Protecting my Smartkey Car

I’ve been reading more warnings about car thieves stealing cars by simply using a cheap electronic device to contact your key in your home and relaying the code to an accomplice who can then open your car, start it up and drive off; all while you are asleep and the key safely in the house.

Manufacturers are looking at ways to foil the thieves but while we await a hi-tech solution, here’s a simple precaution you can take. Just keep the key in what physicists call a Faraday cage. That might sound complex but it is simply a metal enclosure to block radio waves. I post a picture of my Faraday cage below.

car key in a tin
My simple Faraday cage

As you can see this is a simple small tin box. This one came with chocolate peanuts from Marks & Spencer but any small tin will do. I keep my key in this at night and can sleep soundly, knowing it won’t be too easy to steal my car.

They’ve replace the Sherbet Fountain

I remember one of our favourite sweets was the Sherbet Fountain. It was simply a paper tube containing sherbet. At one end was a tube of liquorice. You simply bit the end off the tube ans sucked up the sherbet. When you had emptied the paper you ate the liquorice.

Can you still buy these?

Can you still buy these?

You couldsee children wandering along the street puffing at their treat. The other day I was walking down Buchanan Street in Glasgow and I noticed what seemed to b adults sucking on sherbet fountains. A closer look showed thatt hey were, in fact, puffing at their e-cigarette. It was certainly a strange sight.

You can't eat the tube when you finish.

You can’t eat the tube when you finish.

I wondered why grown alults would want to emulate childrens sweets. Perhaps that’s the answer. Do ‘vappers’ really want to revert to their childhood? This developnemt is worth watching to see where it takes us.

My Windows 10 Problem – Sorted!

I was quick to register for the Windows10 upgrade, free from Microsoft. I waited and waited and eventually I got the go ahead to download and install. Exciting eh?

Unfortunately it failed. It worked ok on my old netbook and on my daughter’s laptop, but my desktop PC just failed, again and again. Now I’ve done quite a lot to the PC. The last addition was a solid state drive (SSD) to speed up booting. I checked out the web and found that I needed 300mb system reserved space and I only had 100mb. That didn’t sound to difficult.

Wrong again! I had the devil’s own job moving stuff about . I removed an old hard drive, bought partition managing software -eventually I managed to inclease the space. I tried the update again – FAILED!

This morning I had another browse and found a suggested solution. I was in command prompt as an administrator poking in code – no success. I was about to give up when I noticed a small suggestion on the forum. If you have installed an SSD the drive may not have been set to Active.

I checked – that was the case. I sorted that with a couple of clicks and BINGO – I was installing 10.

My installation failed because of a corrupted file but that was soon sorted out with windows repair. Installed again and here I am. There are still a couple of issues but it works and I’m sure to sort out the issues soon.

Do you have this problem? Check out the posts here


The Plans that don’t quite match

I’ve been building a plastic model aeroplane. It’s a Sopwith Camel, 1:28 scale by Revell.  It took me a while to persuade myself to buy the kit. I’ve built other Revell kits and I’ve always found a problem with the parts. there always seems to be at least one that is totally wrong. I built a 1:48 scale Mosquito that required severe surgery with a mini rotary tool but that was in the past. It shouldn’t happen again.

Well it did. I found the tail on the camel does not fit. I’m not sure whether the designer was thinking of a different shape to the fuselage moulding or whether he just got the measurements wrong, but the result is a gap where there should not be one. I spotted the mistake before sticking the parts together so another bit of surgery was required and the gap has been filled by strips of plastic cut from another part of the kit; the platform for the human figure to stand on.

I suppose I should be glad that there are mistakes like these. They present a mini challenge and stimulate the brain cells, those that are left in operation. It’s also useful to be able to refer back to this when I make a stupid mistake in something, well even big organisations get it wrong sometimes.

Never the less, it should be a beauty when I finish it. It probably won’t last; long my wife will probably knock it off the desk if the grandsons don’t fly it out of the window first. Ah well!

So Helen Doesn’t Love Her Yaris?

I picked up the Guardian Weekend Magazine yesterday and I read an article by Helen Pidd. She writes, “You can’t love a Yaris. It would be like loving socks or carrier bags.” I must admit I was really surprised to see someone hitting out at the Yaris as my wife got one last year and it has been surprisingly good. I should have spotted the clues in her quote. Who could love socks? Perhaps ask me when I’m barefoot on a cold morning. I love socks then. They might not be earth shattering but they do what they were designed for.

Apparently she started driving in an old second hand Yaris. It seems to have done what she wanted it to do but she didn’t feel excited by it. Now she has a Yaris hybrid. She really doesn’t like that. She complains that it is a town car, not really a motorway car and doesn’t have digital radio. Seems to me that a hybrid is a car designed for driving in town. It handles all the stopping and starting and driving in slow queues. Perhaps if digital radio coverage was better more people would want it in their cars.

Her article tells me more about Helen than the Yaris. My wife’s Yaris has lots of bells and whistles, six gears for economy and automated systems for wipers and lights with cruise control, speed limiter, ABS and traction control. All these leave the driver to concentrate on the real road hazards, people who like to be excited by their car and drive lime they were the only person on the road.

