Just don’t get along……

Killing Technology
Killing Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

……no, not with people, with technology! You might think that somebody who has worked in the electrical supply and service industry all my life until April last year would be used to technology. That is perfectly true but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. It all depends upon what form the technology takes. I am very familiar with computer control applications and the hardware involved with interfacing for example but when it comes to other areas I am less familiar. I am even familiar with basic programming but as for normal everyday use of computers or devices which are basically computers in disguise like mobile phones I am often at a loss. I own a mobile 3G (third generation) phone which allows connection to the Internet. I had previously owned a 2G phone and wish I hadn’t upgraded it. There is no way I would own a 4G phone or a 5G or 6G phone when they become available. I am not interested in accessing the Internet via my mobile phone. Neither am I interested in using my phone to pay for services or purchases. This technology has rolled out seemingly to make life easier but in fact you can be sure the underlying reasons go far beyond that consideration. People remain blind to the future that awaits them because they cannot see further than the end of their noses. They simply go with the flow as in other areas of their lives but in fact they are, we are, all being manipulated. That aside, I simply don’t like the technology anyway. On Thursday (28) I inadvertently made access to my mobile phone impossible for I had tried to prevent the use of the phone unless a pin number was known. It didn’t work even though I had followed the instructions. I had to take the phone along to my network provider’s shop in town, in my case the Three Store, to have it unlocked. Alright, I admit the problem with the phone is more to do with my being unable to use it properly rather than the technology itself. However for me it doesn’t need to be complicated as I am not interested in anything but the basic use of it. All I want is a phone with texting capability but it has become impossible to obtain one because that doesn’t encourage the possibility of somebody else making a profit down-line. It doesn’t encourage my being dependent on the technology as one day we all may be if we close our eyes to it. I suppose you could call me a modern day Luddite.

The Luddites were a group of English textile workers and weavers in the 19th century who destroyed weaving machinery as a form of protest. The group was protesting the use of machinery in a “fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labour practices.Luddites feared that the time spent learning the skills of their craft would go to waste as machines would replace their role in the industry. It is a misconception that the Luddites protested against the machinery itself in an attempt to halt progress of technology. Over time, however, the term has come to mean one opposed to industrialisationautomationcomputerisation or new technologies in general. The Luddite movement began in Nottingham and culminated in a region-wide rebellion that lasted from 1811 to 1816. Mill owners took to shooting protesters and eventually the movement was suppressed with military force. (Credit…Wikipeadia)

Likewise, I have no objection to the development of technology per se, it just isn’t always for me. I got the phone problem sorted out in minutes and left the shop happy and contented, for the time being that is!

Shirley Anne

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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

Pleasant surprises

No Surprises
No Surprises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always maintained that I am not fond of surprises, arranged parties and gatherings centred upon myself or otherwise. I guess you could say I am a person of routine also as I do not like change especially if there is no apparent need for it. Forever onward and upward is a motto held in high esteem by some who like pressing on into some idyllic future they think is better. In many ways the future as we arrive in it each day isn’t so great at all. We may have achieved much over the generations but in some ways we have taken a backward step as far as I can see. My future is a different one, I am just plodding along with all that is happening around me whilst trying my best not to let too much influence my daily life. I vehemently resist the temptation to acquire the latest technology, all-seeing all dancing mobile telephones hold no interest for me for instance. My mobile phone is only mobile if I take it with me otherwise it is just as immobile as any other inanimate object. I go for walks without my phone because I wish to be left undisturbed. On my return home I check to see if I have any missed calls and often as not I do, most though are unsolicited and are consigned to the bin. Actually I allocate many of them with a ‘Spam’ number so if the caller persists in annoying me I am not taken by surprise and can simply not answer. The kind of surprises I like are the ones which report an item of good news, an ill friend or member of the family regaining their health, someone attaining a qualification after much study, someone who has won a prize or has a financial upturn making their lives a little easier, these are nice surprises. A few weeks ago I submitted my annual tax return and I received a letter a few days ago informing me of the results of the calculations regarding my tax obligations. I appears that I have paid too much tax, £471 too much. Well that was a pleasant surprise as I had expected to be paying more.

