Friday, September 30, 2016

As if we hadn't noticed ....

The Bureau of Meteorology has just informed us that we have just lived through the coldest winter since records began.  That, of course is not all that long ago  - 1944 but we have had only four days of 20 degrees or over since the beginning of winter and today, a whole month into our official Spring, it is freezing cold with gale-force southerly winds and intermittent rain.  There are no yachts out on the river, with official boating warnings to stay off the water.

South Australia has had days of cyclonic winds and flooding with the whole of the State without power when the grid went down in a storm.

Yesterday I received a poncho made from Merino wool and possum fur which is so warm that I have ordered a coat in the same fabric.  There must have been a huge run on padded jackets since everyone seems to be wearing them and I have hauled out my down jacket which I used to wear when I cycled to work.  It is months since I turned off the central heating and the cats spend most of their time curled up together asleep.

I believe in Climate Change but Global Warming ...  forget it!

Today I am hopeful that I will finish spinning the brown fibre of the Petal Soft colourway.  It has taken a while but I am really in no hurry to finish it except for wanting to see how it all turns out.  I already have enough spun yarn to keep me knitting for some time to come since I spin more often than I knit.  My mother was able to watch television or read a book while she knitted complex Aran and FairIsle sweaters.  I am not that clever and need to keep a close eye even when I am doing straight knitting.

However, I still have my skein of possum fibre which D3 brought me from New Zealand and I have a pattern which I want to use.  The trouble is that it is lace so I am waiting for my Row Marker, after which I will stock up on dental floss to use as a safety line and hopefully I will have it finished before next winter.  Sod's Law, of course will decree that next winter will be the warmest on record and I will not need a possum fur cowl/snood.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Bit More Zoology

Continuing on from my last post there is a bit more animal lore in the financial report on fixed incomes:-

"In Japan, we favor flatteners out to the 20-year point via being long 20s on the 2s20s30s 50:50 butterfly."

American spelling and all.  I am sure that most people in the USA do not really talk like that  -  or not.  I watched a film clip of a man explaining that President Obama was to blame for the 9/11 Twin Towers disaster because he was always out of the office and took too many holidays. 

Our Lotto lunch was today and with seven of us there (we usually have six or less) I had to push two tables together to form a square to fit us all in and it was great fun but I suspect that some of the group out-stayed their three hour free parking limit.  The next one is at the end of November and our newest recruit is organising it.  I usually pop downstairs to secure a table at 11.45 but the NR was there before me.  She catches a bus so, like me, she sometimes arrives too early because the buses don't run as often as the trains.

A big storm in South Australia has left the whole state without power but I think that my brother was on Facebook earlier this evening so some at least must have their power back or they have solar storage batteries.  We had a 16 degree maximum and tomorrow morning it is going to be 4 degrees but I can sleep in a bit as I only have one COTA client tomorrow.  I am not sure if it is going to be the person with the Samsung Galaxy or not but I will take my tablets in just in case.

I am still being harassed by spamming phone calls and so is D2 so I will not be picking up the phone for the next week or so until the fake Microsoft representative gets tired of me and moves on to another victim.  They must realise after a while that their calls are fruitless and move on to someone else.

Monday, September 26, 2016

How our language has changed in the digital age

Every morning, Monday to Friday, my stockbroker sends me an update on the financial situation. Yesterday I received this and if anyone can make sense of it then I would be grateful for a translation.

"Dovish decisions by the BoJ and Fed have taken the idea of optimal control policy paths to the extreme. This should calm fears of bear-steepening yield curves for now, but we remain neutral on duration and most yield curves as political uncertainty should stymie another runaway bull flattening."

I actually, after reading it through several times sort of got the gist of what the writer was trying to say and basically I think that it means that the stockmarket is not going to plummet drastically in the near future.  I think ...

We have just been through one of the coldest winters on record and it is still very cold although now that we are into spring we sometimes have a nice day before the weather closes in again.  This morning is reasonably warm and I have the A/C set on 18 degrees C. but there are storm clouds to the west and the forecast is thunderstorms this afternoon.  The wheat harvest has been ruined by the frosts just weeks before it was due to be gathered in.

