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Winter Walks

Ted the Greyhound

For the later part of this winter, between the recent snows we now are seeing the odd warm sunny day.

Being able to walk in the sunshine and take a few pictures has been extremely pleasant.

Local village church

So far as we are still in lockdown, so the walks have been just myself and Ted the Greyhound. Hopefully when lock down ends the Lincolnshire Greyhound Walks group will be able to restart and we can have some nice walks through the countryside of Lincolnshire.

a Bikers – Night before Christmas

On the Biking Blog “Ride it like you stole it!” which is sadly no more by Dave Dragon, there was a poem “The Biker’s Night Before Christmas”.

I have posted this before but as it is Christmas Eve I thought I was worth posting again.

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the pad,

There was nada happenin’, now that’s pretty bad.

The woodstove was hung up in that stocking routine,

In hopes that the Fat Boy would soon make the scene.

With our stomachs packed with tacos and beer,

My girl and I crashed on the couch for some cheer.

When out in the yard there arose such a racket,

I ran for the door and pulled on my jacket.

I saw a large bro’ on a ’56 Pan

Wearin’ black leathers, a cap, and boots (cool biker, man).

He hauled up the bars on that bikeful of sacks,

And that Pan hit the roof like it was running on tracks.

I couldn’t help gawking, the old guy had class.

But I had to go in — I was freezing my ass.

Down through the stovepipe he fell with a crash,

And out of the stove he came dragging his stash.

With a smile and some glee he passed out the loot,

A new jacket for her and some parts for my scoot.

He patted her fanny and shook my right hand,

Spun on his heel and up the stovepipe he ran.

From up on the roof came a great deal of thunder,

As that massive V-twin ripped the silence asunder.

With beard in the wind, he roared off in the night,

Shouting, “Have a cool Yule, and to all a good ride!”

Mum and Hospital

Mum Brown at silly ISO

Mum was admitted to hospital last night. She fainted while staying at ours and has been hospitalised for tests.

Cataract number one – Mum News

Quick bit of family news. Mum Brown was in hospital today to have one of her cataracts removed.

Once the other one is done and she gets her new glasses she should be able to see much better.

Ageing Tech – when to upgrade

Apple Powerbook 12 inch, my first photo editing laptop

Its likely that Apple will announce their new iPhone this week, so it made me think; when should we upgrade our ageing tech.

I am now typing this on one of Apple’s latest 16 inch laptops, close to top of the range, I only upgraded once Adobe no longer supported the spec. So far in my computer upgrades, its always been newer software that’s driven me to upgrade. My last laptop lasted twelve years so I saw a major improvement in performance and usability.

I tend to upgrade my phones every three to four years. Currently in our family, my iPhone 6 Plus is still getting heavy use by my wife and it is six years old and working fine. My current phone is the iPhone X.

I am thinking of getting a new phone this year but its likely to be one for Caroline, she likes the larger screen so mine will have to last that little bit longer.

Upgrading cameras I tend to skip about to generations. I switched to digital with the Nikon D200. That was replaced by the D300 and then the D300s. I upgraded when the D800 appeared. So jumped from 10 megapixel cropped format to 36 megapixel full frame. We have now had the D810 and then the big jump to the D850, a camera that really tempted me, it was a significant improvement over the D800. I really hope the D850 replacement is another big jump. Either way I am really going to notice the improvement.

Web Services – a Rant

This is less about web services and more about functionality that does not need web services but uses it anyway.

I have a large amount of video media, photographic tutorials, the family favourite movies and TV shows etc.

They are sat on an external hard drive and a copy in Dropbox. We use the Plex app to service these to the TV, and the AppleTV app to our computers and tablet devices; much easier then finding physical media.

It used to be simple, the app on the TV talked to my main computer that had the Plex server app on it and access to the media. Simple and it worked.

But like many companies they have now web offerings and offer other functionality. So now the TV app has to authenticate to their servers out there on the web before it will connect to my server and play my media.

This means now that if Plex have a service outage or my internet is not working I cannot play my media on my TV, very frustrating. Over the last few days we have seen major outages with AWS, Azure etc, causing many online services to fail. Not sure where Plex host there servers but they were out too. So no watching Plex for me last night.

Yes I get it that many people like the extra functionality but the basic stuff, streaming media from a drive in my home to my TV in my home all on the same network should still work!

At least I have coffee.

Sherwood Pines – Walkies

With lock down easing, we got an email from a friend asking us if we wanted to go on a pack walk in the woods near Sherwood Forest. So with water bottles and collapsable dog water bowl packed off we went.

Having pets: loosing pets

I suppose we are quite unusual, but as we live in the country we keep chickens to provide us with eggs, have hounds, snakes etc, not the usual selection of pets. All our animals are pets even the chickens which have their own unique characters.

This Friday we lost one of our girls, its always sad; we try to give are pets the best life they can and they give us far more.

Brownouts – the joys of rural living: cold snakes

During the COVID-19 shutdown we had a few brownouts and power cuts. This is a bit of an issue when your trying to work on line at home.

My computer equipment is all protected by a UPS and I have surge protectors on the control units and lighting equipment for our two big vivariums where Oz the Corn Snake and Bertie the Boa live.

I was horrified to find this week after a brown out that both control units and one of the heater elements had blown on Berties viv leaving him with no heat. We quickly ramped up the central heating and I had a quick run round of local pet shops to see which were open. In the end I managed to get a little infrared bulb together with an old thermostat in the attic, to rig up some heat. I am now waiting for my on line order to come through with new controllers and heaters (I’ll be getting spares as well).