I was driving back from picking up a parcel from Argos. The road is a single carriageway and whilst not like a switch-back, there are some tightish bends. The majority of the time, the speed limit it 50mph, but for a stretch of about 2 – 2½ miles, the limit is 40mph. Many people ignore this limit as you would expect. So I was motoring along in 50mph zone when I noticed in my mirror that an Audi was tailgating me. Honestly, he was that close, I could almost smell his aftershave. He kept moving nearer the centre of the road to try and pass, but the traffic on the other side was to busy. Of course, when drivers do that to me, I tend to slow down. So now I’m travelling at 42/43mph and I can see he is getting irritated as he now has to slow down. Soon we get to a stretch of road that is a long bend. It is not tight, and he sees his chance to get past. I’m now up to the correct speed, so he has to go at least 65mph to pass me. Which of course he does.
When you get to the end of the bend, and the road begins to straighten, there is a layby and that is where the mobile speed camera usually sits. Not every day, but most days. Today was one those days. A mile further up the road and my Audi friend is waived into the next layby by the waiting police patrol car. I tried not to laugh.
So is his journey so important that he has to drive in that manner?
Over the past year or so, I have had the tendency to ‘follow back’ most who followed my blog. But it had got the stage where I was following over 200 sites. Many of these were commercial sites trying to sell me something and many hadn’t posted anything for some time. So this morning, before I went out, I sat down and went through all those that follow me and ‘un-followed’ anyone who had not posted for more than a month. There was one follower that had not posted since 2016! I have an idea that most will not even notice and the majority of those that do notice, will not care. I’m now down to a more reasonable 103.
So if you are one of the above, it’s nothing personal.
It’s the question I get asked most if the subject of my blog crops up. Well the word “Alfie” isn’t usually part of the quest, although someone did sing that line to me on one occasion. However, it confuses most people when I tell them that it’s “About nothing, but then again about any and everything” And that’s more or less what it’s about. What I want to say and when I want to say it. I don’t have a theme. I tried that when I first started with Blogger and failed, although the “From then to now” posts do have a sort of theme running through them. So this is possibly one of the reasons my posts are more random than some other blogs. Something could affect me today and I’ll post about it and then something else could happen tomorrow and I would post about that. Then it could be a couple of weeks before I’m ready to write again.
It’s funny how politics and scandal seem to invade everyday conversation these days. The subject of Boris and the alleged ‘thigh grab’ came up at work on Monday. My colleague was completely bewildered by why she did not do anything about it at the time. I did try and explain, that 20 years ago someone who is trying to establish themselves and build a career simply did not ‘tell tales’ about an employer. If they did, it could have serious repercussions. It is only since the ‘#me too’ allegations came to the fore, that incidents are now being exposed.
That’s enough ‘politics’ for now. Normal service will be resumed in due course.
Back in 2016, a few months before I retired I heard a rumour that my old school was going to have a reunion. This was to coincide with the ‘celebrations’ marking 50 years since the England football team actually won the World Cup. I asked the school friend that I mentioned in my last post if he knew anything but he had not heard anything. I did a bit of Googling, but nothing about a reunion turned up. I did however see a name, linked with the school. The person, I’ll call him “Eric”, was not at the school for very long. He started at the same time, but after about 4 or 5 weeks he left. His father was an English teacher and had got a job in South Africa. As a consequence we did not have much to do with him. I remember him because he was the same size as me and had the same side parting hairstyle. He was on “Linked in” and I ended up sending him a message just out of curiosity. Turned out he is a University lecturer now, but in Australia. We messaged a couple of times, but he was more into Skype and Facetime video messaging which is something I avoid like the plague. As with a lot of these things, the messages dropped off and I only hear from him at Christmas and birthdays.
Then in March this year, out of the blue he emailed me with a pdf document. He had written his autobiography and thought I would like a copy to “…remind me of bygone times…” To be brutally honest, it was dire. I’m no writing guru, but I could have done it better without trying. Lots of sentences starting with ‘And then…’ or ‘The next day…’ or ‘After that…” For the son of an English teacher, it could not have been worse. But it got me thinking. Should I and could I do my own autobiography? It could not be any worse than “Eric’s” and I would not be publishing it. I wouldn’t want to do a ‘birth to now’ type, but I could concentrate on my work life. It then struck me that I could write it as a series of blog posts, taking say 5 years at a time and writing about the best bits.
So guess what? I’m going to give it a go. I need to work out some kind of time-line and highlight key points and dates before I start, but I think it may just work. So as the saying goes …
Just trying a change to the feed setting on my blog. Not sure if it will make any difference, but I’ve been told that it may drive more traffic to my site. I’ve been advised that I should limit the feed content to an excerpt of the post. This, I’ve been told will mean that readers will have to visit my site to read the full post. As I say, I’m not sure it will improve my stats, but I will monitor the situation and make any changes that are necessary.
I’ve heard a bit about Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor so I thought I would give it a go. “Be bold.” I said to myself, “Don’t get in a rut” and a few other motivational phrases that I don’t want to go into.
My first impression was that it had a quite confusing interface, and I found switching from what they call “Block” and “Document” to add a tag or category, very frustrating. I like to add tags as and when they appear in my text. Then there is the text formatting which seems to be missing ‘full justify’ which is how I usually format my words. Embedding an image within a paragraph does not seem to work. There may be a way to do it, but I could not see how. I didn’t seem to be able to post my words as a draft post. Although I selected ‘pending’ as an option the post went live (now deleted). All in all, unless WordPress are prepared to give us a full tutorial, then I’m going to sit in my rut like the cowardly lion and stick to what I know. It’s the same feeling I had when Windows Live Writer was withdrawn (before I found Open Live Writer) and I tried using Microsoft Word to write a post. I would possibly get used to it, but in the end, is it worth the stress of change?
I can quite see, that WordPress might want everyone to eventually use Gutenberg, but until then, I’ll stick to Open Live Writer.
Well the answer to that is that I don’t really know. I mean, how do you tell?
I received a notification that a ‘blogger’ had liked a post and was now following me. Of course I was interested to know who they were and to have a look at some of their posts. On opening their site I was surprised to see that the only post was the standard start-up “This is your first post” entry and that the about page was the the start-up page also. It was also worrying that the name consisted of word with what looked like random numbers after it. It didn’t help that his/her chosen avatar looked like someone from the Assassin Creed books.
It might just be that they are new to WP, but (as good as I believe they are) I think it slightly unlikely that my posts would be the first that a ‘newbie’ would find. I did consider reporting the site as being a spam site, but there was no proof, there was no anything really. So I did the only thing I could think of and that was to remove them as a follower. As I understand, they can follow me again, and maybe that time it could be different.
When I first had the idea of creating a blog, I sought some online advice as to how I could go about getting my thoughts online. It became apparent, quite quickly that the free version of WordPress was the way to go. I toyed with Blogger, but it seemed to lack any kind of quality so I went for WordPress.
Much of the advice centred on the software I could/should use to get my message into the blog. Quite a few people said that if I wanted an off-line editor, then there was not much to fault the built-in Windows program “Windows Live Writer” or WLW as it became known. This was part of a suite of applications called “Windows Live Essentials” that came, ready to use with Microsoft Windows. It seemed the most logical way to go, and most of my earliest posts were written using WLW. Then, as is usual with Microsoft, it was announced that Windows Live Essentials was being run down and no further development work would be done. Around about the same time coincidently, a piece of software appeared called “Open Live Writer” (OLW). This was an open-sourced version of Windows Live Writer set to replace the former. I have used this now for a long time, being my prefered editor.
Now to the point. Over the past few months, I have had a couple of occasions when uploading a post from OLW, that the upload fails and the post is lost (the draft post seems to get corrupted). The problem is that there has been no development work on OLW for some time, and it is now beginning to show its age. In fact a post that I was going to upload yesterday failed and was lost. So now, Im beginning to think that it is time to move on again and choose anothe blog editor for my laptop.
I’ve done a little research and have come up with the following options:
Continue with OLW
Use the WordPress editor (this was written with the WP editor)
Windows Notepad and paste into the WP editor or
some other paid for application (not my ideal choice)
So for the next few posts, I will be writing using a different method each time to test which I find is the most suitable method.
