copyright Royalty Board.  (To be more specific, I believe the rate is technically 9.1 cents or 1.75 cents per minute of playing time, whichever is greater.)

Within this legal framework, your purchase is for one copy of the album in question and a situation such as a hard disk crash is seen by record labels and publishers as roughly equivalent to breaking a compact disc; just as you would have to repurchase the CD in such a situation, you would also have to repurchase the MP3 if you haven’t backed it up elsewhere.  We will continue to offer DRM-free MP3s to all of our users, however, and provide no hindrance to making backups of your content as you desire.

I understand that you might not see it this way but as a business we must respect the laws of the country in which we operate; although we would prefer to continue with our existing manner of handling downloads, this is a policy change about which we have absolutely no choice.

Once again, I appreciate your understanding with regards to this situation, and please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

The luddites at the Copyright Royalty Board apparently fail to realize that there are millions of songs available for free on the internet with no limit on the number of downloads.

Sigh. I am just going to let the bold parts of the letter speak for themselves. I wish AmieStreet and all other digital media vendors the best of luck in this market. They are doing their best to provide an excellent service in the face of true adversity.