Sunday, 29 November 2009

Computers Wi-Fi laptops café culture security a whole new world and a Sunday ramble.

If you are reading this then the chances are that you either have or will be getting a laptop or notebook (a small laptop about the size of a hardback fiction book) and you will or do use this when you are away from home.

Trains, planes, ships and most common of all cafés now offer free wireless internet connection and the opportunity to do all of the things you usually do on your computer pretty much anywhere.

A big worry here is what if your portable computer gets stolen and your personal information stored on it stolen? We have all heard the stories of the government officials who have left laptops on trains or in taxis that contain sensitive information.

The answer here is to look in your laptops instructions and set a password, you can do this in the computers bios (the bit of your computer that runs everything else including booting windows) doing this means that to anyone who doesn’t know the password, your computer is just a useless piece of junk that they can’t even turn on.

I wanted to go over to Margate this morning and take some pictures, after my previous experience of getting my car vandalised in the main High Street car park there in the middle of the day see I thought it would be a good idea to do this at a time of day before the miscreants are likely to be awake.

The only reason that I didn’t go there is that there is no decent café open with a working Wi-Fi connection, that I know of, anywhere near the main seafront town centre bit where I could have dodged the showers. The only one I have had recommended but haven’t tried yet, BeBeached doesn’t open until 11am. I have just looked on their website, something I couldn’t have done in Margate this morning, without paying for a wireless connection for the day that would have cost as much as a decent coffee.

I took a few pictures on yesterday’s morning walk, before I opened my bookshop see a bit of an odd one this, as one of my objectives was to line up the bulging bit of the cliff behind the Pleasurama site with the cliff top, so that I could avoid it.

As they say, I sure as hell wasn’t going to stand underneath it and therefore don’t want to stand on top of it, thank you.

Something else that occurred to me when leaning over the top of the cliff, was the amount of things that had been thrown over the cliff top there, mostly bottles and cans. See the picture above.

As a lot of these containers obviously contained alcohol, it would seem that a lot of the people lobbing these over the cliff were not really aware of the dangers to anyone below.

The original design of the Royal Sands Development mitigated this problem by putting covered parking down there, but now due to the need to cover up the lack of foundations and getting the roof of the main building below the cliff top this has had to be modified to an open thoroughfare.

I suppose one solution here could be to cover the road down there with something strong enough to catch anything from cliff falls to plummeting bottles of lager.

I noticed on the Thanet life blog see that Simon is having problems with the latest version of internet explorer (MIE8).

First a general observation here about computers and computing, how complex it is and how the people who understand something about it behave.

Now speaking to Simon I would say that he is probably the most computer savvy of our councillors and he also makes part of his living out of lecturing about aspects of IT.

So on the face of it you would expect him to be pretty reluctant to advertise his shortcomings in this field in a public forum, however IT is a different ball game altogether to other areas of expertise. The bottom line here is that no one can know it all and just to maintain a reasonable level of security on our PCs we all have to use new programs that we couldn’t possibly understand completely.

This means that the very first step in resolving the innumerable problems related to computing is to admit that you couldn’t possibly know it all and ask around.

Be absolutely clear on this one Internet Explorer 8 is the only program that will perform some IT tasks at a reasonable level of security, all of the browsers have their pros and cons and I have tried the most popular ones.

There are some tasks that I can only perform using MIE8 the most important being checking what I have published on the internet looks right to most people, as most people use MIE.

As it probably took a team of some of the worlds best programmers about a year to write this piece of software, I couldn’t possibly understand it in great detail.

This gives an interesting twist to the problems facing people engaged in any IT project for any part of government, which is they hare hemmed in by rules and regulations that preclude them from making the first step in overcoming IT difficulties which is admitting you don’t know.

I see our local fishmonger Johnny Dunhill of Eddie Gilbert fame is featured in today’s Sunday Times see I couldn’t find the whole article online. So will pop down there with the camera in a mo to give you some ide what his new restaurant is like.

Here are the low definition uncropped unedited image files for anyone interested, I will do a blog post about his business in the fullness of time

Eventually despite the somewhat dodgy weather I persuaded my wife and two youngest children to go for a walk in Broadstairs, we pretty much avoided getting wet.

Some quite good skies to photograph and I am afraid one of my rather dodgy 70s lenses came out, oh well toys for boys.

Morelli’s just the best ice cream, now has a reasonable Wi-Fi signal and they tell me opens at 8am-ish, so there will be some early morning pictures of Broadstairs.

I took some pictures of the cake I had for Don and even his comment appearing where and when, it did click on the link for the pictures click on the link for them

Sorry the pictures didn’t publish in the right order, I forgot to clcik on arrange the folder the last 3 are from my little camera, which takes more patience to use than I can usually muster.

Working on some sort of principle about blogs being a log of the day life I don’t know here is the fod recipe later

I will probably ramble on some more here as the day progresses and also try to insert some grammar, when I get to a PC with a larger screen where I can see the punctuation.


  1. Michael

    It's all about my rather old flaky desktop, running Windows XP, where the Google toolbar appears to have killed the Internet Explorer task bar.

    The task bar problem is a known feature which demands diving into the system register to fix it but for reasons yet unknown, something nasty appears to have happened in there and even with Registry mechanic and none the wiser!

  2. Ah Simon now I know where you are coming from, I believe we had this issue installing MIE8 without having first installed service pack 3 for XP, but then all computers are different.

    I am using Windows 7 evaluation copy, build 7100 on my laptop, if you go down that route and your laptop is old enough to have floppy drive you could go the whole hog and use a windows 98 boot floppy this would allow you to reformat the whole drive including the boot partition.

    Start with a clean slate as it were, windows 7 is much more stable and uses far less computing power than XP and the evaluation copy is free and legal up to March I think.

    Just don’t forget to do all of the updates before installing MIE8.

    If your laptop is old I wouldn’t recommend using a newer version of office than 2000 as I have had problems there too.

  3. For reasons unknown the church website wont work in IE8 I need to speak to the chap who designed it for us to see if it can be fixed, I have tried but failed. Michael keep taking the piccies I love going on your walks with you.

  4. Don I am in Morelli’s at the moment and have even take a picture of my coffee and cake for you, I will bung the picts up later.

  5. I would love that but I will save till after my roast beef dinner

  6. A free program called ccleaner works wonders to clean up the reg etc. Very useful after an uninstalled that is not as clean as it should be. Have you tried a mobile broadband adaptor? Depending on the mobile co. thay are less than £20 and can be used on a pay per go basis for occasion use. About £2 per day, now thats cheaper than a cream bun.


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