Manipulation

Heteroptera, digital manipulation
Heteroptera, digital manipulation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three days ago I posted an entry called ‘Finally’ regarding the removal of the X Box app. from my Windows 10 machine in which I expressed my joy in finally getting it removed. If you didn’t know then you do now, that I do not play computer games and don’t want them sitting on my machines taking up space. With today’s new computers apps. or to give them their proper name, applications, are widely used and form the main way of using the computer. In real terms apps. are merely items of code or programs which perform a particular task or tasks when called to do so. Every computer that was ever built uses programs of one size, shape or form in order to work. Apps. are merely small programs which sit on the machine which can be called upon at the flick of a finger. Not all apps. are useful to everyone and some might say many of them are pretty useless, it all depends upon the user. For myself I have no need for most of the possible uses offered by computers and therefore do not need the many different programs now called apps. on new machines. On this machine which is running Windows 7 there are an extremely few ‘special’ programs, ones which I have personally downloaded for some particular task. I simply have no need for them. On my other machine however, the one running Windows 10, it is a different story. I bought the machine two years ago mainly because I thought it would be good to have a back-up to this machine. It came with pre-loaded apps. of course but once I’d used the machine a few times I realised that most of them would never be used by myself. I did at that time uninstall many of them, at least those which could be uninstalled for there remain a few which cannot unless, as I mentioned in the previous post, they are removed using code. Today, which is May 2nd, I updated my Windows 10 version or rather it was done automatically. It took quite some time to download and install though again it was all done automatically. When I opened the desktop I saw that many new apps. had been added and not one of them I will ever use. There were six games and other apps. such as Skype and Netflix and a couple of Windows accessories and they all got deleted. The thing was that each time I deleted a game and returned to the computer minutes later more had been put on my machine! This to me is another example of how we in the west are being groomed and manipulated into using computers more and more in our lives. Technology is advancing so much so that it will be difficult to avoid it in years to come. Windows 10 or Microsoft (amongst others) are encouraging us to use our voices to switch on applications and even order them online using our voice. It is already in the home through devices that can be asked questions (connecting to online search engines) and other devices which switch on appliances or lighting. Do we live on The USS Enterprise? Those fictional  capabilities are becoming more the reality. Oh and don’t mention reality, there will be a day when many will prefer the world of the computer images over the real thing if we are not careful.

English: Footpath at Coveyden near Sevenoaks. ...
Footpath at Coveyden near Sevenoaks. The local people call this area “Coveyden”. The footpath passes by Apps Hollow, which used to be called Apps Bottom and then on past Whitley Forest ending at the B2042 road alongside The Woodman public house. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Escape from reality will be the norm! What is wrong with us that we need so much technology to feel life worthwhile? Those driving this world through technological advances will one day have us all under their control……..if we let them. This is very much the thin end of a huge wedge, believe me.

Shirley Anne

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Finally

Xbox Live logo since 2005
Xbox Live logo since 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, I am not referring to my project this time, though that isn’t far off completion. In fact the only thing that requires to be done on that at this point (time of writing) is painting the floor and we purchased the paint to do that yesterday, that is Saturday 28. Also yesterday I was finally able to get X Box removed from my Windows 10 computer. The machine I am using to write this is my Windows 7 machine. Not being versed in computer operating system code language I was unable to remove it myself though I know it is very simple to do. All that is required is to write a short line of code and execute it but of course it is knowing what to write. Many years ago I could write in Basic or Assembly language and became quite good at it but I never studied machine code and any other computer languages, it wasn’t necessary. So my knowledge is very limited when it comes to anything to do with writing code. Ever since I purchased the machine, which is now over two years ago, I have wanted the X Box application and others removed from it. Microsoft in their infinite wisdom elected to pre-install many ‘apps’ and for me most would never get used so what is the point in having them on the machine taking up space? Some of the applications could and have been removed by myself but some require the use of ‘Power Shell’ to remove them. Power Shell being the program which gives access to the operating system language. The computer has the Power Shell application pre-installed for anyone who wants to use it and knows how. Anyway I chose to contact Microsoft and have them remove X Box for me. That meant allowing the engineer to access and control my computer remotely. He removed the program in a matter of seconds but it had taken me quite some time to have reached that point having been side-tracked through being connected to the wrong department. Ah well, it is done now. When I use the Windows 10 machine it is infrequent and very basic, much in the same way I use the Windows 7 machine. Everything else computers can do doesn’t interest me, I have no use for them, especially playing games.

