Think of the number three hundred and chances are that your mind jumps to the legend that 300 Spartans fought off tens of thousands of Persians during the Battle of Thermopylae around 480BC.
If only each of those 300 Spartans had instead concentrated on doing just a single page update on their website each then they too could have celebrated about a significant milestone as I do today.
If you notice the version of this article on my website is 5.300 or to put it another way the three hundredth update to Version 5 of the site.
Then done the same 300 times over, only slightly altered, for the mobile version of my website as I do not have facility to auto scale between landscape and the more mobile friendly portrait mode, such as is available in WordPress.
In all probably around 2700 separately hand coded and checked HTML pages and countless other CSS page updates to suit.
Not forgetting the 300 times signing in to an FTP account and 300 times connecting to my web host to upload on average six to ten pages and a couple of photographs or so each time.
And now I’m set ready to start on my webpage Version 5.301.
Because unlike those Spartans my legend will continue.
Author: Vince Poynter
First published in the Web section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website on 9 May 2020 as Version 5.300 The Battle Of Thermopylae consisted the defence of Greece by somewhere between 3000 and 7000 soldiers against an invading Persian force numbering probably between 100,000 and 150,000 men. Impressive defensive odds but not as romantic a notion as a small force of just 300. It was probably true that around 300 of the total Greek force were Spartans and they were probably within the last group of defence, numbering around 2000 to 2500, at the final pinch point. The defence was finally overwhelmed and as a result the Persians captured the capital, Athens. The romanticised notion of a few brave souls valiantly defending their homeland stuck and has been reinvigorated through Hollywood, firstly in the 1962 film The 300 Spartans then more recently in the 2007 film 300, based on a comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley and its subsequent sequel 300: Rise of an Empire in 2014
The photograph depicts the author sat on a hired Honda 300 Big Red Quad Bike near Bala, Wales, taken by Lynda Poynter around May 1994
When I designed my first web site way back before 2003 to be launched that year I envisioned four primary elements would form the layout – Ideas, Opinions, Personal and Writing. Within the personal section I wanted to tell all a bit about myself and also to include details of my computer set up. I wanted this because at the time I imagined a fair percentage who were surfing at the time may share similar interests to me and would appreciate information on how I operated my technology. As a result since October 2003 I have included details of my computer hardware, software and web use. You can see these unaltered articles posted by me in this WordPress site on 19 October 2017.
I created an update to my computer story in March 2010, which is now nearly a decade ago so I thought it timely to provide another round up of my tech. You can see my 2010 update in this WordPress site on 3 August 2018.
When I left off in 2010 I had just started to work myself into the Applesphere. My main computer was a Mac Mini viewed on an Apple Cinema Display. I also had an Apple MacBook whilst I waited patiently for the rumoured iPad which hadn’t materialised but sneakily came out just a month after I posted my article.
I also had a couple of Windows based laptops. My ageing, noisy, overclocked Novatech lap top and a tiny new Dell Mini netbook primarily for servicing my HiFi processor.
Apple’s iPhones were becoming more common and I noted in 2010 that I was on my third one and I have listed a full schedule of those I owned below.
Other accessories included an Iomega MiniMax MMHD 500Gb USB/Firewire 400 back up drive running Time Machine, a Logitech QuickCam Fusion web camera, a Hewlett Packard HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-one WiFi full colour printer/photocopier/facsimile machine, a 2009 BT HomeHub 2 WiFi N router, a Bose Companion 5 Series 2 sound system with stereo speakers and Subwoofer, a first edition 2008, 160Gb Apple TV plus an iPod Classic.
Since these heady days of multiple devices I have greatly simplified my set up which is now fully suited to remote working and have subsequently sold off or given away everything I had previously listed. Now it is just one lap top with a few accessories, an all-in-one device, a smartphone and router.
My current laptop is again an Apple product. I have not deserted the brand but did upgrade. As advised in March 2010 I was considering an iMac but never went down this route. I really liked my white, unibody MacBook and appreciated the simplicity of using just a single, portable working device which suited my changing lifestyle. I did try a couple of iPads along the way, a 64Gb black WiFi, 3G enabled iPad 2 in November 2011 and a 128Gb space grey WiFi, 3G enabled iPad Air 2 in November 2014 but none could be considered a true laptop replacement. Data and software back up to anywhere but the cloud was too difficult, my old file system comprising sometimes deprecated file extensions couldn’t be handled, I wasn’t able to natively title and sort my growing photograph collection and web coding was awkward to do in the way I wanted too, which is simply. So in the absence of suiting these critical criteria I purchased a proper, full power, old style lap top in November 2014.
I choose a new MacBook Pro, a late 2014 Retina 15″ model with a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7, 16Gb 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, an Intel Iris Pro 1536Mb video graphics card and a 1Tb Flash hard drive. This was a standard selectable Apple configuration and I haven’t modified it in any way. And as you are dying to know it cost me £3.60. Short of £2,400.
The alleged lack of connections didn’t concern me as the world was moving in a WiFi interconnected way but I was concerned about reliance on huge operating system updates over the air and the ability to play and record to disk media such as CD and DVD so I also purchased an Apple DVD Rewriter, a USB Super Drive, for £65, which has since rarely been connected.
I intended to use the laptop in a place where it could suffer potential loss so needed a way to secure it to some infrastructure in a room. The MacBook Pro didn’t have a Kensington Lock slot, the standard in computer security, so I had to find a way to provide this kind of protection myself. I discovered the solution in a LandingZone Dock Express, model LZ3015AL, similar models of which are currently on sale, new for $99. This MacBook Pro accessory clamps into opposing connectors either side of the laptop edge and locks into place, protecting the removable base plate whilst providing substitute connectors and crucially a Kensington Lock slot.
