The Antikythera Mechanism (1902)

On this day (17 May) in 1902, a small piece of bronze caught the eye of archaeologist Valerios Stais.. He was examining artefacts from a wrecked Roman cargo ship off the island of Antikythera in Greece.

It looked like a small wheel or cog, in fact he had just discovered what has come to be known as the Antikythera Mechanism, the world’s first analogical computer.

This extraordinary two-thousand-year-old computer system was used by the ancient Greeks as an astronomical calculator, able to chart the planets and make predictions. The extraordinary device is believed to have been made on the island of Rhodes around 150 BC, and classical literature of the time does allude to mechanisms similar to this one, meaning this was unlikely to be the only one of its kind. Well over a hundred years after its discovery, the Antikythera mechanism is still being extensively researched, in an attempt to fully unlock an ancient piece of human ingenuity. Source

The Antikythera Mechanism is also a 2020 album by my friend Jack Hertz.

Evernote or OneNote?

I’ve used Evernote for years, paying for the personal version while I was working. Its main competitor is Microsoft OneNote, which I’ve never really got on with.

Since retirement I’ve been using the free version of Evernote and I thought I’d switch to OneNote which comes with our Microsoft 365 yearly subscription, but I just couldn’t get it to work for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great notebook program, it simply didn’t scratch where I itch.

This pushed me back to Evernote, and eventually to the personal pay version to unlock many of its useful features. It’s brilliant, I use it for everything from household business to planning and drafting my WordPress blog.

Both have excellent features, both synchronise to all devices, both are useful; but which do you use?

Forza Horizon on Xbox 360

I’m not a big video gamer, but I do enjoy realistic driving games. Having said that, I haven’t played one for about ten years. Even then, it was Gran Turismo 4 (2004) on an old PlayStation 2. I loved the game though, and completed it a couple of times.

We were recently given a second-hand Xbox 360 and I bought Forza Horizon for £5 on eBay. Yes, it’s an old game on an old console, but for me it was a ten-year upgrade. It’s a superb game, and my driving skills hadn’t forsaken me, I finished 1st in my first two competitive games.

Freddy (7) was amazed, he thought I’d be rubbish. This 67-year-old dad has still got it. Cue smug face!

Microsoft Windows Security

I have a policy of never paying for anti-virus software; but is this stance justified? Why pay for software when Windows Security comes free with Windows?

Some say it isn’t the best out there, but it must be said that no anti-virus software is 100% reliable. Its advantages are that it integrates perfectly with Windows, it’s free and it’s not system hogging. I also immunise my PC regularly with SpywareBlaster (free version).

Ultimately, the best anti-virus protection is the PC user; don’t go to dodgy[dot]com and always pay attention to potential threats. This is my joined-up plan around Windows Security, one that has served me well for many years, and remember that most PCs get viruses (and the like) because of users’ ignorance or gullibility. So, as I often say, ‘Keep up and pay attention’ – security is your responsibility, you know it makes sense!

Parental Challenges in a Digital Age

Parenting has never been easy, but it was much less complicated in the 1980s and 90s (even more so for my parents’ generation). The difference is the invasive nature of the internet and technology.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a geek, but it’s such a challenge setting boundaries and controlling age-related content. Balancing online safety with childhood curiosity and excitement can be a real headache. I’m sure other parents will agree. It must be even worse for technophobe parents. What do you think?

Windows 11 on an old computer

I’m pleased with my eight-year-old laptop that’s running Windows 11 despite not meeting Microsoft’s strict hardware requirements. I was able to install it through the Windows Insider Program that allows users to install pre-release versions of the operating system.

Loving a challenge, I wondered if Windows 11 could be installed on my first ever computer. So, I went up into the loft and dusted off my old desktop machine from the 1990s. I haven’t used it for ages, but it served me well for many years.

Long story short, with a little bit of tweaking, I finally managed to get Windows 11 up and running on a computer that’s over 30 years old.

I don’t like to see old equipment go to waste. So, if you need help getting the latest Windows on your historic computer, give me a call.

Windows 11 Update KB5006050

For those of you running Windows 11, Microsoft have just released a cumulative update that caused me problems. I had to perform a System restore to get the taskbar and other functions back.

Others have reported this problem, so it’s probably best not to update with KB5006050. I’ve paused updates to prevent this problem happening again, and I’ll probably wait until Windows 11 becomes generally available before updating again. For now, I’m going to stay on the safe side.

Windows 10 is NOT the final OS!

Like many others, I thought Windows 10 was going to be the final version of the operating system, with only upgrades going forward. Apparently not.

Windows 11 is now available for testing, and this upgrade might be because Apple announced it was moving on from OS X to Version 11, and Microsoft didn’t want to be seen as left behind. A victory for the marketing people!

Our laptop doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for Windows 11, but Microsoft are making some exceptions for those in the Windows Insider Program. We’ll continue to get insider preview updates for Windows 11 until it’s generally available. If there’s any problems and we have to revert back to Windows 10, we can’t then reinstall Windows 11.

When it’s fully released, it’s recommended for us to go back to Windows 10 with a completely fresh installation, and they will provide the ISO file. I’m hoping to avoid this, I’ll see how it goes.

Mobile Roaming Charges

Many people in the UK (including news outlets) are wrongly describing mobile roaming charges as EU roaming charges. This post is one small step towards putting the record straight.

  1. The EU ended roaming charges.
  2. They are not EU roaming charges.
  3. The reason they can be brought back is because we are no longer in the EU.
  4. The process of leaving the EU was called Brexit.
  5. The reason the companies can do this is because of Brexit.
  6. Any questions?