Enough with the patronisng, ageist, books…

Yes, I know there’s a typo in the title, but to change it once the post is published will cause problems with Google.

Aaaaargh! I’ve just stumbled across a book which seems designed just to piss me off – “Teach Yourself Digital Photography for the Over 50s”. It also boasts that it’s “Written in a manner that is especially suited to and of interest to older readers…”.

Patronising bastards! We – the over fifties, very over in my case – do not need our own special books, thank you ever so much.

Assuming that there is nothing wrong with their brain – something, sadly, that can’t always be guaranteed – there is absolutely Continue reading

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Smartphones and Twitter – middle-age obsessions?

Over at the Guardian’s CiF, there’s an article entitled “We middle-aged tweeters are the real addicts”. I’m not convinced by the arguments, that we’re obsessed with our smartphones, Twitter and Facebook – many people of my age seem positively in awe of smartphones (though those that have them just have to play with them conspicuously!). Interesting, by the way, that the writer, Sophie Radice, sees mid-forties as middle-aged. Hell, I see mid-sixties as middle aged, but then, I’m biased.

One thing Radice said, though, was revealing:- Continue reading

Battery power – is that the best we can do?

What on earth is the point of a battery-powered motorcycle?

The Observer’s tame eco-zealot is banging on, today about battery-powered bikes. Again! Look, I know we have to get away from dependence on the petrochemical industry, but so far, nobody has come up with an alternative power source which is as affordable and easily refuelable as the internal combustion engine. And trust me, batteries sure as hell are not the answer. While we’re on the subject, I was around in the fifties, I know what was predicted, almost promised, so I have a question – where the hell Continue reading

Spare me from eco-zealotry…

In yesterday’s Observer magazine, their eco-hack suggested that USB-rechargeable AA batteries are a green alternative to normal ones. Sorry, but they certainly are not.

The greenest way to use AAs is to buy the highest capacity you can find – that way you need fewer batteries. Fewer batteries = smaller carbon footprint – a child could figure that out (but not Observer hacks, seemingly).

My current NiMH AA batteries are rated at 2800mAh, and I have a dozen in more or less constant use. The USB version is a rather pathetic 1300mAh, little better than a decent AAA, so I’d need more than twice as many for the same usage – how is that, in anyway at all, green? And who the hell has that many spare USB ports? (NB – these are OK if you’re are in the middle of a field somewhere, and need to recharge a couple from your laptop, but for everyday use they’re just a gimmick.)

By the way, the capacity is low because the actual battery is, physically, little bigger than a AAA once the USB connector is discounted. Obvious to anyone, but not to the Observer’s eco-zealot.

I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, but they seem only rarely to think of doing something as elementary as visiting the manufacturer’s website and checking a few facts (we’ve visited this territory before with the Obs eco-dimwits). Mind you, go to http://www.usbcell.com/ and you’ll have to dig pretty damned deep to find out the capacity of these things but, surely, digging for facts is what journalists are supposed to do? Or is fact-checking not, perhaps, green? I mean, really, is there a carbon debt involved in just thinking?

Machine-created books – art or industry?

The Oddest Book Title of the Year prize has been won by Prof. Philip M Parker, for his book “The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais”.

Parker has “written” over 200,000 books, and yes, there is a reason why I’ve put written in quotes. Parker has, apparently, invented a machine which, as the Guardian says, writes books, creating them from Internet and database searches in order to eliminate or substantially reduce “the costs associated with human labour, such as authors, editors, graphic artists, data analysts, translators, distributors and marketing personnel”. Not to mention the complete elimination of Continue reading

Internet Explorer 8 – faulty straight out of the box…

All is not well in IE8 world, and it falls at the very first hurdle – importing Bookmarks/Favourites. Though as you’ll see, it’s more a case that IE8 was actually lying to me. Doesn’t fill me with confidence.

I’ve just installed IE8 – purely for reference purposes – I operate an email advice service for people with ME/CFS, with computer problems (and for the benefit of DWP snoops, it’s free). IE8’s installation allows you no input whatsoever and simply overwrites IE7, which is totally unacceptable. It’s my PC, and it’s my choice as to where a new app is installed – something MS seem to have lost sight of. Mozilla did exactly the same thing with the first release of Firefox 3 (but reverted to the convention user-choice installation destination in later versions).

So what to do? Continue reading

Maintain your security – or stay offline!

Rummaging around online, I came across a blogger who had not installed a single XP update since SP2 – that means all the security vulnerabilities that MS has patched since SP2 in 2004, not to mention all the functional fixes, have been ignored.

If XP is treated in such a blindly irresponsible, cavalier, fashion, what about anti-virus software. Is that up to date? Does it actually Continue reading

Twitter – why?

Twitter describes itself thus:-

“Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

Twitter also says:-

* Eating soup? Research shows that moms want to know. Really? Just who are these mothers with a worrying obsession about my soup (and anyway, right now it’s a meat pie!)?
* Running late to a meeting? Your co-workers might find that useful. Indeed – and I could simply text or phone one person and ask for the message to be passed on.
* Partying? Your friends may want to join you. Quite. But what’s wrong with the phone, text or email? Or even IM? Continue reading

The greening of mobile phones…

In Barcelona this week, at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, improving the green credentials of mobile phones seems to be high on the agenda.

To this end, the next big thing in mobile phones, apparently, will be built-in solar panels, as on the upcoming Samsung Blue Earth touchscreen phone, which is made from recycled water bottles, has a solar panel on the back, and a built-in pedometer, so you can see Continue reading