It’s been a while since I had headphones that hook over the ears and behind your head so I thought I’d give these a try and share with you guys. continue reading »
I recently got my hands on a SoundWave SW50 Bluetooth Speaker Phone and thought I’d give it a review and share my thoughts. continue reading »
This is a pretty nifty stick on USB cable which can be applied to virtually anything! Obviously, it is just for show and doesn’t allow you to sync your moo-juice with your iMac, but still.
Offices are one a safe haven for us Geeks. Everything else, however, is out to get us. Here are a couple of things that help me out on a daily basis and how help the gears keep turning.
I always have Lemsips, Paracetamol and Anti Histamines in my top desk draw. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an office when you’re feeling under the weather. I also need to take Anti Histamines daily for a skin complaint, so if I forget to take them in the morning before leaving for work, I know I have spares
Rock ‘n’ Roll
I listen to music throughout the day. I’d go mental if I didn’t. I find that music can be motivating and really gets me fired up and ready to work. Music is also a good way to drown out the office arguments.
I get really easily distracted, so listening to music helps me to stay focused.
Tissues are essential for any desk dweller. They can be used to mop up spillages, blow your nose, wipe your hands, cry softly into, or to keep your desk dust free!
I know I’m a little weird but in my desk I have Ketchup, Salt, Sugar and Vinegar. You never know when you’ll need them. What happens when the lady in the bakery forgets to put Ketchup on your Friday morning breakfast cob? What happens when you have some chips that aren’t salty enough, or there’s a sudden hard frost? What happens when you make a cup of coffee only to realise that there’s no sugar left? You’d be prepared, that’s what. What I usually do is take extra condiments from fast food restaurants, then way you don’t have little sachets that you can easily hide away.
A spare tie
In my last two jobs, I always ALWAYS had a spare tie in my desk. I wore a shirt and trousers to work every day, but occasionally I used to get called out to a clients, often at a moments notice. I didn’t want to wear a tie every day, so I kept one in my desk. Slip it on and BOOM, instant professional!
Spare charger/Extension leads
I have a phone dock on my desk now, but before I had this, I always used to keep a spare charger in my desk. I still keep an iPod and Mini USB charger in my desk in case my iPod or Bluetooth headset goes flat. I also keep a USB extension lead handy, just in case. I’ve never needed a reason to use it yet, but when the time comes…
No desk is complete without a couple of toys and stress relievers. I have no less than 3 stress relievers on my desk; one foam dice, 1 squishy brain and a rubber brick!
I also have a Power Ball, rubber band ball, and one of those games that you use to play in primary school where it told you who you were going to marry.
Spare Asthma Inhaler
I always have a spare inhaler in my desk just in case.
Anti Bacterial hand wash
I started doing this when the Swine Flu started doing the rounds. I bought little bottles of hand wash to disinfect my hands whenever I was about to or finished eating something. I still do it now even though swine flu has gone away. I used it to clean my hands after eating fruit at my desk. I hate typing with sticky mitts!
There are certain phrases that I come across fairly regularly while working in IT that really annoy me. I’ve tried to list them below. A few of these aren’t things I get regularly, but annoyed me enough that they needed mentioning.
“You’re good on the computer…”
Seriously… It’s not a fricking saxophone.
“The Internet is broken!”
Trust me if the Internet was broken there would be world wide panic. Not just you not being able to access Facebook.
“Are you on Email?”
What? Are you on telephone? Are you on post? I use Email, yes. I’m not on it!
This one really gets me riled. Actually, now you’ve said that I’m thinking of Junk mailing you from my sent mail…
After reformatting a computer: “Have you put Google on it?”
Ahhhh… I knew there was something I missed.
“Send me the Earl”
The… what? Do you mean URL? Hi Earl!
“The guy in the shop was using this to touch the screen. Why doesn’t it work when I do it!”
Because that’s the antenna for your wireless card. He just happened to have one in his hand when he was showing you the computer. He was using the mouse, but just pointing at the screen with the antenna. You don’t have a touch screen monitor.
“Which one’s the right mouse button? Do you mean the one on the right, or the “correct” one?”
“I’m not very good at following instructions…”
After trying to get a client to insert a USB stick… for 45 minutes.
“HOW THE F*CK DO I MAKE A NEW FOLDER?!!!!”
“Right click, and click New Folder…”
“WHERE THE F*CK’S THAT?!!! ”
“Just here, look. Where I’m pointing”
“WE’RE NOT ALL F*CKING GENIUSES YOU KNOW!!!”
Asking someone to make a new folder.
