The countdown has begun.

Well the countdown has begun.

I have decided to take early retirement, there is more to life than hammering away at a keyboard all day.

So on the 27th November 2017 I am closing my business. The wife recently was made redundant and we, or to be more accurate she is compiling a list of what we can do.

Now I must admit in all honesty I am looking forward to it, getting to do varied and new things.

The 28th November will be my first day of leisure, it will also be my 62nd birthday.


Go faster stripes for your computer

Whilst drifting through the BBC news site today an article about spyware in a cleaning program for Windows caught my eye.

The program in question is Ccleaner. This used to be distributed by Piriform but they were bought out by Avast the anti virus software people.

According to the article the software was infected by some spyware. Apparently all is now well, but I am sure some users will be having their doubts about putting in or keeping it on their computer.

This set me thinking about how effective this kind of software actually is. Now with any software claiming to make your machine, faster, cleaner and/or safer people generally fall into two camps. The first swear by it saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread and the second declare it a waster of time and that it does not do what it claims.

I should point out at this stage that I am not a Windows user these days, I kicked it into touch many moons ago and have never regretted doing so for one second. But when I was a user I played with most of the programs that claimed miracles and never found them to apparently make any difference at all, except perhaps free up space when they got rid of temp files and the like. But of course they were soon back again. I always found that the cleaning/maintenance programs included with the various flavours of Windows seemed to work at getting rid of junk without using anything else. But doing so never seemed to make the computer run faster.

They do say that belief in something with often convince you that something works. Medicine being a good example where belief  seems to play a great part in how good pills are.

Anyway back to this snake oil software, I think one of the big things that encourage people to try these miracle programs is the fact that they are often free or they have a free basic version.

I have never seen any concrete evidence proving that these programs do any good at all. So I would love to hear from you if you have POSITIVE proof they do any good at all. By positive I don’t mean you say that they are as advertised. I want concrete evidence. I look forward to receiving evidence and links to sites showing this proof. I am to be honest not holding my breath.

Please post as comments to this blog post so all can share.


Sometimes you need a little extra

Now I will be the first to admit I spend too much time at my desk, and I am making an active effort to spend less time hammering away at the keyboard.

But one thing that’s always irritated me is that when the work flow is flowing I often fancy a cup of coffee. Also it would be nice sometimes to have a coffee first thing in the morning without having to trek down to the kitchen and back again.

With this in mind the wife and I have invested in a coffee machine for my office. Like me it’s nothing flash but does the job.

Here is a picture of the said device. installed and ready to go. Next to it is a stand for the coffee pods, looks better than a pile of boxes and was cheaply obtained from the local Tesco store.






I must say it works very well indeed, it uses the same pods as the machine down in the kitchen, so no duplicate purchases of coffee. We have elected for milk pods as well, nowhere in here to keep milk in any other form.

So far I must say I am extremely pleased Wirth the device. It does what it says on the box and saves me time.

So I think Job Done!

A summer Friday

Here we are trundling through the first week of August and the sun is making a half hearted attempt to shine. Personally I don’t give much for it’s chances to be honest. Rain is forecast for tomorrow afternoon so that’s something to look forward to.

I sat here in the office this afternoon wondering about this blog. I started it back in May 2013 with to be honest no real idea of what I was going to do with it and what kind of direction it was going to take. I think I wanted somewhere other than my railway blog to post random thoughts and observations about this and that as I worked my way through life. To be honest I am not sure I have achieved that. The blog has, in the past had periods of no entries and I am not sure if that was because I had nothing to really say, or that I had but could not be bothered to put thoughts to the screen via the keyboard.

The fact that I rarely get response to my postings by comments on the post does not help, I mean am I typing this to myself and will I be the only person to reads it? I know that the answer is likely to be no simply because people I speak to comment that they read these entries, and then make a comment on what they have read. Why they have just not made a comment by pressing the comments button and hammering their comments out on the keyboard is beyond me.

I suppose what I am really saying is that if I make an effort to do a post that if you have comments perhaps you should make an effort to make a comment if you actually have any comments to make. So if you have survived this far into this post then please take note.

A few years ago blogs were all the rage on a multitude of subjects from hobbies to day to day life. But the trend now is for posts to be made on social media where people pour their hearts into saying they have just been to the toilet and are now waiting for the bus to work, to do a job they hate and will most likely comment on how much they hate it later. Some will post on Facebook and crow that they have a thousand friends. How you can have friends you have never met is frankly beyond me. Personally I think if somebody life revolves around  updating friends they have never met about things that are of no interest to anybody then they really need to get a life.

But that’s really it I suppose, do people have time to get a life these days. My wife recently got made redundant after over nineteen years in the same job, and if I ask her, as I have several times if she misses it then her answer is “No.” Speaking personally I think that it’s sad that after nineteen years there is nothing she misses enough to think it warrants comment. Yes she has remained in contact with a few of the people she worked with, but that may or may not stand the test of time. Thinking about it when I left paid employment some years ago I did not miss it either if I am totally honest. I mean what fun is there in having a job when your only aim is to hang in there until retirement. Some years ago my retirement age was sixty and I should in that case have been retired about eighteen months. Instead the government shifted the goal posts and my retirement age is now sixty seven. All I got at sixty was free eye tests and free prescriptions. Come to think of it I might have got a birthday card from Saga but that was so exciting I can’t honestly remember.

If I keep on ruminating like this I will run into the next blog post. So I will go back to the book I was reading safe in the knowledge that my mutterings have been converted into electrons to be unread across the world.

Now back to the book and looking forward to tomorrows expected rain. It’s an exciting life.

Ah the joys of summer.