As the hard drive on the MacBook Pro was 1Tb and my Iomega MiniMax was only 500Gb I also had to upgrade my local back up drive. I wanted greater portability and the option to have two solid state drives so one could be stored away remotely and each could be swapped regularly to ensure the most reliance in case of major theft or failure. I chose the bright orange, rubber encased LaCie Rugged 3.0 Thunderbolt 2Tb flash drive and purchased two at a price of just under £200 each. I also bought a lightweight My Passport Ultra 500Gb back up drive, for about £60 and used this to make a further copy of my photographs and videos which hold the greatest digital sentimentality.
The only mouse I now have is my Logitech V450 Laser Cordless Mouse which I purchased in 2007 but failed miserably to mention in 2010. I purchased this mouse to be a portable input device, small enough to pack into a rucksack with the laptops I took to work but I don’t tend to bother with it as I find the MacBook Pro’s large trackpad sufficient for most of my needs.
My Hewlett Packard Photosmart printer/copier/scanner/etc device was getting old and I wanted a WiFi model so in May 2012 upgraded to a very smart looking HP Envy 110 D411a printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc which cost a whopping £175. Although sleek and beautiful it eventually needed new inks so naturally I bought a new printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc/etc. Sadly these days buying a whole new printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc/etc/etc is now a cheaper option than ink replacement. It is an Epson Expression Photo XP-760 printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc/etc/etc/etc which I got for £98 [new obvs], in October 2017.
And to complete my hardware set up my Wifi source also had to be addressed. For a while I was reliant on using a commercial over the air source which at first only provided about 0.1-0.5 Mbps. Over a couple of years it increased to a more reasonable 5-6 Mbps but I changed tack, invested in my own mobile router, a Huawei HomeFi B311s-220 and now get around 10-12 Mbps from a 3 SIM, just shy of 4K streaming.
I no longer own any Windows equipment nor use any emulator.
Software and Web
As I am now solely reliant on Apple devices I naturally err toward Apple software, the latest operating system being MacOS Catalina version 10.15.2. My pattern is to always update to the latest formally issued, non Beta version of any OS X since I purchased my first MacMini and have never had a problem.
I also always favour Apple supplied software applications and programs such as Books, iMovie, Music, Mail, Maps, Notes, Numbers, Pages, Photos and Safari, all in their latest guise.
Web site coding is now handled within Apple’s Xcode with uploading to the cloud via FTP within a non Apple product, Filezilla [ver 3.46 currently] up to my web hosting service provided by UK2.
When I reported in 2010 I mentioned that I had been through a slew of Apple iPhones and this trend has continued until this day.
Prior to 2010 they were an 8Gb [original] iPhone in February 2008, a 16Gb 2.5G iPhone in July 2008 and a [replacement] 16Gb iPhone 3G the next month.
In 2010 I upgraded to a 32Gb iPhone 4, in October 2011 I chose a 64Gb iPhone 4S, in October 2014 I went for a 128Gb iPhone 6 Plus and my latest choice, from November 2017 is a 256Gb iPhone X.
You can see a pattern of purchasing the largest capacity version available, which I did to attempt to chase a dream of fully storing high quality versions of my photographs. You can see that my ‘phone updates originally occurred around once a year but slowed to replacements every three years as the technical abilities of these smartphones matured. So I expect my next one to be the iPhone 12S with around 500Gb. Not that such a large storage is needed as I currently use around 200Gb of my 256Gb capacity including now being able to store all my photos and filmed videos at full resolution on the device.
For mobile sound I used the out of the box wired EarPods for most of the last decade but am now using the wireless Apple AirPods, which are great for sound and safety in operation as a hands free device whilst driving. I have tried the latest, wirelessly charging, noise cancelling AirPods Pro but remain unconvinced that their performance is worth the very high price of upgrading.
Binning The Tech
But what about my superseded, now no longer required tech.
As you will be aware from reading my Computers 2010 update [I presume you did] I take digital security seriously. This is why I destroyed my Mac Mini and its hard drive. However I felt guilty about doing the same to my MacBook, which still retained considerable value. I twice cleaned the hard drive with a security wipe but did not want to sell the thing to an unknown source on an auction site. Whilst most likely to be purchased by a grateful teenager who wanted to spend more time on their ass watching YouTube I couldn’t risk it being bought by a clever dick, Black Hat, cyberpunk who could unmask my security cleansing. So I chose to donate it to a family member.
I had done something similar with my original Packard Bell desktop system which went to my brother-in-law. He did eventually pass it on to his own father but I have no idea where it went after he died. Maybe to that Black Hat?
My mother was given my old Dell lap top, which she didn’t get on with on the grounds she only played Solitaire so my father eventually used this. Occasionally. Over the years he had collected a number of lap tops and enjoyed the variety despite being unable to consistently remember his passwords and not really utilising any of his machines. He also owned a ChromeBook and a separate netbook along with his ancient desktop system which he liked messing around with in both Windows and Linux.
All this confusion led to much requested tech support from me so I figured that I could offer him my MacBook, watch him get to love its powerful simplicity and consequently tech support from me would be greatly eased. However an illogical opposition to Apple products meant he was determined to dislike it and so never used it. I took it back.
I offered the MacBook to my brother who really needed an update to his old desktop system but sadly shares my father’s same illogical opposition to Apple products so turned it down. It seemed I couldn’t get rid of my valued old friend. But then I heard my nephew was struggling with an old Windows laptop he shared with his partner and needed a device to assist in his studies to become a Fireman. He willingly accepted my offer of a free, high end Apple MacBook and has gratefully kept it since.
The Novatech was too old to be touted around like the MacBook and so I decided to risk selling it on the open market. Any secure data on it had already been well superseded and it was primarily used for business work for most of its life. I once again cleaned up the hard drives and sold it for £62 in November 2017. Furthermore, it would not have looked so interesting to Mr Black Hat due to its age, specification and low value.
