When you start looking for a product review, especially for a laptop or somesuch, usually what you get is just a copy-and-paste job of the technical specifications: no-one actually tells you what the machine is like and whether it is actually worth the money.
I want to give you a real-life user review for my new(ish) laptop which might help you. I have had the Fujitsu AH532 for a couple of months now and I think it is utterly fabulous.
I spent under £400 at Staples on this bright red thing of beauty, and it features an Intel i5 processor: easily the best price I have encountered for a processor at this level of performance, it has 6Gb of RAM and a 500Gb Hard disk, running Windows 8
Now I am a fairly intensive PC user – this isn’t a laptop for simply reading emails and watching pornography, but rather a machine on which I create and edit a large amount of video using Sony Vegas and Adobe After Effects, extensive document work and creative writing on Office 2013 and Desktop Publishing. I need a cheap, but powerful machine and I am never going to be able to afford a fruit-based product nor an ultrabook.
The AH532 is fast and powerful. Where other PCs go into a sulk when you try to run After Effects, this one just gets on with it. Vegas doesn’t hang and I can swap between browser, Evernote and Word in the middle of it. The 15.6″ screen is bright and clear and the second screen output (to HDMI or VGA) is fast and responsive. It has a full width keyboard and with three USB 3.0 ports and 1 x USB 2.0 it has great connectivity. The videocam is good and the sound output is pretty loud and clear.
Battery life is good and it looks great in Ruby Red
When I got the machine I kept an older machine in order to connect to a firewire port, because according to the specifications, it doesn’t have a cardbus port: but it does! So it is possible to put in the thin cardbus card and use it to import video directly from my video camera. This is a majorly brilliant feature, but I don’t know why it is undocumented.
However, what are the annoyances? I have two real issues with it:
firstly: the dodgy optical drive – it is inconsistant and errors – it is poor at reading DVDs and very bad at bruning CDs and DVDs. I am not sure if it is just this particular drive which is dodgy or it is a general fault with this model. I ought to get it looked at, but I need the machine constantly.
secondly: Windows 8. This is not a touchscreen machine, and Windows 8 is just a minor annoyance. It is a poorly thought out OS and its one or two good points (the copy UI which shows progress as a bar is excellent, and some of the contextual options in a window is brilliant) but the non-multitasking tile screens are the most awful thing: I hate it. The lack of START button, the odd way of shutting down and other minor annoyances make it a right pain. I am seriously considering reinstalling Windows 7 but it would invalidate my license.
The Hard Disk is partitioned with a really small C drive and a large D drive, which means that I had to move my default dropbox folder to the D drive which was… less than successful. In the end I modified the partitions and made a single large C drive but not every user will be happy to do that (it’s not difficult and the tools are quite straightforward but it’s a bit scary).
I think this is an excellent PC for the money. I have found it to be more than up to the job in hand. For video editing and other major data crunching, this is possible with this machine at a very low cost. If only there was a Windows 7 option it would be world-beating. If you can cope with the oddities of Windows 8 (or they have installed Windows 8.1/Blue by the time you read this) then I would recommend it. Highly.
If this post is a little off topic for you, please bear with me, there will be another post about theology, mission and work with young people along in a bit…
If, like me, you sometimes need to get hold of recent news footage (in my case for Visual Intercessions – images of recent events are very useful), or just simply to archive the latest Dr Who episode (I believe I have everything from Dr Who on that backup hard disk of mine) or maybe watch Question Time later when you don’t have an internet connection, then get_iplayer is the business. It is a multiplatform series of tools to grab a given iPlayer file and save it to .mp4 or .mp3 files (if it is radio). You can get it from here. In the modern age, this is the equivalent of keeping video tapes: it’s for personal use only and anyway, my license fee has paid for this – I’m a part owner of it.
The toolkit is very techy, which doesn’t worry me, but it intimidates a lot of people, who just want a nice frontend in Windows.
So I started messing around with AutoIt - a very nice Visual Basic-like scripting language and constructed this:
All you have to do is cut and paste the URL from iPlayer into the box, tick it if what you are wanting is a radio programme rather than the default telly and click the button. It does open up the program in a little box, but it just makes the downloading a bit smoother.
You can download the frontend as a ready-compiled little program from here. I also include the source code in there if you want to see how it is done: it’s not complex, it takes the content of what you paste in and writes it to a batch file and executes it (thus saves you the time of getting the ‘spell’ right). Download it, put it in a folder in your documents folder, right click on it and “pin to taskbar” or “pin to start” and then run it. It’s simple!
