More Health Problems

For almost 2 months I have been feeling really unwell & my doctor is about as useful as a chocolate fire guard.  It appears that I have a Pleurisy Tract which is badly affecting my breathing & oxygen saturations, with some stats being down as low as 61%.   I'm on a second week of stronger Anti-biotics & they do seem to finally be working. Still have 4 days on those to go.

With my eldest brother passing away, plus my own health problems, this Christmas has been the worse one I can ever remember.  On a positive note I have accumulated some beer for when I have fully recovered, at least enough to enjoy them.

I am now hoping 2017 will be a little better than this year, 2016 hasn't been that great for a lot of people.  I suppose I should be grateful that I am warm & well fed, a luxury not afforded to everyone.

Happy new year everyone


On Going Health Issues

My health issues continue to be a problem & lately I don't seem to have the energy to do much of anything.  From 19/09/2016 up to today 25/09/2016, I have been coughing blood in my phlegm.  I have had a 5 day course of anti-biotic tablets from the doctor & three times this morning I thought it had cleared but then it started over again.  It is very light compared to how much I was getting last week but still a worry.  My breathing is unstable as well, one time I will feel great the next I am barely able to breath for a few minutes, although recovery time is fairly quick.   Oxygen Sats continue to fluctuate when walking even short distances.  So it's back to the doctors tomorrow & if things don't work out then I have to go to hospital, which I really don't want to do.

Let's hope that this soon clears & I can at least enjoy life as much as possible.  If you smoke, including cannabis, then you are a mug. You have the chance to change your lifestyle & avoid the problems that you are heading for.  It is true that in my lifetime I have only known one person die from lung cancer as a result of smoking but I have met hundreds who have C.O.P.D like I have.      


Refurbish from a skip & sold on ebay

So today is a very sad day for me, my faith in mankind has hit another low point.  Over the past year I have purchased a refurbished Samsung Galaxy SIII phone & and an ASUS Netbook both of which looked & worked like new.Both those items were purchased from the Argos ebay outlet & I was so impressed with the quality when I saw a Lenovo G50 quad core laptop on there I thought it looked like a good buy, so ordered one.

Three days later, very early in the morning, it was delivered & after having a coffee or two & a bite to eat I unpacked it & wasn't overly impressed by the scratches on the lid and the poor state of the frame around the screen. I have seen better in a skip (dumpster for my American friends). Still who cares as long as it works right?  Well AS LONG AS is the operative phrase here because at first it appeared to be OK once set-up, bit slow but after it had been switched off & back on it booted really fast. So I did the most important thing first, loaded my anti-virus program up.  Then did a scan to be safe, everything seemed ok.  I got a dongle and put some music on, no sound coming out. Plugged in headphones and got sound.  I thought perhaps it didn't have built in speakers.

So next job, loaded Skype.  This is where I found the first problem, no camera.  It should have a camera but nothing was showing so I checked device manager and no imaging device at all.  Then I tried the microphone and speakers.  The sound still came out of the headphones but nothing when they were taken out & the microphone wasn't showing any signs of life on the voice meter in Skype or the sound settings on Windows.  I tried updating the camera drivers but no joy.  I used my brand new Microsoft webcam & that worked fine.

In the end I decided to contact their customer support.  A day later I got a reply and after I replied to that I got nothing again so put in a returns request to ebay.  A day later and still no response from Argos Outlet & their twitter 'Helper' advised I should phone them, why should I waste my credits being left hanging on the phone for an hour or more, which is usually what happens when you phone them.  Instead I opted for the supplied email address & did get a reply from that very quickly, but it wasn't Argos support, it was a repair centre used by Argos. After a couple of email exchanges I had a phone call from the repair centre & a very charming young lady said she could book the PC in for a repair.  I agreed and she booked the courier ready. I have everything packed up now but have now discovered that this PC should indeed have built in speakers.  These aren't working either.

Are they just getting a load of scrapped or rejected laptops & making one working one out of several others? This seems to be the case.  Certainly the description they sell them under is false:

Manufacturer refurbished: An item that has been professionally restored to working order by a manufacturer-approved vendor. This means the product has been inspected, cleaned and repaired to meet manufacturer specifications and is in excellent condition. This item may or may not be in its original packaging. See the seller’s listing for full     _________________________________________________________________________________

These are in no way repaired to meet manufacturers specifications & in excellent condition unless they are so poorly made the cameras, microphone & speakers don't work.  So in conclusion steer clear of refurbished goods, especially from the Argos ebay outlet, you'll only end up with a whole lot of hassle.


I was contacted by the Argos support repair centre who arranged to have the computer collected, repaired & returned to me.  It was a little over a week before I got it back but it was returned in working order.  I did notice that they have now taken this item from their ebay store so must be an on going issue.


Need Some Motivation

Most days now I sit in front of the computer or watch TV getting more bored & less motivated as each day passes.  I have some great video & stills cameras, video & audio editing software, chroma green screen, some lighting, but nothing to use them on.

I'm really on the look out for a new YouTube user to help them build up their channel, make videos & basically find something to occupy my mind with.  I see some of the popular YouTuber 'stars' getting gifts from around the world but that doesn't really appeal to me but may do to someone else.  I have plenty of ideas, just need to find the right person who can commit to hard work & who is trying to get their YouTube channel popular.

Until such time I'll just keep idling my days away.


The Great Paddy Power Rip Off

Since the early 1980's I have loved the odd flutter on the horse racing. I don't really gamble heavy & from around 1995 to 2010 I only used to bet on the Grand National.   I liked the idea of on-line betting because of my current health conditions and when I saw Paddy Power offering Guaranteed Prices I signed up in 2011.  Other than keep forgetting my password I didn't have any problems with them, at least until now.

