Sunday, May 14, 2017

I.T. common sense

Hope you haven't been too put out by the WanaCry ransomware attack.

As ever, the cheapest ways to do this is:-
* Ensure staff are trained well. Especially the non-technical staff.
* Ensure all computers have their software regularly updated with maintenance/security updates (aka patches).

The term "patch" comes from the Open Source community on the Internet.

Software written as scripts (Basic, Ruby, Perl, Python etc) are provided in source code form and require another programme, an interpreter to run them. Here is an example programme in Ruby:-

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
require 'Qt'

# For info on using Qt from Ruby programs, see my file qt-notes.txt

app = Qt::Application.new(ARGV)

hello = Qt::PushButton.new('Hello World!')
hello.resize(100, 30)
hello.show

app.exec

So... if someone wanted to improve the above programme, they would edit the above programme on their system. They would then put the original script and the updated script through a programme called diff, that lists the changes that have been supplied. Then the original author can take those patches and make the changes by running the original script and changed script through a programme called patch. Hence the name "patch" :)

Software written in compiled languages (C,C++ etc) can be provided in source code form. Here is an example:-

/*
 Hello Concurrent World example program.
 This text here is part of a multi-line comment
*/


#include <iostream>
#include <thread>

void hello()
{
    std::cout<<"Hello Concurrent World"<<std::endl;
}

int main()
{
    std::thread t(hello);
    t.join();
}

You would run the above software by running it through a compiler, That takes the programme text - and compiles it into binary file(s) suitable for a particular hardware architecture and you run that.

Given the source code, however, someone can improve the software by making changes and again use diff and patch to provide the original author with their proposed changes.

Software would be shared by people on hardware platforms with wildly different architectures and operating systems.

When people talk about "patching" Windows systems they are typically referring to downloading binaries. Someone, somewhere, will have the source code, will have identified and fixed bug(s), compiled it into binary and made it available via Microsoft's Window updates facilities.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

D.L.A. ending, P.I.P. being applied for.

Well, the P.I.P. form is almost complete. I would like to thank both the lady from the Citizen's Advice Bureau and Richard Crow for their help. I have been given a covering letter and Care Plan from the Long Term Care Team to accompany the claim - to whom I am deeply grateful.

However, this process is highly stressful. What do I need PIP for? Well, the biggest problem with schizophrenia is that it makes salaried work very difficult.

Whilst working in 1999, I had an episode, my G.P. gave me a sick note with "Mental instability" on it. Within a month I was made redundant. My next job lasted until 2001 whereupon I was again made redundant. This time I had my first admission into a Psychiatric Hospital - about three months in St George's. It is a bit of a quandary, isn't it?

Fortunately I have hit on a compromise - being a part-time volunteer for Contact:-
  • I.T Volunteer – tuition, support and acquisition of technical equipment.
  • Run a fortnightly “Hearing Voices Group” for people affected by this.
  • Act as a proof reader of Contact’s publications – newsletter etc.
  • When things are quiet, I improve my skills via books and a laptop running Linux. I am renowned for my intense study and note taking of programming text books. Whilst doing that, I sometimes have a background task – making the cups of tea or coffee or staffing the phones.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Brexit

Britain's advisory referendum was intended to tell Parliament the (voting) public's point of view on this question:-

"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?"

As it turns out, there were a lot of lies distributed by both Leave and Remain.

In particular, I saw the now infamous Big Red Bus with this message in huge writing on the Bus:-

"We send the EU £350 million a week lets fund our NHS instead Vote Leave"

As it turns out, the above figure was a lie. I did not trust it and voted Remain.

However, I have discovered a few interesting things about the EU. They have a website about myths about the EU (European Union).

Immigration was cited as a key problem. Did some Googling and found a page about Free Movement of Persons across the EU and found this quote:- "For stays of over three months: the right of residence is subject to certain conditions. EU citizens and their family members — if not working — must have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay. Union citizens do not need residence permits, although Member States may require them to register with the authorities. Family members of Union citizens who are not nationals of a Member State must apply for a residence permit, valid for the duration of their stay or a five-year period."

So, what next? I am taking every opportunity to oppose Brexit.

I am a Snowflake - 16,141,241 of us voted to Remain. If you are an Exiter, take this statistic as opposition to your stance.

I think the main desire of Exit voters was to vote for change. Both the UK and EU must change. UK voters have endured stagnant wages, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and austerity measures.

The Letter

The Dreaded Letter has arrived - my DLA (Disability Living Allowance) is coming to an end and I will have to apply for PIP (Personal Independence Payment).

Saturday, January 21, 2017

To Quote Jo Cox

In the light of Trump's coronation and the ongoing Brexit civil war, I'd like to quote Jo Cox, the MP assassinated by an Evil man.

"We Are Far More United Than The Things That Divide Us’

For more information, see this Wikipedia page.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Huffington Post

I've been reading a lot of articles on the Internet today. The Huffington Post has an interesting article here about what might happen about Brexit and Trump next year.

Here is my favourite quote from it:-

The people who see that open societies, being nice to other people, not being racist, not fighting wars, is a better way to live, they generally end up losing these fights. They don’t fight dirty. They are terrible at appealing to the populace. They are less violent, so end up in prisons, camps, and graves. We need to beware not to become divided (see: Labour party), we need to avoid getting lost in arguing through facts and logic, and counter the populist messages of passion and anger with our own similar messages. We need to understand and use social media.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Nice surprise

Well, Ally, a friend in Contact is running a Creative Writing course in Contact on Wednesday's. So I've been attending it. I was asked to provide something as part of a Creative Writing contest. I gave an excerpt from this blog and I came in joint second place - with a £10 book token prize. All I have to do know is decide how to spend it.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ruminations on schizophrenia


Schizophrenia has positive symptoms (strange name – they include delusions, confused speech and thoughts, all sorts of hallucinations) and negative symptoms (lack of emotion, lethargy). For more details see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

Well, schizophrenics eventually stumble across coping strategies – things that can help make life with schizophrenia a bit more bearable. One of my strategies is sleep. However, that tends to eat into the day so just over a week ago I started getting out of bed early. Discovered that you can’t change sleeping habits just by deciding to do so – I decided to bribe myself to get out of bed by promising a cup of tea, porridge and a DVD – but it is an ongoing fight. Discovered that you need to choose your battles wisely – by all means, get up early on some weekdays – but for days where an early rise isn’t quite so important, have a modest lie-in.

Another coping strategies for me is music. I find it helps suppress me from hearing voices and from having “mind’s eye” visions. I have been having a disturbing vision where parts of my body turn completely black, a light blue hexagonal pattern covers those parts and then they disintegrate into nothingness. Is there any wonder why I sleep a lot and listen to music? People with vision are sought after in organisations however, if you tell them you have visions, they are not so keen. Another well known strategy is distraction. So I read computing books and test pre-release versions of lubuntu Linux. It keeps my brain active and healthy.