Well, I managed 220 days, but then my computer died. I am trying not to take it personally but can’t help feeling that it died of boredom. I really should try to become more entertaining.
There was no warning. I left it, had my tea, watched a little TV and pottered back into my library, where the computer is installed on my desk. Or, to be more accurate, I pottered back into the dining room where my computer sits on our dining table, amongst various piles of papers.
The screensaver was stuck. I had to switch off and start it again. It was blue, which is never good news. I tried everything I could (mainly prodding a few buttons and hoping) but it remained broken. This is still the situation. This post is being typed on an ancient borrowed laptop.
The full story of my technological incompetence will probably never be revealed. My full catalogue of ineptitude is, I hope, going to remain under wraps. But my hatred of the 21st Century will be reported in full.
An example? To use this computer, I have to put up with notices from Spotify and Microsoft about doing things to get full access. Why? All I want to do is use a computer, I don’t need outside help. Similarly, when I tried to download Apache Open Office it won’t let me. I need the permission of the Administrator, as it calls Number One Son. He can’t give permission, because he’s forgotten the password and I, as a result, can’t do any word processing.
It shouldn’t be like that. We paid for these computers, we should be allowed to use them.
First, I had problems with my ASDA on-line order. Noticing they were advertising delivery slots for Christmas week I followed the link and booked the last available slot for Christmas week – Monday at 10pm. It’s not great, and it’s expensive at £6, but it’s better than spreading virus.
Unfortunately, instead of setting up a new delivery I moved today’s delivery to Christmas week. That cancelled today’s delivery, so I rang Customer Services to see if they could reinstate it. It seems they can’t. Or, they probably can, but they won’t. Their advice – to book another slot. Unfortunately the nearest one is three days away, which isn’t very useful as it will impact on next week’s shopping. Easier to work out of the stock cupboard and miss a week.
This is the second time I’ve messed up ion the ASDA site, but so far I haven’t had the same problem on TESCO’s site or eBay or Amazon. It’s just possible that ASDA’s site design needs tweaking to allow for customer stupidity. Everyone else does. I may give an order to TESCO and cancel the ASDA one nearer Christmas, as TESCO has things I prefer and because ASDA must suffer for poor service.
Second, I had more shredder woes. I have, however, managed to sort most of that out. Due to limited space I’ve been using a book as a mouse mat, and putting it on top of the shredder, which is in a good position for it. (Top Birding Spots in Britain and Ireland by David Tipling, in case you are interested). I noted thast the orange “full” light comes on when the book is placed in acertain position, stopping the shredder. I think the book may be activating the automatic cut-off, suggesting that the sensor is badly set. Ah well, at least I know now, and will remove the book fully before starting to shred.
Finally, just before midnight, the computer ground to a halt. It took over two hours to restore it to something like working order, though it’s still a bit slow and it now makes a different noise. It looks like time for decisive action. I’m hoping it lasts long enough for me to order a new computer on-line.
Not a very productive day in the end, though I did get a few things done.
Today I am hoping to produce a writer biography, shave my head and do the washing up. They are small ambitions, but it’s a start. I may delay the head shaving until I feel my luck has changed, otherwise I may remove an ear. I don’t mind having one ear, but it will make it tricky to wear glasses and masks, so it’s better to have two.
I will alter my plans to – produce a writer biography, do the washing up, order a new computer.
We didn’t, I must confess, get much work done today. Well, not much work of a decluttering nature. I spent most of the morning writing instead of working and Julia spent most of the day preparing for an art session she is running tomorrow. It won’t be appreciated by the organisation, though the clients will enjoy it. That seems to be the way of things at the moment. Normally, when I dream of winning the lottery, I see myself giving a month’s notice and acting as a responsible employee should.
However, if we win enough (my normal £2 win won’t be enough, I’m afraid) I’m going to take great pleasure in listening to Julia’s end of the phone call where she rings up the morning after the win and hands in her notice instantly.
There’s a £70 million rollover on Friday. If I win that I will suggest that we retire early.
Then I locked my keyboard. Not entirely sure how I did it, but I did. The computer was supposed to be off but it switched itself on and when I got back to it, after stacking stuff all over the table, there were messages on the screen. One must have related to locking the keyboard, because that is what happened.
I got Julia to look up how to unlock a keyboard, but it didn’t work. So I tried the old keyboard we had hanging around. It wouldn’t plug into the back of the computer. Fortunately we had a third one, the one I used to use with my laptop on the farm (yes, we really do need to declutter – but look how useful it is to have three keyboards). This one plugs into a USB port and fortunately the computer, though old, does have several, so I was able to connect it up and get going. I really do hate computers…
…and computers feel the same way about me.
