Tag Archives: Tech Stuff

Workarounds and sidesteps

Have managed to get around WordPress defaulting to their silly ‘bingledy beep boop’ whatever post editor by ducking out to the main WP admin page and launching the post editor from the sidebar. Bit of a pain, but at least I’m now back in the driving seat.

Unlike the presenters of Top Gear. May has quit. He, Clarkson, Hammond and the shows old producer who also quit, Andy Wilman, have been meeting up, possibly to discuss creating a whole new car show. They won’t be able to call their new show Top Gear of course, but there are a bunch of digital channels that will happily fork out part of their budget, and sponsorship can fund the rest. It’s as good a workaround as any. As for marketing and distribution; globally there’s a host of avid ex-Top Gear fans who will gobble up the content as soon as it’s uploaded, sidestepping any attempts at restriction. The advertisers and sponsors who get on board with any new show hosted by the three goofs will make a mint, while any BBC relaunched Top Gear will sink slowly into the self imposed mire of BBC politically correct green lunacy, rarely to be seen again as they try to impose Hybrid solar self driven cars with backup wind turbines on the market. Unless the Beeb by some miracle rediscovers the personality magic that made Clarkson, Hammond and May work so well. Breath will not be held waiting for that to happen.

Eco Friendly Stig NotSo the blokey car show is not dead, It will come back under another name simply because the audience is there. Despite the wishes of the politically active but personally inept. Life’s like that.

As a side note; the law of unintended consequences was last seen gleefully prancing in through the back door of the BBC TV centre, up the back stairs and out through an emergency exit with a whole tranche of future BBC revenue.

Beep bloody boop bolleaux

I like WordPress, I really do. As a blog platform it works, or should I rather say worked. I know it’s free and the mildly customisable templates are free, the widgets are not as adaptable as other blog platforms, but that’s by the by. I like the anti-spam and IP blocking features which help keep the trolls at bay. All that was needed was to engage one’s intellect a little, and it’s a solid piece of kit. Which in my book is high praise. The only thing that is scrolling my knurd at the moment is the way it’s defaulting to this bloody silly ‘Beep, beep, boop’ post editor.

FFS! Who decided that a lower function, less intuitive, far slower to load post editor was a good idea. I mean, seriously guys. It dumbs down the whole platform and has me wondering aloud if there’s something better than WordPress out there. Blogger was once a decent platform until it became too hidebound, too vulnerable. There’s Tumblr and Pinterest of course, but neither fit my needs as a small time billy no mates of the blogosphere. Ghost might be a good idea, but it’s not really free. The software is, but the hosting isn’t.

There’s a bunch of others which I’ll be investigating over the next week or so. Or WordPress could ditch the ‘beep,boop, bloody beep’ crap and let everyone use the classic interface which loads cleanly and without kitsch. Not that I expect anyone to be listening, but it would be nice if they dropped the cutesy nonsense, which frankly chums, is a bit too girly for my liking.

Google off

I’ve dropped the once but no longer useful Google as a search engine as they have made the decision to be the arbiter of ‘truth’ on the jolly old Interweb. Google will now rank websites based on the Google decided amount of ‘truthiness’ of a sites content. Now isn’t that something the original Googlers told us they would never do? Besides, apart from loading the algorithms, which may have the law of unforeseen consequences bounding out into the limelight as usual I can’t see the benefit. Especially when sites that have forked out good money to the advertising arm of said organisation find themselves losing web traffic, yet have had their rank adjusted downwards for reduced ‘truth’ levels. How are Google going to vet all the sites on the Internet? Also, who gets to say what the ‘truth’ is? Especially surrounding areas of controversy? Put your lawyers on danger money, baby.

The problem is that Google has become the victim of its own success. It became big enough for the political and corporate world to take notice and insert their insidious tentacles into the enterprise (I’m told there are Manga web sites that cater for just such proclivities). In order to ‘go along and get along’ Google will toe their new masters line, warping their search engine to fit in with various corporate and political orthodoxies, serving up the version they are told into a neat little pre-package of ‘truth’, ranking web sites accordingly. Which will go down like a lead balloon with the Interweb’s more discerning abusers. It’s fun to Fisk.

