Technology …


It’s not been the best of starts technology wise, today. I got and realised that my new iPad had not been on charge overnight. That in itself was not too much of an issue, as this new tablet seems to hold its charge very well. No, the problem I had was that the screen had frozen. Not only that but I could do nothing with it. All the ‘help’ sites told me to power off the iPad, but the power switch did nothing. So it wasn’t just the screen that had frozen, but the entire tablet just did nothing. You may be able to imagine the string of expletives that were forthcoming.

Nothing that I tried worked. I had a vague recollection that you could connect an iPad to iTunes on a laptop and ‘do something’ but couldn’t remember what, so I gave it a go. I was still at the time searching online for any sort of help and I came across a site that explained that whilst connected to iTunes, if I held the power button down and tapped the home button, this would refresh the screen. It was a work around for older tablets, but I had nothing to lose. Remarkably, it worked! I was ‘back in the room’ I think the phrase is.

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Then came ‘tech-prob’ number two.

Mrs Me wanted some cleaner for her contact lens’s. I checked on eBay and there was going to be £10.99 plus £6.00 postage, which made it more expensive then going the opticians and buying it. Now I rarely use Amazon as I often think their prices are a bit on the high side, but I checked and they had the product, and it was selling at £13.90 postage free. So, I ordered some. Then I got an email saying that my payment had been declined. I thought I had set up a PayPal payment option, but it seems payments are direct from my debit card, which had just been updated/renewed, so the expiry date was incorrect.

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So all in all, not a good start.

Glutton …


I’m forever downloading free apps for my phone, iPad and even my laptop. I hear or see someone mention some piece of software or app and immediately think “… that might be useful or fun or whatever …” They very rarely are and I usually end up uninstalling the things and questioning what I was thinking!

Here’s an example: I received an email regarding a regular local meeting that was due to be cancelled. Within that email, was a link to what seems to be a ‘collaboration hub’ called Slack. As mentioned I thought “that might be good for…” although I cannot remember what I thought it would be good for. But me being me, I downloaded and installed the software.

I then spent the following hour, firstly trying to understand how to use the program and the next 20 minutes trying to figure out what I would do with it. As a result, I think it is a piece of software that would be useful in a workplace environment or a user group, but I don’t think it was for me. I mean, who do I need to collaborate with?

So I needed to say goodbye and as usual my trusty copy of Revo Uninstaller comes into it’s own. It’s one of the very few pieces of free software that I have kept for a long time. It is so easy to use, and I haven’t used half of the features. I often think I should cough-up and pay for a full copy, but as it works as is, I think I will stick with what I’ve got.

Problems might just be gone …


For a few weeks now, I’ve been having performance issues with one of my Windows 10 laptops. I’ve uninstalled software that I rarely use, but the issue seems to have remained. What happens is that I’ll be using for example Microsoft Word and suddenly it hangs with the message “Word is not responding” and this will happen three or four times during the session. I end up having to restart Windows and hope the problem has gone away. Often this fixes the issue, but occasionally it doesn’t.

Today, while I was looking at the Task Manager application, I noticed something called ‘software reporting tool’. I had not seen it before and so I ran an online search and discovered that it is a program that checks to see if any software is going to affect the Google Chrome browser. There were reports that it has a high CPU usage when checking and the check often takes 20 minutes or so to run. The date on the file is 4th October which seems to coincide with the second time I had problems. Things seemed to improve after I removed my other printer, but then problems re-emerged a few days later.

The sites I looked at (and I always check a few to see if they say the same thing) told me that the process is not necessary and can be stopped. They also said that Google may restart the process again whenever the Chrome bowser updates. It gave instructions on how to prevent it running and how to prevent Google from restarting it. The instructions for this can be found at https://www.ghacks.net and searching for ‘how to block the Chrome Software reporter tool’.

It may not fix the problem, but the tool sends scan information back to Google, so there may be privacy issues here.

We shall see if there is any improvement.

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On another point, this was written using the WordPress editor on an iPad Mini. I had not thought of that as an option, but it seems to work quite well. I do need to understand how the HTML style tags work for formatting, but there must be a tutorial out there.

 

Blog editor trial – results are in …


Now here is where in time old fashion I should say “In no particular order …” but I shall resist the temptation. Instead I shall just list some of the ‘pros and cons’ of the applications I have tried.