Well here we are it’s the last Friday of July and the time is 7.30pm. We should be enjoying the summer weather.

As it is the office lights are on and have been most of the day, it’s cool and throwing it down with rain.

Nice to see a typical British summer evening, and some people wonder why lost of people take their holidays abroad.

Imagine this is the end of the first week of a two week caravan holiday by the sea. Those in that position looking at this weather must be wondering why the hell they are there.

The more you pay the less help you get.

After much deliberation the wife and I have splashed out on a couple of new office chairs. The old ones were shall we say past their best and in dire need of replacement.

In common with most things these days they came flat packed each in a large box.

Tools provided to assemble – One Allen Key
Instructions provided – One piece of paper with a few diagrams.

Shall we say the second one was easier to assemble than the first was. The diagrams were not that much use and I reckon it would have been quicker not to consult them at all.

But we got there in the end and the two chairs are assembled and now in use. I am sitting on one whilst typing this literary gem for you.

So you may well ask what is my point? Well the point is that having made a few purchases of late I have noticed the more you spend the less assistance you get to get the item working.

What do you think?

You do have a backup don’t you?

Today I ordered a 1TB external hard drive online, now there is nothing strange in that, I would imagine that thousands of people do it every single day.

However, after ordering the drive I had chosen I had a read down the reviews. I normally don’t take much notice of reviews unless there is a real high percentage of don’t likes shown.

But having a couple of minutes to spare I thought I would take a look. In doing so one thing stood out, and that was that people who said the drive had failed almost all commented that they had lost data, in one case a few thousand images and in another their university work.

This leads me to wonder if they had ever heard of keeping backups. Nobody in their right mind never backs anything up.

But time and time again there was the statement that data had been lost forever.

They do say that there are two types of people, one who backs up everything and a second who backups nothing because they have yet to loose anything. I have in the past always taken this statement with a pinch of salt. But from reading the reviews of this particular drive that there are a percentage of computer users who don’t backup.

These days data is often valuable and we keep more and more of our life history and or possessions digitally. So it makes sense to have a backup surely? Well apparently some think not.

I must admit I find it hard to dig up any sympathy, we have numerous reminders to back up. Operating systems these days can be set to do it automatically, you don’t even need to make an effort to do anything.

Here in my Mac environment TimeMachine does an hourly backup automatically, I have all my files backed up onto my NAS here in the office with another backup off site. You can’t be too careful.

Also, I wonder how many people verify their backups to see if they are successful and will actually work. Do You? No thought not.

If your backup is corrupt, incomplete or just unreadable then it’s as bad as having no backup at all.

So now you have finished this missive then check your backups actually work, or if you don’t have a backup then do something about getting one sorted. Before you mutter you can’t be bothered just think of all the family images you have that are irreplaceable, you have thought? Good now extract your digit and get a backup sorted.

Summer has arrived

Unless you live underground you can’t help but notice that summer has arrived in the UK with the temperature just over 30c on both Sunday and Monday.

This of course means that the natives have something new to moan about, and that is that it’s too hot!!

Those reading this from outside the UK need to realise that generally the weather rates as the top discussion subject in this part of the world.

It’s never just right it’s either too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet or too unpredictable. As I said it’s never just right.

The news programmes show people sunbathing in the park, the beach or in their own back garden, supposedly enjoying the weather. If this is the case then why do we moan about it so much?

Personally I would rather have it cold than hot, Sunday and Monday were unbearable, and very little work got done. How I coped years ago when I had three desktops complete with CRT monitors churning out heat 24/7 I don’t know. I do remember that in the winter the office did not need the radiator on when it was cold, and that I could feel the warmth when I used to open the door first thing in the morning.

That’s all changed not I have two laptops on and they run cool as does my NAS box and my routers. so I will finish this ramble here and get back to doing some proper work whilst the gentle breeze wafts through the open window. Bliss!!!

Just two days to go.

Here the tension is rising, we are just two days away from voting day for the General Election.

All the main parties are blaming each other for anything they can think of and up in Scotland the SDP are banging on about independence, if it was set to music most would say it’s the only tune they know.

Elsewhere of course we have had the two terrible terrorist attacks, one in Manchester and one in London. Again much talking and blame slinging especially reference the London attack, but nothing really concrete, except a few barriers to stop vehicles mounting the pavements over some London Bridges.

On the home front, I have a new 13.3″ MacBook PRO which I am really pleased with, still have the old one as well, actually I am using it for this post, but the bulk of the everyday stuff, especially my writing will be done on the new machine. I plan at some stage in the not too distant future to do a comparison review of the two machines side by side, so watch this space as they say.

Finally here we are writing this watching high winds and driving rain out of the window, it’s like autumn but warmer! Only just mind you. I pity the poor souls at the coast in caravans today. It can’t be nice to save money and take a holiday and be landed with weather like this.

Getting back into full flow.

Well here we are in the UK heading towards the General Election.

Campaigning was put on hold as a mark of respect for those who died in the terrible attack in Manchester. Words fail me when I try and describe the person who committed the terrible act.

But back to the election bun fight.

The manifestos have all been published by the main parties and they are all accusing each other of wishful promises and bad maths when it comes to paying for what they are promising.

The leaders are all going round the country at great expense saying what we have already read.

The national newspapers have all taken sides and are predicting mass failure if the party they don’t favour gets in. With big depressing headlines on their front pages and big pictures showing that most of the candidates would come third in a beauty contest if there were only two contestants.

Nobody has knocked the door canvasing for votes, we have had one leaflet shoved through, no idea which party because the wife had filed it before I got to it. At least it saved me the job.

Two weeks today at 10pm when the polls close it will all be over except for the mind numbing programmes on TV as the results come in.

I think I will have an early night.