My Fisher Space Pen leaked; the brand's legendary status is in jeopardy! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

(Think calming thoughts Baz…)

On Tuesday I dropped my pen, thought nothing of it.

On Wednesday I noticed excessive smudging (I'm left-handed.)

Today I got my magnifying glass out after a particularly nasty blob of ink appeared on my planner. And transferred to my finger. And highlighter pens. A blob of ink that even after half a day resisted all attempts to cover by careful applications of white paper from an on-a-roll dispenser.

Now the magnifier is ordinarily almost useless, having a too-small, rectangular, lowish powered main glass and a tiny ancillary, but insanely-powerful inset magnifier. It's with this second, a lens having an extraordinarily shallow focus depth, that I found the end of the pen refill had split.

When it dropped, all-of 73cm onto industrial-strength office carpet, it must have impacted something hard-enough to break one side of the ball retaining sleeve.


Yes, I have got a spare refill.


It - a fine point replaced by the new-year medium black - is about to run out.

Living on borrowed time now; it's probably the most excitement I'll have all week.

Let's face it, at work on an otherwise-unremarkable day, I managed to defeat the very best American engineering - a pen designed to write in zero-G, upside-down, underwater, in extraordinarily hostile environments - by dropping it on the floor.

Danger, it follows me everywhere.


It's a myth that the Americans spent squillions of dollars developing the pen whilst the Russians used a pencil. link.


I have a NAS - a network-attached-storage device. Bought to serve photos and video and music to the family and cut our reliance on cloud storage, it has of course failed to live up to its potential.

There are a few photos and songs and videos and a few documents and, well, not much else. The usable Internet speeds we have now, our Amazon Prime video subscription, and the ready availability of girl-friendly entertainment on YouTube, they all conspire against my original vision of an all-encompassing media server.

It's appropriate to note that most of our irreplaceable files are also stored at a couple of cloud storage providers.

"…most of…"?


So, regular backups of our important stuff? Every now and then I make backups from our laptops. But, thus far, not automatically.

What I'm looking for is a program that'll run silently on our Windows laptops\*; a program that'll take whatever exists in a user's folders and put it somewhere safe.

Now I know this bit sounds obvious, but I don't want to have to leave devices on and wait for a timed schedule to start the backup process. This has to happen seamlessly, in real time as the files are manipulated.

Moreover, whatever I get must not lose files deleted from a users computer from backups after 30 days. That knocks both saving stuff into Dropbox folders and making Backblaze backups from my list.

My frontrunners so far are Arq and CrashPlan. Both are probably overkill for our needs, but have solid reputations.

I'd appreciate any advice from existing users, along the lines of:

  • Which service/program is the most unobtrusive and reliable for you?
  • Which cloud storage services are easy to setup with the program, and have the 'best' uptime? Amazon Glacier might be cost-effective but I'm really not keen on waiting hours to get our stuff.

Of course my shortlist candidates have, or will soon have, the attraction of their own storage. 250GB right now seems right, whereas 'unlimited' is far, far beyond our likely needs.

Oh yes, I want to utilise the NAS too for automatic backups.

This is but the start of a journey.

\We're not made of money; only one laptop was bought new, the rest were acquired as a result of family generosity. The new one? Sale *price.


If you've ever watched a Disney or Pixar film you'll know that cute little animals, hulking great animals, otherwise-inanimate objects such as teapots and desk lamps, and vehicles, all can occasionally spring to life possessed (I chose the word carefully) with human characteristics.

Characteristics such as speech, gait, actions, and faces.

There's something endearing about a nonhuman thing doing human things, and the film industry knows this. They don't always get it right, as has been discussed endlessly on the Internet.

A prime example in film is Cars. And Planes. Everyone knows the defining feature of a car's face is its eyes - the headlamps. Yet in Cars, and in Planes, the eyes are the windscreens. It's just wrong.

Earlier, anticipating only to extend my toilet seat streak, I walked into the gents here. After one slightly awkward conversation with a colleague entering behind - a chat about clenching and kids films - I sat.

Cold toilet seat streak preserved, yay!

But could I 'go'? The hell I could. Stage-fright?

The imagined ranks of too-big-and-unnaturally-positioned-eyed vehicles passing my minds eye entirely put me off. The forklift trucks especially, scurrying about, never remaining still…

I don't appear to have a poo-with-eyes emoji in my phone keyboard. Perhaps it's just as well.


Not a packet of potato crisps, for obvious reasons.


In a couple of weeks time it'll be Valentine's Day. I'll be buying a card and some flowers for my wife, and maybe even a small gift?

I really don't know what to buy; maybe the two things'll suffice? Heck, I'll be second-guessing myself with that one until the day. And afterwards.

The problem is simple: I peaked in 2006.

We found a bona-fide Scottish castle\* to spend a couple of nights of romantic whatever-we-used-to-do-before-the-girls-arrived at. A typical utilitarian design externally, set in extensive grounds, with its own lake.

The Honeymoon Suite. You know?

I rang, booked, sat back looking at my wallet. Easy. Girlfriend-as-was was happy.

