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Dec 3, 2012 - Just Now    No Comments

December 2012 update

I started this Blog some two years ago when we had a substantial snow fall here in Scotland and a way of keeping the family informed how their Mum & Dad were coping with the weather. So it seemed a good time to update with the latest weather report from you know where – snow has fallen last evening 2 December only a 2 cm’s but a covering none the less. It has been quite cold of late with -4/6 overnight making the latest fall quite slippy underfoot.

We have been a little plagued of late with some telephone interference on the line which has at last been traced to a faulty incoming cable to the house – we are sailing along with nearly 8mb’s download speed for the first time ever.

BBC Scotland Golf Crew

BBC Scotland Golf Crew taken on ?

I went to a BBC reunion of all the young pups who have retired recently etc.  I have been on holiday for exactly eight years on November 30th last and what a lot I have packed in those eight years. The Blog is a good reflection of that.
The picture I am posting is one that I think was taken at a golf event of all the BBC Scotland crew – I will endeavour to locate the exact date when I can speak with the photographer.


Leuchie House

Leuchie House, North Berwick

One other piece of info is to alert all my readers to Leuchie House Christmas appeal. This holiday centre which Margaret goes to twice a year to get away from yours truly to R & R. Yours truly goes off to do some mad activity as my entry (I am not forty any more but think I am) so please support if you can this very worthwhile centre in only its second year of charitable status after the MS Society withdrew funding.

Apr 24, 2012 - Just Now    No Comments

Michael Abbott BSc Honours (Open)

How I got there

Fukll lenght of Michael Abbott

Michael Abbott

Why did I do it? Personal satisfaction  had no time whilst working at the BBC so when I retired in 2004 after a holiday as I called it – time to have a go as they say. What was I going to do I looked at a number of OU courses and eventually decided on an Open degree in Social Science.

February 2006 came upon so quickly after the books arrived for DD100 a foundation module in Social Sciences and before I knew it an exam had taken place and I was into choosing the next module.

DD205 globalisation which I found really interesting as it include climate change and how the world was interconnecting between continents and the ramifications of such connections.

DD200 Governing Europe was taken the year before the European elections which gave me an insight to the workings of Europe in Brussels and how the changes are affecting the European project – my studies coincided with the Lisbon treaty but those doing the course at the moment will have different aspects to consider with Greece and the financial situation cross the Euro Zone.

Half way now to the goal of 360 points for Honours. I needed to upgrade to level three courses for which I chose AD317 Religion – Modernity, Tradition and Change – this was not so much about the textural nature of religion as we know it – but how the differing religions co-exist in society around the world. The size of some of the pentecostal churches in South Korea and USA are staggering. Considered were the breakaways that have occurred throughout the millenia even in our own country was an interesting area discussed.

The other level 3 course was DD304 Understanding cities which was in effect a follow on to DD205 a very interesting module focusing on the mega cities throughout the world, Shanghai, Mumbai, New York, London, Sydney, Mexico and Paris. This course fully elaborated on on what we had studied on DD205 but took it to a new level – communications, influx into these large cities and how the authorities dealt with it and the citizens role in moving from what was from a rual environment. Still they come in their hundreds of thousands daily. Then there is the problem of how does the popualtion move from these cities to another country ie Mexico to USA for instance and people movement around the globe.

The final course was T215 Information Communication Technology – to be honest I did not find this particular module all that stimulating. We had some difficulty on the module with collaboration between students on a website as well as using some rather outdated software packages but in the end I reached my goal 360 points.

Michael Abbott BSc Hounours (Open) what next I do not know but will think of something in the fullness of time.


Apr 24, 2012 - Just Now    No Comments


I have been trying to think how to put this in words for a few days now, can I be humourous, struggle on that one, just be serious possible or just blog as it comes into the head – that is my usual way so here goes.

The date was 14 April and the graduation ceremony took place at Glasgow concert hall in the afternoon. Philip & Jacquie from Northampton, Matthew & Fiona from Glasgow along with my wife Margaret were able to join me. Steven, Yvonne and children were unable to attend as it was the end of the school Easter holidays but Steven posted a nice piece on my Facebook page and a congratulations card arrived shortly afterwards – I know that they were there in spirit.

Glasgow Concet Hall

Glasgow Concert Hall

Having received my gown, bit and pieces plus photos taken we had a bit of time to kill till the ceremony at 3pm. The picture shows the hall full of guests and those receiving their certificates an acknowledgement of their work.

After the usual preamble it was down to the business of the day and what an occasion the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University Martin Bean made of the afternoon he went to great lengths to encourage the guests to give their respective recipients a great Glasgow welcome.

I sat there for quite a while till it was my turn to go and I thought will they or won’t they – the Abbott rent a crowd hold back – Oh! no Oh! no they didn’t – of course the Vice-Chancellor as he had done on a number of  occasions wanted to know where the

Glasgow Concet Hall

Recieving Certificate

mob was shouting from – arrests were on going as they were loud but it was great fun – thanks to them.  So we had rapturous applause and a great Glasgow welcome for all 200 + graduates all afternoon – great fun.

