Acronis True Image for Crucial: is it malware?

Installed it, now cannot get it to uninstall. Tried rerunning the installer, tried going via Windows setup. Acronis may  not be malware, but it sure as hell aint impressive. Anything that is a 600 MB download ought to be amazing.

Error message is the very useless “The parameters are not valid.” Very nice.

Went here:

So I dislike needing more software to fix things that should not be problems in the first place. But I ran this tool and selected Acronis from the menu and asked for it to be uninstalled …

OK, close the troubleshooter once it runs.

And Acronis seems to be gone.

I hope that’s true!

It turned out that the error I got while running Acronis was that my sector size or something on the HDD was not compatible with that on the SSD. 512 vs 4096. This seems to be likely to be a widespread issue, so I am surprised at how rarely it get mentioned when you explore switching to SSD. I guess it would be bad for SSD sales. My conclusion is that I’ll only bother going to SSD if I need to replace the drive and intend to do a fresh install, because so far I have tried cloning two different HDD using two different cloning tools, and both failed because of this issue with the sector sizes.The whole SSD experience has been truly underwhelming. Apparently if I directly connect the SSD to an internal SATA connector, all will be well. Well, I’ve tried enough things already, and I’m not throwing away more of my time. Maybe later.

Why Acronis would not uninstall, I don’t know.


Reinstalling GRUB on SliTaz

Well, the FreeDOS install that shares the disk with SliTaz went barmy, and on reinstall I toasted the MBR so can only boot FreeDOS. Stupid.

Not that hard to fix.

  1. Booted from the SliTaz 4-in-1 CD, same as the one used to install it
  2. Chose my keymap (UK)
  3. Let it boot
  4. Once I had the desktop, opened a terminal window and started a root session:
    $ su

    (the live disc uses ‘root’ as the root password)

  5. Mounted the root (/) partition of the SliTaz install on the HDD:
    # mount /dev/sda3 /mnt
  6. Now, at this point some instructions talk about mounting /proc and stuff and using chroot; this did not need anything so complicated (all the config files were still on /dev/sda3, just the bootloader in the MBR was missing) so first verified the version of GRUB:
    # grub-install --version
    grub (GNU GRUB 0.97)
  7. So you can see that SliTaz uses an older version of GRUB; this is important because the next command is different for versions after 1.98:
    # grub-install --root-directory=/mnt --no-floppy --recheck /dev/sda
  8. Did not throw any errors; great
  9. Rebooted and got a GRUB menu, then dropped through to a menu that allowed me to select FreeDOS or SliTaz
  10. Note: The menu for GRUB1 is in /boot/grub/menu.lst, and you add FreeDOS to it by adding this to the end of that file:
    title FreeDOS
    root (hd0,0)
    chainloader /kernel.sys

Now, this is GRUB instead of GRUB2, which most modern systems will have. GRUB2 would use --boot-directory=/mnt/boot (and has a much more complicated configuration file set up, because we all know that things have to get more complicated instead of remaining simple, because that’s how we can tell progress has happened) but I cannot tell you fort sure that would work, because it’s not what I did.


This approach only works if the software on the install CD matches that in the booted partition, because I am effectively running the install program version that is on the CD, not on the HDD that I am installing it to. I know that this is the exact same CD I installed SliTaz from, and that I never changed the SliTaz install to a different version of GRUB or to some other bootloader. If there are any mismatches, YMMVW (your mileage may vary wildly, up to and including s gyre of flames spewing into the sky).

Other procedures involve mounting the HDD file system and various system directories (like /dev, /proc, /sys and /run) then using chroot to make /mnt the new root of the system. This is the way you would most likely do it if you had GRUB2 installed on the HDD and wanted it to install itself fairly automatically — it would need to be run from the system on the HDD in question, because that meets the programs expectations. As I said, I dunno about installing GRUB2 without chrooting.

SLiTaz is perhaps not the most representative OS.

Note: I am saying HDD because SliTaz is in my case being used on a legacy system with a HDD. I don’t see why it would matter whether it is HDD or SSD.

An explanation

The partition I want to boot (/dev/sda3) is mounted to /mnt , and the live CD can see the drive that partition is on (/dev/sda). So the command tells the installer to write the initial boot stuff to the drive and any other stuff to the mounted file system. That it works is a pleasant surprise, and given how often I futz things up, something that I’ll probably have to use again some time.



What the hell just happened? — a review of The Affirmation by Christopher Priest

The central thing that can bug me with books like this one (and I should emphasise ‘like’, because this one is too finely wrought for this to be a problem) is whether there is an underlying ‘realistic’ narrative (ie possible in the world, as we generally agree upon such things) and it is the subjectivity of the narrator(s) that creates the apparent inconsistencies and shifts of time and place, or are the fantastical places ‘real’ within the frame of the book. It’s a funny thing; in some sense the ending of all fiction is ‘but it was just a dream’, yet it is really important for our enjoyment that it doesn’t feel like that is the case. Some fiction gives us new lenses through which to look at the world, after all.

A very nicely produced paperback

If the author is working with a universe that I can hope to understand — no matter how filtered through the perceptions, lies and limitations of narrators — that’s one thing. If they are pulling rabbits out of hats, that is quite another.

Further, whether a story is set in London, England, or Jethra, Faiandland, it remains words on a page. Does the London of a novel have any more ‘reality’ than a Jethra, or do both depend on the writer’s skill and have only as much reality as something can when it is evoked in our minds? Well, not if you’ve been to London, I suppose. Clearly someone could present London through pure description of the real thing — no talent or imagination needed, just sheer weight of words would, if the reader could be bothered, suffice to at least transmit some information, however incomplete. Jethra must be imagined; but what if the author describes (say) Lyon but changes the names?

Should we assume that when a story is set part in London and part in Jethra, the London parts are the ‘real’ parts? We are certainly inclined to do so, but maybe the author depends on that…

The Affirmation begins with a youngish man, (Robert) Peter Sinclair retreating to the country to try to pull himself together after a series of blows — death of his father, loss of his job, end of his relationship, loss of his flat. A friend says he can stay in a little cottage rent-free if he’ll do some repairs. While there, to get a handle on himself, he starts to write progressively more fictionalised autobiographies (approaching, he says, a higher truth), culminating in one set in Faiandland and the Dream Archipelago, before his sister comes and rains on his parade, and we discover that Peter does not always tell the truth; he often feels a need to protect himself from it. Yes, we are in ‘unreliable narrator’ territory.