Helen, it seems like you bought the wrong car. It was your decision, don’t blame the car.

Who is in The Driving Seat Now?

a driverless car

No steering wheel?

It is reported that driverless cars will be allowed on UK roads next year. Many people are expressing concerns about safety. Mind you, the old story goes that the most dangerous component in a car is the nut behind the wheel, so perhaps removing that will prove to be no bad thing.

Years ago I read about traffic polls taken of cars crossing the Oakland bridge in San Fransisco. Chrating the number of occupants by year it showed that as time went on the number of occupants was steadily reducing as more people bought their own cars and became drivers rather than passengers. The statistics showed that if the trend continued, before the end of thetwentieth century one in four cars would be crossing the bridge with nobody in it. That was a fair joke back then but now it seems to be coming true. How are we taking the news?

I started off by saying that some people were expressing concern. Of course, most people don’t seem to be concerned. Why should that be? Perhaps we hav become accustomed to things proceeding without human control. Who sits and stares through the window on the washing machine to make sure that the clothes are being cleaned properly? We have become relaxed about lack of control. Our political systems seem to have gone the same way. The recent economic crash which the world is still trying to recover from showed that those who were supposed to be regulating the financial systems were doing nothing of the kind.

Policies in the UK just seem to go in a random, haphazard fashion. Take our outlook on homosexuality. In the recent past such things were deemed illegal and people could be prosecuted for behaviour that was deemed indecent. All that changed and the world became a more tolerant place. Now it is becoming illegal hold an opposite view. If you don’t believe that homosexual behaviour is acceptable you can lose your job. One intolerance has been replaced by another. Who is steering this place?

We seem to have a government in the UK where things just drift along from one crisis to the next; a bit like a learner driver who hasn’t got the hang of steering and manages to bash every car parked along the street as he passes. People might see a computer driven car as a much safer option than anything driven by our politicians.

No steering wheel? Well, what’s the point?

Royal Coach – What’s the Fuss About?

The Monarch travelled to the State Opening of Parliament in a new royal coach.

You can see details in this BBC video.

There have been some complaints on Twitter which leave me puzzled. I admit that I think that a republican system would be better – more 21st century and all that , but that aside there is much to be said about the choice of vehicle.

The first thing you notice is that it has no engine. No petrol or diesel fumes to pollute.

It is, of course, horse drawn. I like horses, who doesn’t? Horses brighten up the place and since you have stables anyway , you might as well make use of them. There is a question of economy too. Petrol prices will continue to rise and, remember, oil is a finite fossil fuel. When the oil runs out the Monarch will still be able to get out to Tesco for the shopping while the rest of us will be on foot.

Some people are complaining about the cost, but there I must take issue. This is not a coach made entirely of specially grown new oak. It has been assembled, apparently, from odd bits and pieces from other old stuff they had lying around. It has bits of Henry VIII ‘s Mary Rose, Isaac Newton’s Apple Tree and Westminster Abbey incorporated. Now there’s forward thinking for you.

It’s not just a coach, it’s part warship, orchard and cathedral. Too snowy to get to church? Just have the service in the coach. Security issue? Just open up with a short broadside from the carronades. Of course while it’s sitting around it can be growing apples. It sounds like a bargain to me.

Now this could set a trend. Soon these Russian oligarchs will be foregoing their gin palaces in favour of their very own coach; all trying to outdo the royals. Think of the jobs that will be created there. All those horse shoes to be fitted, brasses to be polished, the economy will boom again.

Now if I traded in the Mazda for a coach, no road tax, no petrol – let the horse munch its way through the back garden, no MOT to worry about? Sounds like a plan!


My New Tablet

Nexus7 tablet computer

The new Nexus

No, it’s not a sugary confection – that’s my old tablet. This one is the second version of last year’s hit from Google. It’s the new Nexus7. I’ve waited for this version, hoping it would include the features I was looking for in a tablet and waiting ’till I had the money.

Well I got it yesterday and it’s got the features. It has all my Google stuff right there in my pocket. It has a good camera with superb image software. Photoshop in your pocket?

I can post to my blogs with this beauty and Twitter can keep me up to date . I’ll get all my email here too. I wonder if I need my Kindle now with a kindle app on the tablet? It is light and will fit in my inside pocket. Oh boy, am I going to bore you with this!

I gave away my netbook which was certainly more portable than my laptop, but it didn’t fit in a pocket and would have pulled the jacket out of shape if it did. Talk about a kid with a new toy? I’ve got a box of new toys in this beauty.

It has no space for an SD card but comes with cloud storage; everything is wifi now! I wonder how long it will be before they make wifi trousers and what exactly will they do? I has a mini usb socket and a charger, but it is set up for wireless charging too. That could be interesting!

I found you can buy an adapter that gives HDMI connection without drawing power from the tablet. That lets me plug it into the TV for slideshows, movies – you name it.

I’m going to buy a slim case to protect the screen. It has scratchproof glass, but I’m not sure how scratchproof that actually is. No sense in taking chances, eh?

I’m still figuring out all the bells and whistles – it gave another whistle just there, but Ill be back to bore you rigid with more news of my Nexus.

What do you mean I’m getting over excited?