It is getting there …


I picked up the new laptop on Thursday. K*** ordered it Wednesday afternoon and it was ready for collection Thursday lunchtime. The thing with Argos and her cash-back site Happy bunny was a non-starter as her cashback site no longer deals with Argos. So that was a bit of a Happydisappointment. But we still managed to get a bit of a discount through her staff credit card (I think!!). So actually I’m what you might call a bit of a “happy bunny” so to speak.

I am now in the process of getting the machine up to the status/position that my last lappy was in. I speak of course about the software and applications that I’m used to. I think I have got to about 90% normal, but I’m fully aware that there will be some stuff I use that I have forgotten.

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Without meaning to get too technical, I decided to shy away from the more common names. The last two machines have been Asus and R*** has an AcerThe new beast. Both Asus machine have failed, but the Acer is doing okay. Other alternative in my price range were Dell and HP, both of which I used to use at work and they were a bit on the hefty side. This time, after reading a few reviews I went for a Lenovo. It has the same keyboard layout as the Asus machine, so R*** would be happy using it and it just looked the better machine.

I was quite surprised how easy it was to set up. Microsoft seems to have put in some work in the user set-up procedure. The machine talked me through the whole process, which is something that has never happened before. So all in all, I’m well satisfied … hope this continues.

Only one option now …


Well it finally happened. The laptop has definitely had it’s day computer-problem-152211_640and a new one is the only option I have got now. I did manage to bring it back to life last time, but that was the second time. It looks like there is no 3rd time lucky. Argos seems to be the best bet at the moment. K*** can get a bit of discount by purchasing an Argos gift card on her staff credit card, and by going through her cash-back site, get even more. So that’s one of todays jobs. Find the best one, at the best price. I’m looking at an Acer or a Lenovo, but it all depends on if they are in stock and where there are. I have to up and running again before the youngest gets home on Friday. Don’t need any issues there, as he has had some with his laptop while he’s been away.

Wish me luck!

Windows woes and Microsoft misery …


There are many things a lot worse than coming home after a long day and finding that your laptop will not work. However, when it happens, there is nothing worse at all. Yesterday evening, I got in and switched on my laptop ready to write a few emails, pay a few bills, check the lottery those kind of things. So imagine myBSOD horror when the screen showed the old “Blue Screen of Death” or BSOD as it was known at work. The error was reported that a ‘device’ could not be recognised and I need to ’Repair’ my computer. A lot of extreme language came forth accompanied by a huge amount of panicking. I literally did not know what to do first. Upon reading the instructions, I needed to ‘insert my Windows installation media, and restart the my machine’. The issue here was that the Windows version is an OEM version, and I did not have any installation media. Like many home users, Windows came pre-installed when I purchased the laptop. Not very helpful.

A lot of Googling and more swearing ensued, before I found what I needed to do. I had to download the Windows 10 Installation SwearingMedia from the Microsoft website and install it on a USB device. Out came the old (and slow, flaky) laptop and I was successful in downloading the files and installing it on my portable hard drive. After 2 hours of stress and a few retries, the process finally worked. Now, I thought, I had better run the full backup before anything else. Normally takes on this machine, about 1.5 hours. But computer-problem-152211__340more misery, the backup failed. The error message was not very helpful, so I rebuilt the backup structure and set it off again. This morning, again the backup had failed. Another change to the back up was made, and it when then that I noticed, the the hard drive I was backing up to was only show a size 32gb instead of the correct size of 1tb, with only 3.8gb free. That would be the reason.  But no matter how I tried, I could not get it to show the correct size. More Googling was needed and many of the results seems to show that I needed to use a Partition Manager to Happy-Computercheck the actual size of the disk drive. I downloaded a free, but well known one and checked the drive. It was showing that the drive had over 890gb of space, that had not been allocated for use. It was a simple matter of re-allocating the space and rebooting the computer. With a bit of trepidation I followed the instructions. It worked, and the drive is now showing the correct size.

