Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mircosoft gave us our freedom then slammed to door shut in our faces

Once upon a time a small company called Microsoft gave all the peeps of the world Windows 95 and all the world was happy to talk to each other and praised Microsoft and we all lived happily ever after.  Well no we didn't. For what really happened was Microsoft got very rich and started to dictate and limit our freedom and it lived happily ever after.

The above is sadly true as it has been with twitter and facebook, which also started off nice and the same has happened with  Google and is beginning to happen in the Linux world.

Windows was great at first it came with all we needed then with each successive edition it started to limit us with our choices of web browser. Internet Explorer was pre-installed with it and that was our only choice until FireFox and alike came along, but to get them you had to go through I.E. Now with the latest edition of megalith that is Windows 10 even if you have a different browser to the one supplied with it, Microsoft, according to reports is making you use it for certain things. By having Windows 10 you have agreed to this, so the reality is that by having Windows you have given control over to Microsoft and what it dictates to you.

Turning to Twitter and Facebook, these were great social media tools with real freedoms to express yourself. Not any more, they dictate what you can and can not post according to the way that the country they are based in ie USA sets out. Read the agreements if you don't believe me.

Google great search engine nowt wrong with it, but now try searching and you're going to have trouble getting the answer you want. Google has also branched out into OS and Browser territory and other places, again if you read the terms and conditions, you'll see how much control you've given away by using their services.

In the world of Linux, increasingly companies are taking over successful distros from what I have seen. The danger signs are there, but not quite as bad as the above yet.

Sadly as much as I hate to say it, like all dictators in history Microsoft started the revolution and gave real freedom, freedom that others moved into. When this starts to happen subtle changes in control happen and these increase over time. In the end the dictator becomes increasingly desperate to hold on to power at any cost taking all control and freedom away. Then what happens is another comes along promising to restore freedom and the cycle begins again.

So Microsoft is now the dictator for windows users and it will continue to be so as will all the above until they are all replaced and as for us, well we just carry on trying not to notice until the day comes when all the doors are shut and we become slaves to whoever is dominant at the time.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

In praise of Libre Office

I remember back in the 1980s when PCs were very basic and limited and we just had black screens. Typing using a type writer was still dominant, indeed it is how I learnt to use a type writer, being taught by a dear friend who guided me patiently so I obtained RSA qualifications. At work, however the PC had to be used and it had just a very basic Word then Word Star on it, no spell checker or anything. It was just a type writer with a screen. Then the magic happened with Windows 95 and we all celebrated as we got the first (for most of us ordinary people) Office suite and the revolution began.

Office and Clippy the friend that was there to guide us through as we all learnt our way around or the annoying sod that got in the way.

I really felt that Microsoft office was great and although other Office suites came and went none really matched them. The trouble with it was however is that it became a cash cow for Microsoft with each new version costing more and more. Even with discounts it is far too expensive for most people and just checking on line now, the latest version Office 365 costs £59.99 per year! Notice the per year now, so not a one off and use until it gets an update as in previous versions, but per year. I was using Office 2007 until I changed from Windows to Linux Mint last year and I loved it, but Microsoft has stopped supporting it. To be fair it is a commercial company and has to make money, but is there any real alternative to MS Office, well yes there is and most of all it is free or you could make a donation to keep it that way and that alternative is Libre Office.

6 months ago when I changed to Linux Mint, Libre Office was included in it. Libre Office has everything that Microsoft Office has, Libre Office 5 which I first used didn't look great, but that is all I can fault it on. Spell checker and everything was there and if you need other office applications they are there, just with different names. Calc is the name for Excel for example. My wife has used it and finds it as easy to use as Excel once she got around to knowing where things were.

Recently, that is this year, Libre Office has been updated to 6 and to be honest the changes from 5 are like sleeping on the floor to moving to a lovely comfortable bed. The lay out and everything is so much better, that it makes me forget that I have used anything else. It is not a clone of MS office and has a clear identity of its own, but those who switch to it from MS Office will soon feel at home with it. My ONLY grip with it is that it didn't have Ariel font, but I have installed that so that sorted. 

I have read some negative reviews on Libre Office which is why I wrote this. My advice is don't believe any of them. If you come to it expecting it to be MS office it is not. If however you want a fully functioning Office suite then this is the first choice for you and by far the best. I have tried others, but none match this and those who put it together did a great job. 

