Exploring the world through the web

Experiencing life in any way you can.

Blessing 101 – Hitting the front cover! April 10, 2012

Today I woke to a tweet saying Disabled woman ‘s virtual holiday to London will bring the Olympics closer to home. It was sent out by the local newspaper Twitter account and I realised with a burst of excitement that my article on the new Holidays From Home virtual London trip must have been in. I was so relieved and pleased. I followed the link and saw the brilliant article. I was really happy with it, it covered everything I wanted to say.

I dispatched Mum to go round to the paper shop, where she got several copies; but I was amazed and slightly horrified to see my face on the front cover! That’s the first time I’ve been on a cover and I was on page 9 – my lucky number!

Front cover of the Evening News

Mum took me round to the shop later in the day because they had a board up outside with a headline about my being in the paper and I had to see it for myself. We even took a picture….

Holidays From Home in the Evening News, the board outside the paper shop.


When you send out a press release, you never know if anything will come from it; but I was so delighted with the coverage and very, very grateful.


Blessing 30 – Online Banking January 30, 2012

I’ve had mixed feelings about internet banking. At times it can be a complete nightmare, you spend so long going through the security checks and trying to remember all the codes, passcodes, passwords and secret words that you start to feel a bit boggled, I normally can’t remember what I meant to do in the first place. And am I the only person who has to count out on their fingers the word or number, to make sure you get the specific character they want. I feel a bit insane every time I do it; but I can’t figure it out any other way.

At other times I love the speed and ease with which I can pay a bill, check my account or set up a  direct debit. I find it difficult to get out to the bank and it would be hard to have to go every time I needed to access my account. Even worse though is the thought of telephone banking – it literally makes me shudder.

Last night I was torn between loving and loathing it. At three in the morning I suddenly sat bolt up right in bed,  I realised that I’d stupidly taken money out of the cash machine on my credit, not my debit card. Doh! I was so annoyed with myself, I still have no idea why I used the wrong card; but for some reason I did.

I’m not the kind of person who can go back to sleep and sort it out in the morning, so I tried to access my account to see what I could do. Typically I couldn’t remember my log in details and the reminder service wasn’t working. By this point I was exhausted, desperate and on the verge of tears. I finally had an aha moment and remembered the details, so I could access my account and check everything out. Turns out I couldn’t sort it out without calling them for advice this morning (hence my shudder about the memory of telephone banking). I did eventually find out what I needed to do and it took a matter of minutes to set up the payment online. Just like that I could magically move my money around, check my statement and even order some new paying in envelopes. It truly was amazing. I won’t speak too soon, as it’s still got to clear (fingers crossed); but if I’d had to drag myself out to the bank this morning I wouldn’t have been happy on top of feeling exhausted from my bad night’s sleep.

It was the wake up call, no pun intended, that I needed. I try to keep an eye on my finances; but I’m not great at it. I’ve decided from now on its time to take control and I feel a lot better about it. It might have been a good thing after all.


Blessing 27 – Facing Your Fears January 27, 2012

Okay so I’m not talking about jumping off a bridge attached to a rubber band, swimming with sharks or diffusing a bomb; but there are little things in life that can get you really scared. There often trivial; but specific to you. Jobs that you put off and put off, until either they become irrelevant or you have to grit your teeth and get down to them.

For me, I’ve been really worried about updating my website. There was a reason I got in professionals to design and build it, because I wanted a site I knew I couldn’t do on my own – I did a basic web design course years ago which has helped me; but I don’t have the graphic ability or any clue about CSS.

I’d intended to let the site take care of itself, hopefully making enough to pay for some updates; but as with everything, life never turns out as you imagined. I decided to replace one of the holidays with a virtual party that I’m planning for Valentine’s Day. This mean that I was going to have to get into the heart of the html and make some major changes. The thought of ruining my beautiful and very precious site made me feel physically ill, even now I can feel waves of nausea rolling over me. It would have made sense to get a content management system; but at the time I wasn’t sure of the direction of Holidays From Home so a basic six page shopping site made sense. How I longed for the ease of content management this morning!

February is getting closer and closer, I knew I had to find some courage and do it; but despite saving copies of the original pages it was still a very tense job. I actually quite enjoyed doing it. There were a few teething problems, a few mistakes; but I managed to work them out and now I’m delighted that I’ve made all the changes I wanted to, plus a few extra that I’ve had in the back of my mind.

I know feel like a super star! My sense of achievement is rather inflated, considering how relatively simple the job was and the fact that the majority of the tech community could have done it with ease; but I feel like I fought a tiger and won!


