Friday, 24 July 2015

Goodbye Old Website

Goodbye Old Website.
I made it myself in the white heat of the Summer of 2006.
Quaint and quirky, it was never quite finished you know. Try clicking on the links marked "Advice" and "Networks". Ha ha - too late! The Old Website is gone.

For the past 9 years it has been quietly aging and becoming increasingly embarassing to the point where I have to ask people to desist from looking at it.

Inaccuracies have crept in. I am no longer the sweet-faced muddly lady you see in the photo. She has been replaced by a razor-sharp professional who still loves computers and still loves people. She has recently her hair cut like Pink in an attempt to appear more feisty.

And, oh look!, there's little Andy.... Little Andy has grown into Big Andy, a confident charming man who knows eveything there is to know about computers, and doesn't show off about it.

Since my humble beginnings in 2006 I have been honoured to know the talented Craig Goult, the web designer to the discerning.  You can find him at Amusingly, he so busy making innovative websites that he hasn't had time to finish his own. Shoemaker's children always the worst shod, as my dear old mother would say.

After years of stubborn stinginess, I have decided to give Craig all my money to create a fantastic new website for me. He felt that my deadline of three days was a little on the short side, especially since I want a design that is difficult to implement.

We are both currently in a creative fervour so you won't have to wait long. In the meantime, we are building up suspense by offering you a holding page.

Lots of love
Your very own
Helen The Computer Lady

Sunday, 2 February 2014

My Kindles: A Pictorial History

Roll on Helen's 5th Kindle. Replaced free of charge by the lovely Amazon and their helpful, if somewhat humourless, customer service people.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Morning moan

May the little baby Jesus and all his chums forgive me for what I'm about to say.

I find my children (16-year-old  boy/girl twins)  really annoying in the morning.

For example, today

7:14 deep comfy sleep in which I am dreaming of achieving a 300% speed boost on a vintage Pentium computer
7:15 sleep shattered by a town-crier standing outside my bedroom and delivering a double whammy of the style so beloved of this family. In this case, 1. time to get up mum 2. oh hey my phone is still not working.

I throw a dressing gown on and stumble downstairs to face the challenge of a new day.

Specific challenges this morning include:

  • staring at John's phone and wildly promising to remove rain from the inside so that it will work
  • removing entitled texting girl from my special chair in the kitchen
  • filling in a long explanatory note in the one-inch square area provided in a Highdown planner
  • listening to a complicated description of the struggles to find a suitable venue for the Highdown prom
  • receiving a briefing on the ways in which I have recently failed in my parental duties
  • getting the milk out the fridge and finding that it now contains 0.5ml of milk
  • listening to explanation of why milk carton is to all intents and purposes empty. Explanation delivered with the skill of a professional lawyer and I am somehow forced to admit guilt.
  • Answering enquiries as to the location of various items, although I don't even know what some of these things are.
This section of the morning ends with a double hellish crash of the front door. But I still have the dog-staring to get through. This is when the dogs stand stock still and fix me with deep tragic unblinking stares. Ted the collie has always done this, it's a collie thing. Remarkably he has taught Pablo, the terrier-style thing, to do it too. In the end I break down weeping and give them some food. 

8:30. Downstairs for another's days computer fixing.

This moan goes out to all the parents and dog-owners who are attempting to perform some kind of job or life independent of their hangers-on.

One day, we'll get our revenge.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Customer of the month: Morningwood Ltd.

We fix the computers
That carry the emails
That organise the cranes
That lift huge lumps of concrete into the sky
And carefully lower them into position in Cranford House School's new Sports Hall.

I love going out on site for Morningwood Ltd. They are always building something amazing. A bunch of nice guys who wear luminous jackets, make diabolical coffee and throw a wobbler when their email goes down.

Thanks Dan, Adam, Mark and all the team!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Red wine, computers and accidents

Pre-Festive Greetings from the itsgonefunny team!

Today I will be lecturing on the evils of drink. Specifically we will be looking at the equation:

lovely drinkies + computer = trouble

Now then, I know there is nothing sweeter than to curl up with a laptop, a glass of something nice balanced on the arm of your chair and do a little bit of shopping. 

Everything is super till the dog jumps up and the contents of your glass go over the keyboard.

