All posts by trythisoneforsize

77 and counting!

Lets talk about Bandwidth!

I use an Internet Provider that supplies me with 2 Gb of data for 3 days (4 if extended) for a basic price. In order to get the best value from this allocation, I deliberately exclude advertisements as far as possible. The Opera browser I use was one of the first to offer to block adverts, and is very effective.

In some cases, the site I am trying to access refuses to send the requested data unless they are allowed to send adverts also. If I think it will be useful, I can turn off the block for that particular site. It is easy enough to put the block back on once the data has been received.

However, adverts are not the only thing that is going to consume lots of bandwidth.

Originally, the WorldWideWeb was able to transmit text only, and the ability to send images came later. Now, however, it is almost impossible to find a site without images, as everybody wants to send them.

If you take a site like the Daily Mail as an example, (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/index.html), you will be bombarded with images as well as text. Unfortunately, many, or even most, of these images do not add significantly to the value of the information you receive, and could well be discarded.

Even the more conservative news sites will send a picture of the person who is the object of a news item, and how many copies of Boris Johnson’s image do you need? If you have seen one, you have seen them all!

The answer is to stop downloading images altogether!

In Opera you go to “Settings”,”Privacy and security”, “Site Settings”, “Images”, where you will find the controls to set this up.

Although you are able to block or allow images from specific sites, I choose to simply turn all images off. If you find there is an image that might be of value to you while browsing, I suggest you get the URL of the image, take off the block, download the image, and put the block back on. It may be a little effort, but in terms of the bandwidth you are saving I consider it well worthwhile!

Happy Browsing!

All is not lost!

I made my views on the new block editor known in an earlier post – “https://trythisoneforsize.wordpress.com/2018/11/02/read-my-lips/”.

NoIt appears that I am not the only one to have such a reaction. Although the latest versions of WordPress will only offer the Gutenberg editor, there is a plug-in – Classic Editor  – that will reinstate the old editor, and leave Gutenberg as an option.

Guess what!

The Classic Editor plug-in is very popular, and has been installed more than 800 times by various users. It is quite clear that whatever WordPress may think, their devotees have a different opinion!

Working on the principle “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” one does wonder why Gutenberg should ever come into the question at all. I guess the guys at WordPress feel they need to justify their continued existence by coming up with something new, but this lily does not need gilding.

They seem to be intent on continuing along this new path, irrespective of whether it is actually useful to do so. If others are of the same opinion as myself – and there appear to be quite a few of us, we need to increase our opposition to this new development, or at least ensure that it never becomes the only method of entry..

Happy Blogging!

WordPress On Your own Computer!

Running your own version of WordPress on your computer used to be a relatively complex proposition, but has got steadily easier. In the move from the Bitnami Wampstack -7.1.23 setup to the Bitnami WordPress -5.4.2-1 setup even the “5-minute installation” that WordPress was renowned for disappears, but unfortunately the old editor is no longer available. It has been replaced by the block editor – to no visible advantage.

I am running both versions at present, as the Wampstack version requires an update to its PHP component, and installing the new version was much simpler than trying to do the update. Actually, the update could be ignored, as there is no connection between WordPress on my computer and the outside world.

Even with the new installation, not everything is at the latest state, and 5 different items are slated for update right from the start. This I consider somewhat remiss of WordPress. One would expect that with a new installation, everything would be in tip-top condition, and ready for the off.

Its early days yet, as I have only just started to use this version. If I find anything noteworthy to report about it, I will of course, let you know.

Happy Blogging!

While I wasn’t looking!

I have been rather wrapped up in computer problems for the last two or three years. The motherboard I had eventually died after giving no end of trouble with heat-related problems and video corruption. Unfortunately, the Asus motherboard I purchased as a replacement forced me to go straight into Windows 10, although I had been perfectly happy with Windows 7, and didn’t want to change.

In addition to that, Windows 10 was not running properly, and kept crashing. It really has been a nightmare. It ended when the computer failed to boot up at all, no matter what I tried!