Microsoft started a revolution for Office, but like all revolutionaries they became dictators. Libre Office is the Office of the people who are taking back control or have taken back control and I am one of those happy people so join me.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Buy a lap top or just upgrade what you have

My lap top is now getting on in that is was made in 2013 and I purchased it in 2014. When I got it, it had Windows 8 on it and 750 GB Hard drive and think it had 4GB of memory. So for that reason I started to look at other laptops that might be better, because they are newer.

When I purchased it, it was, because I liked it and it had  very good reviews. It still works fine, and I love it apart from the keyboard has no light for Caps Lock or Number lock, but those things I can live without.

I had in mind what I wanted which was at least the equivalent of what I have now. To be honest I also wanted one that looked a bit posher, but  as the saying goes fur coat and no knickers! Well this is very much the case, and this weather you need both on or your naught bits will turn to ice. Even the most expensive ones, didn't have  what I consider my minimal requirements and a lot of the cost of them is caught up with the junk that they are loaded with.  For me there was one other consideration to take into account, I would pull off everything and install Linux Mint, so I would be paying for what I didn't need.

After doing this research, I thought a bit more. What do I really need, what do I use my laptop for? These are important questions, for what is the point of having things that you don't need. Oh it is nice to have all the bells and whistles, but what is the point of having them if you don't need them?Then I asked myself which parts of my laptop had most use and the answers were, the hard drive the monitor and the key board and the memory. So was anything wrong with any of them? Well the hard drive was showing signs of age, nothing significant, but enough for me to notice, so that could possibly be in need of replacement.The thing with hard drives is they have working parts inside which over time and use wear out unless you use a Solid State Drive which doesn't The monitor and keyboard were fine and still working well and last year I upgraded the memory so that was fine as well.

 To replace  a normal 1 TB storage hard drive, you can get a good one for about £50 if you shop around. This is great, but you might find that you need to replace in a few years time. Naturally if you don't need that much storage you can get one with less for cheaper although not that much cheaper from what I've seen.

 Now if you went for an SSD it could cost you about £200 for 1TB , if you shop around and although it seems expensive as they have no moving parts they tend to last long up to 10yrs so I've read. That would work out at say £30 per year costing.  I must admit was cautious about using an SSD until I purchased one the other day and now I am a great fan as they are so fast and quite.

Memory has quite a price range, the example I am giving here, works out at at £69 for 8gb and about half that for 4gb.

So if you were to upgrade your hard drive and memory with an ordinary hdd, it would cost you less than £150, if you had a 1TB drive. Compare this to what you might pay for a new laptop, well over £400. So by just buying the extra memory and a new HDD you will save at least £250!

Now if you were to upgrade this time using the top specs, 8gb memory and 1TB SSD, using the best deals I could find it would cost you just under £400. To attempt to buy new with these specs, I found was impossible to find and the closest I got to them was nearly £2,500! so here the minimum saving would be £2,000!

Another possibility is that you just try with an SSD, you can get (by shopping around) a 500gb for under £150. it might just be all you need, but if you need the 1TB then you can, again by shopping around get one for about £300. Since putting my SSD in I have found that I really don't need the additional memory, I have all the speed and capacity for all that I do.

You probably won't have to replace your processor, but if you do then it is not too hard a job. If your laptop is less than 10 years old I wouldn't bother and if it is you might not get any improvement  without a complete refit of the mother board and other things.

Lets now consider software, a new laptop will probably have Windows installed or Apple software, or even chrome, or at the very worst you'll be charged for Ubuntu on a very expensive laptop. You are paying more to have installed and along with the usual crap that comes with them, so consider the alternative.

You do a back up of all the stuff you need and you download the Free Linux Mint and do an ISO (there is plenty of help on how to do this). Then you replace your hard drive with the one of your choice, it is very easy to do. You add to your memory by placing it in the slot available. Then you close every thing and with Mint on your memory stick plugged in you turn your laptop on and install Mint. With an SSD in less then 10 Mins you have a free forever Operating system, with all the goodies you'll need or available to down load. No more extras required. Yes you have to do tweaking to get things as you want, but if you get stuck help from the forum or on line is available.  So all you have had to really pay for is the newer hardware and nothing more.  Sure you can if you want to get posher software,  you can pay for  it, but you may  find the free  one supplied works equally as well.

By the way the prices are similar for a desk top and all in one pc.

