Showing posts from April, 2018

'Waiting in' for the repair man/courier, etc. - when IS the best time to nip out?

I realise this is basic probability theory, but almost no one gets this right, so I thought I'd put it in plain English... The situation. You're expecting a package delivered (and needing signing for), or perhaps it's a repair man. Either way, you know it's happening today, you just don't know when. You may even have taken the day off work to accommodate this. So you're waiting in. It might be 10 minutes. Or it might be 10 hours (a 8am-6pm window). You just don't know. Yet you want to either: nip to the local shops for milk have a shower/toilet/whatever some other task which only takes a few minutes but which will mean you're unavailable When should you do this? Is there a best time according to the laws of probability? Common sense says that it's random when the courier or repair man comes, so it doesn't make any difference when you take your break. But in fact, although the arrival is indeed random, the fact that your own una

Warning: the perils of proprietary backup software!

True story. Back in 2006 (ish) era, for a couple of years we used 'Backup Made Simple', a well regarded backup utility for Windows PCs. Multi-CDR-support, selective restore, it all worked a treat. And we still have the backup discs from that era. Except that we needed to access some of these files this week. And have utterly failed. The CDR are fine, it's the software. The app was written for Windows XP/Vista (that era, anyway) and I've had real trouble installing it under modern Windows 10, some 12 years later. Even with all compatibility modes enabled, the best I can get it to do is recognise the backup files - when I try to actually restore anything I get low level and very odd Windows library errors. Now, if we were DESPERATE for the files back then I guess I could reformat an old laptop, try re-installing XP on it and then go from there. It's A solution. But that's multiple tens of hours of work in all. The moral, of course, is obvious. When bac