The purchase of a new computer completely solved the problem. It is running Windows 10, and rather well I must say. I had a totally biased impression of the operating system because of the faulty computer.

There are now a few surprises to contend with as changes have occurred that I was not aware of. The ‘Wordpad’ program seems to be no more, and its corresponding file type ‘RTF’ seems to have bitten the dust with it. This is a shame, as I most often used Wordpad for my typing: it was far simpler than ‘Word’, or any other text processing program, and would handle much bigger files than ‘Notepad’, which is still with us for some strange reason.

There is a compromise, of course. I could now use ‘Notepad++’ as my writing tool, but I am still unable to save as ‘RTF’. It has to be a ‘TXT’ file.

Having said that, there are still other choices possible. I checked the current file I am writing in the ‘Word’ program, and it is still possible to save as ‘RTF’ format after all. ‘Word’ uses a compatibility mode to deal with it.

In common with others of advanced age, I am unable to move around as I did before. I had tailored my life to suit my situation fairly well, I thought, but the advent of the Covid19 pandemic put paid to that.

My monthly outing to collect my pension, and load up with credit for the mobile phone was no longer possible. I am confined to the house, and my world has shrunk to the size of the garden. All purchases have to be made in the immediate vicinity, or other people have to make them for me. However, I do have a “Window” onto what is left of our world with the computer. Without it, I think my sanity would be in question.

I know that I have not posted to my blog very often at all recently, but that is unlikely to change greatly unless I find some motivation for writing more and more often.

I would point out that one of the ideas I had a few years back would certainly be a life-saver now – “Virtual Tourism”!!!

Move electrons, not people, – electrons do not get infected with virus.

Problems with Rotten Tomatoes.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com can be a useful source of information when you are looking for something to download, but you should never treat the information given as gospel. It is, after all based on the opinion of the contributors, and their way of thinking is very unlikely to be similar to yours.

A case in point was the latest offering from Daniel Craig – “Knives Out” – which was given the highest rating of all his films to-date. Daniel is a particular favourite of mine, and I was only too happy to watch the film. However, shortly after it started there were misgivings. The setting was some years ago, and looked in some ways similar to Game of Thrones. When Daniel finally made an appearance, his crisp, snappy, dialect was replaced by a slow American drawl that made me wince.

Don’t get me wrong – the acting was not bad at all. However, the character he was required to play was totally out of his normal ball-park, and in my view was one for which he was totally unsuited. It is not a film I will be watching again any time soon!

Another example comes to mind – “IP Man 2”. This was hyped as being the forerunner to a series of Kung Fu movies, and was claimed to be the best. Sure enough, the action was thrilling, even if it appeared to be impossible at times, and as long as you didn’t mind watching it without knowing what was going on, it was fine. The problem is that it is all in Chinese, and the subtitles are such a disaster that you will be better off ignoring them.

While I am on this subject, I should warn you about another problem I encountered recently. This has nothing to do with Rotten Tomatoes directly, but appears to be a scam that you should be aware of. Look at the following picture:-

The odds are that you have been viewing mp4 videos for months at least, and have long since acquired all the codecs necessary. However, this relates to the film “No Time To Die”, another Daniel Craig movie, and the accompanying text file incites you to visit a website to download the codec. At the website, you are first asked for your email address. The next screen asks for your financial details.
There is no earthly reason for supplying your financial details to download this file, as the download is free. There is equally no reason for downloading this file at all, for in spite of the fact that you will pay for a bandwidth of 702 Mb, all you will see is the picture shown above.
These scammers are a pain. Please expose them whenever you can!

A Blessing in Disguise!

The threat of possible extinction in the near future was not enough to galvanise the world into action, but the fear of imminent death most certainly is!

We all understand the logic behind the statement “a finite system cannot expand indefinitely”, but up till now it has been almost studiously ignored. Those who have the possibility of making huge amounts of money at everybody else’s expense, have continued to do so. Instead of reducing aircraft flights, they are constantly increasing. Apart from Boeing, which is currently reaping the benefit of its own misguided policies, aircraft are in increasing demand – totally counter to the requirement for the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

But now, with the Coronavirus on the scene, we are suddenly finding that the right things are being done – possibly for the wrong reasons, but what the heck!

