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I have often heard people complain that, when they call for support they are always asked to turn the machine off and on again.

Why is this? Why do IT people always say this?

There is a really good reason for this.

Sometimes a program can become corrupted, confused if you like, and runs into a situation where it can’t run any longer.  There is usually no long term problem, just a need to start again.

This is why it is important to save your work regularly.  I have heard from people that they don’t like to keep saving the work because they don’t want to fill up their hard disk with fragments of files. 

This is not the case, there will still only be one copy of the file which you add to.

I remember a person who had typed an entire thesis, leaving the computer switched on for several weeks in the process.  The inevitable happened and the computer crashed, the document had not been saved and all the work was lost.

  I recommend that you save you work each time you complete a point, at least three times per page. 

 
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Take a look at the front fascia of the CD ROM drive.  You should be able to see a small hole in it. 

 

Take a paper clip, unbend it  and push the end into the hole.  It should release the manual catch on the drive, allowing you to retrieve whatever is jamming the drive.  If the drive has failed it is relatively cheap to install a new one and there is no need to lose the disc that is inside it.

The unbent paper clip is one of the most useful tools in the PC repair man’s toolbox.

 
The long dry period came to and end with a loads of thunderstorms last night but the sun came out today just in time for a visit to the local rowing club.  Being a seaside location they row Cornish pilot gigs and I had my first taste of  gig rowing.  I'm glad to report that I managed, in finest coarse rowing tradition, to get the sea in my trousers, catch several crabs and break a thole pin.  great exercise, will back again next weekend.

We got back off the water just in time for the cloud to roll back in and the rain to fall again.
 
I've got two pickup bobbins, one in the style of A telecaster bridge pickup, the other a copy of a Gibson P90 "Soapbar".  There are magnets, slugs, screws, wire, fillets and pole pieces.  Some of the bits are very small so I must be sure not to drop any of them.  Started to wind the telecaster pickup, that is a tedious task indeed.
 
Having researched pickups I now have some wire (1500 metres of 40 AWG enamelled copper wire) a half built machine for winding, which incorporates a drill, some wooden bits and some badly made bobbins to wind it onto and some super-duper super strong rare earth magnets.  Just waiting for the glue to set and for the ready made bobbins to arrive in the post (yes I cheated).  I am building the winder using the age old principle of glueing bits of wood together.
 
I've decided that I have n't had a new project for a while so I've decided to try making some guitar pickups. They seem fairly straightforward, all I need are some magnets, some fine copper winding wire and something to wind them onto. 
Maybe I'll try to make them without spending any money, I'll get the wire from dead motors and make the bobbins from lolly sticks. Watch this space for more updates.
 
This weekend i s notable for being the weekend of the Swanage Blues Festival.  It's a  might cold at the moment and the usual outdoor music venues are silent, yet walking past the pubs in the high street reveals a more active participation.  Remarkably, each venue had a band playing live.  The sound of 12 bar blues drifted from each of the four premises I passed.  Even more remarkable, they were
 
I tore myself from the warmth of my bed at silly O' clock today and headed towards the Isle of Wight.  Considering that we can see the damned place from the end of the road and it is less than 20  miles away it can take a ludicrous amount of time to get there.
Crawling through the New Forest stuck behind armies of pensioners who appear to have died at the wheel makes for a dull and tedious drive but arriving at Lymington two hours early meant that I caught an earlier ferry than planned, arrived at the customer and got done by lunch time.  By the time I got back it was still light and the day had been sunny throughout.  getting home in daylight does make a difference, I  plan to do more of it.    
 
I've decided that racing around trying to do everything at work is not the answer.   It isn't my job to ensure that we have enough resources to complete everything, that is the manager's job.  That's why they get the big bucks and bonuses. 
We mere foot soldiers, the plebs, our opinions aren't considered or even sought.  shame really, if they ran things past us occasionally we could probably save them a lot of time effort and money.   We have a horrendously complicated system for managing parts inventories, which is not very effective.  It makes changes to stock levels based on history, which means that the decisions are not made intelligently.  It can mean that parts are purchased that we have no need of, when a quick call to the engineer would probably mean that we could save the company a load of cash.  Why is it that companies trust a software program more than the intelligent life forms?  All it needs is an option when you use a part that would allow the user to add the part to their inventory if they felt it was needed, The troops on the ground are in a far better position to make that kind of choice than a piece of software, which can't actually think or use common sense.
 
In fact there was something like a spring flowing through my dining room ceiling this evening. for some reason that escapes me the top of the cold bath tap decided to detach itself and allow a spout of water to pour out, mostly  into the bath but some sprayed out sideways  and soaked the room.  Thank goodness for inline valves, soon turned off and I was very grateful that it happened while we were at home.  Now I need to save up for a new set of taps as I don't think I can trust the old ones, even after reassembling it. 
I think I may have to rip it all out and start again.  Not something I relish the thought of.