NO REPLY

The medical practice has uploaded an all-singing and all-dancing website to replace the relatively intuitive simpler one that previously existed for ordering acute and repeat prescriptions and updating the patients with relevant news.

Problem 1. Unless you register with lots of identification, physically handing in all that is necessary to the receptionist at the practice, you don’t receive the emailed registration codes for the practice’s new website.

Problem 2. Any previous registrations are defunct. However, the magic ‘No Reply’ email sent to patients has an optical name (!) that bears no resemblance to its purpose, it looks dubious, and it does not identify its source nor its purpose.  Quite a lot of patients are not receiving the email. Some people may be deleting it as spam.

Problem 3.  A lot of patients are experiencing problems. For example, If you have the emailed codes and are able to access the website personal profile set-up, there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed and move on to ‘go’.

 

P1030192 2010 July 30 Octo visit

 

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HOT AIR!

What a curious thing!

WASHINGTON — Ramping up wind power in America would also increase the nation’s temperatures, a new study from Harvard found. 

 Contrary to what you may be thinking, this is not about excess hot air escaping from the seat of power, The White House.

The dramatic all-out expansion of the number of wind turbines in the U.S. could warm the coal and also the other fossil fuels which are in the burning mix, because of the manner in which the spinning blades disturb the layers of cold and warm air. Normally, the air is more still at night, with cold air staying near the surface and warmer air resting a little higher. But turbines bring the warm air down and cool air up, making the ground a bit warmer. Interestingly, the effect is reduced during the day but is still there. 

p1000453-top-of-cnoc-wb

The study looked at just the United States.  It found that in the unlikely event that the U.S. switched massively to wind to supply its electricity, there would be so many turbines that on average the nation’s temperature would go up about 0.4 degrees, though there would also be some cooling in places, such as the East Coast. Additionally, the turbines would cause more warming in the short term, this century, than the carbon dioxide America spews into the atmosphere would. 

P1030280 2010 Aug 5th Limousin Supreme Champ

The effect from turbines is different from human-caused climate change. According to the study authors, the effect which mostly consists of warming, is localised and it’s temporary. When the turbine blades are still  the air is calm and there’s no warming.

Wind advocates emphasized that the Harvard study doesn’t show turbines causing global warming, just local hot air.

 

Study lead Author Keith Miller and Co-Author Professor David Keith. Based on an article by Seth Borenstein Associated Press. October 10th-2018

GLASGOW’S UNDERGROUND WORLD

When in Glasgow:
Visit the underground world of Glasgow Central Station. The unique guide and major enthusiast, in his retirement, is otherwise employed as Network Rail’s Historian and Archivist.  He used to manage this station. During his career he also managed several other major stations in London, U.K, however, he always returned to his home (and station) Glasgow Central.

Lovely Victorian Supporting Pillars

Descending into Glasgow’s historic and present transport underworld made for a tremendously engaging and educational visit, the guide, bringing to life with his words this major, solid, surviving transport hub. He spoke of the hustle and bustle of transport, for and with all sorts of people, now and in previous times. Peering into the pitch black, eyes following the slim line of a torch beam, it felt like we were intruders into someone else’s world. We saw the outline of places on platforms that were still intact where men could not go, and neither could we. Women of the 19th century waiting for trains in that gloom had the ‘comfort’ of separated waiting areas.  Our way was barred for reasons of safety, which pertained to present day use.

A Disused Line

In a lower street level goods entry, (Glasgow is a city of hills) there were still signs of horse drawn transport. The resting places for the horses still exist.

Like many stations, the ‘streets’ under Glasgow Central station were put to stark use in the two major wars, (WW1 and WWII).  The guide did not mince his words about many elements of the nineteenth century social history associated with this station. He felt very strongly the roles of womenfolk in life and death in this station, was and had been, totally ignored… he was definitely intent on correcting with his words what he felt was a grave neglect and a major injustice.

