An interesting day . . .


Everything was happening yesterday. My granddaughter, S***** had her 2nd birthday and came around for lunch with her parents and other grandma. And the youngest R***, came home for the weekend. He usually comes home every other weekend, but the dental work he had done upset that routine.

He got home around 11:30 and as usual he took himself off to his room to use his laptop. I went up about 10 minutes later with a drink of water for him and everything seemed fine, although I did notice that his TV was showing no signal. He was listening to a music CD through his DVD player and didn’t seem to be bothered. I went up to tell him his lunch was ready and saw that although the satellite box was on, there was still no signal. So while he was having his lunch I re-booted the box. Nothing changed. I then did a reset and still nothing. by this time he had finished his lunch and was back in his room, asking me to “Fix Sky!”

I spent a while looking through manual, and Googling the problem but nothing seemed to work. We told him that we would have to ring the ‘engineer’ to get it fixed fully believing that he may need a new box.

Meanwhile the lunch party was in full swing downstairs. Everyone was having a good time but because one of his autistic ‘quirks’ (for want of a better word) R*** didn’t join in. He is not very good with a lot of people. I was up and down most of the time, trying various other Google solutions, with no effect.

I was about 15:00 when something clicked. When he played a CD before, through his DVD player, the track listing came up on the screen, but this time there was still no signal. I then thought, that the HDMI cable to his TV had come loose, but it couldn’t as it was a fixed cable. That’s when it hit me. I picked up the TV remote and clicked on the ‘Source’ button, which by it’s very name is the place where you decided where your TV feed is coming from. The screen lit up and showed that the source was set at the TV’s default which was Freeview. Now as this box is not connected to an external ariel, Freeview is not available. I scrolled through the option, then knowing that I was looking for the HDMI-2 feed. Once selected the screen started to show all the programmes it should show. Everyone was happy.

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Back downstairs and the lunch party was nearly over and little S***** was starting to open her presents, of which there were many. to say she is only 2 years old, she certainly knew what to do, and soon the room was filled with torn wrapping paper and scattered presents. She is fascinated with books and with a TV character called “Hey Dougie” so most of the presents seemed to on those lines. Her other grandma left around about 16:00 and her daddy told us that K***’s father was going to pop over with a present, which was a nice surprise all around.

Initially, the idea was that the ‘Birthday Party’ would have been today, but she had been poorly with a throat infection which meant cancellation. However, given the effectiveness of the antibiotics the doctor prescribed I think the party could have gone ahead as planned. But never mind, I think it all went well.

Random tech problem . . .


© Microsoft

I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my OneDrive. I have two laptops. My main one is downstairs but when I bought it, I decided to keep the previous one upstairs as a kind of back-up machine. It is a bit slow, but it was a good machine. I did want to try and connect both as a home network, but that doesn’t seem to work with Microsoft Home edition. I had ‘misplaced’ a couple of files that I now need to use. They were not big or even complicated files, I just didn’t want to re-write. I thought they were on my OneDrive, but I could not find them. I then had the idea that they may just be in the documents folder on old laptop. And they were.

© Microsoft Office

I copied them into my OneDrive, along with some video files that I had forgotten about. Must have spent a good couple of hours opening, and copying the files, or so it seemed at the time. I shut down the old laptop and trotted off downstairs ready to work with these newly found files. But … they were not in the OneDrive I was accessing from downstairs. I ‘ummed and ‘ahhed for a while before deciding that I must have two OneDrives. Seemed reasonable as the Office package on the upstairs laptop was Office 2013 and downstairs it is Office 365. All I need to do is copy the files I wanted onto a Flash Drive and then onto the downstairs machine. Problem solved … or not.

Try as I might, I could not get the files copied and was receiving an error message:
Error 0x8007016A: The Cloud File provider is not running …
Restart after restart would not cure the problem and in the end I gave up for the evening.

