23 June 2016

Father's Day Poem

Thanks for always being our dad.

Thanks for being a dad that cares; many dads just make themselves scarce.

Thanks for staying with us through every difficult time; many dads just run away and hide.

Thanks for being a dad who loves his family; many dads just keep behaving angrily.

Without you dad, our family ship would have surely sunk; many dads would rather always be drunk.

Dad, you're our inspiration and hope; without you we wouldn't have been able to cope.

We are so lucky to have you as our dad; you're something that makes us really glad.

If the love you have could be turned into shares, we're certain we would all be billionaires.

Thanks for always being our dad.

30 May 2016

Climate change is everyone's responsibility

Colleague at work recently said 'It's up to the government to combat global warming, not the businesses, it's not profitable'

I say - no. It is everyone's responsibility. We all live on this planet, we must all, collectively, look after it. Just like a mould growing in a petri dish, if we consume every mineral, there will be nothing left and we'll die out.

I say everyone can help.
Everyone can recycle.
Everyone can save power and fuel.
Everyone can write to their MP.
Everyone can sign a petition.

We are not alone and there are many celebrities also trying to help - Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Mark Ruffalo are just a few names of people that have put their reputations on the line to say what really matters.

There isn't ever a future where we have to stop worrying about our environment and can do as we please. We will always need to recycle and always need to use renewable energy. Fossil fuels will become our past, and we will become something of the past if we do nothing. Resources will become scarce and prices will continue to rise - this isn't scaremongering, this is our fate, unless we prevent it.

This planet is worth saving. Save it.

06 May 2016

Fixing IT issues: "Chrome just keeps saying Connecting and is unresponsive"


'Connecting' means it's an internet issue, nothing to do with Chrome specifically.
  1. Browser: Try downloading Vivaldi or Firefox and you should see the same thing.
  2. ISP Existing Issue: Check there isn't a service announcement in your area from your ISP.
  3. Proxy: Go into Chrome's settings, Advanced, and look at the proxy settings. They should only ever be on 'Automatically detect' or 'No proxy' - if it's on something else, then you had some adware on there at some point. Try changing it from Automatic to No proxy.
  4. Architecture: Using the 64-bit version of Chrome will always be better if your system supports it (which it should).
  5. Extensions: If the issue was Chrome, then it would start lagging or not be as fast when you try doing anything, which would be extensions/plugins or something else on the computer - it's got its own task manager so you can see what's using up resources - if nothing looks odd then that's fine. So it may be worth trying Incognito mode as that will not load extensions.
  6. Cache: The cache only needs to be cleared when you need the space, or websites appear broken (like Facebook can sometimes), which is because the website has updated but not give new dates to its resources so Chrome is left with old files; or the cache becomes corrupted.
  7. Router: If it is your internet, then try restarting your router as it may have overheated, crashed or lost an upstream channel. It might be worth doing a reset on it, just save your settings first if you've changed them. Some router updates before have triggered issues in my router.
  8. Uplink or Wireless: If you still have a issue then try a speed test with your computer directly connected to the router with an Ethernet cable. Your ping should always be less than 50ms and you should get at least 50% of your advertised throughput in MB/s.
  9. DNS: You can also try changing your DNS settings to use Google Public DNS - go into Network Connections, configure adapters, edit your wireless and then Ethernet, and change the properties of the IPv4 stack. Manually enter the addresses: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. Your router will give you your ISP's ones automatically, so perhaps their DNSes are risky. If concerned about security, then use DNScrypt.
  10. Firewall: Try temporarily disabling your firewall or antivirus so see if it is interfering with your network.
  11. ISP New Issue: If you still have issues then I'd speak to your ISP and report an issue.

04 May 2016

Some of my favourite quotes

This list only really takes me up until 2013 - my YouTube favourites and memes kind of cover beyond this, but still, this is where it started.

