10 aspirations for 2015


1. To survive the year in reasonably good health

2. To finish smartening the kitchen

3. To resume visits to the Esperanto Centre

4. To finish digitising the cassette collections

5. To complete the house move.

6. To find room in the new house for all the things I’ve brought with me.

7. To hear an interviewee on radio or television who doesn’t start every other sentence with “So…”

8. To ignore the General Election campaign completely but still cast my vote.

9. To revisit Ely Folk Festival

10. To do something I’ve never done before.


How to waste money, part 3


Cash in your pension pot!

How not to waste money, part 1


A bit less than a year ago, unaware of the perils of Windows8, I replaced my computer. The deal included a year of McAfee anti-virus. On previous computers I had used AVG Free with no trouble, but it seemed silly to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I took it.

A few months ago I started getting unexpected pop-ups on Firefox. They were obvious scams – click on this and get so-and-so – so I quite happily ignored them, blocked the URLs, and that was that.

Then a week or two ago I noticed my audio editor was running slowly and two of the buttons on the interface had stopped working. Thinking hard, I remembered this had happened once before, and tried to remember how I had dealt with it.

Then, particularly with the pop-ups in mind, it came to me – spyware! The earlier problem was, presumably, that something was sending my keystrokes to somewhere or other. The buttons that didn’t work in the audio program were press-and-hold items, which would give the spyware thousands of “keystrokes” to transmit.

So I downloaded a free anti-spyware program and ran it. It found and removed 52 undesirable items, which McAfee had not detected, or had even, perhaps, intentionally let through.

The McAfee free year will run out soon. Anyone guess whether I’ll be renewing it?

Ten aspirations for 2014


1. To get a passport
Not done

2. To watch TV for a day without hearing the word “incredibly”
Not humanly possible; but see the 2015 aspirations

3. To learn how to use a mobile phone
I’ve taken two photographs and received a text message; it’s a start

4. To find a useful purpose for a mobile phone.
As with no. 3

5. To get to somewhere I actually need to go to by bicycle.
The bicycle hasn’t left the house

6. To get my e-mails completely up to date.
I did manage this for a couple of days

7. To find a successor as Esperanto librarian.
I never did expect this to happen

8. To pay off all my debts [easy] and find a good use for any leftover money [not so easy].
One small sum remains; 2015 will see the back of it. Still no ideas for the leftovers.

9. To get the house completely weatherproof.
This has very nearly happened.

10. To learn to love the Coalition Government.
No real chance of that; but there’s an election in 2015.

How to waste money, part 2



So this is the only audio system you’ll ever need … unless, of course, you want to listen to 6Music, or Test Match Special (no DAB), play MP3s, record stuff (other than on cassette), input from your iPod or phone or MP3 player, output to USB …

And this piece of obsolescent kit costs £170, which is about £30 more than I recently paid for a system which can do all of the things listed above.

What’s worse is the heading, “RT Extra, the best subscriber offers”. The wording, and the use of standard Radio Times layout and typography, make it look as if the prestigious Radio Times is endorsing this antiquated equipment. Surely not?