Monthly Archives: April 2013

I lost a working day of my life today!

Today would best be described as frustrating.

The reason was all down to Windows 7 and a Toshiba laptop.

I have a Toshiba laptop that I used for my writing before I bought the MacBook, it had Windows 8 on it for no other reason that I fancied playing with the operating system when it came out.

Well I am on the verge of disposing of it so I thought I would put it back as it was when I got it and that’s with Windows 7 on.

When I first bought and used it I made a set of two recovery DVD’s, they recommended these were made, the reason of course was that it saved them a few pence by not supplying them.Gone are the days when computer suppliers give away a copy of the operating system on media, it’s all DIY these days.

Anyway, I booted up the machine from these DVD’s and started the install process. That took an age as it chugged along and whilst I went to make a coffee it of course asked for the second DVD, which I was not aware of until I got back into the office. I would put a bet that it asked for it just as I had walked out!

But in the end we got to the end of the install process, then it started with windows boot up. Then it chugs along installing drivers etc, what you don’t notice of course is that it’s also installing all the unwanted crap as well, like software that would have you believe it’s essential for the computers operation. Plus of course trials of various bits of software that you will never want and if the full version was given away free it would still be over priced and poor value for money. What always annoys me is that when you click to delete it asks if I am sure, of course I am bloody sure after all I had just clicked delete. I know that many computer users have problems knowing what they are doing but do Microsoft have to always assume that all users are morons.

Once the damn thing finished and was ready for use it took me over 90 minutes to clear all the unwanted junk included over fifteen useless utilities from Toshiba themselves. Plus the obligatory 30 day trial of Mcafee  slowdown, whoops make that anti virus software.

Then I got rid of the annoying sounds that Microsoft inflicts on you. set the desktop background to something (Anything) other than the Toshiba advert.

But then you have the pleasure of checking for Windows updates, I was greeted with the option of installing 159 updates, these did not install all in one go as there were several reboots, that took around 90 minutes from start to finish.

To top it off I was then given the option of which browser I wanted to install, due to some stupid European regulation Microsoft has to offer you the option of installing from a choice of browsers, most of which you have never heard of and will never hear of again. Having already lost the will to live I chose Internet Explorer 9 which installed and the machine promptly offered an update to version 10.

To finally top such a thrilling experience I got rid of the Nero DVD software for burning/ruining disks.

So at the end of the day I have the operating system installed, 167 updates installed and a pile of junk installed automatically and removed manually.

This gave me a clean machine, a 26% fragmented hard drive and a wasted day.

One thing this has taught me above all else is that the day I kick Windows into touch and migrate 100% to Apple can’t come quick enough.

Cat Butt Customers

Despite spending all my working life so far in customer facing jobs whether face to face or via electronic means I ask myself on a regular basis why some people are so bloody rude.

Now at the railway I expect visitors to the diesel galas to be rude, I have yet to speak to anybody from any other railway that would disagree with me on that point, but on other days some people just seem not to have grasped the concept of manners.

One good example are what we call armchair members they are members of the railway who are not working members. Now I would say that 50% of them when they come in to travel are really nice and it’s a pleasure to speak to them but the other 50% could best be described as entitlement whores, they moan about the railway, they moan about members prices and often they just moan about nothing specific. They do so loudly and in front of the normal paying public. They seem unable to grasp the basic fact that a members discount is a privilege not a right.

Then of course we have the normal visitors to the station 95% of which are a real pleasure to deal with, especially the regulars and their comments often make my day.

Then we come to the other 5% who seem hell bent on spoiling the reputation of the majority, they are often rude, ill mannered and to put it bluntly annoying. Take yesterday for example, we were closing the station and a man and woman came into the building whilst we were bringing the stuff in, twice I asked them if they needed help and twice I was ignored as though I was not there, which always irritates me greatly. Then, after turning off and emptying the urns, bringing in the bins etc. The man turned to me and said the immortal words “What coffee is available?”  No please or anything of course. The answer was none seeing as everything was off, the woman’s face gave a good impression of a cats rear end (Hence the title of this posting), stuck her nose in the air and walked out muttering.

They stood by their bikes outside continuing to mutter, now the thing is that if I had not been ignored totally the first two times I spoke to them then there would at that time have been coffee available. As I walked out of the gate after locking the front door she almost backed her bike into me, personally I think a broom stick would have been better for her. Then off they went still muttering to each other.

So if you are reading this and put yourself amongst the irritations above please remember you will be treated better if you use manners and for that matter smile a bit, it takes less muscle power to smile than it does to frown so why tire yourself out looking miserable!

Here ends the lesson on a Sunday morning

Closing the windows

It’s around two months or so since I bought this MacBook PRO, so I thought it was about time for an update of my experiences with the machine.

Well firstly the more I use it the more I like it and my Windows 8 laptop sits mainly unused, come to think of it the only time it seems to get switched on is to do updates.

Now I will be the first to admit that changing to a different operating system was a bit of a learning curve, but looking back I realise that the curve was not too steep nor was it too long. Actually it was enjoyable and fun.

