2013 — 10 March: Sunday

I am enjoying a minor tussle with the Win8 "Windows Defender" version 4.0.9200.16384 this morning. My last completed scan seems to have been 48 hours ago and, in the wake of three or four signature file updates since then, all scans now appear to die at about 95% complete with the software blushing red, stopping itself, and suggesting I now have an "at risk" PC until I restart it, which I do (of course). Having scoured the (frankly less than stellar) MS support pages last night and tried their "Fix it" wizard (only to be told it doesn't apply to my system — so why offer it on a Win8 solutions page, I wonder?) the best advice seemed to be to re-install the software1 which, if you please, quite often stops working after signature file updates.

Since I was a lot more entertained by my books and music last night than by wrestling with (less than stellar) software I left things at that. This morning I may even start investigating alternative antiviral measures though, in general, I find them to be little more than a massive pain in the sit-upon.

Meanwhile, my newest bank has just reminded me yet again about tomorrow's now-cancelled appointment. I think it's time (10:10) for a bit of breakfast and a couple of hours of Cerys, followed, for a change, by Harry Shearer. Excellent.

And — bearing in mind...

... the gruesome short-term weather forecast — a quick supplies run to top-up Mrs Hubbard's echoing cupboard and assemble my next batch of crock-pottery ingredients. I'm reverting from beef (horse?) to NZ lamb this week. Done. Time for lemonses.

Once more on...

... the defensive. I downloaded and manually installed the bang up-to-date signature file here (which, for whatever reason, the Windows Defender on BlackBeast wasn't "seeing" when simply told to update itself). I then ran a scan that completed successfully. (Tip of the hat to this 'experts' item.)

I shall celebrate with lunch, to the accompaniment of Episode #9 of the very impressive remake of "House of Cards". It is, by the way, jolly cold out there.

Recall Dorothy Parker's...

... dictum about leading a "horticulture" but being unable to make her think?

In popular culture thinkers are despised. A sick delight spread over the rapidly warming landscape when it was revealed that Sir David Attenborough had filmed some baby polar bear footage in a zoo to supplement the painstakingly gathered location shots, as if everything this wise old man had ever said could now be gleefully erased from the record and replaced with recordings of Jeremy Clarkson snorting petrol fumes out of a slit in a life-sized inflatable model of David Cameron.

Stewart Lee in Observer

Quite an image.

This snippet of...

... paranoid wisdom from Dr AR Dykes of the British Institution of Structural Engineers reliably makes me smile:

Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyse so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.

Date: 1976

I can still recall sending off two 'sixpence' coins carefully taped to my letter to Polaroid in the UK in the 1960s to obtain in return four little sheets of neutral polarising filter. If you placed a clear plastic shape (such as a hook) between two of these filters and then applied force to it you could see visible evidence of the lines of strain, when viewed through one of the filters. Fascinating.

I'm rather hoping the "deep scan" that has now been in progress for over 90 minutes and inspected over 1.5 million files will deliver a clean bill of PC health... [Pause] It has, after assessing 1,594,672 "items". Phew.

Bother! I forgot to buy another little bottle of cooking wine. I don't suppose port will do the trick...



1  I would do that were it not for the fact that the (less than stellar) support pages also all insist that Defender is part of Win8 and I couldn't find where to download the thing afresh. I can find the earlier versions but am also assured I can't use them with Windows 8. ("But you don't need to, Windows Defender is already included and ready to go.") As you might expect, exactly the same level of software on my laptop is sailing through its updates and scans without any reports of difficulty.