65 Years Ago Today

I was born on the day the NHS went live in the UK; Mum said I was a freebee.

Today I officially become a Cyber Senior on reaching my 65th birthday.

To celebrate this event I have launched the Cyber Seniors website and this, the Cyber Senior blog; although it has been running for a few months now as I couldn’t resist posting to it. This endeavour is in an attempt to show certain people that the over 60’s don’t suddenly lose their faculties.

I can assure you that I can still do the following:

  • Turn on a computer; or rather log in as my machines are rarely turned off;
  • Browse the Internet without getting lost;
  • Fix issues on other peoples computers by connecting remotely which I have done at least 5 times in the last 6 weeks;
  • Write computer programs with a fair degree of expertise using the latest tools;
  • Use my Windows Phone to make and receive calls, texts and e-mails, although I have to admit text and e-mails are made possible by the presence of a QWERTY keypad as I never got to grips with the old phone keys;
  • Work the controls on the Smart TV and Blu-ray player even though they are new enough to support 3D – not sure we will use that functionality as it is a bit weird wearing 3D glasses on top of the normal ones but it came with the box;
  • Drive my car and ride my motorcycle without having people behind me getting irate because of my speed; except I guess in a built up area where I refuse to go above the speed restriction, but then I usually leave those idiots behind once I get to a derestricted (sorry; National Speed Limit Applies) area

Now that I have become a Senior Citizen (what used to be called an Old Age Pensioner before PC meant political correctness) I look forward to getting money out of the government instead of paying it in; even though for the time being I will continue to pay more tax than I will get in State Pension.

I have said before that it is my ambition to get stopped by the police doing 100+MPH down the local dual carriageway on my motorbike on my 90th birthday. I have just decided on a second ambition: to live long enough to get back all the tax I have paid via the pension payments; call me selfish but, what the heck…

Anyway; Happy Birthday to the NHS and anyone else who shares a birthday today.

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Congratulations to our Royal Family

Monday 22 July 2013 at 16:24 hrs. A Baby boy at 8lb 6ozs

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A hard weekends work on the Railroad

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I’ve been working on the model railway this weekend, getting the system computerised, thereby combining my two hobbies of IT and the model railway. WP_20130707_001

The stand for the computer looks a bit rough and ready, but it is sturdy enough to take the weight of the IBM Anyplace Kiosk that I happen to have as a test machine. The touch interface is perfect for the Hornby Rail Master control software.

WP_20130707_002The biggest job is the wiring; whilst not a big layout compared to some, if you look at the last photo you will see there are 20 points; each has a motor which has to be wired to its controller and to the power bus underneath the base board. That means  I am sitting on the floor reaching up above my head trying to tighten fiddly little screws. I still have about half the wiring to do but that is for next weekend.

I had one expensive mishap which is the lesson for the day: If you look at the track layout in the last photo, over on the left is a siding; this has a duel purpose in that it is also a programming track for any changes I want to make to a Loco controller. In order to do that the straight is an isolated section; the idea being you drive the train on, isolate the section from the main track so any trains there can keep running, then switch to the programming mode.

Having wired in the programing wires and the isolation switch I connected them up to the Hornby Elite controller to test them. Trouble is I wasn’t paying attention to where I put the wires and I put them in the wrong place; when I switched the isolation switch there was a rather strong smell of burning from the controller and everything went off with a bit of a sparkle. Fortunately the trains are OK but I need to replace the Elite.  Note to self: Watch where you put the wires and double check before switching.

Hornby have just released the eLink which takes the place of the controller and allows direct control of the system from the computer. The new bit should arrive by Wednesday ready for my next weekends play.

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Well done Andy Murray

We have a British winner at Wimbledon after 77 Years; Well done Andy

Fred Perry

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BBC Story

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Windows 8.1 Changes

Now here is a change I really like:

In the control panel image has become imagewhich opens up the task bar properties; as in earlier versions you can also get to these by right clicking on the Taskbar and selecting Properties.

image

In addition to the current Taskbar, Jump List and Toolbars tabs we now have a Navigation tab which allows you to turn off some of the Windows 8 features, or rather make it harder to get to them if you don’t know the keyboard shortcuts; why you would want to I don’t know.

The first improvement is for Techies giving us the option, on by default, to open PowerShell instead of the Command prompt from the context menu.

For the professional or business computer there is the option to go straight to the desktop on start-up. When I first started using Windows 8 the first thing I did was to hit the Desktop Tile, simply because that was where I was used to working. Now I use a combination of both modes and I like the way I get interaction on the Start screen, so this is one option that will remain off.

I have always thought it wrong that I cannot use a picture as a background to the Start screen, being forced to use one of the provided designs; well now I can, albeit it’s my Desktop background; but that’s OK as I have a set of NASA pictures that change daily.

image

The Apps view now has a cleaner look and you can sort it by Name (the default), date installed, most used and category making it much more useful.

The Navigation tab has an option to show Desktop apps first when the Apps view is sorted by category.

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Windows 8.1 Changes

Now here is a change I really like:

In the control panel image has become imagewhich opens up the task bar properties; as in earlier versions you can also get to these by right clicking on the Taskbar and selecting Properties.

image

In addition to the current Taskbar, Jump List and Toolbars tabs we now have a Navigation tab which allows you to turn off some of the Windows 8 features, or rather make it harder to get to them if you don’t know the keyboard shortcuts; why you would want to I don’t know.

The first improvement is for Techies giving us the option, on by default, to open PowerShell instead of the Command prompt from the context menu.

For the professional or business computer there is the option to go straight to the desktop on start-up. When I first started using Windows 8 the first thing I did was to hit the Desktop Tile, simply because that was where I was used to working. Now I use a combination of both modes and I like the way I get interaction on the Start screen, so this is one option that will remain off.

I have always thought it wrong that I cannot use a picture as a background to the Start screen, being forced to use one of the provided designs; well now I can, albeit it’s my Desktop background; but that’s OK as I have a set of NASA pictures that change daily.

image

The Apps view now has a cleaner look and you can sort it by Name (the default), date installed, most used and category making it much more useful.

The Navigation tab has an option to show Desktop apps first when the Apps view is sorted by category.

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I’m Supporting…

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