The Dell Mini 10 was also sold, in April 2012, for £121. No major security wiping was necessary as it had only ever been used to put processor updates on my HiFi and if that software was interesting to anyone or a security risk to me I’ll eat my hat, which for the record is not Black. I do intend to tell the full story of my HiFi system in a future blog update and will include details of why I needed this netbook and why it is now gone. Contact me if you need this story sooner rather than later.
The Apple Cinema Display was no longer needed when I sold the Mac Minis so this had to go to a new home as well. Due to its quality and being just three years old I got £350 for it in November 2010. It was perfect and well worth the money to the lucky buyer.
Other accessories were also sold, for instance the Logitech webcam around the same time for just £16 and the stunning HP Envy 110 D411a for a pitiful £25 seven years later.
One item I could not sell was the Iomega MiniMax MMHD 500Gb back up drive. Not that it wouldn’t find a market or fetch too little but that I was concerned that it had held too much personal data. Although fully encrypted as a Time Machine back up I couldn’t guarantee that some smarty pants couldn’t unlock these bits and bytes so decided to destroy it instead. I duly picked the case apart to get at the internals.
The case and mother-board proved low resistance to my assembled tools and were suitably destroyed allowing me to concentrate on the internal disk platters. They were held together in some sort of clear glass moulding, the destruction of which I considered to be effortlessly simple. However this glass like substance proved to be actually made out of unbreakabilium. It successfully survived dropping onto hard surfaces, frenzied attacks with screwdrivers and a crow bar and even blows from a full size metal mallet with a three foot handle being swung against it whist it was precariously supported at a forty-five degree angle across two bricks. I was fully impressed despite being exhausted from my efforts and furious at my predicament.
I had to find a way to hide this perfectly undamaged drive from future prying eyes and concocted a plan to drop it in a deep river crossing. I imagine it is now roaming the seas balanced precariously on the back of an enormous crab and I am relying on that crab to be the final protector of my data.
A neat thought that my 2019 set up is now truly mobile.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Computers section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 18 Dec 2019
Version 5.281 17 Dec 2019 [First Publication]
The first photograph shows my computer tech set up in one place, taken in December 2019. The image includes the MacBook Pro, a USB Superdrive, orange clad portable drive, a smaller red external drive, a Joby Gorillapod adjustable tripod, a Logitech mouse and a small external USB drive in front of the laptop. On the desk to the left is the Epson XP-760 printer and Huawei router
The second image shows my unibodied MacBook linked to my new MacBook Pro Retina 15″ during the process of transferring data from one machine to the other on 26 November 14, as taken by the me
The image of the printer is my HP Envy 110 all-in-one WiFi device, shown in a standby state. The photograph implies the panels are mismatched but this wasn’t so apparent in real life. The photograph was taken by me on 8 October 17
The final image shows a screenshot from my MacBook Pro during an intense workout for the CPU processor cores. The Activity Monitor indicates 8 cores in operation but in reality the computer has four cores each hyper-threaded. Note also that the NVIDIA graphics card is also in full use for the intense mathematical computations required. The screenshot was grabbed on 5 October 2018 by the author
The LandingZone dock can be found at https://landingzone.net/products/macbook-docks/for-the-macbook-pro/#products-macbook-pro-description
One of the most famous incidents from western history is the shooting of American President John F. Kennedy. Few reasonably educated people in the English speaking world would not be aware of some of the facts around this moment. It might just be that it was in the sixties, the assassinated President was travelling in a motorcade, Lee Harvey Oswald was the shooter, there are loads of conspiracy theories and the shot came from a repository.
I didn’t fact check these six commonly known things stated above. Some may be incorrect. For instance was it the sixties? Is Oswald spelt correctly? That’s not important right now. What I want to highlight is two uncommonly used words in this short summation – Motorcade and repository. Both first heard by my young ears around the time it happened and both rarely used to this date.
I’ve never really questioned the term motorcade. Probably because it immediately seemed to describe the line of vehicles involved. Possibly because even today it is used to describe an American Presidential car outing. The British Prime Minister, for instance, never seems to get reported as travelling in a motorcade. Even though it’s often technically true.
The other newly discovered word to my young ears was repository.
What is a repository a small child might ask? A library is the short answer. So why not say library then was the response?
Presumably because if it was a library a chap firing off a high powered firearm would have elicited a cacophony of ‘shhhhhs’ from other users delivered in that passive aggressive way only librarians and library users can achieve.
However the classic response to a small child’s follow up question in those days would have been ‘because it is’ or more likely please accept this clip around the ear as a kindly note to advise you will find out when you are older and stop bothering me now, I am an adult and you are irrelevant.
I can’t recall which type of reasoned explanation was used at the time but I never really questioned the word again as it never comes up in any context, except in reference to the Dallas incident mentioned above. But it was a key memorable fact about the Texas story that still sticks today.
My website is a repository.
That’s not actually an analogy. It’s a fact. If I were to liken it to a library it would only be analogous. Described as a library it may make sense to some. It contains my web content. It has clearly marked sections for those who seek specialist subjects. It is arranged logically and is open to all. But technically it is an information repository. But it is an incomplete one because at present it is still being stockpiled. And only currently about two-thirds filled with historic content. Mainly the content from previous website iterations between 2003 and early 2010.
You may note at the bottom of this article in my website the version number is 5.166. This is the one-hundred and sixty-sixth update to the fifth version of my website. Quite a lot of updates you might think. And you would be right. After I hand-coded and uploaded the current edition of my site I have made 166 new pieces of content. Meaning the repository now contains well over 120 separate pages, and more than 40 individual blog posts. All in HTML5 and linked via CSS styling cues.
This may seem a lot of work and it was but also consider I have done the exact same but in mobile specific form so those numbers can be doubled. In other words over 320 pages have been written or updated.
And in each case every article or blog post is first trailed on the homepage as well as being added to it’s final resting place. So the total number of alterations is more like over 640.
