You will be wondering what ‘I G’ stands for. Well you’ve heard of ‘I T’. I am sure. ‘I T’ or Information Technology, the technique of gathering information or rather the means thereof. To quote Wikipedia ‘I T’ is the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data.  Actually humans have been gathering and manipulating information since time immemorial, there is nothing new about that. Today we have computers which take the hard work out of it but the information has to come from somewhere for computers to do that work. ‘I G’ therefore stands for Information Gathering which has to be performed first of all. Data collected is then stored for reference and manipulation as needed later. Surveys are one way of gathering information.

Occasionally I am asked to do a survey online and the information is used by the Government or local authority hopefully to better the community. Whether that actually happens is a matter of conjecture but the surveys do allow anyone partaking to give their opinion on a wide range of subjects. Hopefully these ‘questionnaires’ are innocuous but not all are. There is always the danger of revealing too much information, even delicate information if one is not wise to it.

Some surveys (probably more than we think) hide the real reasons for conducting them. The questions might be aimed toward our habits, what we buy, what we use with the view to bombarding us with advertisements which we might be interested in later. Sales marketing uses crafty methods to get across information and goods they want us to purchase. The questions asked of us are disguised and hidden among others in the survey so as not to put us off. Wise people see through all of this and don’t respond. I do such surveys because I am rewarded and for no other reason. I can be asked about anything but it doesn’t mean I get hooked into purchasing.

Shirley Anne


Hello from Minkyweasel

see upload log?

I just want to say hello to my readers who this month, so far, are living in these countries…………..

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United States

Oh yes! And the UK!

This year I started to note down each month the countries where my readers come from. You cam see the list for each month on the visitors page above.

Thank you all for your support

Shirley Anne

Information for my readers

Over the past week or so I, together with many others who use the WordPress platform have been experiencing difficulties with our blogs in various areas such as previewing our own posts unless they are published, not being able to see our front pages after we log in unless it is the sign-in page and some have not even been able to log in at all. I also hear of folk not being able to comment on my posts but that seems to be as random as the other issues. I am presently sharing my thoughts on a forum with other folk from around the world who are experiencing these and other difficulties. Fortunately I am able to run this site as usual for I still have access to my dashboard. I am led to believe that WordPress staff are investigating this anomaly. I am sorry if my readers are experiencing difficulties in posting comments, it is totally out of my hands. If you wish to make a genuine contribution you can always email me at the address shown and I will transfer genuine comments to the relevant post.

Email minkyweasel@gmail.com

Shirley Anne

It’s too easy

The counties of England
The counties of England 

E does a lot of competitions and she is always winning something so it is no surprise to me when she occasionally asks out-of-the-ordinary questions. At the dinner table a few days ago she asked such a question but this time it had nothing to do with her competitions, it was something to do with a television program which was to start thirty minutes later. The program itself was one of those reality shows where people, usually a couple, are escorted to and shown around three houses with the prospect of perhaps buying one if it meets with their requirements. The question E put to me was this, ‘Which county in the UK is bordered by seven others’? I didn’t know the answer but took a guess at one which is in the Midlands, an obvious choice but nevertheless I got the answer wrong. I was now curious to know what the answer might be so i went to look for the map book I know we have somewhere in the bookshelves. Sadly I couldn’t quickly locate it so I picked up my tablet pc and browsed on-line for a map of England which showed all the counties and there was the answer, Warwickshire. It is evidently the only county in England which is bordered by seven others. This was where the television program was recorded for this particular episode. Afterwards I thought to myself how easy it is to get information about anything these days. My poor efforts in trying to locate a map book, though I know we possess one, were greatly surpassed by the speed of searching via The Internet. Books are becoming more and more obsolete as time passes, much to my horror I might add for I love sitting with a book and losing myself in its pages. I seldom do that now. I suppose there will always be books for reference purposes because storage of information electronically can be unreliable. I do hope that there will always be a place for books.

Shirley Anne

Nice surprise……

I had a bit of good news today. I have spent most of the day in our family/dining/kitchen room and didn’t use my laptop which is in the front lounge until later, I used my tablet instead. Checking the mail I received a message from the Lottery saying my ticket had won something. I didn’t go to the site there and then but left it until later when I went on the laptop. I have won many times on the Lottery, usually a couple of pounds or so with the best one netting £65. When I signed in I found that I had won £1053 for 5 correct balls!

Shirley Anne

Akismet….. for the record

no spam!
No spam!

Akismet is the program on WordPress which seeks out spam before it gets to the comments folder. Once a genuine comment arrives, on my site at least, it awaits moderation by myself unless the author has previously submitted a comment which was subsequently allowed; in other words first-time comments are vetted. I am often intrigued by the spam blocker and how it determines which comments are spam and which are genuine comments. Below is a list of the past six month’s activity for all the geeks amongst us……..

