November 2008

So, having reinstalled the original version of ZoneAlarm that worked so well I find that it now does not work, and is back to its’ old tricks of limiting access to local only. No internet. As ZoneAlarm was working fine before I upgraded the program and now the clean install isn’t working I can deduce that it is ZoneAlarm in conjunction with one of the Windows updates that is causing the problem. I’ve installed a bucket load of those so I’m not uninstalling them and rolling Windows back. It seems my only option is to take off and keep off ZoneAlarm


Touch wood the new car is running like a dream. I still have to get fully used to it, driving, all its’ strange quirks and little noises, but things are looking good at the moment and it looks like a sound investment. It’s bloody good on petrol too. When I got it I put my normal amount of petrol in – it filled the tank up! People say it’s going to be good on mileage too. I gave it a good run last night and all seems well. Very little petrol usage.

I’ve noticed that I’m starting to get spam on this blog now. Luckily I have Akismet working in WordPress and it catches each and every one of them. Most seem to be coming from Russia, (well they have Russian email addresses) and are the usual links for Viagra and the like. Eight today.

So I was tidying up my hard drive, which means deleting from the laptop and archiving to the USB drive, and I came across my software backup. I have taken Zonealarm off my computer as the new version conflicts with my broadband. The new version caused trouble when it was on the computer, and no problems when it was uninstalled. It was the third or fourth thing that I looked at when I was having the problems and I was surprised that it turned out to be Zonealarm. But I thought I had deleted the old version. I do that with Zonealarm as its’ updates are basically the full program. But I saw that I did back up Zonealarm to the USB drive when I initially downloaded and paid for it.  (Actually I paid for another program and got Zonealarm free.) So I have reinstalled the older version and we’ll see how it goes from there. It gave no problems before and I’m not expecting any but you never know.

It’s nearing the end of the month and time to check bandwidth. It’s still way down, well below my limit. I might go on a downloading spree at the weekend. But it is working out more or less the same as last month. Roughly the same amount of days and the bandwidth for both months is pretty close to each other. I expected there to be a big surge at the newness of it all and all the freedom, the big difference between dial up and broadband, and then slowly settle down into a steady pattern. But I guess that I settled into a routine pretty quickly after getting broadband.

I’ve not had much luck with cars in the past few years. I had to scrap a car because it was virtually impossible to get replacement parts. Then some moron smacked into the back of the one I got after that. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the insurance company – the other guys’ insurance company – hadn’t written it off. Then I had to fight the bastards to get a half decent amount of money in compensation for them doing that. I had to threaten them with the small claims court. Even then they bare face lied to me. That was also the last time I wrote (or will write) to my MP, Broon the Goon.

The car I got after that lasted a couple of months. When it went in for its’ MOT I found out it would cost more to fix it than I had payed for it. Then I bought the one I have now. It seemed fine at the time and passed its’ first MOT with only minor fixes needed. But then there was the engine trouble at the beginning of this year, and when I took it for an MOT it had countless minor problems and a lot of rust.

I’ve now bought another car, this time spending considerably more than previously, and with any luck (pfah!) I should get four or five years out of it before it goes belly up. I bought from a dealer this time and got a test drive. It seemed good enough apart from a minor problem which he said he would get fixed. Two lady owners and small mileage. The car itself seems sound, and passed its MOT with no problems. But then again MOTs are not that rigorous a test.

I get delivery tomorrow. My insurance starts midnight tonight on the new car. Another story but I was able to save seventy quid on insurance by going with someone else rather than my present company. Plus I’m getting some money for the car I have now. Not much but enough for me not to grumble.

So the journey to get a replacement car has led me a merry chase so far. A mechanic has said he can get my car through its MOT but I will have problems with the engine within a few months. and the problems are starting to appear already, never mind a few months down the road. It seems I’m having a recurrence of the problem it had at the beginning of the year when it was only running on three cylinders.

I’d made an appointment to go see someone about a car today. When I got there they weren’t happy about me taking it to a mechanic for him to have a look at it; even though this was all discussed last week and had been agreed. My suspicion is money. The guy either wants more or has another buyer willing to pay more. Something he said made me feel it was all about money.

So I’m looking around, and have already called my insurance about the renewal. That in itself was a twenty minute merry go round with me getting passed from pillar to post and back again. Royal Bank of Scotland car insurance might not be getting any money from me either.

The detagging has been sorted, everything is okay now. There were some problems with being kicked off the internet over the last week.  Sometimes I would be on for only a minute or so and the computer would report that the network was local only. It was bloody odd. There was a suspect who turned out to be the culprit. I had upgraded ZoneAlarm just before this happened. I switched it off but it still happened. I uninstalled the program and hey presto, no problems since. I found that a bit odd. I’ll continue to monitor the situation but it seems that ZoneAlarm (or at least the newest version of it) was the culprit as there has been nothing but perfect connections since. I’m back with the built in Firewall from Vista at the moment. When I get some time I will look into  alternatives, as I know there are a few out there.

My bandwidth is a little  over 800mb for ten days, which is still well below the 5Gig allocation on a per day basis. But over the weekend I did download a few programs to try out so I expect the usage to go down – or not go up as much – this week.

At least for the public. An email arrived on Friday from antics but I only read it on Saturday. Sales haven’t been good and they are going to concentrate on business to business. Antics will no longer be available to buy from their site after the end of November. They are going to continue supporting current users for a while and it seems like a maintenance release will be issued in the not too distant future.

There has been some comments on the Antics forum, a lot of people are obviously disappointed with the news. Some have apparently just bought Antics and aren’t too pleased the software they have spent their hard earned on is going down the plug.

So the car decides to go mental just before its’ MOT. There is a hole in the exhaust, it’s leaking oil, one of the tyres is flat. Then I get a phone call this morning from the guy doing the work. Turns out the car is in need of serious repairs and he’s worried about the engine.

It would cost more than the car is worth to do the repairs so I’m now hunting for a new car. When I say new I mean cheap. But that’s half the problem as you are buying cheap cars today which don’t seem to last too long.

The MOT runs out at the end of the month and the insurance as near as, so I’ve got three weeks or so to sort out a new car, get a re quote for the insurance and scrap the car I have right now.