A little bit techy …


For a few months now, I have had a problem with my calendar. My primary email account is a Gmail account, and the application that use to read and write my email is Outlook 2016. Here was the problem! Outlook has its own calendar, but I can only see that calendar on my laptop as that is where the data is saved. My tablet and phone cannot pick up that calendar, but can see my Google calendar. So, my work around was to have an application that synchronised both calendars. After much ‘Googling’ I such an application and it was successfully installed. It ran without issues for a good few weeks, but then I noticed that although it said it was synchronising, it wasn’t happening. It was assumed by the software company that produced it, that the latest Windows update was causing a problem. There was no apology or offer to investigate it was just ‘A Windows 10 issue’ and was left at that.

Much more Googling and expressive language followed, before I found the next answer …add my Google calendar as an Internet Calendar in Outlook and use that one only. Brilliant …and so easy to do. Job done and me now a happy man. But wait a minute, I don’t seem to be able to delete an entry from that calendar. What is going on? It seems that the Google calendar is read only in Outlook. I’m now beginning to lose it a little bit. More searching and another application is found. This one seems to work. It synchronises every hour, I would prefer every 15 minutes but can live with the hour restriction. Back to the ‘happy man’ status again. I then notice, that my Outlook calendar is showing duplicated entries! My language is getting worse. I looked at some of the help forum and it explains that this is one of the issues and the only way around, is to delete all entries from both calendars and re-enter them in one calendar only. Not going to happen. I have now consigned that application to the recycle bin along with the others.

So I’m now left with the only option I appear to have. I use the Google calendar and have it as a read only calendar when I’m using Outlook. Not ideal, but seems to be the only thing I can do.

Small and strange …


Let me get something out of the way. The title of this post is not a case of self deprecation. No, I’m talking about the world and how is connected by the internet.

A bit of background here. I was doing a search on eBay, for something I wanted to buy. I was not having much luck so I thought I would widen the search to pick up other online stores. I add my criteria into a web-search optimiser that I’m beta-testing and clicked on the ‘Go’ button. The search optimiser is similar to Windows 10 Cortana, and uses all the available search engines such as Bing, Google etc to maximise the search area. Anyway back to the main story. It only took a few seconds before the results were starting to show and some of them were not what I was expecting at all. I found the item I wanted and have ordered it, but that is not what is interesting here. There was about twenty or so links on each results page and I think it was on page four that the “interesting” thing happened I was reading the link descriptions when I spotted a name of a person I thought I knew from school. The link was to a Facebook(FB) page. I don’t click on FB links as they are often not genuine so I opened FB on my tablet and enter the persons name. When FB opened I was amazed at the face that was staring  back at me. Apart from a few grey hairs and the odd forehead line, the person was exactly how I was sure I remembered them. I ‘ummed’ and ‘arrghed’ for a couple of days before biting the bullet last night and sending them a message. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in contact after all these years as I’ve not had a lot of luck with friends from my past. Within a couple of minutes the message was replied to and it was who I thought it was. We messaged back and forth for a good half hour talking about each other and the past, and are now friends on FB.

Now I come to the “Small and strange” part. I had a look through their photo’s and friends list (as you do) and was amazed that (bear with me here) some their friends had friends who were friends of mine! Not just FB friends, but actual real friends. I can never get my head around the fact that a local (real) friend is a friend of a friends friend, if that makes sense. It’s a bit like when I discovered that the son of my manager when I was at work, supports by youngest son with one of his activities. Really does make the world feel “Small and strange…”

Finding old friends …


I’m tempted to give up on Facebook in some instances.

Over the years, I have lost contact with people I know. Sometime it’s because one of us moved house or job. Sometimes just drifting apart. None of my friends and colleagues from my first and second job are still in contact. These are people that I’ve probably not seen for twenty-five years and more, so it’s little wonder that I’ve lost contact. With todays connected world, it is some easier to stay in contact with people.

Now this is where my issue with Facebook comes in. I suddenly think, “… it would be nice to get back in touch with so and so again …” and of course I naturally assume that they will be on Facebook. So the search begins. Male friends are easier to look for as they tend, for the most part to keep their surname. You type the name you remember in the search box and hit enter. You decide to look at all the listed names, not just the ‘top ones’ that Facebook deems useful. You scroll down the list looking for anything familiar without much luck.

Then, you spot someone! They look about the right age and given the length of passing time, they look like you would expect them to look. You click on their name and wait with fingers crossed.Is it the right person? You check out what personal details they have shared, and it’s beginning to look like you have struck gold! A quick look down the photos and you begin to get more and more convinced that this is the right person. After all these years. I’ll send them a message.

“Hello! Did you used to work at {blah bah} back in the early 1970’s?”

You now sit back and wait for them to reply. Might take a day or two, but your hopes are high. A week goes by and nothing. I’ll check their profile again. It is then that you realise, that the last post they have made was back in 2009! They’re no longer using Facebook. Now you begin to wonder if you have got the wrong person after all. Then finally it starts to creep into your head, that this person may no longer be alive! That is the thought that suddenly deflates you.