Then the phone rang.

> "Hello Mr Turner, we made a terrible mistake with your booking…"

Me: "?"

> "Well, we completely forgot you booked for a stay including Valentine's Day and, unfortunately, the room rate is double for that one night."

Me, hand over phone, looking over at my girlfriend after a brief summary which ended: "Do you still want to go?"

Her: (big doe eyes, soppy smile)

Me, back on the phone: "Are you ready to take my credit card details again?"

> "Yes, and can we say how sorry we are for…“

Me: (sighs)

It was worth it.

\*Culcreuch Castle, Fintry, Stirlingshire, Scotland.


My wife had gone to work, I'd sent the girls upstairs to get ready for bed and clean their teeth, the cats and dog were fed. At a temporary loose end, the desire to create another podcast had simply grown too strong; I had to…

But what to talk about? Only some uninteresting minor domestic duties left to perform before settling down to, er… not very much apart from thinking about plans for the weekend.

The answer, the inspiration, came from an unexpected source. Have a listen.


My grasp of the English language isn't as wide, deep, or rounded as I'd like it to be. I know lots and lots and lots of words but occasionally some have meanings that elude me. Some long, some complex, some ridiculously short but tricky as…

'Meta' was one such word.

The current Wikipedia definition states:

"Meta (from the Greek preposition and prefix meta- (μητά-) meaning "after", or "beyond") is a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction from another concept, used to complete or add to the latter."

It's a small thing in a big thing, which makes reference to the big thing and which makes the big thing complete, but without which it wouldn't be.

This post, for instance; it wouldn't be complete without a reference to…

But no, I'm not going to. For that would be very silly indeed.


"Simple life good."\*

Er… I shall stop talking like the village idiot now.

'Life' is now too complex for me, has been for quite some time, and it frustrates all my efforts to simplify situations.

Borrowing from a previous blog post, 'Paris':

"Life is complicated. Living it is easy. Put one foot in front of another, breathe in, breathe out, drink, blink, eat, pee, poo, sleep, work, play, laugh, cry. And then it's over.
> There is more, of course. Aspiration. The latest smartphone, TV, games console, car, a house, family, friends, safety…"

I wrote on for a bit in a similar vein. Heck, there may even have been a point to it at the time, but all that's forgotten already - and by pretty much everyone who 'lived' the events of the day the post refers to.

Luckily for me we live in an age where life-expectancy is great enough that, for quite some time to come, I will be yearning for an age that might have existed before even I entered this world. I'm in my forty-eleventh year in this planet dontcha know!

It's an age of simplicity, this thing in my head, but one in which even the now-simplest-to-treat ailment (scurvy, for instance) could have propelled me in particular headlong into the cart on the way to that pauper's grave.

One small positive here; we have the choice where we end up nowadays. Ok, we've the illusion of choice; the family's wishes will surely trump mine. Whether it happens or not I've at least asked to be burnt when it's my time.

No cart for me!

\*A conversation with myself, sparked in part by here on 10Cv4.


\\ Newsflash!! \\

Dateline: Right now!

We have a simply great work custom: anyone having a birthday brings in food and shares it with all. Today, 4rthur\* (thanks 4nne\* for cooking & laying it all out) brought a particularly rich spread, pizzas, cake, pork pies, some, er… tasty things…

I just ate a couple of slices of a Hawaiian pizza.

(pause for effect…)

And again I liked it.

To recap; if you read my recent 'Pineapple' post, you'll see I introduced a foodstuff (pineapple) positioned diametrically opposite to my views on the addition of fruit to savoury meals.

I'm not averse to foodstuffs prepared in challenging ways but pineapple is one of those polarising fruits; tolerable in isolation, downright wrong on a pizza. Or with gammon.\\

Or so I thought.

My palate must be changing with age; after all I eschewed the pepperoni pizza, picking up the Hawaiian in preference.

It would appear that 2016 is indeed a year of experimentation, compromise… If only my attitudes to other deeply entrenched beliefs could be moderated in a similar fashion.

Perhaps I need to go around licking stuff - you know, to test if my attitudes can be modified according to taste?

\*Names have been changed to protect even the generosity of those wonderful individuals here.

\\Gammon with egg FTW!

Rule 34

Yesterday I created and posted (if that's the correct term) my first podcast. (It at least looks and sounds like one.)

Today, whilst I was sat at my desk, a colleague approached and… "48 seconds" he said.

Despite the fact he'd earlier mentioned listening to the audio, and alluded to the (unfortunately fictional) Chorley FM slogan "Coming in your ears", my expression must have conveyed my abject lack of understanding.

He proceeded to explain, "[REDACTED]"

"Ah," I replied. Take a look at this.

But it's not really appropriate to search too deeply for a definition of Internet Rule 34\* on a work PC, is it.

\*Potentially NSFW link; be careful what you click, children.

Test: audio file

A test audio file - attached by the magic of 10C's menus to this post.

I've already uploaded it once but cannot find the URL to link to it, nor can I see the file from within (or without) 10C.

Here goes!

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