Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Vorsprung durch Technik

I used to work with a bunch of Germans and there was one marketing lady with whom I got on pretty well. Even though I speak very little to no German I managed to impress her imensely by sneaking that phrase into a conversation where it fitted the context perfectly and being German my marketeer friend didn't know about that particular advertising slogan. The reason I mention this is because I now own an Audi A3 and I have a story to rival Richard's spark plug rip off.

My car recently passed its four year anniversary and I thought long and hard about extending its warranty at a cost of probably around £500. Last year the things that went wrong would have cost about £10 without a warranty so I decided "no".

A couple of weeks ago the indicators went on the blink, or rather, they failed to go on the blink if you see what I mean. It's bizarre trying to drive without indicators, so I booked the car into my local Audi garage to find out what they could do about it. The conversation went like this:

Service person: "You've booked your car in to have the broken indicators investigated."

Me: "yes."

Service person: "Is there anything else you'd like us to do?"

Me (puzzled): "Well I'd like you to fix them if you can."

In the end, as I had suspected, it turned out the switch was broken (supposed to be unheard of on an Audi). The bill presented for the measely switch including labour was £114. So now I have £386 left before I curse my decision about the warranty.

They made an excellent job of cleaning my car though.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Reading East

It's all over. As I wasn't particularly happy about the idea of any of the main parties running the government, I thought the best result would be for Labour to get a much reduced majority and I therefore voted tactically to bring that about. As can be seen from the result in Reading East I was successful in a small way. That's the first time ever my vote has actually counted.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Election Night Special

What better way is there to enjoy an evening? I have some beers; there's an election and the result has just a smidgeon of unpredictability. Well, it's 23.15 and it looks like Labour's majority won't be as big as everybody thought.


One other thing: it looks like the Dimblebys have got the TV sewn up, there is one presenting the BBC coverage and one presenting the ITV coverage.


Two results in and the swing is 5%. Andrew Marr can already see a pattern. I think he's a bit premature.


The majority looks like it will be between 70 and 80. It would have been more fun if it was smaller. Stephen Twigg is just about to go down which might be interesting to watch.


Oh my god! Rusty Lee stood for UKIP for Wyre Forest. Described just now by the BBC as "the 80's chef".


Time for bed. I'll just note that I turned over to ITV to see how Jonathan is doing. It seems their main contributor is Gerald Scarf. Although this strikes me as rather light weight, it did lead to the priceless comment from JD to GS "how do you see Michael Howard". GS had just drawn a picture of Michael Howard with bat wings and fangs.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tick...... Tick...... Tick......

went the hard disk drive in my home PC. Shortly thereafter the desk top disappeared to be replaced by a blue screen of death (XP style). A reboot hung with the Windows XP splash screen displayed.

In spite of the fact that I had just lost four years of accumulated detritus, I was actually quite relaxed about the situation. I had no back ups but all I had really lost of importance was about 200 hours of game play with such titles as Rome: Total War and Call of Duty and Far Cry.

Monday afternoon was spent buying a new 160 Gb hard disk and rebuilding my PC. The first problem was that the "Advent Recovery CD", which doesn't recover your PC but merely resets it to pristine factory condition, failed to do anything. Instead I decided to go for a clean install of Windows XP. This presented three further problems in that a) my copy was a Pro upgrade and couldn't be installed on a bare disk, b) there were no graphics drivers for my video card on it, c) there were no drivers for the sound card.

I solved problem a with a very old Windows 98 install disk. Once the XP disk was convinced I had one, it all went smoothly though I had to find the graphics and sound driver on the Internet.

There's something vaguely satisfying about a new Windows installation. The "Add/Remove" dialogue box only had one item in it: "service pack 2". The whole system runs much faster than in olden days too.

Unfortunately, I am now in the process of loading lots of the old rubbish back on.

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