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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