24 July, 2016


I upgraded to Windows 10 this weekend.

For reasons of not wanting to be at the 'bleeding edge' of technology on the machine that I use for nearly all my personal computing activity ( although I'm sure many would argue that Windows 10 is nowhere near that state ), I had held off until almost the last minute.

Agreed, I had already installed Win10 on an older laptop without issues.

That laptop is defying the last technician who repaired it : still working ( the CPU has lost a large part of its heat-protective coating, apparently, and "it's only a matter of time" ) but that's understandable, since I barely use it apart from switching it on to ensure it updates regularly. 

I already took most of my data from it and have already backed it up obsessively, as one does. No doubt, I will forget which backup is the latest and holds most information if I ever need to get at the data.

However, back to the main upgrade, and a flawless install process. 

It took about 90 minutes and I only had to click a few times, mainly to say "no" to sharing lots of things with Microsoft and/or the world's applications that apparently want to use my camera and microphone, amongst other things !

So far all my chess software ( now "apps "! ) works, but I expected nothing more since they all worked on Win7 and Win8.1 as well. 

Even my old Convekta software ( from the 80s or 90s ? ) remains in working order, along with the more modern Aquarium, although frighteningly that is already 2 years out-of-date, and still has the tendency to freeze when I try to exit.

Some of them ( Chess Position Trainer in particular ) seem to start quicker, but generally they just work, and I am happy with that.

The only issues I've come across were that my browser switched back to Google as the default search engine ( easily corrected back to Duck Duck Go ) and quite a few apps don't show up in the "All Apps" list, which is annoying.

This means that I cannot set my default browser to anything but Edge or IE. I use Opera it as my main browser, but it just cannot be selected  : very frustrating ! 

Same for a few others.  

For example, I use Dasher for playing chess on ICC, and it doesn't exist as an app, so its not showing up in "All Apps" although it does appear when I search.

Irritating, but not terminal. Doubtless, some intensive internet searching will suggest some ( read, many :) solutions, but I will leave that for now ( although if anyone has the solution....? ).

So far, I'd put myself in the 'happy with Win10' crowd since it does what I want in an effective way and without any major issues. Additionally, having installed it, I can always revert to Win8.1 within a month, yet still qualify for the 'free' Win10 upgrade, which is re-assuring.

I will note that it doesn't start up as quickly as Win8.1, or at least that's my impression. Maybe it just needs a few re-starts and general use until it settles down. 

Anyway, its a tick on my virtual check list that indicates I have secured a future-proof operating system ( although still behind my aged mother who upgraded about 10 months ago ! ) and can look to fill in the ticks on a few more interesting boxes on that list now.

20 July, 2016


The time elapsed since the last post just shows me that I have been tied up too closely with work issues.  

What chess I played has revealed that I really need to pay attention to tactics, as I miss them far too often.

I reach decent positions, am not sure how to progress ( often my opponent is in the same slippery place ) then miss a tactic and spiral downhill afterwards.

Here's a typical missed opportunity, easy to spot when shown as an exercise, but easy for me to miss with a time-constraint.

White to play

The other area is endgames (or maybe its calculation in endgames).

Here I am, played a nice series of exchanges to go a pawn up, but play the wrong move, and give the game away.

Equally, this could be classified as over-aggressive play, or over-estimating an advantage and trying to take more than the situation actually gives ?

Black to play
However it should be classified, it frustrates me to lose in such situations, but the only way correct this is to put in the effort, and plainly, I need to make the time available to do this. 

Question is, will I ?