The novel is told (mostly) in alternating chunks set in England and in the Dream Archipelago, though the chunks are not the same as chapters. As the two streams move forward, we see Peter cope rather poorly with life in England, and rather better in the islands, where he wins a lottery and the prize is immortality, and a rather pretty young woman befriends and then loves him. Which does rather suggest that the islands are the fantasy.

There’s a lot more to it than that, of course and — more than in most books — the fun is in the telling.

What should I say beyond that? A few points:

  •  Withhold judgement of the story until you get to the end of chapter 5 or 6; it does not begin as it goes on (or vice versa).
  • It’s interesting to think about the assumptions many of us make as readers. Some of them are pretty fundamental and we might not realise we’ve made them. This book exploits that.
  • The prose can seem a little flat and repetitive, and I confess I found Peter’s endless, somewhat repetitive agonising over what he should do tiresome at times; but both have functions. In a story that plays with structure and narrative, having a clear, precise, unadorned prose style works, overall, extremely well. It must be clear to avoid the reader feeling that any lack of certainty is coming from overcomplicated grammar or exotic vocabulary. By keeping the telling clean — precise is a word that comes to mind — Priest focuses on what is being told, rather than the telling.  Complex prose in a complex story with a complex structure would be at least one complex too many. Further, he does evoke the many places with effect and economy. And Peter’s agonising? Suffice to say that when you’re following troubled souls (or a troubled soul) through two stories, you’re going to have twice as much soul-searching as following a troubled soul (or souls) through one.
  • I read the book very quickly (for me) — in three or four days. I wanted to know how it all fitted together. I confess I am not sure that I do, but I should say that I have tentatively worked out what I think the underlying narrative might be. I should also say I don’t like spoilers, so I’m not going to put it here. (I’m also not going to put it here because I am quite likely embarrassingly wrong. It’s that kind of book.)

When I finished it I began flipping though it and making notes, putting pieces together, and reading the narrative out of order (but not at random) to see if I could work out the construction of it. That I got that engaged is unusual for me, and I guess that must act as some kind of recommendation. It’s not me being obsessive (much) because I’ve never before bothered to do such a thing.

I liked it. A lot. I liked The Separation a lot too, and Inverted World and The Prestige. I recommend this book to anyone interested in fiction and how it operates, or in puzzles and enigmas, or in how we gain and keep the pictures of ourselves and the world that we build up in our minds and use to help us make our way though life.

Highly recommended

Science spammers

This used to be a page, but I’ve made it a post because I am not really keeping it up to date.

Not consistently updated since probably 2018. So be warned!


Greetings! I was a working scientist and am now a scientific editor at Biotext, and the quality of academic publishing is important to me. This page is nothing but a list of journals/publishers who have sent me emails soliciting contributions to journals/monographs (I would add conferences but they are too evanescent).  Some of these publishers are likely to be predatory publishers, and open-access journals that just want your money but offer very little in return.  Of course, I could be wrong and maybe the opportunity deserves full investigation. As I said, this is just a list of journals that have solicited material from me through poorly targeted emails.

I don’t want to devalue all the work that has been published in these journals. Some is rubbish, but respectable journals are not free of rubbish. Plenty of the papers in the journals below look quite solid, and there’s nothing wrong with a researcher evaluating the publications on a paper-by-paper and journal-by-journal basis to decide for themselves what’s worth reading. But soliciting is soliciting and on this list they go.

As a general point, it is absolutely imperative that any researcher looks carefully at the journals they submit work to. I would offer this advice, particularly to less-experienced researchers:

  • Society-based publishers are generally reliable (IUCr, APS, IoP, EPS, ACS, etc).
  • Look at the journals where you have found useful references. If one journal stands out (I have had projects where a lot of the relevant literature was to be found in JSSC, for example), then that is a great place to send your work. First, that journal will have a highly relevant audience so the right people will see your work, and secondly, you’ve been reading a bunch of papers from it and you know that they are sound. To put it another way: If you’ve never found a useful paper in a journal, don’t submit there.
  • If the journal solicits work from you, if their email or website has grammatical errors or strange capitalisation (look at the Scientific Research Gate journals listed below) or uses a gmail or other free webmail provider, if they promise they can publish your work within a few weeks (or sometimes days), if the fee seems very small, if they say the work will be reviewed by an ‘editorial board’ or similar, rather than through conventional peer review, if you download any of the papers from their website and they just don’t meet professional standards, ask yourself: do I trust these people? Do I want to be associated with them? Don’t forget, if they want a payment then what will they do with your payment information? Especially if you use a credit card. I mean, if they are a dodgy publisher, who’s to say they’ll treat your financial info ethically?
  • (If you have access) go to a reliable database like Web of Science (not Google) and have a look at ‘Journal Citation Reports’ or similar. If the journal is not in the database, be very wary; if it is, that’s good but not definitive. Impact factor is not everything, but it is worth a look… but make sure it is a real impact factor. Useful as it is, Google Scholar is not a viable way of evaluating a publication. A journal ‘indexed’ only on Google Scholar and similar is not really indexed.
  • If you are in materials-related sciences and the journal is not indexed in SciFinder, the CAS database, then it is probably a no go. Other fields have their own definitive indexing services. There is often no viable free alternative. You get what you pay for.
  • Look out for names that sound like real journals but are not quite. Make sure you check; the Research Journal of XYZ might be an intentional rip-off of the Journal of XYZ, for example. These can be subtle — Journal of Complicated Sciences is not the same as Journal of Complicated Science. They differ by a single ‘s’, which could be all it takes.
  • Not all impact factors are the same. One of the ‘journals’ below claimed this in its own semi-grammatical way in an email to me: ‘We are happy to announce you that IJLRET ( have Impact Factor. It was calculated on the basis of “Google Scholar Citation” of published articles. IJLRET got 2.265 Impact Factor by I2OR (International Institute of Organized Research).’ This is not a real impact factor.

