Another Year Slips By

It’s three whole years since I started writing this weekly blog for my computer support clients (and anyone else who may stumble upon it)

3yearSo, I thought I’d have a look back over the last year and see what’s changed and what hasn’t…

In December of last year I got my hands on the iPad Mini. This has now become my favourite piece of computer hardware of all time. Using it with the matching Logitech keyboard, I can do real work away from home without lugging a “proper” computer around. And the latest bit of fun I’ve discovered is to use it as a remote control for the iTunes music collection hosted by my Mac Mini. When they release a version of the iPad that makes a decent cup of coffee, it will be nearly perfect.

Also in December, I started warning about Microsoft’s decision to stop supporting Windows XP and Office 2003 after April 2014. They haven’t changed their minds and nor are they likely to! It’s just possible that these products won’t become irresistible targets for virus attacks after April 2014, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface
In January I was starting to think about buying a Microsoft Surface. This is the very light netbook/tablet that runs a “cut down” version of Windows 8. In the 10 months since then I’ve only had one person even mention them to me and I haven’t seen one in the flesh outside of Peter Jones in Sloane Square. Looks as if Microsoft may have mis-calculated with this product. Certainly, I don’t think it likely that I’m going to have to buy one any time soon in order to keep up with what my clients are interested in.

In February I had a whinge about websites cleverly leading us to make the choices they would prefer us to make, rather than the choices we set out to make. No change there, then. AVG, for instance, are still offering us an orange button to choose the free version of their antivirus program and a green button for the paid one. It’s all very well saying “I’m too intelligent to be led down the wrong path by such tricks“, but this type of practice must work or they wouldn’t be doing it. It’s a piece of cake for them to test the results of a web page that includes such dubious tactics against another that doesn’t. It’s not just AVG doing this, of course.

In April I was still predicting the demise of the computer fair that takes place in the Student Union of London University on a Saturday. I’m happy to report that, so far, I’m wrong. It’s still holding on. I’d much rather pay £2 for a cable at the fair than £10 for the same cable in PC World or wherever. If the nerd in you feels like braving it, just follow the directions on the black and orange placards to be seen along the length of Tottenham Court Road on a Saturday.

Evernote ItemsI gave Evernote several plugs during the year. I find the interface a bit quirky at times, and this is made more complicated by the different interfaces for Mac OSX, Mac IOS, Windows, and Android. And is it just my imagination, or do they keep changing things? Nevertheless, I find Evernote to be robust, useable, and ever more useful as I pour more and more data into it. After just a few months, I wouldn’t want to try and do without it.

In June I had a lefty rant about the government spying on us. At that time the Conservative half (3/4?) of government still wanted to enact the Snooper’s Charter, but Nick Clegg was talking as if he’d got a backbone by saying it wouldn’t happen while he’s still in government (make the most of it, Nick – not much longer now). Anyway, the issue is still definitely alive. As the Guardian put it recently, ” The Home Office’s head of counter-terrorism has revived his fight to secure the return of the “snooper’s charter” legislation”.

And what’s around the corner for the next twelve months? I’ve no idea.

And what would I like in the next twelve months? Well, I do wish the date for fibre optic broadband in my area would stop slipping back. As I see more and more of my clients’ connections delivering really fast download speeds I do rather envy them. I dare say there are plenty of people outside the M25 who would be glad of the 6mbit per sec that manages to get south of the river to SW4, but it still seems slow to me a lot of the time.

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for year four!

(Last updated 08/09/2023)