Wednesday, 5th May, 2021

[Day 415]

Today was a very rainy and blustery day and although there were hints at some sunshine in between the showers, it was certainly raincoat weather. We were a little delayed this morning getting our Waitrose order in place ready for delivery tomorrow so we felt it was prudent to make a journey into town by car. This we did, collecting our newspapers, popping into Waitrose to get some extra milk and finally making our way into the bandstand in the park, which is our normal retreat in bad weather. Needless to say, we are about the only people in the park this morning although the car park seemed full enough – do people park here (free) and then walk down into town, we asked each other? Then it was time for lunch at a fairly normal time and we settled down for a good read in the afternoon.

This was not to be, however. The IBM Thinkpad I am gradually resurrecting and upon which I have recently installed Windows 7 kept informing me that I needed to validate my installation of Windows as otherwise dire consequences might follow (what MicroSoft archly call ‘Reduced Functionality Mode‘ which probably means that it will not run). I tried to validate using the automatic process (online) but only got an error code when I tried this. I was given the opportunity to attempt to validate by telephone and this is when the fun and games started. I phoned a Microsoft number that the machine gave me but their system needed to validate my phone by entering some validation digits. This worked (eventually) on the 3rd attempt and then Microsoft needed to validate my email by sending me an email with another validation code. Having got through these hurdles, all of the menus were assuming I was trying to validate Windows 10 (support for Windows 7 having finished some 15 months ago) By a series of accidents and lucky guesses on the phone, I eventually go through to a human operator (in the States, I imagine, judging by the accent) I tried giving them my Product Activation key (25 digits of alphanumeric characters) but this was not required. Nor was my Product ID code what was required. Eventually I was asked to read out another group of codes supplied to me by my Activation screen- this was about 9 groups of six which I had to read out. In return for this, I was then asked to enter about 48 other numbers (eight groups of six?) which I did – and my version of Windows (which I always knew to be legal) was eventually activated. Naturally, I was relieved to get this done and have a fully activated copy of Windows 7 but there is a reason for all of this. Because there is so much illicit copying and fraud throughout the world, Microfoft have to ensure that the same copy of Windows is not being installed on more than one system. The activation procedure involves a procedure whereby about six details of your configuration (CPU, memory, hard disk, motherboard etc.) are transmitted to Microsoft so that they can ascertain that this combination has not been used before. So, for example, if you had a desktop machine and also laptop you would have to have a fully legitimate copy for each of these installations. One can understand the reasons for all of this, I suppose, and having an ‘old’ operating system was not ever going to help but at least my efforts have been crowned with success (not guaranteed in the world of computing). I have just invested, though, in a ‘Windows 7 – the missing manual‘ which is part of an excellent series and would have cost me $40.00 when first published in 2010 but I acquired for about £3.50 post-free recently.

Facebook has confirmed its ban on Donald Trump’s utterances. Twitter have banned him permanently but FaceBook’s oversight board is keeping him banned until ‘the risk of violence has decreased‘ That form of words seems to give Facebook plenty of scope to rescind the ban whenever they like. It seems that a way round the ban is already being found as Trump has launched a space on his website where he posts messages that can be shared by others on their own social networking pages. So it looks as though he has found a way, despite being banned, of getting his message across to whoever he likes. Under the banner of ‘From the desk of Donald J Trump‘ and complete with his photos, his prominent supporters can promulgate whatever message he wants on their own websites.

It is the day today before the local elections (and the Scottish elections) but although TV programmes are going to run from midnight tomorrow night there does not seem much to stay up for. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, a lot of the counting is going to be delayed until Friday so news will no doubt dribble out during the day – so nothing much to waste good sleeping time for.