Main Kennel, Sheepdog Software

Freeware and shareware for Windows from this site's editor.
...... Pairs Matching game.......upgraded
......... Arithmetic skill builder... rated "four cows" by Tucows.
.............Image recognition exercise... learn with pictures... and you can set up image sets for your needs.

Helpful Hints. Getting the most out of PCs, Windows, the internet... for general users and also advanced topics.

PLEASE BE ADVISED- This page is deprecated, stagnant. And it is http-only. FOR THE REPLACEMENT, visit please go to my new e1idx at

Introduction and tutorials for free Database . Find out how great ooBase is.... Part of the excellent, free OpenOffice. (How's the following, for a blast from the past? This entry is so old, that once upon a time, it needed: "Adabas has been replaced as the core of ooBase, if you tried the database in version 1 of Open Office, a long time ago." (A very long time ago, in internet days!))

There are some links at the bottom of this page for people interested in writing their own programs or making their own devices. But that may be a small audience, so, first, things of interest to larger audiences....

More goodies...................................

Software I like: Advertising for TextPad, Cancer Cure distributed processing project, other recommended software, and useful Windows freeware, shareware from people besides Sheepdog Software.

Do it yourself map making: Fun challenge for individuals. Useful exercises for schools.

For family historians. Genealogy resources, ideas. Includes my hunt for Boyd, Glover and Lunham relatives.

Numbers you can use to build a good solar system model, for teachers or community leaders.

Information on silhouette art, and opportunity to commission your own.

Some books I recommend.... investing, electronics, fiction, etc!

Introduction to stock market investing- Explanation and thoughts from an experienced personal investor.

Links, etc, for stock market investors (US and UK)

What Sheepdog Software has for you... and other good stuff!

'Good Cause' promotions... Misc. worthy causes you might like to know about.

Information and offers for people near Chichester, Sussex, England.

Complaints naming (and shaming?) people, organizations.

Odds and ends awaiting incorporation into "proper" place.

Public service announcement: "Be Prepared"... before the next time.............................

How you can help families trying to re-connect after disasters like the terrible tsunami of December 2004. (Not an appeal for cash.)
Preparations I've made for myself which you can copy- for your loved ones- before the next disaster. (These created before Facebook existed. Still reaches parts Facebook can't serve... and not everyone is willing to get sucked into the Facebook world, anyway, are they?
More discussion about finding out about loved ones after disruptions like 9/11, Katrina, etc.

Technical Topics...................................

If you enjoy, or want to start...

... then I hope you find these interesting...

The Arduino: An excellent, easy to use, powerful, inexpensive microcontroller.
  General introduction to Arduino... with picture!
    Arduino Programming Course. A sequenced series of essays to help you start, then crawl, then walk, then run.
    Arduino "How To" essays. Sundry "bite sized", independent pages.

Connecting things to LANs and the internet: Not for the faint hearted... but if you are ready for a "from the ground up" series of essays on this subject, this is for you. Tells you about, say, putting IP cams online. Webservers... your own, not using a hosting service. Arduino, ESP8266s and other IoT devices. These essays give you the fundamental knowledge, in a carefully planned sequence. It isn't hard, when you follow the sequence... but there are many bits to get right. This essay written after at least 15 years of learning the hard way, and multiple previous attempts.

Getting started, general electronics. Some of the electronics you need for having fun with Arduinos, etc, you can pick up as you go along. You really do need to understand the basics to be able to proceed smoothly, instead of stumbling from confusion to confusion. When you are ready to face that fact, I hope what is on the menu this link takes you to will be helpful.

Sensing and control by computer. Ideas for hobbyists and schools about enjoying this activity.
Help with parallel port: Mostly for programmers and electronic designers.
Help with serial port: Similar to the above.
Electronics: Topics of general relevance in electronics, including a Getting Started... volts, amps, ohms tutorial.

Lazarus: an excellent high level language, Pascal based, for creating applications for many platforms....
.....Lazarus Tutorials. Self-contained discussions of various topics, in levels. "How To"s, etc.
In a moment, you will see a similar entry for Delphi... my first Windows programming environment. I worked there, and developed scores of tutorials over the years. On November 6th 2012 I created this link from my main index page to my by-then already not-new pages about Lazarus programming, which, I am finally convinced, will be where I will be putting my new programming effort. Lazarus rewards my Delphi experience, works(!), has good community support, is open-source, (is free), etc, etc. Many of my Delphi tutorials apply equally well to the Lazarus environment, and most of the rest work with small adjustments.

Delphi: an excellent high level language, Pascal based, for creating Windows applications....
.....Delphi Tutorials. Self-contained discussions of various topics, in levels. "How To"s, etc.
.....Delphi Course: A structured series of lessons to get you started with Delphi.
Pascal Tutorials: Lessons to get you started with Pascal in several flavors, including the free FPC which is the "engine" "underneath" Lazarus.

Working with MicroLan hardware and software from Dallas Semiconductor, aka 1-Wire, including iButton devices, TINI and TMEX.

Ideas for programming class or club assignments, competitions- with (free) supporting software!

Links for Lazarus, Delphi and Kylix programmers.

A stalled project! Dirt Cheap Dumb Wireless (, as was)... Low volume data over very simple RF modules... about $5 each for the radio part... not a LOT more for the rest. System of slaves attending to a master, simplex from slave to master. Low power. Battery (or solar/supercap operated slaves. All was going well... then a hard drive with PCB files died.

Ideas, Info, Links for MS-DOS / Windows Programmers.

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A bit dated, but still worth celebrating: Summerhill safe for now, hurrah!

Forgive me leaving this here, even though now dated. It is still great news!

Since 1921, in England there has been a remarkable school exploring fascinating alternatives to traditional education. A few years ago our wonderful 'We Know Best' and 'Everyone Must Do Things Our Way' (parent's wishes be d***ed... despite explicit laws granting rights to parents) government was, in effect, trying to stamp this remarkable institution out of existence. They seemed intent on either changing it out of recognition, or closing it. Now- if they were using their expertise to alert the parents to 'terrible' things going on at the school, and letting parents decide to stop paying the fees, I wouldn't mind. But that's not the story. If it was a school funded out of the public's pocket, then it ought to be answerable to someone. If the school was one of the many unknown, second rate, dumps which ought to be exposed and wither, I wouldn't mind. But this isn't. This is a school that I had to study as part of my teacher training in the '70s... and parents are still paying to send their kids there... but they nearly lost that option, because we are too lazy to tell the politicians to pXss oXX.

Summerhill School website to learn more, or
Centre for Self Managed Learning, where you can read an independent report on the school and the inspection issues.

Dated, but still true: Danger!

If you have not heard all about the CIH, or Chernobyl, virus, please read....

Losing your data is bad enough. Did you know that some viruses can trash some motherboards beyond repair?

I know, virus warnings are about as boring as Y2K... but THIS ONE WAS DIFFERENT! While the specific threat mentioned here is "old news"... perhaps it will serve as a warning that viruses can be more than a mere nuisance? Suspect (as you should!) a trap or hoax? In general, visit For the Chernobyl virus, go to what Symantec (Home of Norton Anti-virus) has to say about it. (Note at bottom: "causes possible damage to CMOS". (I think they meant "possibly causes damage to CMOS". Sloppy. What is "possible damage", where "damage" is a noun? Of course if "damage" hadn't been damaged by putting it to use as noun and verb, the language would be more robust. Humph.)) If the link given goes out of date, use Google, search for symantec chernobyl, and skip down to the part about damage to the BIOS. Symantec does say that "Cases of an overwritten BIOS are extremely rare."... but your BIOS can be overwritten, and in many cases that will mean fitting a new motherboard. Do you want to take the chance? I've written more on the subject for those wanting more details.

For some time, at 2010, the dangerous viruses have been the ones you don't see. And the word "virus" is too narrow, we should be worried about "malware", a broader term, including, among other things, spyware.

Spyware is more widespread than viruses. I'd guess that the high volume of low level nuisance from spyware is actually, in total, giving more grief than the limited number of severe problems caused by viruses. I've written more on the malware topic, too.

I was a teacher for 20 years. Much of the material here is for kids, parents, teachers. (Especially for the 8 to 13 year old range.) However, I've done more than teach. You will find things for other audiences, too: investors in Wall Street or the City, birdwatchers, etc, etc!

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