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This blog is a cross between a scrapbook and a diary. I hope you find something here of interest. If you’d like to keep up with things as I see them then you can subscribe to my news feed by clicking the icon below:

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Please note that any reviews/recommendations are based solely on my own experience and does not constitute a guarantee that you will have the same experience. Please do your own research before parting with any money - the risk is all yours!

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facebook-icon-28x28.pngVisit my Briticiser Facebook Page to keep up with things here - lots of reviews of stuff I’ve really used and also all kinds of helpful computer tips with a heavy bias towards SAVING YOU TIME.

Give anonymously

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170201-175934

imageI put it to you that the main reason people give to charity is to boost their own ego. We all know their type “does a lot of good work for cherridy and don’t like to talk about it (but want everyone to know about it, otherwise… what’s the point?).

If you see someone who needs help, and you can help, do it! No need to make a song and dance about it, and it feels much better.

Fate

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170131-133010

View from my new office…

View from my office

Hardly identical to one of my favourite Van Gogh paintings, but at least I’ve got some cypress trees in there.

Wheat Field With Cypresses, 1889 by Van Gogh

The fish were looking at me - Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-203107

They had that look that said…

“We can see that you’re sat over there with nothing to do…

so how about giving us our food a little earlier tonight?”,

and do I did

Stanley Oliver 1828

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

Do trees shiver? by Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-200900

It seems odd that trees, if you observe them closely, only sporadically drop their leaves, and do so in unison with all the other trees around them… almost in symphony with one another - even when there is no wind at all.

Perhaps some highly expensive apparatus could detect, record, and analyse the precise barometric and climatic conditions in fine enough detail in order to determine any correlation with the trees dropping their leaves.

If not, then there is something else going on.

Stanley Oliver 1841

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

I was awake - Stanley Oliver

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-184325

The rain fell lightly, but steadily, all through the night.

In its wake the road to the headland took on a sheen of sheer silver.

It was then, I knew, I was awake.

Stanley Oliver 1823

The Collected Works of Stanley Oliver - The Partridge Press 1945

For Once in my Life (Extended Version) - Stevie Wonder

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170128-173546

Knife… Fork… Sparklers

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170103-111707

Happy New Year! S Novim Godam! I hope for world peace in 2017 (not that we’ll ever get it in my lifetime but, as the song goes, “things can only get better”.

Knife... Fork... Sparklers

Want one!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161229-004337

A South Korean company has unveiled a prototype for the world’s first manned, two-legged robot. It’s 4m High!

When it came up with “Potential uses” on the video I thought the first one should be to fight other 4m high robots!

I wonder when we’ll ever see the first manned walking robot on the moon?

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38442672

image

An automatic house

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161228-213245

There was an interesting article on the BBC website today about a guy who has turned his home into one which watches who is in the building and alerts the owner if there is someone there which it doesn’t recognise. It also adjusts the heating etc. if someone turns up who prefers the house a little warmer or cooler, and the developer expects to be able to expand his system to allow him to “talk” to the house and just issue whatever commands he wants.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38261690

It may all sound a bit geeky and even a bit sinister from a privacy point of view, but this is exactly the kind of system which I am surprised hasn’t been developed by a big company such as Amazon or Google because it could open up the possibility of affording a much greater degree of independence for disabled people.

Couple this with a few robots for specialist operations such as getting someone in and out of bed, or to the bathroom, and it would be just brilliant for someone like Georgi to be able to live more or less on his own, yet still be monitored in case he needs help with something.

What the world needs now...

3D Coaster Plate

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161226-170824

It works for me!

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Cures ALL Windows problems since Vista

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161224-201602

winxpsp3packaging.jpg

Just saying…

TP-Link MR3420 3G/3.75G Wireless Router

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161210-182923

TP-Link TR-MR3420I bought a TP-Link TR-MR3420 to replace my aging D-Link DIR-300 router which was beginning to play up.

I’d been looking at the Unifi wireless modems which seem very good (from a first hand account I received) but a bit more expensive than this model, which has the added bonus of allowing you to use it to beam the internet signal from an EVDO USB modem around the house. As we have one of these sticks (we use it as back-up in case we lose our normal connection, and also to access the internet if any of us goes away somewhere) this seemed to fit our needs perfectly… and so it proved. [Read More…]

Excel Functions - Version Compatibility

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161117-162809

While working on a spreadsheet today I was using the ISERROR function to test if a VLOOKUP formula returned a value and, if it did, return the value otherwise display nothing - instead of the usual #N/A error notification.

The usual syntax for this formula begins “=IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(…”.

I happened to notice that Excel 2010 (the version I use at work) offered up “IFERROR” as a possible function as soon as I typed the “IF” and, indeed, this allows me to write slightly shorter formula. However this is not backwards compatible with Excel 2003 which I use elsewhere so I avoided using it.

For anyone faced with a situation where they have a spreadsheet containing lots of instances where the a formula contains “IFERROR” then help is at hand at the following link - untested, but I’m sure it’ll work. I’ve bookmarked it here because it looks like quite a useful site.

http://www.professionalexcel.com/2011/06/replace-iferror-with-ifiserror/

There are obviously a few more functions which were added in later versions of Excel which you should avoid using if you don’t want your spreadsheet to fail when someone opens it in Excel 2003 (which I much prefer!). The other one I avoid for this reason is “SUMIFS” (I use “SUMPRODUCT” instead) but here’s a useful list of all Excel functions showing which versions they are compatible with - plus a useful description of each..

