June the twentieth 2000: Dead video, dead computer the jpoc journal
The main item of domestic news this week is that the video recorder finally packed in. It's a second hand job that has given good service for a year in Konstanz, one and a half years in Brussels, two years in Ulm and half a year in Paderborn. Well, you cannot really complain about that. It seems that the signal which it extracts from the tape is weak and most TVs are unable to sync to it. Oddly, my little Casio LCD TV works just fine with it but perhaps that has a super effective tuner or something.
Outside, the weather has improved and brought a new problem. I have to negotiate several school parties each morning as I cycle to work. On Friday there were three!
On Sunday, we took advantage of the good weather to make a trip to Hameln. We left at lunch time and made a raid on the bakery at Paderborn station so that we would have somthing to eat on the train. Andrei had a pretzel and Maria followed my choice of a huge piece of hot Tuna pizza.
We were a little upset on the train to discover that the special weekend tickets are no longer valid in much of North Germany. This is part of an attempt by Deutsche Bahn to screw money out of people to pay for their sponsorship of the Expo 2000. So far, everything that I have seen about that expo indicates that it is an expensive exercise aimed at reaming the general public. As a result, it is most unlikely that we will visit the expo and also, it is unlikely that we will go anywhere else in it's general area until the whole thing is over and forgotten.
One of the more upsetting aspects of this was that we were sold the tickets without being told that they were not valid. I know that if I tried to do something similar in some other business, I would be up in front of a judge on charges of fraud but DBahn is allowed to do this it seems.
Anyway, despite this, we did enjoy Hameln. It is a very pretty town although it is obsessed with rats and pipers! The museum is well worth a visit and there are many attractive old buildings to look at. It merits a return visit and we shall go again after the expo is gone. I'll write up the museum in a week or so.
I had one problem in the middle of the week when superstats seems to have trouble registering my hits. I'm not sure why this should be as we are otherwise very satisfied with the service. Oh, the loneliness of the web master without his statisitics!
I joined a couple more web rings too this week. We shall see what effect they have on traffic. I like web rings as not only do they increase traffic to my site but also, they give more resources to other visitors to my site so it looks as though everyone should benefit from them.
Maria's laptop on the LAN for email kept giving her problems. It was not clear where the fault lay so I decided that she should have a new machine. I raided the boxes of spare parts and put together a rather outdated system that is at least good enough to run W95 and the current Netscape. On a historical note, it meant bringing back into service part of my very first PC! In 1988 I bought a 386DX system with 2.5 Megs of ram, a 20MB hard disk and a Hercules mono display. Of course, all that is left now is the box, not even the PSU is original as the old one died. The PSU in it now came second hand from info-occasies in Brussels which is a great source of cheap second hand computer junk.
Since this machine is sitting on the dining room table, I decided that it would make a good host for the scanner! And it does. Every now and then, you install a piece of hardware and load the drivers and it all works first time out of the box and so it did! I've not used the scanner for over two years so it's good to have it back up and running.
The scanner came from one of the big supermarkets on the outskirts of Brussels when I was living there but I cannot remember which one. I quite miss Brussels for some of the shops but I don't really miss Belgium. Perhaps if the country splits in three, I'll look for a contract in the new city state of Brussels!