Friday, December 3rd 2010

Winter arrives early

It may not officially start until December 21st but it sure feels like winter this week, with temperatures plummeting south of zero bringing with it cold winds, freezing fog, snow and ice. For the past few days the ground outside has been carpeted in ankle deep snow much to the amusement of children or frustration of adults, depending which way you look. I’ve swapped my autumn duvet for a heavier winter one, started eating hot breakfast cereals, and am now wearing fleece sweaters in an effort to stay warm. The central heating system is struggling to keep the house warm especially as we still have a large opening in the living room leading into the extension. I’ve had to roll out my oil filled portable radiators as a supplementary source of heat.

For me this kind of weather always brings with it the concern about how my carers are going to cope with reaching me. I can remember back at the beginning of this year when we had terrible weather how difficult it was for people to get to the house. Fortunately it’s not as bad as that yet and the main roads are being kept clear. However it is the housing estate roads that present a problem and this of course is where everyone lives! I have to say though that so far reliability has not been an issue, and although on a few occasions I’ve needed to go to bed slightly earlier so that people can get home safely, that’s been the only (minor) ‘inconvenience’ the weather has caused me.

No sign of the builders this week although we have managed to get the bathroom floor laid by one of their contractors. As soon as I get some pictures I’ll upload them. Apparently the bathroom is looking rather nice so I’ve been told. Overall though we seem to be slipping behind as originally I was being told that it should all be finished by the end of November. The way things are going it will be a close thing if I get in before Christmas.

New computermabob!

Most of my spare time this week has been tied up installing and configuring software. Pretty much all the software is new as I took the opportunity to update to the latest versions so that I could take advantage of new features and also be assured that everything would work under Windows 7. Now in the days before I became disabled I would have been eagerly looking forward to learning the ins and outs of all these software packages, but nowadays though I prefer a bit of familiarity so that I can at least be reasonably productive. It takes a while to discover/create ways to voice control software so it is very frustrating when you discover that features you knew how to control in one version have now been modified/moved/removed in the latest version. But there have been some pleasant surprises too. Upgrading to Photoshop Elements 9 for instance has at last meant being able to use it with my Dragon voice recognition software. Previously with version 5 I had to unload Dragon from memory as Elements would not even load. I was also pleased to discover that even my six year old Microsoft Money 2004 seems to work perfectly with Windows 7.

One area I did have concern about was my e-book collection purchased through the Amazon Kindle store. These are heavily protected by DRM (digital rights management) software (to prevent piracy) and are keyed to a user’s account and hardware. As my hardware was completely different would I still be able to read my books? Well the easiest way around this was simply to register my new computer as a new device in my Kindle account. As soon as I had done this and downloaded the latest version of the Kindle for PC software all my purchased books appeared in the archive section. It was a simple matter to click on each book and re-download it to my PC.

The computer, a Sony VAIO ‘E’ series is quite a nice little machine considering its pretty much at the bottom of their product line. As a general workhorse (and ultimately a backup machine) it should serve me well. It may not be as high spec as my old machine but three years of hardware development means that even this little machine is faster in some respects to my old one. Having 4 gigabytes of memory (instead of 2) certainly makes the machine seem a little more responsive, and memory hogs like my speech recognition software no longer swallow up all the resources. The larger hard drive will also allow me to store more media files effectively making it a very large jukebox. It will certainly be nice having instant access to a large part of my media collection. Now all I need is a way of getting my DVD collection onto an external drive so that I can access them all through a few mouse clicks. Anyone know if that’s possible?

My new Sony VAIO E series laptop

So as we close out the week I can finally look forward to actually getting some proper work done. All my regular programs, utilities and services have been set up and configured. I’m looking forward to seeing how stable and reliable Windows 7 actually is. It’s had a lot of good reviews so expectations are high. But to be honest, despite generally negative views, I never actually had any real issues with Windows Vista and found it to be very reliable over the course of three years. It was the hardware that eventually failed on my old machine.

One thing that did occur to me the other day as I sat looking at it was this: it will be the first computer I’ve bought that I will never touch!

Mark

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2 Responses to Friday, December 3rd 2010

  1. Elaine Schofield says:

    G’day Mark,
    I’ve just found your web site. I believe there is a treatment for many illnesses and conditions. I believe a treatment which I experimented with, which suppressed my horrific neurological symptoms within minutes, for a few hours, will help give better health to many who suffer neurological symptoms, regardless of diagnosis.
    .
    I had many tests, but nothing was diagnosed in relation to my symptoms and no medical cause was found. I’ve realized recently, that as I wasn’t diagnosed with anything in relation to my symptoms and no medical cause was found, I was in fact, treating my symptoms – NOT a diagnosis or cause.

    I’ve done a lot of research, experimentation, trial and error, and believe I know what I’m talking about.
    I’m happy to share my research and findings, if you’d like to email me.
    Regards
    Elaine

  2. CHRIS RUSSELL says:

    DEAR MARK,
    WITH REGARD TO YOUR REQUEST FOR ANY HELP WITH AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE FOR YOUR P.C.MY OWN COMPUTER WENT DOWN RECENTLY AND PASSED ON INTO THE RECYCLE WORLD OF DEAD COMPUTERS.
    A FRIEND MANAGED TO EXTRACT THE HARD DRIVE AND PUT MY EXTENSIVE MUSIC AND PHOTO COLLECTION ONTO A NEW EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE BY TRANSPORTING THE INFO FROM A CRIB ONTO A 1 TERRABYTE EXTERNAL CALLED A ”LACIE” WHICH IS AN EXTREMELY RUGGED INTERFACE.
    MY OWN NEW P.C. IS A MAC PRO 4 GIGABYTE BUT THAT NOW HAS THE ABILITY TO STORE A VAST AMOUNT.PERHAPS YOU COULD ENTERTAIN GETTING ONE OR EVEN REQUESTING SOME AID FROM THE MND ASSOCIATION.THEY HAVE BEEN VERY GOOD WITH ME.
    BATHROOM LOOKS GREAT.I’VE WAITED 8 MONTHS AND FINALLY HAD THE PLANS PRESENTED TO ME BY THE HOUSING ASSOCIATION.THEY WERE USELESS SO I’VE TOTALLY REDESIGNED THE LOT INCLUDING SOME MAJOR BUILDING WORKS TO REMOVE A CHIMNEY BREAST TO OBTAIN MORE ROOM FOR A ‘COS-O MAT”, PRESSALIT ELECTRIC BASIN (RISES AND MOVES SIDEWAYS) AND AN ANTI SCALD/PRESSURE FLUCTUATING ADJUSTING SHOWER WITH ECO DEC BASE TO WHEEL ONTO 1.75 METRES BY 1.2 METRES.ALAS!WILL NOT BE DONE FOR 3 MONTHS.HAVEN’T HAD A BATH FOR SIX WEEKS!
    CHIN UP AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    CHRIS RUSSELL

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