Ploughing through summer

Well here we are ploughing through summer, at the moment the sun is shining, the office window is open and all is well with the world. Well at least the little bit of the world I am in.

I am successfully avoiding any Olympic Games coverage, I am not a sports person to be honest, and have yet to work out why a country like Brazil that’s in a deep recession can justify spending the money on the games that it has. Perhaps they think that how the world perceives them is more important than the welfare of the people and enabling them to put food on their tables and be able to live in something better than a slum. I would take a bet that the people who committed all the money live in decent houses, have clean water and food on the table.

One thing I have not been able to avoid is the presidential election stuff flowing out of the USA. I must admit to following it as closely as I can seeing as I am the wrong side of the pond from where the action is. I have come to the conclusion that come election day the USA citizens won’t be voting for the best candidate they will be voting for the least worst. I can’t get my head round the fact that one of the most important things to do to get selected to be one of those up for election is the ability to raise more money than anybody else, surely the most important thing with a candidate is their ability to be able to do the job honestly and to the best of their ability. Not their skills in raising the most money to spend on getting their “Message” out to the people.

Despite what many would have us think there is a lot of poverty in parts of the USA, now just imagine if all the money the candidates raised and spent, and we are talking here of the unsuccessful candidates as well was spent of combating that poverty and improving things for those people at the bottom. What a difference it could make, but then again we are not likely to ever prove that theory which is a shame.

Oh well enough rambling on back to enjoying the sunshine.

The summer urge to share

It’s a lovely July day and my neighbours have the urge to share. Shame it’s just loud music and the smell of a BBQ.

Out the front we have the sone of one of my neighbours cleaning his car with the doors all open and Abba playing full blast and echoing around the cul-de-sac.

Out the back we have a neighbour a few doors down playing loud music that’s so distorted I can’t work out what it is. They are also failing at lighting a BBQ with smoke everywhere. I would not be surprised if at any moment a tribe of red indians appeared in answer to the smoke signals. I don’t know what they are trying to cook but all I can smell is charcoal and petrol.

Now I am not anti social, far from it but why do people in the summer fails to take into consideration those people who just might want to enjoy a drink in the sunshine sitting peacefully in their gardens? Why can’t they realise that neighbours might not share their taste in music played and echoing at full blast?

Looking on the bright side at least in winter most keep their music contained and their windows tightly shut.

Does anybody reading this blog suffer from the same in the summer?

Who knows what about whom?

Well here we are at the end of another month.

It’s been a busy one for me as well, with several projects on the go at the moment.

However, yesterday I was reading an article, this is a link to the article concerned
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It made me remember why I moved away from the Windows platform. I have played with Win 8.1 and experienced the nag screens, I have installed Win 10 on a machine and then had to manually set all the settings so it did not phone home more than E.T. Even then I was not sure it was 100% locked down. Once I had played with it I deleted the partition and it was gone.

Why do many software manufacturers assume that not only do they know what we want but also how we want it set. Now I appreciate that for many users you have to make it as idiot proof as possible. But they need to acknowledge there are actually people who know what they are doing and that these users may not just want the out of the box installed default settings.

In an ideal world we should switch on things we want not switch off things we don’t. Yes I have heard all the arguments about anti-virus and ant malware should be switched on by default, I don’t have a problem with that. But I do object to software that seems to want to phone home every time you sneeze in the next room.

Data collection is big business, and we need to constantly remember that nothing is for free, you sell your soul when you fill in any online details.

Last week I did an experiment, I set up an email address on a domain I own. I then signed up for a newsletter on a computer site, the URL of that site does not matter, one thing I will say however is that it was not a UK one. My contact details were the email address I had set up. Within 24 hours there were over 100 spam emails in it, none of witch were anything to do with the company whose newsletter I had signed up for. The spam continued after I had unsubscribed from the newsletter. The email account has now been deleted from the domain.

We live in an age where the lure of content on a computer be it a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone outweighs the information we are happy to disclose to get that “FREE” content.

As I have said before if a Government said the population had to carry a device so they could be tracked and monitored there would be an uproar. Sorry to say if you carry a smartphone round then it’s already happened, you know that device in your pocket that shows you on a map exactly where you are. Just think next time you tweet or similar any information as to where you are, and announce that your family are with you just remember that you have also told those who know your address that most likely you house is empty, except for all the gadgets you have proudly boasted about before. Just think about that, when you say where you are you are also saying where you are not!