© SanDisk

This morning, after a lot of Googling, it came to light that I must not have signed in to my OneDrive on the upstairs Laptop. In fact, the service was not even running, I must have disabled it in Task Manager. More clicks and reboots ensued and finally I was able to copy the files to the Flash Drive and onto the main machine. Then I found that they had synchronised and so all the copy and pasting was a total waste of time. Thankyou Google and all who sail in you. If the fact that I was not signed in to the OneDrive upstairs reason had been one of the first in the Google search screen, I could have saved a lot of time and unnecessary brain work!

Beyond belief …


Sometimes, things happen that are quite honestly “Beyond Belief.” Our youngest son sometimes proves that. R… is 28 and Autistic. We are gradually phasing him in to full time residential. At present he goes on Monday morning and returns 11 days later for a weekend visit. He gives us the impression that he really enjoys  his life there.

ppeHe has a regular care-team, his own flat and his own motorbility car. During the ‘lock-down’ he went on the 23rd March and did not return until 10th July. Then again he went on the 19th October and was not allowed home, under the rules until 11th December.

All this, he seemed to take in his stride. In fact, we were more stressed and traumatised than he seemed to be. His care team kept us well informed  and rang everyday to let us know what he had been up to and with a weekly FaceTime we just about got through it.

White-one.jpgNow the interesting thing is that his daily life there is different to here. He does things there that we could never even dream he would do. When he is here, his daily routine is to sit in his room, with his laptop and TV. He will come downstairs for his lunch, then goes back to his room and that is it. Occasionally he will come back downstairs and use my laptop for a while.

Whilst in his flat, and this is the thing that amazes us, he takes on household jobs. We have photos of him mopping his kitchen floor, cooking his dinner (usually beans or sausage rolls) loading the washing machine and various other tasks around the place.

He was able to come here for Christmas, although there were times when it looked impossible, but his care-manager and all the teams put enough precautions in place for it to happen, so on Christmas Eve he came home. He would have had to come here anyway as he has a hospital appointment on Tuesday at which his legal guardian (horrible phrase) has to be present.

Now, on Christmas morning, we witnessed first hand something Lichfield Cathedralthat completely amazed us both. In fact, I still cannot get my head around it. My wife and me were downstairs getting things ready, as you do when I that he hadn’t had his morning drink of milk. I took his cup upstairs.

There was some typical Christmas church music playing and I assumed that my wife had not turned the radio off. How wrong I was. Normally, he would have one of the children’s channels on his TV , and he would also have a children’s YouTube video playing on his laptop.

CanterburyNot today. The TV was turned down and he had on his laptop a video of a Christmas church service. This played for an hour and a half before he started another similar video. I later found out that the first one was the Christmas Eve service from Lichfield Cathedral from 2000 and the second one was the previous nights service from Canterbury Cathedral.

By lunchtime he was back to watching old episodes of The Telly Tubbies as if nothing had happened. He did used to go to the local church to see the Christmas service when he was a school, but how he made the decision to watch that kind of video at that particular times, amazed us both

Difficult day tomorrow …


The youngest goes back to his residential place tomorrow. He has been home for the weekend which he does every fortnight. He knows he is going and we think (you never can tell) that he is looking forward to it. He sits at his computer desk with his legs crossed and waits for his transport to arrive. Then it’s a quick flick through a couple of YouTube videos and he comes downstairs to go.

He has a diary/calendar that shows when he goes away and the day he returns, as one of his Autism traits is that he needs to know what is happening. If he knows, then he seems to accept things better. It’s basically an Excel spreadsheet with different coloured cells for different events.

