Two tech surprises

Today’s guest picture shows Dropscone’s granny’s rocking chair which his son has recently got re-upholstered.


I could have done with a rocking chair myself this morning as it was too wet and windy to be attractive to a cyclist.  As a result I spent the morning watching and waiting as breakfast morphed seamlessly into morning coffee and the crossword and then, before I knew it, it was lunchtime.  The joys of being retired on a wet day.

I did look out of the window to see if the redpolls had come back but they hadn’t and I had to make do with a visit from a brambling.


The chaffinches are ever present.

The ponderer was back (or perhaps his double)
Sometimes they came as composite birds.
goldfinch, chaffinch, siskin
Places on the feeder are hard to find.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal got a lift to Edinburgh to visit a friend who is in hospital and I was left to my own devices.  A brief burst of sunshine tempted me out for a walk.  I had got to the Kilngreen when a look behind me showed that rain was approaching fast…

:Langholm Bridge

…in a moment, it had caught up with me.  The sun was still shining though and I was treated to the lowest and closest rainbow that I have ever seen.  It was faint but fascinating.

rainbow on Kilngreen

It preceded me as I walked along the car park, getting ever fainter as I went…

rainbow on Kilngreen

…until it had virtually vanished like the Cheshire cat by the time that I acme to the Sawmill Brig.

rainbow on Kilngreen

I walked over the bridge and was delighted by the amount of colour to be found on walls and trees on every side.

green algae
In spite of its colour, the New Hampshire Gardener tells me that this is green algae

There was moss of many different kinds.




..and liverwort (I think)….


…and lichen.



It was tempting just to stay where I was and keep snapping away but I walked on…

Another brief burst of sunlight lit up my way.

I was using Pocketcam (Nikon J1) for the close up pictures and I have a nifty add on which lets me use my Nikon  DSLR lenses with it.  I hadn’t used it yet so this seemed like a good time to try it.  I had my 18 to 105mm lens in my pocket so I stuck it on to see how it would go.  It increases the zoom factor a lot and the camera can cope with the big lens quite well.

tree on castleholm

Langholm Castle
Langholm Castle shot from across the river.

I am very pleased with these first results in rather grey light.  It is an ideal lightweight combination for a walk when you don’t know what you may see.

When I got home I sat down at my computer and got two big shocks.  I switched on my tried and tested desktop Windows XP  machine and got a very brusque message from Microsoft telling me that they were going to stop supporting Windows XP in a few weeks and only a fool would keep on using it.   They suggested buying a new computer and using Windows 8.  What a cheek.  I am of the school of thought that Bill Gates only got so rich that he has to hire people to help him spend his money by using the power of monopoly to grossly overcharge his customers and this was typical of his company’s approach to them.

As I have many useful programs on this computer, I will disconnect it from the internet and keep using the useful programs on it  when the need arises.

I write this blog on a laptop which I basically keep for storing and editing photos but thanks to a set of earlier misfortunes, I do have another laptop in a cupboard which I keep as back up.  This will now come out of hiding and become my machine for day to day business.  It needed new security as it will have to be internet connected and putting this onto it gave me my second shock.

I had downloaded and was installing a 2014 version of AVG internet security when owing to a slight brain fade, I interrupted the process before it was complete.  I was baffled as to how to proceed and in  my despair, I rather aimlessly clicked on the AVG interface on my laptop.

A small pop out notice popped up at the side of the screen.  This sort of thing is always annoying and I expected a targeted ad for dementia treatment.  I peered at it suspiciously. It said, “Do you need help? Would you like to phone us?”  This was hard to take seriously but it even had a phone number on it and when I rang it, someone answered.

I was stunned.  I had to sit down.  He listened to my problem and said I would need one of their tech people.    “Ahah, the old run-around,” I thought but they got me one on line within a minute and she solved my problem in a trice…and in addition advised me of a way to save money on my next order from them.   I felt quite giddy.  This sort of thing just doesn’t happen.  I had to have a lie down to recover.

After some delicious slow cooked venison stew, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal,  for my tea, I recovered enough to drive to Carlisle with Susan for a very good evening of recorder playing.

A goldfinch managed to head off the chaffinches for the coveted post of flying bird of the day.

flying goldfinch










Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Two tech surprises

  1. You got some great shots of the mosses and lichens.They look like macros to me. I’m not sure of the liverwort because I’ve never seen anything like it and have nothing resembling it in my books.
    That’s a great shot of the (orange) green algae too. I was just looking at some myself earlier today.

    1. The green orange algae seems to prefer the shady side of the wall. Mrs Tootlepedal thought that the other picture was of a liverwort and who am I to argue with her?

  2. I agree with your assessments of Bill Gates and Microsoft 100%. I still use Lotus SmartSuite, even though it’s horribly outdated, but at least I haven’t made Billy Boy any richer by purchasing MS Office.

  3. I’m pretty sure the pot of gold at the end of that amazing rainbow was in the red car! You might need it to keep up with the Microsoft shenanigans too. When I came to change my laptop I plumped for a Mac because I was sick of all the problems with Microsoft, never ending virus updates making things slower and slower, constant expensive changes of system. The MacBook was way more expensive to start off but so quick and simple and system updates come free. I do still use Word and Excel for business but I’m glad I made the change. I’d rather give my money to Apple, even if they both have far too much.

  4. Please relay to Dropscone that the new chair cover is lovely! Seems you had quite a day. The computer issues are truly astounding. Seriously, you spoke with a live person?!!

  5. I’m torn between the composite birds… Surprised you got that much life out of XP. I have invariably replaced hardware that refused to keep up with software updates.

  6. This post gave me much to smile about today! What a lovely walk you had. Congratulations on getting such nice photos of the rainbow, that’s never an easy feat!

    1. It is the sense of powerlessness that mades my head hurt. Problems where you know what is wrong are a challenge. Problems where you don’t know what is happening at all are a real pain.

  7. Hubby says you can still use your XP; you just won’t get any help if you have issues–at least, not from the big M. That’s what most of us have at school, and they do not intend to add new op systems for the whole school.

    1. I can certainly use it but it will become increasingly insecure when I connect it to the internet as time goes by. I have a lot of useful programs on it which I still need (the music writer for instance) which do not need any connection so it will still serve my purposes well. The best advice that I can find definitely advises against continuing to use it for online transactions of any sort.

  8. I was using XP until last summer when I finally replaced my 7 year old computer. The new one has Windows 8 which actually made me claw the table-top in frustration on the first day of using the machine. I’m reconciled to it now, but with judging by how many people have had a similar reaction I’d say Microsoft has made a misstep with this operating system.

    Your positive customer service experience sounds surreal – are you certain you didn’t dream it?

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