Blessing 12 – When technology goes my way! January 12, 2012

Technology is wonderful, until it fails! Until you’re sitting in front of your computer, close to tears, pulling your hair out, suppressing a scream and close to throwing it across the room/out the window. I was at that point when my external hard drive failed, losing nearly all my music. I don’t cry easily; but my computer going wrong has made me cry more than most things, which sounds melodramatic; but some of the most important things in my life are on my computer.

I learnt the hard way about backing up my data, when my last hard drive crashed – hence why I got an external hard drive; but when that went wrong I was rather upset. Luckily though I had most of the music on my iPod and I found software which means I can copy from my iPod back onto my computer.The problem was my main hard drive is too full to store the music, which brings me back to one of the main reasons for having the external hard drives in the first place, talk about vicious circle.

Fortunately I do have a second external hard drive; but it was set up in a way that I couldn’t add files to.  After an hour of searching the support site I found out how to uninstall, delete and reformat the drive; but it was completely terrifying. I was worried about messing up my computer and damaging the drive; but I knew I had to do something, so I took a deep breath and went for it. It worked and left me feeling on top of the world! I felt like a conquering hero!

My iPod is now a few hours into the 20 hours it says it will take to transfer my 13,965 songs! You can see why it’s been so important. I can’t wait for it to finish, as it’s reminded me of all the albums I’ve got and I want to go back and listen to them again.


Electricity v the Internet October 6, 2011

Filed under: Life,ME,Post a Day 2011 — Claire @ 11:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

Topic #270: With the passing of Steve Jobs yesterday, the web is filled with remembrances of a pioneer and industry legend. It’s a sad day indeed. But it’s also a good day to look back and consider the history of innovation. And how all the inventions and creations of the last 100 years have impacted us. As a specific topic to write about: How would you compare the importance of electricity with the invention of the internet? or the cell phone? Can this kind of comparison be made? If you had to lose one of these inventions, which would you keep? And why?

I think this topic might be a bit nul and void, since without electricity you couldn’t use the internet. Therefore the obvious answer is that electricity is far more important than the internet. I could live without the internet, I have done for the majority of my life and didn’t suffer for it; but I do love how much easier life is with it.

I would definitely want electricity though, it’s an essential part of my life, from keeping food refrigerated and cooking it, controlling my heating system and lighting my house, during these horrible dark nights. I don’t know how I’d cope if life had to stop once it got dark and then start as soon as it got light, just to make the most of the daylight hours. I do not function well before about 9 am and only see the earlier hours if my ME insomnia is playing up.

I also love my TV, as in love, love it! Music too. Living without those two would be awful, I would still be able to read; but the escapism I get from watching dramas is hugely important to me and the way I cope when things are tough, other people’s problems are so much more interesting than my own! Plus I know they’ll have happy endings and I can turn them off when I’ve had enough.

Without electricity, there would be no more trips to the cinema, concerts or any more meals out, unless they’re cooked on a BBQ or open fire! Life just wouldn’t be the same, so I choose electricity over the internet.

I know when we have power cuts it starts as a bit of an adventure, like camping inside; but it doesn’t take long for the novelty to wear off and I want to go back to normality again. Please let me never be without electricity.


People are too dependent on technology: agree or disagree? July 22, 2011

Topic #196

via People are too dependent on technology: agree or disagree?.

I think we are too dependent on technology, it infiltrates every area of our life from storing and cooking our food, to transportation, heating, work and entertainment. If there was suddenly no electricity or a major virus wiped out our computers we’d be completely stuck. There aren’t many people who would know how to live off the land and most of our information is now only accessible using technology. We’d be completely lost without it.

Would you know where to get food? How to live without heating or running water? I wouldn’t.

The question is what do we do about it? Should we learn how to survive in case the worst should happen? The people who lived before technology aren’t going to be around forever and then the world will be full of generations who have never had to live off the land or find ways to survive. I for one hope to never see that day because I think these disaster movies have it about right, it would be chaos.


Do you believe machines will be smarter than humans? July 11, 2011

Topic #185: Do you believe machines will be smarter than humans? Many sci-fi movies are based on computers becoming smarter than we are. Do you think this is possible? Why or why not?  If it’s possible, do you think it will be dangerous for us? Or beneficial?

I think in a lot of ways machines are already smarter than humans, they can handle complex processes that we can’t even begin to imagine. Will they ever be so smart that they take over the world, I’m not sure.  Machines are designed to fulfill processes and procedures, they have to be programmed to do things, even if that process is to use some form of deductive reasoning to carry out a new reaction.

I think we’re in more danger of machines and technology ending than advancing – as discussed in previous topics, we’re so reliant on the way technology has been used to automate every process of our lives, we wouldn’t know where to begin to look for food, clean water, waste disposal or accommodation. I’m more worried about that.

Not that I mind the films about machines taking over – they’re some of the best!