You’re Highly Strung Electronic Thoroughbred


Happiness is a serviceable computer


How many times has your desktop or laptop PC hiccupped leaving you wondering what is wrong? You know the kind of thing I’m talking about, when for no good reason it either stalls, or pops up a small screen, in totally incomprehensible computer-speak, telling you that to its electronic way of thinking, it has the equivalent of a stomach ache or headache of some kind.

Like all highly strung thoroughbreds (racing horses, yourself, your car/vehicle/automobile), your PC needs a certain amount of TLC. If you ignore the maintenance schedule due to your vehicle by just simply filling its fuel tank and driving it each day, eventually it will give up the ghost and expire on the side of the road. The same goes for your computer, no matter what breed it may be. Here for your edification is my daily maintenance routine for my laptop.


Each day I do the following to ensure my laptop is in tip top condition:

1.      I run the Windows Defender programme contained in my Windows 7 OS (other OS’s will have similar devices, you just have to look for them), looking for those pesky ‘malware’ and ‘spyware’ programmes that manage easily to get past my laptop’s own firewall as well as my proprietary antivirus programme’s firewall – (a word to the wise on this subject – always check your emails for viruses before opening).

2.      I then click on the ‘Computer’ heading and ‘right click’ my hard-drive’s icon.

3.      Next I click on the ‘Properties’ heading at the bottom of the drop down.

4.      Next I click on ‘Tools’.

5.      You will be taken to the ‘Check Now’ button in ‘Error Checking’, click on it and you will be taken to ‘Check local disk C’, or similar, depending on your PC’s configuration. Click the ‘Start button’ which automatically schedules a check the next time you start up.

6.      The final thing you need to do is to close down all your programmes and restart your PC. It will then begin the scheduled check on start up, in which it will re-set all of your software, check for and fix errors, before restarting your thoroughbred in tip top condition once more.

If you do all of the above on a daily basis as I do (it only takes a few minutes), it will help to avoid all of those stalls, software conflicts and ‘error’ drop downs that appear. The one thing it will not do however is to stop you from inadvertently downloading all of the mischievous ‘malware’ and ‘spyware’ out there. But at least armed with this knowledge gleaned by me from decades of using personal computers, you are now armed with a few good tips for keeping your thoroughbred content and in good working order…

PS – Set up your proprietary Anti-Virus system to do a daily check of all your software in addition to the above.

Jack Eason – author of "Onet's Tale" a science fiction novel, published by IFWG Publishing

When are people going to wake up?

This morning I read the article below spouting a load of baloney regarding the perceived shifting of time i.e. permanently keeping our clocks an hour ahead of GMT and for doing good for the environment and with the added carrot of giving us an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.

Who do they think they are kidding?

Despite all of man’s (manufacturers, and other greedy employers) best endeavours, the Earth still spins at the same rate. Daylight and darkness still happen as and when the part of the planet you live on is exposed to the sun. And yet, like sheep, the western world’s population somehow think that by altering mechanical and electrical devices like clocks, we are somehow better off. Balderdash!

Ask the many dairy farmers how they feel about the subject. No amount of clock alteration will change the fact that the cows come in to be milked at exactly the same time on a daily basis whether its dark or no.
And as for the ludicrous statement in the article below by Alan Smart, energy operations manager of the National Grid – well if you believe him you need your bumps felt!

Mr Smart, no amount of clock changing will make an iota of difference to the electricity consumption. When it gets dark, no matter what time your readjusted watch tells you it is, you will turn on your lights and you will turn on your electrical appliances and heaters…

“Not putting the clocks back in winter could reduce energy use and carbon emissions, as well as cutting road accidents and boosting tourism, British MPs were told.
According to researchers from the University of Cambridge, providing an extra hour of light in the peak evening period reduces electricity use.
If the clocks were not changed back to GMT in October, a least half a million tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved, they said.
Alan Smart, energy operations manager of National Grid, told the Energy and Climate Change select committee that comparing a weekday evening just before and just after the clocks went back showed lower peak electricity demand while the evenings were lighter.
In the autumn and spring, keeping British Summer Time could reduce peak electricity demand by the equivalent of the hourly output (1 gigawatt hour) of a large power station that would be providing power to around 100,000 homes, he suggested.”

Jack Eason – author of “Onet’s Tale” a science fiction novel, published by IFWG Publishing

Onet’s Tale Synopsis
Onet’s Tale is the classic tale of good versus evil with a lot of twists along the way. Onet an ancient being whose sole purpose is to trap and remove the evil he awaits, is the story teller. The story takes us across the cosmos as our hero’s, transformed into magnificent berserker warriors are caught up in an ancient intergalactic power struggles between the Alliance of Planets led by a consortium of Human and Nephile nations, and their arch enemy the Drana Empire who use Onet’s own kind the Khaz to do their spying and to carry out their evil intent across countless worlds. Just when Onet finally believes he has captured his evil foe, the story changes yet again for the worse…

