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.


Traditional British puddings

Seeing this office canteen in the swish new office block of an old employer of mine reminded me of the early years I worked there. The canteen provided proper meals, cooked on the premises, the highlight being the traditional puddings – bread & butter pudding, treacle sponge, spotted dick, jam sponge. All with custard, all in huge portions, all a danger to health, all delicious. Friday was a bakery day and the kitchen would make breads and cakes for the workers to buy and take home. The company was still owned by its founder and had a family-business feel about it.

Eventually the company was sold – more than once – and the canteen closed to be replaced by a snack bar, so it’s wonderful to see what appears to be the reappearance of a proper canteen in the new office block and in a company ten times the size of the company I knew.

www.Atkinsglobal.com

A weird session with the chiropractor

My chiropractor began the session by asking me about the book I brought in with me. I gave an outline and added it was a library book, to which she asked where the library was. I told her and said she couldn’t be local if she didn’t know where it was. She said she lived in a town 5 miles away and I said I worked there for many years. I mentioned the company I had worked for and she said her uncle had worked there. I asked after his name and I was taken aback and asked her where her uncle had lived in the town and she told me, confirming that I knew her uncle. He was a close friend of mine and had died from an illness and whom I’d been at his hospital bedside a few hours before he died. I was so concerned for his health that I rang his brother, my chiropractor’s father, to express my concerns and suggest he might want to visit his brother sooner rather than later. Well he did make the three hour journey and was able to see his brother, my friend, for his last few moments. All this was more than ten years ago. Now, today, my chiropractor and I were somewhat overcome by this shared experience as we chatted over some common memories whilst at the same time she continued pummelling my body. So weird.

When I was younger I read…

In my twenties I read a fair bit of Hermann Hesse. All the main ones, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf, Narcissus and Goldmund and several others. I think I re-read most of them in my thirties and, like the first time, I really only understood them as a story rather than anything deeper.

I read a few of E M Forster and George Orwell. I loved Orwell’s Keep The Aspidistra Flying – the cover evokes so many memories. There was a phase of Kingsley Amis – Take a Girl Like You, Lucky Jim, One Fat Englishman.

I had a long phase of reading American crime novels – the Travis McGee books of John D MacDonald and the Lew Archer books of Ross Macdonald. The Travis McGee series all had a colour in the title and had some great covers. I regret letting them go.

Then came a series of psychological thrillers by Ruth Rendell. I vaguely recall them as being about rather inadequate / disturbed people (mainly men?), but they were good.

I would read computer books and manuals – it was the industry I was in after all. In between there was sociological stuff – Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man; J K Galbraith ‘s The Affluent Society, and some politics stuff. Novels by John Fowles – The Magus and Luke Rhinehart’s The Dice Man, were mixed up in there somewhere. There’s lots more that may eventually spring to mind.