Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Sunday 25 May 2008

Something for the Smoker

As a smoker who constantly rails against the sheer oppressiveness of the nanny state(s) I find it entirely unacceptable for example that the railway companies are unable to provide "smoking carriages" - i.e. carriages where one may smoke.

And arriving at a British airport - or indeed a French one, one cannot smoke, having endured the inevitable "smoke-free" flight, complete with appalling screaming children, whilst the dismal wait for one's baggage unfolds.


Perhaps, the "electronic cigarette" is a sort of solution? Not MY solution but a sort of solution nonetheless. All is explained in the video below, albeit with very poor sound.

Until the next time

Saturday 17 May 2008

And what's inside your computer?

The investigation begins

So, your PC probably sits under your table, or workstation. Each day you reach down to fire it up and it starts, loads your programs and away you go.

When did you last look inside the "box"? Most of the time the box is never opened: despite claims to the contrary, once they are working, computers are pretty reliable. It's when things don't work that the box may be opened for investigation.

In this case, the investigation of a failed power supply, reported by Bill Detwiler at TechRepublic, there was a nasty surprise waiting for the technician who investigated...

However, it gets worse! read the posts attached to the story and you will hear about wasps' nests, frogs, mice, rats - ugh!

My computer is just eight months old, but I suspect that regular spring-cleaning might be a good idea.

Until the next time

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Steam Punk

This term, in case you don't know, relates to a growing interest in antique technology - in particular, its appearance.

How about this for a computer keyboard?

This was manufactured by Datamancer, whose strapline reads: "Prestidigital Datamancery & Paraphernalic Technofetishism."

For the purist, how about a converted typewriter that still types? It's been done.

Picture source: here

A small search directed me to, amongst many strange things, this splendid eccentric with his mechanical tiger...

Hold that tiger!

Until the next time

Monday 12 May 2008

Dumb Britain: Help Desk Woes

It was once stated that the Education Department of the London Borough of Brent spent so much money, that it could have afforded to send every child of school age to the famous Harrow School (which is in the borough) and have "change."

How many of the following unfortunates were educated in Brent I have no idea, but I suppose many other boroughs are the same - I wonder what these people learn in school? And why is it so expensive?

Customer: 'I've been ringing 0800 2100 for two days and can't get through to enquiries, can you help?'.
Operator: 'Where did you get that number from, sir?'.

Customer: 'It was on the door to the Travel Centre'.
Operator: 'Sir, they are our opening hours'.


Caller:'Can you give me the telephone number for Jack ?'
Operator:I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand who you are talking about'. Caller:'On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the number for Jack ?'
Operator:'I think you mean the telephone point on the wall'.

Caller:'Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I am travelling in Australia ?'
Operator:'Doesn't the product name give you a clue?'

Caller (enquiring about legal requirements while travelling in France ):'If I register my car in France, do I have to change the steering wheel to the other side of the car?'

Caller:'I'd like the number of the Argoed Fish Bar in Cardiff please'.
Operator:'I'm sorry, there's no listing. Is the spelling correct?'
Caller:'Well, it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar but the 'B' fell off'.


The caller asked for a knitwear company in Woven.
Operator:'Woven? Are you sure?'
Caller:'Yes. That's what it says on the label;Woven in Scotland
Tech Support:'I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop'.
Tech Support:'Did you get a pop-up menu?'.

Tech Support:'OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?'


Tech Support:OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?'.
Customer:Sure. You told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click''.

Tech Support: 'OK. In the bottom left hand side of the screen, can you see the 'OK' button displayed?'
Customer:'Wow. How can you see my screen from there?'

Until the next time

Are Sports Fans Geeks?

This video made me laugh - truth is often funny isn't it?

Until the next time

Friday 9 May 2008

Hooray - I've Buried Vista!

© Microsoft Corp...

Hello again. Apologies to my many readers for the long absence; I have been away.

Just before I left, my OEM version of Windows XP arrived and whilst away I was looking forward to dumping VISTA which was, as you may recall, installed on the new HP computer I bought at the end of last September.

The VISTA experience was a very poor one: whilst I didn't get the "Blue Screen of Death" that others have had, I had all the well-reported compatibility problems, and all the wasted time searching for drivers for my peripherals. I hoped that VISTA Service Pack 1 would address some of these, but when I found that a) my scanner no longer functioned (I had spent a very long time getting it going) and b) SP1 provided no option to revert to the previous set-up, I decided that this was the final straw and I therefore purchased XP.

Despite it being HP's policy only to support products using the factory installed software, HP's on-line help people were truly wonderful and provided all the necessary drivers and information I needed; one of their helpdesk personnel said "Our priority is customer service."

I must also offer a big "thank you" to the splendid members of the excellent site (for computer enthusiasts and inveterate fiddlers) Techrepublic - well worth a visit and in the Questions forum, expert help and advice is available for the price of a "thank you."

I did the installation last night, clearing out everything that was on my computer. Everything worked first time. All my peripherals work and best of all on checking my Internet connection speeds, I found that both uploading and downloading were three times faster.

Goodbye Vista...

Until the next time