Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Dealing with old CRT monitors

I often get asked what is the best thing to do with old computer monitors. I always reply: make them into a wall of flowerpots.

Warning: video contains mild peril.

 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Virus Lockdown! (A Short Disaster Movie)

[SCENE: A COSY BASEMENT IN CAVERSHAM. GEEKS SCURRY AROUND EXCITEDLY MENDING THINGS]

Enter HELEN carrying a vintage eMachines desktop.

HELEN: Bless it! It's never had a Windows update since it was born in 2004. It can't go on the wireless because it's never heard of wireless!

[ANDY, DAVE and DAN laugh indulgently]

HELEN: Let's update it at once, with our locally stored updates which we keep on our local network attached storage..

[ALL NOD]

[TIME LAPSE SEQUENCE. HOURS PASS TO TUNE OF "WALTZING MATILDA". DAN IS SHOWN BECOMING MORE AND MORE STRESSED]

DAN: This sweet old thing won't update! It's doing my head in!
HELEN: Try harder! Try more extreme updating things!
DAN: And it's so slow! And mad!
HELEN: Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions!

...........
[NEXT MORNING. ANDY IS WIPING AND LOADING 5 COMPUTERS. MAN, HE'S GOOD. SUDDENLY, FEAR CLOUDS HIS LOVELY FACE]

ANDY: This freshly reinstalled computer has somehow become infected by a really horrid virus
ALL: What?
ANDY: Ditto this freshly reinstalled computer. And this one!
HELEN: What did you plug into them? Because all our memory sticks are (as you know)  scanned every night to prevent exactly this kind of thing.
ANDY: I didn't plug nothing in.
ANDY: I think the virus may have gone airborne.
DAVE: Airborne? Is that possible?
HELEN: I've never heard of it but.....

[CLOSE UP OF SHOCKED AND DRAINED FACES]

........
[EARLY NEXT MORNING. HELEN SITS ALONE FORMATTING MEMORY STICKS AND MUTTERING]

HELEN: But how? But why? But when? 

[ANDY BURSTS THROUGH DOOR]

ANDY: The locally stored updates stored on our local network storage have become infected by that innocent looking eMachines jalopy!
HELEN: (whispering) I think.. you might be right. 

[ENTER DAN AND DAVE. ALL LOOK AT EACH OTHER WITH A GREAT SADNESS]

VOICEOVER: We learned a hard lesson that day. It doesn't matter how sweet and old a computer looks, if you attach it to a network without checking it is virus-free you are asking for trouble. Trouble that ate up 3 days while we deleted, cleaned and checked up every computer device that had been through our workshop doors. Trouble that taught us that nobody is immune. Not even us.


CREDITS: Thank you to all our customers that have had to wait longer than usual while we make sure that we have eradicated every trace of our virus infection.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Tech tips: Removing someone from your smartphone


 
In the immortal words of someone or other on a single I had in the 80s: if you live you're going to feel the pain.

For example: maybe you drove 41 miles in the small hours, just to give someone a nice surprise. And then when you got there you found they were sleeping with someone else. Then, obviously, you drove 41 miles back home.

There are almost as many ways of causing pain as there are people. However, coping mechanisms are more limited.

When it comes to coping, my personal favourite is the "Bridget Jones" technique. Down a bottle of wine or two and sing motivational songs written by P!nk.

But watch out! There is a danger lurking! After a few swigs you may be unable to resist trying to communicate with your object of contempt.

In the old days, removing that temptation was easy. You just scribbled out their number really hard in your address book. Today, the age of the smartphone, it is more complicated. If you have known them a while they will be all over your phone like a virus.

Cleansing is possible though if you memorise the following routine: texts - logs - voicemail - contact. I recommend performing this routine before even unscrewing the first bottle.

Texts: on modern phones text messages are conveniently arranged into conversations. Find your ex-friend's conversation, click on the dustbin, tick the top box which selects all the messages and voila! Weeks of lies and evasion gone in the blink of an eye.

Logs: logs are sneakier, They are a record, with phone numbers, of everything that's happened on your phone. If you don't know how to get to your log, then don't worry, you're safe. If you do, view the log and press the thing that makes a menu come up. It will have an option to Delete. This will delete every event of course, not just your deluded interactions with the person in question. Take this opportunity to make a fresh start.

Voicemails: This takes a bit more nerve. Play back your messages and as soon as you hear their whingy voice fire up, press 3 to delete.

Contact: This is more pleasing. Find them in your address book and delete them, perhaps uttering the words "Goodbye, you worthless waste of space"

Stay vigilant during the binge. Fresh texts may arrive. You need to make it an automatic reaction. Delete-the-text-delete-the-log. Ideally you shouldn't even read it, but hey! you're only human.

(With grateful thanks to my supportive 15 year old daughter who stayed in to watch a quite boring film with me, and cheered me up so much that I didn't even drink much anyway)


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