Tomorrow is different. Tomorrow he goes, and because of the restrictions, he will not be coming home until mid-December. This is different from the last time, during lock-down. Last time we didn’t know it would happen and there was no other option. This time, we do know and we could have had the option of him staying here with us. It may sound harsh, but he is better off in an environment that we know he enjoys, with staff that enjoy looking after him. When he is home, all he wants to do is be in his room. He will not go out unless it is on his planner, so it becomes very frustrating all round. He had to go for his flu-jab yesterday, and it took us nearly an hour to get him to go. Thankfully, the nurses at the surgery know him and were aware that he might be a little late. But they got there on time and all was well. The staff at the surgery are quite amazed that he just lets them do the injection, although he is like me (another story), he has to watch the needle going in so it doesn’t make him jump.

He does not know that he will not be coming home in ‘11 sleeps‘ as his staff will explain on Tuesday. He accepted it then, and it was felt that he may not want to go back if we told him. Very difficult decision.

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.

Internet abuse …


You may be aware that I work part-time in a local café. One of the many features of this café, is their free Wi-Fi. The access Wi-Ficode is displayed for anyone to use if you know where to look. Most customers will use the Wi-Fi for what it is there for i.e. so they can check their emails or show someone pictures on their phone, that kind of thing. However, there is an increasing number of customers that seem to visit the café with the sole purpose of accessing the the free internet.

On Tuesday this week, I arrived at work around 10:20, which is my usual time and noticed a customer sat at a 4 seater table. He had his laptop open and was also using his phone. I also noticed he was wearing Mikea pair of headphones and one of those ‘cheek mikes’ that seem to be the norm these days. I hovered around his table for a few seconds before entering the kitchen and realised that he was conducting some kind of interview Customerswith somebody. Over the course of the next couple of hours, he still seemed to be talking to someone and on a couple of occasions, he got quite animated. He eventually left at around 12:45, or at least that’s when I noticed he had gone. From what I could see, he had drunk one cup of coffee and who knows how many glasses of free water. I mentioned to the chef that he had gone and he explained that he had been sat at the table since about 09:00. Just one cup of coffee!! The table staff have been told not to move people on, but to keep asking if they require anything else. They call  it ‘good customer service’. But what about the ‘good customer service’ for the customers who cannot get a seat?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting free Wi-Fi in places I visit, but come on … lets not abuse it.



It comes in three’s …


Luck, that is. Or so people say. Well If it’s right, then I’ve just had my ‘three’ with eBay. The first one, with the mouses (mice … meece…?) was resolved, but since then another two issues have occurred. Both of them are leading up to a successful conclusion, but it’s the time and the trouble to sort out the problem that’s the real issue.

When I bought my new laptop, I did not realise that most do not come with a CD/DVD reader anymore. So it came as a bit of a shock when I found out. ‘No worries’ I thought, they DVD Writerare as cheap as chips on the internet, I’ll just buy a USB  one. The one I found wasn’t the cheapest, but it was a UK seller that appeared to have a good reputation, well from most of the reviews at least. It arrived and it was about a week before I had the chance to try it out. Guess what? It didn’t work. I tried various combinations of connecting, but nothing seemed to have any effect. What was happening was quite strange. I have two stand alone USB hard drives (labelled D: and E:), and when the DVD drive was connected, the E: drive disappeared from the device list. After a few message between me and the seller, we both came to the conclusion that the drive must faulty. It is now just waiting for me to go to the post office and then I can get a refund.

Now comes the third issue. I have an old laptop, which plods along as a spare. It has it’s own printer, which I tend to use for printing text documents. It is not good enough for photos, but it is otherwise Ink Cartridgeokay. Because of this, I usually buy compatible ink cartridges to save cost. The only problem is that the printer does not show the correct ink level, but I can live with that. So when the colour ink ran out, I sought to buy another one. Of course, it had to be eBay again. The company I used was based on the Channel Islands (they all seem to be) and it arrived four days after buying. It came with the usual fitting instructions and a brief trouble shooting guide. Back to the guessing game … it did not work. The printer software was telling me that the cartridge was faulty. I used the trouble shooting guide and tried again. Still no luck. ‘Here we go again!’ I thought. A message to the seller brought a quick response, and after a few more messages back and forth, a replacement is on it’s way. So that’s the three bits of ‘bad luck’ with eBay (hopefully).

