Wednesday, November 23, 2016

So Many Scams; So Little Credability

We have all been bombarded by scams but they seem to be becoming more unbelievable and more frequent just lately.

Of course, there has always been the Nigerian Scam in its many guises and it has always been remarkably successful mainly because it taps into people's greed.  But we are getting a new type which tries to scare us in one form or another.

Firstly there was the Microsoft Scam where people would receive a phonecall, supposedly from a Microsoft Technician who announced that there was something nasty in their computer and all we had to do was to allow him "remote access" to put everything right.  Ouch!

Then came the short-lived Telstra scam which I never bothered to listen to as Telstra is not my internet provider and I had better things to do with my time.  Obviously that was not very successful as it was only up and running for a short time but was probably a variation of the Microsoft Scam.

A scary one was the Taxation scam and I understand that the perpetrators of that one between them garnered  about $1,000,000 from terrified pensioners who thought that they were in trouble with the Tax Department and were told to either turn up at an address, presumably the Tax Department, with a lawyer  -  or pay the tax owed to the caller's organisation.

A couple of days ago I received a notice that I had been photographed infringing the traffic code and that I could check out the photo at an email link which I didn't open and which would tell me where to pay the fine of $AU4.73.  This was na├»ve on two counts:  firstly the fine would have been more like $100.00 and the loss of some demerit points and secondly I have not owned a car for at least three years.

I was given 24 hours to pay the fine:

You have been registered with a rule violation:
Reason: negligent driving
Registered No: 143570442
Date of infringement: 23/10/2016
Amount due: 004.73 AUD
This fine will be forwarded by mail to your address. However you can screen it now, please press here  Photo Proof - xxxxxxxxxx

The IP was which is Turkish.

Then last night a friend emailed me to ask where to report a scam which she had just received:-

"The sum of $13,781.80 has been deposited into your commissions account.
                                                Tell us where to send your check."

The same inept use of English and probably from the same organisation.  Unlike the Nigerian scam I doubt if many people will fall for this one but it is a bit of fun.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Microsoft, be afraid; be very very afraid.

Last night I checked out the hits to my blog.  I seem to have a core group of loyal readers around the world and here is an interesting statistic.

Browsers used to access this blog:
Chrome        60%
Safari           32%
Firefox         3%
PhantomJS   3%
Unknown     2%

Not a single hit from an Internet Explorer user for the last week.

There is no surprise there and once I stop teaching Windows 10 to confused senior citizens  -  and I am fast becoming a confused senior citizen myself  thanks to the ever-changing face of Windows 10 -  I will probably start using either Chrome or Linux.

Yesterday I opened "Photos" to edit a pic of the back of the sweater I am knitting prior to posting on Ravelry only to find that Microsoft, in its wisdom, had changed "Photos" and not for the better.  It is clunky, hard to use and very irritating.  I managed the edit eventually but compared to the obsolete MS Office Picture Manager which was a  quick, easy photo editor,  it is dreadful and even compared to the older version of Photos it is awful.  Why do Microsoft keep on upgrading to worse and worse apps when the older app was OK. 

Last week I found that my client and I were unable to change her homepage from something which was all pictures and noise so I went home and had a look at my own home page.  Although in Internet Options my home page is listed as I was unable to edit it and my home page, for better or worse is now MSN  -  full of pictures, music and blaring voices.  Luckily I have a key on my keyboard which allows me to quickly turn off the sound and I mostly leave it off these days.  I assume that Microsoft thinks that the younger generation is unable to understand plain text and needs pictures and voiceovers to understand the News.

Sorry for this rant  -  I am royally pissed off with Microsoft and all its works.

But there is some good news  -  my mammogram came up clear so I can leave it for another five years before I feel obliged to have another one and all the aches and pains which followed my poliomyelitis booster are fast diminishing.  My little cats are well although Poppy is limping slightly.  She has arthritis in her right hand and they spend the day before yesterday with Parsifal wanting to play and Poppy attacking him whenever he came within striking distance.  Yesterday they seem to have come to some sort of agreement and are back to being each other's best friend.

I am seriously thinking of giving up teaching computer.  I am sick and tired of lugging two computers and a hotspot with me every Thursday because COTA's computers work very badly if at all and no-one seems to care or get them fixed.  I am encouraging my clients to bring their own laptops but we no longer have access to a guest connection to the internet  -  hence the hotspot and while I do not mind using my own connection I shouldn't have to.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Supermoon in the sign of Cancer

According to a newsletter from an astrologer, to whom I must have given my email address in the olden days, the supermoon on 14th November was in the sign of Cancer which is my astrological sign and this is supposed to bring me all manner of nice things.  So far this is coming to pass.