But there’s more. In every instance I consider whether an article may need replicating in a specialist place.
For instance this post will be added to the homepage as usual, plus added to the Blog posts where it shall remain but then also added to both the Geek and Web sections for those who seek such specialist knowledge. Then I’ll update the vSearch page so it can be found. This type of procedure is common and sometimes articles get posted in six or seven places so the repository can be simply navigated.
And all that excludes the many times I have checked my updates only to find link errors, grammatical changes required or just additional content refreshing requirements, such as the updates to the Sketches page I posted at the same time as this article.
I estimate that I have written near to 1500 page updates. And I am only two thirds the way through this initial exercise. And when all this is complete I shall continue to add to the stock with exclusively new content.
Quite a repository. And sadly like all repositories it is rarely visited. However, it is always open, it is free to enter and you are most welcome to browse.
And just like the infamous JFK incident, you can be sure there is more of this story to come.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog, Geek and Web sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 6 Aug 2018 The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was carried out by Lee Harvey Oswald on 22 November 1963 in Dallas, Texas. He fired shots from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository at the presidential motorcade. Many people dispute these facts
A recent but enthusiastic convert to the Macintosh stable I am now using my ninth Apple product [excluding accessories] and each has been truly Golden Delicious.
Initially, like many, I was sceptical about plunging headlong into the orchard but chance brought me into the core and I have now nibbled away since 2007 on many wondrous devices.
It all started when I was redoing my office, as shown in the photograph. A bedroom was converted to accommodate my electronic needs and desires both personally and officially and the centrepiece was to be a good looking computer.
Previous PC setups had included various CPUs and screens and experience had taught me that the CPU and displays became obsolete at differing times. This reinforced the notion that PC separates were the way to go. So a search was on to find a compact CPU and great looking screen.
The screen was the stumbling block. All were dull, black and uninteresting but then I saw the light. It came shining in when Apple opened my local Apple Store and nestling within was this magnificent looking 23” widescreen Cinema Display.
It clearly had my name on it so I grabbed copies of all the Mac publications I was able to carry and became convinced I could become one of the enlightened.
I wasn’t quite brave enough to go for the full all-in-one iMac and to be honest wasn’t keen on the over-square design at the time.
I considered a Mac Pro but chose a Mac Mini as a ‘starter’ kit, just in case I was actually a PC.
Since then more AM products have followed including an iPod, a replacement Mac Mini, an Apple TV and a MacBook plus countless leads, docks, accessories and software. So far…
And that’s not mentioning the phenomenally successful iPhone with sales so high there is no more space off the chart. I’ve played my part and had three iterations of these.
Mac Versus The Opposition?
Being such a new found fan of Apple products I have been musing a way of describing how a Mac computer differs from a industry-standard PC and I think the answer lies in a car washing analogy.
The PC – This is the jet wash – It takes an awful lot of effort and skill is needed to get a satisfactory result. It is best if you can get constant assistance from someone who knows what they are doing. Unfortunately it will cause damage unless care is taken all the time.
The Mac – This is the car wash – It is simple to use but more expensive. It does all the work for you using simple logical commands. It is only likely to cause damage if the basics like putting your aerial down are ignored. You come away thinking that the car wash has actually been the clever one, as opposed to yourself.
The Linux – The bucket and sponge option. Far too much effort and I’m not that poor any more.
Mini Mark 1
Like all Austin, BMW and Mac people I am rather fond of my little Mini. It’s cute dimensions, uncluttered look, surprisingly good for its size performance and its ‘actually runs a full Macintosh OS’ qualifications compel you to love it.
I chose the Intel Core 2 Duo driven 2.0GHz stock model with 2Gb 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM and a 160Gb hard disk. Disappointingly it shipped with the new Leopard software as I am rather fond of Tigers but it also sported the full Mac iLife 08 Suite which I bolstered with an 08 version of iWork to reinforce the official view that it was a real business purchase.
Being bereft of all accessories I coupled it to the 23” Apple Cinema Display that initiated the purchase and allowed me to see what was going on and a wireless keyboard and mouse to actually do some going on.
Backup is as important to a Mac-Man as it is to a lowly PCer so I accompanied my Mini with a matching Iomega MiniMax MMHD, a 500GB USB/Firewire 400 back-up drive. The inbuilt Time Machine software does all the difficult bits of coordination between the two.
Becoming A User
Transgressing from the dark side of PC usering to become an Apple Fan-Boy is not all plain sailing.
For instance the Mini does not have a built in camera and Apple had discontinued it’s sideline in accessory visionary devices by dumping the popular iSight Camera. However I had a smart looking Logitech QuickCam Fusion which had temporarily sat atop my crusty old laptop and once allowed me to Skype my friend in Australia.
Unfortunately the model was shown as incompatible with fruit based CPUs so I had to butcher a way round this, which actually proved to be pretty easy using a software application called Macam, even if the fancy zoom and lets pretend I’m a dinosaur effects won’t work.
I also had to learn the Mac way of doing things and I called on many a magazine article and user book to work out how to download, mount applications and find out how to do basic spreadsheet stuff with all the pretty and ultimately logical software. In fact if anyone ever asks the most compelling reason to switch to Macs I now answer; “Apart from the fact that I never have to use anti-virus programmes, ever, I also have never downloaded a driver. If my Mac links to a printer it will just work.”
I have also become accustomed to upgrading to the latest software as it comes out. This is a Mac user trait and thankfully Apple, unlike Microsoft, do not feel the need to totally fleece their customers each time this happens.
Not that it is all cheap. No Apple products are. Quality comes at a cost and you don’t enter the world without generous pockatage. However, the process all feels more silk than fleece.
Mini Mark 2
In time I decided that I wanted a speedier, faster Mac. My original Mini had proved I could be an Apple user but the speed limitations hindered use of some of the more powerful software, particularly the inbuilt music creator, Garageband.