I have been reading a book which is all about plainchant (nothing technical  -  it is a whodunit with a locked-room theme) and that got me thinking about my spinning which I see as a form of meditation.  I always listen to music when I spin and it has a twofold benefit of gauging the length of time when I spin and helping me to forget that my thumbs hurt.  It has occurred to me that a bit of plainchant would be good so I have ordered some plainchant CDs  -  a beginners' collection for goodness sake.  We used to sing plainchant at school and I always found it very appealing so I am looking forward to receiving my collection of five CDs of plainchant to see if they send me further into a meditative state when I spin.

I've not done any yoga for a week and will start back again tonight with the easy one and work back from there.  My excuse to stop was that I had a naevus removed from my upper chest and didn't want to disturb the stitches.  That was my rational anyway, erroneous though I realised that it was  -  but I was very tired so it seemed to be a good idea at the time.  The naevus was not malignant but in people with a history of melanoma (I have) it could have turned malignant so I am glad that it is gone.  One was enough and although it was found to be actually regressing I can't rely on my immune system to protect me for ever.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Synced at last. :)

Yesterday I deleted my IP account from the Lilypond Mail app but changed my mind and reinstalled it . . . and it synced.  Finally!  After six months !

The problem was that there was a great number of old emails which appeared so I deleted them to give the page a fresh start.  Sadly that  deleted everything including my folders and their contents and also synced with MS Office so that I lost everything in MS Outlook as well.  Luckily most of my mail goes to Gmail now and I print off my online shopping receipts so that I have a hard copy.  However, I had neglected to print off the receipt for D1's birthday present, some ankle bells for her Bollywood Dance classes.

I looked on my other computers but they had all been wiped as well and I eventually found a copy of the receipt still in my Webmail and have printed it off so that I have a record.  There is also a record on the PayPal site but was hard to isolate in order to print it so I am doubly covered.  I am very happy using PayPal as the site keeps records and notes when and if things are delivered.  It was originally set up to cover people who use E-Bay, both sellers and buyers and is some protection against spyware as one's information is stored at PayPal.

The main problem with The Fishpond is that formatting is very limited and there seems to be no way to set default font and colour.  Maybe that will come with time but perhaps people who use Windows 10 on a smartphone are not fussed about prettying up their emails.  I haven't checked out the formatting on my I-Pad since I rarely use it for emails but it probably doesn't have formatting either.

I am currently being harassed by someone claiming to be from Microsoft and who is very eager to con me into letting him into my computer (he doesn't specify which one) to clear it of 'dangerous malware'.  He talks like the newsreader from North Korea who always sounds as though she is verbally attacking her audience.  I think that the pseudo-Microsoft representative is reading from a script since he moved onto the "turn on your computer" and was starting on the "remote connect" instructions when I got tired of him and hung up.

He sounds exactly like the person who was harassing me about unpaid tax and threatening me with prison if I didn't either front up at the taxation office with my lawyer or, as I understand it, pay the outstanding amount direct to him.  The last I heard of this scam it had harvested almost $1,000,000 from terrified and gullible people in Australia alone.

To anyone who is reading this and who is gullible and terrified, say that you will phone him back to check that he is genuine, ask for and  take his phone number (which will connect straight back to him) but phone Microsoft direct and ask them if, in fact, they are phoning people to sort out Malware issues on their computers. 

Always check before letting anyone remotely connect to your computer, particularly if it is a cold call from someone you do not know.  I let my technician connect remotely but I phone him to sort out my computer problems and I have to physically give my permission to him to connect.  And I know him and know exactly who he is and that he can be trusted not to damage my computer or to insert spyware or malware or to hold my computer to ransom by making it inoperable unless I pay to have it unlocked.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Spinning Faster

Because my thumbs have become very painful and spinning was no longer a peaceful form of meditation I have had to develop a different way of drawing out the fibre.  I suspect that I am finally doing it the correct way [thank you U-Tube] after all these years of doing it tough.  However, it needs quite ruthless pre-drafting to get the yarn to spin with no pressure on my fingers and thumbs and the bonus is that I seem to be producing more yarn faster.  This is good because I am limiting myself to about 60 minutes per day/session or whatever.  I have finished  spinning the first bobbin of the brown section of 'petal soft' and have done quite a lot of the second bobbin.

