Window Vistas

Through The Round Window

Take a look out of your window.  What do you see?

The chances are that unless you are on holiday, you live on a ship or are currently slumming it in what the Americans call an “ArrVee” the view is exactly the same as the one you had yesterday.  And the day before.

And unless you are about to complete a property transaction or do a moonlight flit from the landlord it will be the same again tomorrow.

I for one find all that a bit monotonous.

And I won’t accept the changing patterns of trees in the winter/spring/summer/autumn argument.  The trees never move and for my money offer less distraction than a city-scape skyline.  At least with a city you may get the chance to live opposite a hospital nurses’ changing room during a curtain closing drought.

So I have devised a cunning way to relieve the monotony.  Let’s all share our views.

I propose that all windows be replaced with a big LCD screen backing onto a networked webcam.

Tomorrow I could be looking out of your lounge window and you could be looking out of mine.  And noting that Mrs Miggins across the road has just painted her front door green.

Obviously certain outlooks will be of more interest than others.  I’ve seen several windows that back onto the neighbours wall and others with fine vistas.

Which gives me the name.  Let’s call this ‘Windows replaced by Vista’.

Although I may need to do some research to see if this infringes any patented trademarks first.

Perhaps we could use a system where we state the number of viewing options available.  I have 7 windows in my house so I could call my place Windows 7.  You see Windows 7 really is my idea.

The system could even be monetised with the most popular views commanding high viewing figures and attracting ad breaks.

And guess which curtain drought outlook would be the most popular?

There are a couple of drawbacks.

In winter you may switch to a nice sunny outlook only to have your Hawaiian shirt thoroughly dampened when you step out into the real world’s shivering rain.

And, being the twenty-first century all soothsayers will immediately rally around the old chestnut of energy usage.  After all these screens would use more energy than a simple plate of glass.

But there is a response.  Ask yourself how a lot of the heat escapes from a well insulated property – through the glazing.  And with this system all windows will be bricked up and insulated.

I foresee that one day you will be able to say “That outlook is so much more improved”.

And that’s no bad thing.

However that potential trademark is also being considered.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 10 Aug 2018
First published in Mar 2010
Windows Vista is the name of Microsoft’s computer operating software released in 2007
Windows 7 is the name of Microsoft’s computer operating software released in 2009
When Windows 7 was released Microsoft updated their ‘I’m a PC’ advertising campaign, which had attempted to counter the Apple ‘Get a Mac’ advertising campaign, using the tag line “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea”
Microsoft’s Outlook, a personal information manager, incorporating email, was initially released in 1992 and has since had many improvements made up to it’s current version

Advertisements

Repository

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 BlogGeek 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

Computers March 2010

The author's spare bedroom converted to a nice office set up.  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
My rather comfortable home office setup in 2008 with little work being carried out

Stop Maccing About

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

A mac Mini 2 sits on top of a matching Iomega backup hard drive.  The associated firewire lead has been removed from an adjacent USB drive but the kink in the cable remains meaning the open Firewire end floats in the air
The new Mac Mini. Seen here sat atop the Iomega drive and behind the invisible USB device

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.

A series of photographs showing the progress of physically destroying a MacMini, firstly removing the case, then exposing the innards, removing parts then splitting apart the hard drive
In deference to security concerns I needed to get to the hard drive, and duly destroyed the old Mini…

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.

MacBook

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.

A white MacBook sits to the left of the Apple Cinema Display and on the right is a Dell Notebook
The MacBook joins the fray. Note the little Dell Mini 10 getting it’s latest Windows Update

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].

Lugubrious Laptop

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.

Lightweight Laptop

An opened but switched off Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Notebook.  It has a glossy screen, black bezel and keyboard and a silver trackpad and wrist rest area
A tiny Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Notebook all ready to link to my massive HiFi Processor

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.

Accessories

Printy All-in-One-a-Mabob

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.

Wi-Fi

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

dadPad

A MyDiary entry from 28 Jan 2010

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

Kangafood

Had a late lunch with the wife’s family to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday.

We made our now seemingly monotonously regular trip to The Otter at Otterborne.

Personally I always see a typically dingily lit Public House with grimy floor and facilities and a smattering of unwelcoming angry looking bar locals.  However, the in-laws only see the back restaurant and seem to like the food.