"Cake or death?!" - Eddie Izzard

"Garlic bread?" - Peter Kay

"That's NumberWang!" - Robert Webb

"Maggie, please! I’ve just had the carpet shampooed!" - Matt Lucas, Little Britain

"I am Bender. Please insert girder." - Bender, Futurama

"Woop-woop-woop-woop-woop-woop." - Dr Zoidberg

"I love my brick!" - Father Hackett

"Yatta!" - Hiro Nakamura, Heroes

"I hate junk mail. Like you know when you open your front door and all that junk mail is all over your mat... and they've got those pre-paid envelopes, do you know what I do? I shit in it and send it back... I put a little note in there - you send me your shit, I'll send you some of fucking mine!" - Lee Evans

"A wella bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word, a wella bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word..." - Peter Griffin

"Bonbonbonbons" - Brian Butterfield

"Purple is a fruit." - Homer Simpson

"Has it occurred to anyone that all we are now is ROBOTS?!" - Jack, SG-1

"Oh yes... Mmmmmerlin!" - Jack, SG-1

"Indeed" - Teal'c, SG-1

"I would prefer not to consume bovine lactose at *any* temperature" - Teal'c

"I'm on a boat... Everybody look at me 'cause I'm sailing on a boat..." - The Lonely Island

"Roses are red, Violets are blue, Fuck you whore." - 500 Days of Summer

"This singer, Jim James, he has the most angelic voice - he makes Enya sound like a Russian couple arguing at the bowling alley" - Stan Smith, American Dad

"Do you ever wake up before the alarm goes off? You kinda look at the clock and go... 'Noooooooo, I'm not moving, until youuu go off.' *hits pillow*" - Lee Evans

"With the new eyePhone, you can watch, listen, ignore your friends, stalk your ex, download porno on a crowded bus, even check your email while getting hit by a train. All with the new eyePhone." - Futurama

[opens fridge casually, staring inside]
"What am I doing... she's not in the refrigerator." - Mel Gibson, What Women Want

"What are you doing?"
"Spinning counterclockwise... Each turn robs the planet of angular momentum. Slowing it's spin the tiniest bit... lengthening the night, pushing back the dawn... Giving me a little more time here... with you." - XKCD

"Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?"
"I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective." - Monty Python and The Holy Grail

"You see, before, when I was gay, that high-five might have sent a tingle straight up my thigh to my Home Entertainment Centre." - Jack, Will & Grace

Francine: Hey killer, how was the kill?
Stan: Well... I didn't actually kill anyone. I tri-
Francine: [wraps up in bed] Ya know I'm tired, I have a headache, I've got a lot of work to do, my back hurts, it's that time of the month, I have an early meeting.

"I know it's not your problem. If you burden your friends, you won't have any." - Robots

[Goes dark]
Stan: What happened??
God: You er... unplugged the sun.

"Look, you've just knocked one out, right? You're lying there, you're feeling cheap and deflated..." - Nathan, Misfits

"‎Can we PLEASE stop killing our probation workers?!?!" - Nathan, Misfits

"Oh my god. Oh my god. These chocodiles, these chocodiles, oh my god, these chocodiles, oh my god." - Roger, American Dad

"I was just doing it you stupid woman, I just put it down to come here, to be reminded by you, to do what I'm already doing, I mean what is the bloody point in reminding me to do what I'm already doing, I mean WHAT IS THE BLOODY POINT, I'M DOING IT!" - Fawlty Towers

"How far did you get? Hand job?"
"Man, no. No jobs. I'm still unemployed." - 500 Days of Summer

Peter Griffin: "I need money for Bourbon and anime". [cut to drunk and watching anime] "I just can't understand this... everybody in Japan is either a 10 year old girl or a monster."

"TETSUO!" "KANEDA!" - Akira

"Love transcends all differences"

"Regret not what you have done, but what you haven't."