Preserver Of  Industrial/Social Heritage

While we were in the depths exploring some unused tunnelling and were in our joint reveries sensing the spirits of the past, on a nearby spur an underground train whizzed through.

JOURNEYS…

To avoid forgetting anything, I wrote up a list, each item in itself proving to be a journey. These journeys all connected with technology.  I needed a structure, something I could see, refer to, add to, (things kept slipping my mind…so much going on) and as each item was actioned, I wanted to see it marked up as ‘started’, or, scored through as ‘done’.

I deal with security updates as soon as I am alerted.  I also scan my system to see if I’m all up-to-date. I can mark that one as…….  Continuing task – done for now.

A friend seems to have disappeared off my radar.  An email I sent about a month ago has not been returned, I think this might be good; but, her home phone number no longer connects.  She was treated for a serious illness a few years ago.  An internet search brings up old information.  Inside, I am on an emotional roller coaster. I mark this search as ‘started’, (journey to be continued).

Ransom malware has caused major, major, seizures of computer data, disrupting  UK  Health Services and many business systems.  It’s a concerted worldwide attack.  Technology and security experts talk about maintaining the security and integrity of computer operating systems.  An important security patch was available from March.  What the circumstances may tell us is, that this is too complex an event to be resolved by a concrete answer. This is marked ‘Stay Aware’

Try as hard as I might, sending a money gift securely to a new baby,  living abroad,  has proved exasperating. There’s no obvious reason given to me from a list of possibilities suggested by the company.   Mum sends  new information.  But, the website continues to stop the transaction.  However, because the latest information is correct, the company can tell me that there is a security issue with the account to which I am trying to send the gift.  Keeping the link closed is protecting accounts from potentially being compromised, including mine.  Wow! Am I glad of that!  What a journey this one is.   Task marked ‘Started’     (… problematic).

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SO FAR:

So far:

We’ve had external storm damage to the house, a rogue storm that came through between Doris and Ewan; reparation work costing lots of money is weather dependent. We wait.

P1000459 A pair of Fulmars

My microwave failed two weeks before its manufacturers’  one year warranty expired.  Getting this unwieldy appliance to the service department is  a story in itself. It exhausted us. Upon discovering the failure was due to a known manufacturing fault, which included a range of appliances from a specific production line, all requiring modification, I asked for a new replacement.  It arrived this week.-1

Next,  my three and a half months old monitor crashed. A bit of problem solving, moving plugs into different sockets, brought the monitor back to life and it gave me a crash report. It was okay for a couple of days, then went blank several times in one morning, followed by what looked like the mother of all crashes. Problem solving didn’t work this time. While speaking to the Technical Help department a couple of hours later, telling the lady how dead the monitor was, the screen burst into life!

The conversation then went like this…… her“Monitors don’t give messages. it must something to do with your computing equipment”. 

I wished I’d taken a screen shot of the message.  More chatting  followed about the symptoms and pathology of the sick monitor…

her-  Could I try a different HDMI cable. (Everyone has a spare one of those…NOT!)  I have just the one available, the one that was supplied with the monitor. 

monitor-ok-iconBack to the store service department the monitor went. I couldn’t dismantle the base from the screen single-handed.  I ended up cradling the monitor in one arm and also carrying the box. The service department lady and I performed a tug-of-war and separated the bits so the monitor could be re-packed.

The really nice bit.…..without a mention of inconvenience, loss of computer use, or anything similar, I was offered the loan of a spare old monitor, with which to keep going. It was “doing nothing”, sitting on the shelf gathering dust.  An HDMI cable was located for me to use. I had not brought mine, but in any case it was agreed a test run with my own cable connected to their monitor would be useful. This way, I have HDMI cable back -up, should it be needed.

 

QUOTE FOR THE DAY

I was having a phone chat  with a very happy sounding lady called Kelly in the  telephone accounts department.  A couple of messages had attracted a surcharge as picture messages and I could not understand why. There was not a modicum of a picture in sight in either one, not even an emoticon.  I read the two messages to her and counted the digits in one of the them – fifty-five, (160 is the text limit).   Kelly just couldn’t understand it… I checked my settings, all okay there.

