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Referendum Reflections

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Last week the people of the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union by a small majority. This has divided the nation in a number of ways and plunged the UK into a complex crisis, not least constitutional. It must be said that I voted for the UK to remain in the EU, believing that to be the best way forward for the country and Europe as a whole.

One thing that concerned me before the vote was the fact that such a huge change could be carried through by a simple majority. Surely something so far-reaching should only gain acceptance on at least a 60% threshold, or possibly even a two thirds majority? With the UK split roughly 52/48 (and then not geographically evenly) there was bound to be division and tension with such a slender majority

But worse was to follow. There is currently a political leadership vacuum, and no one seems to have a plan for what a post-Brexit UK (or disUnited Kingdom) would look like. In addition to this, it’s emerging that politicians (especially in the Leave campaign) mislead the population with populist promises from which they are now backtracking.

Many will say this was the democratic will of the people, but there is more to this than meets the eye, and more than I have the time or inclination to go into. Suffice it to say that many voted Leave for a variety of reasons (some simply as a protest vote) and many of these people are now regretting their decision, not realising we would actually leave (unbelievable, but true) or are now concerned for the negative consequences – for which we were warned. We also have the democratic right to voice our concerns to our MPs, as it may become clearer what negative effects this decision will have.

One of the most immediate concerns is that the negative atmosphere created in campaign towards immigrants is now resulting in increased hate crimes. We can all do something positive to help by reaching out in solidarity and showing that everyone is welcome. One practical way is by wearing a safety pin as a badge to symbolise solidarity against racism – and to let any potential targets know that the wearer is a friendly face.

I simply write this as a concerned individual, seeking for ways to be positive and work together with others to make our land and continent a better place for all its citizens, especially our children and grandchildren in the future. I believe there is hope and I trust our nation and its political leaders will work together towards this.

Written by John Ager

June 29, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Posted in Politics & Society

Windows 10 Upgrade

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I’ve now had experience of upgrading three computers to Windows 10, so I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts as you may be undecided about it.

My first upgrade was on a Windows 7 work laptop which I upgraded before the [Get Windows 10] taskbar icon appeared. I started the process on the Microsoft website, and this went smoothly with no problems. My wife Naomi’s Windows 8.1 laptop had been having a few problems and eventually wouldn’t boot up, and so I did a factory reset followed by the Windows 10 upgrade (called a clean upgrade) which again went well.

Things started to go wrong when I was upgrading a work Windows 7 netbook. It was a simple job to backup the files on the netbook to a USB flash drive before doing a clean upgrade. So far so good, and Windows 7 successfully updated to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1). The problem came when Windows Update froze during the upgrade to Windows 10, and the process wouldn’t complete. A little research (in the form of a Google search) showed this to be a common problem, and a simple manual fix from Microsoft sorted out the problem. On my third attempt Windows 10 installed successfully.

A couple of things are worth mentioning. It’s a good idea to review the default settings in the final stages of the upgrade, and to switch on System Restore when it’s completed (it’s off by default). System Restore is necessary to return your computer to an earlier state after you’ve made changes and can sometime be a life saver. Also, the option to return to your previous version of Windows remains in Settings for a while should you wish to go back.

Windows 10 retains the feel of Windows 7 and integrates the new features fairly seamlessly. The distinctive features of Windows 8 (generally not well-liked by users) are there, but in a restrained way, unless you choose to make them more prominent. In fact, it’s worth finding your way around Windows 10 and tweaking it to your personal taste.

Overall, I think ‪‎Windows 10‬ is a big improvement on both ‎Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, but this is possibly down to personal preference. If you’re upgrading from Windows 7 you’ll find 10 easy to use, and if you don’t like 8 you’ll love 10. So, what are waiting for? Upgrade now!

Written by John Ager

April 16, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Technology

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