My name is.. Slartibartfast

Over the past 16 years I’ve travelled extensively – from cross-country USA to Bora Bora and New Zealand, and a lot more in-between!  I have seen much of the world – but there is much, much more to see.  My last big adventure was in 2015 when I visited a friend in Seattle and we drove up to Vancouver, then down to the Oregon coast.

Back in 2012 I was introduced to the world of cruising.  We ventured on the Azamara Journey from Italy through to Portugal, and it was a wonderful experience (except the time I drank a little too much red wine during rough seas around Nice, but I’ve learnt my lesson and won’t be doing that again).

As I’m still single (all offers gratefully received – hehe), holidaying is a rather odd affair. Dining alone consists of a table for one while I’m checking the smartphone for new Twitter or some other social networks’ updates.  So the past few years proceeding the divorce hasn’t seen much in the way of a good holiday abroad  (the USA-Canada trip being the one exception).

So I’ve been looking at cruises over the past few months.  Based on my previous experience, dining is definitely not a solitary affair for a singleton like me.  Even as a couple you are sat at a table with other diners (often a mix of couples, families and singles) and you get to meet other people.  Where else could you meet one of Jim Henson’s neighbours (when he was growing up), an ex-New York circuit judge, an ex-representative for a major US telecoms company who personally looked after Apple’s account in its earlier days? A cruise, that’s where.

I decided that as I’ve always wanted to visit Norway (hence the HHGTTG reference) and Iceland, I’d take a two-week cruise from Southampton to Norway, then to Iceland, then Dublin, and finally back to Southampton.  There’s no flying, and getting to Southampton is mere triviality from where I am.  I’ve already put down the deposit, and to say I’m excited about it is an understatement.  And even more so, I’m going to buy myself a decent tux (how I miss thee – the last time I wore one was at the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s King Kong back in 2005).  And as the trip is a way off, I’m going to get myself in shape too.  It’s given me a goal to work towards.  This cruise is adults only, and a medium size ship – so hopefully it’ll be fairly quiet!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy my Viking helmet..

Having a house clearout? I highly recommend HIPPOBAG..

Rather than hiring an expensive metal skip (which also requires a permit from the local council), I’ve been using HIPPOBAG from Hippowaste over the past couple of months to help clear out junk from my house.  A courier delivers the bag all nicely folded up a couple of days after ordering.  You just place the bag somewhere where their lorry can collect, submit a request for them to pick up, and the job’s done.

What’s great about a HIPPOBAG is that I can place it away from the shared drive, so my neighbour doesn’t lose their parking space.  Both the medium and large size bags will fit my front “garden”.

The service comes highly recommended by me.  So if you’re thinking of having a bit of a clearout, I’d recommend getting a HIPPOBAG.

Memset win Best Dedicated Hosting in the 2016 ISPA Awards!

We won, in part, due to my superb support team.  Couldn’t ask for a better bunch.  Always striving to be the best and fastest (response) for support in the industry.

ISPA Award Winners 2016

Best Dedicated Hosting winner: Memset

Memset’s response times, technical support options and resilience impressed the judges, as did having IPv6 as standard and their commitment to being carbon neutral.

Back to the Windows (Future): Part Two

Settling in reasonably well with Windows 10.  Next month we’ll all be getting the Anniversary Update which will make some changes to the Start menu (which I think is for the better based on my experience from the preview builds I’ve been testing with at work) as well as a few other bits and bobs.

Windows as a Service (WaaS) is the way forward.  There will no Windows 11.  And depending on how technically adventurous you are, you can switch to using Insider Builds which provide you with the latest and greatest new features and bug fixes before they’re unleashed on the public.  Even so, I still stick with the regular builds at home.  I only use the Insider Builds on virtual machines that I run at work.

One thing that had been bugging me over the past couple of weeks was finding a local backup utility to store copies of my files on my local NAS (network attached storage), a WD MyCloud (6Tb) which sits on my gigabit switch hooked up to the Sky Q Hub.  I tried Crashplan which also backs up to its own servers, but found it to be too slow (and Crashplan’s high-resolution support isn’t great).  I also tried Acronis TrueImage 2016, but found that to be far too slow as well – and found that it didn’t recover very well if the backup was interrupted – the UI froze a lot.

I then remembered that I had a product I used way back when I was using Windows before the great migration to the Mac, SyncBack Pro.  But, alas, it has the worst high-resolution display support of any of the backup products and I have to remove it.  I mentioned this to the developers who told me I could create a file that would help improve that – but I’d have to re-create it with each new update.  Why this couldn’t be handled via the UI I don’t know.  So I gave up on that one.

It turns out that I had the solution under my nose all the time!  Kaspersky’s Total Security 2016.  I bought a multiple device license – one for my Android device and the other for the Windows desktop.  It’s very good indeed and I hadn’t realised that it comes with a backup/restore function.  So I’ve been backing up to the NAS using something I had.

For online backups I still use Backblaze.  Provides unlimited backups, but versioning only up to 30 days.  So if you delete a file and try to retrieve it after 30 days, you’ll probably be out of luck.  Hence the local backups.  I’d have preferred to use Crashplan which allows for unlimited versioning across any number of days, weeks and months, but as I’ve said, the main thing that’s holding me back is the lack of high-resolution display support.

I do hope Microsoft consider doing more work to improve high-resolution display scaling.  If Apple can do it successfully with OS X (or MacOS as it will be called), I can’t see why Microsoft can’t.  It’s time to ditch legacy and look to the future of Windows.  It can’t be too longer before 5K monitors and beyond will be the norm.  Windows  need to be ready for this along with all Windows developers.

Meanwhile, I’m selling my Xbox One in preparation for the Xbox One S.  Ultra HD Blu Ray support PLUS the ability to game (stream to a PC) and PC integration (controller can be used with a PC for gaming via Bluetooth) for less than £350?  Yes please.  The Xbox One (S) is effectively running its own version of Windows 10, so that’ll be getting the Anniversary Update too.

Book ’em Danno!

Okay, but my name’s not Danno (it’s Raymond Luxury Yacht)..

I’ve taken the first step in getting my full driving license – booked the theory test via the Government services site.  Ironically the tests are administered by Pearson Vue, an American company.  But they drive on the other side of the road!

August 2, 8am – just before I head to work.  That gives me a little over a month and a bit to revise and make sure I understand all the major signs and to brush up on my hazard awareness.  Mind you, if I’m learning on the job during the practical lessons, I’m doing it wrong.  And speaking of the practical lessons – they’re a mixed bag.  On one hand I’ve nearly had a head-on collision when checking my mirrors parking outside my house – the other time was not letting a van exit the roundabout (“the roundabout’s MINE – ALL MINE!”).  And let’s not forgetting almost flattening a cyclist when I “guessed” how far behind he was when overtaking rather than using my mirrors.

Sigh.  Roll on autonomous cars..