Here the Otter does well and surprisingly serves a quite exotic menu.

Often I’ll order the Ostrich Steak but like so many other things today this was off the menu.

The waitress offered kangaroo, which I jumped at.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Food section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 30 Jul 2018
From an entry in MyDiary dated 18 Jan 2010
First published in the vinceunlimited.co.uk website in Mar 2010

Primary Tweets – Twitter 2009

Twitter, the online micro blogging service, was launched in July 2006 and I joined at the beginning of 2009.  It was only just starting to grow and my membership number suggests just under 19m others got there before me.  If you think that makes me a late starter consider that if you joined today you would be getting involved with something that [by Oct 2017] over 330 million have tried.

I recall that at the time the service felt fresh and new, lacking the cynicism and fame seeking of today’s model.  When I signed up I did not personally know anyone who used the site and on many occasions I was asked what it was about and why they should bother.

In those early days it seemed users were treated based on their own content and not their ability to retweet the content from others or by just simply being a celebrity in other fields.  You had to work to get a following.  Just being a ‘someone’ and posting a picture of your breakfast or requoting a glib phrase in a fancy font wouldn’t garner appreciation.

As a result I taught myself how to entertain and grow a following.  You will also note that I tried out different and novel ways to use the platform, although the increased growth in people using the platform and the ever growing number of celebrities opening accounts in the year meant that the original user base was quickly being sidelined and I found difficulty getting my own voice heard.

I felt proud of the contribution I made and wrote a story of my 2009 content postings.  I built the narrative to explain to non-service users why I had posted certain contemporaneous comments.  Although fairly comprehensive it is not a complete reposting of every Tweet that year.  You will need to visit my @vinceunlimited Twitter Feed to get absolutely everything.

Finally, for those without the time on their hands to read the whole story and just like the best of the best I have curated this list of my top ten best Tweets of 2009.  Based on my personal choice, not based on views, likes, comments or retweets. They are in no significant order other than date of posting.

Generally I’m a fan of predictive text. However, sometimes my worms come out all fanny and change the moaning completely

Damn. Just broke my Crystal Ball. It fell off the table. I didn’t see that coming

I said “Whats that?” She said “Its an age spot.” I said “Just the one?” It’s suddenly more frosty this morning

The instructions read ‘Store in a cool place’. Which explains why I was trying to get into Samuel Jackson’s movie trailor

Decided to form a band. Our unique theme will be that we’ll perform in cake shops. I guarantee that in five years we’ll be huge

My brother told me he is using chip fat to power his old diesel car. Reckons he gets 73 miles per potato

Male Polar Bear asks his girlfriend to wear heavy make up just for a change. She replies ‘I’m not pandering to you.’

They asked whether the apartment I rent out came with Sky. I said yes. Big blue thing just above the roof

…Sado-masochists Beat Themselves Into Second Place In Online Poll

I tried to get though the Tile Discount Store door but they had reduced it by 50%

Have I picked the ten best?  If you want to know the full and comprehensive story of my Tweets in 2009 go to my website at vinceunlimited.co.uk/twitter2009.htm or if you are using a mobile device try vinceunlimited.co.uk/twitter2009m.htm

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Twitter section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 27 Jul 2018
Tweets First published in Twitter during 2009

Christmas Smut

A MyDiary entry from 26 Dec 2009

A pretty red brick hand-built classic fireplace with electric fire and substantial dark wood mantlepiece, set in a lounge with thick maroon carpet.  The fireplace is flanked by a flat screen TV and sub-woofer and has three pink and white mantle pots and matching carriage clock
Why do we think industrial brickwork indoors is a good idea?

I live in suburbia.  Not a town called suburbia but a good facsimile of it.

It is a mid-eighties detached property built using the standard UK model with many featuring that most essential of British faux Victoriana features – The fireplace.

This ancient Dickensian accessory is thankfully rarely used.  Unfortunately, being Christmas, many fools succumb to the lure of a smoky hellhole and fire up their soot inducing possession.

As a result my clean white windowsills are now peppered with smut.  And frankly the only thing I like peppered that way is my late night TV.