New or upgrade? In the end to me it makes sense to upgrade and get the system if you like the hardware that you have now and all you really need to keep it going is to getting updated internal hardware like the memory and the hard drive. I must admit that before I really looked into things I thought about getting new, now I am happy just to make the improvements. I have what I need not what others tell me I need and by doing so I have saved hundreds of £s and that has to make sense. My savings are left in tact until I really need to replace something, but that won't be my laptop for years to come.

These are just my thoughts and how I have tweaked my system and got what I want as far as improving it, well really it was a matter updating not improving as it was good in the first place. I have written this so that others can take a look and say I can do that and with so many helpful guides on the internet changing things is really not hard to do.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Living everyday with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis another view


Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Complex,acquired,multi-systematic disease
Neurocognitive impairment,difficulty in processing information, slowed though and speech,impaired concentration, poor working memory,cognitive overload, dyslexia, sensitivity to noise, touch, odour, light,taste, vibration,motor muscle weakness,unsteady on feet,twitching,poor coordination.

Just a reminder for those who don't know or still think it is CFS which it isn't. Okay so I am not going to get on that high horse again. In this I want to try once more to tell you what it is like to live with it. Yet this is only what I go through and being disabled it means that those closest to me also are included in it.

Aly is my carer and often, more often than most realise she has to step in when I can't cope. She has to cope when I have a complete melt down and acts as my interpreter when my words get confused. More than once she has had to rescue me when I am not coping. She does most of the cooking as I have gone through 3 frying pans and two sauce pans  and baking trays not to mention cups and plates all because my mind has gone walk about. Other things she does is make sure that I get up in the morning and keep to my routines, even if it is for a short while and takes me out to ensure that I don't get locked in.  As I can't remember things or find them too stressful she has to cope with things like dealing with government departments. Not that I can't do that, I can but the time I can is often limited and she has to take over from me. To ensure my mind keeps active she does encourage me to use the internet and social media and to read and to keep up my interest in tech and taking photos, even if the time I spend doing them is limited it is better that I do them than not. Aly did not just become my carer, she was asked to take on that role by another who came to do an assessment on me and saw what I was like and was so concerned about that she made that recommendation. 

Now if I was bad all the time it might be easier for Aly, but I am not there are times when I am back to "normal" and the confident capable person that she loves and can rely on. However she has learnt to look out for when I get drained and then tells me to relax and rest up and knows how to calm me down. We both know that those periods are getting narrower and even writing this is has taken twice as long as it did a year ago and I have spent more than a day doing it as my mind goes walk about.

All of this is hidden, because you will never see me when I am not so called normal, you won't see me during the long periods of rest so the judgement is that there is nothing wrong with me. No nothing you can see just my body battling me and my fighting to keep my mind together and words in the right order.

Carers are the real heros of any disability and Aly is my hero for not only does she know the full range of what I go through, but she has her own health problems as well. She has the real fight to get others to understand Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a real disability.

Sometimes I think it is easier for the person with it to live with it than those who care for us. To an extent we know what is happening, they don't all they can do is cope with the fall out. For them it must be like walking in treacle in bright sunshine in deepest fog while faceing forwards backwards up and down - totally confusing.

So living every with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is not easy for anyone and if you think it is then you want to give it a try.

P.S I am now goignt to rest as I am torllly drained

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Linux Mint 6 months on

It is now six months since I first installed Linux Mint onto my lap tip, so I thought I would up date you all with my experience of using it.

To be honest the thought of leaving Windows was quite scary, I didn't like Windows 10 at all and felt it was something that I had to use as the nice versions of windows were discontinued. I also wondered if I could still get the same quality of software for office etc that in fairness has been a strength of Microsoft. I also wondered about the cost implications. I have liked some of the Apple applications so seriously considered paying the extra to get Apple hardware. Or there was the alternative of Google Chrome. I was afraid of all the security issues as well. However after doing my research, I decided to give Linux a try.

There are so many choices and not all Distributions are free, they are not as expensive as windows is or anything like that, which is good, really it is a minimal charge for a great deal. This isn't forced upon you, but the thing to remember is that most distros are not from commercial companies and are Open Source. (
Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner. According to scientists who studied it, open-source software is a prominent example of open collaboration. The term is often written without a hyphen as "open source software".
Open-source software development, or collaborative development from multiple independent sources, generates an increasingly more diverse scope of design perspective than any one company is capable of developing and sustaining long term. A 2008 report by the Standish Group states that adoption of open-source software models has resulted in savings of about $60 billion (£48 billion) per year to consumers)  This from Wikipedia.
Being this way, Open Source it is considered to be more stable and secure than other types of software. It is also a fact that there is no known viruses for any Distro that have been successful, however caution is still needed and the best piece of advice is as always to keep everything updated particularly the kernel.