“I don’t understand all that computer crap!”
Thanks. Thank you for referring to my trade, the reason why I get up in the morning, as “that computer crap”. Next time I go to the hospital, watch the nurses face when I refer to her job as “that nursing shit”.
This one requires a little explanation. All my friends were on holiday together and I didn’t go as I couldn’t afford it. The Dad of one of the girls was having problems with his PCs (he’d installed the same virus riddled software on both PCs) and I said I’d take a look. As he was the owner of a care home and his PCs contained sensitive information, I wasn’t allowed to take the PCs away with me. Fair enough. Monday night, I was there from 7pm to 10pm. I didn’t have what I needed to fix it, so I needed to come back the next day with the right stuff. Tuesday I was there from 7pm to 4am! I had to be in work for 8:30am! While packing my stuff up, he was pleased that I’d singled handedly saved his business from ruin and retrieve all the files that were nearly lost to the ether, however just before leaving, he was a little annoyed about something. He was a little annoyed that I’d not retrieved a hidden folder containing his secret porn stash! I went back on the Thursday night to fix a few more issues and to set up his home surveillance system to work on his PC (7pm to midnight). I’d spend 17 hours of my week fixing his PCs. He then text me on the Friday night because his PC wouldn’t play a bastard DVD. I ignored it and never went back.
One thing I’ve learned so far about “being good on the computer”, is that no one thanks you when it works, it’s automatically your fault and your responsibility to fix it when it’s broke and people huff and puff at how long it’ll take to fix it!
After writing an article on recycling and saving electricity whilst still using my many nerdy gadgets, I thought I’d go a step further and buy a solar charger to see if it could keep me going without the need for my mains chargers.
Can it power all of my gadgets? Well, straight out of the box, No. The product information does state what adapters come in the box, and I knew before I bought it that it wouldn’t support my BlackBerry Storm. It says it supports BlackBerrys, but as the Storm uses a Mini USB instead of Micro USB charger, it wasn’t compatible. A little annoying, but there are extra adapters available to buy separately. I bought the adapter (and a handy carry case) from the Freeloader web site and arrived within a couple of days.
One thing I found a little disappointing is that it doesn’t work in Winter. Which when you think about it… makes a lot of sense. I’ll have to wait until spring before I can properly try using it as a solar charger, but until then I can charge it via USB. One thing that concerns me about doing this, and I couldn’t find any figures to prove otherwise, is that wouldn’t it put an extra drain on your laptop battery? Therefore you’d have to charge your laptop more, therefore cancelling out the… um… goodness?
I must say I’m really impressed with it in general. It’s a little clunky removing and attaching the solar panels, but I think the sexy overall design and the fact you’re saving the planet makes up for that.
My Freeloader now charges my Blackberry Storm, iPod nano, and my Bluetooth USB handsfree device. It doesn’t have an adapter to connect to my laptops, but I suppose that’s just wishful thinking.
It will charge my iPod and my handsfree in the same day no problems. It does have a little difficulty charging my BlackBerry though. It will charge it half way, but then not charge it any more. The instruction book says that this is because the battery in the phone is more powerful than the Freeloader battery. I suppose half full is better than nothing.
Once fully charged, it holds its charge for around 3 months, which is really impressive considering its size. As it holds its charge, you don’t have to worry about it going flat on you if you keep it in your car or backpack for a long period of time.
I reckon this would be really useful if you are the outdoorsy type, if you’re planning on going to any festivals this year, or just want something that will give you power in case of an emergency. I also think this will be great for someone looking to help the environment (slightly).
- 120mA premium quality crystalline solar cells
- 1000mAh environmentally friendly Li-ion battery – typical battery life is 2 years.
- Freeloaders solar panels can charge its internal battery in as little as 8 hours or 3 hours when using the supplied USB charging cable
- Supplied with a computer USB charging cable
- Supplied with a power master cable and 11 adapter tips to fit the following:
- Nokia phones old 3.5mm jack and the new 2mm jack
- LG Chocolate, LG shine and Prada phones
- Samsung D800 and G600 current series phones
- Sony Ericsson K750 and K800i current series phones
- Nintendo DS Lite
- iPod (compatible with most iPod devices including iPhone and iPhone 3G)
- 4mm jack for Sony PSP, Tom Tom, most digital cameras, PDAs, 2-way radios
- Mini USB for Motorola, Blackberry, Qtec, Smartphone, iMate, most digital cameras and Bluetooth headsets
- USB female for PDAs, mp3 players, most digital cameras and most devices which can be charged through USB
- NOTE – devices using the USB adapter tip to charge will need a synchronisation cable/plug (not supplied). These are usually supplied with the original device.