I chose the simple option of buying a replacement model from the new 2009 range Apple conveniently launched for me and traded up to a Intel Core 2 Duo driven 2.26GHz stock model with 4Gb 1067MHz DDR3 SDRAM and a 320Gb hard disk. With twice the RAM, twice the disk and 1.599700149925037 times the speed I am now a well content Leporidae.
But the road to change wasn’t as smooth as the sales pitch might think.
Apple make migration from one machine to another a pretty simple step. It’s all handled pretty automatically, like most Apple stuff, using easy to use software. All I had to do was connect old and new, press a couple of buttons and hey presto, a new Mac looking somewhat disappointedly exactly the same as the old one.
What the instructions failed to foresee though was each machine had to be attached to something to allow said buttons to be pressed. I only invested in a new Mini [CPU] and therefore only had the one keyboard. My misses clears extraneous clutter like a supercharged Wall-E and all spare keyboards had been long been filed away in the big grey receptacle. However, Apple was at hand and my new cutsey box lost it’s virginity to the Time-Machine backup from the MiniMax.
Having an Intel engine allows me to run [spit] Windows on my Mac and my preferred method of doing this is via Sun’s VirtualBox and XP.
This allows me to emulate the wondrous old habits of virus protection, Windows security updates and Internet Explorer whenever I get the need.
For a long time I waited impatiently for Apple to release their much anticipated iPad tablet. I figured that such a device was the answer to pitter pattering away whilst watching TV.
However in frustration of their delay and with need to get on with this website before Alzheimers set in I decided to get a MacBook instead.
Purchased in December 2009 it is a factory-standard unibody white unit boasting an Intel 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo and has 2GB of 1067MHz DDR3 RAM, close to its 250GB drive, whilst glistening through a 13” glossy screen.
If you are reading this [in 2009] it clearly works.
Non Fruit Based Electronica
Many PC based computers have passed before my hands but only a few remain, partly because of the needs of friends and family, partly because of the calling of eBay but mostly because, as discussed above, the misses doesn’t like keeping clutter.
Not that any of these outdated machines were rare enough to be worthwhile now, even the very first ex-work behemoth running CP/M on a green-black screen. These were the days of command lines, 5.25” floppies and frustration.
My first real PC was a metal cased, custom built desktop of dubious heritage containing both 5.25” and [new] 3.5” floppy drives.
This was superseded by a much more powerful [in the sense that a beetle is more powerful than an ant] Packard Bell tower case which along with the CRT monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer and Yamaha speakers filled my desk space completely.
In between times I discovered the joy of laptop computing and my first foray into this was in 1999 when I invested in a Dell Inspiron 15” primarily for work use. This was superseded by the Novatech [see below], which I still own.
I also recently purchased a Dell Mini Netbook, primarily to ensure I had a reliable Windows based machine because some stupid outlets still insist on good old XP [also, see below, but this time a bit further down].
My now outdated Windows based laptop is a Novatech Soprano.
It is very heavy for a portable, more of a movable unit boasting super fast 3.07GHz HT Intel Pentium 4 running on 512Mb RAM. Although now slow compared to the multi-core processor machines. Storage is a [not nearly as gigantic as it used to feel] 60Gb hard drive and the world is accessed via the built in 56k modem.
I run Micro-pathetic XP Professional and display on the built in 64Mb 15″ TFT LCD. Audio is supplied by two small shrill insects inside somewhere that like to go bleep very loudly at times.
You can see a photo of this by looking at my article about my Computers in 2003, imaginatively called Computers October 2003.
The Dell Mini 10 was, as alluded to earlier, purchased as an insurance against the failure of the Novatech.
In particular I have a computer based HiFi processor which insists on getting its updates via an XP interface. The quality of the processor is such that it warranted such an acquisition but the Mini is a useful tool for quick and dirty Internet Explorer [spit] web-use such as insisted by certain work clients [after the obligatory updates and virus protection refreshing].
The Mini 10 sports, if that is not over-egging the cake, an Intel Atom Z530 1.6GHz motor driving a 1Gb RAM with 160Gb HD on tap.
A Hewlett [I will take over your system if it’s the last thing I do] Puckhard HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One, which is a basic lie as there are absolutely loads of things it doesn’t do.
It does do however boast WiFi operation, full colour printing based on the usual sell your mortgage ink supplies, photocopying, after a fuss and only via the website remote scanning and hope it works facsimile functions.
It was chosen as it was the least looking like, but still quite like a, bread bin model.
BT provide my WiFi needs via a snazzy HomeHub 2. This dust collecting device spits out up to N grade WiFi and acts as a router as well.
It could cope with up to 8Mb but BT tell me that my home is only worth 6Mb. Which would be OK if the speed tests showed more than the usual 3000 to 4000 kbits/s down and about 250-300 kbits/s up.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Computers section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 3 Aug 2018
Written and First Published: Version 3.0 Mar 2010
The first image is of the author’s converted bedroom Apple Mac set up showing the matching wallpaper and curtains, the dark wood office style furniture complimenting the wardrobe doors, the black leather executive swivel chair and the neat rows of lever arch file boxes. The computer set up is dominated by the 23 inch Apple Cinema display, with a MacMini on top of a matching back-up drive sat to the right and a Hewlett Packard all-in-one printer to the left. Also seen is an optical mouse, small stereo speakers, an iPod Classic a BT Homehub and an underdesk bass sub-woofer. The image was taken by the author, in summer 2008 and was added in Version 3.0 Mar 2010
The second image is of the author’s second MacMini, the MacMini 2, sat on top of a matching Iomega back up drive. The attached Firewire connector cable was removed but still held its original position. It was taken by the author in Jul 2009 and first added in the website in Version 3.0 Mar 2010
The third image shows a composite of photographs taken by the author in 2009 when my original MacMini was taken apart to be destroyed. The montage was first added to the website in Version 3.0 Mar 2010
The fourth image is of the author’s two home laptops, a MacBook and Dell Mini 10 Notebook, taken in Mar 2010 and first added to the website, Version 3.0, during the same month
The final image is of the author’s Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Notebook, taken in May 2011, first added on 3 Aug 2018
Yesterday [27 Jan 2010] Apple finally launched their much anticipated iPad and I have been lapping up every Tweet, blog and story about the thing.
