Gentoo penguin

When I first took up photography as a hobby, it was important to me that photos be taken in full-manual mode as I thought that doing so would teach me about exposures. I’m not entirely sure how successful that method was, but it sure did make me a slow photographer! I now shoot almost invariably in aperture-priority mode. A piece of nostalgia for me, here is a photo from my full-manual mode days.

Refuse worker in Myanmar

This lady was hard at work in a refuse dump out in the country, several miles from the nearest town. Some of the refuse had been set ablaze and, as I ventured further in, my throat and nose became the first casualties of the onslaught brought on by the thick acrid smoke. There were two benefits though; where there was an abundance of smoke, there was a scarcity of flies, and the rotting stink from the refuse was masked. You pick your poison.

The heat of the sun, coupled with the heat of the fires, did not help. The lady worked on, moving piles of refuse from one area to another, sorting out those that should be burnt, those that should be buried, and those that could be scavenged. This was a hell to me. But these people suffer and endure. She looked over to us, and smiled.

Yay to the threaded bottom bracket!

Cycling Mountain Bike-96One of the key things I love on my Santa Cruz mountain bike is the threaded bottom bracket. Most other bike manufacturers had moved to press-fit bottom brackets over the years but I, and a few others, were not convinced that press-fit BBs where, as a whole, better than threaded BBs for most people. I really appreciate the easier maintainability of threaded BBs and that they don’t tend to squeak!

A recent BikeRadar article describes how there now seems to be a trend amongst manufacturers to return to threaded BBs. Of course Santa Cruz’s steadfast loyalty to threaded BBs gets a mention :)

Man and rice

This man was preparing rice for the Karen New Year festivities in a rural village. The celebrations continued long into the night. This was a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken in December 2014.

The ad-riddled crippleware called Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Windows Pro will no longer be so “pro”. I’m calling it ad-riddled crippleware. It’s a shame. I’m considering a jump from Microsoft OS to Apple for my next machine.

Joy and sadness in Iraq

There I was, in southern Iraq, just a few miles from the Iranian border. It was another hot day, and I was standing outside the structure called Ezra’s Tomb. Nearby, three kids were peeking through a doorway, their faces in obvious delight at the interest being shown to them by my camera. But the countless horrors of people killing other people will touch their lives in countless ways, and I wonder if they still smile.

Outside Ezra’s Tomb

Reconnect mapped network drives in Windows OS using Command Prompt commands


Sometimes when booting into Windows, the OS does not reconnect mapped network drives even though the mapping was configured with the “Reconnect at sign-in” option.

Although there are free Third Party software available that can automatically reconnect your mapped network drives, I would rather be able to do this using built-in tools than add more unnecessary software to my system. I came across a response someone had written in a blog about using Third Party and showed how you could use a few Command Prompt commands using the “net use” command. I’ve lost the link to that blog article, but I did copy that code and built my own batch script around it. The key change I wanted to make was to put in a limited number of attempts just in case the NAS drive was down.

This is the code I use which I’ve put in a .CMD batch file which is executed by Task Scheduler at user log on.; this is better than executing it via a shortcut from within the Windows “StartUp” directory as I have flexibility in adding delays without needing to change the code. Talking of the code, I recognise that it is a bit ugly and some of you scripting experts can make it far more elegant. But it works for me and I didn’t want to spend too much time on this when I could be doing other more fun things! Note that this has only been tested in Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

SET me=%~n0
SET parent=%~dp0
TITLE Mapping network drives
@ECHO Please wait whilst we reconnect your network drives.

SET neterror=0

SET counter=1
SET loopvalue=11
SET /A trueloop=%loopvalue%-1
ECHO _____________________________________
IF %counter% EQU %loopvalue% (
 ECHO Connection to D:\ drive timed-out
 SET neterror=1
ECHO Attempt %counter% of %trueloop% to D:\ drive
 ECHO Attempt %counter% successful.
 SET /A counter=%counter%+1
 GOTO Start

SET counter=1
SET loopvalue=8
SET /A trueloop=%loopvalue%-1

IF %neterror% EQU 0 GOTO Endofscript

ECHO _____________________________________
SET /P userinput="Errors were found. Do you wish to try again [Y/n] " 
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "y" GOTO Start
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "" GOTO Start
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "n" GOTO Endofscript
GOTO userconfirm

ECHO _____________________________________
@ECHO Please wait, script is closing.
@EXIT /B 0