Shirley Anne

The next day

Following on from yesterday, the day started early as we were awakened at 7.45 by the front door bells. We were expecting the delivery of the new bed for the room we have refurbished though not at that unearthly hour! We were expecting it to arrive sometime in the afternoon as we thought the salesman had said. E went down to answer the door as there was no way I would after being woken up and having not had the time to even get washed and dressed. E has no such qualms. The two guys took around fifteen minutes to set up the bed before drinking the coffee E had made for them both. New bed

Once I had breakfast I went for a walk and posted some mail for E along the way. I had some business to attend to and some purchases to make. On my return E and I got down to removing everything from the small bedroom including the furniture. We found a way to store it all temporarily on the landing outside the room but we had to dismantle the bed before we could store it. The next task will be to remove the carpet and get the room ready for painting. As it was Thursday E went shopping with her mom in the afternoon whilst I went next door to set up the new television for our neighbour who is eighty years old and hasn’t a clue about such things. By coincidence she had purchased a smaller version of the set I had bought recently so setting it up wasn’t a problem. Well setting up the television itself was easy but I had to sort out the mass of wiring behind it for the Sky box, video, Playstation, external speakers and such. The Sky box had to be removed as it was faulty and a new one had been sent. Unfortunately it was completely different from the old one and I had no idea how to install it so I didn’t. I felt that should be the responsibility of their engineers so that was arranged over the phone. Although I had the television working I couldn’t get it connected to The Internet, for some reason it wouldn’t recognise the router’s password or pin number no matter how many times I tried.  I had no problems connecting my own set so I had to assume her password had changed. I asked my neighbour if the password had been changed but she hadn’t a clue about that either. She kept giving me the password for her Sky connection. It took quite some time for me to explain that the Sky connection had nothing to do with connecting the television to the router. Her Internet provider is BT and not Sky even though she has the Sky connection. I had been there for two and a half hours and got back home just shortly before E returned from her shopping spree. Hopefully the Sky engineer will sort out my neighbour’s television connections when he calls next week.

Shirley Anne

Progress?

Slowly but surely it nibbles away
At each precious second
In each precious day.
Turning around you don’t notice it’s gone
Your freedom, your choices
Your liberty won.
Deceived you are taken along with the flow
Then suddenly there is no place you can go,
Controlled you are led down the path of despair
There’s no turning back and nobody cares.
But wait, there is time to resist
There’s a path through the darkness
A path through the mist.
The choices you make as you open your eyes
Will determine salvation or end in demise.

Copyright Shirley Anne 2 March 2016

P technology
P technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was working in someone’s house a couple of days ago and during some conversation we discussed technology and the advancement and use of it in our daily lives. The couple who lived there were professional people, that is educated to a high level and holding down professional jobs. One, the lady, was a university lecturer and the man was a qualified engineer who was now working in information technology and its developement. I had to let them know that my views on technology were not the same as their own. I don’t like technology. I don’t like the way it is slowly weaving its way into our lives until we become totally dependent upon it. Don’t misunderstand me, there is good technology and there is technology we could well do without. Technology in medicine must be a good thing if it aids in diagnosis, prevention of incapacity or death and in treatment. Industry often relies upon technology. In other areas of our lives such as transport, communication, entertainment or simply to allow us an easier life at home I am not so sure the benefits outweigh the losses. Too many folk these days are glued to liquid crystal or diode displays, that is television, computer and mobile devices such as telephones; smart phones they call them. Oh yes they are smart alright but slowly they will take over how we live our lives, if we let them, and I know that will be inevitable for many for they cannot see what the future has in store. Their minds are closed as are their hearts, they actually want to go with the flow but there is a price to pay and perhaps one day, if prophecy is true, it will be too late to turn back.

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

 

