Today I celebrated a number of things, which took my mind of Brexit and other distractions of seemingly little relevance to my current being.
I now have my main PC computer up and running again on Windows 7, which means I can now use my Photoshop 7 and Pagemaker 7.5. I can also start to learn the program Dragon Naturally Speaking that I bought just before the disastrous shift to Win 10.
A second delight lies in the work we did yesterday to prune all the fruit trees and grape vines. The strong arms of an 18-year-old student friend (or rather the son and grandson of friends) did much of the hard work and I could go to bed last evening with a couple of Panadol and the knowledge the unaccustomed aching muscles and joints would be gone on the morrow.
The gardening resulted in a huge pile of trimmings that need to be taken to greenwaste, so the little red Ractis will get the present tomorrow of a new tow bar that will mean I can use the trailer again for the first time since we sold the Camry.
The biggest celebration is that I can see again properly with my one good eye and colour and detail are brilliantly clear. A cataract removed does wonders, and a new pair of reading glasses set for the distance from the computer screen gets me back to where I was a year ago.
Finally, the new laptop I bought from Dick Smith just before last Christmas (yes, just before the collapsed of the company) is now (28 June) matched up with an external monitor running from a high definition cable and giving me the necessary quality and resolution for desk top publishing.
It has taken six months to get there. I went out to buy myself a Christmas present of a new laptop at their pre-Christmas sale. I found one with the highest resolution (1920 by 1080) and at a good discount. The assistant, however, persuaded me to pay another $200 for what he described as the same machine but with much increased memory and processing capacity. It seemed a good deal.
However, I was back in Dick Smith when it opened on Boxing Day to complain about the poor definition and colour. We wasted an hour before I went home persuaded it was a matter of adjustment. I was back again the morning the company collapsed. The manager agreed it was not what I needed and was preparing to organise a replacement computer (the model I had intended to buy) when he was called away to an urgent phone call. I never saw him again.
I emailed the receivers; I called the Acer help desk, and; I phoned every geek I knew. On balance, I assessed that although the machine I had bought was more powerful than the one I had intended to buy, it had been fitted with a screen that had a lower native resolution and that was being activated by a lower resolution driver.
So I rang Acer help desk again, and tried to explain the problem. The first difficulty was our varying use of the English language (on which I tend to pride myself I have a reasonable command), and the second was the young lady’s comprehension. Her third difficulty was that she could not identify the model number. I said I accepted I had no chance of redress from Dick Smith and was looking to resolve the issue by looking to replace the driver and screen. Her response was that even if Acer technicians replaced these it would void the warranty. My response was somewhat terse, but not offensive.
So, over the following months I kept the laptop charged while my eyesight deteriorated and began to accept the unacceptable that it was a dead duck.
Last week I went into Harvey Norman and in the course of conversation with a young man in the computer department I described my misfortune. His immediate response was to suggest an external monitor driven from the HDMI outlet. I had not known the computer would have had this facility. He grabbed a laptop (yes, an Acer) from one counter and took it across to connect to a monitor that just happened to be on special.
Wow! The result was great. A 24-inch high resolution image was convincing, but the canny Scottish genes that still float around my system played for time. I suggested I go home and bring my laptop into the shop. Meanwhile, would he hold that monitor for me at that price. Two hours later I was connecting up the new screen.
I can even tolerate Windows 10 on the laptop, even if it won’t run Photoshop. I now harbour the faint notion some young geek will manage to overcome that shortcoming.
So, what is the significance of the sculpture at the head of this page?
My friend John MacGibbon sent me an email detailing a composer I had never heard of — one Satie, who I must Google — of whom one relatively brief musical notation is required to be repeated 840 times in its 18-hour performance, and its premiere was encouraged by patrons being rewarded with a discount of 20 cents for each hour they listened from the $5 admission fee.
I received this email while eating my morning porridge, after which Kay retrieved three containers of frozen food from the freezer to be packed away in marked plastic bags.
I idly freed the two meals of casseroled beef cheek and one of soup from the plastic containers and stacked them while Kay marked the bags. They seemed to resemble something of a modern sculpture and I thought of John’s Satie.
I took a photograph that I transferred to the computer and called up Photoshop on Windows 7. It was a pleasure to take out the background with the magic wand and to save the result, while enjoying the colour and detail I can see again on the screen.
Meanwhile, the morning radio programme chattered on with David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn representing the views of the stunned mullets that now rule Britain.
It rather takes away the pleasure of knowing that this is now the month of Wimbledon. The ball boys (and girls) in their little costumes will be crouching by the net, and it will probably be raining.
And is there still strawberries and cream for tea?
P.S. Apparently the England soccer team has been beaten by Iceland. Is there no end to this humiliation?