14,443 total spam……………………………self-explanatory

415      total ham……………………………..genuine comments

7          missed spam………………………..self explanatory

2          false positives………………………genuine comments incorrectly marked as spam

99.94% accuracy rate…………………….self explanatory

With this sort of accuracy and the added safety net of self-moderation this site is well protected from nuisance comments. Incidentally the false positives are usually placed in the spam folder so they can be assessed before the spam is deleted. It pays therefore to glance through the spam folder before deleting it. After thirty days everything in the spam folder is automatically deleted and missed false positives will go down the pan too if not rescued beforehand. Personally I check the spam folder regularly and then manually empty it. Just a habit I got into.

Shirley Anne

Last Months Visitors

Igazu falls - Brazil
Igazu falls – Brazil (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

December’s visitors were from…

United States, Canada, Bulgaria, Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Australia, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Iceland, Spain, Guernsey, Denmark, Ireland, India, Finland, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Indonesia, South Africa, Greece, Nigeria, Moldova, Pakistan, New Zealand, France, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Poland, Russian Federation, Isle of Man, Panama, Belgium, Singapore, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Brazil, Ghana, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Germany, Israel, Ukraine, Columbia, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Kenya, Portugal, Latvia, Japan, Croatia, 56

November’s visitors to this blog

Moldova-1 (Photo credit: didkovskaya)

Outside of the UK November’s visitors were from…

United States, Germany, Spain, Nigeria, Ireland, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Serbia, Canada, Palestine, Indonesia, Belgium, Austria, Argentina, Denmark, Slovenia, Croatia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Sweden, France, Portugal, South Africa, Bahamas, Finland, Netherlands, India, Japan, Italy, Moldova, Chile, Viet Nam, Russian Federation, Poland, Greece, Benin, Venezuela, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Hungary, Brazil, Ghana, Cyprus, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, 50

Thank you all

Shirley Anne

I could scream

Scream and Scream Again
Scream and Scream Again (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know about you but I have always been the sort of person who, if I am in need of a service that someone provides I make enquiries accordingly. If I am out shopping I like to browse before I make any decision to buy. So my feathers become somewhat ruffled if I am approached without my asking. I am sick and tired of hearing the phrase ‘You could be eligible for reimbursement from a miss-sold PPI (payment protection insurance)’, more especially as I have never taken one out! My mobile phone constantly receives messages from companies willing to get me any compensation that is due to me. If I reply with a ‘STOP’ it makes no difference, the next company along the line makes the same claim and I get another message. The problem is that there are hundreds of these companies all seeking a piece of the action and no doubt I will still be receiving unwanted and unmerited messages for the next ten years! I could scream!
I hate it when out shopping I get pestered by pushy sales persons who ask ‘Can I be of assistance’? ‘Well no you can’t, I just want to see what is on offer all by myself thank you very much’, is what I am thinking but have to reply with a ‘No thank you, I am just browsing’. They may be on commission but they will never get me to buy something I do not want or persuade me that something else might be suitable when I am told they haven’t got what I want. If I cannot see what I want I ask, simple! I don’t wish to but a substitute thank you very much!
In today’s world we are bombarded with sales talk, sales pitch, leaflet drops, junk mail, unwanted phone calls and text messages, television adverts, even radio adverts. I cannot use the Internet without coming across an advert. One of the most annoying traits by advertisers these days is to have dynamic adverts flashing away to one side of the screen whilst emails are being read. Another favourite of theirs is to have an advert preceding a short video you have clicked on to watch and you are obliged to watch it before you can watch the content you clicked to see. They usually last around thirty seconds so I look away until the advert is finished. Don’t like adverts, never have, they don’t influence me one bit. If I want a product I will buy it after checking it out myself. Adverts tell lies anyway. How many of you have seen the adverts for face creams all claiming to reduce ‘the effect’ of ageing in older women and then show younger women with flawless skin as if they had been using it! They obviously don’t need it in the first place. The best adverts for me are the ones I cannot see or hear!
It is pressure from all sides. It seems we are unable to live our lives without the support of a ‘smart phone’ these days. They can do all sorts of wonderful things using the applications they have installed in them, many of the ‘better’ ones of course come with a price-tag. The phones themselves often cost a small fortune too. Now I use my mobile phone but infrequently, usually to answer voice calls or messages for work and little else. I don’t wish to spend my whole life looking at a screen with my fingers frantically pushing little buttons. I was in the pub the other day and quite a few folk in there were doing just that. Well I went there for a few drinks and company, you know, actually speaking with people! I could scream. I know people who don’t use the Internet, haven’t even got a computer, don’t have the latest phone but carry a simple one ‘in case of emergencies’. I would think that is sensible. However people are gradually being coerced into having computers and one day none of us will be able to conduct business of any kind unless we do it through the Internet. It’s happening already. I heard recently that people wishing to pay their gas or electricity bill by any other method than by ‘Direct Debit‘ are charged more for the privilege. Furthermore if they have to set up a Direct Debit they have to do it over the Internet because they are restricted from doing it over the phone with an actual human being! It doesn’t come as a surprise to me though because this is intimated in Scripture along with so many other things that the ‘blind’ cannot see. I could do without it all. Give me the quiet life any day. Do you suppose there is a reason for people to say that if they came into a lot of money they would go and live on a tropical island away from it all?

Shirley Anne