Windows 10 - More misery
I really think I have suffered enough... The start menu fails to work, again. Various 'fixes' at least allow most of the computer functionality to be available, but I can't get into the start menu.
How do Microsoft get away with it? OK, the Windows 10 upgrade was free, but it was an upgrade from Windows 7 which I did purchase... The trouble is, they have you by the proverbials. I contacted the people from whom I purchased my computer; 'Sure, we'll sell you a Windows 7 CD, that'll be £119.99 please!'
Every now and then one comes across an apparent anachronism that on closer inspection proves to be a little gem of civilization, in what seems more and more to be the bleakest of worlds.
The Forgotten Books Company publishes ‘forgotten’ books. By registering on its website, it is possible to download, every day, free of charge, a pdf of one of its reprints. So far, I have copies of works as diverse as Chinese Poems, some stories of O Henry, The Wonder Book of Engineering Wonders (produced around 1920), Some Mistakes of Moses (a late 19th Century critique of the Old Testament), Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman, Canterbury Tales and today, some sermons of John Henry Newman.
Some of the titles are rightly obscure, but how else would the normal reader encounter a series of thoroughly charming Chinese poems translated by an English civil servant working in the Tung Wen Kwan Translation Office in Edwardian Shanghai? Or the convoluted tangled logic of Newman’s sermons, written just before he departed Anglicanism for the Roman Catholic Church?
This week on the radio, I heard someone complaining about the difficulty encountered by some students in writing their Personal Statements as part of university entrance. The speaker commented that in these days of social media some students are not comfortable writing English and should be allowed to use video and other media instead. Really? This person was seriously suggesting that we should contemplate encouraging university entrance by people not capable of writing a 4,000 character, say 500 word, description of themselves and their qualities in cogent English?
The problem with social media and videos, is that many people seem to be incapable of expressing their ideas without using the words ‘kind of’, ‘like’ or ‘kind of like’ seventeen times in each sentence. Writing decent English is a discipline that trains the mind to think clearly and succinctly – at least it does for some people. The charm of Forgotten Books is that, for the most part, they date from a time when clear expression in written language was paramount. I heartily commend Forgotten Books to everyone who still enjoys reading the quirky, obscure and unusual, nearly always written in clear and elegant English. http://www.forgottenbooks.com/
Well, not really, but the winter solstice was more than 24 hours ago and the days are now getting longer… Hurrah!
Three weeks ago I posted a couple of paragraphs on the ‘talk’ page of the Wikipedia article on the Red Barn murder. These consisted of a brief summary of my new book on the affair, with an invitation to Wiki editors to visit my website and view the extracts from the book. If they found these to be useful, they could link my website to the Wikipedia page.
I tried to do this myself, but it was pointed out by another editor, quite correctly, that since I was the author of original material, to do so would be a clear conflict of interest.
Why is it important to link to Wikipedia? Because a Google search always bring the Wikipedia page up as the first hit. My book on Amazon is at the top of the second Google page, and my website currently appears 6th or 7th on page 3.
I have been monitoring the Wikipedia page regularly ever since to see if anyone has taken up my invitation. Yesterday, I noticed with some excitement that the page had been updated and I looked at it to see what had been done. Someone, unnamed, had reverted a previous edit changing all instances of ‘St.’ to ‘St’ (as in Bury St Edmunds…)
Ah well, I have led that particular horse to water, but if it doesn’t have a drink fairly soon, it will die of thirst. I will not do so as I feel the need for a soothing and restorative visit to the pub coming on…
John Major and Europe
John Major rarely enjoyed a good press when he was prime minister. He was ridiculed as a ‘grey’ man who spoke in a slightly geeky way. Steve Bell the cartoonist always portrayed him in Y fronts, because he was unwise enough once to comment that he wore his shirt tucked into them. Major famously complained about the ‘bastards’ in his government continually undermining his position on Europe and also suffered some back seat driving, no doubt from the previous incumbent of No 10, the ‘Leaderene’, aka Attila the Hen or Vladette the Impaler...
But I always liked Major. There was something honest and disarmingly modest about him when he was prime minister. I recall his very measured and non-triumphalist speech when the first Gulf War was won with the Iraqis expelled from Kuwait.
He was interviewed on the Today programme this week about the upcoming referendum on Europe, and gave what I thought was the most carefully thought out and comprehensive set of reasons why we should stay in. He recognised that Cameron had had little choice but to agree to call the referendum, given the Eurosceptics in his party and the danger from Ukip. Nevertheless, the prime minister could do far worse than use Major’s arguments, if not the man himself, in the campaign to come. We need thoughtful intelligent analysis of the question and considered debate if the little Englanders are to be defeated.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs