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Today I became a Windows Hater – 14 October 2017

The day started well. The wee tickle in the back of my throat had gone. Partly this was due to me taking a fairly big slug of Benylin and partly due to me taking an extra dose of vitamin C tablets with some honey, both just before I went to bed. I don’t know if the Benylin helped with the cough, but it did certainly get me to sleep double quick and I had the longest and best sleep I’ve had in weeks.

That was the good news. The weather outside was grim. When I woke it was light and there was just the hint of some sun, but that gradually faded to the usual grey. We couldn’t decide what to do and I think we were both waiting for the weather to improve. It didn’t and as we had nowhere we needed to be and nothing we needed to do, we went out of a run to that awkwardly named Chatelherault. Thank goodness for Ctrl V. Scamp chose the top route this time and I suggested we walk to the Green Bridge. It’s many, many years since I’ve been to the Green Bridge at Maryhoses. Unfortunately, we hadn’t brought the walking poles with us and the path down the hill to the river was really steep and slippery with muck. Scamp decided she wasn’t going to risk it and I agreed, so we walked back along the path to Chatelherault and had coffee and a pineapple cake (pure indulgence) for our efforts.

I got a couple of photos at Chatelherault and then we came home.

I’ve got a 2TB desktop HD. It’s got two partitions (Don’t worry. Not too much technospeak) Tonight I planned to use the PC to copy files from one partition to the other to free up space to make a backup drive for the iMac. I set the PC to copy the 300GB of photos (copies, of course). It reported that it would take about 4 hours. That was ok, I used a program that would allow ‘unattended copying’. To do that you just specify what to do on certain occasions and the program does the rest. No problem then? After about two hours I went to check how it was progressing, only to find that Windows 10 had installed an update and restarted the machine, halting the copying and switching off the drive in the process. The upshot is that the drive is now unreadable. I read so many tirades on the net about Windows being unmanageable these days since Windows 10 has taken over, but until tonight I didn’t really believe them. I do now. The iMac may have cost a lot of money and I know that Apple too has its flaws, but tonight’s escapade was pure vandalism by a company that expects us to trust them. I am now a fully paid up Windows Hater.

Tonight’s sketch is of riverside apartments beside the River Clyde at Glasgow Green. It was done from a photo, but that’s ok by me. It’s done and on time.

I’m going to bed now to prevent me from having another rant about Windows fuckin’ Updates.

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Paperwork, paperwork – 25 September 2017


Checked my mail this morning and the registration document for the car had arrived. That meant it was time to get the insurance arranged. Hard to believe, but in the two weeks since I last got a quote, it had gone up by £30 from both companies, Nissan and Tesco. After a bit of moaning and wheedling with Nissan I got it down by £20. Tesco, on the other hand, were as flexible as an iron bar. No way were they going to shift an inch on their extortionate quote. Such a shame as I’d been with them for three years and their quote for the Megane had been fairly good. After a bit more paperwork and emailing we were done. Looks like Thursday will be “J Day”.

After that I spent some time swearing at Windoze 10 Creature Edition. I don’t think it will be staying with us very long. Gone, now are the days when you could just access the BIOS with a couple of keys at startup. Oh no, that would be too easy. Now you have to delve into settings, restart the machine, do more configuration on the blue screen that load and then you can access the BIOS. And then you wonder why Macs are so popular? Added to all that, it runs like a slug with a hangover. I do so wish I could go back to the original Win 10 I upgraded Win 8 to. That was brilliant, well, not exactly brilliant, but sooooo much better than The Creature From The Black Lagoon I have now.

Went out for a walk later in the afternoon after I’d taken the Megane for a wash and brush up. By then the sun started poking its face through the clouds and I found it was a beautiful autumn afternoon out there, warm too. Got some photos, two of which are above. Also saw two potentials. Will keep them in mind for tomorrow, perhaps. Today’s PoD was the Brambles. Not Blackberries, that’s for the english. These are fierce, jaggy Scottish Brambles and proud of it. If you look at the Flickr version and click to magnify it there, you’ll see a wee spider waiting to catch unwary flies enticed in to sample some bramble juice. Didn’t see it when I was taking the photo, only when I got it into the computer. The other plant’s name evaded me for years, but now I know it’s a Butterbur of the genus Petasites. There, you’ve learned something today (I learned it yesterday, so I’m a day ahead of you).

