Back to work ….


   It has been a good weekend overall. Today was R***’s birthday. He was really excited this morning. He came into our room, around 6:30 this morning, with his arms outstretched, and said ‘Happy Birthday to me !!!’ It was very funny, and quite surprising that he did that. We certainly did not expect him to do that. He has been really good, all day, with just a tiny blip around 4:00pm, but that very minor. S**** rang today to say Happy Birthday, which pleased Mrs H. Neither of us thought he would ring.

   I am in a bit of a ‘weight crisis’ at the moment. I went for a shower this evening, and as is usual, I got on the scales. I have finally hit 12 stone !!!! This is not good. I have been hovering around 11 stone 11lb for a week or so, but to hit the 12 mark is a bit of a shock. I know what it is though. Biscuits and beer ! It has to stop now ! I also need to start the walking again. Problem is, that it is just not a pleasant place to walk. I suppose I could drive somewhere, but those options are limited too. However, I will make the effort.

   I really need to stop installing software that I do not need. How many ‘uninstallers’ does a person need ? I already have a copy of Revo uninstaller, why on earth do I need Zsoft ??? Fair enough, Zsoft does monitor your installations, but Revo is arguably the best freeware out there. I’m not 100% sure about this new Microsoft Security Essentials either. All the talk about it is very positive, but it depends on how much system resource it takes up. I will see how it goes, as it has only been installed since yesterday.

An odd day …


   It has been one of those days, when nothing has gone wrong, but nothing has happened to make it memorable. It just happened. Of course, the idiots were still idiots, and still did the stupid things that idiots do. It gets me quite angry, when they do stupid things after four/five years. Grrrrrr !!

   It’s the 2nd annual Bramham Beer Fest tomorrow. There are over 20 local real ales on sale, with entertainment and food all day. If last year is anything to go by, it should be a good day. They got about 200 customers last year, and are expecting in excess of 300 this year. Eldest is coming up, and we think he may bring his flatmate, but that changes by the hour. I don’t think either will stop the night, as S**** indicated that he wants to go out in Leeds afterwards.

   The online training course and quiz, at work is turning out to be a disaster. We are moving from Lotus Notes to Outlook 2003 (2003, I ask you) next month, and we all have to go through this so called ‘training course and quiz’. The course is online, and consists of, what looks like a PowerPoint presentation. No interaction, and it is supposed to take 2 hours to get through. Everyone (except the numpties) got bored after about 20 minutes. It is not a good piece of training. Then there is the ‘quiz’. Everyone needs to get 80% on the quiz. There are 10 questions, and they are either single word or multiple choice answers. But there seems to be a problem with the results. My first attempt got me 60%. Second go, and I realised 70%. Third time, and I’m down at 50%. Problem is that the feedback from the quiz, does not tell you which questions you got wrong !!!! So, attempt number 4. This time, I am armed with the ‘official’ training handbook. Every question, and I look the answer up in the manual. Cannot fail. Result …… 70%. See the problem !! Methinks that IT need to do some work on this one.

   The  non-recyclable bins got emptied today. It will have been private contractors that covered the job. I’m not too happy about the use of contractors, but I think the unions have shot themselves in the foot here. The council has to get the best deal, and have been looking at outsourcing for some time. This strike has made them look harder. And I think, the longer it goes on, the more the public support will dwindle. I don’t think they had that much support anyway. A lot of people remember how hard the ‘binmen’ of old used to work. Carrying those steel bins on their shoulders to the bin wagon, and then putting them back in the garden. No wheelie bins in those days. What it will make people aware of, is exactly how much stuff they put in the bins on a regular basis.

Lost ……


   Leeds started well, and a shameful disallow of a, perfectly good, goal did not  seem to upset them. Snodgras played a blinding game, but Beckford had an unlucky game. Then a Liverpool goal from Ngog sealed Leeds’s fate. Leeds held their own, and put a on good show. Lets face it, Liverpool are a leading Premiership team, and Leeds are starting the long climb back. Liverpool 1 – 0 Leeds.

   I tell you what, I hate, what I call “pseudo experts”. You know, they are the people that think they know what they are doing, but are not quite as clever as they think they are. It is like this. We have a number of shared files, on our computer system, that are used by all or most of the office staff at sometime or an other. To help people, I have created shortcuts to the files. This, of course makes them lazy somewhat, as it negates the need for them to locate the file for themselves. Computing at it’s very basic level. So of course, they cannot find the files without the shortcut. They manage to search and find their ‘facebook’ and private email accounts, and those addictive flash games that are all over the internet. But ask them to find stuff for work, and they turn into gibbering wrecks. Now I can add the shortcuts again (they lost them when they got new computers) but they are going to have to wait until I have the time to do it. They all want/need/like different shortcuts, so it will not be a quick two minute job, but it will get done. Enter the pseudo expert !! Now my idea would be to right-click on the file and ‘create a shortcut’, then copy and past the shortcut to the users start menu. Not so the pseudo expert. She/he, being clever, decides to drag and drop and in so doing, simply creates a copy of the file onto the start menu. Thus giving everyone their own copy of a shared file. You can see what the problem is going to be !!!

