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News and Comment January 2022

Index: 2019202020212022

17 January - The Story of my Life

Thanks to all readers who have asked where I had gone, Councillors too who were maybe hoping I had - literally! (I jest, every one asked about my state of health; at least it wasn’t mind!)

So here I am with an interim announcement and apology. It was genuinely a shock to see I had gone a whole eight days without writing a single line of code!

Writing blogs is time consuming and preceded by looking for things that may be worth writing about which can take up a lot of thinking time. The last couple of weeks has seen an unprecedented amount of other things that must be done - mostly more interesting than writing blogs!

If anyone is interested, there have been four separate days spent far away and another is scheduled for later this week. Then my former employer has given me more work than was necessary.

BT offered to install fibre internet to the premises but my experience of BT is that all is well for years and then something goes wrong and getting them to listen is a nightmare.

Since the late 1990s I have been with a niche ISP and I know the owner and his wife pretty well. They in effect provide the wherewithal for Bonkers free of charge. I told them that BT was telling me that fibre was ready to go. They ordered it for me on Friday 7th January and on the following Monday Openreach was here to poke the fibre through the conduit.

For the umpteenth time I told them there was no BT conduit as a rogue builder with an excavator ripped it up in 1987. In 2006 when laying the front drive I put a 32mm pipe underground all the way from the street to my computer room.

The Openreach man thought that was good planning and painted marks on the street paving to indicate where a few would have to be taken up and said someone would be back with a spade.

Next day the man with a spade was here but he wanted to find the long broken BT conduit and mend it and he did so in about six hours of work. The trouble with that is that it goes to the worst possible part of the house with an awful route back to the computer room.

His solution was to tack a loose cable around a wooden feature of the house but that wood is 35 years old; what happens if it need to be replaced?

To get to the point, I summoned up all my old BT jargon and persuaded the Openreach man that I had been a competent engineer. Even if I had been it was with relays and mechanical switches. The second Openreach guy generously left me everything I would need to install the fibre in a much more satisfactory way. A nice new 30 metre pack of ‘cable’ and some connectors the like of which I have not seen before.

I have to complete the almost hidden ducting and slip the cable through it before Openreach comes back to connect it to the underground portion. I find I work far more slowly and make more mistakes than I used to. Anno Domini at play and it is cold outside!

Additionally I have become bored with having no TV and spending too much time browsing the web. I decided to change my ways and get myself up to date; streaming video maybe. Unfortunately I have no AV equipment newer than 13 years old so nothing is suitable. The best way of circumventing that problem had to be found but it is the sort of technical problem I enjoy sorting out. It could have waited but patience is not my strongest point.

Bexley Council has had to take a back seat. Has anything interesting happened? I will try to get back on track before the weekend.


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