- Impact resistant, rust free aluminium body.
- Freeloader holds its battery charge for up to 3 months
- Supplied with detailed user manual
- Size – 123x62x17
- Weight – 185g<
- Full list of supported devices
Yeah Yeah, but what about the stuff that actually matters?
Once charged, the internal battery can power an iPod for 18 hours, a mobile phone for 44 hours, PSP for 2.5 hours a PDA for 22 hours.
I was driving down the motorway the other day whilst listening to my iPod. I have one of those FM transmitter cradle things which lets me play the songs on my iPod through my car stereo without having to dismantle and re wire anything. It suddenly dawned on me that this is the first car I’ve had that hasn’t got (or had) a factory fitted Cassette player. All my other cars had Cassette players, which I later replaced with my own CD player except my first car which only ever had a Cassette player. This then got me thinking about Cassettes in general…
We’re all well aware that the music industry is moving in the direction of MP3 downloads, and possibly in the way of the new Deluxe MP3s if these catch on. Most of us have probably converted our CDs into MP3s by now, so that we can listen to them on our MP3 players. All of my CDs are now stored in a box in the loft and I have no physical copies of my albums lying around the house. Not only has this saved me storing hundreds upon hundreds of CDs in racks and boxes under my bed, but it has organised and consolidated my music collection into one easily manageable library the size of a small hard back book.
But what ever happened to Cassette Tapes?
Remember these? Remember those pain in the arse plastic blocks that you had to rewind or fast forward if you wanted to skip a track? There wasn’t a button you could just press to go forward or back a track. If you wanted to change album, you had to change tapes!
Their was a certain charm about cassettes though. Hands up if you’ve ever made someone you love a mix tape? Yep, me too. There was no better way of saying “This is how I feel…” than with a mix tape. Sure you can now put them on compilation CD, compile an online playlist, or even give them a USB mix tape, but it’s not the same. Their was something very satisfying about pressing the record button at the just the right moment, and that satisfying feeling you got knowing “I made this!”. You also knew that when you received a mix tape, someone had taken the time and effort to sit and record every single track, rather than just sticking all the files in a folder and clicking “Burn to Disc”. How heartless and cold is that?!
Remember how the tape used to sometimes get stuck in the tape head, and all the tape came whizzing out when you pulled out the Cassette? You then had to wind the tape back in and hope that it hadn’t done too much damage.
I’m not saying we should bring back Cassette tapes as we have moved on considerably since the Walkman ruled the world. Technology had improved, and there are much better and more reliable alternatives. All I want is for people to look back on the Cassette tape and think of them in a positive light. Yes, they had their flaws, but hasn’t everyone?
Why tapes aren’t ready to die
Tapes won’t die any time soon simply because there is still a demand for them. Albeit a small demand, it’s a demand nonetheless. People still use them for data storage, and, yes, people still use them to listen to music. There is a large number of cars in this country that still have tape players, and people still put their music on tape, just so they can listen to it in their car.
The police still use tapes in interviews. It’s a cheap, quick and easy way to record interrogations. To record interviews on anything other than a tape would possibly require a computer which would need setting up. Police do not have the time to be faffing about with computers when they can just bang a tape into a tape recorder and hit record. Done.
Accountants, Lawyers, Doctors, and secretaries all still use a Dictaphone from time to time.
According to this article, Cassette tape sales were on the rise in 2009.
What can I do with all my old tapes?
Many of us have still got dozens of tapes just lying around not doing anything. You could throw them away, but then you’d just know the tapes you throw away will have something important on them. There’s a number of things you can do with old tapes:
- Make clothing accessories
- Reuse or Recycle them
- Turn them into furniture
- Convert them to MP3. You can buy a USB to tape desk converter which cost in the region of £80, or you can do this for FREE by using one of these cables, with one end plugged into an old Walkman and the other in the Microphone socket on your PC. Then use Audacity to record it and export it to MP3. Simples.
- Take them to bed or lose them forever.
This video is amazing.
I especially liked the part about students starting a 4 year course in IT. They should just cut a year off the course. That way they’ll only be teaching relevant stuff! When I was studying IT 5 years ago, we were still talking about Floppy discs, Modems and Zip Drives. USB Flash drives were something that were just starting to surface and hadn’t really took off in a big way yet.
I’d love to see another version of this video in another 10 years.
Oh, and the part about having had 10-14 jobs by the age of 38… I’ve had 5 jobs already, and I’m only 23.