   Of course, IT and me share the blame equally. IT for changing the PC’s in the first place, and me for not running round like an idiot, putting the shortcuts back when they had done.

   No quiz-nite tonight. Well it was on, but the eldest was not coming up, and I wanted to see the footie. It does make a great difference watching it on a big screen in high definition. Mrs H was not too pleased I think. Still it does not happen that often (22 October is the next Leeds match on TV), and she will have to get used to it for World Cup.

Weekend again


   The end of another working week. Quite a steady day today, with just Mobile barcode enough to do to keep me occupied. I managed to work out what the barcode scanner on my mobile does. It scans the  barcode (like on the left) and converts it into some that can be read by a human. In this instance, the code would be converted to the phrase ‘this is a mobile barcode’. What they are used for in many cases’ is creating a link to a mobile website. The one on the side bar, is actually a link to this blog. The image was created on the http://www.barcodelink.net/ website, and pasted into a text widget. I’m very impressed. I’m sure, given time, I’ll think of many uses for this (!!)

   No sight or sound of the bin-men yet. I know some crews have been out this week, and some areas have had there bins emptied, but not here. It’s a shame really, as we seem to have a good crew on this run. It is a difficult one, this one. It is a hard, dirty and dangerous job, but they do not have to lift and carry the bins like they used to. On the other hand, there is a lot more rubbish going in the bins these days. It makes you think about how much waste we are producing. I do get quite annoyed about the amount of packaging, that supermarkets and manufacturers use. There still seems to be a great deal of goods, that are double wrapped, that do not need to be. Here is a suggestion, instead of having a ‘multi-pack’ of beans at £2.45, get rid of the extra wrapper and just sell four tins for £2.45 !!!! It is not rocket science, and everyone wins.

Monday, over and done with


   It’s been, shall we say, an interesting day. It all started very well, then the IT lot turned up. A large number of computers were being replaced today. They get ‘refreshed’ about every 3 years (or 5 in our case) and today was our day. Of course, everyone had something to complain about !!!! Screen too big, PC in wrong place, don’t like the mouse, don’t like the keyboard, why can’t i have a new one and one even said ‘why do I need one!!!!’ Now tomorrow, I have to start and get their shortcuts back. Not one of them will have the same shortcuts, and not one of them will know what shortcuts they had !!!

    Youngest is back from respite. Bit of a knife edge, as we don’t know which way he is going to turn. One minute he is okay, and then next he is looking angry. Nothing serious has kicked off though, although it remains to be seen how he will be when he goes to his own bed. He is being very vocal at the moment, but we are not getting the ‘droning’ sound, which is usually a precursor for one his ‘incidents’. Fingers crossed.

   Just been checking the stats on the blog. I cannot believe that somebody hit my site using the search term “personal appliance tester”. Who is that sad ??? Still a it is a hit, as they say. What I don’t get is, I can write a 450 word post and get 4 hits, yet a 100 word quick post get 15 hits !

Nearly the weekend


   Well, the eldest did not manage to get up at 07:00 this morning. It was never on the cards really, and I don’t now why we thought he would be. He did not get back in until gone midnight, and was posting messages on facebook at 02:00am. We need to be a bit more forceful when he is here, and try and make sure he is up by 09:00 at the latest. The problem is, that because he has not had to get up for Uni, he sleeps late. It then follows that he is not tired enough at what is a ‘normal’ bedtime. And so, his body clock is completely out of synch. He will have to be up early on Saturday and Sunday though, as both him and his flat mate are working those days.

   Another IT disaster today. This time is was the whole council wide network that had problems. It started around 12:00, when people found they were having problems logging into the network. Those that did manage to log in, were having difficulties accessing certain applications. By 2:00pm most of the council was affected, and the IT help desk, was pushing out a message to the effect, that all the servers needed to be restarted,which would be done tonight. And that is how it was left. Of course, many of my colleagues thought they knew better than me and continued to try and log in. It is getting increasingly difficult to explain to some of these people, that when I say ‘the whole network is down…’ that it also applies to them too, and that they are not a special case.

   Youngest goes on respite tomorrow. Sad though it seems, both Mrs H and me are avidly looking forward to the break. He will be back on Monday, after school, so not too long. It is strange, though. Although we are ready for a short rest, we will miss him when he is not there. When he goes for a week, it seems a lot longer, and we start to look forward to him coming home. Then he kicks off, and we start looking at the calendar for his next respite (joking). I just hope that the current bout of good weather holds out for the weekend. We both need to get of the house for a while. R*** always says a firm ‘No’ to any suggestion that we go out. Even if it is something he enjoys, it is always ‘No’. We do get to have a walk round the village sometimes, but it is a struggle, and often can be painful.

   Right, that will do for now. Wish me luck for work tomorrow.

England – a step closer


   So we qualified !!! About time too. What will happen next, is that we will win the group stage (just), then lose at the quarters, because the player we are banking on the most will have to miss the most important match, due to a sending off ! Job done ! But not to worry, there is always next time. Am I being cynical ???