Shirley Anne

The toy that destroyed the world

Commodore 64, VIC-casing but with C64C-coloring.
Commodore 64 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are few things which alone could destroy this world besides atomic bombs and disease and even one of those is within our capability to be rendered  harmless. It is all about intention. Many years ago I purchased my first personal computer, a Commodore Vic 20, a very basic machine with less memory than a modern-day credit card! After a while I upgraded to a Commodore 64 but even that machine was very limited by today’s standards. The only great advance regarding computers at the time was that they had shrunk in size, they were far smaller than their predecessors and could now perhaps become a useful domestic device. Well that certainly happened as we all know. With each passing year the personal computer has gone from strength to strength. It was only with the introduction of The Internet though that the computer came into its own. Many households can now connect to the world in which we live, something only dreamt about years ago. It was around 1982 I bought that Vic 20 and two years later the 64. I had been attending a Methodist church at the time though I wasn’t at that time a Christian. That came in 1989. One day I had occasion to visit the then vicar of the church as I remember to help with a small electrical problem and the subject of computers entered our conversation. I always remember his reaction, ‘They are just toys’, he said. He was so right but I had yet to learn that. Toys they may be but they are powerful and have the capability to destroy the world if miss-used. Therein lies the problem. Because human beings are in control of their manufacture and use there is always the danger they will be used for all the wrong reasons. That is already happening and is slowly becoming a giant-sized problem to the world. Technological advancement has a down side and can be used against us in many ways. What does the future hold for us all if we have to rely on computers in order to live out our lives? Inevitably computers will control everything we do……..all we think, earn, spend, purchase will be recorded and can be manipulated. Should we buy into it all or does our conscience tell us to beware? To me it smacks of the ‘mark of the beast’ as described in Revelations………….you decide.

Shirley Anne

Computer madness

To be exact not only was the computer acting crazy so was the site I was connected to. Let me explain. On Thursday I opened my account at ‘Very’ and bought a new pair of shoes which arrived on Friday. Excellent service I thought and these were the shoes I actually bought, not the one shown in the other post…new-heels-1

And believe it or not they cost a mere £9.50 or thereabouts. The heel height is as I said, four and a half inches and they are lovely to walk in. Today, Sunday as I write this, I decided to invest in some new nylon stockings, six pairs of one type costing £4.50 a pair and five pairs of another type costing £3.50 a pair or thereabouts and with postage they cost me almost £46 I think. I didn’t make a point in remembering the detail. I used a different site, one which specialises in the sale of lingerie, stockings, corsets and other feminine wear. They are called ‘Stockings HQ’, what else? I have an account with them and it is where I purchase all my stockings. I had no problems in carrying out the purchase. Later again I decided I liked a certain pair of shoes I had seen on ‘Very’s’ site and started to make the purchase. I have an account with them but for one reason or another my details were not recognised. After several attempts to put things right and not succeeding I decided to give up but when using the computer to connect to another site not related to shopping I noticed there was a conflict between the systems which auto-fill some of the sites I visit. Chrome is the culprit for often auto-filling data as another program is already doing it. I didn’t set it up that way, well not purposely but the effect was annoying to say the least. I was finally able to re-visit Very and make the purchase…….. new-heels-2