On Saturday 9th July I woke really early and after a cup of coffee I decided I'd have a look at the days racing.  I picked 3 horses I liked & placed a bet.  Then I saw 2 others running at Chester that I really liked and so placed another bet but with a higher stake unit.  On the first bet I only had 1 placed horse but the second, and most lucrative bet, came up. I went on to the Paddy Power website and noticed a few odd things.  It said my bet had benefited from their guaranteed prices, which it hadn't.  My first choice won at 7/1, which was it's price that I took earlier in the morning.  The second selection finished at 7/1, I had taken 15/2 (7.5/1) so there was no increase in the price. 

When I checked the returns at the prices I had taken I found that I had been underpaid by over £21.  I queried this and was told that both races were subject to rule 4 deductions but no where can I find any Rule 4 for either of these races.  The bet had been settled at SP so there was no Guaranteed Price Bonus.  On the first, losing bet, I had there is clearly a rule 4 on one of the races. As that horse lost this didn't affect the payout on the one placed horse.

I now see that guaranteed prices aren't really that good.  Firstly Paddy Power offer lower odds than most other betting sites and if you take SP you get the full price anyway.  There's no real benefit from Guaranteed prices If a horse is being heavily backed just take the best price you can get otherwise just leave it at SP. 

Another scam these betting shops use is a free bet if your horse is second to the SP favourite. If your horse is second to anything else you get nothing. If you do get your winning stake back as a free bet, any winnings from that will exclude the free bet stake.  So if you had a £10 free bet and you put it on a 2/1 winner, instead of £30 return you only get £20.

In conclusion it seems that if you have a decent win Paddy Power can pay out whatever they like and then claim the bet is subject to rule 4.  Try as I might I can't get the figures showing on the account to add up. Even if they paid out at SP the figures wouldn't show as they do & you can't get a run down of how they calculated the bet.


Things Are Getting Better

So we are almost halfway 2016 already & after a very poor start to the year health wise I can report that I am feeling much better now the summer sunshine is making an appearance.  I still get very breathless walking short distances but have managed to get out twice so far this year on the mobility scooter.  I still go to my friends house on Fridays when he is available to collect me and bring me back.

Music Updates

New York based Factory Fast records continue to send me new music & there are some brilliant artists & tracks amongst the collection.  I put all new music they send me on the rotation for the auto DJ radio station linked on the UK Get Discovered One of the best rock based albums I have from them is Steel Defender with various artists contributing the music.  The title track "Steel Defender" by Crying Steel has a definitive Class Rock sound to it.  I played it to a friend of mine who is in his 70's & he loved it.  Other artists are 21 Grams, Norse Super Band, Mister Susan, Bronson Burner & Angels Or Insects.  The album is available on iTunes & all other good media download services. 

Australian singer / songwriter Jordan Jansen has released a new single, "I'm Over You" and is releasing his first EP, "Invincible" at the end of the month.  This is available for pre-order now on iTunes. Follow Jordan on Twitter for up to date information. 

Jethro 'Alonestar' Sheeran has been awarded his first Platinum plaque for his Executive Producer / Producing of Bars & Melody "143" album which peaked at No.4 in the UK album charts.  He also has a new EP out "Cornerstone" which is available on iTunes.

I may be looking around for a new radio station soon. I fancy revisiting the Doo-Wop & Oldies club & The Music Mix to put out some of this great new music.  


New Video Show

After spending some time trying to find a decent radio station to broadcast on, & failing, I decided to try my hand at video / music interviews.  First problem I encountered was that most streaming sites don't allow under 18's anywhere on their sites and not even on Camera.  I did eventually find a free streaming site that basically requires you to embed the stream on your own website. It has no chat room so you are free to use whichever chat site you prefer.  In tests this stream had a lag of between 10 & 35 seconds but seemed stable enough.

I booked rock band REBELMANN for the first show, & I found what I thought was a better streaming site, youlivenow.tv.  In tests that has around a 2 second lag and the stream seemed really good.  So I prepared the website to stream from that. An hour before we were due to go live, that streaming site wouldn't connect & when it did the sound was buffering really bad.  I rushed around to put the website back, figuring a 30 second lag was better than a buffering stream.  Well it didn't work out very well, the stream kept disconnecting, the whole show was a total disaster.  I was gutted that this happened & felt that I had let down this great young rock band, but I did manage to record the show so put it on the website for people to watch when they had time.  A couple of days after this I found another streaming site, connectcast.tv.  Lots of testing and I found it very stable, little lag, and just everything I needed. I rebroadcast the REBELMANN show and had 24 viewers, so that worked out fine in the end.

Next show was November 22 with multi-instrumentalist Griffin Tucker.  Early on the morning I did have a slight problem connecting to the streaming site but then it seemed to go fine.  The show itself went really well, although the stream did drop for a few seconds about halfway through.  I'm not sure if this was the server or my ISP who are working on yet another upgrade to our speed.  Downside of this show was that half way through I realised I hadn't hit the record button so anyone that missed it can't get to see it now.

My next guest is another talented youngster, 15 year old Canadian singer / songwriter Cameron Molloy. We will be discussing his music, his influences & another aspects of his life as well as getting 4 live acoustic songs. It is a slightly later start to the show, 8pm UK, 3pm EST, because Cameron has a hockey match on the morning and couldn't make it home in time for a the normal start time.  Hopefully I'll remember to hit the record button this time.