Tuesday 30 January 2018

Phoney warnings


If a "Google" message turns up on your mobile/cellphone screen saying that your phone is getting infected by viruses and you have only five minutes to stop it from completely locking your phone and stealing all your info (with a clock ticking dramatically in the background) - don't panic. It's a fake message. (Do NOT click on the "remove virus" link.)

I got one like this a few days ago. And of course it had to happen late at night, when I was just about to turn off the phone and go to sleep… I did somehow feel that it was probably just a hoax – but the countdown really is very stressful. My Scarlet O’Hara-style* response was to just shut the phone off completely; because whether fake or real, I'd probably be better able to deal with the consequences in the daytime!

*(“I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Famous quote from Gone With the Wind.)

The next morning, I did some research from my laptop, and found support for the suspicion that it was a fake message. If there is a virus involved at all, that would be in the app that they tell you  to download. However, if you do nothing, and just let the clock run down to 0:00 – NOTHING happens. (Some brave tech guy put that to the test in a YouTube video.)

So I had zero problems opening my phone again, and it was working just fine. Without downloading any extra cleaning software, I manually cleared cache memory in the browsers I use on it + Facebook (not being sure from which browser that page had turned up for me – but I think it did happen via Facebook). I thought that should have cleared the history, but today I found the web page was still there in the memory of my Chrome browser. Now I have also separately cleared the browser history (synced with other devices) and hope I’m rid of it. Phew. Even when virus warnings are fake, they still do steal a lot of time!

However – trying to find a bright side – I did manage free up some memory space on the phone in the process… (No virus, just accumulated “stuff”).

The image collage made by me, using screenshots I found in my “research”. (Some details crossed out by me.) I think what makes one panic the most, besides the countdown, is that they seem to be able to correctly identify what type of phone you’re on. On the warning that came up for me, it did not just say “Android device” but the exact type of phone that I have. Which does make one think at first that the pop-up message really comes from some built-in security within the device.

Saturday 27 January 2018

Postcards for the Weekend: The Hills Are Alive…

Maria’s postcard theme for this week is “Mountains”.

I decided to start looking in my ‘Western Europe’ Postcrossing Cards album, and the first one that caught my eye was this one:


(AT-183436) Postcrossing card from Austria, May 2014

I have actually visited Salzburg once, but it was in summer, not winter. It was on a tourist bus trip to Germany and Austria in 1990.

Salzburg is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; and of course remembered by many as the setting for the musical film The Sound of Music.

Reading up on things in Wikipedia, I notice that since I was there, the Old Town of Salzburg has also been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site (since 1997). From my own visit in 1990, I remember trekking up that hill to the fortress – Festung Hohensalzburg. I think I went up there not with the group, but alone, in the ‘free’ time we had in Salzburg to stroll around by ourselves…

Thinking back on this, I decided to also have a look in my old photo album from that trip. Ah yes. Here is a postcard with a summer view of the Hohensalzburg. And - oh joy! - I actually used “photo corners” for the postcards rather than glueing them on to the album pages. How very wise of me. That means not only can I take it out and look at the back now, but I can also put it on my scanner, and show it to the World, all these years later…

(Back in 1990… all the digital devices now taken for granted, would still have been more or less “science fiction”, I suppose… At least for private use! If I took any photos of my own from up at the fortress, those were probably diapositives. Which are still in a box down in my basement storage room, never unpacked since my last move… nearly ten years ago…)

900628 Salzburg

Taking out this postcard from my album and turning it over, I expected to find the back empty (as in having bought it myself). It was not, though. It was posted the next day (to my home address in Sweden) by one of the friends who were my travel companions on the trip. Translated into English, her message is: “Hi! I thought you might enjoy a greeting from this trip. When you see the castle you’ll remember your hike!”

900628-2 Salzburg

Next to the card in the album, there is also a ticket to the fortress area, marked with date and time. This is glued to the album page; but using a bit more science fiction magic (digital camera, editing software…) – here is the proof that I was up there on 28th June, 1990, at 16:25 pm.