Now phone madness

English: Mobile phone signal here The blue sig...
Mobile phone signal here The blue sign on the right indicates that a mobile phone signal is available. A few of these signs are popping up in the forests in West Argyll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I invested in a mobile phone back in 1998 I have gotten used to ‘blind spots’ where I can get little or no connection but lately I seem to be getting more problems concerning connection and not less as you might expect. More and more people are now connected and presumably more and more masts have been erected to accommodate them all. However there are still many blind spots in the areas in which I work which can be a nuisance but whilst at home I never expect to have problems as historically I never have had. I am now finding that in certain parts of the house I get no signal at all whilst in other parts the signal is very strong. Strange as it may seem I don’t usually have problems when in the house cellars where you might expect the signal to be weak! Some upstairs rooms have blind spots and some do not and it doesn’t seem to matter on which side of the house the rooms are situated. Very odd indeed. I was in the main bathroom trying to sort out why the towel rail we installed last year when refurbishing the whole room, wasn’t heating up. Obviously that problem was an air-lock which was most likely caused by my draining the system early in the year in order to change a couple of radiator valves. I had been venting only water from the rail but wasn’t getting anywhere. I had fitted a hose and flushed out a large amount of water together with the offending air and was just tidying up when my mobile phone rang. It was a call from an elderly gentleman for whom I had worked last year. He wanted me to do more work. I couldn’t jot down the details where I was so I went downstairs to where the house phone sits as there is a note pad and pen there. As I bent down to pick up the pen my connection was lost and I was disconnected from the caller. I tried to call back but there wasn’t a signal so I moved to another room but still no joy. I decided to call him using the house phone but kept getting rejected as his house phone is set not to receive calls from anyone whose own number is ex-directory and our phone number is ex-directory. I therefore had to return upstairs to attempt to reconnect on my mobile phone. As it happened he must have been trying to call me and I couldn’t get connected. Finally I got through and was able to jot down the details. The odd thing is that sometimes I can receive a call in a place where I cannot make a call myself! How crazy is that? Is it any wonder I get so frustrated with technology? If it isn’t my computers it is my phones!

By the way the towel rail is now working perfectly…..

Shirley Anne

Madness

One Step Beyond...
One Step Beyond… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did I mention I hate computers? In this day and age they have become more a necessity than a real need, I never wanted a computer in order to do the many things that can be done with them but when they first came on to the market (way back in 1980 for me) I bought one as a novelty. I had no idea of their potential at that time though I did learn to write basic programs that helped my children to grasp spelling and simple arithmetic which was useful. I remember a time around 1985 when ‘CompuServe‘ had a program whereby purchases could be made through the computer. It was a beginning but not the beginning of the present day Internet. I have seen many stages of development since those days. I last purchased a computer, a laptop, over eight years ago I think, it is the one I am using to write this. The model is an ‘Acer Aspire‘ fitted with i7 processors which far exceeded those available today many of which only use i3 or i5 technology. I’d have thought many more would be using i7 processors by now but it seems not. The idea was to buy something that was future proof to some extent. Well the machine itself has been excellent though probably never used to its fullest capability. It has a wide 17″ screen too which is useful for watching movies. When originally bought it was using ‘Windows XP‘, a really good platform which I found easy to use but then I switched to ‘Windows 7′. It was equally as good and easy to use and after a time I thought it to be an improvement. A couple of months ago I downloaded the ‘Windows 10’ platform which has proven to be somewhat of a problem. Many programs wouldn’t work with it and the computer itself has been affected by the new software which has overridden some of its built-in features such as the Cinema Graphic function. This is a manual function for use when in Cinema mode which enables various control setting adjustments. They are no longer functional. It appears Microsoft programs are deemed better. Perhaps. The signing in procedures are all messed up too and once or twice the computer has hung up during the sign-in process, in fact the computer has frozen on a number of occasions necessitating a re-boot each time. On Saturday afternoon I spent almost two hours trying to get the computer to allow me access because of a software glitch and during the same time Windows 10 was updating and requesting a re-boot as were one or two other software programs too. When the opportunity arose to sign in I was presented with a sign-in screen for Microsoft but there was no cursor and no means to make it appear. After repeatedly re-booting and getting nowhere I began to get thoughts of approaching the computer with a claw hammer in order to beat it’s brains out but I resisted the temptation. Instead, I asked E if she could have a look and maybe spot something I hadn’t noticed. After a couple of similar failures to my own she hit a couple of keys to end the madness and I was in! Those keys were Control (CTRL) and ‘End’ (Top right on the numbers pad). No other combination had proven to end what seemed to be an endless loop in the programming. I gave her a hug but even she didn’t know how it had succeeded. I hate computers.

