Monday, 17 October 2016

Reading Raymond Carver

I've had a Raymond Carver book out of the library for something like six months and got to the last selection of short stories. I nearly decided to take it back to the library today as felt like I was fed up with it, but I can't. I've learnt so much from reading it I must just read the rest.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Started a novel today

I started a post apocalyptic novel today. I have to do one for my degree and finally got going on an idea I've had for ages.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

My ideal reader or muse, no, not me

I just read an essay about the ideal reader. They were saying that all writers write to someone. I was told this a long time ago in a creative writing class and I would say it was the one main thing responsible for me not writing for years. I couldn’t define that person, who they were. I stopped writing as I thought I needed to find that reader to address.
All these years later, getting annoyed reading that essay, I discover what I actually do. I don’t write to anyone but my characters. I owe it to them to build their life in the story. I address the writing to them by building their life and reason to be. I owe it to them. I owe it to them to enter into their heads, not the readers heads. If I extract the human from my characters then that is what will resonate with the readers, not pandering to an assumed market, body of people, or Mrs Baggins of 3 Cherry Road, Basingstoke.

Save your eyes with f.lux

This software dims the white light on your display towards evening. Being dyslexic this is essential for me. I just found out I can manually dim the display further with keystrokes. I've used it for years. It's free, but after finding that feature I just sent them £5.

Friday, 30 September 2016

A proper menu for Windows10

It's not me being a Luddite but the standard Windows 10 start menu does not work for me. All I need is a list of programs on my computer, not a touch screen of "apps". Luckily some sane people give you a choice: Classic Shell.

This is a classic start menu that works with several versions of Windows, but, most importantly Windows 10. Get your sanity back and download it today.

A list of stuff

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Obsessed with battery life with my Android to be green

(note: I am a bit of a geek, this article comes with a geek alert)

My geeky homescreen

I have an obsolete Samsug Galaxy S3 and I am obsessed with battery life. I hate plugging in my phone as I feel like I do it too often, which doesn’t seem all that friendly to the planet. I also prefer not to upgrade like a mad man and try to extend the life of a phone that I do have. My S3 was struggling but I found a lot of ways to improve the speed of the phone and the battery life... therefore the life of the phone.

I do have a tablet which is much more modern and tends to get loaded with apps and is not modified from standard. It has fantastic batterylife anyway. The phone is different and I mainly use it for communication and navigation.

First steps.

The first thing I did was turn off services I didn’t need like Bluetooth. I switched on Power Saving. The next thing was notifications from apps. I went into each app info screen and turned off all that I didn’t need notifications for, including system apps.

Oh, and I run with minimal apps anyway. I'm not one for endless apps that I don't use.
Next thing was to turn of 3G when I wasn’t using data, which for me is a lot. This switch is buried in the settings but an app like Power Toggles allows you to have quick access to that setting via a button on your homescreen.

Next step.

I bought an extended life battery. This includes an extended back for the phone, which turns the phone into an 80s brick again! The battery is 4300mAh which is much bigger than a standard battery. There are larger capacity ones but I was never sure if they were a poor quality battery. The one I have seems strong. I also charge my phone with my tablet charger as it used to take all day to charge.

Cosmetic maybe

Next thing was having a new front end. I use the paid for version of Nova launcher. This may be an illusion but I put it on “faster than light” for all the animations.

I also enabled Developer Options and turned of animation in there. See links at the bottom of the post to see how to turn on Developer Options.


Here things got serious, and but for the battery upgrade, these battery apps do actually seem to work well.

The rooting software that I used is Kingo Root which enabled me to root via the app directly on the phone and not via a computer. After that I was able to set the Greenify app to rooted mode. This enables the app to “hibernate” apps. Don’t hibernate apps you want notifications from though!
I was also able to remove unused “bloatware” that Samsung had kindly given me but that I never used. I checked what I could remove by Googling what was ok to take off. Don’t, for example, take off Touchwiz, the Samsung core software.

After this I tried the software Xposed Framework. This gives even more functionality to the software to control the phone. A battery saver called Amplify actually seems to make a difference. Amplify is a module that runs under the Xposed Framework, the idea is that it stops apps waking the phone up for no reason.


Once you have gone the way of amazing battery life there is no way back. Some of the warnings previous to installing are scary but for me it went well. My battery seems to last forever, I certainly don't charge it everyday. However one does need to remember to charge it before going out, as a long battery life removes the habit of charging and I it is quite possible to have 20% or so on there before going out. The phone is definitely faster without all the bloatware.


I tried the above with my tablet and messed it up. This required more geekery to fix. I did actually stop at the point of a custom rom with the phone as the warnings said it may not be a good idea.

Useful links:

List of safe to remove bloatware Samsung Galaxy S3 

How to turn on developer options samsung galaxy s4

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Coronation Cinema, Manor Park, London

Coronation Cinema, Manor Park, London

The other day I was somewhere in London and snapped these pictures. My interest was sparked as I wondered what the building with Coronation written on it but Royal Regency on the door could be. Turns out it was once the Coronation Electric Theatre but after a long history is now a banqueting hall. The link here is very interesting:

Monday, 15 August 2016

Slack water by the Thames by Justin Tuijl

Slack water by the Thames
Mud from where I stand
To the water
Two Shelduck wade the waterline
Today, for this moment –
It will change soon
As the moon moves the tide
And the water comes.
To my right the wreck
A hundred years back
Only littered wood
To show the night so many perished
In water full of shit
As the sewage pumped from the city
And the crowded ship sank
Yesterday, past –
Tomorrow the Cormorant
Flies fast over the water
The Oystercatcher picks the waterline
Boats come and go
Another observer watches
And soon the moon
Moves away
And the tides will
Cease to ebb and flow