Yesterday I received the news that the mammogram which I had a couple of weeks ago was clear.  I had one two years ago which was suspect and I was sent off for a biopsy which was OK but I faced this one with some trepidation wondering if whatever was found two years ago had progressed but even with the Clinic's new super machine nothing suspicious was picked up.

The second nice thing was that D3 and SIL took me out for breakfast/coffee and cake this morning.  I slept until 9.00am for some reason and woke up with the cats in bed with me so I hadn't had any breakfast when D3 phoned.  It was a very delayed birthday present and I enjoyed it greatly.  Time with my daughters is what I enjoy above all things so it was a lovely morning and I confirmed that Christmas day will be at my place this year.  I alternate with my Ex  and although he and the wife-in-law were supposed to hold Christmas lunch last year they, for some reason, decided to hold Christmas Dinner down in Mandurah and both his and her families decided to do their own thing rather than track all the way down there.  We had Christmas lunch at D3's.

I have been knitting up the Petal Soft superwash fibre which turned out to be rather ugly the way I spun it (it was ugly before I spun it but maybe the way I prepared it contributed) so I have been entertaining myself by knitting a star between my shoulder blades as I knitted the back which I finished this evening.  I am not going to like the sweater but it will be useful being supposedly machine washable and playing around with decorations on something which I don't like is a very good learning curve for me before I launch myself  into knitting black possum lace.

I only managed ten rows at my knitting group yesterday.  We seem to do a lot of talking, comparing patterns and admiring everyone else's work for an hour and a half after which we have coffee and biscuits.  There is a core  group which comes every week now with an occasional ring-in.  It is a lot of fun and pushes me into knitting more and spinning a bit less.  A good thing since I have a build-up of yarn waiting to be knitted.  I will be joining the crowd and knitting a new beanie for SIL because their dog chewed the last one I knitted him. 

Poppy has been limping for the last few days, not helped by Parsifal who plays rough.  I cut their fingernails a couple of days ago and that helped a bit but I know that she has arthritis in her right front paw so it is always going to be touchy and I won't take her to the Vet unless it keeps on keeping on. Maybe I should board Parsifal out for a while to give her some recovery time but I know that they would both hate that so we will just wait and see how things go.  It is always going to be a problem and one which we will all have to live with.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Emergency! Emergence!

I had a bit of a torrid week and hopefully next week will be a bit more restful.

Early on Tuesday morning , at approximately 1.45am the fire alarm went off in the Shopping Centre.  It was very loud and woke everybody up.  After about 15 minutes of being sound blasted I decided that maybe I was the last man standing and that I was missing from a headcount so I wandered downstairs to see what was going on .  Please understand that us residents have been told to ignore fire alarms from the shopping centre although, since it is right underneath me I'd rather get out with the cats before the flames work upwards and engulf the apartment block.

Anyway, there was no-one but me,  an Otis van and a man fixing the roller doors to the carpark.  The Fire brigade arrived just after I got downstairs (using the lift as no-one had mentioned fire) and about 15 minutes later the alarm stopped.  I eventually got back to sleep but some didn't and in the morning I posted on the Community board to ask what we should do in a case like this.  It turns out that the only other person to mention it to Management was a cleaner but there was a lot of feedback once the ball got rolling and it turns out that it was a burst water pipe.  It has been suggested that some sort of evacuation plan should be posted since I think that I am the only one who actually knows where we should gather for the head count.

I was supposed to have two clients at COTA on Thursday but only one turned up and I found that Microsoft, which I knew had updated itself the evening before, had removed the ability to select a Home Page and opens on a Microsoft News page but with a search field should one wish to progress from Microsoft's idea of what world news interests me.  I felt like an idiot being unable to set up google as my client's home page but it will be a good reason to show her how to create tiles as she brought her own computer and will be doing so for the rest of her lessons.

I was so tired that afternoon that I bought myself some Lindt chocolates, ate the lot and climbed under the duvet with Parsifal and slept for the afternoon.  Sometime during the afternoon Poppy joined us on the bed which was a happy event.  Poppy is favouring her left front leg at the moment and Parsifal has been harassing her.  To distract him I played a Miniscule DVD which the cats both love and that worked for a while but eventually I had to plug in the Happy Juice and today all is peace and quiet with Poppy sleeping and Parsifal super-cuddly.