Shirley Anne

If there’s one thing I hate it’s………

English: Bet this phone box doesn't take many ...
English: Bet this phone box doesn’t take many calls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My house phone is very seldom used for outgoing calls and even incoming calls are few unless someone is requesting my services. In the past I received many nuisance calls usually from businesses doing cold calls but that has mostly ceased though the occasional caller gets through. I can tell when the call is from such businesses as soon as I pick up the phone. If I answer then I receive an automated advertising message presumably because the computer sending out the messages recognizes that a voice has spoken. Sometimes there is complete silence before I can hear the background noise often associated with a call centre. In either case the phone is immediately returned to its holder and the call is ended. With my mobile phone it is different. Businesses have resorted to withholding their number in many cases so I have no idea if the caller is genuine, that is they wish to speak to me about a job or engage in a private conversation. Regular callers are added to my contacts list so I can recognize them immediately and in most cases they do not withhold their number anyway. If I answer a call from a withheld number it is often from a business advertising themselves. I can block such callers however with the phone’s security program application, for my phone I use Kaspersky. However, sneaky as these business companies are they now often send a text message which is easily dispatched to the deleted items bin or worse still they leave a recorded message. Because again, I have no idea who sent the message when I retrieve my recorded messages those messages reach my ear. Of course I immediately delete the message. If there is one thing I hate most about modern technology it this persistent pestering by companies wishing to tell me I may be entitled to compensation for miss-sold PPIs or I may be due for compensation after an automobile accident which wasn’t my fault. Aside from the fact that I have neither I think it is such an imposition and a down right nuisance to have to put up with these things especially as I have no interest in them whatsoever. The only way to stop receiving these cold calls is to stop using the phones it seems because legislation if it exists, is as weak as a kitten.

Shirley Anne

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In through the back door!

Cash
Cash (Photo credits: http://www.mydoorsign.com)

One of Lucy’s posts prompted this one. In her blog she talked about investing in another mobile phone, in this case an updated version to the one she now possesses. I can see the logic in her reasoning and why she wanted an upgraded phone. Well that’s all very fine for Lucy and for the many millions of folk who, like her, like the technology. For myself however, it is all of no interest. I do understand why people want the latest phone, computer, iPad and tablet because of what can be done with them. They are useful in today’s environment for many reasons but I resist to go with the flow. I do not need the technology handy as it very well may be. I buy into things I have a use for otherwise I don’t buy. What many people cannot see with all this technology is the erosion of their freedom and I don’t just mean freedom of choice. Lucy mentioned the fact that an Internet-connected phone will be necessary to own in order to photograph cheques that we may receive from clients or anyone else we deal with financially. This means that if such a phone isn’t in your possession you will not be able to deposit a cheque unless you visit the bank in person. If ever we lose the ability to deal in cash this could be a problem and indeed governments would dearly love cash to disappear and for us all to use debit and credit cards but cash has advantages too, especially where small amounts are being dealt with. Cash is easier and less complicated to use. Societies of the future will be cash-free, cheque-free and dare I say, card-free too! It is suggested that everyone will not only embrace technology but it will literally be a part of them! One micro-chip inserted beneath the skin would keep records of health, social interaction, location, financial transactions and without the need to carry any other means of identification either as all the information about us will be burnt into the chip too! Now of course this suggestion doesn’t hold much credence as yet but you can be sure that it will in the future. Just how far into the future is anyone’s guess. In Biblical terms it is the mark of the beast and a prophecy, something forecast to happen. I have every reason to believe it.

Retro Cell Phone
Retro Cell Phone (Photo credits: Giphy)

 

Getting back to the Internet phone, it isn’t for this reason that I object to the technology, at least at this time, it is simply that I don’t like things being pushed into my face encouraging me to get involved when I have no wish to. I do see this sort of thing as the thin end of a very large wedge but there again, I believe what is written in The Bible.

Shirley Anne

 

 

 

 

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I swore I never would

Samsung –Google Unveils the Highest Resolution...
Samsung –Google Unveils the Highest Resolution Tablet Nexus 10 

