Windows 10

I was sitting quite happy with Windows 7. In fact I only used it at all for FrameMaker and Family Tree Maker.

For a while I had a preview version of W10 on my Mac Mini, as a virtual machine, and therefore had access to the release version early. The update on the VM went very easily and somehow got started on my main PC!

I have no idea how it happened, I just clicked to say I’d like the option to have it and had every intention of waiting ’til everyone else had tried it and reported back. For whatever reason, my machine decided to download and instal it without allowing me to to stop/interrupt it. Anyhow, everything went well and my old W7 installation seems to have transferred everything across and intact to W10.

That’s not to say I like what I now have though. It all works pretty well but, what is it with this flat look? and where is the Start Button we were promised?

I liked having dividing lines between various sections of open windows, but now they’ve all gone. The old control panel was pretty much perfect as it allowed me access to all those fiddly bits from one place. The original W7 Start Button was OK but I had installed Classic Shell to get that old Start Button/Menu back – the promised W10 Start Button is dreadful, it looks like W8 and takes up far too much space. I installed the latest version of Classic Shell and have things back (pretty much) to how they were.

At least all my applications run as they did and there does seem to be a bit of a speed improvement.

It’s not OSX and I doubt it ever will be but until something approaching FrameMaker appears on the Mac, I guess I’ll always need a PC with Windows ;(

Good Bad Day?

In this random world we get to think things are infallible well, thats until they fail; and then, well, we expect the worst.

Sometimes, a bad day, starting with the failure of something we have learned to trust and rely on, turns out to be a good day as we put the solution to the problem firmly on the shoulders of somebody else and rely on them to fix it. Well I had one of those days a couple of weeks ago.

I was in Portsmouth collecting some bits from a powder coating company. They’d done great job on about half a ton of mild steel leaflet dispensers. they were loaded onto the van and I went to leave… thats when things changed. I couldn’t get a gear, the van wouldn’t move and I was stuck. It got worse, during my attempts to move away, the van wouldn’t start and it appeared to be stuck in gear (although it wasn’t). After a few minutes, I decided to look for a garage that could help. Asking a passerby, I was directed to a unit on the same industrial estate.

Sometimes luck is on your side and it was for me. The garage, B-A-R Garage & MOT Services, offered to tow me in and to get on with a repair almost immediately. Fantastic, that just left me with a taxi ride back to Portsmouth ferry terminal, not a problem, Brian at the the garage sorted that too!

A day later, the van was fixed – the IW Citroen garage quoted over £720 just for parts and B-A-R Garage & MOT Services did the lot for £580 all in and they were more than happy to explain exactly what had gone wrong and show me the bucket of bits which caused the problem.

Excellent service, so if you are near Portsmouth and need the services of a garage, give the B-A-R a shout, a proper garage with people who care. Thanks guys.

Spark Energy…. Again!

The liars at Spark Energy have now tried to take over my gas supply as well!

During my last call with this bunch of idiots, I was told that they would not be trying to take electricity or gas from the suppliers I had chosen. I’m on the phone right now having just received a note from British Gas that says somebody is trying to change my supplier – that someone is Spark Energy.

I’ve had it with these tossers and will be making every effort to make as many people as I can aware of their deceptive sales and marketing schemes.

Energy Suppliers – The Lost Spark

I have recently moved house and, for the first time in my life, have rented somewhere for 6 months until I can find a suitable property to buy. It’s all been a bit of an adventure and so far almost everything has gone well.

The fly in the ointment has been ensuring I get the energy suppliers that I want and not those imposed on me by the rental agent. It seems to be common practice for agents to have agreement with certain suppliers and that as soon as a property is offered for rent, those suppliers take over.

Before moving, I made arrangements for all my preferred suppliers to take over provision at the new address. All went well and I was assured that, apart from having to change phone number, all was OK. I moved in, everything was still connected and after a couple of days I had letters from the gas, water and phone companies I had chosen telling me that everything was in place. The missing piece was the electricity supply, yes I had lights and power, but it wasn’t until a week had passed that I found a “Welcome Pack” from Spark Energy stuffed through the door. This pack contained no account number or details of anything other than a load of fluff telling me what a great company they were and providing a form for me to fill in to set up a direct debit. I chose not to fill the form but to phone them – that’s when things warmed up slightly.

It seems that my letting agent Watson Bull and Porter have partnered with Spark Energy who had been able to become my electricity supplier one day before I got the keys. After a heated phone discussion with Spark Energy it turns out it’s down to me to repeat the exercise and change back to SSEB (my chosen supplier) – do a search for Spark Energy to see what they’ve been up to in the past and read the Which? review to see their below average ratings. I want nothing to do with Spark but find myself having to to get involved just because someone in a suit in a rental agency gets some commission from them for this underhanded business practice.

I suppose I am lucky as I am more than willing to stand my ground and make a lot of fuss about this kind of thing but I feel sympathy for those too timid to argue and get what they want and to make a fuss with the agents.

Give it a couple of weeks and I guess things will be how I want them but, should I really have to go through all this rubbish and, more importantly, why should a distinctly dodgy supplier (more accurately a provider of monthly bills) get a chance to take money for a simple rental transaction?