Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How to Hate windows 10 in Six Easy Lessons 2.

My computer goes on first thing in the morning and it stays on usually all day but if I don't send it to sleep it does it all by itself and I was getting tired of having to sign in every time it went to sleep so I decided to change its settings.  Surprise, Surprise -  it told me that I was not the administrator and that I was not allowed to change the settings. 

Today I tried to pay my bills online but it refused to allow me to sign in at my bank so I decided to do an error check  -  not allowed.  I am not the administrator!

I emailed Techie a couple of days ago about the issue but heard nothing.  At the same time I emailed a friend to suggest meeting for coffee and got no reply to that either.  I mentioned the previous email to Techie when I emailed him again today and he did not receive that previous email so I am assuming that my friend did not receive my invitation to coffee.  And that was via Gmail ... !  I thought that Gmail was incorruptible

Techie will try to get here to have a look tomorrow afternoon but in the meantime one thing which I WAS allowed to do was to extend the time before the computer puts itself to sleep.  It now has to entertain itself for four hours before it is allowed to drop off.  And I paid my Bills via my Surface Pro 3 which also has Windows 10 loaded but has less data on it and works better.  I hadn't connected it to my printer and so was not able to save the receipts.   At some stage I might invest in a wireless printer.  There is no hurry but the upgraded version of the one I have is wireless and not at all expensive.  For what I want it will be more than adequate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Many Degrees of Separation Was That?

I am currently collaborating  with a genealogist HB who is researching his wife's family which connects with my Ex's family so we are researching a family which has no real blood connection to either of us.

The internet is a wonderful tool for researching families and there are great tools to do it. is busy connecting any families which have a common person so I tend to find that there are people on my tree which I am sure I didn't put there.  However, I have been doing this stuff for years so who knows?  I may have come across them earlier in my research and forgotten about them.

I try to keep things compact but the trouble is that the further back one goes the more the thing spreads  -  and they all had so many children.  I have over 800 distant cousins in America and Canada (not in my tree), descended from John Pidwell, the brother of my great great grandmother Rhoda Pidwell. He was a shoemaker who went to Canada, married into an influential family and made good.  He bought and stocked a ship and sent it from Newfoundland around Cape Horn to California where he sold the cargo and the ship.  His father signed his marriage register with a cross.  It seems that the enterprising ones emigrated.

A few years ago a half third cousin and I researched our common great great great grandfather in Wales; David Davies.  His son Edward Davies emigrated to Australia and all that either of us knew was that he set up a tannery on the Yarra River in Melbourne.  And we found him   -  and his three wives   My cousin was probably descended from the second wife and I am descended from the third.  The Davies family had a habit of multiple marriages and I think that we found most of what there was to find.  My cousin has been chasing ffrosts ever since.  He said that they were so easy to find online and had such extraordinary names.

David Davies' son and grandson were both called Edward so they became Ted the Tanner and Ed the architect to distinguish them.  The ffrosts are descended from Ted the Tanner while Ed the Architect was my great grandfather.

Both HB and my Davies cousin live in Victoria and I live in Western Australia so there is little chance that we will ever meet face to face.  As I said previously the internet is wonderful for genealogical research and I have met some really nice people whom I consider to be friends regardless of never having met them face to face.

I am still at a sticking point with one great great grandfather and have various theories about him.  I thought that I had found him and still have the file where I stored his information; born in Cornwell (tick) and born the right year (tick) according to his navy records, but the British Navy says that their man was with them for his whole life  -  although his record shows that he was in his 30s when he enlisted.   More to the point, though, I am unable to find any birth or baptismal records for anyone of that name being born anywhere in Cornwall.

So it is back to the drawing board.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

How to Hate windows 10 in Six Easy Lessons I

I am currently typing out, prior to formatting to HTML, the Will of my Great Uncle RM.  Unlike  the Will of my Great Aunt AEMM (one solid block over three pages) this one is formatted after a fashion on a manual typewriter.  I have been trying to replicate it in MS Word 16 and it has been determined to do its own thing regarding formatting. 

Try as I will I cannot get it to do exactly what I want.  I have turned off 'automatic formatting' insofar as it will allow but am unable to move single lines to line the typing up with the line above.  I can use the Tab button but am unable to tab in a whole block and have to do it line by line .  I realise that I will have to use the paragraph inset button but it makes me long to be back in the manual typewriter days except for editing which was a real pain in the olden days. 