The pink portion is very pretty but I am going to have to spin the grey as well before I can really decide what I am going to knit.  At the moment my plan is to knit a Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton sweater, 'Danbyholm Pullover' from the pattern book "NORO  -  Meet the man behind the legendary yarn".  I will not, of course, be knitting with Noro Yarn as I only spin what I knit.

However, after visiting New Zealand, D3 brought me back a skein of black possum yarn and I have been putting off knitting it because (a) it is black and hard to knit at night (b) the pattern I have chosen for it is a lace cowl (c) it is years since I even attempted lace although, when I was doing office work which involved sitting waiting for the phone to ring while my boss (and husband) saved up all the letters to be typed until the end of the afternoon and expected them to be posted off before I went home to cook the dinner.  I knitted quite a lot in those days and one garment was a lace cardigan in Bluebelle Crepe which was a 4-ply yarn and was quite fine.

Anyway, I have ordered, from America, a pattern and chart holder so that I can mark exactly which row I am in and what I need to do in that row.  When it arrives (mail from USA is slow  -  they have trouble harnessing the dolphins) in about four weeks I will break out the possum and see how I go with the lace and the blackness.

I have an ulterior motive of course or I would never have got around to ordering such a sensible item; trying to type my grandfather's Will.  I think that I have mentioned before that it was written in a great hurry because it is badly typed with spelling errors, inserted words where they were missed and, unlike all the other Wills which I have typed, most of the UPPER  CASE  bits are not underlined.  A Legal Typist would have been embarrassed to present such shoddy work.

Although the laws on intestacy were very sensible in South Australia in 1956 to die without a Will may have split the estate in ways which would not have been fair or reasonable.  It was a sensible Will and would have been exactly what my grandfather would have wanted  -  maybe he was able to make his wishes known but my recollection is that he had been quite demented following a CVA. Certainly there would have been a larger amount to pay in Death Duties as it would not have enabled putting the estate in Trust for future generations.

I will get back to typing it out when my row marker arrives and I can keep my place amongst the heretofores and the therebeforementioneds, the bad typing and the general air of having been done in a bit of a hurry.  The camels are harnessed and waiting to transport it along the Birdsville Track to Perth when the dolphins arrive in Sydney.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sick Computers and Immunity

It is ten years since I had immunisation boosters so I went along to my doctor yesterday and had a shot which covered Tetanus, Diphtheria and Whooping Cough.  I also wanted Polio but there is no vaccine available at the moment so I have a prescription in my hot little hand and will have it as soon as it becomes available again.  I am probably well covered anyway because I top everything up every ten years and have done so except for Whooping Cough which is becoming deadly again as more adults contract it and pass it on to babies too young to be immunised.  It is now recommended that all pregnant women be immunised in their third trimester and as Toecutter has it at the moment it brought home to me that none of us is immune since it used only to be given to children.

Great fun and games at COTA today.  To begin with I had an audience  -  a very nice man who used to be a programmer and who thought that he might be useful teaching computer.  He wanted to know what the lessons involved.  His comment afterwards was "You need to be very flexible"  because we try to field and sort any problems our clients have and never know what is going to be thrown at us.  He uses an Apple Mac and since we do not have a Mac teacher he should be in great demand.  COTA, of course, doesn't have a Mac but he is prepared to bring his in with him.

I am going to have to start taking my Win 7 as well as my Win 10 if things continue as bad as they were today.  The computer which I usually use refused to load and demanded that the Administrator sign in.  Of course no one knows the password so it was left to sit unfulfilled while I moved to the one which Himself usually uses.  Providentially he is in England at the moment.

