arkessian: (oaths)
I've given my website at a minor makeover (and a behind-the-scenes technology update). I'd be grateful if people could go visit and confirm that it's working for them...
arkessian: (Detached Barn)
So there I was, wearily chugging through some online chores -- paying bills, banking, that sort of thing -- when the internet dies.

I reboot the router. No joy.
I plug a laptop direct onto the cable. No joy, but at least it proves it isn't my router.
I ring my ISP. "Everyone else is working fine. It must be your router." "No it isn't because..." "Ah..."
On their suggestion, I reboot the wireless unit on the roof (this can be done remotely, you will be glad to hear). No joy. Again on their suggestion, I change the power supply to the wireless unit on the roof. (I do wonder what they would have suggested if they were talking to somebody who didn't have a configurable power-supply directly to hand...). No joy. I visually inspect the wireless unit with binoculars. No apparent damage. I trace the cable from the wireless unit into the house  as far as I can either visually or physically (not fun in the snow). No apparent damage.
"Ah. Not sure what to suggest. It must be a problem at your location. We can't come out until after Christmas."

And then 30 minutes later, it miraculously springs to life. Which suggests it was their end all along but they haven't rung to confess... Grrr. I want my morning back.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about ebook location! I shall not be short of reading matter... unless the Internet dies again.
arkessian: (red wine)
Since my last post:

1. I had a lovely long weekend in York with some friends -- the usual eating, drinking, talking, wandering. Not so much of the wandering for me, as my lumbar arthritis decided to flare up (perhaps not surprising after a four hour drive, even with stops for exercise) so I spent a lot of the weekend flat on my bed -- lucky I took the netbook (even if the hotel only has wireless in the lounge) and the e-reader. I may need to give in and take the painkillers more often but the side-effects cause their own difficulties. Hmm....

2. Have I mentioned how much I love my e-reader: first choice for buying books from now on will be in e-form. The Sony user interface suits me perfectly, and I'm still in "I can carry how many books around with me?" mode. I'm actually doing more reading because of the convenience -- any spare five minutes I can pick it up and carry on where I left off.

3. On return from York the cat-feeder left me a note to say that Chino was lame. Which he was, exceedingly, poor lump. Vet reckons it was an arthritis flare-up; he's recovering now but not back to his old mobility, so I am constructing little cat step-ladders around the house to enable him to reach his favourite places. Still haven't worked out how to stop him jumping into the sink to drink from the tap -- "up" seems to be no problem for him, but "down" is painful, which he never seems to remember until it's too late. He does have a water fountain, acquired to cater to his fetish for running water, but he still obstinately prefers the tap.

4. A dinner with more friends near Nottingham this weekend past was cancelled due to "weather" or the threat of it at least. Not much snow here yet -- just a dusting thismorning, but the village shop was bedlam during my stint on duty thisafternoon as people decided to stock up for the coming snowpocalypse.  Not sure why -- there are enough tractors and farmers 4x4s around here to get supplies to everyone in case of need.

5. I must be doing something wrong -- not only have I become the "EPOS queen" at the shop, I've been co-opted onto the shop society managing committee and elected (unopposed, it must be said) as "Communications Officer", responsible for letting all the volunteer staff know what's going on, and keeping the shop Procedures manual (when it's eventually written) up-to-date. Luckily, I don't have to write the manual -- the local know-it-all Quality Expert is doing that (I kept quiet about my time as Quality Manager for a much bigger organisation than he ever worked for; didn't want to scare the poor man).

6. My keyboard is still not right -- it's amazing how often I need the V key, plus several of the others which are sticking. And the PC itself takes an age (15 minutes!) to boot in the morning.  Which is probably as good an excuse as I need to buy a new PC: geek geek geek...

Gosh: 6 things. More than a post.

5 things

Sep. 20th, 2010 05:11 pm
arkessian: (numbers)
1. I'm just back from a lovely stay in Pembrokeshire. If you've a hankering for luxury (for which somebody else is willing to pay), and a burning need/desire to go to Pembrokeshire, I thoroughly recommend The Grove at Narberth especially if you can get a last-minute deal. They even loaned me a pair of bright pink Hunter Wellies for a day to go traipsing around graveyards. I would have been quite happy to stay there longer, but the cat and the Lodger's bank balance would have been less enthusiastic.

2. Graves in Welsh are quite difficult to read, but I made significant headway in sorting out my Pembrokeshire ancestry. It doesn't help that there are a lot of people with the surnames James and John in Llanfairnantygof and Little Newcastle, but I have managed to establish that I am related to a very famous Mormon and a man who was tried for treason but acquitted of helping the French invade Haverford West in 1797. Both of whom lived in the village where the apparently-infamous pirate Barti Ddu (Black Bart) was born. (No, I'd never heard of him either, and I'm a day late to talk like a pirate, but still...)

3. I have stripped the tomato plants, including all the greenies (which are now ripening in a paper bag in the dark with a couple of bananas), and harvested the remaining chillies, peppers and aubergines. Tomorrow I will take custody of a loaned preserving pan to make chutney, which I will bottle in a set of lovely proper Kilner jars which I was given free gratis and for nothing today. I do like being part of a community.

