After a period of shortage and ridiculously high prices due to the Zoom epidemic during Covid lockdowns, it’s possible to get a webcam again. I had got by with a varied selection of old video cameras and digitisers but it’s nice finally to have a simple decent solution.

Well here’s a thing. Yesterday there were a couple of brief power outages, both under a second, separated by an hour or two. The first did no harm other than causing routers etc. to reset and clearing clocks without battery backup.

The second did a little more – my desktop PC is protected against power surges, but the power interruption caused the computer to reset. It booted, but came up with a blank screen rather than my usual “which operating system would you like just now?” Grub boot screen. Um …..

Continue reading

This website has now settled down after a bit of frantic activity to re-organise stuff. The reorganisation isn’t completed yet but what’s left is routine and will get done over the next few weeks.

It means that I have stopped posting blog stuff on Facebook. I will in due course collect together my rants about that platform, but for the moment I’m happy to have things organised in a way that will suit future posting for music, amateur radio or any of my other interests. I will continue to use Facebook for its groups (principally music groups) which I find useful to keep in touch with people who are unlikely to shift to indie mechanisms in the near future. However, posts there will also be links back to this website (or another of those I own), if I’m saying anything I want to keep.

Here are a few points collected during the move:

  1. I started a Joomla website on some time ago (September 2016) to test out using a CMS for blogging. Prior to that I had the handcrafted site at which is still there as an archive until I decide exactly how to deal with it; however I had used the Joomla CMS for quite a few years to make the website easier for a new content editor to handle, and having liked it had also used Joomla for the website.
  2. A plugin was added to Joomla on to try publishing direct to Facebook; that worked well but I didn’t move over to it completely at that stage.
  3. Further reading brought me in contact with the indieweb and gave me a bit of an impetus to think further about exactly how I was going to complete my website reorganisation.
  4. One suggestion from the indieweb was that WordPress seemed to be better integrated than Joomla for this; and with my daughter having found WordPress great for her own blogging site I decided to try a move.
  5. The old Joomla site was first copied to a subdirectory and links fixed to keep it working. The top level Joomla files could then be removed.
  6. WordPress could then be set up and was very quickly running smoothly with the indieweb recommended SemPress template.
  7. Some time was then spent organising content to my satisfaction, then I shifted content by hand to get exactly what I wanted in the new site – there wasn’t enough content to merit the use of a script followed by tweaking.
  8. WordPress plugins were added: Indieweb, Webmention, IndieAuth, …
  9. I decided not to use Gravatar – for the moment I prefer to set my profile photo manually on all the sites (gradually all becoming the same).
  10. I had abandoned Twitter some time ago (I only used it for following high altitude balloon launch experiments) but set up an account again as @JohnGM8OTI partially as a test but also as it’s not Facebook 🙂
  11. Twitter and Flickr link back ok to but Facebook doesn’t.
  12. I have used the WordPress “AddToAny” plugin for social media sharing to allow posts from my blogs direct to these platforms, when I choose to do it. I don’t want all posts automatically pushed out to other platforms.
  13. WordPress plugin “Facebook Thumb Fixer” makes sure a featured image for a post gets across to Facebook when posted there. This seems fine for now.
  14. There are links to my Soundcloud and YouTube locations added but they don’t have any mechanism for linking back.

That’s about it for now – I can play with the site and add other stuff later as I need it. It would be good to get comments from Facebook back to this site, but at present it appears that Facebook have messed up the mechanism to allow that; I will need to wait and see how that situation develops. If it does before Facebook implodes 🙂


Scandi keyboard

Well I finally decided I had used a software keyboard for Scandinavian characters enough – the problem was that I would put the keyboard into Scandi mode, type text, then forget to put it back to normal, and discover that my text was full of the wrong punctuation!

I’m still finding some of the characters on this new keyboard, but it won’t be long before it feels completely comfortable – and I’ll have no more problems typing Swedish (or other languages needed for Edinburgh Scandi Session tune names!).

Well – I’ve finally managed to convince my Windows system to update itself. I’ve been trying for a while – since they stopped supporting the version I had running.

I have Windows 10 dual-booted with Linux, and to be honest the Windows system doesn’t get used very often – but it seemed it wanted to update to the latest version to keep security updates coming. Several times I tried and got the truly helpful “Something has gone wrong” diagnostic. I guessed it needed more space, as when I cleaned out disk space to make room for the update process, the disk space available actually reduced – eh? – and I realised it was grabbing what it could to fit in stuff for the update.

However today I had to remove games from the second partition on the SSD to make even more room before it was able to install the update. I was even going to shrink that partition and increase the “C:” one (so amazingly daft that DOS is still effectively there as a memory!) but it said it didn’t have room to do that either! Anyway, it just grabbed the free space in the games partition and finally the upgrade succeeded – so I now have Windows 10 Creators Update, version 1709, for whatever good it will do me.

I have ordered another 1Tb drive to use as the games partition.

I hate Windoze!

I had a day messing about with software. The hard disk on my ancient Toshiba R100 laptop (2003, mainly used for music!) has been dying since the spring and finally packed up last week. It had a 40Gb hard dive, a tiny thing (the R100 is a very small format, no CD drive). I found out that this Toshiba drive format had also been used in things like iPods; it has a compact flash interface. I managed to find a 60Gb replacement on Ebay for just £20; I put in in the laptop and the disk drive worked fine but when I installed the current version of Debian Linux (8.6.0) the graphics was totally knackered – these days the software assumes all the hardware will tell it what it does, and my ancient hardware doesn’t.

However, this was solved by finding the three years old version of Debian (7.4.0) that I still have on a CD-rom and installing that – and it works. Hooray – I can get all the music, photos etc. back on it now, and it will be available once more for the occasional LibreOffice presentation to the radio club when needed.