Got so wrapped up in my memories that I think I’ll save my other “mountain” postcards for another occasion! ; )

Postcards for the Weekend

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Indoors Wednesday

Another kind of winter silhouette (compared to my previous post). The bird is a decoration stuck into one of my pot plants. Rain has been hitting my windows hard all day today, and is washing away the snow and ice outdoors.  I haven’t set foot outside. Tomorrow I’ll have to, though, as I have a dental checkup to go to. But at least the streets should be ice-free by then!

Through My Lens

Sunday 21 January 2018

Winter Silhouettes




I wonder how many times I’ve walked past, through or around this old graveyeard in the 9½ years that I’ve been living “next door” to it? I have no idea, but even though I have been around it countless times, I still like to take the camera with me and see what happens to catch my eye. (These photos from Friday afternoon, when we had a rare winter afternoon of clear blue sky and sun, combined with snow on the ground.)

Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Saturday 20 January 2018

Postcards for the Weekend: Aerial Views

171229 DE-6810486

Postcrossing card from Germany, December 2017
Saarschleife – From the river Saar in Germany.

171229 DE-6810482

Postcrossing card from Germany, December 2017
Burgruine Landeck (Landeck Castle), Klingenmünster

Little Dream in Big World

Postcrossing card from Singapore, January 2018
”Little Dream in a Big World”

Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the weekend 69: Aerial Views

Friday 19 January 2018

Skywatch Friday


Foggy morning view from my balcony…


Icicles on the balcony rail


The fog lifted later, and I was able to go out for a walk in the winter sun.

No, those three long shadows are not me and two skinny friends…


… just me next to this gate!

SkyWatch Friday

My Town Shoot Out

Thursday 18 January 2018

Duolingo Progress Report

A new year has begun, and it’s been about three months since my last report

180118 Duo-001

I seem to have gone up one Duolingo level in each language, I think (+ added Norwegian). : )

Spanish: Finished all four seasons of the Spanish Netflix TV series Velvet (with Swedish subtitles) before Christmas.

Dutch: Reading Het Achterhuis (Anne Frank’s Diary) in Dutch on my Kindle… (I also have my old Swedish copy to compare with.)

Turkish: I’ve almost finished watching the 2nd season (another 100 30-min episodes) of the Turkish drama series Paramparça (on Swedish television, with Swedish subtitles). And I  quite unintentionally managed to detect a few Turkish words spoken by neighbours in my building… (of whom I did not know where they were from, but now I suspect…)

Welsh: Still frightfully difficult! (They even seem to spell some words differently depending on what word comes before…)

(German & French: Freshening up old knowledge a bit, now and then. - And watched a French film at New Year.) 

Danish: 4th season of Swedish/Danish series Bron/Broen running on Swedish Television now…

Russian: Slow progress… still struggling with the alphabet…

Norwegian: Is kind of like a dialect of Swedish (or the other way round! not to upset anyone…) The main difficulty is to keep apart Norwegian and Danish and not mix all three languages up in some home-made Scandinavian blend…

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Weather the Weather


A "whether to weather the weather" kind of day here today… 


My compromise: A short slushy walk, and being thankful for the possibility to shop groceries online (with home delivery tomorrow)…

Monday 15 January 2018

Recently (Re)Read: Strong Poison

Strong Poison (The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries Book 6) by [Sayers, Dorothy L.]

The first book I read (or finished reading) in 2018 was Strong Poison, a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery by Dorothy L. Sayers; first published in 1931.