Strange night tonight, not having Salsa on a Monday is quite unsettling. Hopefully Wednesday will arrive soon and we’ll get our Latin fix.

Weather seems favourable tomorrow. We may go out for a run. In the car of course!

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Golden Light – 19 December 2016

Today dawned, like the rest with a dull, grey cloudy sky.  It didn’t look as if it was going to get any better and it lived up to that promise, in fact it got worse.  A heavy mist came down obliterating any view that had been there.

I decided to make the best of the day and print off a first copy of my 2017 calendar.  Unfortunately, El Capitan doesn’t want to work with my Canon ip4500 printer.  Canon don’t want to supply a driver and Apple don’t care about any hardware more than seven years old as I already know.  A quick search of the internet confirmed my suspicions that there is no workaround for the problem, apart from buying a new printer.  I did manage to get the calendar printed by converting my Pages file into a PDF and using this to print it off on my old Tosh laptop.  A laptop much more than seven years old.  Despite my disappointment, or maybe because of it, I drove in to Glasgow hoping that Staples could supply me with a magenta cartridge for my ancient printer.  They could at £16.95.  Rather expensive when you find that Amazon can supply a three cart set for £26.  So Stalples is going out of business?  I think I can see why.  I didn’t buy their overpriced cart.  One interesting thing I found out is that Epson sell a 3 in 1 printer for £189, complete with two years’ worth of ink  No more dinky ink cartridges, this thing works with bottles of ink.  It sounds like a good investment as long as Apple don’t make it obsolete halfway through my second or third bottle of ink.  I’m really beginning to become pissed off with Apple’s devotion to designed obsolescence.  I may bite the bullet and go back to Mickysoft.  It’s slow and sluggish, but at least the OS just works.  Something I used to say about Apple, but not any longer.

When I was driving home my mood was lifted by the golden light making everything glow.  Now, that’s more like it.  The clouds had blown away, the mist had lifted and the sun was setting with a beautiful glancing light.  Instead of heading straight home, I took the road less travelled and with better views of the landscape.  That’s where the photo of the trees came from.  Even the mist earlier in the day had produced the water beads on the car roof and gave me one shot in the bag before I left for Glasgow.

Salsa tonight was a Christmas Extravaganza, one of JamieGal’s specialities with dancing, games, glow-sticks, silly hats and prizes.  He’d previously issued an open invitation to dancers past and present, from our school and from any other and none and there was a great party spirit.  Fun for all, that’s just his way.  Brilliant.  One of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

Tomorrow?  Maybe a swim.

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A dull day in the Toon

9 Dec

Took up Scamp’s kind offer of a lift to the station to catch the train to Glasgow. Much more comfortable than the bus and much less expensive than the car.

Had a look at iMacs in John Lewis, well actually iMac, singular as they only had one on show and a dusty example of the breed it was too. They have the best offer on iMacs, with a three year warranty, but it looks as if they are pushing the portable versions of the Apple computers. Maybe desktops are dying out. From there I went to the Apple store in Buchanan Street, but I’ve almost totally lost faith in this particular outlet, so it was a cursory glance at these sparkling devices I can’t really afford.