But auto-formatting is an intrusion and an irritation.  I think that I spent more time this afternoon trying to get the formatting right than I did actually typing out the Will itself.  My other complaint is that when I type the font looks tiny on the page (to fit on a smart phone) but I have learnt to my cost that, if I enlarge it, it ends up HUGE.  This blog only has five size options and I have gone for  'normal' but on the page it is fractionally small so the lesson which I was taught when I was learning to type is very relevant.  'No-one will bother to read a paragraph of more than seven lines.'

I have put in a couple of Oxford Commas to placate the grammar checker but it still thinks that two its in a row is wrong.  I mostly go through and remove commas but . . .

The Will is not nice; it is actually rather vindictive since one of the recipients of Uncle RM's estate had obviously borrowed heavily from his brother with little or no prospect of ever paying the money back. 

The folder where all this family information is stored has rightly been named SLUSH FUND and contains all the family information which no-one talked about.  I intend to save it for posterity so that no-one will again have to ask why Great Great Uncle Charles was the black sheep of the family.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Where there's a Will Part 2

Now that I have finally sorted out FTM and my family tree as far as, at this stage, I want to go with it I am starting to transcribe various family Wills which I have been gathering over the last couple of years.

I began, some time ago, with the Will of my maternal grandfather JM and deduced from the Will and its accompanying Codicil that he didn't believe that my grandfather and his twin brother had been fathered by him and as he was dying when the twins were conceived he  probably had a point.  This prompted me to send for the Wills of my grandfather's siblings which make amusing reading although the one which I am currently working on is very hard to read and is very explicit with lots of clauses  and going into great detail as to the disposition of her curtains, blinds, carpets and linoleums in the event of any of her heirs predeceasing her or having children who predeceased her.

I have just reached the interesting bits concerning her property in the Onkaparinga Hundreds and who got what and whatever.  Unfortunately the last page is almost unreadable but I have found that, becoming familiar with the style of the thing I can now read more than I could when I first received it.  I will do my best but there may be gaps.  The difficulty which I am having with the first two pages is that, like all legal documents from that time, it is typed on a bad typewriter, has little or no punctuation, is unformatted, is a solid block with no paragraphs and has been photocopied off from a bound volume so that the right edge is distorted.  I keep on losing my place ...

I have also transcribed the Will of my father's father which would probably not be legal in the here and now but was passed for Probate in 1933.  It was a bit of an eye-opener but not very interesting.  The one I am looking forward to is that of my great uncle RM whose Will is so nasty that it is funny.  I always suspected him of having a good sense of humour but what I didn't realise was how much he hated his brother JCM.  I have not bothered to get JCM's will  -  I suspect that he left nothing but debts.

And my great uncle and twin brother to my grandfather DM left, among his effects, thirteen sheep.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eureka - they're Back...!

My old files from pre-the Blue Screen of Death are back!  Or maybe they were there all the time and I just hadn't found them.  I have spent the evening just browsing through and enjoying having them safely there on my computer again.  Or, hopefully they are safe; I might load 'My Documents' onto a flash drive just to make sure.

Luckily all my travel photos are on CDs and my Family Tree is safe on although it took me about six hours to work out how to sync it.  Last time I needed to have Windows 10 reloaded it synced quickly and easily so I thought that it would be a doddle this time around.  Silly me!  It was only after I allowed hints and suggestions from that it allowed GEDCOM to sync my tree.  But it is all there and working so I am sending the B....more records back to their owner tomorrow.

D2 flies out tomorrow on her way to America for a conference on the use of Baclofen for alcohol addiction and has delivered her red car to 'the cage',  The silver one is being tweaked and may or may not be ready to come to my place for the duration  -  it may stay with its tweaker.  I think that she and Himself will be flying out on the same plane and both in Business Class.  D2 knows that there is the possibility but I haven't told Himself just in case they would both prefer to remain aloof from each other.  It is a long haul if you are stuck with someone you would rather not know and D2 intends to sleep all the way to Dubai.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Windows 10 again - hopefully the last word

Techie came here yesterday and downloaded the 'latest final version' of Windows 10.  There were some changes which have more or less become blurred with what went before but I have lost quite a bit of data  -  not the end of the world  -  but I had to reinstall Family Tree maker and it refused to sync with my family tree on

I spent, overall, about six hours trying to sync the tree from into FTM and FTM kept saying that the sync had failed but it was probably their fault and to try again.  I even went as far as to do a computer error check and uninstall and reload FTM.  I had tried various things but it was only when I agreed on the GEDCOM download place to accept citations from Ancestry that it allowed me to download my tree..

I downloaded several times, seemingly successfully but not  into FTM.  Eventually, in desperation, I dragged the file from 'Downloads' where it had come to rest into FTM which worked but then I had to sync it.  Hopefully it is now fully up and running and I can continue entering the B...more data.

