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Been doing the do

It’s been a while, so much has happened since I last listed jobs and progress, I had been dreading reappraising my jobs and projects lists. So let’s see if I’m nearer a B- Good Effort than the C- could do better…..

  • Update Management Company spreadsheets ✅
  • Email Agents for update on works pending ✅
  • Liaise with Director over estate business ✅
  • Order Great-Niece’s birthday present (4 already!) ✅
  • Collate care professionals names, addresses, phone numbers ❌
  • Begin DLA to PIP migration (scary) ✅ and blogged
  • Amass medical evidence ✅
  • Do own financial evaluation ✅
  • Source home demo powerchairs – ⚠️ shelved temporarily
  • Update website (1st Aug) – ❌
  • Cogitate Mac ‘big projects’ list ✅
  • Go through and weed 300+ saved read emails ✅
  • Finish cat blanket crochet ✅ and a couple more ✅✅

Blimey it looks like I’ve been super busy, and I am really surprised considering all the extra stress and business I’ve had cross my world these last three months. Now then, what shall we aim for over the next couple of months ……

  • Complete three cat blankets
  • Complete photo organising project
  • Mac back up
  • Add sailing blog to my website
  • Add photo album to website
  • Send letter and photos to Aunt
  • Finish current book and review
  • Sort, weed, tidy desk and draws

That should do for now.

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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in General, Life, Projects, Website

 

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Fair Winds Following Seas – Farewell Friend

I’m saying good bye to another old friend, a tangible piece of my life’s adventure.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust operates two tall ships that are designed to accommodate many forms of disability, not only things like deafness and sight impaired, but also stroke victims, amputees, wheelchair users and mental health sufferers. We are all involved within the watch rota to sail the ships and keep them shipshape. Across her thirty year history STS Lord Nelson known as “Nellie”, has circumnavigated the globe, chased icebergs, clipped the Bermuda Triangle, tamed the China Seas, she has raced as part of the tall ship fleets and been the floating ambassador and has touched hundreds of thousands of mixed ability lives for the better.

A family friend passed a brochure to me in the eighties and I had toyed with the idea of running away to sea, so when Nellie visited my home port I secretly took myself off, explored her and spoke to a volunteer crew member, over a mug of hot tea and freshly baked cake we chatted, mused, discussed and laughed. After that I made up my mind to throw myself fully into this once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-repeat adventure and booked a four-week passage from Southampton to Gran Canaria via Lisbon.

The experience was nerve wracking, exhilarating, daunting, engaging, challenging, educational, but filled with hilarity, congeniality, and above all else, equality. We were just a bunch of people sailing together. I enjoyed myself so much that I repeated the experience another two times on Nellie before my last voyage on the sister ship Tenacious. The atmosphere and camaraderie onboard is indescribable and so special. It’s where I learnt to tie a bona fide hangman’s noose, take down the shipping forecast, complete obs for the Met Office. I’ve hauled ropes, peeled potatoes, polished brass, coiled ropes, swabbed decks, scrubbed toilets, pulled ropes, brewed tea, repaired flags, and messed about with ropes. I’ve been man handled, hauled, shoved, shifted, and tied down, I’ve laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed; I’ve helmed, watched, hauled, radioed, taught navigation rhymes, learnt a bewildering language of terms and created a few specific to Nellie and many other such useful/less life skills. I even have a qualification, the Department of Transport Steering Competency (sailing) Certificate from time at the helm before the mast. I’ve made friends I still keep in touch with. I’ve had conversations and shared experiences (like being at the helm when we were struck by lightning, playing with dolphins, counting shooting stars). There are anecdotes galore, not all repeatable in polite company.

Recently the Trust has been forced to look hard at its future running. A promised significant donation from a business source failed to materialise resulting in the Trust nearly folding (we raised £1 million in a week to save it). Subsequently the decision has been sadly made to decommission Nellie.

I kept a detailed diary, my (dis)abled seapersons twig (as opposed to captains log) for two of my voyages are on my website www.amgroves.com It’s on my list to add the others.

It is unknown what her next adventure will be, but I wish her fair winds and following seas, as we salty dog types say; and another piece of my heart is broken and another tear will fall.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2019 in In The News, Life, people, Projects, Website

 

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Reporting Menacing Phish


Well, it’s not exactly what I had planned for my afternoon.  Firstly, I am fine, these things don’t bother me.

Today I was intending to do a spot of cyber housework (it’s easier than off screen house work). I logged into the server and headed to the emails, a mixed bunch of fan query, fan fawning and spam, but there was one that caught attention.  I knew it was phishing for personal details, financial fraud, general trickery but it was the manner and topic that was a little different.  It threatened to release to all my contacts a video of me that was sexually explicit, as well as pornographic images and spread rumour of deviancy with children unless I sent x-thousand via Bitcoin to a specified account.  The hacker generously explained how the deadline could be extended and even bragged about being able to hide his identity, seek sanctuary from all laws because they were not in my country, and that any ‘federal’ involvement would mean the stuff would be circulated immediately.

As this particular webmail client is tricky to manage, junk wise, I get regular emails from phishing fake accounts trying to get me to click a link, rearrange courier delivery, download court non-payment papers, etc.  Apart from being quite a savvy person, I know these are scams as the email address isn’t really used for anything other than web site business, so they get deleted and a new junk filter created to redirect others.

However, the particularly articulate, menacing, intimidating language of this email made me stop and think, hmmm I can fully see why the more nervy would fall for this, panic and stress over this, maybe send funds, even if they are completely innocent of all allegations (mud sticks and all that), so I decided to file a report with the Cyber Crimes people.  It was very straight forward, we shall see what occurs (if anything).

