Congratulations to Douglas and Rachel

Jane and I are just back from the engagement cèilidh and service of blessing for her cousin, Douglas Gilmour and his fiancée Rachel Dowsett.

What was lovely was that their act of blessing, carried out with gentle humour and kindness by brother-in-law (and minister) Paul Beautyman, was right there in the middle of the cèilidh. That particular moment of asking God’s blessing was there in the midst of the other everyday things of life, there in the midst of the dancing, and eating, and drinking, and chatting and laughing. And that’s where God should be. That’s where the church should be. I know that this evening was about Douglas and Rachel and about them being blessed, but I felt blessed too by being there.

Congratulations on your engagement Douglas and Rachel. May God bless you … erm, and all who sail in you.

(That’s not right, is it! I wish I’d paid more attention at TISEC!)

Removing adverts from MSN Messenger 7 and 7.5

One of the things that annoys me about MSN Messenger is its flashing adverts at the foot of the main Messenger window. The excellent Messenger Plus! used to be able to remove these until Microsoft got wise to it and changed the way that they appear in the window — they are now ‘hardwired’ into the layout of the window itself rather than an imported extra. As I recall, Patchou, the author of Messenger Plus!, said that while it was possible to do it wasn’t feasible to change this from a setting within Messenger Plus! as it involves editing the actual Messenger executible (.exe) file.

Matthijs van de Water, however, has a page of instructions for the removal of advertising in MSN Messenger 7.0. And the good news is that it works! It involves downloading an application called Resource Hacker and having a poke about in the guts of the msnmsgr.exe file.

I have the latest MSN Messenger 7.5 installed, and there is one minor change that Microsoft have made to the location of the advert banner in msnmsgr.exe. Where Matthijs says look for

element layoutpos=top layout=verticalflowlayout(0,2,2,2) padding=rect(2,0,3,2)

this now reads:

element layoutpos=top layout=verticalflowlayout(0,2,2,2) padding=rect(2,5,3,2)

(I’ve highlighted the change in bold.)

It works! But if you do this, remember to backup your original msnmsgr.exe file first (even though Resource Hacker also makes a backup for you, called msnmsgr_original.exe).


Most of today has been spent reinstalling Windows XP, hardware drivers and software.

I wasn’t overly worried about the Install partition going, as I’ve got much of what I had in other places … like on DVDs and CDs in various friends’ houses around the country! (Thanks to those who have offered to send them back.) I’ve even raided a couple of old Ghost images for things like Lotus WordPro templates and smarticon bar settings.

What upsets me most is that I really have lost 6 months’ of work from My Documents. Not only that, but in that time I reorganised My Documents, and my HTML folders in particular.

I’ve lost WordPress 1.2.2 (does anyone out there in Internetland have a copy they could email me?). UPDATE: Forget that, I’ve just found the WordPress archive.

I’ve also lost my O&O Defrag 6.0 and WS_FTP Professional 9.01, and I can’t seem to find these anywhere to download again.

This was the first time doing a reinstall that I didn’t encounter any hardware-related problems. Or software … until I got to Microsoft Outlook 2003. For some reason when I restored the Personal Folders (PST) file I was getting a clone of the folder appearing beneath itself. It took me 3 hours and this post from Google Groups to fix the problem. I knew that it had something to do with Mail Profiles, but could I remember how to do it?!

More data pushing tomorr … *looks at clock* … later today.