More than serious …


A few years ago, after one of the many ‘restructures,it’ I volunteered for the Council’s early retirement scheme. They call it ELI or ‘Early Leavers Initiative’. It gives staff over 55 years old, the opportunity to leave before their official retirement age. The main aim of the scheme is to save money and its premise is that it is cheaper to let staff retire with a offered financial package than it is to keep them employed. It has worked well for all the people that I know that have taken up the offer.

At the time, my application was turned down on the basis that the department did not have any staff that could be trained up quickly enough, to do the work that I was doing. Therefore, they couldn’t authorise it. I spoke to our HR department at the end of February this year about applying again and was advised that they didn’t know if the initiative would be running this year.

Last week, we had one of our regular ‘doom and gloom’ meetings, where we were told how bad the budget was, how much we had to save this year, and the next three years. All told, it does not look good for local Councils in the future. In almost a passing shot, at the end of the meeting, our Service Lead announced that he would support any member of the team wishing to take this ELI. Basically saying, anyone who wants it can have it.

So after talking to K***, we have decided that it probably would be for the best to jump before I get pushed, so to speak. It would mean a great reduction in monthly income, but I would look for a part-time job to help make up for that. Let’s face it, I’m not happy in the job anymore. I haven’t been so for a long time. I’m starting to be at that age when learning new things becomes a real challenge and I simply cannot keep up with the pace now. Then of course, if the future does mean losing staff, I would have to go. What usually happens, is that a post is deleted and staff at the same level have to reapply for their jobs. It happens all the time and given the fact that the people I would be up against having more experience of the work we are doing … speaks for itself who would lose out.

So that’s all I’m going say on the matter (for now!)

Great support


For some time now I’ve had an issue with accessing WordPress. It was not a big issue, it was more annoying than anything else. What was happening was, whenever I shut my browser down, I seemed to get logged out of WordPress. It did not matter if I checked the ‘”Stay signed in” box, when I clicked on my toolbar icon to open WP, I had to log in. As I say, an annoyance rather than an issue.

I was starting to get used to it when I read that someone else was experiencing the same problem and that WP support had sorted it out for them. However, there did not seem to be any details that I could see, so I decided to email WP support with my ‘problem’. Then I waited.

Well, the next day, I got an email from a guy from the help-desk. He went through a few options for me to try. None of them worked, as I had tried them all before, but this person was not going to give up. Three or four more emails ensued, with different things to try, all of which failed. I was beginning to think that it was a problem with my computer. It wasn’t going to get fixed and that I was wasting this helpful person’s time. So after his last message (which also failed) I emailed him back saying that the fix had worked, and that I was most grateful. Resigned to living with this pesky annoyance, I closed the support call. About an hour or so later, I was checking my emails and there was message from a colleague. He had seen my support call (they get uploaded to Google unless you object) and offered some advice as he had “suffered” (his word) the same problem. His answer was to check the shortcut icon for WP and see where it was pointing. When I did that, I suddenly realised what the problem was. The shortcut was pointing to the login screen for WP. This meant that it was always going to open that screen and not log me in. Once I changed that shortcut path, almost all my problems were over.

I say almost. I was now in a quandary as to whether I should re-open the support call and explain what the problem had been and apologise for “wasting their time” or just keep quiet.

So, I have chosen not to re-open the call and hope that they would understand my embarrassment if they read this post.

Just a test….or maybe not


I tend to use a Microsoft Word blog template to post. However I like to try other ways to get my message across. I’ve used the WP editor on my PC and even tried to post using email. The WP editor was quite successful and means I could post during breaks at work. Posting by email was very different. Try as I might, I could not get the tags to show properly.

For this post, I thought I would try and use my tablet. I don’t have an iPad as I’ve never been a big fan of Apple products, so I use a Tesco ‘hudl’ as an alternative to using a PC or laptop. It seems to work. I’m still using the WP editor, but it looks totally different to using a laptop.

Fingers crossed it works okay. However, I usually save my posts on my computer before posting. I don’t believe this is possible using the WP editor

Poll – (What else would I call it)


Well, have a go ……

 

Go on, make me laugh (or cry) I can take it!!

Double disappointment …..