People have decided that they don’t want to travel so much after all, and it is having a serious effect on various industries:-

Flybe’s collapse could be ‘first of many’ airlines
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51748139

European tourism losing €1 BILLION a month as holiday makers stay home due to coronavirus
https://www.rt.com/business/482284-coronavirus-hits-european-tourism/

Huge red flag for oil: Global economic growth could be cut in half
https://www.rt.com/business/482200-global-economic-growth-oil/

Oil price to plunge as Saudis vow to step up production
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/08/oil-price-to-plunge-as-much-as-20-as-saudis-vow-to-step-up-production
(The new strategy adopted by Riyadh appears to target Russia and US shale oil firms, many of which are known to have high production costs and lose money when crude prices fall below $50 a barrel for more than a few months.)

And now we have a real chance to make the change permanent:-
“Coronavirus and the Remote Work Experiment No One Asked For”

Coronavirus and the Remote Work Experiment No One Asked For

What should we do to protect ourselves?

1. Keep yourself informed. We are not dealing with the worst known virus ever, but a serious threat, and we can protect ourselves against it.
2. If you can avoid travelling, do so.
3. If you must travel, avoid confined situations like the plague. That means buses, planes, trains, and ships – especially if there is air-conditioning. You are much safer on a bicycle!
4. Form shopping clubs. Instead of everyone doing their own shopping, it would be practical to form a group, and one or two members of it do the shopping for everybody else.
5. Keep your distance. Meet your friends outside in the open air, where there is minimal risk of infection – and avoid unnecessary contact with them.

Greta Thunberg has support now from an unexpected source. We should be thankful.

Naomi Seibt – the German climate change denier employed by the conservative Heartland Institute. You are not helping. Please go back to sleep!

A Touch of Magic!

Recently I have been juggling two hard drives that each had bad surface areas and were prone to crashes. After a crash it was necessary to reinstall the software completely each time. To minimise the requirement for downloads, I put as much data as possible on my USB backup drive. Sooner or later, however, I ran into additional problems, as parts of this drive became blocked by “Access Denied” messages – even though the files were less than a week old.

It was, of course, possible to get around the problems by taking ownership of the files/folders concerned, but seldom was I able to do this easily – sometimes two or three attempts were required for success. In exasperation I Googled for a better solution to the problem, and found this:- “How to Reset NTFS Permissions Using a Simple, Free Utility. The source for this post is:-

<a href=”https://blog.foldersecurityviewer.com/how-to-reset-ntfs-file-permissions/”>https://blog.foldersecurityviewer.com/how-to-reset-ntfs-file-permissions/</a&gt;

The utility itself, ResetPermission.zip, can be downloaded from

<a href=”http://lallouslab.net/2013/08/26/resetting-ntfs-files-permission-in-windows-graphical-utility/”>http://lallouslab.net/2013/08/26/resetting-ntfs-files-permission-in-windows-graphical-utility/</a&gt;

Unzip, install and run, and watch your problems simply disappear!

If that is not magic, I don’t know what is!

Time on your hands?

Fancy a good read, and I mean a real binge? Here is a good place to start:-

This is the first book in a series of nine, so it will keep you busy for quite a while. Subsequent titles are:-
Harley Merlin and the Mystery Twins
Harley Merlin and the Stolen Magicals
Harley Merlin and the First Ritual
Harley Merlin and the Broken Spell
Harley Merlin and the Cult of Eris
Harley Merlin and the Detector Fix
Harley Merlin and the Challenge of Chaos
Harley Merlin and the Mortal Pact

By the time you have worked your way through those, you will most likely agree that Bella Forrest is an accomplished author, who can be heartily recommended to anyone.

But this is just the start!

If you look at the “Shade of Vampire” series, which was running up to No.75 – A Blade of Thieron when I last looked, you will see that Harley Merlin is just a foretaste of things to come.