I think the heels are five inches. I say that because the information had not been put in the advert but looking and comparing with the first pair they are higher. This pair cost me over £48 including the postage at £3.60. Why did I buy them, when I have all these in one wardrobe…. pics-455

and others, not all stilettos, in another wardrobe? Simple, I love shoes. In the picture above there are eleven pairs but there are actually thirteen pairs. Two of them are out of sight to the left. The pair at the extreme right are the highest at five and a half inches, the red and the white pairs are five and a quarter inches. The next group is around four and a half. The pink and fawn ones together with the next black ones are four and a quarter inches high and those out of the picture are three and a half. Now I have two new pairs! Anyway after making my purchases five minutes later the computer crashed and needed a re-boot. This is the old machine running Windows 7 which I prefer. The Windows 10 machine isn’t much used except for when I have to update security or Windows, which does it automatically when switched on. So there you have it, a bad day at the office.

Shirley Anne

No more please!

English: View on tier 1 and 2 ISP interconnections
View on tier 1 and 2 ISP interconnections (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My purse has taken quite a beating these past couple of months and needs a little time to recuperate. I have been spending as if my life depended upon it but the time has come for a rest from major spending sprees. On Wednesday morning E and I went out shopping initially for another tub of plaster in order for me to finish off that ceiling and wall repair I mentioned in yesterday’s post but I added that I wished to buy a pair of shoes too. E drove us to the shoe store down buy the sea front and I found the pair of shoes I wanted in minutes. They were flat-soled shoes for general walking about and will be used mostly when I am at work. However E decided she wanted a pair of shoes too and I ended up buying both pairs. Off we drove to the retail park a mile or so down the road and bought the plaster but while we were in the park I decided to visit the electrical store where we had recently purchased my new large-screen television. I wanted to see if I could buy another couple of televisions for the newly refurbished bedrooms at home. We looked at two different models each with a 32″ screen, one at a higher price than the other at which point a salesman showed us another with the same sized screen at an even lower price. I placed an order for two of them and paid the £258 asking price. The would be available for collection either Saturday (which will be today as you read this) or early next week. By now it was lunchtime so we drove to a nearby pub/restaurant and dined there. When we arrived home we spent some time burning stacks of paper printed upon which was information too sensitive to chance recycling it. Later I went on-line for a time using my old computer which runs Windows 7 but when I attempted to use the computer running Windows 10 I found it couldn’t connect to the Internet even though it was connected to the router! I contacted my Internet provider after many attempts trying to resolve the problem with no results but I got nowhere with them. At the time of writing this the issue was still not resolved but it had to be a software problem of some sort. A day in the life of yours truly!

And then there was an update: The problem was resolved later in the evening when  E discovered her computer wasn’t connected either! We reset the router and all was back to normal. Now I am almost certain that Windows 10 was more the problem as both E’s new computer and my new computer both run Windows 10. The other of my computers runs Windows 7 and had no problems with connecting to the Internet.

Shirley Anne

Hidden extras

Downloading updates  1 of 141 do not unplug or turn off your computer’, you’ve all seen this message or something similar on your computer screen for earlier versions of Windows. Since having Windows 7 re-installed on my old laptop all I have been getting when I am about to switch it off are messages like these. One or two is fine but almost every time I have switched off my machine during the last few days I get this message. At first it was 6 updates then 10 then 141, a further 40, then 6 and even more after these. Now I would have expected to see some difference in using the computer but there isn’t one, at least one that I would notice. I decided to check just exactly what had been uploaded and saw a long list of items seemingly all to do with the operating system. I then checked all the installed programs to see if anything had changed there. I discovered that quite a number of programs had been added. Some are games, some are Microsoft’s own programs like Live Messenger, Movie Maker,  Office Powerpoint and others all of which I will probably never use but here’s the rub, one day I might have to, why?