The other disaster this morning was that I decided to click on a second icon on the start page and found that I was suddenly a different person with no access to my files.  It too a bit of persuasion to get back to being me.  Oh  -  and Microsoft is refusing to accept my IP password.  I had to phone iinet to verify that I had not changed my password and forgotten about it and to check that I had my connection settings correct when I set up an account on the Lily Pond  -  which still doesn't work.

Just to make yesterday a bit more awful, I had invited Himself around for dinner  -  not a disaster in itself but I was seriously short of time to cook.  Instead of the dinner I had planned I threw together the ingredients of a dish called Saturday Chicken which is remarkably quick and misleadingly simple to make since it tastes exactly like Chicken Paprika (which I have cooked and it is a hassle).  Anyway, it went down very well and it was a nice and relaxed evening before getting back to trying to sync ... etc.

And the other good news is that the biopsy taken of the inside of my mouth showed that I had simple Lichen Planus with no sign of a cancer.  The Oral surgeon wants to see me again in six months but booking that far ahead I was able to choose my day and time.

D2 is off to a conference in America in a couple of days and is planning to leave her two Classic Porsches in my parking bays.  A bit of Street Cred never goes astray.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Right Royal Stuffup

Microsoft has excelled itself this time.

I arrived home from a doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon to find that I had the Blue Screen of Death on my main computer so I tried to turn on my Surface Pro 3 (both Windows 10) and got the same thing.  Nothing I could do would persuade either computer to boot up.  My desktop computer connects to the internet (I think), tries to repair itself and then gives me five options.  I tried all except the 'save your files and reload Windows 10; I wasn't game to try that one on my own  -  and an off button.

I can't get into the Surface at all  -  not even the blue screen of death and it will not connect to the internet and no off button so I have had to leave it to its fate.

I phoned Techie who said that he had the blue screen with his Surface and can't remember what he did to get it up and running again but said that Microsoft had done a big upgrade this month.  Microsoft seems to have a death wish and is slowly destroying itself  -  unless the hackers have been doing their thing.  Anyway, Techie will try and get out here on Monday and hopefully he will be able to rescue my files and do a reload.

At least most of my family stuff syncs to and I have almost all of my Slush fund folder on a flash drive  -  I just hope that it is still there.  I spent the day before yesterday transcribing my paternal grandfather's will and will have to do that again.  At least I have the original,

But the good news is that the biopsy of the spot in my mouth is clear and I do not have a cancerous patch inside my cheek.

In the meanwhile my Windows 8.1 works and so does my Windows 7 laptop so I am not totally disconnected from the outside world but they both have small keyboards and are a bit slow.  I know that I could plug in a bigger keyboard but I will see what Techie can manage before I go for the big stuff.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Jack? What is wrong with John?

I have spent the morning transcribing my paternal grandfather's Will.  It arrived yesterday and is not a copy of the actual Will but arrived from the Probate Office in South Australia.  It is badly typed on a manual typewriter with dirty keys and did not photocopy well.  I am going to have to go through it line by line to make sure that I have transcribed it correctly since there are large blocks of text with little or no punctuation.  He has named my father as Jack and since his name was John I am not sure that it was truly legal.

When I am sure that I have it all correct I will be formatting it in HTML to put into an interlinked web page to be included in what I call my Slush Fund.  This will never go online (I don't think that html is very acceptable online any more anyway) because it has all the dirt on my forebears  -  a lot of it gleaned from old archived newspapers which reported births, marriages, deaths and court cases which are the most interesting, unlocking the darkest deeds which the family never talked about  -  or perhaps even knew about since divorce, bigamy and fraud were shameful secrets and never discussed.

I seem to be getting inundated with data at the moment.  I have a large document listing the B...more family and which I am slowly entering into and a couple of days ago I was contacted by a man whose wife is a member of the same family as my Ex.  He contacted me to correct an error in my tree (the information I had was largely hearsay as my Ex is not interested and made some reasonable assumptions but they were only assumptions).  I spent yesterday correcting those errors on my FTM which will sync with so hopefully the record will now reflect the real facts as gleaned, by my correspondent, from Trove which is a wonderful site where the government is putting archived newspapers.  I have heard that funding is to be cut to the site and I hope and pray that funding is continued as it is a marvellous source of history which can not be found without intensive searching anywhere else.

My mail seems to be working after a fashion  although things like formatting seem to have disappeared and the ability to create new folders is a thing of the past , though this may change as Microsoft seems to still be working on improvements.