1. WordPress editor
Positives: ease of use, built in, WYSIWYG, available on all my devices
Negatives: formatting images not as good as Open Live Writer

2. Word
Positives: fully featured, WYSIWYG
Negatives: too many features, no tags, image manipulation not as good as Open Live Writer

3. BlogDesk
Positives:
Negatives: Could not get it to connect to blog

4. Open Live Writer
Positives: Ease of use, familiar, WYSIWYG, tags and categories easy to use, image control good
Negatives: Not been updated since 2015, random crashes

5. BlodPad Pro
Positives: ease of use, good when away from desk
Negatives: iOS only, image manipulation not easy

After a little amount of brain activity, I think I am going to stick with Open Live Writer as my main editor for the time being. However, I may be tempted with the WordPress editor. With it’s ability to be used on my laptop, my iPad, my wife’s iPad, old laptop and even my phone if the desire took me, it comes an extremely close second.


Still going – just …


The issues with the laptop continue, although they seem to be not as bad as they were at the beginning of the week. After reading some the comments online, I’m more and more convinced that at least some of the problems are linked with the last Windows update. The annoying thing is that whereas at one time you could choose to update or not, now it is more or less forced onto you. I also think. that there may be some compatibility issues with some of the software I’m using. However, it is looking likely that I may have to bite the bullet and get a new one, with all the issues that brings.

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Coming back to my Blog Editor trials, I thought last night when R*** was using my laptop, that I had forgotten to include BlogPad Pro app on my iPad. It worked quite well when we were away and providing I can upload the manual to my phone, for reference, it might just be a contender. I have decided against using Notepad as it would me more effort than it’s worth copying and pasting, so I’m going to cross that of the list. This post is being written with my favourite application, Open Live Writer. This is the one that I started having problems with which prompted my testing.

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The village seems to be the target of a couple of gangs of thieves. Properties are being broken into and it appears that the thieves are after the car keys of high-end vehicles. These  cars are then stolen and either shipped abroad or broken-up for the valuable parts. The local primary school was also hit, but that was for the laptops. It’s a bit of a worrying time for all.

(Written with Open Live Writer)

Just lazy … that’s all … or maybe not …


I started to write this post on Friday, but put it off. I didn’t have a title then and was trying to think of reasons excuses why I haven’t posted since 5th July. And they were just excuses … ‘didn’t have time’ … ‘nothing to say’ … ‘too late/early/drunk/tired etc ‘ … you get the picture?  The only one that really seems to crop up the most is (not ‘too drunk’ although …) ‘nothing to say.’ I often sit down at one of my laptops, or the iPad with good intentions, and then nothing. So I’m going to try a bit harder over the coming months/weeks, after all now I have a paid blog, I need to get my money’s worth Be right back

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Now it may sound a little extravagant to have two laptops and an iPad, but there is a reason. Since I got my first PC back in 1995, I have had a money management application (or program as it was called back then) called Microsoft Money. It was discontinued some years ago, although Microsoft did bring out some cut-down versions, but I understand even these are now extinct. It has always worked fine with the upgrades up until Windows 8.1 came out and users were advised that ‘some’ software would not work properly in future editions of Windows. I don’t use it as part of my online banking as it never really worked with my bank, it just keeps a record of my future, past and present incomes and expenses. A a pinch I could use a spreadsheet, but I think that over the years, it would get a little unwieldy.

A couple of years ago, I decided that my laptop was running very slow and convinced K*** that I needed a new one which I got. I thought it would be a good idea to keep the older one, just in case R***’s home laptop gave in. So the old one was consigned to a wardrobe shelf to gather dust. Then, along came Windows 10 and everyone was urged to upgrade with the free upgrade. This latest version was said to be the worst for compatibility of older software, so I held off upgrading for a long time. I then had a thought Thinking smile . What I should do is keep the old laptop on Windows 7 (which I knew would run the Money program) and upgrade my new(ish) laptop to the latest version of Windows 10. That way, if Money didn’t work I could always use the old laptop. Thankfully it did work and I now have Windows 10 on both machines. I’m still very wary when updates come out and I will not update the old laptop until I know Money works on the latest Windows version.

Not happy … Daily Prompt


I’m fast coming to the conclusion, that the iOS WordPress app should be renamed the iOs WordPress (CR)app. I’m sat in the sun, with a nice drink and I quite fancy having a go at today’s Daily Prompt. “Hmmm,” I think to myself. “How do I get the ‘ping-back’ with the issue I’m having opening the Daily Prompt notification?” I know! I can go to the Dashboard, open the notification from there, then open the post and copy the link. I’ll just have another drink before I start.

Twenty minutes later, and the bl**dy post is showing as “Not available…” Awkward is not the word I used. It is so frustrating and I cannot believe I am the only one having this issue. I don’t like using the editor, as I prefer to double, even triple check my musings before they go public. I’m using the BlogPad Pro app, which I’m gradually getting used to, and I don’t want to have to lug a laptop on holiday with me. I know I don’t post every Daily Prompt, but it would be nice to do so when I want to.