   Crap morning at work. There were problems with the server, and the client software was not connecting. I could ping the server, but could not logon to it through Enterprise Manager. IT were onto the case, but all the usual people that I would normal contact were off on leave or courses or working from home. You get the picture. D*** had logged the call first thing, but because it was before 08:00, it was the relief team on the ‘help-desk’. The person did just that, logged the call. It was when I tried chasing the call up, at around 08:45, that I found that we had a lack of IT staff. However, someone did call back, and I was able to explain the problem we were having. It took then about half an hour, before they came up with the classic solve all … ‘we are going to turn the server off and then back on again’. This, of course, took another two hours, as the server is located on a different site. By 11:00, all was well again. So not such a bad problem after all. No the ‘crap’ part comes in with the office staff. As usual, they blame the software. The software was working as best it could, without the server. At least the client end opened. I tried explaining to one of them what the problem was, but they just can’t, or don’t want to, understand. ‘Imagine’ I said, ‘that your car has had it’s engine removed. It will not work … is it the car itself, or is it the fact that the engine is missing ?’ This analogy was lost on them.

   A bad episode with the youngest late last night. No apparent trigger. He had been fine. Laughing and joking, and then all change. Extreme to say the least, and it took a good 40 minutes before he calmed down enough for us to go to sleep. And then he was okay today and has been all evening. There just seems to be no rime or reason to it.

A new week …. hurrah


   K**** was back at work today. Everyone has missed her, well at least I hope they have. It was good to see her back. All went quite well. No problems with the PDA’s, although I’ve logged 11 for repair, and have only received quotes for 10 of them. I know what will happen.  I’ll raise an order for 10 repairs and get it emailed off, then the 11th quote will come through, and I’ll have to raise another order. If I wait, I’ll have to ring the help-desk and ask what is happening.

  I got a random email for an MSN friend this morning. It had a link to a web based software called Status Checker. This is apparently a piece of software the is supposed to check to see who has blocked you on MSN. My Geek instincts told me not to open the thing, and to let the person who sent me it know. It turns out that I could have been right. MSN Status Checker is a valid web service, that tries to do what it says. However, as all Geeks and Nerds know, never click on links on emails, unless you know what the link is. Even then, I’m very wary. This thing could be a variant of the ‘koobface’ virus.

   S****’s back seems to be no better. He’s seen the doctor, but we don’t know what he said really. It would appear, that he needs to register with a doctor nearer where he lives, and then needs to get some physiotherapy. I’m not too sure about that though. It would be different if he was going to be living in Leeds for a long time, but he could be back at home next August, which is his work experience year, or more likely even further away.

   I seem to be getting quite a bit of pressure fro the candidate for the local Labour Party. Our MP is standing down at the next election, and I’ve had the three candidates contact me over the past few weeks. One of them, Karen Bruce has been in email contact, another one, James Ellis (I think) even came to see me. The third sent his CV, but he was so unremarkable, that his name has not even registered. I have to ask myself, where is all this interest when the General or even Local elections are happening. This is such a safe Tory seat, that they just don’t even bother to show their faces. How can they expect to get new voters. And by the same token, the Tories are so confident here, that we don’t see them either. At the last local election, the only literature we got from any party, was from the BNP, and that was pushed through the letterbox after 11:00 at night. As for the Lib-Dems, well the words ‘chocolate’ and ‘teapot’ spring to mind. I will not be voting, as I am no longer a party member, but if I did, Karen Bruce would be my choice.

   All done.

Weekend all gone


   A quiet day today. R*** had a lie-in until 07:30 which was nice. No jobs to do today, except making the dinner. I pegged out a few more strawberry plants. That will make about 8 new plants all together. I don’t really know how we will over winter them. I think, I’ll leave them out doors until it starts to get frosty, and maybe put them in the shed, with some fleece over them. I don’t think they will keep very well in my little greenhouse.

   S**** was online with Mrs H tonight. He doesn’t seem to be that well. His back is getting  so bad, that he says he is having difficulty walking!! Mind you, it does not seem to stop him spending all night watching DVDs. He says he was up all last night, until 10:00am this morning, watching ‘24’. Now that surely cannot help !!

   It seems funny seeing Mrs H on messenger. I’ve also got her checking her email. Now that I’ve got Outlook, I’ve moved my accounts from Outlook Express, so that there is only her account on there. What with that, and her searching online and Googling, there will be no stopping her.

   All my bluetooth kit seem to be working okay now (hurriedly looks for wood to touch.) I had to uninstall the bluetooth software and drivers, before I could get my PDA to synchronise. For some reason, the software was only opening two COM ports, when there should have been about 4 or 5. Odd thing is though, that while ever the Nokia PC Suite is open, both my phones are connected to the PC. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. What it does mean though, is that I can have all my contacts and calendar details on both my phone, PDA and the PC. I think I’ll give up with the Tiscali email. It is not that good, and apart from getting a monthly email from OpenOffice.Org (which I no longer use), the rest is spam. Now I know I get a lot of spam with the Gmail address, but Google seems to have a very good spam filter, something that Tiscali could do with.

   I think that will do for today.

Yet another long day ….


