Love/Hate Technology

Oh. My. Days.

I have just spent a very fraught hour or so trying to access my local doctor’s surgery on line. They’ve recently changed their website service, so you have to go through a whole heap of trouble to get there. You have to wait for text messages with special codes, special url addresses, special documents with yet more special codes in, and then put everything in the right place in the right order. It’s just like an obstacle course for the Very Advanced. Not meant for 65 year olds like me, even though I’m a techie.

Anyway, finally managed it. The whole point was to order repeat prescriptions. With this new system you have to put a message in too. I put “I need repeat prescriptions of these”. What would they like me to say??

At the same time, probably not terribly wisely, I was setting up our Netflix account and trying to talk to the water supply people about why they are sending letters to our address with the wrong name on it.

But it’s all sorted now. Netflix – subscription sorted. Water supply people – sorted. Surgery on-line access – sorted.

I now need a lie down with a cold compress on my forehead. But the cat needs feeding, and her day has been even more fraught because we had the guys in, aka The Noisy Boys, trimming the leylandii and various thuggish shrubs in the garden. She was terrified, so needs a nice calm evening. Yeah. Me too, kiddo.

The Noisy Boys did a great job though. The next thing, when the weather has sprung into spring, is the front lawn. Exciting.

what a morning

Well. The printer, once again, decided it hates me. I bought the postage for a birthday card to New Zealand online, and it wouldn’t print it. But before that, I went to weigh the card and the battery in the scales had run out of juice. Changing the battery requires a very particular screwdriver and a very particular sort of battery. Luckily I did have both of those, so changing the battery wasn’t too bad.

However I have spent almost all morning trying to get the blasted printer to work. Apart from removing the printer from the computer, reinstalling, switching everything off and back on again countless times, I’ve rolled back the last Windows update, growled and harrumphed a lot (because that always helps with recalcitrant hardware and software), and eventually the printer spat out eight copies of something else, and one copy of the postage labels. I think that last thing was by accident. But anyway, it means the birthday card can actually be posted.

Success of a sort I guess, but it’s only a truce. I have no idea what caused, or solved, the problem. It could be any or all of the things I tried. We hardly use the wretched thing now but when we need it to work it’s such a damn nuisance when it doesn’t.

Ever since I started working with IT, which is well over 30 years ago now, printers have been the bane of my life. Their peculiar ways have always been a mystery to me. How can the computer say “can’t find printer” when it’s THERE?!

Other than that, a new POTUS has been sworn in, and calm seems to have been restored, along with sensible health and financial measures to help deal with Covid . The lying, bullying, rude, spoilt loser is off to Florida but is threatening to be back somehow or other. Ok. I thought Florida was where people his age go to retire. One can but hope. I would just love to know what his letter to the new POTUS said!

The birds in our garden are going bonkers today. It’s sunny and beautiful, but very cold, so I’m guessing they need their peanuts and seeds. One particular blue-tit is repeatedly picking up a dry leaf, flying across the garden with it, then dropping it. On to the ground. I’m thinking that Mrs Blue-tit is saying “Not dry leaves, you idiot, I said not dry leaves!” We also get flocks of long-tailed tits. They are just so pretty!

The jumper I finished for LCS is on its way back to me for mending. He loves it, and wears it a lot, and apparently he has been seen picking at it. Hey ho. Luckily I kept the bits of yarn left over for just such an eventuality.

Knitting is going slowly, but ok. Received some lovely 4ply cotton craft yarn – might crochet a dishcloth or two. Another day though. Today has been too fraught.

Hubby decided that we don’t need almost 1,000 cds in the lounge, we need the room for books. Which is true, as he prefers his books printed. I prefer mine on Kindle as books are difficult to manage with my stupid hands. However, we don’t actually play the cds, they’re all copied on to the music streamer. We have to keep them, though, it’s illegal to have the music without the original media.

So. After some discussion, I managed to persuade him that shelves on the ends of our desks would look awful, and that they would look much better next to the matching shelves in one of the spare bedrooms. It’s taken a good week or so, partly because getting the shelves and brackets etc isn’t that easy in lock-down, and partly because it’s quite a big job. Anyway, despite the fact that we both prefer to get a job done, we did it between us gradually, and now we have more space for books yet to be bought (sigh), the cds are in the house but not too obtrusive, and the re-organisation is done. Pictures would be a bit boring I think.

Busy, busy, busy

I found 35 fox turds in our front garden. It’s like a public toilet for foxes. “This way, guys, it’s wonderful here”. The smell! so I’ve got some fox repellent called Scoot. It’s powder you mix with water and use a watering can to sprinkle. It doesn’t hurt plants or animals (or humans) and it makes a smell that only foxes can notice, and that smell tells them it’s somebody else’s lair, so keep away. It does work, but has to be replaced regularly. That’s ok though.

Then there’s the heating system which is still to wonk.

The wi-fi range is a problem in our house. It’s been working fine for years, until lockdown, and Skype and Zoom became regular things. I’ve been under the delusion that these powerline/homeplug/whatever-they-are-called things work through the whole house, but apparently, to my horror, they only work on the same electrical circuit. So I’ve ordered a wi-fi range extender with all sorts of bells and whistles, and am hoping that will help. We do have an old router I made into a wi-fi booster, but even that’s not helping with the Skype and Zoom problem. Last Saturday hubby and I sat in the study, using his tablet, next to the router, so that we could join in.

The network fell apart last night. The music player in the lounge (hubby streams music) was not visible on the network. (everything else was!) I had moved the routerĀ  (which is in the study) nearer the door (we’re on cable, so it can’t be moved out of the study) in an effort to improve the wi-fi range, though I hadn’t unplugged any of the ethernet wires. After a fraught and sweaty half hour, with lots of switching things off and back on again, eventually, the music player re-appeared on the network. I am sure the problem is that the only reason it’s visible at all is because of a huge long ethernet cable from the router to the music player, which looks a bit fragile where it’s attached to the plug. So I’ve ordered two more huge long (30m) flat ethernet cables, one to go from the switch box in the study to the switch box in the lounge, and a spare. (Resilience, I think the techies call it). The idea is that the switch boxes in the separate rooms will then talk to each other via the ethernet cables, as they clearly don’t talk to each other via the powerline / homeplug / blah blah blah. We shall see. Flipping technology.

And hubby hurt his back turning the compost. It’s a regular problem. So we’ve ordered a tumbler compost bin, which should help.

Lots of money going out. Lots of deliveries arriving, but somewhat sporadically. It’s all fine. It’s all FINE.