The Vice Chancellor’s closing remarks hit home to quite a number of people as a way to encourage us to go forward now that we have gained our qualification in what ever discipline.

So to the gallery pictures just a few

He is not going with more  – OH! yes he is. for that you will need to go to the next post.

Apr 9, 2012 - Just Now    No Comments

Potato Competition

In strictly fashion here are the results which have not been verified by an independent adjudicator

Variety Bag Kg Garden Kg
Swift (Competition 2.0 1.78
Rocket 1.28 0.672
Kestrel 1.409 1.29
Lady Chrystal 0.720 0.277
Pentland Javelin 1.9 2.9
Cara 1.68 2.158

Not sure what Jaks will publish. For me the bags seem an expensive way to grow potatoes unless you use straight garden soil. I do not think I added enough compost to the bags during the growing period. Certainly the potatoes were cleaner out of the bags. I cannot really say which were the best eaters or cookers we just ate them.

This year no competition or any test bed growing just Foremost which will be split between the garden and some large bags. I think the smaller bags are little small not allowing sufficient compost to be added.

Finally from what Jaks and Philip said when they were up last year I did not have a very good crop compared with theirs.

So a honourable draw then.

Thanks for reading.

Update from Graduation on 14 April will be next post

Oct 4, 2011 - Computer, Just Now    No Comments

Computer Woes – and then success?

The saga continues – decided to go for a rebuild of win7 32 and win7 64 on a dual boot system.

Win7 32

This has the following 32 bit OS and Office 2007. This will be left alone in this low configuration as a failsafe.

The reason for the build was the problems I had a couple of weeks ago when the following errors seem to occur all at once.

Flat screen monitor suddenly had all sorts of lines across it. Replaced GFX card with spare and all came good – great but no – then I had all sorts of BSOD’s. I tested initially in pairs until I found it should have been done in singles.

Out of the four sticks only one showed no problems, two would not boot machine and one failed very quickly on test 5. So I am left with a working machine with 2 G out of 8 and jiggered GFX card.Memory86+ test package used.

Back to installing Win7 64bit.

Added Office 10 and a couple of other bits such as ESET AV and Malwares software and decided a good time to do the image thing.

Image made but left it a couple of days before taking the plunge to actually test it. Bingo time now reinstall complete both Win 32 and Win64 in about 15 mins.

However still getting some BSOD’s at random times but traced it down to actually crashing when the system came out of hibernation mode.

Reset CMOS to default – no change still had BSOD’s, so now defaulted BIOS and made some adjustments here as the defaults do not work with SATA needed ACHI mode. Turned off IDE and a couple of other settings – installed 2 sticks of new memory still on old GFX card.

Another eureka moment as the system now started to behave itself this after adjusting hibernation and sleep mode in preferences to NEVER. System now working as it should.

There is a but – Outlook today decided not to work for some reason – eventually went onto BT yahoo and my email was working fine as was Margaret’s address, so something wrong with my settings, played a bit but no clear conclusion other than set ESET firewall to allow in each direction and it came good. Spoke with ESET no thoughts there – no updates issued, a windows defender did a download something. Working now – computer glitch to make sure there is a but.

Continued to install software as well as remaining memory sticks, new GFX card so now I go for a new image and test.

Image made and rebuild including format completed in 18 minutes.

The boy is back in town well almost as I was putting this together the PC froze just like the weather here in Scotland.

Where did all my problems originate from. Nothing concrete but suspected a patch back in April that jiggered my Bullguard account which I never got working again, HD changed etc as well as alot of download’s of this and that from Bullguard. I will never know.


Sep 27, 2011 - Computer, Just Now    No Comments

PC Woes

For some time now I have been having the random BOSD without any consistent reason. I installed blue viewer which did give me some indication of the file that seemed to be giving me the most trouble. More often than not it was (ntosknl) which seemed to be located in the depths of the system with the web offering a lot of suggestions none of them concrete solutions.

Last week the whole system threw a wobbly with the TFT screen showing all sorts of fussy images so I thought graphic card was grubbed (Nvlddmkm driver sent me on a hunt) in the end I put in an old card and I managed to get my system to work to allow me to send off my final paper to OU.

Task now was to decide on a full rebuild which I have managed with a re format of the drive for both win 32 and win 64 systems. Loaded various programmes and did an image of the system which I find includes the win32 & win64. OK so a test was needed which I did and all worked fine taking less than 15mins. to complete rather than the day and half with updates etc.

And then it crashed during the afternoon a couple of days ago – blue screen viewer showed a couple of things like file.sys and the ntosknl again but with 1066 next to it sent me thinking memory.

Downloaded memorytest86+ and ran two of the mem-sticks and showed no errors, good I thought until I did as instructed to do stick at a time – out of the four sticks two will not boot the machine and one has errors and thankfully one is good no errors. Four new sticks ordered.

I was hoping for a series of passes on the good stick but we had a power cut in the early morning so all was down.

