Category: computers

the night before the end of the world!

At least that is what the weather man would have us believe, apparently it will be a little windy with some rain for the next couple of days probably nothing we have not faced before or will do again in the future (assuming survive the weathermen’s forecast).

Last time I mentioned about going to the gym, well I have not been for about three weeks now, couple of weeks ago the wife was working on Sunday so son and I went for a wander, well about 50yds and then ouch!! my calf muscle pulled, it did not feel like anything special so I decided to try and walk it off. Well after about 3/4 of a mile I realised that it was not working and we would have to return to where I had parked. By the time we got back to the van my son had learn a whole new vocabulary, one I which I never hear him use (unless he is equally in pain). What is more annoying about this is I was signed off from the physio on the previous Monday. Think I will be booking a doctors appointment this week to get referred again and see if the doc will investigate my calf muscles problems. It not the same muscle this time, previously the pain had been in the back of the calf but this pain is in the inside of my leg at calf level.

My love of Microsoft windows has always been a bit of a love-hate relationship, over this past week it has become a I love to hate them relationship. First I get a new Laptop for work, it had Windows 8 on it. I had previously had a couple of short plays with it and hated it but knowing that not going to stop it from being used at work I decided it was time to get better acquainted. I also waited until the 8.1 upgrade was available as well so a new laptop was duly ordered.

The first problem (well not a problem but a time consuming task) was to make backup disks of the installed Windows 7. A couple of hours and 3 dvd later I had a set of Windows 7 recovery disks. I then set about feeding the 3 Windows 8 DVD into the laptop and after another couple of hours I had a login screen, at this point I went to bed. I took the laptop with me to work the following day intending to download and install the 8.1 upgrade and install all the other bits of software, wrong! The PC refused to boot to the login screen saying it could not continue the update process?? So instead I sat there feeding the 3 Windows 8 recovery DVD into the laptop again. This time the install took twice as long as the previous nights attempt, something had certainly gone wrong the previous night. Once I had Windows 8 installed on the laptop I spent an hour or so trying to find the update for Windows 8.1. Turns out I had to download and install 320MB of updates to update Windows 8 before I was allowed to install the 8.1 update which weighed in at a staggering 3.2GB!!! So it took nearly two days to get to a point of having a working laptop with Windows 8.1 on it, is this the price of progress??

My other reason for my hate of Microsoft and Windows (and quite possibly Cisco) this week is my home PC, for the third time in about 6 months Cisco VPN client has stopped working on my PC (I need this to connect to the my place of work so I can work from home). To complete remove Cisco from the PC you have to hack the registry by hand to remove entries that Cisco does not remove when you un-install the VPN client software. Well despite following the instructions certain networking bits of my PC don’t work any more, not sure if I can resolve this or I am going to have to wipe the PC and start again.

Tonight music clip, one of my favourite bands because in the 1970’s there were not to many bands that had both Violinists and Cellists has a regular members of the band but ELO did

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Trying to think of something different

OK lets play catchup, diet, losing weight but slowly but at least it is in the right direction. My knee, still not right but a lot better than it was, have to go for an x-ray on my knee (when I remember to book the appointment). Still not been out on the bike, either because of my knee or the lousy weather, hopefully next (Easter) weekend. Decorating, not finished yet but the end is in sight (by Good Friday) then we can get the new carpet laid. So that is what I have been up to for the last few weeks.

As far as decorating goes, the wife is already talking about the next room to be decorated (the bedroom). As you can imagine I am over the moon at this idea although it would be nice to get the damaged ceiling repaired after the water tank leak last year and to be perfectly honest. To be honest I did start decorating the bedroom some years ago (had to install some fitted wardrobes) and it never got finished. Not sure I am going to enjoys this.

Going back to cycling for a minute, since the new year I have amassed a small supply of new cycling bits. I have a new chain, new cassette (that is the nine gears on the rear wheel for you non-cycling readers), new chain rings (that is the three gears where you pedal) and new jockey wheels which will all be fitted once I have wrung the last once of life out of the current items. Two pairs of tyres, one pair I am using now and a pair for the summer. I have also purchased a new cycling helmet, a Mucky Nutz mudguard (click on the link if you don’t believe me), a pair of cycling shoes (something I have never had, always used old trainers) and finally a new pair of sun glasses and guess what? I am not even cycling at the moment, I think the last timed I rode my bike was on the 20th January, really need to sort this out.