I just need the the bits of good luck, and I banking on the National Lottery for that.

More on that to follow.

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.

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.

Can’t believe it worked …


This might get a little bit ‘techy’ so look away now, if you’re uninterested.

The youngest son has two laptop computers. He has an old Windows 7 machine that he keeps in his bedroom. He uses it to watch YouTube videos, and that’s about all. His other machine is a Windows 10 laptop thatNontworking lappy he takes when he is on respite and sleeping away. Some months ago, we got a message that the laptop he took away had a problem. When he got home I found that the machine was stuck in a ‘Repairing Windows’ loop. The IT people at his respite could do nothing with it and neither could I. So for the past six months it has sat at the back of the sofa doing nothing.

Fast forward to the beginning of November and an interesting article on a news-feed that I subscribe to. The article related to updating Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, for free. The so called ‘offer’ from Microsoft(MS) to upgrade to Windows 10 expired some time last year, but the article explained that it was still available, and it gave instructions on how to get it. After reading the article a few times, I began to think that I may be able to do something with the trashed laptop. At worst it would still be trashed and at best it could  be a working laptop.

I downloaded the files and yesterday I bit the bullet and began the process. I was expecting the task to take 4 or 5 hours, but in the end it took just over 3 hours. It actually worked!! Of course, there were a few issues that made the process difficult. working againNot least, the laptop battery expiring when I was trying to login with my current MS account. By 21:50 the machine was up and running with the latest Windows 10 operating system. As you may imagine, I was beside myself with joy. I could not believe that it had worked. I rebooted the machine again and it was still working. I installed a couple of bits of software that I knew was needed and rebooted aging. Still working !

So I go to bed thinking that I’m a genius.

This morning, with bated breath I switched the said laptop on … still working !! I still can’t believe it worked, but work it did, and I’m one happy, ecstatic, cocky bunny and think I can do anything  !!

Problems still ongoing…


When I started to compose this post at the beginning of the week, the problems I was having with my laptop were indeed ‘still ongoing’. However, and I am touching as much wood as I can find, things seem to be a little better at the moment. Many of the problems seemed to be with my Microsoft Office 365 applications. I was getting a lot of ‘xxx not responding’ messages when using Word, Excel and Outlook which seemed to point to an issue there. Although, other software was often slow to open and close. The internet gave me a few ideas, and one of the more prominent ones was to ‘repair’ my Office application. So I gave it a go, and (here’s when the touching wood comes into play) at the moment it seems to have worked.

Later yesterday, I got what IT people call the “Blue Screen of Death” or BSOD. For those that don’t know, it’s when Windows decides something is amiss, produces and ‘error code’, uploads the code to Microsoft and restarts your computer. I checked out the error code, which told me nothing at all but I was advised to run a system security tool. This tool, called Windows Defender Offline, which is part of the Windows security system, runs a much deeper scan for viruses and malware than the normal scan. It takes about 40 minutes on my laptop and (back to the wood touching again) seems to have done the trick, although I’m not holding my breath.

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I’m going to try a new approach to my posts. For a long time I have been combining the topics I want to say into one post. I usually separate the topics with a divider (as above) and the post can often have 4 or 5 topics. I have now decided to use single topics in each post, and post more often (how many times have I said ‘post more often’). I shall see how it goes.

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.

 

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)

Too clever for my own good …


This is a little techy. I have been having a problem all week with the performance of my main laptop. Applications were slow to open and even slower to close. I scoured the internet for answers and did everything, bar re-installing Windows, that was suggested. But the problem remained, and it was getting worse. Some programs were now not even opening. Then today I had an idea. You see, I have two laptops on my home network, both with an attached printer. At the beginning of the week, I thought it would be good if I could print to both printers in an effort to save ink, as the other printer never gets used. After a couple of hours and a fair bit of stress, I got it working. I then installed the other printer on my main laptop so that it could be seen. Then all I had to do was to ensure the other laptop and printer were switched on and I could print to it. Really quite pleased with myself at that point.