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ztUAhgAghKn2wNih7-QgMbSAKfux4w_qkAcJdD82bLU/edit

Here’s the same thing downloaded for posterity as an XLSX file

Windows 10 Update Freezing Computer

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161107-001648

Windows 10 Logo When a monster update came through and installed itself on our Windows 10 laptop,  aside from suddenly getting annoyed to death by “Cortana” (some stupid Microsoft “help thing”, I think - not asked for nor desired, anyway) the laptop - a Dell - just started freezing up after a few minutes of use.

If this happens to you (and you could care less about ditching Cortana) then try this first before tearing your hair out. [Read More…]

Epson ITS L1300 A3+ USB Printer works with TP-Link TL-WPS510U Wireless Print Server

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161028-041004

I think the title above is descriptive enough to answer the question which I’ve seen many people asking about this printer. We bought one for the office today along with a wireless print server not knowing whether we could get them to work together or not, but the answer is a resounding YES! [Read More…]

Fix for Windows 10 Can’t Connect To This Network

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161025-233719

The solution to this extremely annoying recurring problem which worked for me was this:

[Read More…]

Using the current row or column number in a lookup formula

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161017-131301

I was working on a monster spreadsheet which contained over 2000 rows of data spread across 54 columns when I discovered that the spreadsheet I’d been given had about 1000 items (i.e. 1000 rows) missing. I eventually received a revised spreadsheet with the missing items so I was now faced with the task of transferring all of the data which I’d meticulously entered in the original sheet, into the new one.

While it was quite simple to select all of the rows and columns in the original sheet and give it a name (using “Define Name” on the Formulas Toolbar), then use this in a VLOOKUP formula to fill in the cells on the new sheet which had corresponding cells with data on the old sheet, because I had 54 columns of data this would have meant manually changing the column number each time I used the formula in the next column along.

Here’s how to avoid having to do that. [Read More…]

Diadora Shin Guards - they’re not just for sports!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161015-014520

Diadora shin guards helped Georgi to stand upA pair of Diadora shin guards proved to be the perfect solution to help Georgi use his standing wheelchair without having the leg restraint cut into his skin.

After Georgi had his operation we needed to buy him something to let him stand upright. A standing table would have been the cheapest option but that would have been static and quite a problem to lift him up and get him strapped in - and probably quite boring for him too!

A sit-to-stand chair would have been and improvement but, again, quite a static option.

So we splashed the cash and bought him a motorised standing wheelchair which, while we still need to lift him into it, allows him to sit or stand and motor around the house destroying the furniture at the flick of a joystick.

However, due to his contractures, he can’t straighten his legs sufficiently well to allow him to stand up straight and although the machine we bought came with a foam restraint to keep his legs together and allow him to stand, because his knees are always bent this restraint actually pressed into his shins and caused terrible sores… and sometimes bleeding too.

The solution was one which Georgi himself thought of - a pair of football shin guards (or shin pads, as I’ve always known them) proved to be perfect for stopping the restraint from cutting into his legs.

The result is that Georgi can now stay standing for much longer and until he gets tired, instead of when his legs start hurting.

Thank you Diadora!

“The only model that works” does not mean that it is the right model

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161013-134934

I have a particular bee in my bonnet about for-profit charity donation sites - Just Giving is a prime example and a 2011 Evening Standard interview with co-founder Zarine Kharas ended with her saying that so-called soft capitalism is the only model that works when it comes to raising much needed funds for charities and special causes.

But this doesn’t make it right and I find it very sad that thousands of people feel a need to turn to these sites for help because they only address the symptoms of a problem which is deeply rooted in society as a whole.

I wonder, too, whether sites like Just Giving are just making things worse by vacuuming up donations for a plethora of non-urgent causes at the expense of those charities who are fighting to help people around the world whose situations are really desperate (and, in many case, caused by the governments who we elect and allow to wreak misery on their lives in our name).

People who are in greater need of care than the rest of us should be identified, assessed, managed, and given full reassurance that they will be looked after and will have no need to worry for the rest of their lives.

Where is the model which can accomplish this, because there is one - but not one which will be acceptable to the vast majority of First Worlders for whom charity is something they see as a tax-loss, or a highly commendable attribute which they can add to their CV.

Most people “give to charity” for all the wrong reasons - while they may kid themselves that they are feeding the poor they are, more often than not, feeding their own ego but this is just another symptom of the underlying problem of the world we have created between us.

Greed and consumerism aside I do believe that most people in the world wish there was a model for more utopian world - well, the Venus Project is one such model but we are at least several generations away from even getting to the point where people’s attitudes will change enough for us to set foot on that road. Maybe a big war will come and reset things so we just end up making the same mistakes again.

3D - Election Day

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161008-130647

It’s time for the media circus which masquerades as the Parliamentary Elections in Georgia today - always entertaining, no matter which side you support. It’s a nice day for it so I hope there’s a big turnout.

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Ching! Ching!

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing please consider tipping a few pennies in the jar to help look after our son, Georgi, to whom this blog is shamelessly dedicated.

Georgi contracted encephalitis and fell into a coma in the summer of 2007. He’s a strong boy and survived, but he suffered brain damage and still can’t walk or talk (well, not very well - but he does try). He’s growing all the time and every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.