To be clear, not all the journals listed below are certain to be rubbish. I have listed ones that either are rubbish, or have sent me an email which is clearly not properly targeted.  For example, I am a physicist, so if I get an email from International Journal of Plant Genomics and Fruit Bat Science (to invent a name), it will go on this list even if it is a ‘good’ journal, on the grounds that it is still spam. If a publisher spams me and one of the journals is relevant, but others aren’t, they all go on the list. There are some grey areas. I got an unsolicited email from the Turkish Journal of Physics. I cannot say it is poorly targeted, since physics is my thing, and they do not charge fees, so it is not predatory, but it was spam (though only once). This journal is not on the list.

It’s interesting to note the use of words like ‘international’, ‘research’, ‘innovation’ and so on to see how the journal names are created. There is obviously a namespace issue. How to create a new name? Add ‘modern’. Or create a publisher name and stick that on the front — like the ACE stuff below. We have International Journal of Advanced Research, International Journal of Current Research and International Journal of Current Advanced Research. Is there an International Journal of Advanced Current Research? How about International Journal of Current Advanced Modern Research? How about the Journal of the Use of Combinatorics for Generating Journal Names?

The list will be added to over time. (Now more or less alphabetised! And with added flippant remarks!) (Some journals that came from a single publisher and were all listed in a single email are grouped under the publisher name since I am lazy and it made cutting and pasting easier.) Note that I add to the list but don’t often go through and check for dead links and such. So it will get crufty over time.

Entries marked ** have been revised and may be removed from the list.

Journals (and Publishers) that have solicited material from me and are either clearly dodgy or at least spammers

Academic Journals (that is the name of the publisher)

This publisher puts out a lot of journals. Their website and emails looks quite professional compared with many of the entries on this list. On the other hand, their catchall journals that seem prepared to publish anything are a bit of a characteristic of predatory publishing. For example, Scientific Research and Essays lists “science, medicine, agriculture and engineering such as Nanotechnology, Climate Change and Global Warming, Air Pollution Management and Electronics etc.” This list includes unprofessional capitalisation, the good old ‘etc’, and of course “science, medicine, agriculture and engineering” is not very specific. They must have a huge bank of reviewers to cover all these topics or … more likely … the review is not that thorough. So — looks good, but some suspicious qualities.

ACE Publications — a whole raft of random journals — see below down to the next horizontal rule.

From the email: “ACE International Publications invite  Researchers, scholars, and authors to submit their original and extended research to publish in peer review all international journals.  All submitted papers will be peer-reviewed, published in online and online print version.  Authors should be the member of our journal after getting user ID and password with this link and can submit articles online

Advance Research Journal of Multidisciplinary Discoveries (ARJMD) (from the IJF (International Journal Foundation) — whose editor uses a gmail address. Surely the Foundation can set up its own system if it’s any good)

Agricultural Sciences:
ACE Journal of Forestry and Horticulture
ACE Journal of Medicinal Plants  and Natural Products
ACE Journal of Botany
ACE Journal of Agriculture Sciences

Animal Sciences
ACE Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
ACE Journal of Research Studies in Zoology

ACE  Journal of Constructive Research Civil Engineering
ACE Journal of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
ACE Journal of Modern Studies in Mechanical Engineering
ACE Journal of Petroleum and PetrochemicalEngineering
ACE Journal of Mathematical Research
ACE Journal of Advance Research in Chemical Sciences

Earth Sciences
ACE Journal of History and Cultural Studies
ACE Journal of Mining Science
ACE Journal of Research in Geography
ACE Journal of Environmental Sciences

Information Technology
ACE Journal of Computer Science and Engineering
ACE Journal of Electronics and Communications
ACE Journal of Engineering Language and Literature
ACE Journal of Managerial Studies
ACE Research Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

 Medical Sciences
ACE Journal of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
ACE Journal of Anesthesiology
ACE Journal of Sports and Physical Education
ACE Journal of Urology
ACE Journal of Tourism and Hospitality
ACE Journal of Surgery
ACE Journal of Research in Sports Medicine
ACE Journal of Radiology and Medical Imaging
ACE Journal of Public Health and Community Medicine
ACE Journal of Pediatrics
ACE Journal of Ophthalmology
ACE Journal of Nutrition and Growth
ACE Journal of Nursing and Healthcare
ACE Journal of Neurosciences
ACE Journal of Nephrology
ACE Journal of Hematology
ACE Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
ACE Journal of AIDS

 Molecular Sciences
ACE Journal of Addiction
ACE Journal of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries
ACE Journal of Research Studies in Biosciences
ACE Journal of Advance Research in Chemical Sciences
ACE Journal of Psychiatry
ACE Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
ACE Journal of Immunology and Vaccines
ACE Journal of Advanced Research Physical Sciences

Social Sciences
International Journal of Social Sciences
ACE Journal of Humanities, Social and Education
ACE Journal of Medical, Journalism and Mass Communications
ACE Journal of Political Sciences

Advanced Research in Engineering & Management (Acceptance guaranteed within 3 or 4 days! Now that’s careful review!)

Advances in Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry (“I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but I saw that you read my previous email.” Yes, it does sound weird. Seems to be based in Australia.)

Advances in Materials Science and Engineering

American Journal of Biomedical Science & Research (“We hope 2-page article isnt time taken for an eminent Authors like you.”)

American Journal of Chemistry and Application (my paper has left a deep impression on them!)

American Journal of Oral Medicine and Radiology (E-ISSN : 2394-7721)

American Research Journal of Chemistry

Analytical Chemistry International

Antiferromagnets: Types, Applications and Analyses. (See Neutron Diffraction: New Research)

Asian Journal of Applied Science and Engineering.

Asian Journal of Research in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Basic Research Journal of Medicine and Clinical Sciences (BRJMCS, ISSN 2315-6864) (This email was addressed to ‘Dear Dr., Ass. Prof., Prof.,’. I am ‘Dr’, but I am not ‘Dr Ass’ nor an ‘Ass Prof’. Anyway, their email to me says: “BRJMCS cover all areas of the subject as it welcome the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence that will be publish”. So you know your work will be in the hands of a quality publication… hah.)

Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research — certainly looks nice. Fees: US$1599… whoa! For an journal with self-confessed impact factor about 0.5… — UPDATE — Now they are saying “We are in short of one article for the newly launched issue” which causes me to leap to their assistance and write my best work up … or not.

Bioceramics Development and Applications — they offered to republished a paper of mine (which was open access and licensed CC-BY, and therefore … etc) in some kind of volume. They note that “A research paper which has already been published in a journal can be published as a Book Chapter in an expanded form. It is completely legal and acceptable procedure in the academic world.” Which is true. And (the best bit) “We have published more than 82 books in last three months ( We are overwhelmed with pleasure for this tremendous response from researchers like you.” Overwhelmed with pleasure! And then the kicker: “Details of charges are available below.” … so, we “want” your wonderful work, which has already been published (though you can do more work to make it longer and a bit different) and we want to publish it, and we are asking you to send it to us but you have to pay us. Now, the do offer royalties: “Royalty: (80:20) profit sharing between author and publisher from the sale of books.” So, what are the fees? Well, it’s a sliding scale, but it is US$150 for 6000 to 9000 words. What are the odds you earn that back?

Boson Journal of Modern Physics

Cambridge Scholars Publishing (Now, probably not as dodgy as many on this list; comments on the web are various. Overall impression is that they are not predatory — they do not seem to ask for money up front — but also not terribly highly regarded. So more of a ‘weak’ publication than an actively bad one. But they did solicit work from me using a generic email, so I’ve put them here.)

Chemical Science International Journal (‘Previously known as American Chemical Science Journal’ — says it is indexed on CAS.)

Crimson Publishers — publish a raft of journals, but if the weird run-on sentences and post-meaning use of grammar in their emails is anything to go by, their standards are not high — and thet’re selling generic viagra: (‘Our impact metrics provide real time view on details such as views, downloads, and citations; demographies; aggregated author impacts; how author’s profile is perceived; social buzz; career visibility; integration across platform; and functionality.We are also ready to support content about modern medicines, including about generic Viagra.‘)

Current Marine Engineering Research
Current Mechanical Engineering Research
Current Automotive Engineering Research               
(grouped since all Mehta Press)
Current Civil & Structural Engineering Research
Current Electrical & Electronic Engineering Research

Current Nanoscience (CNANO)

Current Topics in Pharmacology

Elixir International Journal (they’ll publish anything for money) (Here’s their semi-literate call, verbatim: ‘We are pleased to inform you that, Our Elixir Journal an interdisciplinary journal Indexed with Index Copernicus…’)

Elyns Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

Engineering and Technology Journal (Subtitled ‘peer review journal’.)

Frontiers in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (FNN)

Global Journal of Science Frontier Research (GJSFR) (From ‘Global Journals Inc.’.)

Global Journal For Research Analysis (GJRA)

(The) IJS — seems to publish anything. (“We welcome original research articles/manuscripts as long as their research questions are important, new, and relevant to general reader”)

Immunochemistry & Immunopathology journal

Indian Journal of Research

IntechOpen (book publisher; wants £1500 per book chapter from authors. Is listed (it says) in Web of Science, but also appears in lists of dodgy publishers and does not appear in Chem. Abs.)

International Educational Applied Scientific Research Journal (Hint to would-be predatory publishers; if you plan to a advertise and publish in English, please get a fluent English speaker to read your websites and emails before going live.)

International Education and Research Journal (IERJ) (From their email to me: “The journal is wide and available for diverse intellectual and educational pursuit from all corners of the society to enrich the learning experience of the group readers.” Does not fill me with confidence as to the quality of their review process, but at least I know it is designed in landscape not portrait.)

International Journal of Advanced Engineering and Nano Technology (IJAENT)

International Journal of Advanced  Engineering, Management and Science (IJAEMS) ISSN:2454-1311

** International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Science (IJAERS) ISSN: 2456-1908 (Notice the variations on very similar names…) NOTE: This journal contacted me to mention that they were no longer charging for publications and were “committed to publishing the quality reviewed manuscript free of cost on IJAERS page”. If they are no longer charging, they cannot be seen as predatory. Their website says they are “Under Review for Scopus Indexing “, so they are not yet indexed in major indexes, as far as I can see.; but they seem to be working on it, which is great.

International Journal of Advanced Research (IJAR) (This one claims an impact factor of 6.118. That would make it very prestigious if they were not a bunch of liars.)

International Journal of Advanced Research in Education

International Journal of Applied Science and Technology (IJAST) this one publishes on pretty much anything — Astronomy and astrophysics, Chemistry, Earth and atmospheric sciences, Physics, Biology in general, Agriculture, Biophysics and biochemistry, Botany, Environmental Science, Forestry, Genetics, Horticulture, Husbandry, Neuroscience, Zoology, Computer science, Engineering, Robotics and Automation, Materials science, Mathematics, Mechanics, MIS, Statistics, Health Care & Public Health, Nutrition and Food Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and so on.

International Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering

International journal of Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics ISSN:2456-866X (Minuscule ‘j’ is verbatim.)

International Journal of Civil, Mechanical and Energy Science (IJCMES) ISSN: 2455-5304 (Infogain Publication)

International Journal of Communications (IJC)

International Journal of Computational Engineering Research

International Journal Of Computer Science And Engineering Research

International journal of Current Advanced Research (ISSN:-NO: 2319-6475 P: 2319-6505) (Note: Capitalisation is quoted directly from the email they sent me; do you think they’ll start legal action against the next journal in the list?)

International Journal of Current Research (This is a typical example of a crap journal. It covers everything from physics to ‘People and Places’. You send your manuscript to someone with a Yahoo email address(!) and they claim a huge bogus impact factor.)

International Journal of Development Research (This one is semi-literate at best. Their email to me said: “Research paper prepared in MS word template with double – column in single spaced typed pages should be submitted electronically as attachment at E-mail Id of Journals mentioned below. The manuscripts in all the subject areas are welcome.”)