After little more than a week of switching search engines from http://google.com / co.uk / .ca to the highly functional http://duckduckgo.com in three of the five browsers I regularly use, my spyware detection programme is showing a marked decrease in detected threats. My antivirus and both firewall logs also show a marked decrease in recorded threats.

Without having more than a three scan dataset off each, it’s hard to quantify the actual percentage, but using Google as my search engine meant I was getting around 150-155 spyware ‘threats’ every five days, much of which were those cheeky little web tracking cookies. Now I’m only logging 85-95. My web usage hasn’t varied that much either, apart from switching search engines.

To be honest I’m quite pleasantly surprised. Security scans take only two thirds the time they did less than a fortnight ago. I may even end up dropping Chrome as a browser. Who knows?

Peeback time

I was reading the National Post this morning, and just before delving into the Financial pages, I came across this little gem of a tale. Apparently there’s a type of paint with the property of ‘reflecting’ fluid. Originally designed to keep cars cleaner, it’s now being deployed around the Red Light district in Hamburg, Germany.

Watch the video. Yers, I know it’s in German, but who says they don’t have a sense of humour?

Suggestions for other uses on the back of a very soggy envelope please.

Update: How to make a low cost version of this moisture resistant finish using Anti-Perspirant and spray on plastic coating (Sorry about the Torch commercial);

Speeding up

I’ve just moved my office space into the sun room behind the kitchen and very nice it is too. Not too warm, not too cold, and a decent view. Only one issue; because of where the Cable guy wired in our modem, the wi-fi router is at the front of the house. Which means I get a wi-fi signal of under forty percent. Downloads were like watching treacle pour, streaming bandwidth felt restrictive and meant every YouTube video I tried to watch stopped and started like they were running on a 56kb telephone link.

So yesterday I elected to spend a few bucks on a wi-fi extender. Being a cautious kind of person I went to the local Future Shop and purchased A Linksys N300 extender for sixty bucks. Linksys used to be owned by Cisco, I have a Cisco Wi-fi router which has worked flawlessly since we bought it for under a hundred bucks about three years ago when our last Belkin router died. As an aside; we’ve had two Belkin Routers – they’re cheap and cheerful, but that’s the best that can be said for them. So I thought, yeah, great. Linksys don’t do duff kit (Insert ironic laugh here). How wrong can you be? After two hours of teeth grinding, finding out that Belkin had bought out Linksys and a demanded charge of twenty five dollars for tech support on a brand new item. Not to mention the setup programme crashing two browsers and taking me to a BSOD. At which point I thought “Bugger all this for a lark.” And hiked back to Future Shop with the offending item. This time I purchased a NetGear WN3000RP Universal WiFi Range Extender which cost just over ten bucks more. I avoided the D-Link N300. Cheap it might be, but I haven’t worked in Tech support for a while and I’ve got better things to do with my life than fuss over issues which shouldn’t exist. Half an hour later after a minor panic looking for my Wi-Fi SSID password I’m home with a 95% plus signal in my new office and a very happy bunny indeed. Yes, the NetGear Extender does create a new Wi-Fi network segment to manage, but the improved signal more than makes up for the minor inconvenience and best of all, no need to delve into my ageing laptops registry to fix problems caused by iffy setup programmes. Streaming video and downloads streak along at full tilt. I’m delighted. For under a hundred bucks the NetGear is good value for money, even if it does look a bit clunky. It works.

A conspiracy theory everyone can believe in

Awoke this morning to brilliant sunshine and mini avalanches sliding off the roof, thumping loudly onto the deck like bankers committing suicide. I think one of these slides may have taken four metres of guttering with it, so will report to the landlord. No biggie.

Now this is interesting. Over at ZeroHedge I read this, then went here to get the full skinny.