The developers are supposing looking at the problem, but it seems to be taking some time over it. I know where I worked, if we had a problem, I would have to have it fixed within a couple of days or questions would have been asked!

Back to the usual …


Blodpad IconStill testing the Blogpad app on my iPad. A bit of a way to go yet, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. One of the downsides I’ve found, is that you cannot post your missives (is that what I mean?) as a draft in your WordPress blog. Well I’ve not found a way, if there is one. The way it works is thatBlogpad 2 it is stored as a draft in your defined storage area. You can then ‘preview’ your work and see how it looks, before finally publishing it as a live post. Another downside seems to be the ‘autosave’. I can’t find a setting that sets the autosave frequency. I Blogpad 3discovered, to my cost when the app crashed, that the crash happened before the ‘autosave’ kicked in, so I lost a good portion of the post. I’ve now decided to click/tap on the Save icon every 20 words or so.

This app is not going to be my main blogging editor, I’m still firm friends with Open Live Writer, but I needed something to work with when I go on holidays. Don’t want to take the laptop with me (K*** would kill me if I did) and as I have mentioned before, I’m not too keen on the WordPress built in editor. At the moment, there are more ‘up-sides’ than ‘down-sides’ to the app, although I’m not liable to have a tantrum, I just hope ‘up-sides’ continue to grow faster than the ‘down-sides’.

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I’m still having an issue with the WordPress app on the iPad. When I’m in the ‘stats’ screen and I click on the Notification Bell at the bottom right of the iPad app, the notification list comes up as normal. Now the issue is, that if I tap the Daily Prompt notification, I get a very unhelpful message telling me that there has been an ‘Error Loading The Post’. I hadn’t noticed this before, it’s only since I have been having a go at the Daily Prompt that the iPad app has become more active. Anyway, the good people in support are looking at the issue and I am hopeful they can come up with the solution.

Just giving it a try …


The ‘it’ in question is the “Blogpad Pro” on the iPad. I normally write my posts on my laptop using the “Open Writer” software that replaced Microsoft’s “Live Writer” when said company decided to drop the application. I’m not a big fan of writing with the WordPress editor, and I wanted to be able to write a post if I’m away from/home and only have my iPad mini.

At first attempt, it seems to be quite good, but there are a lot of controls and features that I have not had chance to try yet, It’s still early days.

Waste of 40 minutes …


Not quite 40 minutes but it seemed like it. So what was the waste? I have been wondering about adding a vlog post to this blog. Do not know what I want from it yet, but thought it could be another string to my bow. Ladies and gentlemen, I have to announce that “It’s not going to anytime happen soon folks!” Firstly for want of a better word, the camera on this laptop is dire. In fact, it is probably worse than dire. It was grainy with the poorest sound reproduction ever. It took most of the said 40 minutes to work out how to start the recording. Then after viewing the video I began to wish I had not found out how to!

So then, onto the iPad. Much better camera, better resolution (although still very grainy), but I found myself looking at the screen rather than the camera itself. Result was that I seemed to be looking to the right all the time. Not good at all.

Next I tried my smartphone. This has a great camera. The resolution was much better but again can’t quite train myself to look at the camera.  Hence on that video I appeared to be looking at my feet most of the time.

In conclusion, unless I can get a better camera set-up, I think my days as a VLogger have to be put out to pasture. I might try and rig up my Panasonic Lumix Camera as a web-cam. I seem to remember seeing that it can connect to a computer using a HDMI cable. I also have one of those Flip cameras, but that only has one capture lens.

Must be getting soft …


I recently decided that I needed a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad. Never really liked typing on screen as I have more or less grown up with ‘proper’ physical keyboard. So I scoured eBay and found one that looked to Keyboardbe just what I wanted. Not the cheapest and not the most expensive either. It was about the price I was willing to pay so I ordered one. It duly arrived on time and I quickly read the instructions for setting up and pairing with my iPad. That done, I began to look at the features of the keyboard and its basic operating procedures. The first thing I needed to do was to charge it with the ‘ … enclosed micro USB to USB cable …’ and here was a problem. There was no cable! I was not worried as I seem to have more than my fair share of these cable which seem to come with everything. But, I thought, if there is one supposed to be included then there should be one. I decided to message the seller and advise them that the cable had not been included.  I told them that I did not need a cable and that I was just letting them know so that they could contact their supplier in case there was a problem. After a few days I received a very polite reply, apologising for the delay and asking me what I wanted to do. Did I want a full refund or did I want a replacement? The caveat was that I would have to dispose the first unit myself. I emailed back and explained again, that it was only the cable, that I didn’t need another and wasn’t seeking a refund or replacement.