It was my preference to make a contribution when I finally decided to go with Mint. I will do so again.

The reason why I went with Mint is that it is so very easy to install and use. With the version I am using now 18.3 it has become even easier as the Application store is so easy to use and there is so much in there so anything you could possibly want is there. Updating is regular and never takes long to do unlike Windows updates and there are no restarts required. There has been in 18.3 an improvement in the back up. Now you can choose what you want to back and what you don't, the only reason why that takes any time is because of back-up drive won't be as quick as your laptop.

I want to mention Libre Office, some have said it is not as good as Microsoft office, I disagree with that. I am now using Libre Office 6 and have found it as good as it. What is more it is free and comes with Mint so you don't have to bother finding a office suite else where and paying for it. I know of one company that is using it because they were fed up with Microsoft overcharging for their products. You have to get used to as with all things but once you then....

I have found it strange not to have a cleaner or additional security software, but neither of these are needed and if they become a requirement then I think they will be included in future releases. Now I am used to not having these things and still having an OS that is clean and secure and thank god for not having to defragment.

Negatives? Well I don't like the fact that Mint comes with Firefox as the web browser. I have tried others as you don't have to stick with it and now have one that I like.  In all honesty that is the only negative I can think off.

I wrote 3 months ago that I would be staying with Linux Mint and now after another 3 months I am more convinced than ever that it is my operating system. I have placed it on older pcs and older laptops which struggled with Windows and now they are back to life. Aly who hated Windows finds Mint easy, she also likes Libre Office. Yes it has taken me time to get Mint how I want it so it suits me and that I really love about it, I control it not it me.

In the 6 months since I first downloaded and installed Linux Mint my life as far as working with my laptop  is concerned  has never been easier. I just turn it on and just get on with things. If it needs updates it does them. True it might take sometime to do my back ups each week but then I tend to do full back ups not partial ones which would be quicker. If I run into problems then the Mint Forum always has an answer and people there are only too willing to help. There are so many best things, amongst which is not having to bother about security as that is taken care of.

If there is a rule that there is no such thing as a free dinner and everything has to be paid for, the Linux Mint breaks that rule, because it says there is a free dinner, but if you don't mind pay what you can and what you want to do.

Linux Mint is the most popular Linux Distro and the reason for that is because quite simple it is the best Distro IMHO. 

Friday, March 02, 2018

Love is - the reality and the survival game called marriage

Just heard a fella asking I wanna know what love is?   Well I'll tell you what it is fella, it's bloody trap that leads to hell. All those sloppy love songs they're a con a con to convince you that love is great. All those love songs are only good thing and that is making money for the writer, nowt else, you can sum them all up with the words these words are  a fantastic load of crap, but will make me a shed load of money.  Some of them do contain some reality, take for an example; Love and Marriage, it has the line - love and marriage goes together like a horse and carriage! Too bloody right it does, you end up being the ass that is pulling along the carriage of debt,kids and all the burdens of living with another!

So you "fall in love" no you fool in love. Let's be honest when you get together you're both playing a game, acting a part and both of you fall for it. Then what happens, like a bloody idiot you get married!! Any sane person would run away and join the foreign  Legion never to be seen again, but no one caught by love does that, no they go and get married and condemn themselves to living hell.

Oh yes when it first starts out the sex is great, then you get to a point well, do we have to, to oh god they want to have sex and finally to you can't even be bothered to do it yourself! How does this happen? Quite simply because it either leads to having kids need I say more, or you grow old and everything sags that even with the lights off, well you don't get better with age that is for sure. Oh and half the time life wears you out so much that the only thing you want from your bed is to sleep in it. Oh yes, once you used, "sleeping together" as the code for sex, but a few years of marriage and sleeping together or better still in different beds is all you want to do.

Oh yes once marriage starts and you start living together, you notice things about the other one. You know those things that really piss you off, like their bad habits or the fact they are still breathing. The smell of their farts and even worse their shits, the toilet seat becomes a major battle ground, actually the whole of the bathroom and every other room becomes one. Oh yes and don't forget the snoring, oh god that is awful and even worse, their snoring means they're still alive!

