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Prescriptive poppycock or zombie rules – good grammar that isn’t

Geoffrey Pullman writes in Lingua Franca shows how mindlessly sticking to the ‘rule’ on split infinitives can lead to ambiguity.

The worst thing about zombie rules, I believe, is not the pomposity of those advocating them, or the time-wasting character of the associated gotcha games, but the way they actually make people’s writing worse. They promote insecurity, and nervous people worrying about their language write worse than relaxed people enjoying their language.

[via @guardianstyle]

 

Blur 21 bonus material download on the Mac

If you’re having problems downloading the bonus downloadable material for Blur 21 on the Mac then you might find this information useful.

I’m going to assume you’re already in the bonus download bit, have set up an account, have signed in and you’re stuck with a view pretty much like this screenshot.

 

1. Choose the right option

First off, don’t be a numpty like me. If you’ve got a download code, just choose the icon on the right – the one with the hand icon and the four asterisks in a box – and you should be given the option to enter your download code.

I would’ve saved myself an enormous amount of trouble had I realised this but I’m going to blame poor usability design. Given that I’d bought the CD box set, I assumed I needed to choose ‘CD’ under ‘How did you buy the product’. But no, the question’s misleading: if you’ve got a download code, it doesn’t matter that you bought the CD box set. Instead you choose the icon on the right, which implies you bought the box set online rather than having a download code.

2. Install Java

Otherwise, if you’re stuck on the ‘Please Wait – Loading Software’ bit then, if you’re on a Mac, this is probably because the validation software rather tiresomely uses Java. For security reasons, Apple uninstalls Java when you install Mountain Lion. If you decide to reinstall Java, I’d advise removing it again once you’re finished with it, or at least take steps to minimise potential security issues with it.

Here’s what you need to do to get Java on your Mac for the validation gubbins:

  • Go to Terminal (in Applications > Utilities)
  • At the command prompt, type ‘java -version’ (without the quote marks) and press enter
  • You should see a message saying you haven’t got java and that it’ll be installed.
(Read ‘Install Java in OS X Mountain Lion’ on OSXDaily for a bit more info on this.)

3. Enable Java to run on your browser

At this point, if you try the whole validation bit again on the bonus download area, you might be lucky and it’ll work. It didn’t for me, however. The crucial extra steps were:

a. Make sure your browser preferences are set to allow Java. In Safari, go to the security tab in preferences to make sure you ‘Enable Java’  in the ‘Web content’ bit.

b. Make sure Java preferences are enabled correctly. Go to Applications > Utilities and open Java Preferences. In the General section, make sure ‘Enable applet plug-in and Web Start applications’ is ticked.

After doing all that, try visiting the download page again – a refresh wouldn’t do any harm – and you should finally get the validation software working. (Note that I didn’t actually have to go through this pain had I realised I could’ve entered the validation code straight away all along. I’m still blaming really poor usability for that.)

4. Uninstall or disable Java

When you’re done validating stuff, then it’s best to reverse the last couple of steps and unticking the ‘enable’ boxes. More information on disabling Java and taking other security steps for your Mac

Disclaimer:

This is what worked for me on my own particular Mac. You may find things work slightly differently on your own machine because of a slightly different set-up.

If the above doesn’t work for you, I’m sorry, but I can’t really help any further because it worked for me. The only thing I can suggest is you make sure you’ve got a Mac OS X Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8) installed and fully up-to-date before trying again.