International Journal of Electrical, Electronics and Computers (EEC Journal) ISSN: 2456-2319

International Journal of Engineering and Advanced Technology (IJEAT)

International Journal of Engineering and Science Invention (Compare this title with the next few — variations on a theme.)

International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA)

International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (‘We follow “Rigorous Publication” model’ — yes, rigorous is in quotes.)

International Journal of Engineering Science and Innovative Technology (IJESIT)

International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences (IJELS) ISSN: 2456-7620

International Journal of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology (IJEAB) ISSN: 2456-1878

International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention

International Journal of Information Research and Review (IJIRR)

International Journal of Innovation Engineering and Science Research

International Journal of  Innovations in Engineering and  Technology (IJIET) (Idjit)

International Journal of Innovative and Applied Research (IJIAR)

International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering and Technology (IJISET, ISSN 2348 – 7968)

International Journal of Innovative Technology and Exploring Engineering (IJITEE)

International Journal of Inventive Engineering & Sciences (IJIES)

International Journal of Latest Engineering and Management Research (IJLEMR)

International Journal of Latest Engineering Research and Applications (IJLERA)

International Journal of Latest Engineering Research and Technology  (IJLRET) (sic)

International Journal of Latest Transactions in Engineering and Science

International Journal of Latest Trends in Engineering and Technology (IJLTET)

International Journal of Mathematics and Statistics Invention (IJLRET) (just as sic)

International Journal of Membrane Science and Technology (IJMST)

International Journal of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering (This is from “Graphy Publications”.)

International Journal of Modern Engineering Research

International Journal of Modern Physics and Application

International Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery (ISSN 2470-3206) (How badly targeted can you get?)

International Journal of Nanoparticles and Nanotechnology

International Journal of Negative Results (Like this as a name; seems defunct anyway)

International Journal of New Innovations in Engineering and Technology

International Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Drug Research

International Journal of Recent Advances in Multidisciplinary Research (IJRAMR)

International Journal of Recent Engineering Research and Development (IJRERD)

International Journal of Recent Research in Biosciences and Plant Biology

International Journal of Recent Research in Chemical Science

International Journal of Advanced Research in Life Science

International Journal of Humanities, Management and Social Studies

International Journal of Recent Research in Mathematics

International Journal of Recent Research in Psychology

International Journal of Recent Scientific Research (I prefer the Local Journal of Really Old Scientific Research.)

International Journal of Research – GRANTHAALAYAH (Huh?)

International Journal of Research in Engineering and Science ISSN (Online): 2320-9364 ; ISSN (Print): 2320-9356 (IJRES)

International Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Biosciences (IJRPB)

International Journal of Scientific and Technical Research in Engineering (IJSTRE — see how these journals all run variations on the same themes)

International Journal of Scientific Engineering and Applied Science (IJSEAS) (‘In the successive way, submit your valuable research/knowledge as manuscript for forthcoming issue…’)

International Journal of Soft Computing and Engineering (IJSCE) (One of a bunch…)

International Review of Chemical Engineering – Rapid Communications (IRECHE)

International Review of Physics (IREPHY)

Internal Medicine Review. This lot ‘wanted’ a follow-up to an article I’d written years ago on layered magnetic materials. Obviously a very carefully targeted email.

The International Organization of Scientific Research (IOSR) (This seems to be a publisher of various journals with names of the format “IOSR Journal of Applied Physics (IOSR-JAP)”.)

International Research Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Must be good — they can show you ‘transparent and straightforward testimonials‘ if they do say so themselves.)

International Review of Physics (IREPHY)

International Scientific Research Organization Journal (This one has very high standards. I mean, they take a whole two days to stick your PDF on a website: “Article will be online within 2 Working Days once you complete Final Submission”.)


Dear Sir/Madam,

Sub: Publish paper in Best Impact Factor Journal”

Invention Journals have following different open access Journals:
International Journal of Engineering and Science Invention
International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science Invention
International Journal of Business and Management Invention
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention
International Journal of Mathematics and Statistics Invention

IOSR Journal of Engineering (another ‘Unit of International Organization of Scientific Research’)

Note: All IOSR journals belong on this list. Here are some:

IOSR Journal of Computer Engineering
IOSR Journal of Electrical and Electronics Engineering

IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Science
IOSR Journal of Nursing and Health Science

IOSR Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering
IOSR Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering

IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences
IOSR Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science

IOSR Journal of VLSI and Signal Processing
IOSR Journal on Mobile Computing & Application

IOSR Journal of Sports and Physical Education
IOSR Journal of Polymer and Textile Engineering

IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science
IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education

IOSR Journal of Applied Geology and Geophysics
IOSR Journal of Environmental Science, Toxicology and Food Technology

IOSR Journal of Mathematics
IOSR Journal of Business and Management

IOSR Journal of Applied Physics
IOSR Journal of Applied Chemistry

IOSR Journal of Economics and Finance
IOSR Journal of Biotechnology and Biochemistry

Jacobs Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology

Journal of Advances in Nanomaterials

journal of Annals of Chemistry Open Access (sic)

Journal of Applied Physical Science International

Journal of Astrobiology & Outreach (Really? Is the namespace that full?)

Journal of Biochemical & Microbial Technology (JBMT)

Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology

Journal of Drug Design and Research

Journal of Ergonomics Research

Journal of Evolutionary Science

Journal of Experimental Physics (Very dodgy, even by the standards of these publications! See for example this post here…… an ‘OMICS’ journal.)

Journal of Fertility Biomarkers (Yes, ‘cos that’s what I do…)

Journal of Harmonized Research in Applied Sciences (Cool — it should be a podcast.)

Journal of Le travail humain (‘of Le’ — Franglish or what?)

Journal of Materials Science and Research

Journal of Material Sciences & Engineering (This is an ‘OMICS’ journal.)

Journal of Molecular and Applied Bioanalysis

Journal of Nanomedicine and Biotherapeutic Discovery (ISSN: 2155-983X)

Journal of Organic & Inorganic Chemistry (‘We truly believe that your article will be benefit for the journal.’)