If I win the £70 million at the weekend I will probably get a new computer too. But mainly I will buy myself a house enclosed in a bubble, with filtered air and an airlock for a door so the grocery delivery man can deliver them without breathing on me. Let nobody accuse me of not taking Covid seriously.
This is not at all like I used to dream of spending my lottery winnings.
I must say I’m finding the titling of the posts a lot easier this week, though I’m not sure what to do next week. I might insert “Another” into the title, or “Next”. That will see me through another seven days. However, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
One of the computers is working again in the shop. It seems it’s a well known quirk of that computer and often occurs after automatic updates. You cure it by repeatedly pressing f11 as soon as a message appears on the screen.
When I say “well known” I mean well known to one of us. If the rest of us had known we would have fixed it. Communication is important in business but is often ignored.
I have a haibun out in Failed Haiku. You will have to scroll down to find Simon Wilson, though there are a lot of good things to read on the way down. The submission requirement this month was that the prose portion of the haibun should be fifty words or less.
If you want to know more about Southwold Pier (that’s what the haibun is about) try this post, or this post. Actually, now I check those two, you also need this one. The haibun is a bit pretentious and, if you like to know these things, actually relates to two different visits – the rude woman visit from several years ago and the visit the week before lockdown, where everyone had fled to their holiday homes to sit out the plague.
The pictures feature my new glasses. The featured image is the box with four pairs remaining. The other image which I am going to title “Study Number 1” is me in Serengeti mode, with my zebra mask and zebra glasses, though they look more than slightly polka dot to me. The general impression of a village idiot with a camera is enhanced by my self-inflicted lockdown haircut and the suspicion of Old Testament which hangs around my beard.
We had an interesting day in the shop today, but I expect you gathered that from the title. I really need to work on my titles. They should tantalise rather than tell all in the first few words.
Last week, which I don’t think I have told you, I switched on my computer in the shop and it wouldn’t go. We eventually narrowed this down to a power supply issue. Apparently the flashing amber lights that happen when a computer breaks down aren’t random, they are a coded breakdown message.
We rang the customer who attends to our computer needs and he was on his way to the airport for a holiday. He said that we should disconnect the computer from the mains, take the cover off, look for a silver box, take the serial number off it and see if we could buy another on eBay. Even an idiot can replace it, he said. No chance. I’ve done that sort of thing before and I know how the story ends. Tears, regrets and the smell of burning…
So this morning, being first in, I switched the other computer on. A few minutes later I noticed it didn’t seem to be working, so I did it again in case I had done it wrong.
Again, nothing. So I tried a third time and sat and watched the screen. According to the message that flashed briefly onto the screen before it went dead, it can’t find the hard drive. Seems simple enough to me, and if I can do it you’d think something with a brain like a computer would be able to do it.
I tried switching it on and off a few times. Disconnected all the plugs and stuff, then plugged them all back in. Tried again. Administered a good sharp tap to the top of the case. All the usual.
I am developing a bit of a reputation for breaking computers.
I decided to make a cup of coffee, but having developed a sixth sense about these things over the years, sniffed the milk first. We had black coffee. After years of inadequate refrigeration on farms and in shops you soon learn that the question “One lump or two?” doesn’t always refer to the sugar.
I am writing this on a computer that has, according to the date of the last file I saved, not run since 2012. It has been switched off so long that we had to reset the clock before Google would allow us access. And, to even get to that point, we had to find the yellow cable that connects it to the router, as it has no wireless capability.
It runs on Vista and Microsoft Word 2010 and is a pleasure to use after so many weeks on the netbook.
The netbook was a mixed blessing, but it kept me going and I have been very grateful for it, despite my more than occasional criticism of its lack of speed.
All I need to do is wipe away six year’s supply of dust and spider webs, and it will be almost as good as new.
I say “almost” because there is the question of the On/Off switch.
There isn’t one. It broke and for the last six months of its active life I had to start the computer by hotwiring it, or, for those of you unaccustomed to the vernacular of the street (well, the 1970s street) touching two bare wires together.
It works, and more important, it cost nothing to do. These are two factors that are close to my heart.
That’s probably the biggest news of the day, though my three-centre medical excursion seemed big until we got the computer running.
It started with a visit to the doctor at 8.00 to discuss the pain in my little finger. At this point I’d like to say, because I have difficulty getting this point over to the medical profession, that although I don’t like to complain it is very difficult having an arthritic little finger. It doesn’t seem like much but it can be remarkably painful and it makes everyday life (like tucking my shirt in, packing parcels or washing up) painful and difficult, though the washing up water is very soothing.