I forgot the promise I had made to myself many months ago but nothing I decide is always set in stone. It all depends on circumstance. When I had my mobile phone exchanged and my contract renewed last October I was given a smart phone but insisted I didn’t want one or need one. As it happened that has been proved right, I almost never use it except to accept calls and only read some of my emails because I was too lazy to go into the lounge to read them on my laptop! I never read emails away from home under normal circumstances. I will check text messages but I’ve always done that in any case as they are usually associated with my work. I never encourage folk to text me preferring to speak directly with them. When E and I were in the US and Canada a couple of years ago E took her laptop along so she could do her competitions in the evening for something to do when were weren’t out for the night. I used her machine to check my own emails and found it handy. I didn’t like the idea of taking a laptop on holiday and I still don’t if only because of their weight! Then along came the tablets, computers designed to be totally portable! Even so I was not tempted to purchase one though I knew how useful they would be. Now E does a lot of competitions and these are the sorts of things she has won in the past, a holiday for four in Bermuda, a chance to drive a Chieftain Tank, a hot-air balloon ride for two, a king-sized bed, a 40″ HD 3D flat screen television, two Wii units, an X-Box and a PS3, a couple of cameras, and the latest one, an iPad. There are many more things she has won too but the list is way too long, it is quite unbelievable. Now this was the first time I had really seen an iPad or any tablet close-up and I was intrigued with its capabilities. Essentially as I have already mentioned, it is a fully portable computer but very compact and lightweight. It is for this fact alone that I find them useful. Whilst at home I wouldn’t entertain using such a device because I love my wide-screen laptop which in any case is a far better machine than a tablet, even the best ones available but it isn’t the kind of thing you want to be carrying about with you for any length of time, it is far too heavy! That brings me to the point of this post. Now although it is conceivable that E could win another tablet that might not happen for years so I have invested in one for myself instead. I couldn’t wait that long…LOL. However I haven’t purchased an iPad because I don’t like Apple machines, they are too expensive, so I have gone for the Nexus 10 32 Gb tablet instead which, though  subsidised by Google thereby costing far less than they would otherwise, still put me back £463 with postage. The reason Google have subsidised their manufacture (by Samsung) is so that users will be tied to using their applications. Well that’s fair enough and will suit me. Most of the available apps. and probably the ones I would use if I needed any are free anyway. So there you have it, I can take my computer with me if I need to. As I am currently running Chrome on my PC synchronizing everything will be a doddle as I do have a Google account. I may be in receipt of my new tablet by the time this has been posted but there’s no rush.

Shirley Anne

Would you go?

Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap vi...
Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap visible on the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is proposed that by the year 2023 four humans will set foot on the planet Mars. Two years after that four more will join them and every further two years another four will join them until a sizeable settlement is established. Each journey will provide more accommodation modules, materials and perhaps food supplies, although the colony is intended to eventually become self-sufficient. The first settlers will find it hard but as more join them it should become easier. For the first few years all journeys will be one-way only but perhaps in later years it will be possible to journey both ways. Recruits need to know how much they will be giving up here on Earth to make the life-changing journey and knowing they cannot return. That is a very big decision for anyone to make. Would you make that decision? What about family, friends and social activity? Living with only three other people for two years would mean having to get along with them extremely well. No more grass, trees, flowers, animals, rivers and seas, no clouds in the sky, no sound except that of a 400 mph wind when it blows, whipping up the Martian sand and blowing it to the other side of the planet! There are many things to consider before making a journey to Mars. Would you go to Mars knowing that you most probably will never return? I might go for a visit if it were possible but stay there? I don’t think so.

For more information on the Mars Mission click on the link ‘Colonising Mars’ over on the right or on the links below…

Shirley Anne

Stupid phone!

Just Stupid!
Just Stupid! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it any wonder I dislike too much technology in my life? Technology is great, when it works and flawlessly but nothing man has made is faultless. The computer on which I write this post is a wonderful invention but like everything else it seizes up sometimes. The hardware is far better than hardware of old and the software is far more sophisticated but therein lies the problem. Software incompatibility causes occasional lock-ups requiring resetting of the machine. The best response I got from someone who knows about computers when this happened to me in the past was, ‘They do that sometimes’. Not really the answer I was looking for, the software problems should not be there in the first place. I resist technology as much as I can but these days it is almost impossible in a modern society. The computer is a very useful tool for many reasons but they can go wrong. A couple of months ago I was forced to exchange my mobile phone because it ceased working. It wasn’t the battery so it must have been the electronic circuitry. In any event it became useless. I was given a smart phone as a replacement. As it happened I was due to have a replacement phone (if I wanted one) as part of my contract agreement. I didn’t really want a smart phone as I don’t have a need for one. The many applications on board don’t get used. All I want is to be able to call people and maybe answer text messages (I don’t send text messages normally) also being able to use the ‘Bluetooth‘ facility enabling the use of my hands-free system in my vehicle (to receive calls only as I don’t make calls when driving). During the last week or so I noticed strange things happening when using the phone. I found the touch screen not responding first time when I ‘swiped’ it, not being able to end a phone call easily once or twice or remove a text message notification when I had finished reading it. Actually I hadn’t read the message knowing it to be ‘spam’ but simply deleted it. The last straw came a couple of days ago when I received a call from a then unknown caller. Thinking it was a request for work naturally I answered but I found I couldn’t accept the call quickly and the caller disconnected. I decided to call the number and found I was connected to an answering machine at a local government department for family affairs. I tried to disconnect but found I couldn’t. The phone was all over the place and not responding to any attempt to control it. The normal screen for disconnecting a call wouldn’t appear and eventually I had to remove the phone’s battery. That in itself was quite an achievement as the back of the phone is difficult to remove for obvious reasons. It took quite a few minutes before the phone went ‘live’ again but that connection had finally been cut. One positive side effect was the disappearance of that text message indicator where no text existed! I could have held the ‘off’ button for a few seconds more but it seemed to me that it wasn’t responding. Taking out the power supply will do it every time! Now you know why I like things to remain simple, bog-standard and simple.