AVG Antivirus False Positive!
Our Office computer has AVG Antivirus on it and it has just thrown up a virus alert on my beautifully craft (and virus free) program. I know it is virus free, and I wrote it on a machine running Avast and tested it on a machine running McAfee. Thankfully, I am not the only one to encounter this problem: AVG has a problem with false positives with AutoIT. Please see this thread here: http://help.lockergnome.com/security/AVG-problem-AutoIt-scripts-stop-AVG-false-positives–ftopict11559.html
It does not have a virus in it.
I could keep all this stuff close to my chest until we actually do this, or I could post this paper and invite a dialogue in the best traditions of the Internet. This is my current thinking about a Social Media experiment for Greenbelt 2013. The worship has not yet been commissioned for GB13 and is only therefore a proposal.
This paper outlines a technical and theological approach to using social media to engage a diverse community of users to engage in an online worship event during the Greenbelt Festival
The impact of social media on the world and on communities have been significant. However, business and churches especially have been slow to properly understand the significance of social media and use it in effective ways to extend their reach into the lives of individuals. Hitherto, business organisations and churches have been broadcasters of information: using print, TV, radio and even SMS as methods of sending a one-way message to consumers which is entirely made up of the marketing-sanitised message which they desire to broadcast.
This is in direct contrast with the true purpose of social media which is to engage in a dialog with individuals also using the service. Whilst there is an element of broadcasting, it is moderated by responses and engagement. The most important part of the social media engagement is the stream: the composite flow of information which is significant both an individual elements but also as a gestalt: a complete whole.
Worship, once considered, is not simply a broadcast event. It does have some elements of that, as a message is delivered from a person (pastor, priest, or preacher) but response is also elicited. What Churches have been poor in achieving is in permitting, in encouraging a diversity of responses which might challenge a single accepted viewpoint. It would not be considered acceptable, for example, to stand up and engage in debate during the delivery of a homily, for example.
However, there are many emergent groups which do value diversity and the contribution of the ecclesia to the narrative of the community, and it is with these values that this proposal for social media worship is couched. Any community which lacks the confidence to engage with its users cannot authentically use social media in its true sense. If there is only one perspective which can be tolerated, and only one channel of communication, then the possibilities of social media as a process of theologia have not yet been fully realised. Such a community might use social media as a medium for broadcast, but it will only be in a limited way. Any community which is more interested in the process of engagement, in responding in pastoral and theological terms to its user base, can find that social media in its true form is a useful tool for this.
The mechanism of social media worship
There are some limitations to the form and variety of worship that can be achieved entirely via social media. In 2010, I documented in my book Creative Ideas for Alternative Sacramental Worship a Twucharist liturgy. This was not so much a socially mediated worship as an experiment in communication as it supported a live face-to-face act of worship using a liturgy written in 140-character bursts. The liturgy and the responses were both tweeted and displayed on a screen.
I still do not consider that it is possible to hold an authentic Eucharist without face-to-face engagement with the sacred elements.
For this reason, the worship proposed is non-eucharistic, but which confirms to a traditional shape, reinterpreted in the light of the new media, and the new channels of communication which social media affords us.
Other experiments have used social media as an adjunct to face-to-face worship: eliciting feedback in the midst of live worship, but this is only possible when there is a locus of physical sacred space. How might this look when placed entirely in the ether?
When broken down and analysed, the shape of this worship could look like this:
- Welcome & Engagement
- Penitential Rite
- Blessing & Dismissal
Within each of these elements there is an element of broadcast and an opportunity for response, which is linked to a response to that response. As suggested earlier, it is that element which transcends traditional church models and moves the worship into the truly socially-mediated world.
In practical terms, the social media worship therefore needs to be delivered by a team whose collective purpose is to both broadcast and respond. This requires a reasonable level of access to the Internet to achieve this. For this experiment, I propose that a team of three or four (depending on expected scale) are connected to the Cheltenham Racecourse internet (by WiFi or hardwire, whichever is more convenient) via laptop.
One of these machines can be set up to send out the key broadcast elements of the act of worship. We will call this the Worship Leader. They can be scheduled (using an application such as Tweetdeck) so as to provide a structure for the act of worship. The other users are poised to monitor and respond to the responses and the dialogue which the Worship Leader generates. I will refer to these as the Deacons.