One reason for the interest, other than my confirmed fanboy status, is that for months I seriously considered that such a product may well be the answer to my personal electronic needs. However, I recently saw sense and avoided waiting for a 1.0 version of an untried, theoretical device, with no known cost and purchased instead a MacBook. I think my decision may be correct.
The iPad is gorgeous, but not available for six months, still uncertain in UK price and may not actually do all I want it to do. No-one has mentioned working with iWeb yet, my primary reason for a hand held device.
However, as Tweeted today, I think there is a market for this that is as yet untapped. The elderly.
Or rather the non-tech, reasonably wealthy elderly who have yet to get a computer or on line. I’m thinking my in-laws here.
This product is designed for my father-in-law. The standalone design meaning no awkward telephone connections. The user friendly intuitive GUI meaning no keyboard/mouse learning. The inbuilt simple bookstore. The scalable text for failing eyesight. I’m convinced. He has admired my iPhone for some time and I am going to recommend this iPad to him.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Computers section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 31 Jul 2018 From an entry in MyDiary dated 28 Jan 2010
First published in the vinceunlimited.co.uk website in Mar 2010
I did buy an iPad, but not until the second version, the iPad 2 3G and WiFi 64Gb model in Nov 2011 My father-in-law did eventually get an iPad, having never owned a computer. I gave him my second iPad, the Air 2 WiFi only 128Gb model, in Sep 2016. He was then 90 years old and still uses it so my original thoughts in 2010 about suitability for this sector are fully validated
Today I am working from home. No, really, I’m at home and working. I’m not just messing about on my computer. It’s real work.
I know it’s work because I have to open an Excel spreadsheet. As usual, it is a complex, multi-formatted workbook with SUBTOTAL functions and my Mac’s pretty little spreadsheet, Numbers, does not seem to support these professional tools.
As a result I have had to install Sun’s VirtualBox which will allow me to load in my copy of Windows XP and the MS Office package on to my Mac.
I really do not want to do this, other than for the fascination, as it will be like fitting a Kia sunroof with ill fitting lock into my Jaguar.
The process involves adding Sun’s VirtualBox, Microsoft’s XP, the XP SP2 disc, MS Office 97 Suite [I can’t afford the extortionately priced upgrade, alright], adding AVG virus protection, then running several dozen Windows Updates, each of which wants to have its very own restart.
I will then be able to fire up the Excel sheet.
All of which is very time consuming and will mean I won’t be finishing early today.
Despite working from home.
Which I am.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog , Software and Worker sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 19 Jul 2018
First published on 27 Nov 2009
I’m in the process of readying the next update to my vinceunlimited website.
To be honest I’ve been in this process for some time.
I recently made a decision to abandon the plan to hand code a replacement and instead rely on the built in iWeb application that came with my Apple software, despite all it’s limitations such as lack of meta tagging, inability to child page and inability to include the basic widgets on non-Apple standard servers etc.
I deduced that it really is content that matters.
Thankfully, I have now discovered I can quickly copy paste content from my current version so I do not need to retype all the 120 pages of content.
However, having the site on the operating table and not up and running means that days like today frustrate me as a great story came out about the first female Red Arrows pilot.
The scope for a playful blog was hardly satisfied by my Tweet entry suggesting all displays would now run at precisely five past three to allow for a quick lipstick fix.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Geek sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 18 Jul 2018
First published on 12 Nov 2009
The photograph shows the arrival of a nine-plane Red Arrows display over Bournemouth in August 2009. I took the picture timed to show the exact time of arrival as my wife waited patiently for the start of the display
Click, whirr, wait… Tah-Dah! You have arrived at the vinceunlimited Computers page.
This is the version you would have seen had you visited [my website] in October 2003, albeit without all the fancy HTML5 stuff all around the tops and edges.
So, welcome to the 2003 computer pages of vinceunlimited in the days of Pentium PCs and Windows 95/XP. Here you will find out all about my floppies, bits and ram.
There is a general computers section, one for hardware, one for software and one about the use of the web. It was all very up to date at the time.
Author: Vince Poynter
From my website Version 5.009 dated 19 Oct 2017
A section for the nerds – Details of my hard and soft ware
Hard section – My computers, printer etc. Technical details so you can swoon with envy or laugh helplessly at the sheer out-datedness of it all. It was all cutting edge once, now it couldn’t cut mustard
Soft section – Programmes I use and abuse, for work and play. Well, the licenced ones anyway. Doesn’t include tips on reconfiguring Lara Croft in topless mode. Pity
Web section – No, not a home for arachnids. Details of [the website]. The software which I used and which design house I employed (you believe that?)
The hard page of vinceunlimited – Computerspeak, I’m afraid
Welcome to the hard page, part of the computer section within vinceunlimited. Information provided for the purposes of cyberjerks and thieves.
Packard Bell Pulsar 23 tower case (taking up too much room on my desk) with Intel Pentium MMX233Mhz (slow now) running on 64Mb RAM (32Mb SDRAM plus 32Mb SIMM upgrade) and 2Mb standard video RAM boosted with an Orchid Righteous 3DII 12Mb ATI Rage II+ 3d acceleration card. Storage is a (used to be gigantic – but not any more) 4.3Gb hard drive (no room for those video files) and outside access is via a 56k modem through Freeserve (connecting at about 33k usually). I still run Microsoft Windows 95 (not 98, 98SE, 2000, ME or XP I hear you enquire) and display on my 17″ Taxan monitor (cost £500 new, now standard fare) with audio supplied through dual speakers and a Yamaha sub-woofer (booooom).