"Only when we have to fight to stay human do we realize how precious it is to us, how dear." - Invasion of the Body Snatchers

"You say we're on the brink of destruction and you're right. But it's only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve." - Day The Earth Stood Still

"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." - Norman Cousins

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Churchill

"Perhaps because we are using an imperfect tool - the human mind itself - to understand the mind, there will always be unresolved questions" - Robert Winston

"Hate is the essence of weakness in the human mind" - Unknown - Does this also mean that Love is the essence of strength in the human mind?

"They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself" - Andy Warhol

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."

"Your mind is a palace. Use it wisely." - Angela's Ashes

"Time's against us all. We have to go where we most need to be, to follow our hearts to where they take us." - The Speed of the Dark

"Kingdom Hearts... is LIGHT!" - Sora

"Things are never easy, else life would have no challenges"

"Don't focus too much on the pleasures which fade quickly, focus on the pleasures which last a life time." - Walmsley

26 April 2016

Mobile Phone Coverage Charts

Ofcom have some very good and accurate charts for mobile phone coverage.

Data: http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/check-coverage

This set for example just shows 4G data and indoor, as that would indicate the best signal in terms of penetration and speed.


The data seems to line up fairly well with a study I did 3 years ago:

Vodafone - 80%
O2 - 77%
EE - 68%
3 - 51%

17 April 2016

Desktop Operating System Market Share and Fragmentation

Here's a nice chart I made to show the fragmentation of desktop operating systems - so I'm combining what the current market share is for each O.S, against when it was released. Basically what we are seeing here is Windows users are running some of the oldest operating systems available, whereas the Mac creates a trendline.

Information for Linux isn't available, but generally they are patched very fast, and account for a very small amount of desktop computers on the internet. I've explicitly not included other operating systems older than 2000 because they are less than 0.01% usage share.

Raw data source: Net Market Share


13 April 2016

Why you should upgrade to Windows 10



  • Windows 10 is the last big O.S rollout, so you'll never need to buy Windows again
  • For home users with genuine Windows 7 or 8, it is free to upgrade until July this year
  • Windows 7 and Windows 8 will become obsolete by November this year. By that I mean, you won't be able to purchase either of them anymore - the only Windows you'll be able to buy will be Windows 10. The O.S'es will still get updates on Extended Support until 2020.
  • From my experience, it's the most stable, fastest, most intuitive O.S so far and I wouldn't go back
  • The Start Menu is back with tiles as it was stupidly removed in Windows 8, though I still use Classic Shell (free)
  • There is a free update to get new features of Windows 10 in summer this year, dubbed the Anniversary Update
  • It's free to download and make a CD or USB installer of Windows 10 using the Windows 10 Media Creator Tool (and it has both x86 and x64 - although you should be using x64 systems by now)

Some things to be aware of


  • If you have the ability, I'd recommend doing a brand new install rather than an upgrade so that you aren't left with your old Windows and old copies of all your installed drivers - some people report that wireless doesn't work after an upgrade, which is due to Windows cloning them in case you want to go back. Also, it means you can save space on your hard drives by not keeping the original Windows 7 or 8 System Reserved partition. This does mean your OEM's partitions will be erased, but they are not worth going back to for the hassle.
  • If you do upgrade, run cleanmgr and C-Cleaner afterwards to clean up your system
  • It's worth reviewing all of the privacy options and the settings regarding Windows Update, I would dial them all back a bit
  • If you have video display issues, or issues with any other components, then use this tool in this link to install your own drivers from the OEM rather than use Microsoft's ones

'I have Windows 7. Why do I need to update?' (original post)

  • Windows 7 mainstream support has already ended, so you'll no longer get free support from Microsoft
  • This also means that you won't get any more security updates either, so your computer will become more vulnerable to attack
  • You will not get any new functionality introduced in newer operating systems
  • As time goes on, some programs will lose support for Windows 7
  • Windows 10 is more user-friendly, more efficient, more stable, more reliable, more secure, and has the best device support



29 March 2016

The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It

This Lifehacker article is a great and useful read, and I've provided some of my own comments below.