4. Still mulling over the e-reader choice. I don't have much use for a mobile phone -- I have a handset for emergencies that is so old it doesn't even have a camera, used on a pay-as-you-go basis, and have to remember to make one call every six months to avoid losing the credit loaded onto it -- so an iphone isn't really a cost-effective choice. I'm tending towards the Sony but will wait until the new one comes out to make a final decision.

5. Where has the year gone? It's late September already!

arkessian: (Clockwork)
So... I may succumb and buy an e-reader. (Or rather importune for one as a christmas-cum-birthday present). The Kindle is now available in the UK direct. But should I be looking at a Sony with a touch-screen and no compact with the devil? Or something else.

Views, please...
arkessian: (neuron)
The Kindle is coming to the UK. I think I shall be able to resist...
arkessian: (Bright lights big city)
In an idle moment, I thought I would check the prices realised in the auction of "adult toys" that I posted about a week or so ago.

The wire-guided anti-tank missile went for £36 — presumably it would have been more if it hadn't been used.
The Sinclair C5 went for £288. These cost something like £400 new in 1985, so were clearly not a good investment as well as totally un-roadworthy.
The "cast iron pull-along grasshopper" went for £84 — too much for me to contemplate, although I do lust after it mightily.
The"Bjorn Borg" advertising display tennis racquet for £60. I'm surprised it sold at all; does Bjorn Borg still have fanboys and fangirls?
The full size photographic replica of the Bayeux tapestry went for £6,000.
The selection of used telegraph cable sections fetchingly mounted in a display case went for £60 — something else I would have been very happy to own, but not at that price.
The 1870 medical shock machine went for £156 — not, I trust, to somebody intending to use it.
And the 19th century Chinese acupuncturist's figurine went for £16,800.
arkessian: (Bright lights big city)
I have the catalogue for this sale, which contains some awful English! I suspect the collector wrote many of the entries as the standard of Bonhams catalogues is usually better than this. He refers to the first LED calculators as becoming more valuable and "sort after", for example.

However, if you can see past the English mistakes, the catalogue contents are fascinating. I was particularly taken by the wire-guided anti-tank missile (which has been test fired) immediately adjacent to the Sinclair C5 (that quintessentially British technology that somehow failed to take the world by storm). On the next page is a "cast iron pull-along grasshopper" circa 1925  next to a "Bjorn Borg" advertising display tennis racquet circa 1975. There's a full size photographic of the Bayeux tapestry made in 1874, and a selection of telegraph cable sections recovered from the sea bed between Cuba and Jamaica in 1893 after 23 years of use. There's a 19th century Chinese acupuncturist's figurine next to an 1870 medical shock machine. And that's just scratching the surface. The catalogue runs to 119 pages and 758 lots, including some which the collector admits are "lucky dip" lots -- if you buy one and don't understand what you've got, you can email him and he "will try to explain to you what you have bought and what it might be important!"

No wonder the collector thanks his wife for giving him "the freedom to run a business I have described as an adult toyshop."

Busy bee

Aug. 31st, 2009 01:26 pm
arkessian: (Busy bee)
Gosh, I've been busy and productive little bee today. So far:
  • I got all my mandatory housework done by 0930 . Yes, I have a housework schedule for myself, and I'm not allowed to do anything else until that day's housework is complete — otherwise I'd never do *any* housework, I loathe it with such a passion.
  • I've done some necessary pruning in the garden: a cotinus that seems to be succumbing to verticilium wilt (more's the pity) and a philadelphus that has decided to get too big for its allotted space.
  • I've issued the draft agenda for a monthly share club meeting I attend on the first Saturday of the month, down in Taunton. It's a standing joke among the attendees that I refused to be named as Chair, but have still ended up performing the role anyway. The agenda is a chore every month; I spend a week nagging for items and then make up my own at the last minute, every time.
  • I've updated the software on my websites (plus the lodger's website) to the latest versions.
So now I can settle down to the day's writing. Unless I go hunting first for a word-count widget, because it occurs to me that a good way of reinforcing my writing discipline is to record my daily word-count here.

Anyone know of a good word-count widget?

ETA: Having remembered that (a) I need to bake bread today and (b) I have an inelegant insufficiency of bread flour, I have now visited the local Waitrose, acquired a bag of extra-strong Canadian bread flour and set the bread-maker to make me a ciabatta-type loaf. If I were a domestic goddess, I would no doubt be doing this by hand. But I ain't.

arkessian: (Default)
A few years back, I took a deep breath and had fitted furniture installed in my study. It isn't a big room, so it's important to use the space well, especially as I spend more time in it (awake) than any other room in the house.

Technology lurks here )

In other news, it is piddling down with rain outside, so I shall be making pepperpot this afternoon to brighten up the day. Lots of chillies and peppercorns and allspice and red and yellow peppers, and onion and garlic and butternut squash, beef and coconut milk. Half to be eaten tonight with a hunk of bread to soak up the yummy liquid, and half to go in the freezer against another miserable day.

arkessian: (numbers)
27% of the downloads of my book so far have been in epub or mobi format rather than pdf.

Which begs two questions: Do 1 in 4 of the science-fiction reading community own a mobile reader? And why am I not one of them?