It had to go . . .


For quite some time now, I have been a moderate fan of MSN News. I say moderate, because while it’s definitely not the the best news portal on the internet, it’s one of the easiest to navigate. It is certainly better than the BBC news service, which seems to be quite biased in it’s reporting sometimes. I decided this morning that MSN News no longer offers what I like to read about. It’s not so much the actual news that’s the problem though.

Recently the comments has been restored and although I like to read comments (some of them are laughable) there seems to be a hard core of commentators that express their opinion on every story, regardless of the topic. They seem to range from hard right wing extremists to conspiracy theorists to simple sales pitchers, all hiding behind pseudonyms. Comment moderation appears to happen only when some reader reports the comment, even when the comment is blatantly offensive to a section of the community.

So it has to go. For now, I have replaced my news digest portal with the online version of The Huffington Post. Most of the big national UK newspapers require to ‘subscribe’ to their website/newspaper in order to read full articles and I for one am not prepared to do that. It is simply a matter of cost. The average price is between £6.00 to £18.00 per week.

Bl**dy postal system … part 2 (and part 3)


Mrs H had ordered online, some bedding for the youngest. We had an email to say that it was on its way and gave us a tracking number. We gave it a couple of days, and on the 19th November, I set about trying to track where it was. It as easy to track, but the result was astonishing. The item had been delivered from the Canterbury Delivery Office. That is quite a distance to travel to deliver a parcel to a house in Yorkshire. A quick message to the seller and within an hour or so, we had a reply with the promise of an investigation and replacement. The replacement arrived two days later. Job done!

Fast forward to 26th November and another missing parcel. This time the tracking showed that it was delivered on the 23rd and signed for. I know for a fact that there was no delivery that day, as I was in all day. So we are now going through the process of discovering where the parcel has gone to. The local delivery office has identified that the parcel was delivered to ‘someone’ on our street, but cannot see the actual location. They have promised to investigate further and ring us back on Monday. To be honest, I cannot see us getting anywhere with this and may end up putting a claim against the Royal Mail. Meanwhile, we also in contact with the seller, who is not being as helpful as the earlier seller. All very annoying.

360 degree turn around …


I find more than a little ironic that a couple of months ago, parents were being demonised. Their kids were using their smart phones to chat with their friends instead of having face-to-face conversations. Condemned for allowing them to sit in their rooms with their tablets and laptops. Now look at were we are at. Kids cannot meet-up with their friends to do homework, play or even just talk. No, now its all changed, and now parents are being lambasted for doing the opposite of what the experts have been telling them for the past few years.

This virus seems to have turned the world on it’s head. I remember reading that we are now a nation of on-line shoppers and that this was having a devastating effect on the high-street. Now we are finding that the high-street is shut and have to turn to on-line shopping. I’m not sure how many, if any independant grocers or vegetable shops are open, but if any are, I cannot see them staying open much longer if the staff start falling ill. So supermarkets are now the good guys.

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On another point, the postman has just delivered today’s post. This consisted of a bank statement, a birthday card, and a couple of letters. But what I find unacceptable, is that also included with what might be important information was two leaflets for house renovations and a ‘news-letter’ advertising local restaurants! Surely this kind of stuff is not necessary. I also notice that television advertising are still showing people getting together in pubs and restaurants. There was even an advert for a well known burger chain that closed it’s stores the day before the advert was shown!

Not good enough …


There is an issue here. I/we get quite a lot of documents sent by the post that has Leeds Recycling binpersonal information contained within the document. On the one hand, we are told by the financial sector, that we must destroy (I.e. shred) old documents that has this information yet on the other hand the Local Authority refuse department tell us that they “cannot accept shredded paper in the recycling bins, as it jams the (?) machinery”. Their advice is to either put the general waste bin or “it is good to put on your compost heap!” Now, I do not know how many people have a compost heap, especially those who live in tower blocks, but the amount we shred is far too much to compost. We have a ‘Hot Compost’ bin that we do put some of the shredding in, but that can only take about 5% of it’s volume in paper.

I know, I can get things like bank statements and the such as online documents, but there are some things, that you need as a Paper to shredphysical copy for a length of time. Things such as mortgage agreements, hospital/doctors correspondence, old banking documents from before they were online etc. When my eldest sold his house, there were over 150 pages, from the bank that had some form of personal information on. Most of the sheets had this information in more than one place, making if difficult to just shred the important bits.  Also, none of this includes the number of envelopes and packages that have names, addresses and often order numbers on.

I did make a suggestion to the refuse department that maybe, upon request, they could supply some form of bag that should be used for shredded paper. They would then be able to prevent this paper from ‘jamming’ their machine. I’m not holding out for a favourable response.

So what the Local Authority is saying is that if you do as the bank tells you, it will go into landfill. In my opinion, that is not good enough!

A little bit “miffed” …


More than a bit miffed really. (For those who don’t know the word click here) I do the National Lottery online. That is to say, I have an online account and I buy my tickets that way. So I never actually have a physical ticket as I find this way easier. If I win, then I get emailed and I log in to my account to see the prize. For some bizarre reason, I  had a go at the Euro-Millions draw (I usually do the Thunderball draw which is the cheapest!)

This morning, I got the email that announced “… got some news about your ticket …” which is their way of Winningssaying “You’ve won!!!” I quickly logged in to my account, to see that I had won a grand total of £2.60 on my ticket. Now when you consider, that the ticket actually cost me £2.50, I had actually won 10p. This was for predicting 2 correct numbers so you may be able to see why I was a “little bit miffed”.