The much awaited online programming course with Future Learn started on Monday. It was a course, which would (hopefully) teach me how to program a mobile phone game for the Android platform. I enrolled before Christmas and had downloaded all the necessary software that I was going to need well in advance. I had got through about a third of the first weeks tutorials and everything seemed to be going well. But, I could not get it to work, without getting errors. I posted on the forum the problems I was have, and received some, what appeared to be good advice. So yesterday, after taking some of this advice, I proceeded to update the software I had previously downloaded. Two hours and 4.5 gigabytes later, I tried again. Same problem. There just did not seem to be an answer to my particular problem. Very disappointing. After another three hours of trying this and trying that, I gave up. Literally gave up and left the course. It is not what I wanted to really do, but it seemed the best thing at the time. Now I’m not so sure.

Future Learn is an online private company owned by the Open University. All the courses are free and some can lead to certification. It is still in beta stage, so maybe that is why I experienced a problem. This is the second course I started and not finished. The first one, I thought was about Richard 1st, but it was really about England in that period. Although it was interesting, it was not what I was looking for. I have another course starting at the end of April, to do with fiction writing. Maybe third time lucky !!

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So, the 2nd disappointment was work related. More specifically ICT work related. We are all to get new computers. Laptops to be more precise, or Netbooks if you want to split hairs. The ones that had been decided on was the HP EliteBook 2570p. Now I, and others have been told, that this is what we need for our new work system. Because we are to be more ‘mobile’ we will ‘need something that is easier to carry …….’ Now, I know that I’m going to be a little incapacitated for a while in the future, but I think I’ll still be able to walk 300 yards with a laptop on my back. But, in order to be objective, I’m going to test the thing out, over the next few days. However, I think I’ve made up my mind already. I’m going to keep my original laptop. The Elite Book will go to someone else, or maybe I’ll say “keep it for me …. for later …. if I need it …. after the ‘op’ ….”

Well that’s it for now.

A little bit more ranting …


     I’ve just spent the past half hour posting replies to comments on our local online newspaper. I use the term ‘newspaper’ lightly in this case. I have stopped buying and even reading, physical editions of the press. To me it seems a little one way. With a hard copy, or paper copy if you prefer, the only way to have your voice heard is to write to the editor. He or she, then may or may not publish your letter/email when ever they see fit. With the online version, I can post or reply to a comment and it appears almost instantaneously. That is providing it complies within the terms and conditions. This to me, seems to be a far more interactive way of expressing ones feelings. I have to admit though, it can lead to my comments being ridiculed and attacked by some of the other people that contribute to the site. Like many online newspapers, there are a large number of people with right-wing tendencies, that seem to take delight in posting negative political and almost racist comments. I occasionally try and redress the balance.

     Work took an interesting turn on Friday. Our service manager called in at the end of the day, and asked to have a private word with me. The way things are going in the Council at the moment, it made me a little apprehensive. However, and I’m not supposed to say anything yet, she explained that that there might be an opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks and that she wanted me to consider it carefully. Without going into any detail, it is an area that I did not think I have any experience in. I downloaded lots of information, and I may be doing myself down too much. I may just have enough limited knowledge to pass this off. If I get my head down and start reading all this information, who knows what may happen. Just hope I don’t tread on anybody’s toes!!

     The new car is living up to expectations. Now I’ve had it a couple of months, it’s getting more and more difficult to remember the old one. The mileage is better, although I’m not getting the 60mpg that i was led to believe. It’s more 48mpg, which is better than the 42mpg I was getting with the Ford, so it is an improvement, and with the low tax band, I will be saving. It still looks strange to see my car and S****’s car side by side in the car park. Especially as they have consecutive number plates!

     On a completely different track, I’m starting an online course on Monday 25th. I saw an article in the Guardian online, that explained a little about these ‘free’ courses. It is an organisation called Futurelearn and the quote from it’s website says:

“At FutureLearn, we want to inspire learning for life. We offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.”

     I’ve signed up for a course about King Richard III. It is not something I know much about, but the discovery of his remains and the recent television drama about The White Queen, stirred my interest somewhat. It is free, so I have nothing to lose, and it may just benefit me should I attempt to go on Mastermind !!!! I’ve also signed up for a course in programming apps for smart phones, but that does not start until February 2014.

     A couple of post’s back, I mentioned a story idea that I had been planning. Well it is now into it’s fourth chapter, and the story will start to take a different direction. I will not say any more, but I may put an excerpt on here sometime. In fact, I have considered posting the whole story as weekly chapters, but I’ve not decided yet.