Bella is in fact a prolific writer, and although her books are not all of the “nail-biter”, “can’t put this down till its finished!” variety, she does an incredible job of holding an expanding scenario together which includes many generations over a number of years. However, with vampires like these, the worst thing that can happen is an addiction to Bella Forrest!

Happy Reading!

PS. These are all EPUB files, so it won’t break your hard drive!

The Crash!

It was one of those moments that every computer nerd dreads – the computer locked up, and the only possible thing to do was to switch it off and restart.

The moment of truth was actually when it was restarted, for it went straight into diagnostic mode – and there was no alternative available. I had no experience of how Windows 10 would handle such problems, and fully expected to have to visit my technician friend for a complete new software installation. However, I decided to give it a chance first, and see what I could do on my own.

It took a while to sort itself out from there, but eventually decided that the C: drive had a problem, and needed to be repaired. It automatically switched into repair mode, and took about an hour to finish the job. At the end of this, a restart was required, but it was immediately apparent that we were not back to normal yet.

The next part of the cure was to restore the system to an earlier point. There were 2 repair points available, and I chose the most recent one. This would involve the least amount of work getting the computer back to normal, as fewer programs would have been disconnected.

Unfortunately, after the process terminated, I was given the message “Unable to complete System Restore. Choose another restore point?”

After another restart, I went back to System Restore, and this time checked the box for “Show more restore points”. The files that were used at the last installation then became available, and I opted to use them. Again, after the process completed I was given the same message:- “Unable to complete”.

In resignation, I shut down and restarted, and – lo and behold – it had worked after all! I was back to “bare bones” as far as software installation was required, but at least the computer was functioning normally.

Windows 10 handles things differently as far as System Restore and Safe Mode are concerned. Useful information can be gained from the following web pages:-
“How to Enable System Restore (and Repair System Problems) on Windows 10”
https://www.howtogeek.com/237230/how-to-enable-system-restore-and-repair-system-problems-on-windows-10/
and
“Start your PC in safe mode in Windows 10”
https://support.microsoft.com/en-ph/help/12376/windows-10-start-your-pc-in-safe-mode

Among other things, my Bitnami installation was not working, as the MySQL function had failed, and I had lost my WordPress installation completely. However, with Bitnami newly installed again, we are now up and running.

It has been a busy couple of days, but I can now relax – until the next crisis!

Aren’t computers fun !!!??!!!

Electronic Publications – Update.

One day, a few months ago now, I was just firing up my Firefox EPUB Reader extension to do a bit of serious reading, when the program suddenly disappeared – never to be seen again!

Strange, I thought! Have I done something wrong?

I went through the usual sequence of opening up first Firefox, then the extension, but never got as far as selecting a book, for the extension was no longer working.

Google had an answer for the problem, of course. The author of the extension had apparently not realised that a section of code he had used had a timeout limitation, and the time limit had been reached. The Firefox extension simply would not work any more – ever!

One solution to the problem was to write a new program for the EPUB reader, which they did, and provided a new version of the extension. Unfortunately, the new version was a real dog in comparison to the old one, and I soon realised that I would not be able to live with the quirks and foibles that were quickly apparent. For example, the presentation was no longer full screen, but any attempt to enlarge it usually involved a crash and having to start again.

No, a better alternative was needed, so I started to look around. I found a program called Azardi which seemed interesting, but it was written some time ago, and for an earlier version of Windows. So with Windows 10 there would be no guarantees! By this time, however, I had a fair collection of EPUB documents, and definitely needed a means of reading them. It was worth a try, at least.

With Azardi installed, I gave it a whirl. The first thing I noticed is that as the program is associated with EPUB files, it is only necessary to double click on the document you wish to read, and it appears on the screen before you. This was never possible with the Firefox extension, and opening a document with it was somewhat tedious.

The next thing I noticed is that there are choices available in the setup; a 2-page display, or a 3-page display, for example. There were no hiccups when I expanded the display to fill the screen, and in fact the program is behaving beautifully.

So for those of you who are sold on the EPUB form of publication, like myself, I heartily recommend that you try Azard for yourself!

Azardi