Another week done … finally


I don’t know why, but it seems to have been a long week. By the time Wednesday had arrived, it felt that it should be Friday.

An issue I had at work, with one of pieces of software we use was resolved. It was a simple setting that, for some reason had become ‘unset’. Now it maybe that this setting only need to be ‘set’ when certain jobs are being run. I don’t know, but I think I need to check with the people that manage the software.

The major upgrade to another piece of software went as well as could be expected. There was a couple of issues, but with this project there always is a couple of issues. It’s just the nature of the beast.

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The eldest son and his girlfriend/partner got the news they had been waiting for. The completion date for the house they are buying came through and it’s around the time they were looking at. Both are really happy about it. I’m not too sure that they fully realise how hard it is going to be over the first couple of years. They have got lots of plans and both seem to be quite sensible with money, but neither is on a fantastic salary at the moment, so it’s a bit of a worry.

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Last week I bought a new shower head from Amazon. The old head was not working as it should, mainly down to it’s age and use. The new one wasn’t a cheap one, but equally, it Head 1wasn’t the most expensive one either. It arrived in good time, before the expected date and last Sunday, I attempted to install it. It was a simple ‘remove old – fit new ’ operation and there was no problem with it. That is until I came to test it. I could not believe it. Water was pouring out of the the ball and socket joint. I thought hHead 2ad done everything right and checked by refitting it. Still the same. I had no choice but to remove the new one and put the old one back. Not feeling very pleased about this, I contacted the seller for their advice. I got a reply within about 12 hours, which I thought was good, but their resolution did not work. A couple more emails back and forth ensued, and each time, the resolution failed. In the end, I emailed back advising them that the issue was still there and requested a refund. A response was duly received (again within less than 12 hours) explaining that I needed to contact Amazon for a refund together with a thank you for my custom. Amazons return procedure is very good, and the unit is now all packaged and labelled ready to return.

Now whilst I could not recommend the product, I could find no fault the the company selling. Communication was prompt and courteous and they were good to deal with. Shame about the product though.

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On a last note, I’m wondering if anyone has had the same problem as I found yesterday. K*** asked me to forward an email on for her, as I had the address on my computer and it as easier. I opened the email, selected forward and clicked on the ‘To’ button to insert the address. I was shocked to find that all my contacts had disappeared! The Outlook address book was empty. I scanned the computer trying to find the file, but it was not there. Google searches provided no help except the person who said that it was probably an update that did it.

No problem I thought, I would reinstall it from a back-up. Not as easy as it sounds. After a lot of messing about, I found that the back-up must have run, after the address book had gone. Only alternative was to try and reinstall the address book from the Outlook on my old computer. That was done with some success.

I’m confused as to how or why it happened. I am blaming updates as there had been a big one on the 9th which covered a lot of stuff. Annoying though.

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And so to finish.I got the end of writing this post and thought to myself ‘it’s over 700 words’ which I think is quite a lot and possibly a little boring? So my aim now is to go for the ‘little and often’ option, rather than a weekly digest. See where we go with that idea.

The end is nigh ……


   That of course refers to the weekend being nigh. It seems to have been quite a long four days. I think the late night on Wednesday did not help, although, I did not feel as tired on Thursday morning as I did this morning. I suppose it’s catch up.

   Eldest came home tonight, which was a surprise. When I say ‘came home’ what I really meant, was that he arrived about 7:30 had a bowl of soup, and got changed into his fancy dress outfit (a pirate, Johnny Depp has a lot to answer for) before going out to a party, with his ‘best’ friend in tow. We have no knowledge if he is sleeping here tonight, or what he is doing tomorrow. I am supposed to go with the flow. Now I don’t know whether it’s my autistic tenancies, but I don’t do ‘going with the flow’. I like, nay need, to know what is happening. I always have been like that. Even as a youth, when we went out for the evening, I always needed to know which pubs we were going to, or at least where we were going to start. I need to be able to follow a plan.

   I tried to buy my car tax online again today. Only to be told, that as my insurance is due to expire soon, I have to go to the Post Office to buy the disc. Now that is 21st century Britain for you. Here I am, debit card at the ready but without any success. so now I’ll have to make a trip to the nearest Post Office, next Saturday. I may try again, mid week. My new insurance starts on the 24th, so I’ll try then.

   Not heard anything about the speeding yet, although it is probably still early. I’m not sure how long they have before they inform you. I hear it can be up to 28 days from the date of offence. I think it will be a £60.00 fine and 3 points. Just wish I knew.

Office Online


Well just had a crack at sharing a file using Microsoft Office Online. I uploaded a  .docx file, and invited someone to share it. I’m not sure if they will be able to open or view it, as they may not have the correct software. They may not even have the knowledge or skill to open or view it. If they cannot, I’ll have to resort to email, which is probably what I should have done in the first place.

I am not sure about this ‘cloud’ thing at all. I certainly will not be uploading anything of real value for the time being. I’m still coming to terms with Office 2007 and the ‘ribbon’. If Office Online works, and the hackers don’t get hold of it, then it could become a useful tool for home and work. I don’t suppose our work IT department will be promoting it. We tend to lag behind with this kind of ‘net’ technology. Mind you, I suppose it could be a real security threat. If someone uploaded a sensitive document, and then shared it with the wrong group of people !!!