My thoughts:

Types of thoughts that people have:
  • 'All I can think about is how I'm ever going to live life without being anxious 24/7'
  • 'I fundamentally do not understand anything going on in my life'
  • 'I need to figure out what to do with my life'
  • 'I think about everything'
My experience:

I don't have medically diagnosed anxiety, but pretty much everyone I am sure has had times of anxiety when things get overwhelming, you question reality, the future and your identity.

There was one point at college where I was extremely stressed with the amount of work to do, and I took a deep breath, and realised there literally was nothing I could do to fix everything immediately and in one go... so I learned to stop caring, relax, and then do everything in bite size chunks. I learned to just take every single thing one at a time and deal with everything "as it comes", very much. I do care very much about everything, and at college people often told me that I over-analysed everything too much.

I worry about new situations, not as much as people I've known with Asperger’s, but it becomes a physical problem as well for me.

My analysis:

We humans put a lot of responsibility on ourselves to resolve all of our issues by ourselves. It's often the case that we try to 'hold everything together', I think of like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle and on a time limit to see what it says once all the pieces are in place. There are some gaps, some pieces you don't understand what to do with, and you don't know how to tackle it in the best way. We become frantic over trying to get all of it done, that we end up struggling, we put too much pressure on ourselves to sort our whole lives out in one go.

Everyone goes through self-tests of awareness, which can happen at any time during their lives but often starts during teenage years.

How to reduce anxiety:

I don’t believe there is a single method that works for everyone. Everyone needs to find their own way that works for them. You will find a way to deal with it in your own way, whatever you have to do. They can be categorised thusly:
  •       Creative outlets
  •       Distractions, or “shifting anxiety” to something immediately achievable
  •       Tackling issues directly 

It’s important to keep moving forward with your life when you have anxiety or stress. Once you’ve hit rock bottom, you can only go up, and you might just need to face the issues head-on – just admit the thoughts sitting in the shadows, at the back of your mind, and tackle them. Think about what your concern is really about – only once you do that, can you get a grip on it and get control of your life back.

Creative outlets
  •       Art – drawing, painting, whatever comes natural to you – and you don’t need to be good to make art. A lot of art is just a raw expression of emotion.
  •       Sport – exercise, boxing, ju-jitsu, swimming, and anything else you might like, can help you process things, get back to reality, and move on.

Distractions

The problem with distractions is that they can be obsessive, so they should not be the only answer you take.
  •       The internet, especially YouTube For example, this lonelyisland video
  •       Going for a walk
  •       Talking with friends
  •       Listening to music, watching movies
  •       Eating and drinking


Tackling issues directly

The first step is to always take a deep breath. If you are in a critical situation, counting to 10 and closing your eyes helps, and you can push it down and away to deal with it later - the main reminder for me of this is when Jack on Lost was operating on a patient and heard about his dad passing away - he needed to save the person's life so he just counted to 10 and then dealt with his thoughts after the operation.

Planning

Coming up with a plan has helped me in many situations before. Sometimes I get very nervous before big meetings, and it doesn’t settle well with me. So all I do now is just make sure I spend more time preparing and thinking something through, and give myself time to relax. Take everything in bite size chunks. Brainstorm your thoughts. Work through them one by one.

It can go a bit overboard however with the planning – you might feel like you have to get everything sorted right now. If you knew everything going on for the rest of your life however, it'd be boring! If you had every moment of your life planned out, you’d lose the excitement and surprise that you normally get out of life – you would be compelled to rebel and be different. So in other words, live in the moment, take every day as it comes, and do things that make you happy.

Overwhelming

There is no pressure to fix everything at once. Think of it like a car, there might be several problems with the car, like failed engine or low battery, but you would only ever fix each part one at a time. There's no need to get everything working in perfect unison, you just have to deal with things as they happen. That is the best that anyone can do. Relying on others is more than acceptable.