A custom Novatech Soprano laptop (heavy for a portable, more of a movable) with super fast 3.07GHz Intel Pentium 4 running on 512Mb RAM. Storage is a (gigantic – for now) 60Gb hard drive and the world is accessed via the built in 56k modem through Freeserve (25-44k, why the difference?). I run Microsoft XP Professional and display on the built-in 64Mb 15″ TFT LCD. Audio is supplied by two small shrill insects inside somewhere that like to go bleep very loudly at times.
Canon Bubblejet (say no more).
The Soft Page of vinceunlimited – The underbelly of my computer
Welcome to the soft page, not that this page is softer than any of the others – flexiscreeens haven’t yet hit the streets – unless you know better.
As with the ‘hard’ page this is designed for all the nerds to discover what I like to use to ease me through the exciting world of computing, software wise.
Willy Gates has my vote as far as usable programmes go. His pricing policy is questionable, as is the constant redevelopment of ideas. I have no problem with him making trillions as his products have revolutionised the way we work together but he could be fairer to legitimate users.
And the policy of constantly re-inventing basic necessities (Yes, I’m talking Windows here) seems a touch greedy. No wonder so many turn to piracy. Why do the class leading products, with their international markets, sold in hundreds of thousands of units sell for the highest prices? Ship ’em out cheaper Billy Boy and we’ll all buy legitimately in their millions and so make you even richer. I know you could do with the extra cash.
The operating systems I use is good old Microsoft Windows 95 on my home desktop and XP on my work laptop. This conveniently hides the OS in the background and I rarely venture into white on black screens these days. The 450mB ramquirement and 10 minutes to start up are a pain.
The big M (no, not McDonalds) also do well on applications. I learnt spreadsheets on Lotus 123 and early on supported this application along with the other excellent programmes they produced, particularly Organiser. The Lotus look is generally superior to Microtosh but the mighty Gates stronghold is more and more eclipsing the user base. In all I don’t think this will be a problem as compatibility is paramount in the new technology of computing. Make it work, make it compatible – backwards and forwards and make it cheap. That’s all we ask for.
And improve email programmes too. I’ve not yet used one that isn’t total pants.
As for Apple Macintosh? What’s the point? I thought their skins were waterproof. On a more serious note though, congratulations must go to Apple for pushing the boundaries of technology design.
Now what about PC software? When will we see true user friendliness in GUI’s guys? And I don’t necessarily mean a virtual office layout with a point and click ‘photo facsimile’ of an office desk. That’s the real world. We’re in an exciting new electronic medium here. Let’s use new technology to work in a new world. Lose the Qwerty keyboard and references to files. This is electronic media. Voice inputs, multi-dimensional applications, 3D visuals and neural partition storage is the way to go. If you guys don’t come up with the quantum leap then I warn you, I will.
Finally, why do games recreate what we do in life? I agree with top class simulation programmes but let’s stretch the imagination and create wonderful new multi-dimensional worlds of true beauty – aurally and visually. Let’s not go mad on nasal simulation though. I fear this strand of technology may be abused!
The Web Page of vinceunlimited – Home Spun Facts
You have reached the web page of vinceunlimited. The details of the software used to create and uplift this web page to the great World Wide Web and onto your screen.
As this is my first effort at designing and producing a web site I decided to keep it simple using a widely available programme which would produce a product that was readable on the majority of the world’s computers, using minimum facilities.
From the outset I decided that content was far more important than fancy graphics and fonts although I hope to improve the general look and content in future releases and when more users have faster internet access.
A standard look is vital in creating visual consistency and will aid the reader in remembering the site. And it saves me having to constantly invent styles.
If you like what you see, or can imagine what I could achieve with better facilities and want me to help you design your site – contact me. My services are available.
Website Creation Software
I have used a standard version of Microsoft FrontPage Express, version 2.0 Although most has been code checked through HTML (ask your son) using Microsoft Notepad. No other software was used. Does it show?
I use Smart FTP. Because it can be loaded free for private users. And I’m not loaded.
I use Freeserve as an Internet Service Provider. Free. So give them a big hand.
Web server – Where this is stored
I use Web-Mania as an Web Server provider. The price is reasonable so they come well recommended.
Web site conceived, designed, produced, checked and sent to you, by Vince. So that’s me then.
Note about using MS Notepad originally added in Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
My ISP provider Freeserve were bought by Wanadoo in 2000 although I never knew this at the time of the article and was still using ‘Freeserve’ and my Freeserve email at the time of posting. Orange purchased Wanadoo in 2006 and I noted the change to Wanadoo then Orange in my formal website vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.02 in Jun 2006. This was confirmed within Version 2.04 of vinceunlimited.co.uk/web around Dec 2006 where I noted that I had moved from Freeserve/Wanadoo/Orange to BT and now had 6mB of capacity [also noted in vincepoynter.co.uk/webcredit]
Version 1.04 Apr 2009 of vincepoynter.co.uk/webcredit noted that I changed FTP supplier from Smart FTP to another free service by Cyberduck
Crystal ball time
Welcome to the future. Check out my computer specification of the future. My guess [in October 2003] for year 148AV (anno. vincy).
AOF-serve Brooklyn 2020, carbon fibre micro case with AMD (touchy) ZZR series 38.9THz quadbus bio-platform, still running through 56k Dos, on 93Gb TAM (total access memory) and 222Mb standard video RAM boosted with a 4D-VR 12Gb acceleration card giving graphics from a 6789 x 2212 screen utilising 32 million and one colours. They found another one! Hurrah!
Storage is a bio-neural vector imaging carbofile store with immeasurable capacity pseudo-hard drive utilising aluminium organospheres. Unfortunately, still no room for those video files. Outside access is via a 4649M video-modem through we-will-actually-pay-YOU-fifty-eurodollars-serve.com Still connecting at about 33k usually.