Journal of Physical Chemistry & Biophysics. (This is an ‘OMICS’ journal.)

Journal of Physics Research and Applications  (‘Through your publication we can cultivate younger generations for research and to perform front-end scientific research in the field of physics.’)

Journal of Preventive Medicine and Care (Exactly nails my discipline area…)

Journal of Progressive Research in Modern Physics and Chemistry

Journal of Research Organisation

Journal of Robotic Surgery and Artificial Intelligence (The future is now! Published within 14 days of submission, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more, very reasonable fees.)

Journal of Science (JOS)  E-ISSN: 2277-3290, PRINT ISSN: 2277-3282

Journal of Science, Technology and Environment ISSN: 2227-9296

Journal of Scientific Achievements (JSA) (Nicely vague…)

Journal of Structural chemistry & Crystallography Communication (Capitalisation is verbatim.)

Journal of The Analgesics (Pharma Publisher)

JSM Chemistry (The are a bunch of ‘J SciMed Central’ journals. Be wary.)

Knowledge Empowerment Foundation — great name!

Kuwait Journal of Science ISSN: 2307-4116

Kuwait Medical Journal ISSN: 0023-5776

LAP Lambert Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG (an imprint of VDM Publishing). Update: They are still at it, but now offering to publish my already-published work. Apparently they’re ‘managed by OmniScriptum AraPers GmbH’. Still avoid.

Medical Research Archives

Medcrave Publishing; I can only say never ever send them anything. Their website is semi-literate at best, their emails laughable (see Physics & Astronomy International Journal below).

Mehta Press — any number of random journals.

Modelling and Simulation in Biotechnology : Open Access Journal

Nanoscience & Nanotechnology-Asia  (A Bentham journal; these guys have got a bad reputation. Deserved or not, I am not sure. This was a request to join an editorial board. The email looked pretty professional compared to many — just a small slip up: “The journal is in its 7th successful year of publication, and is indexed by few indexing media” The website also looks sharp, and apparently they are indexed on Scopus and Chem Abs. On the other hand, a search of Bentham-related stuff on the web brings up quite a lot of negative publicity. Also, email was unsolicited and I’ve never published with them and yet they’ve contacted me. Enough points to get onto this list.)

Neutron Diffraction: New Research (This is an edited volume — not refereed science. Read around the web about Nova Science Publishers. It may be a vanity press.) They’ve also asked me to contribute to Antiferromagnets: Types, Applications and Analyses.

OMICS: Look closely at ‘OMICS Group’ or ‘OMICS International’. See here, for example.

OmniScriptum AraPers GmbH. GreaT MiX of uppEr case letters.

Open Access Biostatistics & Bioinformatics (The email for this is almost poetic in a babelfish kind of way: ‘Your time is my preference to confer about our Journals concern.’ These are from, who are not very grammatical, which should be a major concern.)

Open Physics Journal (Bentham)

OSP Journal of Nuclear Science (“Ospublisher from Warm greetings!”)

Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs

Physics & Astronomy International Journal (this one came with an email that, amongst other things, said ‘Your acknowledgement for this email will be highly remarkable,’ and ‘Wishing to have your research/opinions in the form of piece of writing will enlighten the young researchers.’ And then when they did not have enough material: ‘Well, we need your kind support where we have planned to release the upcoming issue by end of this month but I haven’t received adequate articles, so we are unable to release the issue within the expected time frame. Hence I have chosen some illustrious people like you to support our Journal PAIJ for release this issue in due time. So will you please help us by submitting any type of article.’ They also promise instant acceptance — now that’s quality!)

Physics Research and Applications

The table below shows ‘Quest’ journals. They are at least efficient — I got just the one email, soliciting content for all of them. “Anybody can submit the soft copy his/her prepared manuscript Anytime in MS Word format by simply online submission through following link.”

.No Journal Name ISSN
1 Journal of Software Engineering and Simulation 2321–3809
2 Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering 2321–5941
3 Journal of Architecture and Civil Engineering 2321-8193
4 Journal of Research Mechanical Engineering 2321-8185
5 Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Science 2321-9467
6 Journal of Research in Agriculture and Animal Science 2321-9459
7 Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Science 2347-2995
8 Journal of Research in Business and Management 2347-3002
9 Journal of Research in Environmental and Earth Sciences 2348-2532
10 Journal of Medical and Dental Science Research 2394-076X
11 Journal of Research in Applied Mathematics 2394-0743

Research Inventy: International Journal of Engineering and Science (IJES) (This may be my favourite title — it really is ‘inventy’.)

Research and Reports on Metals

Research and Reviews in Electrochemistry

From here down to the next horizontal rule are journals from ‘sciencepg’ which I suspect is trying to look like  publishers of the famous journal Science.

International Journal of Science, Technology and Society
Earth Sciences
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
American Journal of Energy Engineering
Clinical Medicine Research
American Journal of Management Science and Engineering
American Journal of Modern Physics
Applied and Computational Mathematics
American Journal of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Humanities and Social Sciences
Automation, Control and Intelligent Systems
International Journal of Economics, Finance and Management Sciences
International Journal of Education, Culture and Society
International Journal of Materials Science and Applications
American Journal of Health Research
American Journal of Environmental Protection
American Journal of Applied Chemistry
International Journal of Philosophy
American Journal of Life Sciences
International Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering
Journal of Energy and Natural Resources
American Journal of Remote Sensing
International Journal of Management and Fuzzy Systems

Scientific Research and Essays (SRE) (Seems to take work on pretty much anything the author is prepared to pay for.)

From here down to the next horizontal rule is a list of Scientific Research Gate journals… these are presumably trying to cash in on the popular ResearchGate ( scientific social media platform. Note the semirandom capitalization and the use of ‘papers’ on the end as a way of creating a new title.