Not a lot to say recently.

I know, I know I have not posted much of late.

Well to be honest I have not had a lot to say.

Now of course I could comment on world happenings, but there are more than enough sites doing that already. I could comment on the upcoming referendum here in the UK, but not a lot to say about it really. I already know how I will be voting and nothing will make me change my mind, so just observing people who I would not trust to run a bath never mind run a country commenting on the subject. Even leaders from around the world seem to be throwing their wisdom in, and when they do so I can’t help but think if it was the other way round and the UK was commenting on the event if it was in their country we would be told to keep our noses out of it.

It always strikes me as funny that countries that seem to stick their noses in the most offering advice hate to take advice themselves.

Perhaps human nature can be blamed for this desire to poke about in other countries affairs, honestly I don’t know and equally don’t care. Generally I keep my opinions to myself and don’t want to get into great discussions with people.

Anyway if I am not careful I will start rambling on about not a lot. Hopefully I will be a bit more regular posting in the future, I wonder if you can get a laxative to make you post more regular?

 

Stating the obvious.

Everybody has it….

Has what?  I hear you ask.

The answer is the knack of stating the obvious. You know one of those people who will look up at a bright clear sky with not a cloud in sight and utter the immortal words. “It won’t rain today!”

Well I received an email this morning, now that is not unusual, actually some emails can be quite interesting if you can sort them out from the unwanted junk.

Anyway, this one said “You have not posted to your blog since Christmas.”

See people notice these things, whats unusual is that the email was from somebody I have not heard from for years! Actually come to think of it I may even have thought they were dead.

But the said email fulfilled it’s function and here I am doing a post to the blog. The question is what do I post about? These days Blogs are like soap’s on the TV, they say they are showing real life, but they are lying. If they were about real life then they would be darn boring and nobody would watch or read them.

The internet is full of forgotten blogs, cast aside in favour of the new kids on the block like Periscope, Blab and similar. Where you can see people spout on about everything and nothing, many claiming that what they are intent on selling you will revolutionise your business, and will in some cases make you a millionaire. This leads me always to the question, if what they are selling could make you a millionaire if followed to the letter, why are the people selling this snake oil not millionaires themselves.

It reminds me of a person I used to know who ran a dating agency, back in the days before the Internet made it all so simple to meet the wrong person. The slogan of his agency was that he would help you find a beautiful woman, or words similar. It’s a few years ago now. Well I always wondered over the years why, if he could help you find a beautiful woman why he had not helped himself. To put it simply his wife was an ugly duckling who grew up to be an ugly duck!

Which brings me back to stating the obvious. Why do these self professed Guru’s on social media think they are experts at what they are peddling? You can’t with a straight face promote something you wrote telling how you can be an expert on something which is something you have yourself used for less than a month! Credibility goes right out the window, closely followed by honesty and ethics.

Personally I always aim to be honest in business, I don’t make promises I can’t keep or offer things I can’t supply. In the long run it never works out. But here we have a bunch of people who are selling a promise and that promise is 99% of the time not worth the paper it’s written on if you print it out.

Where has the honesty gone these days? I think the answer is that it’s been retired and replaced by product offered by people who are, to quote a saying legends in their own lunch time. They have jumped on a media bandwagon and in many cases they are running their so called businesses on a platform that has at best a limited lifespan before something else comes along.

Now I am sure some people reading this blog will disagree with me, and that’s your prerogative. But if you genuinely disagree then please make a comment and state your case, I would love to hear it.

Almost there….

Well I am writing this at 8.30am on Christmas Eve.

When I worked in retail some years ago, actually more years ago than I care to remember Christmas Eve was a funny day.

Normally we would be busy in the morning then about midday it would start to quieten down whit normally an early close about 4pm.

The last hour or so saw two types of customer, the drunk and the panicking husband who still did not have a clue what to buy the wife.

Drunks were easy they just wanted to buy a present for somebody and hoped it would get them forgiven for going home for want of a better term, totally rat arsed.

The panicking husband was more tricky, especially those who had spent so much already to impress the girlfriend that they did not have much left to spend on the wife. Laugh not, I saw that so many times over the years. We always made sure the receipt was in the box, as we would lay bets on what would be bought back the first day we were open after Christmas, we were rarely wrong.

These days most shops will be only closed on Christmas Day, opening early on boxing day with their sale to get rid of the tat they could not shift at inflated prices in the run up to Christmas.

This year with Christmas Day on the Friday and Boxing day on Saturday we would have been closed Friday to Monday inclusive, it was bliss.

The world did not end because the supermarkets were closed for a couple of days, people prepared.

So as we cruise through Christmas Eve give a thought to the poor devils who have very little or even nothing, and when you sit down tomorrow looking at the oversized turkey, the mound of vegetables and potatoes, just remember those who find a bag of crisps a luxury.

Give a thought also to the poor devils who work in retail, they often spend the festive period, which for them seems to get shorter every year recovering from the onslaught of ungrateful people buying into the Christmas Spirit, you know the type, those who are amazed you have run out of something on Christmas Eve just as you are about to close.

Enjoy your Christmas, it only arrives once a year and then we still can’t afford it.

Twenty nine years and counting.

Well tomorrow the 15th is my 29th wedding anniversary.

Now I have heard all the jokes about I would have got less for murder etc. But I would not be without her.

To be honest I have still not quite worked out how she puts up with me.

Here is a picture of that fateful day 29 years ago, at least the sun was shining.

Wedding001

Next year will be the 30th of course, so we may do something special for that, we shall have to see.

Just incase your are wondering what we are doing this year, well tomorrow I am on the railway and Sue is in the middle of two weeks holiday and pottering round the house. We both like to live on the wild side.

The overnight success

In the social media world at the moment the two big conversation points are Periscope and Blab.

Both enable you to visually communicate with the world, or at least the part of the world that’s on the platform.

The two platforms have more than their fair share of success coaches, experts and the like who seem hell bent on making us all an overnight success.

It seems to me that most are selling stuff to each other. They verbally and in type congratulate each other in their perceived success.

The idea of being an overnight success is all fine on paper and verbally but in reality  there is more to being a success than giving money to somebody who, in return tell you what they think you want to hear.

In simple terms it has taken me over 20 years to be an overnight success, and in reality I am still working on it. It is shall we say, a work in progress. It’s just nice to know that, according to the so called experts that my success so far is due to doing things totally wrong. According to them that is.

I would give these people one piece of advice and it’s free with no strings attached.  “Self praise is no praise at all.” That’s my free bit of advice.

So is it still OK with no windows then?

Regular sufferers of this blog will, if they scratch their grey matter remember than a couple of years ago I kicked Microsoft into touch and moved to Apple.

I thought it was about time that I gave you a bit of an update.

Contrary to the belief of many, my office is still functioning, day is still following night and all is well with the world. I remain very pleased with my MacBook PRO and my 21.5″ iMac, they do everything I want and more.

Though to be perfectly honest there has been a chink through a slightly open window in that I was forced to buy an inexpensive laptop running Windows last year just to run a specific program, there is no Mac version. I will admit I use it as little as I can, compared to the others it’s slow, bloated and not user friendly. It ran Windows 8.1 when I got it and now it runs Windows 10 or to give it a more suitable name Windows ET, it spends lots of the time it’s switched on phoning home. I won’t bore you repeating the many comments made about it’s desire to forward your soul to Microsoft at every opportunity. Just take a look at the many videos on the subject on Youtube.

Anyway, back to the main machines. Just after I bought the MacBook PRO I upgraded the memory to 16GB which made a great improvement on what was already a nippy machine. Another change I have made in the last 12 months is to replace the Hard drive with a solid state drive. The new drive is so much faster, for many the speed bottleneck is the speed of the hard drive and by buying this one I have removed a bottleneck.

All my business is on the laptop, and it is the day to day workhorse, the iMac seems to be little more than a media player, though that could change shortly.

If somebody asks me if I would move back to a 100% Windows environment the answer is not just “NO” it’s “HELL NO!” Certainly now I am more productive, I am not disturbed by countless updates etc. The machines just work and we can ask for no more than that.

However, to be honest if I was buying a MacBook now I would go for one of the Air models rather than the PRO, simply on weight, it’s a bit chunky to carry round. But I bought it because of three things 1. The hard drive could be replaced. 2. It’s got an ethernet port. 3. It has a CD-ROM drive. But as number three is becoming less important then it would not be a consideration now.

So there you have it, I am still happy in an office with no Windows (Well almost!)