Finally communication companies why are they so difficult to communicate with? I have fallen out with two of them in the last 24 hours. The first were 3 the mobile company, they have been chasing my daughter after a hic-up at the bank. She has phoned them and resolved the problem, but do you think they understand that? Not content with phoning the home phone everyday this past week they phoned the home phone 4 times yesterday (Saturday). On the third phone call the wife explained again that the daughter was not in and was at work and to please stop calling us. Well a little while later the 4th call arrived on our home phone. Again it came from a far east call centre where understanding what you were being asked or told is difficult enough. But I just exploded at the women on the phone, I told her that our daughter was not at home and she was working. I told her that I know my daughter had had a problem and she had contacted 3 and resolved the issue and that under no circumstance were they to call us again otherwise I would really blow my top. I think she might of userstood as we have not had another call………………..touch wood (an old style office desk).

Secondly I was trying to watch iPlayer last night and it started to buffer, the internet had been a bit slow for the past few days. So I went along to SpeedTest.Net and ran a test, below is the result


For those technophobes out there, I have a 10mbps connection the above results is very poor. Having recently found Virgin Media have a Facebook page I posted the above picture and asked what was going on. I went back to the Virgin media Facebook page about 20 minutes after posting and my post had been removed. Hope they are that quick to resolve problems when I phone them tomorrow.

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down, up, down but always onwards

That how it feels at the moment, things look better and as soon as you feel happy it is back downhill again. But it is always onwards…………………..

Booked a few days holiday last week (well 9 in fact) so I am not working any Friday between now and the new year which is good and I also have a whole week off as well. Had the first Friday off just gone and made the effort to get out on the bike. I was a bit unsure where to go so I opted for the easy option and go to Moors Valley. I had noticed a small path leading off the main trail at the start so I thought I would find out where it went. Well it was nothing exciting that was for sure so I won’t be going down that way again.

After one lap of the trail which included a detour due to tree felling I just went for a ride around the forest, nothing exciting just lots of deep tyre tracks (from tree felling machinery) to negotiate in soft sand and mud, got back to where I parked at about the time I had intended to. My legs felt very achy that night so I guessed I pushed it a bit.

Was hoping for a quiet weekend except the servers had a different idea though, well it was not the servers fault there was a power cut Saturday afternoon but the servers were not the least bit co-operative about starting up properly Sunday morning.

OK it is getting on for Christmas and all the big companies have their Christmas adverts are on, John Lewis is no exception. They are using a copy of the 1984 Frankie goes to Hollywood Christmas song “The Power of Love”, Gabrielle Aplin tries hard but unfortunately it is not a match for the original. If you have not seen the advert yet you, see the video below and so you can compare the original version is the bottom video, hope you enjoy

NOTE: Video’s now sorted



damm internet

Thursday was my day for my trip to head office, this involve me getting up early and leaving the house somewhere between 5:45am and 6am. Well this Thursday I got up early as usual checked my e-mails and checked on what the world had been doing while I slept (read the news) and then left for the long drive. About 7:30am I get a phone call from the wife, “the internet has gone down” I directed her in the normal course of action (turn the router off and wait at least 30 minutes before turning it back on again) while cursing Virgin Media under my breath. At 9:30am I got another call informing me it was still down, again I cursed Virgin media. Regular reader of my blog will know of my problems over the past few months with my Internet connection and Virgin media, so I started to prepare myself with a phone call to a call centre in the far east upon my return home.

Imagine my surprise then when I got home only to find my Internet connection was working but all the computer were unable to access the Internet unless they were on wireless. Turns out that my network switch had died at sometime between me leaving the house and the wife getting up. Worse still I did not have a spare network switch, or at least I did not think I had. It suddenly dawned on me while watching TV several hours later that I did have a 4 port network switch, which was older than the one that had died somewhere, yes it was somewhere……….

