Technology problem

Yesterday, my laptop automatically downloaded updates from I reviewed the updates and installed them all. Nothing unusual there.

But now I have a problem which, prior to that installation, I had never experienced. If I try to open or save any file in any Office application, the file directory window pops-up as normal, but if I click on any folder in that window, the application locks up and I get an “application not responding” error.

I use Office applications about, oooh, 50 times a day. So this is a serious problem. Suggestions? (If anyone says “buy a Mac”, I’ll tear them limb from limb). I’ve reported the error to Microsoft and also requested email support.

EDIT: I’ve performed a system restore back to the restore point created when I booted up yesterday morning, and all now seems to be working correctly. When Windows Update offers up the updates again, I’m going to decline them, I think.

FURTHER EDIT: updates installed, problem solved. Thanks to Mr LMG (see comments).

Flawed logic

I’m not sure that I follow the logic that is suggested in this news report that a speed camera in road works is not there to reduce speed but to increase revenue.

Have you ever walked on a motorway? I have. I had the misfortune to breakdown on the M27 once and had to walk about 500 yards to an SOS phone (this was in the days before mobiles). It is not a pleasant experience.

Each year, many people are killed on the hard shoulder in similar circumstances. The news article gives figures for the number of road workers killed and injured each year. I never feel any envy for the blokes putting out cones and signs when people are passing them at 80 – 90mph.

Speed limits in roadworks are there for the benefit of those people working to maintain the roads you drive on. There is a simple and effective way of reducing the danger to them and avoiding getting a speeding ticket and penalty points – SLOW DOWN. There, it’s not rocket science. Leave ten minutes earlier, check the web for roadworks information, use any of the dozen or so mobile advice services (they are free on my phone).

Incidentally, I saw a very effective use of technology recently to overcome the perceived problem of bunching and "panic braking" (which is caused only by those who think it is smart to speed up between cameras, because the speed limit only counts where you might get caught, obviously). On the roadworks on the A1(M), they have erected the cameras that read your number plate when you enter a section of road and read it again when you leave (the section of road in this case being the three miles or so that are currently being resurfaced) – and, by so doing, calculate your average speed on the section. I only saw one speeding driver (who deserved his ticket) – everyone else was observing the 50mph limit without bunching or panic braking and the traffic was moving freely – probably adding only a couple of minutes to the journey time. Perhaps this type of camera should be more widely used instead of the familiar Gatso.

Rant over.

Ways to spend Good Friday (number 35 in a series)

  • get up early
  • study BBC online weather forecast – observe white fluffy cloud symbol and yellow sun symbol and assume the day is set fair
  • saw logs so as to make them more woodpile-friendly
  • create new border in the garden
  • go to nearby farm to purchase a sack of well rotted cow poo for said border for one of your fine English pounds
  • apply poo to new border
  • get changed from poo-ey clothes
  • welcome brother-in-law to house
  • drive to extremely nice nearby public house
  • park car
  • strap small child to chest in slightly bizarre harness device
  • walk in opposite direction to public house wiuth a view to making a large circuit, returning to said public house with hearty appetite for fine ales
  • observe rapidly deteriorating weather conditions
  • wade through mud, fight brambles, attempt to pacify child – all in steady rain and a cool breeze – whilst cheerfully reassuring one another that the weather "will blow over in a minute and surely improve"
  • reach a farm with a large barn
  • take shelter in said barn
  • change child’s nappy and then eat sandwiches whilst heavy rain continues, whilst regretting not bringing any sort of waterproof clothing for anyone other than small child – the same small child who, whilst being only 12 weeks old, has already developed the ability to laugh and point at his soaking wet father from within the warmth and dryness of his red waterproof
  • decide that the rain is not going to stop
  • run back through the mud and rain to the car, leaving brother-in-law, wife and child in barn
  • drive back to collect rest of party and then home, to glorious sunshine
  • head to the pub next door for a pint or two
  • return home, eat pie
  • search for hotel for stay in Budapest – realise that no hotel there has been renovated since 1967. Decide to seek advice from the only person I know with much experience of the Hungarian capital.
  • read the best post in ages on Parallax View – end the day contented

Signs of maturity, or something

We have two cars. My car is, as you might expect, a messy hellhole most of the time. Occasionally it gets cleaned. It rarely gets serviced. It has done 120,000 miles and it shows.

Hels’s car is more of a "family car" and features the following accessories:

  • a "baby on board" sticker
  • a "GB" sticker
  • a baby seat
  • baby toys
  • and now, most humiliatingly, a roof box.

I feel thoroughly middle aged.

Food news

Two items of food-related news (I don’t post anything like enough food news items here):

  • world’s most expensive sandwich goes on sale. I like the sound of this. Of course, it’s a splendid publicity stunt and well done to Selfridges for coming up with it, but I would like one. Or two.
  • we’ve just booked to go to Preuvenemint, (one of?) the largest food fairs in the Netherlands. This strikes me as an excellent plan – food and Maastricht in one go – hurrah! Sadly, we can’t find a decent hotel in the city – it seems that they are either all booked up or have trebled their prices in anticipation of the crowds (or both) – so we’re staying at a lovely auberge across the border in Belgium.