I did a fair bit of reading up on this issue, and it seems that it is quite a common one. From what I read, the hard drive had become corrupted somehow, and Windows could not access it, although it could see it. I now think, that what I should have done was remove all the peripherals ie hard drives, mouse speakers etc and reboot the machine. That it seems may have worked. If only the BSOD had said that. We lived and learn I suppose.

Nearly over …


I refer, of course to the “Home alone … yet again …” experience in my last post. Well the week has sometimes flown by and then at other times it seems to have dragged a bit. I suppose the hardest part about the week was notAlone having anyone to talk to. S**** and partner came round on Thursday, but they only stopped for a meal before going for their Thursday swim. I went to the quiz-night at the local pub on Tuesday, but it’s been that long since I last went, there was nobody in that I knew. Seems that the pub in the next village that used to do a quiz-night has closed, so all their regular ‘quizzers’ descended on my local. I didn’t stop.

R*** has been marvellous! An absolute star. It looks like the fact that we told him K*** was going on holiday with his grandad Starworked. He was home by 5pm on Friday, and it took him until 10pm on Saturday before he asked where his mum was. I told him again and he hasn’t mentioned it again. I was quite amazed really, as it was K***s biggest worry. It goes to prove a point we have been making for a while. That is, if he knows what he is doing then he seems to accept it. Autistic people like routine and can get distressed if their routine is changed. With R***, it seems that his routine is able to change as long as he knows about well in advance.

Home alone … yet again …


I did say after the last time that K*** went away to Gran Canarias that it would probably be the last time.  She was not happy leaving me with R***, knowing what he can be like when things are not what he expects them to be. He turned out to be fine about the whole thing and we were fretting over nothing. Well here we are again, K*** and her sister have gone off to the same place, but this time they have taken their father with them. This is an attempt to keep him busy while he is still grieving. He took the passing of his wife very hard and he is still finding everything a struggle. Here’s hoping that this break helps.

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So she went off very early on Monday, before R*** was even up. K*** had mentioned to him that she was “… going on holiday with Grandad …” and he seemed to accept it. When I got him up on Monday morning, the first thing he asked was where his mum was. I explained that she had gone on holiday with Grandad and I told him when she would see him again. He never mentioned it again, which was a bit of a surprise. His transport arrived and he performed his usual routine on his laptop and then was off. No issues or problems what so ever. It was such a relief. You cannot begin to imagine what was going through both K***’s and my mind, but he surprised me.

Now what we have to wait and see if firstly he is okay with his mum not being here over the weekend (she doesn’t get back until late Monday night) and then secondly, he is okay with her not being here to send him of again! I’m fully confident that because he knows what is happening, he will accept it without a problem.

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On another tack, the first of a few (just a few) baby knits has been completed. It’s what used to be Little Suprise Baby Jacketcalled a ‘matinee coat’ which is basically a cardigan that is a little longer than the usual cardigan. A normal cardigan has also been started. I’m in my element with this kind of knitting. It is where I started. During the 1960’s my parents were foster parents. Usually for new-borns that were up for adoption. Most came with little or no clothes, so home-made stuff was the cheapest option. I started with mittens, which were easy before moving onto bootees. From there I progressed to cardigans, bonnets and the odd matinee coat. Hardest thing I did was what they used to call a romper-suit which was a type of knitted knickers and vest combination. I don’t think babies wear that kind of thing these days.

Gone to meet its maker I think …


I knew it would happen at some point. It’s been a bit off for a week or two now. Then a week last Thursday, there was a major issue starting it! Before I go further, I need to explain what I’m talking about. My trusty (?) and faithful (?)Laptop laptop gave up the ghost last Sunday. Thursday issue was very scary. The stupid machine just would not re-boot. I had just updated some software and it needed a restart to finish. Some three hours later, I finally managed to get it going. Everything appeared to be working fine, if a little slower than White onebefore. All was good on following Saturday, but then just after R*** had finished his lunch the bl**dy machine started playing up again. Serious this time. It took 5 hours to get from switching on to getting to a usable state. So a bit of a panic to ensure that R*** could use my laptop after his dinner. I managed to get his old laptop up and running and logged in as me. His “old” laptop was the same model as mine, but his was white. There had been a problem with it early last year, whilst on his respite. We think that someone had turned the laptop off during an update, which totally wrecked the machine. In November I read an article about how to update a computer to the latest version of Widows, free. So now the ‘White Laptop’ was running with  Windows 10 and Internet Explorer 11. Panic over and we would be hopefully safe from any problems.