I’m definitely going to move this year.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog  section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 25 Jul 2018
Written as a MyDiary entry on 26 Dec 2009

First published in Version 3.0 in Mar 2010
The photograph shows the author’s fireplace, taken around 2005 and was first added in Version 3.0 Mar 2010

Home Work

A MyDiary article from 27 Nov 2009

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

Jet Wash[ing Up]

A MyDiary article from 12 Nov 2009

A photograph of the back of my wife in a red tee-shirt and beige cap stood on a balcony just as a nine plane Red Arrows jet formation flies past, trailing their blue, white and red smoke
A Red Arrows display begins in August 2009.  No idea of how many pilots were wearing make up

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

An Old Fashioned Diary

A MyDiary article from 11 Nov 2009

As if I haven’t got enough places to write things down – my blog, Facebook, Twitter.  I couldn’t resist the idea of having a personal diary again so have downloaded the MyDiary App onto my iPhone.

I remember my last real journal was an A4 white bound affair with stupidly narrow lines.  I wish I could read it now.

Today is Armistice Day.  It is also my sister’s birthday.  Mum and Dad nearly called her Poppy because of this but went with Dawn instead.  Something about being born early in the day I understand.  If all parents were like mine a quarter of all girls would be called Dawn.

The siren rang out at the Warminster site I was working at today at 11am to mark the two minute silence.  I stood and thought about all the soldiers dying and being injured in Afghanistan.  This solemn moment was only disturbed by me sneezing half way through.

Finally I started trading on iTrade today, another App on my iPhone.  This little piece of fun allows a virtual trade using real stock values.  I decided to reduce the confusion so decided to keep to stocks starting with the letter V.   Egoistic or what?

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 17 Jul 2018
First published on 11 Nov 2009

Not Over The Moon

A vinceunlimited blog article from 20 Jul 2009

An American astronaut stands in his white spacesuit and large glass fronted helmet on a rocky moon surface next to the foot of his lunar landing module
An astronaut stands on the lunar surface near to the Lunar Module Eagle foot

Today [20 Jul 2009] marks the fortieth anniversary of the first moon landing by a man in a white suit with a big pack on his back and it seems the world has gone mega-moon nostalgic.

The airwaves are full of grainy imagery and everyone is so pleased with themselves you can hardly hear the naysayers claiming the rocks in the picture are made of Hollywood papier-mâché now stored in Area 51.

This led me to excitedly mention to my misses that the nine 1969 Kodak Memorial Colour Slides we have diligently stored in the cupboard might well meet a good premium on eBay.

And her to disappointedly mention that she threw them out a month ago.

A month ago I acquired a natty slide converter and spent a few moments [read hours] transferring all my old colour slides to a more manageable electronic format.

With this I can now see them more regularly and indeed have added some to this very website.

I also knew that most were gradually deteriorating, over time loosing their natural crisp brilliance and turning darker by the year.

I realised that after the transfer there was little point keeping the cumbersome little blighters and that Mrs Clear-It-Up was going to put them in the big grey bin.

However I presumed she might keep the singular little box of collectable, commemorative slides.

Why do I make these basic errors of assumption?

So the NASA eBay collectors of the world were denied the opportunity to get a contemporary set of 60’s memorabilia and I was denied my probable forty quid anniversary present.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 14 Jul 2018
First published on 20 Jul 2009

The photograph is a digital transfer from a Kodak Slide original [ask your dad] and is of one of the Apollo 11 astronauts from the 1969 manned lunar spaceflight mission.  The photo was not taken by the author.  If it was I would be a lot more famous.  And older, as I was about six at the time.  Credit belongs to NASA.  Added on 14 Jul 2018

The Smelliest Car

A vinceunlimited blog article from 19 Nov 2008

I read in Advanced Driving magazine about a new car from the French battery company Bolloré.

An electrically propelled vehicle to be called the B0.  That is the ‘B-zero’.

I somehow doubted that it will be called that.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Petrolhead sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 11 Jul 2018
First published on 19 Nov 200
8
The first prototype was called La Blue Car.  It became the La Pininfarina B0 [zero] in 2008 with model releases in 2013 and then with Renault in 2015.  Since then it appears to have passed in the wind.  Like the Mercedes-Beans

Advanced Driving magazine was published by the Institute of Advanced Motorists [IAM], an advanced driving charity with a purpose to improve driving standards, now called IAM RoadSmart

My Space Blog

A MySpace article from 1 Mar 2008

Hi, thought I’d try a blog on MySpace to try to re-kindle some enthusiasm for my entry.