While these revelations are all very sinister and discomfitting, and as I’ve noted before, if the security services are out looking for trouble they’ll find it everywhere. Ultimately this gives you the uncomfortable feeling that we are all potential ‘targets’. Reminds me of working a particularly tough street where you knew the insults and abuse were going to start flying at some stage. Only to find the abuse throwers turn out to be the very people tasked with keeping the peace. Although they will claim not to be. Which raises the question; how is anyone to tell friend from foe any more? Because at the moment there is a distinct feeling going around that those supposedly tasked with public protection are actually the bad guys. Especially when one hears tales from our cousins in the south about getting put on by the tax man for being critical of the current administration.

What a chilling thought.

I’m also given to think now that this querulous moggy is well and truly out of the bag, every sad little troll who doesn’t like what someone says will start making sly asides, trying to give the impression that they’re working for the security services. Who have guns. The trolls aren’t and haven’t. There’s simply too much information out there, and security budgets are not unlimited. The tactics outlined will only be implemented by government agencies against hard targets with inimical intent. Or someone who annoys a politician. Or… oh dear. Imagination brake failure! O. M. G! Don’t panic. Don’t panic!

Seriously though. In the end it all boils down to trust. If you can’t trust the people tasked with public protection to mind their own gosh-darned business in their own country, who can you have faith in? No wonder other countries are laying cables, building their own Internets and people are developing ‘Blackphones‘.

This does not change my mind about the rest of the conspiracy theories, faked moon landings, flat Earth, 911 false flag, Area 51, aliens, man made global warming. They’re still all bunk.

To close;

Welcome back Anna

Anna Raccoon is back on the blogroll after being reported missing in inaction due to illness.

Absolutely delighted to see Anna back up and stumbling. Only sorry she trashed her blog layout which now needs rebuilding. I’m sure the magical Interweb wayback machine might be of some assistance here.

Big H/T to Leg Iron at Underdogs bite upwards

For those interested in Weather

A rational view is online at the doughty Mr Watts web site with explanations of current extreme and not so extreme weather phenomena. Anthony has organised this exposition of meteorological expertise in an online live TV event to counter the rather less scientific assertions of a certain failed presidential candidate.

Youtube clips will be available in the next few days.

Smart meter gossip

Wonder if anyone from Florida can assist on this one. One of my contacts within the local power utility was overheard saying something about ‘Smart meters’ being removed from various premises in that state. They weren’t specific on the reasons, and of course it’s purely tech gossip and therefore not to be trusted as gospel, but are there any locales where the not-so-smart meters are actually not going in due to local opposition / operational difficulties? Or even where they are being removed?

The local meter readers don’t seem to be being laid off Like they were when this whole business began, and indeed appear busier than ever.

There are all sorts of rumours flying around about the so-called ‘smart grids’ not having a snowballs chance in hell of going fully operational because important decisions have been made for political and aspirational reasons rather than technical feasibility. Unverified, but all the same…

That’s all I know for certain right now, but I am starting to hear metaphorical wheels squeaking from all the backpedaling going on in the background. Very interesting…. Pity it’s eaten up so much taxpayer subsidy in these straitened times.

More changes to the point of view.

Have made a few alterations to the look of the blog. Comments and such are on the front page now, but you`ll have to scroll way down to the bottom as with this theme there is no room for sidebars. I did toy with the idea of an animated header, but that would have been a little over the top, even for me.

Stepdaughters are on their travels shortly. One back to blighty to complete legal studies, the other to Africa, and thence to Australia to work. We`re subbing them out of course, and they are staying with friends and family, so no rent and food bills etc. We`ll get the payback in later years, seeing them comfortably ensconced in good careers. Not that this will be appreciated, but that`s my cynicism for you. There it is! I was wondering where it had gone!

No doubt they will have many travelers tales to recount about the long wait at immigration at Heathrow and how many times they were searched on the way to see certain events at the London Olympics. Not that I`d go myself, worked there for a few years and had a bellyful. Sure the money`s not bad, but quite frankly I`d rather bed down in a nest of rattlesnakes. However, we all have to learn for ourselves.

The sun is taking a rest break behind clouds for the next four days, which will give my sunburn time to turn into tan. The pool is covered and there is work to do.