One of the most common questions I am asked is what’s the biggest change in your operating habits since switching, well the answer to that is easy, I am now spending far more time using the Mac and far time on maintaining it. With the windows machine I was always doing security updates, running anti this that and the other and occasionally having the darn thing crash. The Mac does not have these things to contend with, it does not need to be defragmented, have anti virus updates several times a day or need rebooting very often. In simple terms the thing just works and not only that it works well.

Now I still use the desktop machine running Windows 7 for some tasks where I have not found software for the Mac that I am happy with, but that’s to be expected. But money permitting at some stage I am seriously looking at ditching the Windows desk top totally and replacing it with either an iMac or a Mac Pro when they are back on sale again, and in doing so kick Windows totally into touch.

Now I realise that will be a big step into somewhat unchartered territory, but already all my business files and personal files have been transferred over and I am writing my book on the Mac as well. This blog is being written on it also. It now has all my videos and music collection on as well.

The Time Machine utility does regular backups onto a 2Tb external drive without missing a beat, the printer is networked via my Apple Airport Extreme Router and a wi-fi link.

For my internet connection to the outside world I use BT Infinity which I am extremely pleased with, but that said the routers they have supplied have been a bit on the temperamental side with restarts etc on a regular basis and wi-fi that was temperamental at times as well. So I bought the Airport Extreme and I can safely say it’s the best router I have ever used. It’s stable, it’s dual band and the unit is a dream to set up. I am very pleased with it and it complements the MacBook nicely.

So to sum it up I have no regrets about buying the Mac, the only regret I do have is that I did not do it a few years ago.

Now I accept that the MacBook is not the answer to everybody’s needs, but then again neither is a Windows machine. But that said I can’t honestly see me replacing the desktop or this laptop at some stage in the future with something running Windows.

So there you have it, now I am not an Apple saves the world type of person, to me a computer is simply a tool to do a job, but I must say this is one of the best tools I have ever used for my business. So if you get a chance have a play with a Mac and do so with an open mind, you might be surprised at what you find, and if that’s not the case then that’s fine at least you will have tried an alternative, many Windows users are so blinkered they will never give themselves the chance.

Almost almost, but not quite quite.

Go on admit it, you’re confused by the title.

Well let me explain, today was just like yesterday, almost.

The weekend just did not gel, if you follow me.

It was like baking a cake, we had all the ingredients we measured and mixed them but when we went to switch on the cooker we found there was a power cut.

There were people about, but they were wondering about as though they had no purpose, it was as though they felt they had to be out as the weather was almost decent, but it had been so long since they had been out and about they had forgotten what to do. They just wandered about almost as though they were in a daze.

Those that spent money seemed to have lost the will to do so their heart was not in it, they were out of practice. It was like they were trying to throw up with an empty stomach, they went through the motions and made the correct noises but nothing was produced.

It was the kind of weekend that I find boring and uninspiring, there was nothing to get my teeth into business wise, you knew that it was just going to be a slog. I had decided against taking the laptop down as I hoped we would be busy, but it turned out that if I had taken it at least I could have done something constructive during the day.

Even Jason who was with me today was quieter than normal, it was un-nerving I can tell you.

So we will see what next week brings. Because this weekend bought about as much as a guest turning up to a bring a bottle party empty handed with the excuse that he bought noting because he does not drink.



Almost but not quite

Well yet again the stage was set for a good day, wall to wall sunshine and quite warm in the sun.

But yet again the day did not seem to happen, yes we had people in and yes they spent a little but I got the distinct impression that those with money were elsewhere.

Paddy was with me today so that made the day go easily and Rosemary was down in the garden, but Paddy & I both agreed the day was nothing special.

It will be interesting to see what the diesel gala is like in May, we need a few good weekends and more visitors. The diesel gala should hopefully bring the enthusiasts in but it will still depend on the weather.

We will await tomorrow now and see what that brings.

Cowards never ever win.

This is one of my none railway blogs.

In Boston USA cowardly acts were committed, whether these were acts of terrorism or not has not been announced at the time of writing this blog, but is certain is that they were committed by cowards.

It’s a sad reflection of human life when one of the penalties of living in a country that is largely free from laws that limit or repress the citizens, that those freedoms also make it easier for people to commit acts such as those in Boston.

There can never ever be an excuse for acts such as this to take place. Many acts are undertaken in the name of whatever God or leader the persons committing them follow. When I see statements from people saying that they did whatever they did in the name of their God it actually makes me proud to be an Atheist.

We as human beings often only appreciate things when they are taken away from us, one thing we should always appreciate is the gift of life, both our own and others.

Terrorists don’t respect life, my guess is they often don’t respect themselves either. They have ideals drummed into them by fanatics who have a belief in nothing more than hatred.

One things is certain as sure as day follows night is that this act in Boston will do one thing and that is it will unite the community and also the country irrespective of colour, race, creed or beliefs. It will do the one thing that terrorists try and break apart and that’s the bonding of communities and countries.