Software is Aircon, which is much better than Windows.
Audio is supplied through multi-phase ver. 6.947.34a displayed on a widescreen 73″ plasma projector SCD with Dolbyson Pro-logisense sensurround implant mini-speakers with built in giga-woofer (boooooooooooooooooooooooom!).
RolexPro Diamonte with Applechip processor and superlite mini-screen, glued to inside of contact lens. Thought activated inputs. Solar powered, with 11-month backup battery, developed by the Norwegians, unsurprisingly.
Still got my Canon Bubblejet, although I have now changed the ink cartridge.
Author: Vince Poynter
This is an extract from the vinceunlimited.co.uk/computer.htm website Version 5.009 dated 19 Oct 2017
These details were first published in the first version of the vinceunlimited website, Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The images were first added in Version 5.009 19 Oct 2017
Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.
In this episode Vince talks about growing up as a Geek then issues an appeal for help.
This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts, available for subscription via iTunes or the back pages of GeekWeek Monthly.
This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com Other ways to waste your time can be had by searching ‘cat’ on the internet.
I don’t like what you post on FaceBook. Or the way that Twitter is used. I’m annoyed why photo sharing sites are ignored and think that most LinkedIn comments are preposterous. But don’t worry, all is fine.
I suspect you feel the same about my use of social media. And probably the way your other contacts do all this as well. It’s because there are no rules here so we make up our own.
The reason that I dislike all this is that you don’t use these social networks as they should be used. Which is to say that you don’t use them in the way that I interpret they should be used. I’ll give you an example.
I don’t use FaceBook to store and distribute my digital photograph collections. For a start I would think it presumptuous to assume you’d like to see them all and I do like to keep some of my life to myself. Plus if I wanted to share shed-loads of pretty pictures I’d use a proper photo-sharing site, like Flickr. It’s the way it was first devised and shall always remain so.
Some selective photos of mine are published on FB which may be of interest to the few friends and family I save this site for. And every one of them is in focus I might add.
Ephemeral photos that I take are much more suited to the casual nature of Tweeting so you only get to see these if you follow me there.
Which brings me neatly onto the issue of followers and contacts. And a specific question. Why do you have so many? Yes, on the face of it it seems flattering that so many others want to be in your gang but there is a limit to these things and too many lessen the impact. It is a privilege to be considered a friend but not if everyone is. And I think it impossible to follow the posts of more than fifty or so active others, across all sites. So how do you manage your seventy, seven hundred or several thousand?
So this is how you should use Social Media.
At present FaceBook is the worst of the lot. It has become a dumping ground for everything that is good or bad in social media and tries to emulate and steal the ideas from every other format. It wants your posts, your pictures, your locations, your timeline, your soul. By all means use this as a one stop shop if you know no better but as you are are reading this I guess you do know better so don’t!
If FB must be used, use it only for close friends and family. Restrict posts to interesting things about what you are getting up to. If you need to arrange a meeting use the phone or text.
Only share photo collections on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. And group them by activity, event or date. With all miscellaneous content clearly labelled so. And just delete the duplications and the ones with your damn thumb in the corner.
Don’t however treat Instagram as a photo sharing site. Use this to create interesting, vivid content not as a place to dump every photo of parties, pies and peers.
Respect your Twitter stream by properly following just a handful of people who genuinely interest you, whether they be friends, famous or followable.
Your friends and relations do like to see where you are and what you are doing there so use a site designed for this purpose such as FourSquare. Or If you are watching something try sharing with GetGlue.
Keep LinkedIn professional. Only post relevant notes about your career and work related issues. And no avatar photos of you on a beach or the piste, unless that is your workplace.
If you can’t think of anything amusing, pertinent or interesting to say post nothing. And when a thought enters your mind carefully choose the appropriate medium.
Only selectively requote or link to other peoples content. Stop constantly referencing other people’s stuff. If I had an interest in their diatribe I’d find it myself. Save the plagiarism for satirists.
Ignore Google + because that upsets geeks, was far too late for the party and Google should stick to searching.
Only please don’t do any of the above. Because you are you not me.
Sooner than you can say head up display we’ll all be meandering around pointing our mobile devices at the world and immediately knowing that the shop to your left is offering 50% discount on crop tops, the restaurant to your right has a bean soup salad special for just £6.73 and the bus about to run you over for not actually paying attention to the road is going to Tottenham via Purley Green.
Yes the future is just about here and it is going to be augmented reality mad.
This is a great technological advancement and will enrich our lives like nothing else. Soon you will never be caught not knowing your neighbour’s dog’s name or how late the six fifteen to Manchester Piccadilly will actually arrive. Our computers will overlay street names, ingredients on tins and localised weather forecasts as if we couldn’t live without such information.
And when the tech really gets going it won’t be a mobile phone held aloft but a pair of high tech glasses. Google have already broken ground on this one. Soon it will be so uncool not to wear glasses.
The only downside will be the inevitable viruses. Not the predictable blank screen version although that won’t be pleasant over your whole vision of course. No, fear the augmented pranksters.
Oh, it will start very friendly, perhaps with odd additions such as the next bus is due in 316,928 years, size 10 – you’ve got to be joking madam or this bacon is suitable for Jewish vegetarians.
Then it will move on to projecting strange images. UFOs will appear up in the sky, Zebra crossings will appear to have actual Zebras crossing and irksome gnomes will pop up all over the place being positively irksome.
Finally like all things it will eventually follow the more sinister route. Lord Lucan will be sat on park benches all over town, brick walls will suddenly appear in the central lane of the M25 and eight foot scorpions will be lurking in every Fried Chicken doorway, even in Kentucky.
Who cares that the building society is lending at 0.03% over base rate if the Troll behind it is eating a goat?
You have seen the future here. If you have those glasses of course.