So far it’s taken me a week to get the X-ray appointment, ten days to get the results and ten days to get this appointment (that could have been a week, but it would have meant missing work, and I don’t want that).
So are they going to give me anti-inflammatories, you ask, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?
The X-ray, I’m told is not typical of osteo-artritis so they need to find out exactly what is happening. Two arthritic fingers, two different types of arthritis. What are the chances of that? I can’t win a lottery, but when it comes to medical curiosities I lead the field. Having said that, I just looked up the different sorts of arthritis and am feeling slightly less blase about it now.
They sent me for blood tests. Eight blood tests. That’s nearly an armful. (I put that bit in for you Derrick).
After the blood tests I went for my 9.30 chest X-ray appointment.
In a week or so the results will be in.
At that point, you ask, will they give me anti-inflammatories, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?
At that point they are going to get me an appointment with a specialist.
Still no charger, so it’s another quick post. Hopefully the new charger will be here tomorrow. If not, I have made sure I know my password and will have to access WP from work.
Day off today. Went for drive to do a few errands. Beautiful day. Loads of lovely photo opportunities which I didn’t have time for.
This afternoon it went grey then gave way to hail, then snow, then wintry showers. So many words for frozen water. Inuit take note.
At that point my battery ran out. My foresight in writing down my passwords has proved useful and I am now continuing on Julia’s old netbook. It’s slow, the screen is small and I just spent five minutes trying to clear a random full stop which turned out to be a speck on the screen. However, I am grateful that it has a working charger.
I was caught out by the shower this afternoon so I’m feeling cold and miserable at the moment. I may have to take a remedial nap.
Hopefully I will have the charger tomorrow. Until then, I will probably be silent as it’s surprisingly difficult adapting to the technology of a netbook.
Just a quick post. Number Two son has been called in to work early so I want to squeeze a post in before going out.
I also have to make tea. This is potato wedges, veggie burgers and beans, rather than the comforting beverage. It’s just a modern twist on the old favourite – burger, beans and chips. We are, as you can probably guess, not familiar with the concept of fine dining. On the other hand, I’ve never been mistaken for a bag of bones.
I had a strange experience with the printer at work yesterday. It refused to connect to my computer. Everyone else could connect with no problem. Eddie printed out the compliments slips I needed and a while later Mark printed out two invoices.
After half an hour of messing about unsuccessfully, including restarting, reloading and reswearing, I gave up, got back to work and decided to restart the router at the end of the day. I thought the end of the day would be a good time, as it would, the way my luck was going, probably wreck our entire network.
A couple of hours later the printer chugged into life and disgorged two pages of printing. Fortunately I’d cancelled the other print jobs that had failed or I’d probably have ended up knee deep in paper.
I haven’t a clue why it suddenly started working.
When we were finishing, I passed Mark his invoices. He was surprised. He’d forgotten all about them because they were part of a job he’d tried to print 12 days previously. Yes, twelve days! Printers truly are a mystery…
We just had an interesting problem. Julia is working with an old notepad, or whatever we used to call small computers before we had all the stuff you can get now. You know the one – it looks like a small laptop instead of the current ones, which look like large phones. Having said that, a lot of phones also look like large phones compared to the old-fashioned phones. Life, and fashion, can be strange.
After charging and setting it going she found the screen was upside down. It took ages to sort out, particularly as she can’t read upside down. I can, as it’s a useful skill to have when visiting offices and trying to sell things to people. She was adopting a female approach – logic and trying all the buttons in an orderly fashion. I tried route one – went on my laptop and typed in “upside down screen”. Thirty seconds later the problem was solved. Sometimes a direct approach is best.
I’m now basking in self-congratulation. Julia is, it seems, unmoved by my brilliance.
To be fair, she’s probably still confused that I didn’t try hitting it,which always used to be my preferred option. Over the years I’ve discovered that hitting computers hardly ever works. That’s a feature I’d like to see on modern technology – a special reset switch that activates when you hit the malfunctioning item.
The answer, in case you ever need it, is – Control + Alt + the Up arrow.
I’ve finished my list of local Farmers’ Markets, though it’s likely to be of limited use to most of my readers. If anyone wants a copy (covering approximately a 40 miles radius round Nottingham) let me know and I’ll send you a copy. There are 26 of them.
The poppy photo? Well, I always like to have a photo if I can, and it seemed seasonal.