pending insurance….

Good news: Dads critical illness insurance covers parkinsons as a payable illness

Less good news: It only pays out if you are under 60 years old….Dad turned 60 at the end of March so has potentially missed out by a few weeks :-/

Seems the prudential Norwich Union are being helpful and are actively trying to workout a way they can pay out as although the diagnosis was only made on June 3rd he had been visiting the Drs with the symptoms since Dec 2006

Fingers crossed…

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Finally, some (good?) news…

Spent a manic day in London up at Kings hospital today with my dad to collect the results of his DAT scan. It confirms the theory that he is suffering from Parkinsons.

Still, hopefully this is good news in many ways – at last he knows what the problem is and the consultant is now pescribing some drugs that may help. Fingers crossed… mind you, he is being prescribed dopamine agonists which the consultant had to warn us have now been shown to have interesting side effects and that we should remove all credit cards and shared accounts from him! No more night dog racing I feel…

Be good to get back to work tomorrow – I feel like I’ve hardly been in recently (week up in london for a Sun Cluster course, home for a day before a day back up there with the kids at the natural history museum (I’m sure it used to be bigger:)), a bank holiday, two days in work and then a couple of days off…)

As a result of this we then spent the afternoon in the Job centre plus in Ashford. God, what a depressing place. 4 burly security guards watching over random chavs comparing the size of their hoop earings…

Claiming incapacity benefit seems simple enough – but that won’t pay the mortgage. Unfortunately, it seems that despite my folks having an interest only mortgage and using an ISA/PEP to (in theory) pay it off the ISA is classed as savings so wipes out any chance of them getting income support! This seems a bit shit (it would be fine if it was an endowment, you know, like the things the governement told them to cash in a while back as they wouldn’t pay enough) and the woman in jobcentre plus agreed and has put forward a special case – no idea if it’ll work….should hear in 11 working days (11? How the hell does that work??). Good job they aren’t desperate for cash to eat or anything – it’s already been over 3 weeks…

Ho hum.

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it’s bigger than I expected…

Today our generator turned up at work. This is pretty much the last component of a complete refurb that we have been doing of our main machine room (people who knew the old one will not recognise a thing now!). The genny was a tad larger than we thought!

hmmmm....it's bigger than we expected :-)

I’m interested to see how quiet it is when we fire it up next week – it’s supposedly “incredibly quiet”…
I’ll attempt to stick some photos of the inside of the room up next week when we get it completely handed back to us by the contractors.

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this months random number is…

-0.85 \o/ (or, for whinging gits^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HJibbler, -0.85)

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Two steps forward, one step backwards…

Well, after giving up with the shit doctors attempting to sort out an nhs referral for dad (sorry, paperwork wasn’t faxed – we missed it etc etc) today we had a private consultation with Dr Phillip Barnes who is apparantly “Clinical Director for Neurosciences, King’s College Hospital and Consultant Neurologist (muscular and movement disorders)” (jobtitletastic) and seems to be a nice bloke (as I’d hope for 280 quid for 40 mins :))

I guess it’s good news that he seems to think it quite likely not to be parkinsons and it’s quite possibly Essential Tremor. Anyway, now they have ruled out lung cancer it seems that the next test involves a DATscan (which I’d never heard of) – however, the cost of this appears to make the 280 quid consultation fee a bargain so Phillip Barnes (private) is writting to dads doctor to get him to refer him to Phillip Barnes (NHS) and apparantly the scan should happen within 6 weeks at Kings College…that’s assuming the crap doctors in Headcorn don’t forget to fax the bloody thing again (third time lucky?)

As he also doesn’t trust GPs apparantly he will email me all the info next week (don’t get that from the NHS :)). Back to waiting for doctors letters then…

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Virginmedia++

yeah, I know they get slagged off endlessly and yes, their billing department is a bit like playing a really bad adventure game from the 80s but for the second time I’m seriously impressed with their support.