I didn’t really want to have the other laptop and printer to be on all the time, so I shut both down. This was on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, I started to notice the performance issues. As Tuesday was the day when Microsoft updates Windows, I put the problems down to that. When there was a second update pushed on Wednesday, I was convinced that everything would now be okay. Not so. The performance had improved slightly, but not so as you would notice. It was getting so bad that I began to think I had a virus or something. I searched the internet for the problem and the answers were as I expected: run an anti-virus; run an anti-malware; run a disk clean-up even reformat hard drive and start again. Well I tried all except the last one, but nothing seemed to work. Then another search, came up with something. I may have a corrupt drive recently installed. Hmmm … the only driver recently installed was the printer driver for the other printer. I thought I would have a look at that. I removed the printer from the device list (an I assume that removed the driver) and did a full reboot, rather than a restart.

Now (touch wood) it seems to be back to as normal as it was before. I had a quick online chat with the printer help desk (free thankfully). It would appear, that when the other laptop and printer were switched off any software that you can print from would be looking for the printers when the software opens. As the printer was off, it was not visible and so the delays. I’m not entirely convinced, but it does seem to have been resolved.

(Written with Word 365 – blog template)

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.

Seems a lot longer …


Well, it’s been 18 months now since I took the plunge and ‘volunteered’ for early retirement, or as it turned out to be voluntary redundancy. It does seem a lot longer since I was driving into the City centre multi-storey car park. To be honest, it has not really gone according to the vague plan I had formulated, in my head during the few months leading up to my last day. I had sort of thought that I could:

  1. take it easy for the first two months
  2. get a part-time job, between 10 and 16 hours a week
  3. get a bit of decorating done
  4. ditto in the garden
  5. take over most of the washing and ironing (I weirdly like ironing)

None have really materialised with the exception of number 5. Okay, I did paint the staircase, and I have done a bit(?) in the garden. But that’s about it. I’m still looking for a part-time job, but K*** seems to think that I have made my options in that area, too narrow. I don’t want too many hours and I want it local.

I thought I would get bored very quickly, but that has not happened. I thought that we would not be able to live on the pension I was getting. Altering where we shop for most our groceries has eased that pressure. So basically, at the moment we seem to be okay.

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The latest Windows update became available for me yesterday. About 2pm I checked and it was available. So I began the update process. It finally finished at around 7:30pm. This is the reason I did not post this at Fthe time I wanted. I’ve had a quick look, and the only thing that seems to be a ‘new’ feature is that I now have a nearly full “F:\drive” that wasn’t there before. As I understand, and I may be wrong, but this new drive is the location for the recovery data. I think it used to be in a folder, but it seems that Microsoft now wants it in a separate partition. This is fine if there is sufficient space. I believe Aaaaghthat this partition will mysteriously be removed in 10 days, which is a little unnerving. With working in an IT support team before I retired, I tend to read up on the major updates to see what ‘exciting new features’ I am about to receive. I only half-heartedly did it this time, but I think that will change for next time. The problem is, that since Microsoft decided to move towards Windows being provided as a service, there is no choice but to update when they tell you.

I am now updating my other laptop. It’s been going 1 hour and seems to be proceeding faster than the previous time. Wish me luck.

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Update to Windows update:- The second laptop only took just under 4 hours to run, so a slight improvement there. The issue with the new “F:\drive” has been resolved. I trawled the internet with no luck, then had this brain-wave … ask the Windows community. Within minutes, literally less than 5 minutes it was solved and the drive is no longer visible. It was a Recovery drive, but it should not have been visible. If anyone has got the same issue, I am going to post the answer as a separate post. 

