Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Windows 8, PC World and just about getting there

29 April

If you haven't tried Windows 8 yet, think carefully before you do try it. Both of us have been having problems with it since we began transferring our lappy files onto the new machines. Part of the problem is that all the old icons and so on, have been removed, moved or hidden and finding them is hard. I didn't find out how to turn off my machine until this morning.

The other major issue is that we were advised to make a full copy of the Windows set-up before we began doing anything else. With that In mind we bought two new 32 gig USB sticks. However, trying to make that copy is a real nightmare. So, what I have done is to copy my photos and docs to a 500 gig spare drive I have here and I'm now copying them to the second hard disc partition on the new one. Once that is done I shall copy the smaller partition to the spare 500 gig disc drive.

Our problems began on Sunday afternoon actually. We arrived at PC World at 2.30pm; we left at 5.30pm! Why? Well, Jan's old Acer was bought there on a credit deal so we thought, why not put the two new ones on a credit deal?  So that is what we did. Oh dear ... the application went through was agreed very quickly by the credit company ... BUT, when they sent the paperwork through, they sent the wrong one. It took ages for us see where the error was. A quick phone call to the company and it was soon sorted out. Normal I would have been off out of there after so much hassle but I knew Jan was desperate for her new lappy, so I stuck with it. At least now they working; all we need to do now is to find out how to use them properly.

Now I'm feeling very professional seeing as I'm typing this on me lappy while copying my photos to the new one. Ah well ...

And speaking of photos ... here's a pussy cat ... 

... but I wouldn't suggest cuddling it.

And funny time ...

We had a power outage at the house this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad & my new surround sound music system were all shut down.
Then I discovered that my iPhone battery was flat and to top it off it was raining outside, so I couldn't play golf.
I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I sat and talked with my wife for a few hours.
She seems like a nice person.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Setting up, slowing down and protectionism

28 April

What a day we have front of us now! Our new 'puters are still sat in their unopened boxes while we make copies of files we want to keep. I know there's a way to do it directly between the old and new machines but I don't know how to do it. Anyway, we need a back copy of them all so it's not really a waste of time. A back-up of my photos alone will take 12 hours according to the program.

I've read a number of times about writers removing parts of their work if it slows down the flow of the story. Well that Peter James novel I'm reading now is slowing down on just about every page. The way he's doing it is to describe characters and where they are. He's telling me about every twist in every carpet in every room his people walk into, or at least that's how it seems to me. I'm finding it a tad annoying to have the story held up like that.

But I'm wondering if other readers don't feel like that? Perhaps they feel the descriptions essential to the story. As with all modes of art, it's all very subjective. I'm sure all of us writers have heard or read stories of how someone in a publisher has got a writer to change things to their way of doing things only to have the finished work rejected for one reason or another.

This then leads onto the issue of who you are writing for. Are you writing for yourself, a set market, an agent, a publisher; who are you writing for? I would suggest we write mainly for ourselves initially, to ease the itch of the new story line we have to live until we have safely stored on a hard drive or a printed paper copy. Of course, we are always hopefully that our story will be 'discovered' and we become the next big thing in publishing. It's good to dream isn't it.

Call me cynical if you wish but I'm now starting to think that perhaps some of the people who make suggestion to writers and then reject a novel, do so as a way of protecting their current chart-topping writer. As I say, call me cynical if you wish!

And now I need to find a photo, and I only have 47,000 to choose from ... that didn't take long folks. 

This pub is the King William IV on Coton Road here in Dorktown. At one time it was my local pub and it was where I got the taste for real ale. It was a good a busy place, friendly, and with a lot of folks willing to help out where they could. Such a shame it has gone.

And today's funny ...
Alex Salmond was visiting a Scottish primary school and the class was in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings.
The teacher asked Mr. Salmond if he would like to lead the discussion on the word 'Tragedy'.
So the illustrious SNP leader asked the class for an example of a 'Tragedy'.
A little boy stood up and offered, "If ma best freen, wha’ lives on a ferm, is playin' in the field and a tractor rins ower him and kills him, that wid be a tragedy."
"Incorrect", said Alex, in his best trying-not-to-sound-too- patronising-Scottish-accent, "That would be an accident."
A little girl raised her hand, "If a school bus kerryin' fifty children drove ow’r a cliff, killing a'body inside, that wid be a tragedy"
'I'm afraid not', explained Alex, "that's what we would refer to as a great loss’’.
The room went silent. No other children volunteered. Alex searched the room.
"Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"
Finally, at the back of the room, a wee lad raised his hand and, in a quiet voice, said: "If a plane kerryin' you and your deputy ' wiz struck by a 'freendly fire' missile & blawn tae smithereens, that wid be a tragedy."
"Fantastic!" exclaimed Alex, "and can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?"
"Weel", says the lad, "it has tae be a tragedy, because it certainly widnae be a great loss, and it probably widnae be an accident either!"

Saturday, 26 April 2014

TUB,wildlife and looking for it from your own armchair

26 April

David Lindo is a bit of a hero for me. David is also known as The Urban Birder or TUB for short; not a very complimentary name really. Whatever, he is very inspirational for me. I look forward to reader to his articles in both Birding Watching and the RSPB magazine Home For Nature (used to be Birds and the name change has caused a bit of stir within the RSPB membership.) I've also read his autobiography, The Urban Birder, charts his beginings as an eight year old birding in his own back garden. Well worth a read if you get the chance.    

