Tuesday, 1st June, 2021

[Day 442]

The spell of fine weather is continuing and after one of the wettest Mays on record, we are now facing a spell of warm weather in which the temperatures here are said to exceed those in the island of Ibiza – one of the Balearic Islands off the eastern coast of Spain. So we made our usual trip to the park and there met with a couple of our usual companions and as we normally do enjoyed half-an-hour of banter and amusing conversation. We were joined briefly by someone we know who quite regularly walks 8-10 km per day (as his daughter-in-law checks on him with an Apple Watch) and we find this amazing for someone in their mid 80’s. He doesn’t stay and chat for too long in case his muscles get cold! The other day when I was in the park I remember watching a father playing with his daughter who looked about 8-10 years old. They were throwing and catching a kind of spaceship shaped object to each other and I noted how, even over the space of 15 minutes, the young girl’s ability to throw and also to catch the aforementioned object improved considerably. It did make me wonder how important it was for hand-eye-brain to be stimulated in order to develop and how children, deprived of such stimulation, might exhibit a failure to thrive. One thing we have noticed in our daily visits to the park are the kinds of bikes that the very young children are riding. The very simplest for the 3 year old seats have no pedals but are just propelled by their feet – this, I suppose, helps the child to develop the feels of balance and coordination required. After that they may graduate to a two-wheeler bike with stabilisers – the rather old fashioned three wheeler bike seems to have had its day. The point about stabilisers is that they can be removed once a child has acquired the necessary confidence and presumably fixed back again when the bike gets handed on to a younger sibling. Then, of course, there are a variety of scooters not to mention skateboards and the adolescent (males, usually) can whizz along the paths at a fantastic speed upon these on their way to the skateboard part of the park which is always very popular. Eventually, Meg and I collected our newspapers and then progressed to home where we enjoyed a nice meal of lamb, delayed from the weekend.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I enjoy messing about on my newly acquired IBM ThinkPad running Windows 7. As I have so little memory (about 1.25GB) and a 1.4GHz CPU it is one of my aims in life to find the least resource hungry applications I can find – to fit the specifications of a machine probably first specified about 15 years ago. Now I want you you to imagine the following scenario – on your Windows computer screen you have nothing else displayed apart from two icons – one indicating the Microsoft ‘Word‘ program and the other representing the Microsoft ‘Outlook‘ program. How would you use each one? The answer is evident, of course – if you had to compose a document for work or other purposes you would use Word to compose a ‘Word’ document. Turning your attention to the Outlook icon, you could dah off a quick email to a friend and even use Outlook to send the document you had just created to wherever. Then, as I was staring at the formatting toolbar in the Outlook clone I have just acquired (actually, OE Classic which stands for Outlook Express Classic) and noticed the formatting toolbar (which, in essence, we have noticed in the various versions of Word going back probably for 25 years). Then, as they say, something has been hiding ‘in plain sight’ over the years (I have used Outlook on and off for probably 25 years). I thought to myself ‘Why don’t I use Outlook as though it were only a word processor‘ – after all, via the formatting toolbar I can choose the font, size, colour, background, bold, italic, strikethrough, margin indents, link insertion, bullets, numbers etc) So I started a series of experiments in which I used Outlook as though it were only a word processor and using a bit of native cunning managed to produce a document complete with header, miniature table with coloured cells to remind me of the various formatting options) and variety of formatted text (bold, italics and so on) To which the question is : why on earth bother? And the answer is that I can produce a document (in html format which I tend to want anyway so it would display on a webpage if necessary) with a program which loads in about 5 seconds and occupies about 12,000k in memory rather than the official Word program which takes about 60-70 seconds and occupies 27,000k in memory and then you have my answer!