I’ve been with them for a broadband service for years (way before ADSL was even an option) starting with a 400Kbit service through 600Kbit, 1Mbit, 2Mbit, 4Mbit and more recently 20Mbit and up until recently I’ve not had any problems apart from a PSU on the modem dying (which was replaced within 2 hours of me phoning it in!).

For the last few weeks the modem has been locking up randomly – today I was downloading a couple of large iso images and I had to powercycle it a few times. I’ve phoned the 25p a min helpline and gone through the actions but the other day I stumbled across their support newsgroup (yes, newsgroup. Usenet. No, not a web forum, this is real plain text only goodness) so figured I’d give that a go.

Wow.

I posted at 19:24 on a Saturday evening. Tech support replied at 19:29 saying:

…your power levels are also
very low indeed, so we would like to arrange for an engineer to attend your property and investigate this issue further. He should also be able to swap the modem for you, at the same time.

Impressive. On a roll, I thought I’d push my luck and see if they could do this monday (as I’m working from home anyway). If you don’t ask…

Hi Darren,

I have arranged for an engineer to visit your property at the following date and time:

Monday 10th March, between the hours of 12pm-4pm.

This was sent at 19:42. 18 minutes after I first posted a news article asking for help. I’m *seriously* impressed. Wow. Not once did I have to give my mothers maiden name, or a password I set 8 years ago and now have no idea what it is. I didn’t have to talk to an indian call centre down a thin metallic tunnel. I assume they find my account details etc from the posting ip and email.

Wow.

Wow!

I’ll be even more impressed if they turn up on Monday – might even be worth paying a months charges for 🙂

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gah, cars

Bad month this month….firstly, the extra money I should have got for working over Christmas has still not arrived – we will be getting it in the March pay (which seems a bit pathetic given other depts got theirs in Jan but still…).

Secondly, the pug was due a service and MOTT – which it actually passed with only a wipe blade \o/. Still cost 250 quid though :-/

As well as that, the C-MAX was in for a service as well. Needed a couple of tyres which I was expecting but other than that is was fine in general (well, 270 quid fine) but there is still one really irritating issue with it – the bloody parking sensors!

For the last month or so, the parking sensors randomly disable themselves with a long beeeeeeeeeeeep. Annoying – and given the front of the car vanishes out of view a bit of a pain when trying to park the bloody thing in small gaps…

This is a 1.8 Ford CMAX ghia with front and rear parking sensors (hopefully, that’ll help others find this from google…). At random times the parking sensors disable themselves with the long beep from the rear which according to the manual means “Refer to dealer”. Ha! Not giving up that quickly.

Given the beep is from the rear, I assume the fault is at the back (an assumption I’ve not yet been able to confirm). Sticking it in reverse gear, ignition on with the electronic parking break off result results in all 8 sensor ticking as I’d expect when they are working – and when I tried this the other morning when it was having a “I’m not going to work” moment it all got a bit more complex…all of the rear sensors appeared disabled (fine) but only 3 of the front ones where working! Odd…

This made be ponder if my assumption of it being a problem with the rears was wrong so having *cough* acquired the ford TIS data CD and noticing that it appears to log a load of codes if there is a parking sensor fault I was pleased to find it buggering about this morning as I was driving past Sams Garage (Wincheap Canterbury – *highly* recommended as the sort of place my dad used to work at – not cheap but excellent) so I dashed in. Stick the thing on their code reader (blimey, these have got a bit more involved since I had anything to do with garages!) and await the codes…..

and wait….

and wait…..

Arse. “Failed to communicate with CANBUS”

bugger.

Given it’s messing around again, I run around and test the sensors (stick ear near them and a finger gently on them – you should be able to feel a pulsing and hear a gentle tick tick tick) and this time, all for fronts are ticking and the rears are off…

So, I’m not really any further. Sam has pulled the plugs off and checked the connections look ok (on the rear ones at least – front ones appear a bit more involved :-/ ). The diags on his computer appear unwilling to talk to the onboard computer (which may or may not have a fault code logged).