   Although R*** woke up at 04:45 a, and was in a foul mood, the day went quite well. He went off to his respite club for the day and Mrs H and me did a bit of shopping and had a bit of a walk. There have been a couple of moments when we thought he was going to kick off, but nothing happened. That can be quite stressful too, when something you expect to happen, just doesn’t.

   I managed to synch my phone with Outlook today. This has been a bit of an uphill struggle. It all boils down to when I added the new RAM. I must have plugged all the USB peripherals into all the wrong ports, which seems to have messed everything up. However, the only thing that will not connect via bluetooth, is my PDA. To be honest, it always was easier to connect with the cable, so I may just do that. I believe though, that I can synch the PDA with Outlook too, it’s just finding out how to do it.

   S**** seems to be struggling with his money. He has no income, but needs to spend to live. It doesn’t help, that his flat mates father seems to pay for everything. We cannot afford to do that, so S**** is going to have to do what 99% of students do, and get a job of some sort.

   Well that seems to be it for today.

Another day ….


   Another busy day today. Six more PDAs in service, and would you credit it, the fools trashed two others. In fact one of the one that was trashed, could only have been in use for les than an hour. Funny thing though, the guy that was using it, is one of the most respected member of the team. Not the type to damage a piece of kit at all. I suspect sabotage and conspiracy !!! It was a bit annoying though, one of the units I was trying to install today had been returned with a different fault to that which it was repaired. As I understood it, the unit would be thoroughly checked for other faults. This one it appears may not have been.

   The two test posts seem to have worked. The first one was direct from my Windows Live account on the PC, but the second was from my mobile phone, via Windows Live. So now there is no excuse not to post. I just need to try and post from the ‘3 Mail’ application. So with email, Twitter and facebook, just call me “Mr Mobile”.

   R*** has been, well, I don’t know how he has been. Apparently, he awoke in a  great mood again, and it continued throughout the day. No medication first thing again. However, by about 07:00 pm, he was starting to get upset. It did not last long though, but he had another small episode around 09:00 pm, and then again just after 11:00 pm. I don’t think the 2 hours in-between each is significant though. He seems to be fine now, but would put money on him being ‘upset’ when he awakes in the morning. I am now beginning to wonder, if his medication has run it’s course, and is no longer appropriate.

   There are three people, that I chat to, are signed in on messenger, and not one has said hello yet. I think they are all waiting for me to open a conversation first. To be perfectly honest, I cannot be bothered. I should be going to bed, and if I start to chat, I will feel obliged to chat for more than a few minutes. Mind you, I do not feel as tired as usual. I wonder if that is because of the way R*** has been over that past two days !!!

A successful day


   Today went pretty much as expected. I managed to get nine PDA’s installed and back into service. So I’m the hero of the day again. Then to top it all the remaining thirteen PDA’s came back from repair. I’ll put another seven into service tomorrow, which should mean more praise. If only I took it serious. I must get those renewals done tomorrow though. It’s getting urgent now.

   We got to talk to S**** on Skype tonight. The video and audio was not brilliant, but that could be down to a number of things. Connection, network speed etc, etc. I’ll do a Google and see what it comes up with. I think though, that it could be my PC and the processor speed. We also tried a video call with messenger, but that was just the same as last time. I think Mrs H expects it to be a lot better than it is. Only one contact on tonight (at the moment), although N*** is probably hidden.

   R*** has been remarkably calm tonight (fingers and things crossed). He kicked off a little first thing, but that may have been leftover from last night. Mrs H said he did not have his medication this morning. He did not need it, so only two doses all day. We thought he was going off earlier this evening, but it came to nothing at all, and he seems very content at the moment. Mind you we have had this before. Little devil lulls you into a false sense of security then bang !!! and all the theories go out the window.

   I played at being Captain Stupid tonight !!!! We were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and the viewer question came up. I quickly noted the number and the answer down. Pulled out my PAYG phone and texted the answer. Three minutes later, the acknowledgement came back. It was then that I realised, that we were watching a recording from yesterday !!!!! Thankfully, it would appear that I only paid a standard text message charge, not the usual £1.00 entry charge.

   Oh, remember me saying that the biog I’m reading did not have any endnotes ? Well it has !! Lots of them, but unusually none of those irritating subscript numbers embedded in the text. I always feel I should look to see what the note is. It is then so frustrating, when the note refers you to another book !!!

   I finally worked out how to update Twitter from my phone. It would appear, that I have to use the mobile web version. Otherwise I pay 15p each update if I use a Twitter app. Now, go on, ask me how often I’ll use it. Well about as often as I use facebook on my mobile, about four times a week !!! But still it’s there when I want it.

Weekend over …..


   S**** has gone back to his flat this afternoon. Mrs H was very upset, which of course made him upset. They are both worried about his bad back, but I think he was glad to get back. We have just tried contact him over the internet, but failed. We did get through on Skype, sort of, but the both video and audio quality was vey poor and broken up. We then tried messenger and could not even connect with the video that way. Then he seemed to go offline. Hi mum vas vey disappointed. Oh well better luck next time. I suppose it could be the weather.