Well, well, hmm, there ya go!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 26, 2019 in General, In The News, Tech, Website

 

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Startember 


My lists have broken, historically they helped me get organised, sorted and done, but the ‘meh’ apathy has set-in.  Is it because the list is on the iPad and a mere swipe deletes them as if they were never there, whereas writing them in longhand on a note pad and crossing it out doesn’t remove it from view, just reminds you of a failure?  It’s deeper than that, it’s a personality trait, accountability thing.

Sometimes success of getting stuff done is dependant upon the sense of satisfaction (personal and third-party) that comes along after the effort and struggle, it has to have a worth.  Sometimes it might be because someone else is relying on what you do.  Sometimes it’s something that is time sensitive.  I am fortunate that I don’t have things pulling at my time, I don’t work thus reducing the free hours for chores, projects and such, but because my days have no structure it’s neither here nor there what time I get up, go to bed, today is like yesterday and will be the same tomorrow.  Granted initially after ceasing work, having the comfort of so little pressure was so relaxing and reviving, and so needed after the stress and pressure of grief, work and deteriorating health, but now it has become a hindrance. Even enjoyable pastimes become things to merely fill empty hours, which takes the shine off the brightest activities.

But occasionally a spark of possibility needs seizing to try and wrangle the waining spirit, and ignite the motivation to get on and ‘do’, because it will bring satisfaction in a project successfully completed that others might just enjoy.  Give a sense of purpose and instead of time filling I’m being ‘productive’.

So, September is the month, BFF’s visit is the deadline.

  1. Research and write the new article
  2. Upgrade video player (current one doesn’t handle mobile devices)
  3. Rework each video file/page
  4. Upload everything to the server and publish
  5. Update back-up drives 1 and 2 (I’m not loosing all that hard work)
  6. Possibly pick up cat blanket crochet

I know, I know, I might be over reaching with the crochet, lol, but goals be goals.

Not being able to just get stood up from the desk is a major faulting factor, I could and should spend a couple of hours most days at the desk but the thought of shuffling on the chair to get to the sofa is a chore even though when I do do it, it’s not so bad, only some degree of hip discomfort.  It’s a mental tug of war. It is necessary to put myself in an outright absolute ‘have-to’ situation to give my mentals that extra decisive tug.

Right then ….. 2–6–heave!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2018 in General, Projects, Website

 

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Testing technology (and my patient resolve)


*disclaimer* The following blog may sound a touch technical, it may also sound like I know what I’m talking about, however it isn’t and I don’t.

As some of you may know, I administrate a website about a musician and the work he has undertaken over the past years. I try and be diligent in my duties and keep things up-to-date for the fans and those who google interest. Over the past couple of years with a deterioration of my muscle strength and the complications surrounding using my desk for any extended periods of time, I have been lax in updating the photo section of the website. This has been weighing heavily on my mind and conscience, so I took the arrival of my new chair as impetus to get cracking and just do it. 

In order to put a photo gallery together I use an application on my Mac called iWeb, very much a user friendly drag and drop style of templates to create each album and contents, creating a cover, thumbnails, slideshows, and enlarged images. There are now some 18 to 21 albums each containing a couple of pages or more of images from various events, gigs, tours and with fans. Although I haven’t counted them individually there must be several hundred photos.  Now before any image can be dragged and dropped into the photo album it requires a little editing, usually it needs copying or resizing and all of them require the necessary copyright marking. Once added to a particular album I then add a caption detailing the event and that event date. Back up images and details are stored separately ‘just in case’ catastrophe occurs.  All very time consuming.  So for the last couple of months I have been slowly adding more photos to existing albums, amalgamating some albums, as well as adding new ones. Once I was satisfied everything was up to date I hit the ‘publish’ icon to save all the necessary files and folders to make this straightforward piece of the website work.

There was just one thing left to do, transfer all the files folders and contents onto the server for the website.

Historically I have used an FTP program called FileZila to act as intermediary between my computer and the host server so that the files and folders could be transferred over in the right order so everything was in its right place. When you are dealing with something that is so pedantic that a , instead of a . can send the web site into meltdown it is mentally exhausting on a good day. But FileZila is a very competent piece of kit, that when you have a folder containing files and folders, that contain files and folders, that contain files, it can’t be trusted to put the right thing in the right place in the right order.  There was just one slight, tincy, little, problem, the darn thing wouldn’t connect to the server and authenticate it self!  I could have cried.

Unfortunately the host server will only let me use FileZila as I use a Mac computer, however the host site has its own FTP client but it is notoriously slow, frequently crashes and cannot cope with transferring folders from the files and folders it needs it doing individually.  So for a number of hours I sat at my desk and diligently, slowly, transferred each file and folder double checking that they were in the correct order up to the host server.  Once all the files and folders were transferred, and I was satisfied everything was where it should be, I then opened my web browser and collect the link to view the photo gallery. Always a tense moment. Of course, it goes without saying, and is to be expected, but half of what I wanted to be there, wasn’t. Back to the individual files and folders checking the latest update date to make sure I hadn’t missed one (I had, just one) to then try again, and again, clear the cachet and web data, and try again again.

SUCCESS!!!

After the photo gallery was successfully updated, I then set about uploading the pages that have been updated to the main section of the website. These are created by handwritten HTML and not a template or wizard, and are far better behaved and easier to maintain, but photo albums are very technical to create from scratch.

The web to do list had been cut down to just a couple of items, and all the weighted updates were on screen for friends and search engine Google is defined which was a satisfactory failing.  But I’m not quite ready to tackle upgrading the video pages as if that is going to take some hours of diligent patience to make sure the videos comply on multi platforms.

In other news, I have finished two cat blankets and I am working on a third and have the pattern for the fourth one all mapped out. Spring has sprung, a new fresh dose of gumption has been grasped. 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2018 in General, Projects, Tech, Website

 

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