The name change of the magazine is part of the widening of the RSPB remit, which is really no different to what they have been doing since it began oh so long ago. TUB's articles have changed their focus as part of the overall change.

Our copy of Home For Nature arrived here this morning and I've just finished a quick first look through it, but did read TUB's piece as well as the Simon Barnes piece too. TUB is saying that urban wildlife is so much easier to see these days than it used to be. Blackbirds were once a shy birds of woodlands but are now seeing very easily throughout the UK. Same with foxes. They are now seen in broad daylight in many cities now; in Glasgow there are deer foraging in a cemetery not far from the city centre. And don't forget the London Wetlands Centre either, one a group of four reservoirs it is now a hot bed of wildlife on the southern bank of the Thames at Barnes.

Thing is, we don't need to travel miles and miles to see wildlife, it's there, right on our doorstep. Our current bird list for our back gardens is now around 40 strong. We are not the only one who feed the birds. June next door but one and Cathy and Val opposite us also feed them. The result can be seen in our bird count.

Jan has released two hedgehogs out there and although we haven't seen them since, I'm sure they are still out there. We have plans of putting up a bat box on the dividing fence between us and the house next door. We have seen birds all over Dorktown as well as foxes and yes, rats! Not the most exciting of wildlife but still wildlife. But perhaps Jan's biggest moment was seeing and snapping what we both hoped was an otter by the river just downstream from Riversley Park. It even appeared in the News a few days after she sent in asking for an ID on it. Sadly it wasn't an otter but a mink. Even so, it was a very good sighting in an urban setting.

Seeing as I'm writing about wildlife, I've found shot ... 

A sparrow hawk Jan snapped on the fence about 10 feet from our back door last year.

Today's funny then ...

Little Gus and Jennie are only 10 years old, but they know they are in love.
One day they decide that they want to get married, so Gus goes to Jennie's father to ask him for her hand.
Gus bravely walks up to him and says, "Mr. Smith, me and Jennie are in love and I want to ask you for her hand in marriage."
Thinking that this was just the cutest thing he'd ever heard, Mr. Smith replies, "Well Gus, you are only 10. Where will you two live?"
Without even taking a moment to think about it, Gus replies, "In Jennie's room. It's bigger than mine and we can fit there nicely."
Mr. Smith says with a huge grin, "OK, then how will you live?  You're not old enough to get a job. You'll need to support Jennie."
Again, Gus instantly replies, "Our allowance, Jennie gets 5 bucks a week and I get 10. That's about 60 bucks a month, so that should do us just fine."
Mr. Smith is impressed that Gus has put so much thought into this.  "Well Gus, it seems like you have everything figured out.  I just have one more question.  What will you do if the two of you should have little children of your own?"
Gus just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, we've been lucky so far."                 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Churches, water proof skin and a charitable effort

25 April

There's a Flickr group called  Churches and Cathedrals of the British Isles,  (https://www.flickr.com/groups/churches_and_cathedrals_of_the_british_isles/) that I have subscribed to. I have for sometime been thinking of doing a project of photographing all the Christian Churches in Dorktown. Actually, I've already started and snapped quite a few of them.

But this week I've been toying with the idea of just snapping the Anglican churches from various angles. Dark, wet weather, like we have right now, can add a lot of atmosphere to such shots. Although my camera is weather sealed and I also have a cover that allows me to shoot in wet weather, I am not weather sealed. My skin is but getting soaked the skin doesn't do my osteoarthritis and good at all

So what do you think of that young guy and his raising £2.2 million for a cancer charity? I think it's  a terrific effort. What galls me though is that he has had to do it. Surely his care, and that of so many others should be fully funded by the NHS. That is after all what we pay our National Insurance for. OK, the lad might not of paid in but he is hardly at fault there is he! And in any case, his parents would have been paying in. If we as a nation want a NHS Service, then we MUST be willing to fully fund it. For God knows how many years now, the NHS has been a political football. It's time that stopped!

This will be a short blog today because I am sitting waiting for Jan to call me to bring her home from the friend she is visiting and I don't want to leave it again partially written. So now I shall look for a photo ... 

Just look at that blue sky from a week or two ago. Today it's dark and overcast.

And funny time ...

The Pope was having a shower. Although normally very strict about celibacy, he occasionally felt he needed to exercise the Papal wrist, and this happened to be one of those occasions.
Just as he reached the Papal climax, he saw a photographer taking a picture of his Holy seed flying through the air.
'Hold on a minute! ', said the Pope, 'You can't do that, you'll destroy the reputation of the Church!'
'This is my lottery win,' said the photographer, 'I'll be financially secure for life with these photos!' So, the Pope offered to buy the camera from the photographer, and after much negotiation, they eventually settled on a figure of $2,000,000.
The Pope clothed himself and headed off to destroy the images on the camera.
Along the vast Vatican hallways, he bumped into his personal housekeeper.
Being a bit of a photography buff, she noticed the camera and said, 'That looks like a really expensive digital SLR camera, how much did it cost you?'
Not being one to lie, the Pope replied, 'Two million dollars.'
'TWO MILLION DOLLARS! ' replied the astonished and incredulous housekeeper, '...They must have seen you coming!'