Saturday, 27th January, 2024

[Day 1412]

Meg and I really slept in this morning and woke up quite a lot later than normal. Whether this was because we were up quite early yesterday morning, I cannot say but we really had to get our skates on to get ourselves up, washed and dressed and then a minimum of breakfast before we set forth for Waitrose. There we made contact with our three Saturday morning regulars where our conversation ranged over some of the most unlikely topics. I thought I would amuse our reminiscencies this morning by wondering aloud what were our earliest memories of the kinds of machines used to issue bus tickets when we first used buses as children. When I lived in Harrogate, the bus company was known by the rather quaint name of the ‘West Yorkshire Road Car Company’ and the bus conductors wore a box type arrangement in which you pressed one of a series of horizontally mounted levers to issue a pre-printed ticket. But when I went to school in Bolton in Lancashire, I was intrigued by the arrangements that they had in place there. Here the machines were essentially a series of horizontally mounted disks atop a little box with a handle. When one was paying one’s fare, the dial was moved to the correct position, the handle was rotated on a couple of turns and a freshly printed ticket was issued. I believe that there are some avid collectors who like to collect machines of this type if only for old time’s sake.

After we got home, we prepared a Saturday midday meal of quiche, complemented with some sprouts and chestnuts. Then Whilst Meg had a little doze, I started a little play around on my newly acquired ThinkPad for which I suspect there is going to be quite a steep learning curve. This machine is quite well supplied with ports and after a little bit of experimentation with an SD card, I learnt that this machine has an SD cards slot so I thought I would order myself a brand new one to use as my regular storage (although I will take backups of it onto the hard disk every now and again) I didn’t want to spend too much on an SD card that did not work but I have used SanDisk cards before and found them to be very reliable, so I ordered a 32GB card for the princely sum of £8.00 from Amazon. This card came preformatted and pops into a little slot on the side of the machine where it is completely invisible in normal use. Then I transferred all of my blog files over onto it (all 1400+ of them) from my website and this was completed in just a few minutes. So now I have used up less than 4% of the available disk space and as a back of an envelope calculation, it will take me about a century for me to populate the rest of the disk space so somehow I think that 32GB is way enough for my present needs. As things stand at the moment, the total of all of the data files that I need to back up on my main computer system are about 17GB so I am sure that I do not need more storage soon. I did wonder how reliable this form of storage was and most of the information on the web reveals that a flash disk is good for about 10,000 writes before the disk starts to degrade. Also, this kind of storage uses some technology to spread the data over the disk to minimise the wear on any individual cells and SanDisk themselves have a little symbol on the back of their packaging that indicates a life of 10 years. I think that one can register a card with SanDisk to activate a warranty claim in the fullness of time so I will investigate this a little later.

There has been quite an extraordinary court judgement in the US where Donald Trump has been ordered by a court to pay over $80 million to a woman whom he sexually abused in decades gone by. Actually, Trump was convicted in an earlier court hearing and the latest was just to assess the amount of damages that should be awarded. The lawyers for the woman in question had only asked for $10 million but the jury had taken the view that far more needed to be awarded as Trump had deliberately and on several occasions kept on trying the trash the reputation of the woman who had sued him. The bulk of the $83.3m comes from the jury’s conclusion that, in defaming her, Mr Trump acted ‘maliciously, out of hatred, ill will, spite, vindictively, in wanton, reckless or wilful disregard of Ms Carroll’s rights’. Of course, Trump is fulminating on his own social media sites and will be appealing the judgement. But he will have to pay a bond into the court which he will forfeit if the appeal is lost. There is an extraordinary part of the American political scene at the moment where the more Trump is pursued through the courts, the more it feeds into his diatribe that the liberal establishment, and particularly the Democrats, are just out to stop his candidacy for the American presidency. His avid supporters happily make contributions to support Trump’s endeavours but I wonder what kind of accountability follows this donated money. Although Trump consistently argues that the Democrats are chasing them through the courts, nothing could be further from the truth. This prosecution was a private, civil prosecution and nothing to do with legal moves that the Democrats may have initiated after the riotous assembly which forced their way into the Capitol building some two years ago. Although nothing will persuade the avid Trump supporters that their man has committed any crimes, the judgments of middle America of uncommitted voters will prove to be critical.