Embed from Getty Images

Well in the great scheme of things Microsoft change their software to make it impossible to do certain things that have been traditionally easy to do by taking away functionality. This means extra software has to be purchased in order to do some of the simple tasks that could have been done just using the Windows platform. For instance, on my new laptop which runs Windows 10 Microsoft has made it impossible to open my files and preview them, they have also filed my photographs in a different way by default and are also not easily located. These things seem minor but at the end of the day it appears that we are being manipulated to using software their way. In society this is the thin end of a large wedge. Has it escaped your notice that the way we shop or do anything else is slowly changing? One day there will be no cash and we will have to use smart technology to buy anything, to get directions, to dine out and to do almost everything that we do. We will be under the control of those who produce the technology and the software that controls it. Think I am being paranoid? Perhaps I am but human beings are meant to be free, not slaves to machinery and technology just to live out our lives. I think I would prefer life to remain a little difficult rather than having to rely upon computers, smart phones, contactless debit cards et al.

Shirley Anne

What a day

Windows 7 build 7600
Windows 7 build 7600 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday was one of those days you wished never happened. I went to do a small job for a couple I have worked for a few times. It was simply to replace two plastic three-gang (that is three switches on the same plate) lighting switches with metal ones. The job was a nightmare task but eventually it got sorted. I missed out on an early lunch and decided to call in to the electrical retail store to see if they had repaired my old laptop which I had given them two weeks ago. If my readers will remember I had trouble with Windows 10 and the machine I was told possibly also needed a new C drive. As it happened the machine checked out okay and didn’t need a new drive but unfortunately they had to uninstall Windows 10 as it kept crashing. I had thought the machine was comparable for use with Windows 10 but someone passing a comment in one of my related posts had suggested it might not be. He was right! They apologised for having to install Windows 7 but I told them that actually I was going to ask them to do that anyway whether Windows 10 could have remained or not. I was so glad they had reinstalled Windows 7. I asked how much the service charge had cost me but they told me they were not going to levy a charge. Originally they suggested it would cost £50 so that was a nice surprise. However I had the daunting task of updating Windows 7 and reinstalling the several other programs I commonly use on my computers, Firefox and Chrome browsers, Zemanta, Trusteer Rapport and Norton security. I had to buy a new copy of Norton as the current one couldn’t accept another computer for protection. However I will investigate that later as it should protect three machines. The program doesn’t know that the repaired machine is actually one of those three machines, it is just that everything got wiped when they erased Windows 10! I had spent hours setting things back as they were before but still have the problem of not being able to preview my document library so I don’t know where anything is! I was able to restore all my photos though but will have to arrange them in folders as I had them before. If anyone was to ask me what I thought about Windows 10 I would most definitely tell them to stick with what they have and leave Windows 10 alone. It is a pain the proverbial to be honest and has created many problems for those who have had the misfortune to download it. The many viewable feedback comments from other users tell the tale and there are hundreds of them. So now I have two machines, this one on which I am writing this post is using Windows 7 and the new one which is running Windows 10. I will let you guess which one I prefer. One good thing about Windows 7 is that is doesn’t interfere with the Acer dedicated sound and vision controls for watching movies or playing back music as Windows 10 had done.

Shirley Anne

Testing my patience

English: Acer Aspire 8920 (with 18.4 inch scre...
Acer Aspire 8920 (with 18.4 inch screen) showing its desktop on Windows 7. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having purchased a new laptop computer I had to spend a few hours setting the damned thing up, installing preferred software programs and re-installing saved documents, files and pictures and such. However as is usual with these things nothing ever goes smoothly does it? Eventually, after much frustration I had everything in place but there are still a couple of snags to sort out like being able to actually see the file titles for instance as they were when they were saved. There is no pre-view so I cannot find anything even though it is there. With the picture files they can be opened by the Windows platform but when it comes to searching by title I haven’t been able to discover how I can do that. Why don’t saved files just get replaced as they should appear in the viewing pane, with their titles? No doubt there is a simple way of doing this but I have yet to find out how, you see I am no computer whizz-kid. For me computers are a means to an end and as clever as they are (they’re not actually clever) they can be a pain in the proverbial if one doesn’t know how to solve their every little quirk. Anyway I am sure I will find a way through the jungle and find that clearing eventually.

