Shired

In this rare game of Scrabble I eventually came out a narrow winner. On seeing the WhatsApped (!) board my daughter questioned the word “shired” (played by me). I thought it meant something to do with horses but was I confusing it with “sired” or possibly thinking of Shire horses and creating a verb from an adjective? I eventually tracked down the following on en.wiktionary.org

thus validating my play of the word. That was lucky – but I’ll take the win, thank you!


How to Remotely Troubleshoot Your Relative’s Computer

I have a friend who occasionally rings me up with his computer problems. Yesterday he called to say his annual anti-virus licence was going to expire that day. He confessed to having ignored the renewal reminders!

My experience with renewing McAfee anti-virus licences is that a) renewing from McAfee is ridiculously expensive, and b) not renewing from McAfee is never straightforward. My friend took my advice and went for the second option and purchased a McAfee licence from another company (InterSecure.co.uk). Inevitably the update wasn’t straightforward and wasn’t successful, hence his call for my assistance. In normal times I would probably have gone to my friend’s home, but these are not normal times.

I searched the web for how to remotely take control of someone’s computer and came across a very helpful page on the PCMag site “How to Remotely Troubleshoot Your Relative’s Computer“. Although I’ve had a career in IT support I’d never needed to do this before and this web page proved a godsend. The section on using a Windows 10 PC to take control of another Windows 10 PC was very straightforward and uses the Quick Assist tool (found under Windows Accessories). Having taken remote control of my friend’s PC I was able to install the new licence for his anti-virus software, though it wasn’t straightforward!!😎


Claude Shannon

I’m currently reading “The Idea Factory – Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation” by Jon Gertner. It’s a Christmas present from my Berlin son and what a great choice it was! Bell Labs became an enormous laboratory for developing ideas and inventions at the start of the communication, information and technology industries we now take for granted. This book tells the history of Bell Labs and the leading engineers, scientists and managers.

Claude Shannon was one of those scientists and who has become known as ‘ the father of information technology’. I have a vague recollection of hearing about his work whilst I was studying for a computer science course. Now, some 50 years later, he appears in this very readable history of Bell Labs. Brilliant man that he was, it’s prompted me to look for a biography, and “A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age” by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman has been well reviewed.

The biography is now on order from Postscript Books, a new mail-order company to me and which had the best price. I’ve added them to my menu of Links / Amazon alternatives. Their About page says “Most of our books are publishers’ overstocks and backlist titles…..Postscript has developed over the last 30 years, starting in south-west London in 1987 and then moving to south Devon in 2011“. An interesting business to find.


Speeding up time

Last year I took out a subscription to Netflix. I can usually find enough to watch for a month but then not enough to keep the subscription going for any longer. For Christmas 2020 I reactivated the subscription, again probably just for a month.

So far I have watched and can recommend:

  • The Fear Of 13 – astonishing documentary about a man on death row
  • American Murder: The Family Next Door – fascinating documentary using social media content, text messages and police video footage
  • 22 July – brutal but honest dramatization of the massacre of 77 Norwegian teens
  • The Crown (series 4) – hilarious fabrication of the life of our royal family. The Duke of Edinburgh is my favourite!
  • The Queen’s Gambit (series) – very enjoyable tale about a young, female chess genius

With Netflix you can choose what speed to watch a film at. I’ve found it’s perfectly watchable to view at 1.25 times the normal speed and even at 1.5 times.

Watching at a faster speed means less time spent / wasted / indulged (a 60 minute episode only lasts 40 minutes at 1.5 times normal speed, whilst a 90 minute film only lasts an hour)!

Try it and save time!