Another way of looking at it is that each problem is like an obstacle course. You have to jump over hurdles, crawl under nets, swing over monkey bars, etc. Every problem needs a different way to tackle it – there isn’t a single answer for each of them, but the only thing that is in common is your approach to the problem.

Life will throw a lot of problems in your way, and you have to figure out how to get around them. For a lot of the things thrown at you, you may have absolutely no idea how you’re going to get over them. You just need to figure it out. Another way of thinking of it is like a doctor – a doctor or nurse has to know an array of different tactics to solve medical issues. It’s an adaptable applied set of knowledge. As life goes on, your knowledge base – your tactic base – will become stronger. It’s not something you can force on, it will happen on its own, and you can always expect life to throw things at you.

Compartmentalisation

It's always better if you try to work on isolated things instead of trying to fix everything at once, you need to learn to compartmentalise. Take each thing in bite size chunks, have a plan, and deal with everything piece by piece. Don't worry about all the stuff going on - often there are things we worry about that we can't do anything about, so there is no point in worrying - you just have to let things play out.

It's important to not worry about things you can't control. If you missed the bus only by a few seconds, don’t put the pressure on yourself – it happens to everyone. Just think of an alternative – can you wait? Could you walk, get a taxi, another form of transport, etc. Can you get a coffee in the meantime?

Writing things down helps me process them and forget about them – I don’t have to remember what the idea was, I only have to remember where it was “saved”.

Often these things have a habit of taking care of themselves too, and it can be more fun seeing everything come together. Focus on what you need to do a day at a time, don't try to be a perfectionist, and don't ever feel like it's your job to do it entirely on your own - people are more than happy to do favours and take the load off to help you, it comes with the nature of being a friend. You may not feel like you want the help, or you don't want to burden anyone, but sometimes it's exactly what you need.

Remember, life is a rollercoaster. You can't stop the cart so there's no use trying to do so, it has ups and downs and bends and twists and double backs, it will bring you anticipation, fear, joy, and a thrill, but most importantly, you should just let yourself enjoy it.

Other places for advice

Realistically, no single person can manage all their problems on their own. So don't ever feel like you need to fix everything on your own.
  •       Talk to a friend, a colleague, a teacher or a professional
  •       Talking to a therapist – some work places also provide them
  •       Defence mechanisms explain our behaviour and the varying levels of maturing when it comes to responses 
  •       Dan Howell has done some really good videos:

Update: More advice

Another example of something I've been asked to help with:
"Feeling up and down, just want to get my life on track"

My response to this is:

That's the thing though, life is what you make it, man. Life doesn't always have to be a big house with a white picket fence and 2.3 children. Life doesn't have a straightforward recipe. It's kind of like learning how to cook for the first time without any help. It's scary, and confusing, and tiring, and you don't always get what you want, but that's exactly what the point is! 

Life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey

It's not about planning everything out, and having to have everything in order, you just have to deal with everything as it comes, one at a time, it's about living in the moment. If you spend all your time worrying about what to do with your life, it gets in the way if you actually enjoying life as it is! You just have to accept life isn't something you can control, you can't predict every eventuality, you gotta just deal with what is thrown at you and go with what is right. Bad things happen, but there's nothing you can do to stop them, you just gotta accept them and move on. You gotta adapt, be a survivor, and most importantly, learn to just live.


27 March 2016

Windows 10 Apps stopped working since time went forward?


  1. Run sfc /scannow
  2. Run wsreset.exe
  3. Synchronise the Windows time using time.nist.gov or time.windows.com
  4. Restart computer
Should be fixed :)

03 February 2016

Fictional character's desires to leave the planet


  • 'I don't want to live on this planet anymore!" - Professor Farnsworth, Futurama
  • Dr Manhattan leaving Earth for Mars, The Watchmen