After searching several cardboard boxes box and storage containers I eventually found said switch sat on a table buried under a load of stuff, can’t remember when I last used it, let alone how it got on the table. So after 20 minutes of rummaging under the desk chasing cables and untying knots (exactly how do those knots get in those cables??) my network of PC’s were talking to the outside world again. I was unable to get a replacement network switch until today so have not been able to print or listen to my music.

I was due to call Virgin media on Friday but I was busy during the day and never got time to. Wednesday the 16th was the last date that Virgin media gave for fixing the problems and to be honest I am not sure if it has been fixed or not. I have not had the freezing web page updates that I was getting, but then it not as fast it has been so waiting till later next week to contact Virgin will give me a better idea if it is fixed or not.

Just hope that I don’t get any more problems with the Internet connection at home, I have had enough over the past few weeks.

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plans go out the window

This past week I had Monday and Tuesday as holiday. I have already blogged about the ride on Monday and that I had plans for riding Tuesday. Apparently that plan went out the window at about 9:15pm Monday night and 12:15am Tuesday morning. 9:15pm was when I was playing with my PC and broke it, I was fiddling with the operating system and done something I could not undo. To be honest I was not to concerned because I had been thinking of reinstalling a different operating system as I was not a 100% happy with the one I had.

So I went to bed knowing that at sometime on Tuesday I would have to install a new operating system on my PC. But as I slept I was unaware that our Virginmedia broadband connection crashed. I can be precise with the timing as the daughter was playing online on her xbox. So Tuesday morning when I came downstairs for breakfast, I was greeted with the words “morning, the internet don’t work” in stereo from my son and wife.

Now fumbling around with a broken Internet connection and a PC that won’t do what you want it to do over your fruit and fibre is not a good start to the day. It soon became apparent that the broadband connection would require a call to Virginmedia, that alone is enough to raise the blood pressure. I decided to phone early as my thought were a) get it sorted and still go out for a bike ride, b) it would be quieter earlier in the day rather than later in the day. So phoning Virginmedia involved one call getting lost in their phone menu system, a second call where I was told I would be on hold for 20 minute and the phone was answered within 30 seconds!! Unfortunately the fix was not as quick as their call answering.

The guy on tech support confirmed that I had no signal (well I knew that I told him) and apparently the problem was due to an on going issue in our area, oh the one I reported in May, the very same problem I have been discussions with Virginmedia’s complaint department!! Apparently the long term fix has now moved out to 16th November but my service should be restored shortly, how shortly I asked, shortly I was told, I hung up and decided to sort my PC.

Now I am fortunate as I have a Virginmedia’s cable broadband connection and a ADSL broadband connection (for work). Now this is where thing got worse, no matter what I did my PC did not want to talk to the ADSL line (needed to download updates etc.), when I did convince my PC to talk to the ADSL line (shortly after the threat to throw it out the window) it was slow.

Then I had to have three attempts to install the new operating system on my PC, I think it was because I still had this illusion that I was going out for a ride and I was rushing as I could see the time ticking away. By 3pm I had given up on the idea of going for a ride and decided to take out my frustration on Virginmedia’s tech support again as my connection was still not working, so I phoned them again.

Oh the joy, an Indian call centre, I had now lost the will to live. The happy young lady from India was not able to help at all, she could see that I had no connection and told me according to her records that I had been given a reconnection time of the 16th November, Pardon? “no sorry sir that should be 9am tomorrow morning, I’m sorry, I read the wrong bit!!”

I hung up and decided to watch afternoon TV, then the strangest thing happened, I was still flicking through the TV channels to find something to watch when I noticed that the lights on the router had come back on indicating there was an Internet connection connection. Now this is strange for just one reason, the last time I phoned Virginmedia tech support with a problem I got put through to the Indian call centre, exactly the same thing happened. They could not help me on the phone but within 5 minutes of putting the phone down the internet service was back up and running. It has been OK since, I say OK as we still have the same problem we have had since May.

The install of the operating system sped up once the PC was connected to the Virginmedia. But it does not matter how quickly you get the software installed on the PC it takes an absolute age to get all the programs and setting how you like it, for example, I have only just got my Google calendar back up and working with Thunderbird e-mail client tonight and there is still other bits to sort out.

I will post about today’s ride and tomorrow ride tomorrow night…………hopefully