International Journal of biological papers
International Journal of Engineering papers
Journal of Botanical Papers
International Journal of agricultural papers
International Journal of Economic Papers
International Journal of multidisciplinary papers
International Journal of nursing papers
Journal of Review in Sciences
International Journal of medicine papers
International Journal of Internal Medicine Papers
International Journal of biomedical papers
Middle East Journal of Case Reports
International Journal of Public Health Papers
International Journal of Veterinary Papers
International Journal of pediatrics papers
International Journal of chemistry papers
International Journal of dentistry sciences
International Journal of pharmacology papers
International Journal of Electronic Papers
International Journal of surgical papers

Science Journal of Chemistry (I’ve seen worse looking solicitations; but they seem to be  trying to confuse the reader that they have something to do with the venerable Science; for example, website says they are the ‘Science Publishing Group’, and the journal name sounds a bit like a sub-journal of Science, a bit like how you have Nature Materials and others.)

SciFed Journal of Nuclear Science

From here down to the next horizontal line is a list of SCIREA journals (

They solicited a paper from me unbidden. Publication charge is 330 (USD? Euro? Something.) They have a lot of journals. The website looks pretty nice and the price reduction for ‘authors from Low-Income Countries’ lends some gravitas and sounds trustworthy. On the other hand, the soliciting email to me begins: “Greetings from the assitant editor!” (‘assitant’ is what they said). And then “Here attached the abstract of your research which has gave us a deep impression:”

An organisation whose job is editing, review and publication ought to edit their own emails adequately.

So, the crappy email is a large part of why they make this list! Plus ‘Journal of Computer‘ suggests they are not as rigorous as one might like…

SCIREA Journal of Agriculture
SCIREA Journal of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine
SCIREA Journal of Astronomy
SCIREA Journal of Aviation & Aerospace
SCIREA Journal of Biology
SCIREA Journal of Chemical Engineering
SCIREA Journal of Chemistry
SCIREA Journal of Civil Engineering and Building Construction
SCIREA Journal of Clinical Medicine
SCIREA Journal of Computer (not a great title)
SCIREA Journal of Economics
SCIREA Journal of Education
SCIREA Journal of Electrical Engineering
SCIREA Journal of Electrics, Communication
SCIREA Journal of Energy
SCIREA Journal of Environment
SCIREA Journal of Fisheries
SCIREA Journal of Food
SCIREA Journal of Forestry
SCIREA Journal of Geosciences
SCIREA Journal of Health
SCIREA Journal of Hydraulic Engineering
SCIREA Journal of Information Science and Systems Science
SCIREA Journal of Management
SCIREA Journal of Materials
SCIREA Journal of Mathematics
SCIREA Journal of Mechanical Engineering
SCIREA Journal of Mechanics
SCIREA Journal of Medicine
SCIREA Journal of Metallurgical Engineering
SCIREA Journal of Mine Engineering
SCIREA Journal of Pharmacy
SCIREA Journal of Philosophy
SCIREA Journal of Physics
SCIREA Journal of Safety Science and Technology
SCIREA Journal of Sociology
SCIREA Journal of Surveying and Mapping
SCIREA Journal of Textile Science and Technology
SCIREA Journal of Traffic and Transportation

Scottish Journal of Arts, Social Sciences and Scientific Studies (SJASS) (This one is funny — they have “peer-reviewed” and “refereed” on their web page — in quotes! So at least they’re honest about not really meaning it…)

The Pharmaceutical and Chemical Journal

Transylvanian Review (The email they sent me proudly proclaims: “Impact Factor for 2015 (JCR) = 0.030”. So low, it may be true!)

World Journal of Condensed Matter Physics (A ‘SCIRP’ journal — have a look here for details of one of the papers this publisher put out. It relates to management on Mars.

Universal Journal of Physics and Application (ISSN: 2331-6543) (sic!)

Updated 11 Jun 2021

Workaround for Word’s wildcard search-and-replace transposition bug

Word has a bug or 2. (Or more?) One is that if you do a wildcard search and replace with track changes turned on, groups get transposed. This bug has been in the program since Office 1997, which means it is now 25 years old, which is remarkable! Well done Microsoft! What a remarkable commitment to quality! Their bugs are top-quality bugs, and real survivors!

Say I want to find all instances of hyphen followed by a number (-2, -3 etc) and replace with a proper minus sign.

If I use wildcard search and replace with track changes on, I can search for:


and replace with


where \1 stands for whatever matches the search term in the round brackets (that is, any character in the range 0-9; in other words, a digit) (I am using ‘–‘ to represent the minus sign in this blog entry, really you get it from 2212 Alt+x or using the symbol dialog).

This bug in Word means I will actually get this as my replace-with term


(that is, the characters get transposed), so that -2 would turn into 2– instead of –2.

Instead, I have to either (1) choose not to track the change or (2) do this:

replace with (say)


This will turn (for example) -2 into –qq2qq

(Don’t ask why — it just does.) Assuming qq does not actually appear in my document, I can then do another search and replace to delete all the qq (replace them with nothing).

Hmm … dat’s nice.

The eighty-minute hour

Well, my Aldiss read-a-thon continues.

Here we have The eighty-minute hour, subtitled ‘a space opera’, which perhaps it is, though not in the way you might expect.

The cover of this edition — 1975, Leisure Books

I feel like I ought to begin by talking about the physical aspects of this edition. First, it is replete with typographical errors — every few pages there’s some typesetting error. It is not badly edited, but it is badly set. Leisure Books does not give the impression of being a premium publisher. Nor terribly literate. The back cover tells us ‘You may have to wait until 2001 to read a better Aldiss. But don’t count on it.’ This was presumably to slip a  2001: A space odyssey reference in there, but I’m not sure it says what they meant to say.

At least it doesn’t have any cigarette adds in the middle.

Having said all that — and I could add cheap paper, though a generous typeface — the somewhat random nature of the presentation rather fits with the contents, because this is a strange book. Not always in a good way.

Aldiss is in freewheeling mode here. He throws in allusions to many other books (including intelligences vast, cool and unsympathetic), now and again the characters burst into song (that’s the opera part). There’s a sword and sorcery subplot, time travel, space travel, world war III and resulting scrambling of time periods, sending people back in time unpredictably. And on and on it goes. The book is endlessly inventive, often amusing and aphoristic, and verges on the chaotic, yet I think it all ties together.

