The toy that destroyed the world

Commodore 64, VIC-casing but with C64C-coloring.
Commodore 64 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are few things which alone could destroy this world besides atomic bombs and disease and even one of those is within our capability to be rendered  harmless. It is all about intention. Many years ago I purchased my first personal computer, a Commodore Vic 20, a very basic machine with less memory than a modern-day credit card! After a while I upgraded to a Commodore 64 but even that machine was very limited by today’s standards. The only great advance regarding computers at the time was that they had shrunk in size, they were far smaller than their predecessors and could now perhaps become a useful domestic device. Well that certainly happened as we all know. With each passing year the personal computer has gone from strength to strength. It was only with the introduction of The Internet though that the computer came into its own. Many households can now connect to the world in which we live, something only dreamt about years ago. It was around 1982 I bought that Vic 20 and two years later the 64. I had been attending a Methodist church at the time though I wasn’t at that time a Christian. That came in 1989. One day I had occasion to visit the then vicar of the church as I remember to help with a small electrical problem and the subject of computers entered our conversation. I always remember his reaction, ‘They are just toys’, he said. He was so right but I had yet to learn that. Toys they may be but they are powerful and have the capability to destroy the world if miss-used. Therein lies the problem. Because human beings are in control of their manufacture and use there is always the danger they will be used for all the wrong reasons. That is already happening and is slowly becoming a giant-sized problem to the world. Technological advancement has a down side and can be used against us in many ways. What does the future hold for us all if we have to rely on computers in order to live out our lives? Inevitably computers will control everything we do……..all we think, earn, spend, purchase will be recorded and can be manipulated. Should we buy into it all or does our conscience tell us to beware? To me it smacks of the ‘mark of the beast’ as described in Revelations………….you decide.

Shirley Anne


Lots of oddities

Mahjong Titans
Mahjong Titans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I didn’t know any better I might suggest that Microsoft’s new Windows 10 is an underhanded way to persuade users to only use their products because the way it has been set up makes it difficult to use other services. Some programs need upgrading in order to continue to work with the Windows 10 platform and the new ‘Edge‘ browser refuses to accept many, if not all, foreign-sourced extensions and add-ons. Instead of attracting users to the new system they run the risk of driving them away or not having any interest at all. Until the program has been downloaded new users are not aware of possible resulting problems. I discovered that I could no longer play Solitaire or Mahjong Titans as I used to do occasionally for those free programs and others are not available on Windows 10 and everything has to be paid for by importing them from Microsoft’s Store. That is a little mean in my estimation for these free programs have for years been part of each new version of the platform. Now of course they could argue that Windows 10 is free so paying for the games is a reasonable request but Windows 10 is only going to be free for a short period after which it will have to be purchased. Microsoft won’t lose out in the least for they get their revenue elsewhere. I lost the only purchased game I had which wouldn’t work with Windows 10. When I look at the overall advantages of Windows 10 over the previous versions of Windows I am of the opinion that they are few. They have opted to place an irremovable program or two on the system, one being X-Box to encourage buying games from them too! The start menu box can be populated with icons for applications regularly used but if many are placed into the box, which can be expanded, it becomes so cluttered it makes finding applications difficult. That to me is self-defeating. The personal assistant called ‘Cortana‘ can get to ‘know’ you so that it can predict your intentions. Even your voice can be recognised and learned! This might be suitable for some but I don’t want my computer to know or predict my every move or desires, even if browsing the Internet looking for something. It is similar to predictive texts on a phone, I hate them too! Not that I actually use texting. I prefer speaking to people and certainly don’t want to end up speaking to my computer in order to get things done. If I speak to my computer it is usually to curse it for not working properly! There is an old joke about a new rail service whose trains are all controlled by computers. Passengers boarding are warmly greeted with a message which says, ‘Good morning to all our travellers. Welcome aboard our new train. You will find the seating extremely comfortable and your surroundings are all controlled by our new computer to make the journey as comfortable as possible. There is no driver for this train as the computer is all that is needed to get you to your destination safely. There is no need for concern, the computer is extremely reliable and nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go….’
They can’t even get PC’s working properly! What makes you think I am not impressed with modern technology?

Shirley Anne

I swore I never would

Samsung –Google Unveils the Highest Resolution...
Samsung –Google Unveils the Highest Resolution Tablet Nexus 10 

I forgot the promise I had made to myself many months ago but nothing I decide is always set in stone. It all depends on circumstance. When I had my mobile phone exchanged and my contract renewed last October I was given a smart phone but insisted I didn’t want one or need one. As it happened that has been proved right, I almost never use it except to accept calls and only read some of my emails because I was too lazy to go into the lounge to read them on my laptop! I never read emails away from home under normal circumstances. I will check text messages but I’ve always done that in any case as they are usually associated with my work. I never encourage folk to text me preferring to speak directly with them. When E and I were in the US and Canada a couple of years ago E took her laptop along so she could do her competitions in the evening for something to do when were weren’t out for the night. I used her machine to check my own emails and found it handy. I didn’t like the idea of taking a laptop on holiday and I still don’t if only because of their weight! Then along came the tablets, computers designed to be totally portable! Even so I was not tempted to purchase one though I knew how useful they would be. Now E does a lot of competitions and these are the sorts of things she has won in the past, a holiday for four in Bermuda, a chance to drive a Chieftain Tank, a hot-air balloon ride for two, a king-sized bed, a 40″ HD 3D flat screen television, two Wii units, an X-Box and a PS3, a couple of cameras, and the latest one, an iPad. There are many more things she has won too but the list is way too long, it is quite unbelievable. Now this was the first time I had really seen an iPad or any tablet close-up and I was intrigued with its capabilities. Essentially as I have already mentioned, it is a fully portable computer but very compact and lightweight. It is for this fact alone that I find them useful. Whilst at home I wouldn’t entertain using such a device because I love my wide-screen laptop which in any case is a far better machine than a tablet, even the best ones available but it isn’t the kind of thing you want to be carrying about with you for any length of time, it is far too heavy! That brings me to the point of this post. Now although it is conceivable that E could win another tablet that might not happen for years so I have invested in one for myself instead. I couldn’t wait that long…LOL. However I haven’t purchased an iPad because I don’t like Apple machines, they are too expensive, so I have gone for the Nexus 10 32 Gb tablet instead which, though  subsidised by Google thereby costing far less than they would otherwise, still put me back £463 with postage. The reason Google have subsidised their manufacture (by Samsung) is so that users will be tied to using their applications. Well that’s fair enough and will suit me. Most of the available apps. and probably the ones I would use if I needed any are free anyway. So there you have it, I can take my computer with me if I need to. As I am currently running Chrome on my PC synchronizing everything will be a doddle as I do have a Google account. I may be in receipt of my new tablet by the time this has been posted but there’s no rush.

Shirley Anne