The machine itself is a Hewlett-Packard Envy (what a weird name) with the same i7 technology as my Acer which is currently still in the workshop hopefully getting repaired. This machine however has a 1TB storage capability whereas the Acer has only 500GB. The higher the available RAM the faster the processing as there is more space with which the machine can work and that means things happen faster on the screen, not that I would notice the difference! I am of course still trying to get used to the slightly different keyboard and touch pad.

Every new machine comes with pre-installed software which is usually not always used by the buyer. Mine came with a different Internet security program to my preferred one, with whom I have a contract which is automatically renewed each year and charged to my bank account. I had to install it. I use Norton 360. I use Firefox for my browser and have Chrome as a back-up so I had to install them too. Then I had to reinstall Trusteer Rapport, Zemanta and Last Pass and it all takes time. I also had to de-clutter the start menu and taskbar from all the useless short-cuts that Microsoft had placed there. I also had to register, set up passwords and other things whilst fending off pop-up screens inviting me to answer a couple of short surveys by the purveyors of some of the software I had subscribed to. I didn’t receive the machine until ten-thirty on Monday morning and it was around five o’clock by the time I had most of the set-up completed. This is the annoying part of buying a new machine but I will have to do it all again, well some of it, when and if I get my other machine repaired.

Did I say I hate technology?

Shirley Anne

Not faffing about any more

laptop
laptop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My readers will know by now how much I have suffered with computer problems lately and not only computers but also my mobile phone! I try my best to sort things out but having done that I find I am banging my head against a brick wall sometimes. Techology and me don’t really mix which is a little strange I suppose considering that I have been involved with it all my working life. I have an excuse though as the technology has been of a different kind. The latest escapade has left me with only my tablet whilst my laptop is undergoing repair. In my last post I talked about having to return it after yet another problem. As I write this on Saturday evening and using the tablet, my laptop is sitting on the work bench in Curry’s PC World for the second time and I won’t be getting it back at the very least until Monday. I was using the tablet just before I had my late lunch at three o’clock when I decided to push the boat out and browse the Internet looking for a new laptop, something akin to my fault stricken machine. I found one with a slightly better specification and also using i7 processors. The price was one penny less than £1000. I bought it. If my other machine gets repaired successfully I won’t be bothered as it will ensure I have back up in more ways than one! I get fed up faffing about so I do something about it. Hopefully I will now have a little less to worry about concerning computers and their problems, well perhaps. Now I have to go through the whole set up procedure once again, probably twice if my old machine is repaired!

Shirley Anne

 

Writing on

I’ve not done any writing of posts on this site for almost a week. The main reason for that is my laptop has been out of action for a few days because of software problems concerning Windows 10. I wrote about this in a pre-written post published recently. The post was written days ago and that is the second reason for my not writing much. I usually write around five or six posts in advance. Most of those have now been published. Although the laptop has been fixed I am using the Android tablet to write this as I am having difficulty in connecting to the Internet, it’s a router password matter I haven’t resolved at this moment after many attempts. I think, though I’m not entirely sure, I might be using the wrong information. I am waiting for some family assistance. So I am using the tablet which is equipped with predictive text, something I am not used to as yet but I am learning fast. It is so good it presents many of the words I am about to write as if it is learning as it is used. Maybe. Although the tablet is a 10 inch one half of the screen is taken up by the pop up keyboard and if I magnify the text it becomes more difficult to navigate. I shouldn’t grumble, at least I have more than one means to get on line. The eighteen inch screen is much better though. The laptop has been wiped clean and Windows 10 has been installed and all is well thus far but I need to get on line in order to reinstall other software. So I am hoping that will be soon. In the meantime I am stuck with what I have.

Well I spoke too soon didn’t I? On Saturday morning I managed to connect with the router and began the long process of downloading the various add-ons, extensions and saved data when the machine froze. A reboot didn’t resolve the problem and in fact I wasn’t able to even get the sign in page! I returned the machine so that further investigations can be made. So now I am thinking there is a hardware fault. I it proves difficult I may have to purchase another. What a bummer! Until I can buy a new compute or have the current one repaired all my posts here may have limited content.

Shirley Anne