Keep a tidy desktop

In which a tidy desktop is a tidy mind.

Empty, not an icon to be seen. My desktop is as vacant as Windows will allow with only a solitary Recycle Bin sitting empty and unused. Nothing gets kept on the desktop; not a shortcut, rogue text file or gif. My physical desk is as empty as possible so the electronic version reflects reality. It all comes down to organisation.

Basic organisation of anything is not hard, when you name your files properly you can quickly find what you are looking for saving you more time to do fun things like drink tea and eat biscuits. Unfortunately when it is easier to make a mess most people will resort to a lackadaisical system of bad labeling and filing. Which is why most people’s desktops are a mess of badly named files.

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Online privacy is your problem

In which the data you give out is your data to protect.

Depending on who you ask cookies are either essential to the operation of the internet, or the most evil thing that has ever been created because of privacy…PRRRRIIIIIVVVVACCCCCYY…issues. This always surprises me because nobody else spends money trying to track us, thankfully all those payments on our cards or CCTV cameras aren’t keeping an eye on us. I really struggle with what the issue is here. A lot of companies and websites make their money through advertising, and better knowledge of their customers means better sales (and ads) and means they keep their marketing costs down. We live in a society which demands that the web is free (both financially and politically) yet do not want in any way to pay for it. Can you do without the internet, and you know live like they used to do in 1995?

Will I be changing my privacy settings? Unlikely. Most of the data is anonymous, and let’s be honest most of us are lackadaisical with our privacy anyway. Unless you are in living in a dictatorship there are not evil conspirators using your data for nefarious means, and if you were under one of these regimes then targeted advertisements is the least of your privacy concerns.

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Not a smartphone

In which I have to press buttons…buttons!

I don’t really want to say much about how my current phone stopped working, let’s just say if Android is a great operating system to mess around with then I perhaps played a little too rough and may have broke it’s software. Say what you like about Apple’s ridiculously fragile devices and their tendency to crack faster than a vegetarian in a bacon factory, but that software is locked down tight. It barely let’s you change a ringtone let alone the whole OS.

So while my phone awaits an assessment of the problem (which currently consists of it not turning on and refusing to charge) I have been left without a smartphone for the first time since the G1 was launched (which by my reckoning and a quick Google search is four years). I have had to buy a dumb phone, or as my Mum would call it…a phone, to still be able to receive calls and messages but as I didn’t want to spend a fortune I stumped up $15 for an Alcatel OneTouch. Which is a bit of a misnomer as this is technically one touch more than the screen can handle – it has buttons…buttons! What is this? The mid-2000′s? Continue reading “Not a smartphone”

Hiding behind a screen

In which I ROFLCOPTER while Red Lady Dancing.

The biggest problem I face when I sit behind my keyboard is trying to make the symbols and syntax approximate close to my initial intentions. It has always been an annoyance that the typen word cannot capture nuance and tone.

More than once I have had to delete paragraphs because they didn’t come out as I intended. I have a sarcastic and dry humour that translates very poorly to the written word, it needs the inflection of voice and the rolling of eyes to signal that you shouldn’t take what I write to seriously.

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Reinventing the book

In which I try to reinvent the wheel and give up because its been done.

The technology we have today is amazing.

We have more computing power in our hands than Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 astronauts had to get to the moon, or Alan Turing created at Bletchley Park to help defeat the Third Reich. We are always looking at what the next big thing wil be, what gizmo will we next all be clamouring for. Is it going to be Google Glass or smartwatches, what are we all going to going gaga over?

Yet do I need all this gadgetry around me, in what quantifiable way does my iPod make my life better. Do I see people less because I am so busy keeping in touch on Facebook? My mobile helps me keep in touch, not just with people (who are now ‘contacts’) but with football scores, and my location and how many people are reading this. I thought I could never live without my Sky+ box. It was as essential as the dishwasher. Now I have neither I don’t miss them.

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Stop being digitally messy

In which I dismiss all notifications and accept all updates.

I’m not a complete tidy freak, there is still a good deal of mess around me wherever I sit, but I still have a hang up about a clean computer.

Not that the screen has to be free of dust, or that the vents have no accumulation of hair and dead skin cells, but the software and file system has to be just right.

This means no icons on the desktop or superfluous open windows, and only as many open tabs as I need. Unfortunately I married someone with an opposing ethos.

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Being constantly online

In which I spend an age online explaining why I am online so much.

My life is becoming ever increasingly connected. I now have a smart watch that will tell me when I get a notification on my phone when people respond to something I posted on my computer.

Whenever a live event is on then I will be on Facebook and Twitter as well as following live blogs.  I try to switch off from the Internet to just sit and watch but realise I’m more interested in what I was missing out on online, when did real life just become a way of generating content for status updates?

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Childhood : The ZX Spectrum

In which I remember the dulcet tones of screaming tapes.


While browsing around the internet I came across a replica of an old 1980’s computer that is now a bluetooth keyboard. I wasn’t really a console gamer in my youth and still prefer PC-based gaming today, and it reminded me about the first gaming machine I owned, a ZX Spectrum. A common complaint amongst some reviewers and gamers can often be loading times between different levels or locations, with anything over 15 seconds seeming like an eternity.

Obviously none of them were a Spectrum gamer, where five minutes or so of screeching from a tape deck was required before any game could begin. Unless of course there was a problem with the connections or the tape which would require you to start all over again. Continue reading “Childhood : The ZX Spectrum”

Turning off the internet

In which I refuse to hit the off switch.

I was unable to go outside this weekend. That may sound a bit drastic, it wasn’t though I was being kept under house arrest or physically restrained in my seat. Instead I had a cold and had to stay on the sofa to recuperate.

This allowed me to spend plenty of time with the TV and laptop, and rather than take a break from technology I was as unplugged as a Jean Michel Jarre concert celebrating an energy company’s birthday in a giant overflowing bath.

I find it difficult to disconnect from the technology around me, and get especially nervous when I try to disentangle myself from the internet. For everything it has done for me, I’m not sure I want to turn off the little glowing boxes. I’ll explain why. Continue reading “Turning off the internet”

Indistinguishable from magic

In which I live under the stairs, because the wifi is better there.

I was lucky enough to be able to watch “The Incredible Bert Wonderstone” yesterday morning. I say lucky because I needed to waste a few hours in the morning and it was the first thing to come on TV and I couldn’t find the remote. What I was lucky enough to be able to do is not wake the baby sleeping in my arms by laughing at all.

What it made me realise is that there is no such thing as magic, it’s all just an illusion. As Arthur C. Clarke said:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

So rather than be imbued with mystical powers I will exchange this for a great intellect that will allow me to appear like a deity before the world.

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