An Englishman In Isabela Blog #91 – It’s Wednesday

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I managed to sort out the payment to Stephanie last night. Instead of using my expensive UK mobile I phoned my bank via Skype, which cost only a few pence, and they set everything up in a just a few moments. Apparently she gave me the wrong sort code which is why the transfer didn’t go through before although, based on the number of debits and contra items in my account, they must have tried at least three times.
On the site yesterday they were finishing the final wall of our house and had started constructing the walls of Mangligot next door. Our contractor sent us a list of questions about the extension of our construction project as we need a perimeter fence/wall, driveway, backfill of the remainder of the garden area and maybe a pool. While gravel and compaction thereof will be required for the driveway and pool area, only uncompacted embankment earth and top soil will be needed for the areas we will landscape.
Behind the site yesterday and across into the slightly higher levels of the neighbouring lot we are renting, Nelson and a friend were preparing the ground for vegetable planting. It should be so much easier to irrigate these upper terrace areas when all the construction stones and gravel have been removed. There is a channel under the road which brings water into our lot from the irrigation channel opposite but at present it can only access one side of our land due to the heaps of raw materials. As we anticipated, it will probably be next planting season before the total area, excluding our compound, is available for crops.
Apparently I have another Microsoft update to install and I don’t even use Internet Explorer these days, much preferring Mozilla Firefox. IE always freezes on me and is extremely unstable. Firefox is a solid product. I wonder if they will do an operating system at some stage. At present both our PCs use Windows Vista. We are not interested in upgrading to Windows 7 as Gina’s machine could not load the latest service pack. Microsoft were unable to resolve the problem so when the updater backed out the failed update I simply terminated automatic updates on her machine to prevent any corruption of her files. Today it’s an update to something called Silverlight, which I don’t think I would use in a million years, but they say it’s important so that probably means in Microsoft speak that either they’ve found a bug or yet another security hole needs to be plugged.
When Windows 95 was launched I remember visiting a Computer World outlet in Croydon, UK just before midnight as Microsoft were due to release their new operating system as the clock struck the hour. I suddenly found myself being interviewed by a reporter from the Independent national daily newspaper. He asked me what I thought about using the new operating sytem and I said I was concerned it might trash my hard disk. The quote appeared in the newspaper the next day with my name and the same day my new purchase trashed my hard disk and I had to reformat the drive and reinstall all my software from scratch! Since then my confidence in Microsoft’s ability to produce quality products has evaporated. Everything they produce seems to be bug ridden or has security vulnerabilities that require constant bandaids. Look across to the experience of Apple users and you see a vast difference. So any major equipment change for us is probably going to have a fruit icon on it.