I’ve read it before; more than once, but probably in Swedish. I bought the whole Wimsey series for Kindle some years ago (reduced price at the time) (and got rid of a few falling-apart old paperbacks from my bookshelves). I (re)read the first (Whose Body) and the second (Clouds of Witness) in 2016-17; but now felt like skipping ahead a few to Strong Poison, which is where Peter first makes the acquaintance of Harriet Vane – a crime novelist herself, and now accused of the murder of her ex-lover, another writer. Lord Peter does not believe she is guilty, and gives it his best effort to find out and prove what really happened. It’s clear from the beginning that the victim died of poison; the question is how. Did he take his own life? or was he killed by someone else? This book is a good example of a classic murder mystery, with focus on who, when and how. Having read the book before, I pretty much knew how it ends; but the quality of this novel is to be found in all the intricate details of the mystery (some of which I had forgotten), and also in witty dialogue and repartee, and the growing relationship between Peter and Harriet – the knight in shining armour vs the damsel in distress. While Peter unexpectedly finds himself falling head over heels in love, Harriet feels trapped – not just physically (in custody awaiting trial, and unable to do anything about the situation herself), but also psychologically – having to depend on Peter to literally rescue her from the gallows, while all she is really longing for is to be free and independent again.

I really enjoyed rereading this one.

“Curious,” mused Wimsey , as he pattered along Bedford Row  “everybody is so remarkably helpful about this case. They cheerfully answer questions which one has no right to ask and burst into explanations in the most unnecessary manner.”

“Next to hidden treasure and mysterious documents , nothing is more full of sensational suggestion than a packet of anonymous white powder.”

Saturday 13 January 2018

Postcards for the Weekend – Winter Scenes

Christmas card
Postcrossing card from Belarus, January 2018

In Sweden, 13th January is St Knut’s Day, or the 20th day of Christmas; and traditionally this is when we “throw out Christmas” (the tree and other decorations) and eat up left-overs like the ginger bread house (if we made one!). At least that was still the tradition back in my childhood (1950s/early 60s). There were usually one or more children’s “Christmas tree plundering parties” to go to this time of year – and I think my mum hosted one or two of those, too (for me and some of my neighbourhood friends/ primary school classmates).

Christmas decorations

Postcrossing card from France, January 2018

171221 NO UKä

Christmas card from a Swedish friend living in Norway

Not really sure how well the Knut Day traditions have been ♥preserved♥ throughout the years… My impression is that many people nowadays throw out Christmas earlier (maybe because they also start decorating earlier). As for myself, I do usually still keep my decorations up until mid January. Anyway, this year I did, with the extra excuse that I also had my brother visiting Wednesday-Friday this past week. Today, I did not feel inspired to get on with it either – feeling I had enough other things to do (including the important task of just lying on my back and read most of the afternoon...) Maybe Monday??  

Outdoors it’s been another grey week here; with bare ground and temperatures hovering just around 0°C (freezing point).

Weekend Linky Party:

Postcards for the Weekend 68: Winter Scenes

Sunday 7 January 2018

Shadow Shot Sunday

2018-01-071 shadow

Cold and frosty weather today, - 6°C around noon, when I took me, my shadow and my camera out for a walk. It’s been a while since any of us saw the sun; maybe that’s why I had such a loooong shadow, too?

Last night before I went to bed, I also noticed that I could see the stars in the sky from my balcony, which is even more rare in the city. I turned the camera towards the sky. On the screen, I could not see anything but black. But I pressed the button anyway…


Then, on the computer, I used the Picasa auto contrast + some extra shadow, and got this:


To which I can only say “wow”.

Now, of course, I’m wondering if you are able to also see the same on your computer screen as what I see on mine. I.e. more stars than I can count… And proof, I guess, that my camera sees more than I can see with my bare eye (and glasses)…

Shadow Shot Sunday 2

SkyWatch Friday

Friday 5 January 2018

Postcards for the Weekend – Mail Service

Christkindl s Postamt

One of my first received Postcrossing cards in 2018 apparently came straight from Postcrossing Heaven… Not only does it show “Christkindl’s Postamt”, but it was also sent from a Christmas Postcrossing Meetup, in Austria – dated 23rd December 2017 – and signed by some fifteen or more postcrossers. What a treasure!