The email had only just been sent, when I had one of those “Doh!” moments. What had I done? The guy was going to either send a second unit or refund my payment. He didn’t want the first one back. So I would have had either a free unit or two units, and I turned him down!  What can I say? Either getting soft or getting too old.

Well I think this is interesting …


Youngest is doing his usual Saturday ‘thing’ and watching YouTube videos on my laptop. He does this every weekend, after he has had his wash/bath, he’ll come down and sit at my laptop until his lunch is ready. I was going to use my older laptop to do some work on but I thought I would give this a go.

So, I am sat at the living room table, with my iPad Mini and TechGear bluetooth keyboard, writing this post directly into the iOS WordPress editor! An unusual experience to say the least. I think I may have tried using the editor before on my laptop, but usually like to write posts using Open Live Writer (OLW), which is a free piece of software born out of the now defunct, Windows Live Writer. If you’ve not tried OLW, can I suggest you give it a try. Back to the post in question!

I found the settings for Tags and Categories and managed to add some, but it is a lot harder to actually work with. In OLW I have a single button that will post some work as draft. I can then go into the web version of WordPress, check for any errors (there usually is a couple or six!) before I finally post. The iPad app seems to offer the same facility, but it is going to take me a while and a lot more practice if I’m going to make a habit of it.

One thing I have found, it seems to quite difficult to centre a line of text. There must be a way, but maybe not with this keyboard.

** Update** I think I may now know why. The Techgear bluetooth keyboard is mapped for an Android no iOS. There are (apparently) a number of differences between the keyboards of the two systems

This is a bit cool …


I’m a bigger fan of the Android system, rather than the iOS system. So I have never really had anything to do with an iPad as such. Often have had to troubleshoot Mrs H’s and R***’s iPads,but only by Googling the issue. I have never had much knowledge of the product at all. 

I decided to buy Mrs H a new iPad, out of my retirement payout, as hers had got very very slow over the past few months, almost to the point where it was unusable. I then thought that it might be a good idea (full of those) if I had one also. Now R*** has two iPad Minis. The intention was that he would have one at home and take the other when he went on respite. But he wasn’t keen on that idea, and will not take it with him. Mrs H took the notion that the other on was just sitting there and that I should use it, to “… see how I get on …”. Well I’m getting on just fine and am beginning to use it a lot more.

And so to the point of this post. I was looking on the App Store for an app that I could use to write a post with and came across Blogpad Pro, which it seems is the recommended app for blogging on WordPress. So I downloaded it and you know what … those recommendations were right. It seems to be just what I needed to blog on this iPad. I was well impressed. I am so impressed, that I decided to with this post in praise. I still have a lot to learn, but it seems to be fairly easy to get the hang of. So easy in fact that this post is written with Blogpad Pro!

Blogging from Word 2013


Now here’s a thing. Way back in October 2012, I was running Microsoft Office 2010. I attempted to post a blog using Word 2010. Whilst it was quite successful Word, did not have the power and facilities, I was used to in Windows Live Writer. There are muttering amongst, the rumour merchants that WLW is going to be discontinued, or as Microsoft put it ‘no longer supported’. This will be a shame, and will affect a large number of bloggers who use WLW. I have tried a number of alternatives to WLW including Zoundry Raven, Blogdesk and even the standard WordPress editor. None come a close 2nd to WLW. However, even this has its limitations and one of its big issues (as far as I’m concerned) is the problems with ‘Tags’. Okay, you can get an add-on that will create tags from your text, and this works very well for quite a number of blogging platforms, but it adds the tags at the end of your text. These do not seem to be correctly formatted WordPress tags and do not link to any tags in other blogs, which is a bit of a bind.

So, I am trying out this post, using the blog post template in Microsoft Word 2013. It does not feel much different from the 2010 version, so I’m not too sure if it is going to be better. There is still no facility to add tags, which is a major downside, but it just means that posting has to go as a draft. Now that, may not be such a bad thing in the scheme of things. I will just have to add the tags at ‘draft stage’.

I’ve just sent for a small keyboard for my ‘hudl’. I am wanting to be able to use it to write with. I know I can use my laptop, but there may be a time, when I want to write something, for say a quick blog post, or just a note to be used in some writing later. If you have ever tried to use an onscreen keyboard on a 7″ tablet (I know ‘should have got an iPad’) then you’ll know how difficult it can be. Especially when trying to format the text. It only cost just over £7.00, so it’s no great loss if it does not work.

Right. Time to upload this post. Wish me luck or something !!