   I’m back to work tomorrow. I think I could be quite busy. A couple of finance reports to do in Excel,  and D*** is on flexi, so I’ll have the downloads to do first.

   I have a Outlook 2007 tutorial on my lap-top, so I think I will print it out tomorrow. It should, along with the reference card help me get used to my new email/contact manager. Touchwood, all the office software seems to be working as it should now. I still have a problem with the bluetooth, and I don’t seem to be able to synch my PDA, but that probably just needs tweaking, and it not such a problem really. If the worst comes to it, I’ll uninstall it and change the USB port that the adapter is in. That often makes a difference.

Everything seems to work


   I installed the software this morning. That was a job and a half. For some reason, the software must have been an old(ish) version because, no sooner as it was installed, than that little yellow shield appeared to tell I had updates. All 220mb of them. I then found out, that the Executive version did not overwrite the Home & Student version. all in all it must have taken a good two hours.

   I also installed the new RAM at the same time. That did not take as long. If fact, if you take away the time I spent clearing the dust out of the box, it will have taken no more than 15 minutes from start to finish. Things do seem to be a little faster now. All the Office programs start a bit quicker, I think. I’m having a little trouble with Outlook though. I don’t seem to be able to import my contacts from Outlook Express. I know they are different formats, but I thought I should be able to import all the messages and contacts, but it does not seem to work. I may have to just type them in, although I do not use my Gmail account for much.

   I downloaded some useful Microsoft Office guides from Custom Guide. It is a great resource for Office training materials. They have a lot of what they call Quick Reference Guides, which are very useful for learning the basics. For slightly more advanced tutorials, I downloaded some  stuff from a site called Office Tutorials. They have a good tutorial for Outlook 2003, which will be useful for work, and I got some stuff for Outlook 2007. I think I may need it. I will now have to think of something useful to do with Access !! Only thing I ever see any thing for is the usual Record Collection database, or possibly an MP3 database. Neither of which I need.

   I really need to get my Geek head on and sort out installing that old hard drive. The more I think about it, the easier it seems. There is just that nagging fear, that something will not go to plan. Silly really. I have added new RAM, various DVD and CD drives, USB cards and stuff like that, but never a hard disk. I suppose, all the other things just slot in, and away you go. A hard disk is a little more involved.

It’s done


   Well that was quick and painless. A hell of a lot faster than I expected. 502mb downloaded and copied to a DVD in just over 30 minutes. I’m not sure as to what kind of a download speed that equates to, but I’m quite impressed. I’ll not install it until tomorrow, or even Sunday. It may be wise, and I don’t know why, to leave it until I’ve done the RAM.

   No-one on Messenger tonight, which seems odd. There is usually at least one person on at this time of night.

Leeds Fest’ is coming…..


   Well the Leeds Festival kicks off tomorrow. Many of the roads around here were starting to get a bit busier than normal. It looked like a number of people, were already moving onto the site this afternoon, and the music doesn’t even start until Friday lunchtime. Some of the gate bouncers have been in place since Sunday. The guy at the gate on the new access road between Bramham and the A64 was stood in the rain, by the side of his ‘port-a-loo’ at 07:30 morning, and he was still there at 05:00 this evening !!!! There seems to be an air of excitement about the village. It was all the talk at the quiz-nite, especially the people that have not been before. S**** is really looking forward to it. He was busy packing his rucksack with clothes and his camping stuff. Mrs H fussing round, trying to make sure he has everything he needs. That’ll be another 4 nights she’ll have trouble sleeping no doubt.

   Have been given a fantastic offer from Microsoft. Because the Council I work for, is now part of a Microsoft collaboration scheme, all staff are able to download a copy of Office 2007 Ultimate for home use. We can use it while ever we are an employee or while ever the Council is part of the scheme. The cost to the user of this offer, is an amazing £8.50 to download !!! Now as I intend to stay with the Council until I retire (which will be at least 9 years) I think it is an outstanding bargain. The caveat is, that if I leave the employ of the Council, I should stop using the software. How will they know, if I’m still using it ?? By that time, there will have been at least another 8 new versions, and I should think it impossible for Microsoft to have the wherewithal to monitor the possible 10,000+ copies that could be in use by employees ! The only problem I foresee, is the time it takes to download the software …… all 508mb. I will have to pick a time when the internet is quiet.

   My new RAM arrived today. I’ll try and install it either tomorrow or Friday. I’m hoping it will make a bit of difference to the speed. It will take the PC up to 2gb of memory, which is the highest the motherboard will run. I will then have to decide whether or not to install one of old hard discs, that I have in the loft. It is not hard to do, but I think I will try and get some advice from one of my ‘Geek Sites’. Just to be on the safe side.

Successful, but expensive day …


   A day out in Harrogate today. We bought a new TV !!! We have gone for a Sony Bravia, 40” LCD model. It’s not going to go on the wall though. To be honest, I don’t really like wall mounted screens. S****s always look out of place, and the one at work is similar. No we are going to see what it looks like on the current stand. We get an option to ‘upgrade’ our Sky box to a Sky HD box, but unless it’s a Sky+ box, it will not be worth it, and we don’t want to be paying another £10.00 a month for HD. Going to pick it up tomorrow as we were not prepared to fork out £25.00 for delivery !!