I have bought some cotton cord to replace the tassels which Parsifal ate when he was a kitten and was eating anything which could be sucked first.  He took very hard to being weaned and for his first year of life he consumed shoelaces, apron strings, a leash and half the tassels on my Iranian tablecloth.  I never worried too much about the digestible things but he had to have two ultrasounds after swallowing the nylon leashes.  Fortunately he eventually vomited both of them up and no harm was done.  Thankfully for my peace of mind he seems to have got over that rather scary phase but I still tuck my shoelaces into my shoes when I take them off.

And, of course, the excitement this last week has been the USA Presidential Election.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Alas, the Lilypond; it was pretty but ...

I have been complaining about the non-functioning of the Lilypond for months and it has finally disappeared.  In its place is which actually works and looks good.  A new email address to add to the many I already have but maybe like its predecessor Hotmail it will be viable on any computer.

Last night when it first appeared on my Windows10 computer it had no facility for a contacts list and I really created to Microsoft about this absurd situation  -  a mailbox without any way of adding contacts but perhaps there is still a little bit of Beta about it.  It was really good at sending emails if I happened to know the address but otherwise it was impossible.  So far there is no facility to set a default font although there are editing tools and it is possible to select a font before composing the email.  Perhaps that will be the next thing which gets organised.  And I have told them to stop pushing Skype;  I do not want it.

I had my teeth scaled and polished this morning and much to my dismay I was told that I also had an appointment with my dentist who didn't want to see me any more than I wanted to see him so we mutually agreed that we would get together next May and maybe even sort out my sore tooth.  He has been steadfastly refusing to remove it because he can't find out why it has been giving me so much grief for the past couple of years.  His reason?  It is the only tooth I posess with no filling.

No results from the mammogram yet but I have discussed some options with D2 just in case.  She is back from overseas and arrived with coffee yesterday afternoon.  I am not sure when she intends to deal with her incontinent cars but as long as she is willing to clean up the mess then I am happy to house them.  Two classic Porsches give me a lot of street cred.

I was very impressed when I turned up for the mammogram.  There in the waiting room was a big basket of knitting wool with some knitting needles holding a half-knitted square and a sign saying "Would you like to help knit a blanket for charity?"  I managed three rows before I was summonsed to the change room to don a paper gown and go in for processing.  A brilliant idea.

Friday, November 4, 2016

When you have got to ...

I have been busy for the last couple of weeks getting my house in order.

I have had vaccine boosters for Tetanus., Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Poliomyelitis.
I have had my skin checked from top to toe and anything suspicious frozen off.
I have had a mammogram.
I have an appointment to have my teeth cleaned and scaled early next week.

I am not looking forward to the results of the mammogram; the last one produced a suspicious area and I had to have a biopsy which gave a negative result but I can be lucky only so many times before something nasty is found.  The results will be available next week.

My newest client at COTA has a Windows10 computer and the computer which I use there refused to open anything in its version of Windows 10 so I had to use my Surface Pro and my little hotspot.  She has a Surface Pro and I have suggested that she brings it along next week and we can work with that.  I have given up complaining about the COTA computers.  All five (would you believe) of their drives are 80% full or more, the shortcuts and Icons on the desktops of both computers refuse to allow themselves to be deleted and  most refuse to let themselves be dragged into a folder.  Half of the Desktop is full of immovable shortcuts such as MS Word which is fine on a PC but hopeless for teaching since the likelihood of our clients having a shortcut is not a given and they need to know where on their own computers they can access it  -  if they actually have MS Office.   And I can't change the Homepage.

It is summer here now although it is still very cold with southerly winds but the cats have woken up from their winter hibernation and have spent the day beating each other up.  Poppy is definitely the dominant one although she mostly walks around with her tail down.  Parsifal, on the other hand, still thinks that he is a kitten and trots around with his tail up.  And he loves to help me to make the bed which means that it takes half the morning to finish it.

I have started knitting a sweater from the Petal Soft which I spun and knitted is it not as ugly as I thought that it would be but the pink and brown parts look awful together and I will be separating them with the grey.  I have almost finished spinning the last of the 'Quoth the Raven' from the Megasal last year.  I have about an hour's spinning to finish the bobbin which I am working on and then there is just the one bobbin left to spin; about another six hours to finish it all.  It is merino and bamboo silk so is very soft and probably not suitable for a sweater.  I will be researching shawls and ponchos for that.

Sorry  -  this is very boring but as this Blog is essentially a diary I need to record the housekeeping in case I need to refer back at some later date.