One very worrying thing is that I started receiving spam from one of my Hotmail accounts in what appears to be Portuguese, a language which I do not speak.  I spent about an hour with my IP trying to sort it out and ended up, after she had delved around a bit, changing my password.  The spam has stopped and I am holding my breath while I wait for more emails to come into my spam folder and worrying that my computer has become a Zombie.  If this has happened I will have to call on Techie to clean it all up  -  something which, after the year-long problems with Windows 10 and my email it probably needs anyway.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Oh, Where and Oh, Where ...?

Here is a summary of the state of Microsoft's mail service at the moment:

Office Outlook 16  -  Unable to create new folders but the mail works OK.  I can change the default size of the font but not the font itself or colour except manually.

Outlook Live Mail  -  able to create folders but the only mail which comes in is spam which goes straight to my Spam folder; there is never anything in the inblx.  Sending New Mail is not an option as I am unable to receive replies.     The links in the signature work.  I can set the default font and colour and the new mail is easy to edit.

The Lily Pond (AKA Hotmail with my IP's mail synced)  -  sends mail intermittently; there is no spam folder but so far no spam has come into the mailbox.  I can move emails to a folder but only to the default ones  -  there is no facility to create new folders.

Gmail, on the other hand does it all.  It is not surprising that it is Gmail which I am using more and more; I just haven't got around to letting everyone know  -  yet.  Maybe Microsoft will eventually get things right but it always worked before  -  why is it having so much trouble getting things right  with Windows 10.

Yahoo also seems to be working well but since it is, so far, not universally accepted as a legitimate default email address I normally do not use it except when I want to be anonymous as my identity is hidden from my recipients.

I have been struggling with Windows 10 for just over a year now and other than the email I can usually get it to do what I want.  I get tired of defaulting back to Desktop whenever I close a program or app and I get annoyed when every page I open tends to be tablet size which would be fine if I was using a tablet but I mostly use my Desktop computer with a wide screen and I have to expand the page to see it all.

It is very difficult to teach it to elderly people with no computer experience and we are getting more and more younger clients sent to us by employment agencies so that they can be seen to be learning new skills in order that they do not lose their benefits.  Mostly they have no computer experience either and arrive with a variety of Laptops ("set up by my daughter"  -  words which I have learnt to dread).

Microsoft, the Rio Games and the Australian Bureau of Statistics are neck in neck for the prize for the biggest stuff-up and I think that Microsoft is just a nose ahead.

For any readers wondering about the ABS stuff-up, it was census week last week and for the first time ever we were supposed to complete the census form online but the site crashed and millions of people were unable to complete their census until two days after the event.

Life, at the moment, is interesting but stressful.  It brings to mind the Chinese curse/greeting, "May you live in interesting times".

Monday, August 1, 2016

That On/off switch

And I thought that Microsoft had finally sorted out their email problems but today there is no contacts list in my Lily Pond (the MS mail app) and no way to add a contact if there actually was a contacts folder  -  which there isn't.

I also found that the copies of my sent mail were being put in the 'drafts' folder rather than the 'sent' folder and there was nothing at all in the 'sent' folder.  The sent mail in the drafts folder was marked 'sent'.  It is all very confusing and I really feel for the people who are just now trying to come to grips with computers and who don't know what should be there and how to find it if they know that it should be there somewhere.  I have been teaching computer to Seniors and Centrelink clients for 17 years and I can't get it to work so how in the world does Microsoft expect newbies to work it out?  Not everyone grew up with computers and we are not dying off as fast as we used to.

The feedback link from the lilypond is a smiley face icon but no-one is smiling.  There is a huge list of complaints about lost mail, slow mail, non-existent mail, the lack of formatting options (one of my gripes) the loss of business through the above glitches and the fact that mail is not stored and disappears unexpectedly and too fast with no way to store emails in folders since there is no facility to create new folders (another of my gripes).

Luckily I have a couple of other email sites which feed into my IP mail so I am not without a connection and I have taken to sending myself a BCC of any emails which I send, directed to my Gmail account which is ever reliable.  I was starting to get confused when I was testing the email app as to which emails came from where so I have added 'from the lilypond' to my signature (which does work  -  but no formatting so I have to manually alter the font, colour and font size for my emails and so far I haven't been able to discover any way to set a default).

The cold weather is sending my cats into hibernation, except for their wild moments morning and evening, and currently they are curled up together in my study on the smurgling blankie.   Parsifal no longer smurgles  -  at least now when I am around, but Poppy has become a regular.  They are both in bed with me in the mornings, keeping me warm or visa versa, and I am tending to sleep in because it is so cosy with them both there and I love the closeness and don't want to climb out into the cold bedroom.

I am back to doing regular yoga practise but my Bollywood dancing has fallen by the wayside.  I must get back to it  -  it was very good for strengthening my thighs.