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.

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.

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

A little bit pear shaped …


Last week, K*** suddenly noticed that she could see ‘floaters’ out the side of one eye. She had just started a new prescription for her contact lenses and thought at first it was that. But it got worse and she was experiencing a bad headache. Called the optician on Friday, who told her to come straight away. They sent her to the eye-clinic at the hospital, and it seems that the gel that surrounds the eye had become damaged, causing a bleeds at the back of her eye. They told that it should just clear up in the next few days, but she has to go back in a fortnight for check. Now, it would have hard anyway, but we had invited K***’s parents for lunch that day and we couldn’t really put them off. So I was ‘entertainments officer’ for the day. K*** thought she would be home by half past one, but it was nearer five when she got back.

To top it all, whilst I was out on Monday, I think the wind got into my eye, as that has been sore since then. Feels swollen and is a little uncomfortable when I blink, but not to the same extent as K*** has suffered.

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My laptop has started to play-up a little. It’s seems to have been happening since the last major update to Windows, but I think it is just a coincidence. What is happening is that my Wi-Fi connection dropping out. Does not happen to any of the other devices we have connected though which kind of proves it is not the router. My other Windows 10 machine does not have the issue (although I don’t had it powered up as much) which may be another pointer away from the issue being down to Windows update. I did Google the issue, which led to a lot of possible reasons. The main reason seemed to point to an issue with the network card in the laptop. I’m awaiting a reply from the manufacturer as to what can be done, but I’m of the opinion, that I may have to live with it. I can connect directly with an ethernet cable and it’s not too inconvenient, but I will see what happens.

The issues with K***s emails reoccurred again yesterday, just over a month since the last time. The mail app on her iPad stopped  delivering any emails. They could be viewed on the website but were not being ‘pushed’ the the mail app. I could not get them on my laptop, which was the same as the last time. Turns out, that it was an issue with Yahoo (Sky email provider) which was exactly the same as last time. No-one at Sky or Yahoo seems to care about it. Both say they are sorry and are working on a fix. Maybe it’s time for Sky to have a rethink!

(Update: emails on her tablet are now coming through. some 24 hours after the issue started. Not good)

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Well both K*** and R*** are still in bed, and I think I’ll let them sleep longer. R*** has been a star over the past two days. I don’t know, but he seems to kind of know when K*** is not well and it tempers his behaviour for want of a better word. We have has no issues with him at all, not even when my laptop dropped the Wi-Fi.

I’m just going to start on the ironing , which shouldn’t take too long. I actually love ironing and have sort of ‘adopted’ the job as my own, which suits us both. Someone once told me that we all have some minor Autistic tendencies, and I think ironing must be one of mine.

 

Doing a bit of computer housekeeping …


I (currently) own two laptops. My main one sits on my computer desk in the living room but the previous one lives in S****s (the spare bedroom) bedroom. Both work fine but the old one was beginning to get a little slow. So on Friday I decided to give a good clear out and try and bring it to a more reasonable speed. I first spent about three hours getting the system up-to date. As I tend not to use it as much as I use the more recent one, it had fallen a little behind with the “up-dates”.

On Saturday morning I ran a small piece of software that checks most of my applications to see if there re any updates for them. The list was quite large, but as I was not going to be using all the applications on the laptop, I only updated a few. Later in the day I began to uninstall some of the bigger software apps. I managed to get three done before I got fed up with it. Started again this morning and after around four hours, I was in a position to write this post. The machine is now much faster, and it is my intention to use this one to work on any creative writing I happen to be engaged in.

The problem I had was the the Microsoft cloud storage on the ‘old’ laptop was called “SkyDrive” whereas on the ‘newer’ laptop it’s called “OneDrive”. It caused me a bit of grief to get the two synchronised, but I eventually got it sorted. You see if I wanted to do any work, such as write this blog on a Sunday, it was a problem. R*** like to use my newer laptop before he has his lunch, and this has now become part of his routine. It meant that any ideas I wanted to write down had to wait until he had finished.