   I upgraded my phone too. Mrs H convinced me to go into the ‘3 Store’ to have a look. Fifteen minutes later, I came out with a new Nokia E71, a new 18 month (+ 2 month) contract, and a free Pay As You Go (PAYG) sim card. As from Wednesday, I will have 200 minutes calls, unlimited 3 to 3 calls, unlimited texts and unlimited internet access. All this for £20.00 a month. It is the phone and contract I have been looking at for a while.

   I also ordered some new RAM for the PC. Play.com finally had the 1gb module I needed. It had gone up in price, by £1.00, but it is still a good price. Looks like it will be delivered next week. It has been an expensive day !!!!!

   Eldest had his ‘house/flat warming’ party last night. Sounds like it went quite well. We have not spoken to him, but I texted him at lunchtime. He said it was around 6am when the party broke up. I don’t know if anyone stopped  after that, of if they went home then. Mrs H was hoping that he came on line tonight. She wanted to try and talk on Skype, but he went offline around 8:30pm, and has not been back on.

   Have changed my blog theme again. I will see how this one goes. I am going to try and indent each paragraph, just by a couple of characters. See if it scans better.

   All done for tonight.

It’s over ……


Well that’s my holiday all done. It’s been a hard week all told, and I’m not looking forward to going back. It will be quite a busy day tomorrow, what with D*** being off. I’ll have more jobs than usual, but it should make the day pass quicker. Must remember to get some petrol in the morning, although the warning light should come on when I start up.

R*** has not been too bad today, however we did have a bad episode, as usual, at tea-time. It’s now 10:40pm and he is a little angry, although he did not create as much fuss as I expected, when I shut his PC down. He is quiet now, let’s hope it lasts.

I am going to see S**** at lunch time tomorrow. I have some paperwork for him, and a couple of other things. I hope he is up when I get there. I’ll ring about 11:00am. That should give him plenty of time, to do whatever.

Just watched the last Indiana Jones film. The jury is still out on that one. It was certainly not as good as the others. It did not seem to have the usual WOW factor, that the other films had. Still it was quite watchable, although I don’t think Mrs H was too impressed.

I’ve tried out a couple of different Instant Messaging clients over the past couple of days. Had a go at Digsby, which I mentioned before. Too much going on I fear, I had to drop it. I then tried a client called Trillian Astra. That was very similar, just too much for what I need. So I said goodbye to that too. Looks like I’m going to stick with Microsoft for the time being.

My good friend A*** has just signed in on MSN. Have not chatted with her, for ages, must be at least a month. A nice person. She is one of the first people I chatted with, when I joined the Lycos chat room.

Well I think that is it.

Cold calling …. don’t you just love them


When I say ‘love them’ ………

I got one yesterday. Knocked on the door around 3:30pm, I could see him through window, and knew at once, that he was selling something. And from the look of his clothes, he was not very good at it. I decided to have a bit of fun

I opened the door, and the guy took a step back, with one hand up.

Don’t worry … It’s nothing to get alarmed about” he said, with a big smile on his face.

“Why should I worry ?” I asked.

“I just like to reassure people. That’s all” was the reply. “I’ve come to upgrade your broadband.”

“And what broadband is that ?” I queried.

“Your Broadband is now free !!!!!” he announced. “Did a tall guy come on Friday to let you know ?”

“No !” said I

“Well your local exchange has been updated, and now it is free !!” he proudly announced.

So you assume that I have a broadband connection do you ?”

By this time he was beginning to look a little puzzled.

Who are you with ?” I asked

C******* W********.” he said.

How then can you upgrade my broadband ?”

Who provides yours then ?” he ventured.

S**. “ I replied.

Did you know that if you dial a number with S**, then it costs you 7p a call, even if you do not get through ?”

I’m not interested. Thank you.”

There then ensued another exchange of his views on why I should be interested, before I closed the door. I can’t think of any occasion when I would purchase anything from someone knocking on the door. I think it was a shock to find a male person answering the door at that time of day. It was the out and out lies or misinformation, that I object to. Lie number 1: ‘… local exchange has been updated’. The exchange has not been just updated. From what I could see on the website, that particular unbundling took place in July 2008. Lie number 2: ‘and now it is free’ . It is not free !!!! I would have to sign up to C******* W********, for my broadband, and from what I know, it is only the lowest package that is free. Lie number 3: ‘…cost you 7p a call, even if……’. It was that one that did it.

Just love them.

Friday part 2 ……


I was checking whether I could upgrade my phone contract, before the 18 months is up. It would appear that I can do this, so long as it is not a cheaper contract, but I need to do it at least 24 hours before the date of my bill. Anyway, that is not the whole story. Whilst I had it in mind, I decided to check S****’s account. Horror !! His account was showing a spend of over £17.00. Now to say, at the beginning of the week he had a £4.50 credit, this was a hell of a shock. It would appear that he ‘accidentally’ subscribed to something he did not intend to. I don’t believe it. Mrs H rang him tonight, which I don’t think was a good idea. It left her feeling more down that she was before. They are both going to have to learn. Him to ring more often, for now at least 3 times a week. For her, just to wait for him to ring.

