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w/e 2021-11-07

When we got our Fiat Panda a month ago I tried registering on Fiat’s portal thing for car owners. I had no idea if there was any benefit but why not give it a try?

Unfortunately I got stuck in a loop of having an invalid password but being unable to have the site send me a password reset email. So I sent a message via the site’s contact page, not really expecting to hear anything back.

A couple of days later I received a phone call – that I almost blocked, assuming the foreign number was spam – from a very polite lady in Italy who was very sorry about the issue and promised to look into it.

The next day she called again and asked me to send them screenshots of the problem. And then she called once more this week to say that, having spoken to the technical team, I should try creating an account but following certain restrictions on the password format.

That worked – I think my password had been longer than they allowed. So, yes, it’s silly that they didn’t mention these password restrictions on the sign-up form, or in the error messages, but it felt like extremely good service to have my problem dealt with by a real, apologetic and helpful, person via international phone calls.

Now I’ve been able to log in to the site, I can see there isn’t much actual benefit in having registered.


§ When I tried out Apple’s Mac Photos app recently I had it scan the photos I’d imported for faces, which I’d never tried before. It was quite nice to give these faces names and see a grid gradually build up of people I know, with their names and faces from my photos.

Having aborted moving to Photos I remembered Lightroom has something similar so I had it look for faces among my 15,000 photos. I now need to give names to the thousands of faces it identified – or, for all the faces of random people from crowds and backgrounds, tell Lightroom to remove those face regions.

Scanning over a screen full of little photographic faces looking for people I can give a name to is like a very satisfying tidying-up computer game, and a good way to pass an odd few minutes here and there. It’s quite fun (sort of) to see which unidentified faces Lightroom helpfully thinks might be people I’ve already named.

I’m not sure any of this will be useful to me but I guess it’ll make it easier for the computers to accurately identify their victims when the uprising eventually happens.


Photo of a view into a gentle valley, with green fields, and trees turning to autumn colours, with a brown stone farmhouse nestled among them
A view from along the road, from a walk today

§ Last Sunday I did a rapid home Covid test, because people were coming round and I’d recently been to that filthy virus-ridden London. All clear.

Later in the day I got my first “ping” from the Covid app, saying I’d come into contact with someone who tested positive the previous Thursday. I assume it was someone I’d sat near on one of the trains home that day, or while waiting at Paddington station.

So I went through a series of slightly-too-many pages on the NHS website to order a PCR test which arrived quickly, did that (ugh, gag, cough, gag, urrgghh) and went to the “priority post box” in the next village to send it off.

A couple of days later I simultaneously received a phone notification, text message and email telling me I’d tested negative. Phew! Let’s assume I administered the test correctly.

I don’t know, maybe this is happening all the time to those of you who live near other humans but it was my first ping, and my first PCR test, and it was nice to experience this part of the system all working smoothly.


§ Wildlife: Now that I’ve put a couple of mouse traps in the garage we appear to be reliably catching a mouse every night. I guess it’s good we catch them there before they – somehow – get into the house but, given there’s no way of stopping them getting into the garage is disposing of a stiff mouse something I’ll just have to do every morning forever?


§ Having heard many times over the years how good it is, this week we watched season one of Happy Valley which was very good. It’s been some time since I’ve watched something super tense, that made me want to stay up late to get through each next episode.

Sarah Lancaster was so good in it. While the usual trope of giving a lead police-person/detective a difficult or complicated personal life often feels like a token attempt to make them seem more interesting, here it all fit together well and was more integral to the whole plot and setting. Amazing to watch her cope so believably with such a variety of emotional situations.

I’m looking forward to watching season two, and pleased to see that they’ll be making season three next year.


§ That’s about it. Another week flown by with only a dent made in the constantly re-generating list of Things To Get Done. Hey ho.


1 comment

  1. After a year and a half of traps and hole stuffing and poisons, my landlords solved the rat problem in my apartment by dabbing really strong peppermint oil all around the house a few times a month. I couldn’t believe it actually worked

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