Questions remaining after new sticks installed is old GFX card dead, is there anything else on the way out soak test will provide the answer.

I think I did well never beat myself up (age I think) when it all went down last week as I had all the documents on another drive so could access them.

What have I learnt, not a lot other than follow some instincts and at least get some tangible errors.

I ran just about everything last week from malware detection on boot etc. on both 32 and 64 OS showed nothing.

Sep 27, 2011 - Just Now    No Comments

Calling it retired

Calling it retired my way of saying OU finished and now time to move onto something different. Since I started back in 2005 I had no idea what was in front of me. The degree I opted for was an open one which allowed me to pick and choose my modules (that is what they call them now not courses etc).

The foundation course was just that a mix of a number of different subjects to get the grey matter thinking again. Next up was Globalisation which I found interesting followed by Governing Europe which I got my best grade for. That gave me 180 points a  further 180 to go for honours my ultimate goal.

Two level three modules were needed Ichose Religion:Modernity, Tradition and Change, this was a module looking into how religion fitted into today’s society and of some religions that were developing as well as traditional forms of religion such as C of E, muslim etc. Final module in the level three was Understanding Cities which looked at six cities (mega) and how each has impacted on the global reach of commerce and immigration etc. The typical mega city is one over 10 million inhabitants and growing daily with influx of the farming population hence the problem. Thankfully I passed all those to have my BSc awarded last December.

To complete the honours I chose Information Computer Technology which has now concluded and I am not sorry to see it go. What did I learn some TCP/IP protocols and what the layers meant (never need). a bit on Wi-FI, a wasted month on WordPress and  a website collaboration with six other students, another wasted period on AVS a programming language (Script) for manipulation of pictures and placing a commentary with it (never use again) and finally two questions:-

Final Examinable element

WiMAX installation in a remote village of 100 residents, report for a committee to consider as they proposed to hook in with a village 10km away.

Six pages of a mockup website in word on the subject of BOTNETS, What are they?, How do they get into your system, Mitigation both as an individual and in the corporate environment, I followed that with a case study of how a firm got shut down by a hacker and three other companies including TUCOWS, finally we needed to provide a question with five possible answers with only one correct. Each of the incorrect as well as the correct one required a comment  to assist students who would study this subject.

I found the botnets fascinating with so much to read and listen to (TED.Com) and to sum up botnets we are in trouble as no system is 100% and the criminals out there are one or two steps ahead of all the security and OS software developers finding those vulnerabilities.

Well that is it till the result in December and the ceremony in Glasgow next May will it be BSc open or BSc Open Hons watch this space.

TTFN  big update re PC coming soon

Sep 16, 2011 - Computer, Just Now    No Comments

Just a test page

Just found this on the system from word press so thought give it a go. Seems simple enough but most likely basic. Need to investigate more re albums etc. One week to go before I have to send in the final paper for Hons. Module. It has been quite boring at times but it is now completed I retire from end of the month and concentrate in the garden etc. I am sure I will come up with something else to do soon enough.

Just a test so see how it is received typing on IPad so here goes send button here I come.


Aug 18, 2011 - Just Now    No Comments


It is some time since I last posted and a lot has happened since April. We made a visit to Philip & Jaks and Steven & Yvonne in Northampton and Nottingham. It was great to have a break from the OU studies and see the family. Then Matthew was married just a couple of weeks ago on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond to Fiona. It was one of the hottest days of the year which added to that special occasion and now offically extends our family to the Alexanders, Frank & Catherine as well as Pauline and husband Derek we say hi.

Photos well just some of hundreds that were posted so that Matthew & Fiona could see them while they were away on honeymoon in Mexico.Dropbox now full. We picked up the video footage from my friend Alistair on Thursday about 2.5 hrs worth as well as the first dance that has a number of viewings on YouTube.
Only one more TMA to do and that is is it from studying as I must spend more time in the garden next year.
I will try not leave it so long till the next posting.

I actually stated this on the IPad but it did not work as well as I had hoped so an edit done on the PC

Will try to add the first dance qwhen I have a chance. Bye all.

Apr 17, 2011 - Computer, Just Now    No Comments


Can’t believe it is over a month since I last posted. The excuse is that I have been busy completing my latest TMA for the course and completing some work at the church. I never find the time really so I thought go for it today before I need to make Sunday dinner.

The church  east corner has been on the go for about a year but on my own with the OU studies and the vagaries of the weather I never found the time to get it done. See for yourself the finished area.

That is that bit done next I am on to getting a network around the church which is connected but a router switch is needed. One arrived via my colleague on sound but no PSU so will go up tomorrow and check the updates are complete.  I will suggest to the summer mission that they could have an internet cafe if they wished. Total cost so far £24.00 for home plug.

Pressing on with the next part of my hons degree (Certificate for degree arrive yesterday) but finding it not very stimulating but I will crack it.

The gardening competition is well underway with potatoes planted, carrots and beetroot sown. The greenhouse is full of plug plants, tomatoes, peppers beans etc. Jaks watch this space.

TTFN I will try not to leave so long next time.