That computer is not much better  -  very slow to load and with the ABC as its home page which is slow loading even on a fast computer.  I tried to change the Home Page to Google but it refused to let me do so and when I was showing my client how to do an error check I found that there are six almost full drives with only about 20% capacity left.  Once a computer reaches 80% capacity it ceases to work in any useful way so we are stuck with two non-functioning computers.  If they are not fixed before Himself comes back we might as well fold our tents and softly steal away.  And I can't even complain that it is all the fault of Microsoft and Windows 10  -  I was trying to teach Windows 7.

My Windows 10 computer has spent the last 12 hours or so upgrading itself and other than re-arranging the "start" part of the Tiles Settings I can't see much difference.  The settings, after I got over the shock of seeing the Apps menu up the top and an inactive Tiles button it makes sense  -  more so than the way it was before, anyway.  Maybe if Microsoft has got that right they might eventually fix some other things.

But the Lilypond still has not synced my iinet email.  Too much to hope for but maybe one day ... 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How to Hate Windows 10 in Six Easy Lessons 3

When I went to send an email to my brother using Microsoft Outlook 16 I discovered that I only had one contact  -  the daughter of a friend -  so I have a big job ahead of me to restore my contacts list.  Then I decided to check my Sent Mail Folder and it wasn't there so I had to (Grrrr) ask Cortona where it was.  She gave some suggestions which didn't work but one of them was to change the layout of the page.  That gave me a little arrow in the upper left side of the page which, when clicked on, shows all my folders, including Sent Emails. 

Ye Gods  -  why do they have to make it so hard to find things which used to be there all the time.  I am slowly changing over to Gmail but some of my official stuff is still in Outlook  -  not the new Outlook (formerly Live mail) which doesn't receive, only sends (the one I call the lilypond), but I am fearful that Microsoft is winding us up to buy their Subscription version of Microsoft Office and Outlook 16 will cease to work.

Luckily when Windows 10 first started to misbehave I saved the contacts list from my Windows 7 computer onto a flash drive so I have it regardless of how many crashes Microsoft is able to engineer.  The trouble is that it goes back years and I am going to have to go through and do something with the names which I no longer recognise.  I don't want to delete them just in case they are important at some stage in the future.

Probably my best option is to put the ones which I recognise into Outlook 16 and keep the flash drive intact. And then back to the drawing board ...

I have started spinning again but have had to modify my technique to allow for my very painful thumbs but am finding my new way faster and easier.  It is, actually, the recommended way of holding the fibre but I found that I needed to do a very drastic pre-draft first.  I could probably put the resulting fibre through a diz which is a tool which I have never managed to master.  It is on my to-do list for when I have some fibre which I can happily throw away if I end up with a terrible tangle which is what tends to happen every time I try.

I have finished the pink section of the colourway I am spinning and have started on the brown section.  I am not sure how they will go together but will spin the dark grey section before I decide what I am going to knit with it.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


The local library has three book exchange sites set up around the Claremont Shopping Precinct and I am picking up and depositing some interesting books.

One which I picked up a few days ago is called "Everything you Always Wanted to Know about Sorcery but were Afraid to Ask".  It was published in 1977 and is a paperback with pages which have become brown over time  -  and the cover was about to come away from the spine.  From my genealogical equipment from the days before I moved here to Claremont I knew that there was a roll of Document Repair Tape if only I could find it. 

I eventually unearthed it in a bottom drawer containing acid-free document covers, certificates and other paraphernalia.  And in there with it all was a folder presented to me when I retired with photos of staff, the hospital a lot of messages from people with whom I had worked and a picture of one patient (obviously with his permission since it is not allowed in the general run of things) who had become a friend and almost a father figure  -  he was everything my father was not. He was a retired Canon of the Church of England, a lovely man, and on the back he had written "Fare Thee Well and Thank You".  Reading it again today it brought tears to my eyes.  I intend to take it to the next meeting of the Lotto Lunch Group  -  they are all there in the photos.

While I was still working there was a group of Allied Health Professionals who used to put in money every week and one of us would use it to buy a Lotto ticket.  When it first started up we won enough money to treat ourselves to a Christmas Breakfast after which, having consumed a certain quantity of champagne, we would do a tour of the Lodge singing Christmas Carols.  Later on the Lotteries Commission changed the rules and it became harder to win anything so we had to contribute towards breakfast ourselves.  We realised that it would have been cheaper to just buy ourselves a Christmas breakfast but that would have taken all the fun out of our wild weekly gamble.