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
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 . 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.
Well, that went almost as well as I could have expected. I finally bit the bullet (helped by a 30% discount) and upgraded to from the Free Plan to a Personal Plan. I’ve been ‘umming and ‘ahhing since Christmas and missed the deadline for the last discount, but I finally took the plunge today. It was almost painless. The “hook” of 30% off didn’t work at first (think it was because I went through PayPal) but a quick chat with Customer Support and it was all sorted and a refund was issued. Pretty good customer service I must say.
So, the genie is out of the bottle as the saying goes. I’m quite giddy if the truth were known. I keep telling K*** that “I’m a Dot Com now! What do you think about that?” She of course is totally bemused by it all and a lot of ‘nodding and smiling’ is going on while she tries to look pleased for me. But I’m happy and that is all that matters.
Now what? I think (or possibly hope) that having paid good money, I should at least now have the required impetus to post more than I have been doing. I have tried with the ‘Daily Prompt’ but it sometimes leaves me uninspired. Here’s to an improvement, and maybe now I have 6GB to play with you may see more photos.
I just have to get Open Live Writer to update to the new domain and I’ll be even more pleased
So, all those promises I made to myself about getting a part-time job within two months, turned out to be just bluff and bluster. Well …not really. I have been looking, but maybe not as hard as I could. At the moment, things are working out quite well and there is no urgency for me to supplement the pension I’m getting. Of course, that could all change. As R*** starts to increase his respite stays, income we get for him may (will) start to decrease and that’s when our financial situation will alter. But that’s in the future.
Yet again, one of this years New Year Resolutions has been broken. I shall go into a little more detail here, if I may. K*** had wanted to watch the Robbie Williams new year show (I didn’t) and in the spirit of compromise, I gave in. My opinion …total rubbish … sexist and egotistical does not describe what we watched. Anyway, to cut a short story even shorter, we watched the London fireworks (fireworks on the TV don’t really work for me) and then K*** went to bed. I quickly changed channels to watch Jools Holland and his, now famous ‘Hootenanny Show’. Where is this taking us, I hear someone ask? Well, it was during a performance of Tilted by Christine And The Queens that I once again resolved to ‘post everyday‘ which I quickly modified to every two days. As the date of this post shows, that was a fail! It is now modified to ‘post more often‘, but even that may yet be modified.
Now here’s a question for you. What do you use to write your blog posts? I know I’ve asked this before, but that was before I started with Windows 10. The reason I ask (again) is that I tried today to use the desktop WordPress app. It started okay, and I was able to write and my work was saved as a draft. But then the program crashed … repeatedly. It crashed so many times, that it became unusable in my opinion. So I’m back using the faithful Open Live Writer which works without any problems. Just wondering if anyone who uses the Windows 10 WordPress app have had similar problems.
Wait a minute! Where does the “new beginnings” part of the title come in? I just thought it was a good sound bite!
I have always liked to show the full post when I write, which goes a long way in explaining the type of themes I like to choose. I’m not really a fan of those themes that show a snippet of the post, with a ‘read more…‘ link to the rest of the work.
I feel that unless you get the point of the post, in the first line or two, readers may move on to something/one else. I suppose it is the sign of a good writer, if they can ‘hook’ their readers in the first line. When I looked at the posts I have made in the past, the point of the post tends to be towards the middle, and that is where the impact is.
Over the nest few weeks, my goal will be to write better posts with a more persuasive catch line at the start.
As a part of this “Blogging 201”, the three goals I intend to aspire to are:
Increase number of comments;
As of today’s date (20/09/2014) I have a total of 154 comments on the posts I have made. My goal/aspiration is to increase this by 20% by the end of October. My ultimate goal would be to have comments on every post I make.
Increase the regularity of my posts;
My currents postings are random and occur as and when I feel like writing something. I intend to start a routine of posting twice a week
Start blogging with a theme;
The problem, I feel with random posts is that there is no continuity. This I believe could be the reason for the lack of comments. So the goal here is to identify a theme. One that I either have an opinion or one that I have a good knowledge of.
The second goal is the easiest. Goal three would be quite a challenge, but could, if done well help achieve goal number 1.