Shirley Anne

Furiously frustrated!

English: Samsung Galaxy Ace
English: Samsung Galaxy Ace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have come to the conclusion that me and technology do not mix! Either that or I have just had a bad day. A week or so ago my mobile phone gave up the ghost and as I need a phone for my business I was obliged to get it replaced. I have always had a contract phone so a replacement is given free although I do realise that its cost is recovered by my monthly payments. I was never one to go for an all singing and all dancing phone but this time I was given a ‘smart’ phone with a touch screen, a Galaxy Ace to be precise. It isn’t a top of the range device but it is still way ahead of the phone I had before. It has all the usual accessories and capabilities that most smart phones possess most of which is wasted on me. Nevertheless it required a security program to be installed should the need for me to go ‘on-line’ sometime in the future. As I use Norton 360 on my laptop I thought it best to stick with them as both devices, the computer and the phone can be synchronised so I downloaded about five applications from the Norton store. One of those applications was a ‘minder’ which inhibits certain web sites from being displayed should the phone be in the hands of a minor. Naturally one would expect that application to be overridden under normal circumstances but I found to my horror that wasn’t the case and it prevented me from gaining access to certain web sites on the Internet. I decided to uninstall the application, in fact all of the applications from Norton that I had installed. I discovered that all the applications but the minder were erased and in no way could I get rid of that application. It was Friday afternoon and I spent over two hours trying to solve the problem both on the phone and looking for a solution on-line on my computer, all to no avail. I was going out to the pub in the evening so I left the problem on hold. I got back home near to 1 o’clock in the morning and wasn’t feeling in the least bit tired as I had gotten up very late the day before. I had a quick snack because I hadn’t eaten for about nine hours and then I tried again to remove the application from the phone. I must have spent another two hours going round in circles, again to no avail. When I got up on Saturday, well it was just later the same day as I had only got to bed at five o’clock. I actually got up at 9 o’clock. I had one final attempt at solving the problem on the phone and spend yet another two hours doing so. Soon afterwards my eldest son and his wife turned up and he tried to solve the problem but couldn’t. I gave up and asked E if she could drop me off in town on her way to her monthly meeting with her group which she did. I got to the Three store and explained my predicament. Two members of the staff were baffled too when they made  the attempt at sorting the problem. I had thought the best way to solve the problem was to reset it to its factory settings and indeed that is what I was told eventually. As I had no unsaved data on the phone they cleared all the applications, though how they did that I am not sure, then they re-installed all the original applications that were on the phone when it was given to me. I was as pleased as Punch as they say and I started the mile or so walk back home. When I got home I checked my account with Norton using the computer and looked at the applications I had previously installed on the phone and had now removed. I noticed that the application that I had failed to remove was not compatible for use with an Android phone! No wonder I couldn’t remove it! I searched the Samsung Apps. site and discovered a free download from ‘Kaspersky’ which was suitable for the Android platform so I downloaded it and it works well. At the same time I found another free application which is probably one that will get used a lot by me and that was the Bible. Whilst I was having problems with the phone I had another problem with my ‘Identity Safe’ program from Norton on my computer. I discovered that I had erased the stored information in the ‘vault’ and would need to laboriously put it all back manually. The Identity safe feature saves usernames and passwords for automatically filling in log-in forms to the various web sites I visit such as email, banking and other sites. I have all the information in a book at home so the information isn’t lost but it is still a bit of a pain in the proverbial having to put it all back into the vault! At last everything is back to normal. All this time I haven’t been feeling too well either which didn’t help and to top it all when I went to switch the television on by remote control it wouldn’t work! The controller needs new batteries but E got it working by removing the batteries and replacing them! Oh and another thing, three of the televisions needed retuning after messages appeared on the screen informing that some of the channels might not be available unless the sets were retuned. Remember the problems we had at home with our Internet connection a short while ago? That required a new router to solve the problem! Why did these things happen all at once? I have a theory but I won’t expound on that just now.

Shirley Anne