Some quotes:

  • [she was] not only misanthropic, but the cause of misanthropy in others
  • it was either a glacier or an iceberg with ideas far beyond its station
  • if you refuse to accept the conditions of life, you become slave to them
  • mankind’s most-used vehicles: prams and coffins
  • … and so on…

The most crucial quote is a bit of verse:

…Our fate is that we have our fate

Pre-cast, yet feel that all is still at stake!

And this is perhaps the main problem with the book —  a sense of sound and fury, signifying nothing. There’s a little stuff on determinism, quite a few interesting thoughts thrown off, the old ‘time loop without end’ time travel plot, espionage, superscience (indeed, whole new sciences), strange words, twists and turns, but somehow it does not add up to more than passing amusement.

I guess it comes back to what we look for in fiction. The central game in much fiction is that we know it is not real, yet we agree to take it seriously. We agree to care about the created characters, or the world, or defeating the terrorists, or something that keeps us reading. Some fiction, generally of more limited appeal, is essentially more directly about fiction and writing (even if it does have characters, or at least figures in it), and we must care about the process of fiction and the skills involved in writing good sentences and constructing interesting metaphors and suchlike if we are to be entertained. Such books are inevitably more for a coterie than is a thriller or a romance. (And I am not sure such books are really better, though they are often perceived as such.)

The very playfulness in this book kept reminding me that it was an amusing construct, cleverly assembled by a skilled craftsman. Like a puzzlebox or a Rubik’s cube. So while I could admire Aldiss’s ingenuity, his breadth of allusion, his creativity sentence by sentence, his simultaneous knowledge of, manipulation of, and subversion of genre tropes, and so on, I could put the book down at any time to go off and do something else, and I had to choose to finish it — rather than wanting to finish it.

Plenty of books fail to entertain. This one does not fail. But there is a sense that it adds up to less than the sum of its parts.


DC160 in 2022 — old Lumens document camera works on Windows 10

I’ve done this once before, but I think this is clearer.

I have a Lumens DC160. The correct software for it can be downloaded from the Lumens website, but it does not install on Windows 10, or at least that is my experience. And playing with compatibility settings did not seem to work. However, it does run on Windows 10. Below I explain how. Sadly, you need access to a Windows 7 computer for this method to work; cleverer people than me may be able to work around that. But I have the recipe below and I do have the files you need, so contact me if you’d like to replicate this solution.

The Ladibug menu

Got the correct software from:

Unzipped the ZIP file and ran the MSI installer from an admin CMD prompt (works best that way) on a Windows 7 computer, but before I did that I got a listing of the files in c:\Windows, c:\ProgramData and c:\Program Files. For example:

cd \Windows
dir /s > \Users\username\Desktop\Windows.dir

(note; 32-bit Win 7, so only one Program Files folder).

Then ran the MSI installer, rebooted the computer, plugged in the camera, waited while it (successfully but slowly) installed the drivers. All good, but the same does not work on Windows 10 (not for me, anyway). The Ladibug software installs, but not the drivers and support software (the back end, if you like).

Once it was working on Win 7, I repeated the dir commands, putting the results into into new files, and diffed the files using Linux/Cygwin diff command.

Based on the diff results, I copied the following from the Win 7 box to the Win 10 box — but I did not overwrite anything (some files were on the Win 10 box from the failed attempt to install the software — Ladibug itself, for example):

  • twain_32 folder from c:\Windows (folder was there on Win 10, but some relevant contents were not)
  • lumens* folders from the \Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository folder — could not copy to that location; just put in a temporary folder
  • all files of the form Lumens*.dll from Windows\System32 to the same folder on Win 10.

These from Program Files on the 32-bit Win 7 to Program Files (x86) on 64-bit Win 10. Note that Ladibug is already on the machine because that part of the MSI installer worked, otherwise could copy that too:

  • Visual Presenter V1
  • Visual Presenter V2 Customer
  • Visual Presenter V2 Driver

Only after all the files were in place did I plug the camera into the Win 10 box.

Opened device manager: Still an unknown device.

Device Manager — selected one Unknown device and chose Update Driver of the Unknown device and pointed it at the temporary folder containing the lumens* folders from the \Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository folder.

It found the driver! There were now 2 Unknown devices … repeat! Did not find it in the temporary folder, but if I pointed the driver search at the Program Files (x86) folder (which is where I put the Visual Presenter folders) it did work! There is now a new Imaging Device.

Now, the other Unknown device … try the same tactic. Yep!

OK, now run the Ladibug software … and it works!

Message: Sometimes the installer is the problem. There may be a way to make the Win 7 installer work on Win 10. Note that the compatibility wizard or whatever it is called now, did not work for me — I did try it!

Ladibug or jelly bean? Here it is on my messy desk

A resource


Canon Typestar 90

Meh. Good condition, works well. Nice keyboard. Can use fax rolls –handy when the ribbons are not available. Seems quite well made, too.

One of the earlier Typestars, so does not have a huge array of symbols nor a large memory to store many files and pages. On the other hand, heavier than later Typestars, it feels more solidly constructed and seems to be made of nicer plastics, if that is not an oxymoron.

Hardly a collectors’ item, of course, but one of the nicer examples of its kind.


Write new WordPress posts using the classic editor (free plan)

I do not like change! I do not like block editors. I like the old WordPress interface.

It remains available, even on the free plan.

What you do is this:

  1. Go to your dashboard (at your equivalent of
  2. Click on Posts
  3. Right at the top of the page, use the little drop-down menu titled Add New to choose Classic Editor
  4. Get to work!

There is a small trick to editing such a post — when you go to Posts page and then look at Drafts, when you hover over one you’ll get the option to use the Classic Editor — take it!

It is best to stick with whatever editor you start the post in,  but you can move between if you are happy to mess with the plain HTML and take out the bits of code that say something like <– WordPress paragraph –> or something (I can’t exactly remember). I think these must flag to the interface to use the block editor. You can try removing them then opening in Classic, or even viewing an edit of a Block Editor post in the HTML editor, then copying and pasting the HTML into the Text window of the Classic Editor and then manually removing those bits.

Best of luck!


Pressing matters