Technology — 14 Comments

  1. Part of your old tired system died? What’s that music I hear from the shadows? It’s components getting ready to conga!

  2. I might have recounted this before so apologies in advance: Back in 2003 my kids persuaded me they just HAD to have a computer (or as they are called here in Norfolk ‘Komm-POOH-ter’) for their school work…and as ‘luck’ would have it their friend had one to sell for just £50.
    It stopped working after a few minutes. Of course.
    I commanded my kids to “bring me my BROADSWORD…and mechanics’ tool box” . With the help of a passing itinerant 14 year old, I got it not only running again but with lots more RAM. And that not having touched a computer since the ZXSpectrum.
    Unfortunately my kids knew no better and went round telling people that their dad had fixed their computer…within a couple of years (blagging it as I went) I was the ‘go to’ man locally for computery stuff. The phrase “daaaaaaaad, xyz asks if you could fix…” was heard a lot.

    Thing is, since the kids have left home, the OSs have gotten rock solid and no one uses towers anymore, I have rather gotten out of the swing of things. So much so that when my ancient laptop died the other day and I wanted to pull everything off the HDD I discovered that harddrive technology had advanced since I last held one in my hand. None of my adaptors would fit.

    Luckily i live opposite a computer shop so I went over to ask the 12 year old behind the counter for an adaptor for a ‘modern’ hard drive-which earned me that quizzical ‘wtf?!’ look. I tried explaining it again “I have adaptors for the old style hard drives but they won’t fit”.

    *12 year old looked even more puzzled then realisation dawned across his little smooth cheeked face* “Ohhh you mean you have adaptors for IDE?!” with the intonation that suggested he’d never actually seen an IDE himself but knew of them from medieval madrigals.

    Thing was I had totally forgotten the word myself. So Nisaki it isn’t just you, even people who once knew something about computers….

  3. Ummm, yes..

    Very efficient, I’m sure, but also very big, and not inexpensive. I think budgetary constraints alone put it out of the running. The last car battery I bought cost me €130, whereas the complete UPS that died cost €100. But it looks a good setup if you have the space, and don’t mind the lack of aesthetics.

  4. …and no one uses towers anymore…

    I thought towers were still quite common. There seemed to be plenty of tower peripherals (monitors, keyboards etc) on sale at the shop I went to.

    Personally, I prefer using my desktop (tower unit) to the laptop. Bigger screen, more comfortable keyboard and cheaper in terms of bangs for your buck. They do of course have the disadvantage of being large, and also not being portable, which is where laptops are great. We always use a (wireless) mouse with the laptop though; those bloody pad thingys for moving the cursor are a nightmare.

  5. We always use a (wireless) mouse with the laptop though; those bloody pad thingys for moving the cursor are a nightmare.

    *has just spent the last two weeks or so battling with his ‘new’ (ie a Dell 5030) laptop’s touchpad (something the Raynauds really needed)* I think i have sorted it now…..maybe

    Btw was it your tip with Waterfox? Having now upgraded to a 64bit machine I installed waterfox and i must say it’s better than firefucks by far. Thanks for that….one annoyance less in my life is always appreciated.

  6. Trying to understand computers has upped my intake of wine greatly and I will be forever thankful.

  7. Yes, I like Waterfox. Someone on an earlier thread said that it was slow compared to the new Firefox, but it seems ok to me. But mostly what I like is that I can keep my old add-ons that the new FF won’t support. The theme (BlackFox V2-Blue), ‘Tabs on Bottom’ and ‘Textarea Cache’ are a few that spring to mind.

  8. The ultimate goal of artificial intelligence (A.I.) is to pass a Turing Test. ie fooling a human into believing it to be human. But I read a rather chilling thought about this recently:
    “Any machine that is smart enough to pass a Turing Test will be smart enough to fail it.”

  9. “Any machine that is smart enough to pass a Turing Test will be smart enough to fail it.”

    Thoughts along those lines have occurred to me when pondering on AI. It is a very real possibility, and something the inventors of these things should keep in mind, not least when they embed AI in critical systems, which they will doubtless want to do. The potential for total disaster is enormous.

  10. From what you say, there is nothing wrong with the tower, your monitor gave up the ghost. The reason for the wallpaper problem is that with the new monitor (due to advances in tech), you are now working in a higher resolution, so the wallpaper would be too small for the screen. No problem, just go to the personalize settings (in the control panel applet, and in the section where you choose a wallpaper you will find a rolo gadget that you can choose ‘stretch’ or ‘fit’ from. If you can’t get the picture to display properly (appears stretched or compressed) then load it into a program like and resize it to your screen resolution. You can also go back to the original resolution in the control panel applet if you don’t want to change the pic – you will see it listed there, just set it as default.

    The reason for the screen being longer but shorter than the old, is that your graphics card is displaying the screen as it would on a laptop. On those, vertical screen real estate is at a premium so they tend to use the width of the display more.

    Towers are no longer in vogue like they used to be, since nowadays everyone prefers to be mobile, but towers have their merits. Roughly speaking, laptops for playing, towers for serious, hard work. I’m on a tower right now, I enjoy a decent keyboard and mouse, good sized monitor, hard drive space, processor speed and memory that a similar priced laptop could only dream of and audio streamed throughout the house by Bluetooth. I do also own a laptop but that is only used nowadays for tuning my bike’s fuel injection. If you want real mobility, skip the laptop and go for a ‘phablet’ (Google it).

    But don’t waste your money on a new computer – just because the monitor died it does not mean that the computer is about to follow, and as long as it does what you want it to, there is no point regardless of how old it is.

  11. On the subject of the UPS, a good source for a cheap car battery (I would look preferably for a leisure battery) might be your local scrap yard, if you have one. Or how about fleabay? This UPS provides 20 mins of backup (enough time to save work and close down) and is only £59.99 – I calculate about 68 Euros.

  12. Thanks for the educated advice. Yes, I’m definitely more comfortable with the desktop (tower unit) than I am with the laptop, even though the laptop does all that is asked of it, and efficiently. But then, my wife uses the laptop all the time, and prefers it to the desktop, so perhaps it’s a generational thing! (I should add that my wife is 22 years younger than me, thus almost a generation behind me..)