Random Microsoft rant …


Yes, it’s that time again when I have a bit of a rant at, what is arguably the most successful IT companies ever. I have to say, that I/we have a fair bit of personal IT equipment in the house. I have two laptops, three tablets and two smartphones, K*** has a tablet and a smartphone and R*** has two laptops and a tablet. The laptops are all Windows laptops with mine running Windows 10. R***’s laptops are still running Window 7 and 8 respectively, but that is because of the way he uses his computers. He only uses Internet Explorer and YouTube so he has no need for all the ‘whistles and bells’ that later versions bring.

To get to the point. Windows 10 is now ‘provided as a service’ as Microsoft says. This basically means that for home users, there is no choice but to update their computers when Microsoft say so. It is different for business and educational systems, who can refrain from updating if they like. But for us mere mortals, we do as we are told. There are ways around this, but it is often too much hassle.

So on Friday, I noticed that my main laptop was showing that an update was ready to apply. This is what Microsoft called the ’Windows 10 Fall Creators Update’ and is a major update to the system. The main issue I have with this forced update regime is that sometimes Microsoft will remove files that it deems are no longer useful. Now I have a piece of software that I use for my banking. It is what they call ‘legacy software’ which one way of saying outdated. But I call it ‘critical software’ as it suits my purpose and without paying a lot of money, there is nothing similar out there. The same software is on my other laptop, as a backup, which for the past month had been disconnected from the internet in order that it did not update with the possibility of breaking the software. So I bit the bullet and ran the update. It took two and a quarter hours to run! But, in the end, the software ran without issue, so all was good. I now felt that it was safe enough update the other laptop.

It was now 09:30 on Saturday morning. I started up the other laptop and ran the update checker which advised me that there were a number of updates waiting. Clicked on the update button and sat back waiting for it to finish. After about two hours I had a quick look to see what was happening, only to find that two of the updates had failed to install. I did a reboot and tried again. Still nothing. So later in the evening around about 21:15, I ran a utility that cleared some files and tried again. This time I saw that the updates were going through. I turned the screen off and left it too it. I checked about 23:30 and it was still running. It actually finished at 04:20. Just over seven hours to update! Amazing!

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Aaaaaaagh …


This is the closest word(!) I can think of to describe how I felt, when I turned on my main laptop yesterday evening.  The next few words were da*n, sh*t, bug*er, fu*k, bol*cks and many others, far too obscene to even asterisk out!

Yes, the day I had been dreading since early May had arrived. It was the day that the Windows 10 Anniversary update hit my main computer. There was no way of stopping it. I checked my settings, and see that the update had downloaded during the day sometime. Windows was now telling me that it would install the update at 03:10 the next morning. Ah ha …I thought. Windows is expecting me to leave my machine on for the update to take place. I very rarely shut down my laptop, as I prefer to ‘hibernate’ so it does not take too long to start up.

So here is me thinking that if I hibernate, then effectively my machine is not on and as a consequence the update will not happen. I felt that I was in charge. WRONG !!!!!

I came down this morning at around 06:40 to find my laptop was on and had had a proper restart. Those certain words that I had used the evening before had come into play again. The conversation going on in my head was quite something:

     Positive me: The laptop has restarted without an error. That didn’t happen before, so it must be ok.

     Negative me: Means nothing!

     Positive me: Let’s have a quick look.

     Negative me: It will have failed. There’ll be something wrong. Microsoft … pah.

     Positive me: We’ll check tonight.

     Negative me: Mumble, grumble, told you so, mumble, mumble, bl**dy Microsoft etc etc

This argument went back and forth for until I got back home this afternoon and could have a proper look.

It would appear, that all my misgivings were unfounded. Everything ‘seems’ to work as before. That is, that banking app  I was so worried about was working as it should.