My thoughts are with the people of Boston this week.

It should have but it didn’t

Well today could best be described as the day it did not happen.

We had all the ingredients for a decent day business wise. The sun was not bad compared with how it has been, it was mild, even the breeze was warm. For the first time this year I was in shirt sleeves.

So the stage was set, and then……..

Not a lot!

Whilst there were a fair number of people about I would not say we were busy, a steady trickle would best describe it. Certainly none of the train services were busy nobody could complain they could not get a seat.

So what went wrong? Well it’s just a guess but I think people who could went to the coast for the first time this year and those that didn’t went to the main park area rather than the end where we are located, as in the main part there is more for families to do.

Rosemary was with us today doing the garden, and informed me she reckons she is a recycled teenager, though she did not say how many times she has been recycled, so that will have to remain a mystery.

So all in all a disappointing weekend, rather like a box of cheap chocolates where the picture on the box shows great promise of what’s to come but when you get to the contents you are disappointed. No running services in the week so we will have to wait until next weekend to see if we can get an improvement. watch this space as they say………….

From Birth to Death

Today at the station we experienced a version of life, from birth to death.

It all started first thing, for a change on a running day we had sunshine, this gave birth to the promise of a decent day. The birds were twittering and some people were about, some even got rid of a few layers of clothes in the foolish belief that it was spring.

Then we hit our version of the teenage years, the weather had a teenage tantrum, the wind blew and it rained. Not a lot of rain but enough to cause a death, and that was the death of trade.

As the heavy breathing of the day stopped it got colder and uninviting just like a grave yard on a dull and cold winters day, old dry leaves left from autumn last year blowing and twirling along the paths and the railway track.

So today we experienced a life so full of promise that it should have lived until darkness but it was cut short at it’s peak by mother nature.

We experienced desertion by the public in our hour of need. They abandoned us unable to face the demise of the day, they left before it ended prematurely.

All in all it was a life that promised so much but was caught short by a quirk of mother nature, it did not stand a chance even as it breathed it’s first breath of the day.

Or in simple terms it was cold, started bright and ended up dismal!!!

We shall have another go tomorrow.

Squeak of the week.

Recently I bought a little mouse, no not one of those little ones covered in fur that bite through everything.

I bought a new mouse for my Mac laptop. Mind you as these days they don’t have tails perhaps they should be called something else? Answers in pencil please on the back of a crisp new ten pound note.

Anyway this mouse is a Apple Magic Mouse, why the word magic is in there I have no idea, perhaps somebody thought it would be a cool name for it. It’s a strange beast as such it does not have buttons nor does it have a scrolling wheel. Instead you stroke it with what they call gestures. I must admit at this point when I could not get it to pair with the computer at first I did think of a few extra undocumented gestures, but they were forgotten once I got it sussed, perhaps it would have been a good idea to read the instructions before I started, but I ask you where is the challenge in that.

The mouse certainly takes a bit of getting used to as it is I suppose more like using a smaller version of the touch pad on the laptop itself with the same gestures. It does not help either when I have two other computers using normal mice and I swap between them all on a regular basis.

The other question must be was it worth the money as I could have bought around five cheap wireless mice for the cost of the Apple one which is bluetooth, the answer I suppose depends on wether you like the mouse and your point of view regarding the cost in the first place. I have seen people moan about spending a fiver on mice, and they call me mean!!!

Now having gone through more mice and keyboards over the years than many people have had hot dinners, my answer is yes in my opinion it is certainly worth the money. I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for, on average a wireless keyboard and mouse for the main computer lasts me about 9 months, in simple terms I wear them out through use and the fact that I can be a tad heavy handed at times, but the fact I tend to swear at them a lot does not affect their life so I have been told.

Something tells me that this mouse is made of sterner stuff, but as with anything time will tell. At least these days they don’t have balls in them to get covered in fluff and sticky muck on the little wheels inside. If you look at it in perspective the biggest progress with computer mice is that they have lost their balls, perhaps if the same progress was made with the furry ones that run around perhaps they would be seen in less numbers. Now there is a thought on a Friday night.



The two temporary Tenants Part 2

As guest Gopher at the station here is Peters take on today.

Well here we are back at home after another fun day at the railway. We had plenty of visitors, they did not travel but spent money in the shop. Mum and dad out with the children on the first day it was warm enough for walking in the sunshine.

During the day I checked my mobility scooter and the temperature gauge showed 12.5 degrees centigrade, and that was in the shade.

Ice cream and cold drinks were popular.The best part of the day was to watch the children’s faces as the trains came into the station it was worth the effort. Now I am going to put my feet up and rest on my laurels until next time, see all soon folks. 

I must admit if I had seen the temp at 12.5c based on where the station is I would have checked underneath for the starting’s of a fire!!!

Hopefully I will be back firing on all cylinders next weekend rather than just coughing from my exhaust so to speak.

Now for a busy week catching up on stuff I should have done but did not feel up to doing over the last week or so.