When we started retiring we decided to meet every two months for lunch on which ever day most suited those still working and, nineteen years later we still meet for lunch six times every year.  The group has changed over time but is essentially the same and it is a great time to catch up and keep in touch.  The podiatrist in the group only retired last year after years of being the itch which made Management annoyed and he used to give us news of what was going on within the service but he still keeps in touch with some of the workers so we are kept up to date about the bureaucracy and all its works which go from bad to worse as the Health Department is taken over by administrators rather than by medical professionals.

I got out just in time.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

HTML and all its works

I have an extensive Web Site which I created many years ago when I first learnt to write HTML (Thank you Connie) but recently I have been unable to edit it due to changing times and my File Transfer protocol no longer works.  One day I will contact my Internet Provider and find out how to do it in these enlightened times when everything is harder and the Microsoft programmers think that they are doing us all a service.  I don't like CSS!!  HTML is a bit like making a cake -  you never know just how it is going to turn out until you have done all the work and cooked it  -  and it is fun.

However, enough of that. 

Some years ago when I started researching and writing my Slush Fund I conceived the idea of putting it into HTML format so that I could load it onto flash drives and give copies to my relatives, complete with links to navigate.  I set up a lot of pages all ready to go and even put the data into some of them but then I started on the Wills and decided to include them as some of them give interesting insights into the relationships between various members of my family and to  perhaps answer my brother's question "How did we get so much land?"  Of course, we didn't; my grandfather farmed the land of a brother and sister so that his holding looked much bigger than it was.

Having transcribed several Wills I turned my attention back to formatting them into HTML to add to the Slush Fund, only to find out that I had almost forgotten how to do it.  I still have all the 'how to' books, the templates for the Slush Fund pages and a basic memory of the tags but was not able to remember how to convert the formatted data into a web page.  I spent yesterday evening playing around with it and, with what I have already done over the years (thank you 'view source') I think that I am ready to get back to building up the Family History Pages  -  the stories which were never talked about and probably best forgotten.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Delusional Computers

I am now the Administrator and Queen of my computer and therefore am able to change settings although it still will not let me set it so that I do not have to sign in every time it puts itself to sleep but that is OK  -  I have set it to only go to sleep if I ignore it for four hours.  It is a bit wasteful, I know, but I am on and off it all day and I was finding it very irritating when it was set to go to sleep if I ignored it for 30 minutes.

Techie was very puzzled by the way it was behaving (he set it up but re-downloaded in a hurry after The Blue Screen Of Death) until he discovered that it was deluded into thinking that it had two screens.  He disconnected a cable which he had obviously neglected to do after he put Windows 10 onto a new computer for me  -  the hard drive of the old one was corrupted and refused to let Windows 10 download itself and now it is certainly behaving better than it did previously.

I have now put all the files and folders which I need to save into one folder and copied it onto a flash drive  which I intend to backup weekly so that in the event of another crash I will not lose more than one week's work.  It takes an extra step to get to them but at least they should be safe from possible annihilation in the future.  I am gradually going through what is there and removing anything which is no longer relevant  -  there are folders which I haven't used for five or six  years but which, since they were on my desktop in the computer's various earlier incarnations, have been carried down with the more relevant files.

I am still transcribing the Will of my Great Uncle RM and have had to turn off the automatic formatting which now seems to be the default setting  and is extremely irritating.  However, I have turned the spell checker on and it is slowly losing its mind over the legalese which it is having to contend with.  Words like apportionment, therefrom,  heretofore, stirpes, appurtenances, thereinbefore, donees and reversionary.

I have only got one page to go and then a two-page codicil after which I will start on my maternal grandfather's Will which, I suspect, was a collusion between his best friend (a lawyer) and my grandmother.  He had a stroke which knocked out most of his brain about three years before he died and since the Will was entirely reasonable I suspect that it was not questioned in regard to his state of mind at the time of creating and signing it. 

This whole exercise, if it provides no other benefit, is improving my touch typing no end.