This has happened to me on three occasions now and whilst (am I the only one that still uses that word?) I don’t get depressed about it, I do end up feeling a little down. I resolve to check out the posts before waltz off trying to contact them. Maybe next time!

(Posted by email, using ZoHo Mail)

Watch out for this one ….


I’m pretty keen, when it comes to my online security and tend to delete any emails that offer any type of security/antivirus service, often without even reading them. On this occasion though, I thought I would share it with you, as a number of people I know have received this email and at least one of them has been fooled and responded to it. I have copied the text below (all links have been removed).

Dear Sir or Madame

We at VirtureScan are an industry renowned internet security company. We have been contacted by your Government as your ISP is alarmed at the volume of emails originating from your computer’s IP address. We have scanned some of these emails using our VitrureScan software and believe your computer has been contaminated with the Zeta321 virus. Currently there is no current AV software that is able to detect this virus. However we at VirtureScan have developed an online scanner that is able to hunt down this and remove it from your equipment.

There is a charge for this service, and the cost will be automatically deducted from your Paypal account. We understand that your ISP are willing to re-imbuse you for your cost.

We are currently offering a large discount of 68%, if you undertake the service by the end of today. After this the charge will reverse back to its original charge of $360.00.

If you our a responsible person, then you will take up this offer now. Click on the likn below to be taken to our site.

As you can see, there are a number of spelling and grammatical errors, and this type of thing should ring alarm bells. The link takes you to a website which I understand automatically installs a key logger type of virus. These capture every word you type and are used by hackers to break into any online banking you have. The name of the company changes often so it may not be the same if you receive the email. Just be aware.

Are we “Rip Off Britain” ??


     For sometime now, I have wanted a propelling pencil. I wanted one of the so called ‘old fashioned’ type, that you have to twist to move the lead out. I have a number of the more modern ‘clutch’ type, the ones that you click to move the lead. Whilst these have their uses, I often find that too much lead is ‘propelled’ with each click. This means that you only need to put the slightest over-pressure on the pencil and the lead will break. With the twist type, you twist out only as much lead as you need.

     I looked in the two main high street stores and a couple of specialist writing shops. The high street stores only had the clutch type, and the specialist shops had some, but they Pencilwere ridiculously overpriced. I then found one on Ebay at a very competitive price indeed. It was just what I wanted. I then realised that I would need some spare leads. Again a trip to the high street proved a waste of time. One did  not have any 0.7mm (not good Theo) and the other wanted £4.99 for a pack of 24. As this was more than the price of the pencil itself, I left empty handed. It was back to Ebay!!

     There were many sellers offering the type I wanted at various prices. I settled on one from Hong Kong who was selling the leads at £1.88 for a pack of 40 with free postage. As they the same make as I could buy in the high street, I bought them. Granted, it took about ten days to arrive, but at that price, it was too good to miss. They arrived this morning, by air-mail, well packed with a postage of $2.50HKD. A quick check with the currency calculator, showed that the postage converted to …………just over 20p !!!!

     Are we being ripped off ?????? Twenty pence postage from Hong Kong !!!! £1.88 against £4.99 !!!! I agree, there is always a risk with buying over the internet, but anyone with an unusable gift voucher for HMV, might think it’s a risk worth taking.

Will it do any good ??????


So Wikipedia is having a ‘blackout’ in protest at the SOPA/PIPA. Will it make any difference ? Well I don’t really think so. Not here in Britain anyway. Two people have mentioned it in the office this morning. One thinks it is about ‘getting rid of internet porn’ and the other person thought it was because ‘Wikipedia is having money problems’. There was a brief mention on the BBC news programme at 08:00am, but nobody seems to have much of a clue really.

Does anyone really believe, that the governments, have no control over the internet ??? I only have to offend a public figure on Twitter or post an inflamatory status on Facebook to have the Police knocking on my door. No, in my opinion (and possibly others too) the  internet content is already monitored by ‘the authorities’ all over the world.

I wish Wikipedia, and the others that are supporting opposition to this type censorship, all the best luck in the world. However, at the end of the day government, whether in the UK or the US, will not change their policies, just because they may be unpopular.

Google + What is it


Well I think the title says it all really. Just what is Google+ ? I was invited to join about a month ago, and thought why not. The word was that it was going to be bigger than facebook, and that everyone and their mother would be on Google+.

I have now deleted my Google+ profile !!!! I cannot see the point of it at all. After one month, I had four friends, three of whom I had never heard of. They just followed me on the back of someone else. I just about understand the Circles business, but Sparks and Hangouts ???? Am I missing something ? Am I getting too old ? I don’t have a problem with facebook, Twitter or MySpace. Even Bebo (should I admit to that) was quite simple to use. But this new one leaves me cold. In fact, it ranks, in my opinion, along side with that other Google network, orkut! Does anyone still use that ? I checked my account recently, and I’m still live on there, but ……….