Next on the list … Actually, that, like yesterday’s blog must also remain redacted.  Let’s just say I did some shopping.  The town was simply mad today with folk running here and there pushing prams, dragging screaming weans and lugging jolly Xmas coloured bags with them.  Note ‘Xmas’ not ‘Christmas’ as there is nothing remotely religious about this festival or the lead up to it for most people.  So after some deeply unsatisfying shopping, I walked up Buchanan Street and grabbed my PoD which was the bloke sitting in the window.  The sparkles are a reflection of lights across the street.  Now don’t get the idea that this is in anyway an Amsterdam window.  This was one storey up and well away from the gaze of the shoppers.  I think that’s the thing about photography and especially solo photography, you tend to look around you rather than straight ahead if you are simply shopping.  Headphones and a music player full of good tunes helps too to remove the mundane, everyday things and allow you to enjoy the parts others don’t see.  Try it sometime.  You don’t need the camera, but you do if you want to record your visuals, but the headphones filled with music are essential.  From Bucky Street to Hot Mulled Bucky.  A bit of a culture shock, but I can see how this strong, sweet tonic wine would work as a mulled wine … kind of.  Only in Glasgow, or Coatbridge, or indeed the West of Scotland.  It’s a cultural thing Winking smile.  Seen in the Christmas market in George Square.

Just as I was taking my phone out of my pocket to ask if Scamp’s Taxi Service was back in business, a text came in from her confirming that it was.  Now that’s synchronicity!  Got to the station with 2 minutes to spare before the train left.  It was the Alloa train and is of ancient rolling stock.  Only last year they put roofs on the carriages and although we had an elderly diesel unit pulling ours, some are still pulled by by a late model of Stephenson’s Rocket.  Eight of us crammed into the crossways corridor between the doors.  Thankfully most of the crowd left at Bishopbriggs and that lightened the load considerably, much to the relief of the driver who thought he’d have to ask us to push the train up one of the inclines.  Abellio, what are you thinking about?  Extending platforms to take longer trains.  What you need is 20th century rolling stock.  21st century would be better, but let’s face it, it’s a pipe dream.  Scamp was waiting for me at the station and we made our way home without eventuality. 

Scamp’s out tonight so I’ve agreed to write out my Christmas cards, or is it Xmas cards?  Anyway, without further ado, I’ll draw a line under today’s wanderings and get this posted so I can get on with the work.  Battery is still working quite well on the Mac but I’m still doing ‘conditioning cycles’ on it.  You’ll understand that I’m sure, Hazy.  Curtails my Apple experience, but at least I get to use the quite excellent Window’s Live Writer.  The blog writer Apple should have written.

Tomorrow?  Maybe Embra, postponed from last week.

P1040466- blog

A Day of Surprises – 15 November 2016


Surprise No 1

When I woke this morning, just after 8am, the sun was shining.  It stayed that way too.  Now after the last two days we’ve had, that was a big surprise.  I checked all five of my photo backup drives and with a combination of them all, I can account for all the photos from 2000 to November 2016.  Not bad going.  However, one of the big old Western Digital MyBook drives looks like it’s a goner.  That is a great shame.  I’ve always thought WD were a really good make, but I suppose the ten or twelve years I’ve had it, it’s worked hard and sometimes there has been the occasional accident, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.  Soon it was time to leave the photos and go get my flu jag.  That’s jab to some people, but jag if you’re Scottish.

Surprise No 2

When I got to the surgery they were just calling my name.  That was lucky.  When I went to see the sister, I recognised her right away as an FP (Former Pupil) of Cumby High.  I couldn’t think of her name, but I remembered the face, because last night when I was browsing the photos in the oldest collection, I came upon the poster I’d made for Bugsy Malone, one I was really proud of, and here was the female lead from the show wearing a nursing sister’s uniform.  We got talking and she asked if I had any photos of the show, because nobody in her family had thought to bring a camera to the show.  I told her that I probably had, but it would take me some time to find them.  I couldn’t believe that was away back in 2003!  Anyway, she said she’d just give me a gentle wee jag.  She lied.  It was gentle at the time, but it’s aching now!

Surprise No 3

After I got back and found the said photos, hundreds of them as it turned out, I got dressed for the weather which was still bright, but cold and headed to Auchinstarry.  Walked along the railway to Twechar and got some photos in the sunshine.  I’ve still to process them, but by the time you’re reading this, they will be done with a bit of luck.  Walked back and took a long cut – the opposite of a shortcut  and walked the last half of the path along the canal.  Almost reached Smithston when a kingfisher flew out from my side of the canal bank, across the canal and down towards the marina.  I was too surprised to grab my camera which was switched off in my bag.  Walked along to where I thought it had landed but couldn’t see it.  Then to my amazement, it shot out of the far bank and continued down the canal and away.  It’s years since I’ve seen a kingfisher on the canal and I was beginning to think they had gone.  Since this one is at least a mile and a half away from my last sighting, I’m hoping there are at least two of them now.  I’ll be ready next time with the Nikon and the 300mm lens.

