paul smith's Snaps & Bytes e-home
September 2004: PAUL SMITH - The Theory of Relativity: My family and other computers.
There are quite a few things I’d not recommend. Doing your own tattoos, for example, never seems to bring the quality results which professionals are able to achieve. I’d avoid a film called Dungeons and Dragons, which was so bad I almost got up and walked out. Only the fact I was watching it on route to Rhodes, 30,000 feet over the Mediterranean, stopped me and even then it was a tough decision. I’d also warn against supplying PCs to family members, on the grounds that you’ll become the 24-hour technical support help line for them when the Start button is confusingly used to shut it down.
I should have learned this important lesson in the past, of course. I got my Dad - a man highly suspicious of all modern technology, including Velcro - his first computer ten years ago and still I get phone calls to remove paper jams. Heaven knows why he stuffs A4 sheets into it, but there you go. It was 2001 when I collected a big white box for my mum and explained how you use it. In her defence she’s taken a load of Learn Direct courses and now knows more about the Internet and Excel macros than I ever will. Or want to. So, the other day my brother tells me he wants a laptop. A chill shiver went down my spine. Now, my brother is no dope but even though he’s only a couple of years older than me he was the last generation to go through school without laying hands on a Research Machine or a BBC-B. Add the fact that he has anger management issues (never wise around something with an operating system) and you’ll understand why I was disinclined to help. Then he offered me money and we hit the web. One link from an eBay auction later and I was stood in Edgware watching a P4-3Ghz 15” 80Gb / 1Gb ram DVD-rewriting goliath boot faster than Beckham in a hurry. When I handed it to my bro he had a grin so wide I feared the top of his head might become detached.
As a used car wheeler-dealer he works out of a pocket book all day, and mentioned he’d like a way of transferring the notes he makes while out and about onto his ‘top. Just days later I was able to report back that such a thing exists. It’s called the Logitech io personal digital pen. To quote from the box, it’s ‘the pen which remembers everything you write’. Retailing for sub £150 it uses a reader not unlike an optical mouse to capture its movements over special dotty (as in covered in dots, not silly) stationary from the likes of 3M and Oxford notebooks. They call the system ‘Anoto’ and it lets my brother do what he wanted to. He just needs to plug the battery-powered pen into a USB cradle at the end of a long day’s business and it downloads all his records, drawings, maps and hand-written threatening notes onto his Laptop. Lovely-Jubbly!
Paul Smith - Urbane Warrior - still seeks employment Nirvana. Please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with your offers.
510 words on the joy of my technophobic family Dale. I hope they help.
Legal notice - This page, inc. graphics and multimedia features are the intellectual property of Paul Smith and are protected by copyright. Last updated 26/02/05.