I have some diag data from Ford now that gives me a few test voltages and resistances to check out but beyond that, I’m a bit screwed I think. Ford prices on the sensors are 34-40 quid a piece and the rear module is just shy of a 100 quid – given the local dealers habit of randomly swapping bits till it works I’m reluctant to drop it in there and cough up a few hundred quid but it’s getting to the point where I’m not having much choice (I suppose pulling the bloody speaker off to stop the beeeeeeeeeeeeps and just ignoring it is an option).

Grrrrr

Still, hopefully I’ve spread enough key words around this so that google will find it and send me others with a similar problem – please post a comment or email me on beeeeeeeeeep@bogit.com if you have *any* information on how to debug this further (or even if it’s driving you mad as well!).

I’m really going off of cars

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Welcome Dr Fil Jnr

Congrats to Fil and more deservedly, Emma who in Phils words has “finally popped”.

Baby Sophie finally arrived monday 18th Feb (if I put it here, I might be able to remember it :))

She weighed something, Emma did well and just had some pain stuff. Blah Blah *baby stuff* etc etc

More importantly, I’m hoping to meet phil for a beer or 5 real-soon-now ™ (likely 18th March, normal place from 5:30ish, mines a pint of harveys thankyouverymuch).

Amusingly, after he emailed me the news, we had arranged the beer after one round of emails – it took 4 exchanges for me to get the name 🙂 Glad to see fatherhood hasn’t messed with phils priorities.

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Advent 9315 crappy laptops

About 4 this afternoon, my neighbours knocked on the door for some help with a new laptop they had just picked up from Currys – an Advent 9315.

The guy in the shop had said “just turn it on, it really simple”. This it turns out was utter bollocks.

Firstly, none of the drivers were installed so it needed 9 reboots to install the 6 drivers (no, I don’t know why the supplied CD appeared to install the media slot, modem and lan drivers twice). Once this was done, it still appeared to have no wireless. Windows reported that “no wireless device is installed”. Grrrr.

Turns out that after booting, you have to press fn-F10 to turn on the wireless. Everytime. What a pile of toss. Anyway, after turning it on (which caused it to install drivers and then insist on another reboot …. grrrr, I thought vista was supposed to remove the need for endless reboots?) it came up with a wireless card – woohoo. Except it couldn’t find any networks. None. Bugger all. My powerbook was happily sat there connected to my home network and offering me 5 others. The Advent however told me nothing was available.

After spending ages trying to work out what the hell was going on I took it upstairs and sat it next to the wireless router. Ahha! 1 bar of signal. If it was within a ft or so of the router it worked badly. Any further than that, forget it. The chances of using it downstairs – nill.

A bit of googling suggested others with similar problems so, if you are thinking of buying an Advent 9315 beware – it’s a bit toss 🙂

(yeah, I know, blog slacker etc etc, I’ve been busy with various trips, diy and sorting out grave stones (how much?!!!?11one! For a paving slab???) so whistle for it :))

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W00t

Disneyland +++
5* hotel +++
5* hotel bar $$$
Magic fairies that come tidy your room twice a day +++
Magic fairies that come turn down the bed and leave you chocolates each day +++++
Man in top hat and tails at call 24hrs to make you a cup of tea ++++
Tea “menu” which is baffling and doesn’t include “builders” —
Disney Christmas music piped *everywhere* ++++
Disney Christmas music piped *everywhere* on second day +
Disney Christmas music piped *everywhere* on third day —
Disney Christmas music piped *everywhere* on fourth day —-
Discovering wife has bought CD of bloody Disney Christmas music ——–
24 hr room service +++++
24 hr room service $$$$$
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster +++++++++++
Crush’s Coaster ++++
PeterPan ride –
PeterPan ride after 5 rides —-

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