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Last night, I was busy doing a crossword when found I could not work out a word that I did not have all the letters for. “I know,” I thought to myself “I’ll use The Sage” only to find that it was not on this laptop. The Sage The Sage screenshotis a dictionary, thesaurus and anagram solver. There’s a lot more to it than that, but that is what I tend to use it for. I then realised that there were a few programs/applications that I used to use but were not on the ‘white’ laptop. I fired up the old machine to try and identify some of the software that I was missing. This time it only took 45 minutes to start, which was a great improvement on last Sunday. I think I have got all I need, although my full back-up seems a lot smaller than before, so maybe I need to check that.

It seems a long time …


I had been doing an on-line survey (I do quite a few) and one of the questions was to do with hobbies. The question asked which was my favourite hobby at the present time. It then expanded on that question into “why, when, where, how long” and a few other questions, which I cannot remember. It got me thinking though, that I have never really taken the time to write down the why, when, where, how long. So here goes.

Its going a long way back to when I was about 7 years old, around 1962/1963. We used to go to my maternal grandmothers regularly and althoughFamous Five there was quite a lot for us youngsters to play with, I often got bored. I suppose it may have been due to the fact that I was the oldest and I possibly thought that I was above these childish games my other brothers were playing. There were always books to read. Mostly by Enid Blyton, but at 7 years old ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ books were a little too advanced for me yet.

I became fascinated by the way my grandmother could turn a ball of ‘wool’ into a Needles and yarnjumper, a cardigan, a scarf and even a pair of socks! All done with what looked like a couple of sticks. She would sit there, by the fire “click-clacking” away, often without even looking at what she was doing. Only stopping to take another drink from her cup of tea (didn’t do coffee in those days) or to light another cigarette. I have to say, she was also an excellent seamstress and embroiderer. But it was the knitting that held my attention most, and one day I asked if she could show me how to knit. That’s when it started. She cast on 20 stitches for me and showed me the basic knit stitch. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I got there in the end.

It then became the job of my mother, to show me more. Mum showed me how to cast on and cast off, how to increase and decrease and, most importantly, how to do the purl stitch. I then began to pick up a lot of the other stitch types that I use today.

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By 1965, I was knitting quite advanced stuff for my age. My parents were foster carers, and took on new born babies that were being put up for adoption. Not to get into too finer detail, many of these babies were to unmarried mothers. Quite often they were under 16 and a great deal were from poorer family background. So often the children came with whatever clothes had been donated to the hospital. So between me and my mum, we took on the task of knitting clothes for these kids. My first efforts were simple mittens and bootees, but I quickly graduated in to knitting hats/bonnets. Within a few weeks, I was tackling cardigans and, what used to be called romper suits.

This new found hobby carried on for a few years, although it was never mentioned outside the house. I cannot imagine what my schoolmates would have thought/said about my hobby. I drifted out of it when I started work, for no particular reason really but got back into it a little when I met my wife. It lasted a couple of years (the knitting that is) and again it fell out of favour.

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It then took about 35 years before I picked up the needles again. I saw in a magazine, a picture of some daffodils that had been knitted by someone. They looked really impressive and I thought I would give it a go again. I still hadSo far so good all my needles and bits and pieces and was only short of the yarn. I bought some cheap acrylic double knit, in yellow and white from the Pound shop and got going. It took a couple of attempts and restarts to get the first one done, but I soon had a bright yellow daffodil. I was hooked again. More flowers followed, then headbands before moving on to beanie hats.

Now that the eldest and his partner are having a child, I’m back to knitting my favourite, baby stuff again. It’s come full circle and I’m feeling the love once again. Only issue now, is that my ‘stash’ as it is called, does not have yarn that is right for baby clothes!