R*** has been fine again today, up until about half past six. Then as per usual we had an episode. Then another one around nine o’clock, and another one just around quarter past ten. As usual, no apparent reason.

Well the week is now over, and I haven’t been tempted to log into the work network. That’s not entirely true. I was tempted … but I did not relent. I’m dreading seeing the mess that will be left on my desk. I did check my mobile though. There only seemed to be the usual network problems.

No lottery win again. I seem doomed to fail at this. Neither ‘lucky-dip’ or my so called system works. I think for tomorrow, I will pick some significant numbers and try that for a week or two.

The problem I am having with Windows recycle bin has not been resolved. The ‘Ask Leo’ site has not come up with anything yet. Not that I expected it to. This is the second question I have asked and got no reply. I think I will post it on ‘The Elder Geek’ forum page. That usually elicits a reply of some kind.

Why do I get weirdo’s following me on Twitter. I can go for days without any new followers, then just buses, they all come at once. Three tonight. All of them trying to ‘help’ me make money on the internet. Go Away Spammers !!!!

Reason for not posting on Monday


I first noticed that the internet seemed to be quite slow, at around 8pm. Sites were taking a long time to load, pages were not being refreshed that type of thing. At about 8:45, after youngest could not load YouTube, I spotted that the connection light on my Sky router was showing the ‘no connection’ solid amber. I fired up the broadband set page, and started to plough through the trouble shooter. Actually, plough is not a good description. There were three options, to try, in order:

  1. turn off router for 10 minutes – nothing
  2. press reset – nothing again (by this time I’m thinking the router has gone)
  3. ring ‘Technical Support’

Well Mrs H rang, and as usual with these things was left holding for 25 minutes. After that time, we were told, that there had been a ‘country wide outage’ of the service we use. The usual guff, about ‘engineers working hard to fix the problem’, but that it should be up and running again, by the morning.

Youngest was very calm about this, which was very surprising, but it was a bit annoying. Strange, and maybe a little sad, how I have come to rely on it. Anyway, as I was shutting down, at around 11:50, I noticed the connection light was now showing ‘connection green’. Brought the youngest down and let him have YouTube for half an hour, and he went to bed happyish.

All done …. well for six months anyway


The appraisal went much as expected. A 10 minute trip down memory lane into what my objectives were (memo: ‘I already knew’), why they were picked (memo: see previous memo) and why they were not fully met (memo: ‘we knew they wouldn’t be’). Then we moved into patronising mode, where we discussed my strengths and weaknesses . This meaningless exchange lasted a good 25 minutes. And the outcome ……… nothing has changed since last time, but ‘I’m working on my weaknesses’. I have been doing so for the past 40 years or so. Then came my objectives (or jobs that I have to do because my line-manager can’t). These were basically to continue the ones before, plus one more. Now why on earth it took another 20 minutes to complete that part, I have no idea. That is it until the six monthly review, when we will go through the same thing again.

The situation with Mrs H and the eldest, is beginning to improve. She seemed a little happier this evening. They had all been to her sisters for my Mum-in-laws birthday, and S**** had come along too. He was not well yesterday.  Apparently, he had had a pizza on Tuesday night, and was ill after it. Now I remember being his age, and experiencing the very same type of illness on a regular basis. You go out, have 16 pints of beer, followed by a curry/kebab, and it is the food that always makes you ill !!!! I don’t think she slept too well last night worrying about him. I honestly believe she thought he had swine flu’.

Youngest has just had an ‘episode’. He has been great all day, then it comes to go to bed and he kicks off. All the Autism experts say there is a trigger, but quite often it is nothing that can be indentified. The droning starts, then the violence kicks in, and it is often 20 minutes before settles down. Tonight it seems to be taking a lot longer. The violence seems to increase when you try to stop it. It is as if he needs to hurt you, and his anger will not subside until he has. But the reason for the anger is not obvious. One of the annoying things is though, that the experts always look to you as if you are the cause. We spoke to one of the ‘experts’ some time ago, someone from the Disability Team, and when Mrs H said that often the anger is directed at me, the ‘expert’ turned to me and asked me ‘why did I think he directed it at me?’ Or in other words … it must be my fault.

Last day tomorrow. Hopefully we will have a reasonable week. I hope the weather picks up again. It will be quite a miserable week if we get the rain we had last time I was off. R*** has been quite amenable this week. Let’s hope it continues (apart from the bad parts of course).

Thought I had bagged a bargain tonight. I need to but some more RAM for my PC. It has 1.5gb, but I want to get it up to the maximum 2gb (it’s a 4 year old PC.) I bought the last lot from Play.com for about £16.00. When it worked, I though I would get 1gb, but the price had rocketed to £34.00. However, when I checked the site today, there was an offer, for the same RAM as before, at £17.00. Too good to be true ??? Well yes and no. They were out of stock, and there was no indication when the new stock would come in. So I left it, but I will keep checking, as that extra 1/2gb will make a lot of difference.