I expect you will do as you please, but when it all goes wrong, please observe the following drill:

  • shutdown - turn the darn thing off and remove the charger. Your laptop may assist you in this by turning itself off
  • battery - remove it. If you don't know how, wake up the 3-year old to  show you. I know this seems cruel but this is an emergency
  • flip - open up the laptop as far as it will go and put it somewhere safe upside-down. Kind of like a tent shape
  • wait - be patient. We're talking 2 whole days. Take this opportunity to rediscover more antique occupations. Knitting, stamp collecting, watching TV - all fine
  • itsgonefunny - when you turn it on, everything will seem great except your keyboard won't work. Bring it down, we'll replace it. We may shake our heads at you and look slightly patronising, but don't be fooled - we've all done it.
DO NOT, DO NOT, I say again, DO NOT turn on the laptop and carry on surfing immediately after the spillage. The chances are, till your beverage dries out and the sugar becomes toffee, the laptop will work. Later on it will become a doorstop.

As the weather gets colder and Christmas mania kicks in, we see more and more of these sozzled laptops. The vast majority of these accidents seem to involve red wine, though recently I had one that had been fed Calvados. Why red wine though? Possible research direction there.

A keyboard replacement costs from £40 here, though some laptop keyboards are more expensive. We recently worked on a laptop whose keyboard cost £60. (And we charge £20 on top for fitting). Investigation showed that the reason was because it was a special spill-resistant keyboard. Many ironic eyebrows were raised that day, I can tell you.

I have only scraped the surface of the dangers of drinking and surfing, but that's enough nagging for one post. Meanwhile - if you have any stories to tell on the topic, send them to me at and I will publish them, anonymously or attributed, according to your desire.

Happy November!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A Halloween Tale

In the gathering dusk on All Hallows Eve, the itsgonefunny phone rang, making me flinch in a startled manner. Since it has been ringing almost continually for the last three months, my startled flinch is beginning to look like a nervous tic.

But I need not have flinched.. it was P....r R-W, a man so charming that he can ask you to please bring his computer round at 8pm on a Friday evening after a horrendously busy day and you will do it happily, considering it a bit of a treat.

Concern clouded my lovely/characterful (delete as applicable) face as I listened to his story.

"Helen, I'm terribly sorry to be such a nuisance, but my computer seems to have somehow contracted a terrible virus. Not only has my mouse frozen, but there is a picture of a witch on my screen, with a thing that look like you're supposed to click it".

I explained that long experience had taught us that the only way to be sure of removing a virus was to do our lengthy checkup/cleanup routine on a computer. Remarkably this takes us about 24 hours, involving a complete hardware checkup, a multitude of scans, a screen clean for the laptops, a dust for the desktops, pruning of those items that we consider dodgy or superfluous, and a through clean of all the routine garbage that silts up in Windows. All that for £60! We love the checkup/cleanup because computers you were about to throw away in annoyance become young and perky again. Actually you all ought to book in your computers for an annual checkup/cleanup, virus or no virus.

But I digress into a soft sell.

24 hours is a long time for me to be hanging around a customer's house, so it works much better if we can get the computer into the workshop. Mr R-W agreed to bring it down and he soon arrived with his top-of-the-range Dell desktop.

Intrigued by the unusual nature of his virus, I invited him to wait while we fired up his computer and looked at it together.

The mouse thing was soon explained. At home he was using an uber-fancy Microsoft mouse that had downloaded new software and was asking him to accept the 1078 page license agreement. Unfortunately. the software had disabled his mouse and he was unable to click the Accept button. What fun! We negotiated through that poser and then I idly opened Internet Explorer. I nodded with satisfaction on seeing that the home page was set to Google. I glanced smilingly at P and was surprised to note that he had gone white and was raising a shaking finger towards the screen.

"There's the witch! Look how evil she looks!"

I looked back at the screen. There was my customer's virus. It was the amusing animation Google had put on their home page to bring some  timely fun to their users.

I looked back at P R-W. And then I regret to say, I laughed at my respected and valuable customer. Loudly.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

August Skiving Announced

Long term fans of will remember that we normally completely disappear in the continental fashion during August. Hopefully, you, esteemed customers, will be quite chuffed  by this news.

Newcomers will be less thrilled and may be tempted to bandy about terms like unprofessional, slackers and who do they think they are? Rest assured that we are only doing this so that we can rest our brains and return even smarter, sharper and sweeter in September.

Have a great Summer!

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