As I still had the messages and could account for what they were, she agreed a refund to my account, then added with a sigh;

I hate smart phones, they’re getting too smart for me!” 

1

HACKED AND HACKED OFF

Recently, two companies that have widespread businesses, which hold enormous databases of customer information, managed by third parties, have had their information databases compromised, dare I say it, by hackers. The emails informing customers of this uncomfortable truth, though not the same, do have much the same terms of conciliation and flavour of apology. It might be difficult to vary too much, a straightforward every day style of vocabulary in a potentially worrying message. In both cases, access was, we are informed, solely to email addresses.

The first company carefully stated that payment and financial information had not been accessed or compromised in any way. There is no suggestion that there was anything more than an uncovering of email addresses with the latest problem. We may, the advisory email warns, receive unwanted emails.

The first company that sent notification to its customers about the breach of confidentiality, approximately a month ago, followed up with a reassuring email, assuring customers that there really was tight security with financial information and that it was held in a separate and different database storage facility.

The newest advice, so far, is only about access to email addresses. Both organisations named their database management company. Does naming the ‘culprit’ make it easier, I wonder, for the contractor to appear to be less responsible?

There are other questions worth raising. The suggestion is that our financial data is more secure. If that is so, why is it so? If a particularly high, or, more secure level of security is installed in one area of commerce, why is it deemed less necessary to offer the same level of security for customer personal contact data, which, should be of equal importance?

PLEASE, CAN ANYONE HELP?

Help please! Can anyone tell me how I can restore my Firefox browser to give me access to my gmail account without having to always go through ‘safe mode’ when firing up Firefox? It is a problem that arose just this week, when after a hard disk format (clearing out the whole previous history and everything else on the system) I downloaded Firefox 3.6 to my machine. It is the version I previously used together with Adblock Plus.

My laptop has the same version of Firefox and Adblock Plus, and there is no difficulty accessing my gmail with it on that machine. I use Applemac OSX etc. Snow Leopard on both machines.

No amount of re-loading, deleting off the system and downloading again – which I have done uncountable times – seems to resolve the problem.

Thanks

DESSERT COFFEE AND NO COMPUTERS!

The computer-age truly tests honest-to-goodness sanity, not to mention domestic harmony. There are far too many experts, the majority of whom are anything but… and they certainly are not, in the main, expert in the general utility of the tool. When you put your total faith in someone designated to be an expert, you can be in a precarious position. Indeed, you become vulnerable, and with it, so does your computer set-up.

All I wanted was assistance with migrating three systems folders to my computer. I guessed that a simple transfer by flash pen was not going to work. “You’re right,” I was told by one expert.

Total supplication from me to the expert… bad mistake; my nicely developing configuration was completely supplanted by everything from another machine, I had a clone, it was definitely not what I asked for or wanted. My keyboard suddenly stopped working. With expert number two, Saturday became a lost day. Monday, I did a system format and re-load with the aid of a third expert. The keyboard still did not work, but hey! I no longer had a cloned computer.

Four ‘experts’ later, I reached a dangerous overload of frustration. Having finally exploded, the department of experts field one of their senior experts. Senior! This gem of information, I shall not forget. Thirty minutes later, a major difficulty has been resolved, one that took days, including delivery of new parts, then new parts having to be returned by me. (I shall not mention the travel to our poorly managed Post Office and the queuing for a service point).

In the midst of all this fiery emotion, hubby avoids asking the in-house computer back-up service a big question. He asked it today. The big question remains unresolved for now, even though, I believe I know the answer; it’s not one, hubby will like too much.

Personal and domestic harmony is being re-established. Hubby invited me out to a lovely lunch, during which there was a silent pact not to mention anything relating to computers. Dessert and coffee never tasted better.