Weather forecast for tomorrow is wintry with rain, hail and snow predicted.  We’ll just have to wait and see, it’ll be a surprise!

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Testing Again – 4 June 2016

4 JuneThe new lens was due to arrive between 3pm and 4pm so we had time to kill today.  The day had started with heavy cloud, bit without the rain that had been predicted.  However as the day wore on, the clouds lifted and the sun shone, but there was a cool breeze, so rather than sit in the garden as we’ve been doing recently, we did our phase one packing.  Just to see how much we could lob into these canvas bags.  How more efficient they are than the big heavy rectangular boxes my mum and dad had to drag on holiday with them.  No rolling wheels for them, no, they had to carry them.  Going on holiday was a tough business in the old days.

The lens arrived on time and I took a two or three shots.  They looked as good as the reviews had predicted.  This lens is a 12 – 32mm zoom and this equates to a 24 – 64mm in 35mm terms.  On a 35mm camera, a standard lens is anything between 35mm and 60mm, so this lens covers this with a little more on the short end.  In other words, it’s a wide standard lens, a kit lens.  It doesn’t do anything very special, but it does it very, very well.  Those two or three shots showed that it was really sharp.  It provided the sharpness of a prime lens with the versatility of a zoom.  It looks like it’s going to be locked on to one of the Olys for some time to come.

All of the photos in the matrix were taken with it today.

JIC and Hazy: The one top right is all that’s left of the Adventure Playground on the path to Condorrat.  They’ve taken out all the old stuff.  Now we wait to see what will replace it with.

Spent the rest of the afternoon coaxing, first the Mac and then the new Linx tablet, to work properly.  The Mac problem is iTunes.  My least favourite Mac prog.  I applied an update this morning, something I rarely do.  After that I kept getting a popup telling me that something to do with the dock had crashed.  After checking on the net, it turns out that everyone else who has the problem links it to the same iTunes update.  Apple, I don’t expect this of you.
The Linx problem was that some of the apps wouldn’t load any more.  When Control Panel failed to load with an error that looked like the progeny of half the alphabet and an international telephone number, I knew it was time to restore it.  Unfortunately the restore got to 95% and got stuck.  I restarted it and it worked a bit better.  The apps loaded, but Control Panel still failed.  I’ve downloaded  the restore from the Linx site.  If I have time tomorrow, I’ll install it and see if that helps.  Microsoft, I do expect this of you!

Looking for warm sun tomorrow.

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Keep taking the tablets – 30 May 2016

30 MayWe went in to Glasgow with the stated intention of getting a tablet/laptop.  Apparently what I was looking for was a “2 in 1”, which I suppose describes it quite well.

Note to JIC.  
Please feel free to ignore this part as it’s almost all technospeak.
First stop was Staples where I saw the cheapo looking Linx 10.1″ tablet with a clamshell keyboard/lid.  Cheapo maybe, but it had 2 x USB3 ports and 1 x micro USB for power and doubling as a port if you have an OTG (On The Go) cable.  Even better, it was at a bargain price of £149.99.  Ok, one possible.
Ok, JIC, Technospeak over.

Next stop was John Lewis who on paper had a load of these 2 in 1s.  Unfortunately, if we ignore the very expensive Mickysoft offerings, there were only two.  One was an Acer with no price on it and no power in the battery, the other was an HP at £80 more than the cheapo Linx.  The spec appeared to be almost the same, in fact it only had 1 x USB port and 1 x micro USB.  So it looks like it’s back to Staples.