Maybe, I’ll sleep better tonight!

I sometimes hate Microsoft … beware the Anniversary Update my friends …


I must explain. I’ve never been a fan of Apple software and whenever I have considered new IT equipment, I have always looked for alternatives to Apple. I have never had an iPod, I had a unknown music player.My smartphones have always been Android phones. I would never consider an iPhone. All my PC’s and laptops have all been Microsoft. The only exception was my first computer which was a Texas computer. So you could say, I’m a fan of Microsoft. A big fan.

However … this week has been a trial, even for me. I have two laptops. One, I have had for about four years and the second one for about eight/nine months. It is a long story, why I got the second one, and I’ll not go into it today but suffice to say, it was a wise choice at the time.

So why the post title?

On Monday, I decided that my ‘old’ laptop should be fired up and have all the updates that it needed. Oh sh*t! Windows tells me that there are ‘updates ready to download’. I checked what they were, and right at the bottom of the list was update that had the number ‘1607’ mentioned. The time had come for the so called ‘Windows 10 Anniversary  Update’. This was the one that I have been dreading. I was so thankful, though that it was first coming through to the old lappy. That way I could make sure that I would not have any major issues. You see, my banking software is an old Microsoft programme called Microsoft Money.

I’ve used it since I had Windows XP. I never use the internet functions, simply use it as a computerised bank account/cheque book. When I upgraded to Windows 7, there was the fear that this software may not work. Fortunately, it did and it saved me a lot of worries. Then along came Windows 10, and with it more rumours that Microsoft Money would not work. After a lot of stress and fruitless web searching, I bit the bullet and bought a new machine with Windows 10 installed. My idea was that I would use the old machine, as a internet free machine, just for the banking app.

So back to updating the old machine. What the hell, I thought. There is no choice, it has to be done, and I could always ‘roll back’ if the banking app did not work. Three hours later and Windows tells me that my laptop is “Preparing to install the update” or words to that effect. It does not actually call itself the Anniversary Update. That’s probably a media thing. After another three hours or so, the ‘installation’ is at around 63% and I really need to sleep. So I leave it to do it’s thing and hope that it will be all done in the morning.

Morning arrives (06:30 to be exact) and I’m looking at the laptop with an air of disgust. All I have is that blue/grey  screen that shows between turning on and the desktop appearing. Something amiss I fear! No time to do anything now, so I press the power button to shut down. Speedily move on to me getting home from work. I fire up the machined and after a few minutes the damn thing tells be that it is rolling back to my original set-up. The update failed! Down hearted, but not deterred, I click on the Windows update again and the whole process repeats.

Now with the echo of that film ‘Groundhog Day’ in my head, the same thing happens again. Exactly the same as before. Fail! I am now thinking that a Mac has serious possibilities. I scour the internet for possible causes of the failure, and one seems to strike a chord. Someone with an unpronounceable name that looks about 11 years old, suggests that any peripherals such as a printer or an external hard drive be unplugged. I unplug the printer and start again for the third (and as I said to the wife) final f**king time. Of course, the process needs to be left overnight to finish. Another sleepless night ensues.

It’s now 06:10 Wednesday morning and I’m tiptoeing around trying to see if the update worked. ‘B**lcks’ I say quietly. It looks like the same has happened. Same old blue/grey screen. I press the power and go off to work in not the best of moods. Fast forward again to home time. I power up the cursed machine, expecting the worst. Not at all! The thing powers up and it all looks good. A few checks, and it seems like third time lucky. The update has taken! First thing I do, is check the banking app. It works! Everything I try seems to work. Of course that stupid ‘Edge’ browser thing is still stupid, but I have updated! I survived! I can now concentrate on the real issues of the day. That being ‘Great British Bake Off’ going to Channel 4 and Angeline and Brad splitting up.

Now all I have to do, is wait for my main laptop to tell me the update is ready and it all starts again!