A Ramble about Stamps

(Feel free to skip this if numbers give you headache…)

Svenska firmärken collage

Shortly before Christmas, I read somewhere that there was to be another increase in postage rates in Sweden from 1st January. The impression I got was that both domestic and international postage was to go up. In 2017, international was already increased twice, and went up from 2x to 3x that of a letter or card within Sweden. If the same pattern was to be applied for 2018, that would bring the cost of sending a postcard abroad up to a quite ridiculous level! However, after last years’ changes, I didn’t put it past them…

On the official website, there were no details to be found yet. But I decided to stock up an extra supply of domestic stamps (‘1st class’) at the old price (7 kr), as they would not only still be valid but even increase in value (to 9 kr) in 2018. (These have no value printed on them, just “Sverige Brev” – Sweden Letter. But can also be used together with other stamps to make up international postage, at whatever they happen to be worth at the moment.)

When I checked again after New Year, it was actually Good News for me - on the international front. Turned out that it was only the domestic postage that had gone up (from 7 to 9 kr), while the international remains unchanged (for now) at 21 kr.* 

This means that for me, to send a postcard abroad may even be cheaper for a while. (Are you still with me? I’m having difficulties myself! But if I use wisely the stamps bought at 7 kr before New Year, but now worth 9 kr…)

(Please don’t tell PostNord. If they’re made aware, they might panic!)

*[21 SEK ~ 2,57 USD ~ 1,9 GBP]

Weekend Linky Party:

Postcards for the Weekend 67: Anything You Wish

Wednesday 3 January 2018

A New Year (2018)


A bunch of white tulips that my friends brought on New Year’s Eve 

Once again I celebrated New Year’s Eve with the same friends as usual. Three of us were neighbours for many years back in the 1900s and into this century. One of them usually has her sister visiting for New Year; and in later years, the other friend’s mum has been with us, too. The three of us who used to be neighbours have probably spent most New Years together ever since the late 1980s (although sometimes in the past with more people as well). Since NY 2000/01 it’s been the 4-5 of us, and (for various practical reasons) at my place. (It’s a joint venture though, as they bring some of the food etc too.)


A cup of “glögg” for starters when they arrive has become part of the tradition. (Mulled wine; but low/no alcohol.)

Ah, that table looks so tidy at the beginning of the evening…
Different story towards midnight…! Winking smile

NY collage

Another tradition: Opening “Kinder Eggs” while waiting for the midnight fireworks…

We also always watch a film. Usually from my collection, but this year it was one of the others who brought one. A bit of an extra surprise for all of us - including her who brought it! - as it turned out to be in French… It did have Swedish subtexts, though; so we coped! Intouchables, a multi-award-winning film from 2011. (The story of the friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic and his live-in caregiver – with a criminal background, and reluctant to take the job at all to begin with… Based on a true story, according to the end titles.)


Looking in through the window from my balcony, after midnight (guests gone home)… The little lights on the amaryllis plant are reflections of the lights outside!


We had snow again for New Year (but all gone again now)

As usual, I felt kind of “blurry” all of New Year’s Day, and spent most of that day resting and doing “nothing” (oh well, tidying up a bit after the party too). And while doing nothing, I reflected on a book I read over Christmas – on the importance of rest! Written by a Swedish pastor (Tomas Sjödin), popular and well known in Sweden (from TV and radio as well as his books) but I don’t think his books have been translated into English. Anyway, in this one he looks at various ideas of the sabbath, and one of the things he makes a point of is that in the Biblical story of creation (never mind if you interpret it literally or symbolically), God created man on the sixth day, and then rested on the seventh. Which means that for us humans, a state of rest (Garden of Eden) was the beginning rather than the end – and maybe indicating that we might do well sometimes to “put rest first”, so to speak…

And from that perspective, I suppose that beginning a new year with a lazy day may be just the thing, really! Winking smile

Anyway, however your new year began, I hope it continues well for you! (“God fortsättning” - good continuation - we wish each other in Sweden, in the first days of the new year.)

Through My Lens

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