A Brief History of the Races within “Onet’s Tale”.
Nephile           For thousands of years, the Nephile, a dyeing race, have been responsible for bringing culture and learning to the Cosmos. Roughly eight-hundred years before the story unfolds, their arch enemy, the Drana found them on Earth. To strengthen the Nephile gene pool, and fight the Drana, selected humans were co-opted. In time the first Human/Nephile was born (Auramooth), from whom the hero of the story Akhen is descended.
                        Drana    The Drana are a warrior race, hell-bent on conquering the Cosmos. The senior
Commander during the battle for Earth was Hanseer. The Drana emperor Nagesh believes he is descended from this Drana hero. When on Earth, the Drana base of operations was the Indian subcontinent. After the Drana lost on Earth, the Drana Empire slowly but surely retreated to their home system surrounding the planet of Dranaa, from which the Drana emperor takes the title “Dranaa”.
                        Khaz    The Khaz are an equally ancient species who are able to communicate cerebrally over great distances. They are the typical small grey alien with large head and large black eyes. Onet is the last of the original Khaz, peaceful and much taller than the later variations, which have become evil parasites, working for whichever side suites their own evil agenda…

Google admits copying data from home computers
Internet search engine Google has admitted copying household computer passwords and e-mails, it was revealed yesterday.
The company collected the information from wireless networks when its vehicles drove around residential streets taking photographs for its worldwide Street View product, which was launched in 2008.
Anti-surveillance campaigners have described the error as “outrageous” and the privacy watchdog has launched an investigation.
It is not yet known whether UK homes were affected by the security breach.
Alan Eustace, Google’s vice-president of engineering and research, said: “We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologise again for the fact that we collected it in the first place.
“We are mortified by what happened.”
Google, which is based in California, admitted in May that it had collected information about the name and location of wireless networks not protected by passwords.
But now seven privacy regulators have analysed the data and revealed the full extent of what was copied.
Mr Eustace said: “It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs [web addresses] were captured, as well as passwords. We want to delete this data as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for privacy watchdog the Information Com-missioner’s Office said: “We will be making inquires to see whether this information relates to the data inadvertently captured in the UK before deciding on the necessary course of action, including a consideration of the need to use our enforcement powers.”
Alex Deane, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “As if building up a database of photographs of millions of people’s private homes wasn’t enough, the news that Google has also harvested email addresses and passwords is nothing short of outrageous.
“Google must launch an urgent investigation as to how this gross invasion of privacy was allowed to happen.”
Alma Whitten, Google’s new Director of Privacy said: “We are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks.
“As soon as we realised what had happened, we stopped collecting all wi-fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities.
This data has never been used in any Google product and was never intended to be used by Google in any way.

Author Biography: Gerry Huntman

IFWG Publishing

Gerry Huntman is a father, husband, writer, publisher and IT Consultant. This means he is also a very good juggler. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and young daughter. Gerry has created fantastical worlds since he was a young child and was a creative influence in the Australian Roleplaying scene for decades. Recently he made the decision to write seriously for publishing and has already published a dozen short stories in many journals and anthologies. He is working on an epic fantasy, its sequel, and a modern day science fiction action adventure.

Painting component of cover: artist, Penina Gal.


Maree Webster is an ‘almost-emo’ from the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. She hates school and only has a few friends. She has an infatuation with Angels and Fallen Angel stories. Life was boring until she one day decided to steal a famous painting of angels from a small art gallery.

Her life will never be boring again. She meets a stranger at the gallery who seems to know her. She stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land below.

But not all is well. Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity, what makes her Maree, and more importantly, human. She has ties to the human world that she can’t bear to sever.

Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, but also across the globe, from Australia to Paris, and the Himalayas to Manhattan. It is about transformation.

Is history doomed to vanish?

“Many children believe Trafalgar Square – home of Nelson’s Column – features on the set of East-Enders.
Research carried out to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar shows many schoolchildren believe that Horatio Nelson was captain of the French national football team in the 1990s. Almost one-in-four also said that ships evacuated British troops from Dover – not Dunkirk – during World War Two, Walter Raleigh invented the bicycle, Captain James Cook was the captain of the Starship Enterprise and Christopher Columbus discovered gravity.”

The above quote appeared in an English newspaper today. For some unfathomable reason learning history in school is being actively discouraged by some head teachers – why?

Another article went on to say “Some schools are also preventing children from taking history GCSEs to steer them towards easier vocational qualifications.”

This is yet more evidence clearly proving that ‘dumbing down’ in schools is now socially acceptable here in the United Kingdom.
The report went on to say that: “In the latest study, the Historical Association found widespread evidence that history was being marginalised at all stages of secondary education.

Currently, most schools teach history as a distinct subject in the first three years of secondary school before pupils choose their GCSE options at 14. But the report said growing numbers of schools were cutting the three year course by 12 months to find more space in the curriculum for other subjects and to give pupils extra time for GCSEs. The proportion of secondary’s cutting courses to just two years doubled from five to 10 per cent between 2009 and 2010, the annual survey found.”

To my way of thinking we ignore the valuable lessons of history at our peril.

The current conflict in Afghanistan is an excellent case in point. The British tried to subdue the hill tribesmen along the Khyber Pass in the nineteenth century with little success. Then in the twentieth century, the then USSR tried to beat the mujahidin into submission by pouring a large well equipped army across the border, only to be beaten by the Afghan people defending their own homeland. If the historical lessons of these two previous attempts had been learned, our brave men and women would not be dying in their hundreds there today.

We should not ever forget the lessons of history, nor should the subject cease to be taught in our schools. To do so will be folly…

Jack Eason – author of Onet’s Tale