When in love you enjoy their stories, but with marriage, well after you've heard them for the 1 billionth time, you just want to scream shut the fuck up!! And yes there are those dreaded times when you're out together and they start telling them to others and if you are unfortunate to have kids they tell them to them as well.

Talking about kids, you know what they are, bloody money vampires that is what, no matter what age they are they bleed your money from you. To make it worse they even have kids and as grand parents you then bleed money to the grand kids, because that is what grand parents do !!

So love leads to marriage and marriage leads to a life time of wondering, if I kill them how long will get for doing so and what the hell did I see in them in the first place? That and growing old, fat, bald and grumpy, so that even you can't recognise yourself in those old faded photographs before love ruined everything.

There are those twee people who say we're still in love and have never had a crossed word - Liars, the only reason why they're still in love is because they're having an affair with some other poor sod. And their reasons why they've never had a crossed word is because one of them talks so blinking much the other is waiting for them to pause for breath, or they've spoken to each other for years. Or the fella has learnt that in marriage you only need two word; yes dear!As for that they're my best friend, that's because you've got no other friends, let's not butter this up it's true.

Which brings me to the song; If you leave me now. This is line; if you leave me now you'll take the biggest part of me! What he means, is my house, my income and leave me homeless and penniless. And if you leave me now, how the hell will ever find where they put things?

So we are lied to by love songs and the whole love thing and leads to the thing called marriage or living together and well, that's when your life ends. Even if you go through one and it doesn't last, like lemmings heading for the cliff edges we go and do it again and again.

Oh before anyone forgets I am married and a farty fat old grump - so just be thankful I am not your fat, farty old grump.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Is maat love or a religion?

I was asked if maat was love or a religion?  The answer to both is no, maat is not love nor is it a religion.  Let me explain.

A religion is a set of beliefes imposed upon others by so called supreme god or gods in the case of the christones an invisible god. This is not the case with maat, for you may have any love you wish to have, or none at all and still be maat and live with maat. One of the Holy Principles of maat is that we respect ALL gods and All holy places, so there is no strict line to say you MUST have love for the Holy Mothers and Holy Fathers, I do through choice it is not imposed upon me. I also respect the holy places of all others no matter where they be or to which god or goddess they belonged. By extension of this I have the same respect for those who have no love at all for any god, for in maat all are equally valued members of our community. 

Is maat love, no it is not. There are many types of love , many different definitions of it, many different ways of expressing it and it is not limited to just human kind. However, there are but just 42 Holy Principles of maat and these are exclusively for human kind. I am not told if there is another set of Holy Principles for the Holy Mothers and Holy Fathers, I would think there might be for without them all would fall back to Isfet or chaos.

To sum up: maat is not a religion, it is not imposed upon us and we do not have to love  any god to live by them. It is true that when we go to the millions of years we pass through the questionings about how we have lived our lives based on these Holy Principles. Please note I said based on these, not by them. If we have no knowledge of them, but have lived in harmony with them then our Ib (heart) will respond accordingly and we will move forward. If we have knowledge of them and have ignored them, then our Ib will confirm this as it will if you have done so. 

Living by the Holy Principles,  as I can testify does give you great peace and promotes greater tolerance of all others and who and what they are. It does give you greater understanding of many things and again, as I can testify teach you great respect even for those you disagree with. Most certainly they do promote humility and an ability forgive others and yourself. Perhaps the most wonderful thing of maat is that does enable you to love completely, but maat itself IS NOT LOVE. If we live by maat, we are  LIVING WITH LOVE, LOVE FOR ALL SOULS AND OUR ACTIONS WILL PROVE.

Speaking personally, Holy Mother Maat named me in Holy Kemet, her son, merimaat, upon hearing her voice I accepted her totally. I speak to Holy Mother Maat daily more than once, because that I wish to do. I have also accepted with love the rest of the Holy Mothers and Holy Fathers and have come to understand how wonderful they are and how flawed they are as well. I know longer seek perfection just a life of maat of balance - I have come to accept myself for who I am not a false shuet of who acts as expected, but the soul that I am. Others may make judgements I will not.

I would say look at these Loving Principles and try living by them, but if you can not then that is your own choice. I have made my choice and that is to live with them to the best of my ability -

Mircosoft gave us our freedom then slammed to door shut in our faces

Follow @merimaat Once upon a time a small company called Microsoft gave all the peeps of the world Windows 95 and all the world was happy ...