I’ve had a little bit of a break since my last post. That means I’ve been busy doing a lot of non-blogging things. Clearing the garden, trying out new computer games, playing updates to existing computer games and photographing my football team. Today, for example, I completed a challenge in American Truck Simulator and processed the images from last night’s football match prior to publishing them. I think I’m now ready to get back to posting on my blog and I have a lot of gaming things to write about. But, for Clare’s ‘Share Your Desktop’ this month, I have a Wingate & Finchley football photo and a story to tell…

…This shot was taken at Leatherhead on August 21st. We had just beaten the home side 2-1. In the photo Tee-Jay and Marc Weatherstone, our new manager, salute the fans in celebration. Tee-Jay is, I’m pretty certain, our longest serving current player though he was only on the pitch for the final few minutes as he has an ongoing injury. Marc was a player with the club from 2008 until he was poached by Dulwich Hamlet in 2016. He has over 400 appearances for Wingate & Finchley, so it was great to welcome him back as manager šŸ™‚ The start to the season has been a bit up and down. Many of the players are young, though there have been some experienced players signed like keeper Ben Goode, on the left.

So why have I got this shot on my desktop? Leatherhead are one of our bogey teams – we usually lose against them at their place and it’s roughly honours-even when they visit us. So for Marc to engineer a win down there was quite a feat for a new manager and the team! I said to Marc on the coach as we travelled home – “You know, you’ve slayed one of our dragons”. It was a moment I’ve been savouring since. The rocky start continues for the team, a draw and 2 defeats but then, last night we beat the league leaders, Kingstonian, 3-1 šŸ™‚ It looks like it’s going to be an interesting season!

Here’s a clue…

…A Valtra belonging to the Corporation of London deployed to Hampstead Heath.

If that left you none the wiser, let me explain. I used to do sequences of posts based around Farming Simulator 2019. Oak Glen Farm was one example…

I abandoned FS19 in September last year – disillusioned by the disruption being caused by the Windows 10 issues that made the game totally unplayable. I wrote about that most recently in this post. Now Microsoft have resolved the issue, I am posting more frequently and starting to get back into the games I used to regularly write about – Fishing and Hunting have both made a return in the last 2 weeks. The issue now standing in the way of restarting Farming Simulator 19 posts is the promise of the upcoming release of Farming Simulator 22. This week, Giants Software have announced a date for that release – 22nd November 2021. So, we can expect a return to the farm soon after that, initially on the farms included in the game as I expect map mods to take a while to filter through. It will also take a while for older vehicles to come through, so don’t expect to see this Massey anytime soon šŸ˜‰ …

Wellll – we haven’t had one of these for a while, have we? I was hoping to be showing lots of lovely screenshots from the Iberia dlc – the much awaited addition to the game that was postponed last year. SCS have delivered and it’s excellent! However, this post is less about the game and more about the mechanics of owning a pc for gaming purposes, although much of what I’m writing will apply to normal computing activities too. There are a couple of villians that will get a mention but they should be viewed as villians who were acting with the best of intentions and just messed up šŸ˜‰

Back in 2020, Microsoft updated my machine to Windows 10 v2004 – That update immediately rendered my computer unusable for just about anything with audio-visual stuttering. I wrote about it and expressed my anger in this post. The problem has persisted since then and at the end of April I once again rolled back to version 1909 from v20H2 – that’s 6 rollbacks and reports of what I’d done to try to resolve the problem sent each time. It felt like those of us that were affected (badly affected) were being thrown to the wolves. Others whose pc’s appeared to be working fine couldn’t grasp what we were complaining about. Tech advisors often suggested that we hadn’t done enough to update our pc’s to the latest drivers. It suffices to say that short of a full motherboard bios reload, I’d done the bloody lot in triplicate!

The threat of my pc being made unusable has been hanging over me for the last 8 months. At the end of May my most recent no-update grace period came to an end. I was dreading the enforced update happening again but it didn’t – instead of the ‘update and restart’ or ‘update and shutdown’ options that usually appear in the menu for closing down the pc, this time the options allowed shutting down or restarting without invoking the prepared update. It seemed that Microsoft had accepted that they couldn’t fix the issue and were adopting a compromise approach for those who found the update made their pc unusable. I chose to stay on v1909 because that at least worked and allowed me to game and post. I had a nagging feeling that it wouldn’t be the end of it, but it was good to be sailing on realitively calm seas for a while.