Before that, Scamp decided that lunch at Patisserie Valerie was in order.  Since she prefers to eat inside, we got a table no bother because everyone wanted to sit outside in the sun.  Had our order taken: Crayfish Salad for both of us and Apple Pie for after for Scamp, Pecan Pie for me.  Tea for both.
The tea arrived, and so did the manager to apologise, but there was no Pecan Pie.  No problem, I’d just have the Apple Pie.  A little later he arrived back to say that sorry, there was no Crayfish Salad.  He did offer alternatives.  Scamp went for Chicken Caesar and I chose Chicken Brochette.  We’d been sitting for 20 minutes by this time.  Half an hour later and still nothing had arrived although the manager had floated past about 15 minutes before to say that my chicken was just going on the grill.  I’d had enough.  We offered to pay for the two teas, but the girl on the till would have nothing of it and told us the manager “should have been dealing with it.”  If I’d had to speak to the manager himself, Begbie would have come out of the box again.

Back at Staples, I bought the Linx.  Unfortunately, when I got it home, I found that it looked nothing like what I’d seen in the shop.  Quick phone call and was told to bring it back and they’d exchange it for the correct one.  I did, they did and this time I checked it before I left the shop.  So far, it’s doing everything I expected it to do.  Pity the same can’t be said for Patisserie Valerie.

More sun promised for tomorrow.  Bring it on!

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Bread, Windoze10 and a short walk – 20 August 2015

There you are, my day summed up in a short sentence, although some would argue that it isn’t a sentence as it doesn’t have a verb in it, but that’s just being pedantic.

DSC_3395- blog--232I got up early, just after 7.00, made breakfast and, after reading my emails, decided to make some bread. Usually I make the stuff in the mixer, but this morning I decided to go back to the plain old hand method and it worked out quite nicely too. I don’t know why I decided to manhandle some flour, yeast, water, salt and butter. It couldn’t be because of ‘Bakeoff’ last night could it? Heaven forbid that’s why it came into my mind. Bakeoff would be a good programme if it wasn’t for those awful women ‘comedians’ or Mary Berry (Good Cop) or grumpy Paul Hollywood (Bad Cop). Most of the contestants could go too. “Ooh, this is the first time I’ve made this”. Get a life dear. If this is the first time you’ve made this when you knew it was coming up, you’re thicker than you look, and that would be DSC_3409- blog--232-1difficult. NO! It was a conscious decision on my part (you are still with me, aren’t you?) to bake a loaf today. Mine and nobody else’s. Bread making is a long process with little bits of effort and a lot of waiting around for the yeast to do its stuff, so to fill in the time I started to install Windows 10 on my old netbook. According to Val it was easy to upgrade the slow, curmudgeonly old HP relic to run like greased lightning on the newest Mickysoft OS. He lied. It took over three hours to get the thing downloaded and installed. I was so tired of waiting for the installation to actually get to the final screen, I almost set it to ‘automatic’ install. That would have been a big mistake. Now I see why so many people are having problems with this spyware OS. I went for the detailed install. Did you know that there are three whole pages where you give Mickysoft the right to check every time you touch a key on the DSC_3399- blog--232keyboard, every time you click the Start button.  You give them permission to sell your email address to their commercial customers.  You give them the right to look into your files too. Almost nothing is sacred. You even allow them to watch you when you go to the toilet. No, I made that bit up, but you do have to tell them you want to go, ask for permission, sign out and sign back in again. After all that was done, the new desktop was revealed. It’s much like the old Windows 7 desktop and in that, it is a great improvement over the Windows 8 style tiles, but it’s no longer Windows, it’s now truly Windoze. It’s as slow as treacle. The netbook was slow before, now a blackboard and chalk would be quicker. Luckily, I’ve got a month in which to play test the slug and then I can revert it to Windows 7 again. Possibly the best OS there has been for a PC, although Win XP is almost as good. Thank goodness for a Mac. The Windows computers are ok for taking with me on holiday as file repositories, but they aren’t for everyday use. The bread, by the way turned out fine.

Went for a walk later in the day to St Mo’s and got a few foties. Nothing startling, but they look ok.