That’s it. Seem to have gone on a little tonight, but it has been an interesting (and I use the word lightly) day.

Two more days to go…….


That’s right. Only two more days, then I get a week annual leave. To be honest, I think I need it. It has been a long July, and August looks like it could be the same.

The eldest lad phoned at lunchtime, to say he was not feeling so good. Sounds like he has had a dodgy pizza on top of a few (or not so few) pints of Tetley’s. He’s spent the day in bed. Of course Mrs H is thinking swine flu !!!! But then again, so many people think they have got/had swine flu, or at least, some version of it !!! Strange thing happened tonight though. Mrs H had been trying to ring him, and was very concerned (as usual) that he was not answering his phone. I signed into MSN on my mobile, and noticed the he was signed in also. So I messaged him, but got no reply. Then he rang to say how he was. Later, I had to go upstairs, and noticed that his room door was open, and that his PC was running. I turned on the monitor, and it was running an AVG scan. Could not understand why it was running, or why the PC was on. I checked some of the PC settings, to see if it was set to start-up when AVG scan was due, and there was nothing I could see. We are now thinking, that the youngest lad had, for some reason, switched the PC on. Unfortunately, his condition prevents him from saying whether he did or not !!!! Strange. I will ask S**** when I see him if it has done that before.

No J**** on MSN again. Not chatted since the 1st of August. I hope I’ve not upset her or scared her off at all. She is a nice person to chat to. Last thing I said to her, was that I hoped to talk more about her. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I sounded too heavy !! Who knows. Just got a message. Been busy, that’s all. I had a quick chat with M**** on facebook earlier. Been a long time since I chatted to her. She’s been through the mill over the past few months. Doesn’t pull any punches at all. She was one of the first people I chatted to on the ‘Lycos Chat’ that was. Seems to be a good laugh. Always been straight with me. Here’s a thought …… why are most of my online friends women ????

Bloody appraisal tomorrow (as I may have said a few times). It will be another period of my life I’ll never get back. It’s not as if it really means anything. No promotion, pay increase or anything like that, just an excuse to give me my ‘objectives’ for the year. Oh and an excuse for Spike to be both patronising and condescending at the same time. How does he do that ?? There must be an art to it.I’d just love to be fly on the wall, when he does G***s appraisal. She takes even more serious than he does. Could be fun.

Done for now.

Its official …… I’m a ‘nerd’


It’s true …… I am officially a ‘nerd’. To be precise an ‘Excel Nerd’. Well here’s the story. I regularly read the ‘”Contextures Blog” (quick plug) which is an excellent resource for all things Excel, run by the wonderful Debra Dalgleish. I came across this by accident, whilst looking for a solution to a problem with an Excel formula. To cut a reasonably short story even shorter, there was a competition on the website, and I won a prize !!! Thanks very much Debra. It was quite unexpected.

Quiz-nite !!! Well what can I say. Our team was only three points off winning. Not in any of my wildest dreams have we got that close. To be honest, there three questions, that if we had not have changed our minds (and it was a joint decision), would have projected us to the dizzy heights drawn winners. And…… if I had looked a little more closely at the picture of the group, I may, possibly have got it right. I said Earth Wind & Fire, and it was The Commodores. So four questions off winning !!!!! However, I did win the Bingo. It was a joint win, so I had to share, but £13.50 came in very useful, and it was drinks all round for our team. It was a good evening. B** and R** are nice people, and good old Dr J*** was a laugh too, despite his injured Achilles tendon. I don’t know if I’ll go next week. They are after all S****’s friends, and I have serious doubts that when he has left, they will ask me to meet them. I may be wrong.

No walk again. This rain is becoming a bit of a bind, and I’m starting to get a little bored at lunchtimes. My ‘pedometer pack’ has not arrived yet, and according to the coordinator, we start on Monday! I also had a look at the price of ‘cheap’ running shoes. Best price at ‘World of Windsor’, was £25.00, for a make I have never heard of. I do not want to pay a lot, for what may be just a flash in the pan idea.

This blog, seems to be getting somewhere now. Forty two hits yesterday, plus a very generous comment from a reader, and at the last count I had thirty two hits today. This may of course go up (he said with his expanding head) when this gets posted.

Finally, work is getting tedious and annoying. The phone calls I was waiting for yesterday, I am still waiting for …… We have an update to the SQL Server on Sunday (yawn … nerdy Geek stuff … its in the blood now). I have emailed all the relevant people, but you can put money on it, that I will have to do a reminder, before I leave on Friday.

Done for now. or I’ll have nothing to write tomorrow.

Damn computers….


Well I suppose its not the fault of the computers. They are after all only inanimate boxes of switches. No I blame the techies that run the ICT department. They appear to be just a bunch of people that are not quite up to the standard required. Even the help desk advice gave not real advice. It just told us what we already knew.

A walk this evening. It was about 4 miles, and we called in the pub half way round. Very enjoyable. Although eldest lad was winding his mum up a bit. He moves out on Saturday, and he was joking about all the things he is going to get up to. I told him when we came out of the pub, that he was not making it easy for her.

As boring as it sounds, I think that is it for today.