So far have been a member for a few weeks but only have one friend – Tom.  Not that Tom is a great friend.  He is some sort of automated start-up tart who befriends everyone just so they don’t look like Billy no-mates.

Being a Billy no-mates has seemingly attracted a few stunning females who claim to want to be my mate, but as they reside in Wisconsin, USA and claim they hail from Salisbury in the UK their cover as porn links are blown so get sent to the great junk dump in the sky.

Seriously, if you are a fit female and genuinely want to chew the cud at least make out you have read my site.  Or mention the word Hippopotamus.  At least that way I know you’re not just after my credit details.

Not that you have to be fit or female to get a response.  I’ll reply to anyone.  Except Tom.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Social Media sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 10 Jul 2018
First published on 1 March 2008

No Choice

A vinceunlimited blog article from 17 May 2007

A colleague of mine at work today, when questioned about her smoking habit, replied that “It is my choice.”

I really think that she, along with anyone else who peddles this pathetic line, is plainly wrong.

If true choice were being exercised, not a variant based on pier pressure, obvious and subliminal advertising along with nicotine addiction, then no sane person could choose to partake in an activity that shortens life, makes them stink, discourages friendship, causes or accelerates numerous painful diseases, stifles fitness, wastes time as well as money, dulls their senses, destroys their brain cells and makes them prematurely age.

Still, as she said, it’s her choice.

Is it?

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 9 Jul 2018
First published on 17 May 2007

Mac In The Firing Line

A vinceunlimited blog article from 14 May 2007

Wherein I discover Apple Products

A MacMini on top of a matching back-up drive powers a 23 inch Mac monitor filled with photo icons, coupled to an optical mouse, printer and small stereo speakers, all on a dark wood desk unit with matching shelving and adjacent file system.  Files are in the filing system and an iPod Classic is on one of the shelves
This is the screen that turned me into a Mac user. Most just get there from using their iPhone

I’m in the long process of converting one of my bedrooms into a home office and central to this new environment will be a shiny new PC.

I have been looking for a machine that hits the right aesthetic notes as well as performing magnificently.

My major problem area was finding a decent screen and I stumbled into a corker in the new Apple Store that someone kindly set up in my nearest town.

This got me thinking all Mac and I’ve decided that I would suit a quirky set up.

Now, whilst I await latest product news, I am getting all keen and buying up all the Mac magazines and trawling the website constantly.

As a result I’m very familiar with the Mac adverts [both US and UK versions].

Naturally, being me, I immediately turned my attention to thinking up a new ad.  As with all the other ads it opens with the familiar ‘PC’ and ‘Mac’ characters.

PC: “Hello, I’m PC and I’m very popular, though I sometimes don’t get on with everyone.”

Mac: “Hi, I’m Mac and although not as commonplace as you PC, I get on with anyone.  Straight out of the box.  This makes me smugly better.”

A third party joins.

PC: “But, who is this Mac?  I can’t seem to make it out.  You’re so cleverly compatible Mac, tell me who it is.”

Mac: “No. Sorry.  At a loss there for once.”  [To third party]  “Who are you?”

Third party: “Hello, I’m Amstrad emailer.”

Mac: “Nope.”

PC: “Does not compute.”

PC/Mac [together]: “You’re fired!”

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Geek sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 6 Jul 2018
First published on 14 May 2007

The advertising campaign for Apple at the time was the “Get a Mac” campaign and used two contrasting characters.  The informally dressed Mac character, performed by Justin Long, appeared cool and composed and usually got the better of the more stuffy, formal performance of John Hodgman as the PC character.  The campaign was created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab.  A UK version of many of the ads were re-shot using Robert Webb and David Mitchell
The image is of the author’s first converted bedroom Apple Mac set up showing the MacMini on top of a matching back-up drive powering a 23″ Mac monitor displaying many photo icons, coupled to an optical mouse, printer and small Bose stereo speakers.  An iPod Classic and webcam are on one of the shelves.  The image was taken by the author, in Jul 2008 and was added in Version 5.147 6 Jul 2018