Wednesday last week, I had my 2nd Covid jab. I came home and did a quick delivery in ETS2 before deciding that I needed to take a lie down. I closed the game and shut down the pc in quick succession.

Next morning (Thursday) and feeling much better after a good nights sleep I decided to fire up ETS2 to do a couple of deliveries and make some progress towards some outstanding achievements – something I’ve been working on for a few months now. Imagine my horror when I found that my main profile had disappeared – all that effort lost! I tried a number of options to try to get it back but none worked. At this point many players would rage quit and probably never play the game again. That’s not in my nature – After a couple of strong cups of tea to accompany strong words about peoples ancestry, I decided to start a new profile. This profile, being post the Iberia release, would allow me to grow my company from scratch in the manner that I originally envisaged it. An opportunity bought from adversity. I thought I’d possibly caused this by shutting down the pc too soon after closing the game.

I hit the roads hard that Thursday afternoon, doing lots of hire jobs to build my bank balance ready to buy my first truck and trailer. I don’t need to tell you that I’ve been here before, only last time it was of my own choosing! This time is different though because I will be migrating almost all of my fleet from that lost profile into the new one and perpetuating their records so that I still know exactly how far I have driven in each truck. You see, as I have joked before, in the absense of Budgies, these have become my pets and companions.

I drove many Kilometres over the weekend – enough to buy my first curtainside trailer and, with a ā‚¬100k loan, a truck to haul it. I had narrowed down my choices to 4 vehicles and in the end chose Azyet, my DAF XF105 4×2. In the old profile she sported a metallic gold paint scheme as she was considered non-core fleet. But, now she’s taking point for the company, she has to wear corporate colours. So, she’s had a repaint…

…other than that she’s the exact same truck with a zero’ed odometer šŸ™‚ The others will follow as I grow the company šŸ™‚

It turns out that rather than precipitating the situation, I was a victim of a bug in the Steam Cloud that corrupted my profile. SCS are currently suggesting that players should turn off the save to cloud option. Must try harder on the teacher’s report for Steam this week šŸ˜‰

So I bought Azyet on Monday and completed her first shakedown run. Then I settled down to watch the Scotland vs Czech Republic football match. I was intermittently coming out of full screen and tweeting to fellow truckers. Suddenly I was greeted with a blue microsoft screen – basically an ‘Update Now’ instruction which, although it had buttons like ‘remind me later’, was not taking no for an answer – my mouse was disabled šŸ˜¦ The only option was to tap the restart button on the pc and wait for an interminable length of time as Windows 10 20H2 was once more loaded onto my computer.

I have been dreading this happening. After the initial update completed I made sure that I installed the numerous security and bug fix updates and then I tried streaming a tv program from Amazon. Within a few minutes I was experiencing buzzing audio and frame drops – clearly the issue was still there šŸ˜¦ I had a few ideas that I wanted to try based on suggestions in numerous posts from other people suffering the same issue on the microsoft community website. That took about an hour and made no difference. One of these that always amuses me is the ‘Disable your DVD/CD player’ – I don’t think there are many gaming computers that have those installed these days! So that was one I couldn’t try.

At the last knockings I went back to the Update & Security screen and found there was now an ‘Optional Update’ available. What the hell – I’ll download that, I thought. Some minutes later and another restart, I was ready to go back to my Streaming TV. Surprise, surprise – no stutters, buzzes or frame drops. I watched three episodes of NCIS without a hitch! It was late and I was tired by that time so games testing had to wait until Tuesday morning. When I fired up ETS2 on Tuesday, I’m pleased to report that I was able to drive my trucks without any issues and this seems to be the fix that we’ve been waiting for nearly a year to happen.

I subsequently checked up what was in the release – among a number of minor bug fixes and some new feature updates there was a fix for a memory leak – a bloody memory leak! That’s exactly the sort of issue that would cause the problems I and many others were experiencing. It was never about out of date drivers as some of the ‘associate technicians’ would like us to believe. And that’s why their suggested fixes didn’t work.

To Microsoft dev’s credit they did eventually find the problem and I know, from experience on far simpler code than Windows 10, that memory leaks are one of the hardest things to track down. But, having found the fix, to issue it in an ‘Optional Update’ package? That’s just perverse!

But that wasn’t the end of Tuesday’s surprises – Euro Truck Sim had an update too and when I opened the game, my lost profile was back! And that’s left me with a dilema…. šŸ˜‰