Although the key medium of communication will be Twitter (largely because of the number of users able to access it), this can be mirrored onto a Facebook page/group to involve those not using Twitter. It can also incorporate links to other social media platforms such as Instagram and Flikr to elicit other (non-textual) responses. Other links to video and audio can be embedded into the stream and can enrich the multimedia experience of the worship. The vast majority of users will be able to engage in worship via smartphones using WiFi or mobile internet, but a proportion will also access it via SMS which is still a valid and widely used Twitter platform. The growth in bandwidth for the mobile internet has been phenomenal in the past 12 months and market penetration of smartphones will mean that those who are interested in such an engagement will be able to access it. Although the act of worship is intended for those primarily at the Greenbelt location, it is in no way limited to them as it will be available worldwide.
The worship will be accessed by following a dedicated Twitter Account: @GB40SocialMedia and during the act of worship all interaction will be tagged with the suggested hashtag #GB40SMW
It is a given disadvantage that one has to sacrifice characters for clarity in names and tags. This reduces the amount of available characters for interaction but as short mnemonics can be difficult to identify and are often used by others resulting in “crosstalk”. A good example of this was in 2012 when a far-right US rally led by Glen Beck was tagged with #gb12 over the same weekend as the Greenbelt festival also using the #gb12 hashtag. The confusion between social-conservatism and social justice was both amusing and potentially destabilising.
This is entirely conjectural and does not represent any part of the Social Media worship as yet unplanned.
|#GB40SMW The Lord be with you|
|@gb40socialmedia and also with you #gb40smw|
|@GB40SMW We call to mind our sin.|
|@GB40SMW Consider where you have let God down|
|@GB40SMW when you have brought them to mind respond with Amen|
|@gbsocialmedia I need to confess||@user You can DM confidentially|
|D gbsocialmedia I confess <redacted>||D user God hears you. You are forgiven|
|#GB40SMW God hears all of you. You are forgiven||@gbsocialmedia amen|
|#GB40SMW where do you find yourself? post a pic of your location|
|#GB40SMW Psalm 150: Video link: you.tb/URLHERE|
|@gbsocialmedia I love that vid. Where is it shot?|
|#GB40SMW Psalm 150: text bit.ly/LINKHERE||@user Dartmoor. goog.le/MAPREF|
|#GB40SMW What do you need to ask of God in prayer?|
|@gbsocialmedia my dad is very ill||@user your prayer is heard|
|RT @user @gbsocialmedia my dad is very ill|
|@gbsocialmedia I need help||@user would you like to talk confidentially?<dm conversation ensues>|
|@gbsocialmedia why does God allow my Dad to suffer?||@user <response and conversation direct or broadcast depending on confidentiality issues>|
|#GB40SMW Our worship is concluded. Go in peace.|
|@gbsocialmedia Amen! Thank you! #gb40smw|
What do we envisage people to be doing in Social Media Worship?
A mixture of direct questions and open invitations can gather responses from those participating in worship. In common with most social media engagement, we do not see it as an exclusive activity. A very few will be connected to a laptop somewhere; others will access it on a tablet or a smartphone in the middle of another activity: eating lunch, attending another talk. Is this multitasking a dilution of worship? Alternatively, even when engaged in worship are there not plenty of distractions already in play which makes the intrusion of worship into everyday life just a mirror of the notion that everyday life intrudes into worship?
As this is an experiment into an unfamiliar territory, it might be worthwhile seeking some feedback from those who participated through a simple user survey (surveymonkey) or direct responses. This could determine reactions to the concept as well as trying to understand the context in which participants engaged (if at all).
If it is determined that this form of social media worship is unsuccessful, then at least we can cross off this particular model as an unsuitable one for worship.
For the past few years I have been sending out a Lenten Journey reflection. In fact, this usually continues long after Lent, but this year it fell away slightly due to technical issues and the pressures of parishLife, but things are sorted out on that front now, and we are back up to speed for Lent 2013.
If you want to subscribe, go to http://www.blessed.org.uk/daily-texts/ to see how to do it.
I have had a few requests to explain how to do this, and at the risk of flooding the world with prayers and reflections (what a shame!) here is how I do it. There are plenty of other processes out there, but this works well for me. Note that this explanation uses Android, other solutions are available (indeed I used to have an iPhone many moons ago, and I found a solution then, so follow the process for your other-fruit-based products, which is the most important thing.)
1. Text Bundles
In the past I have had generous donations from the people who receive these texts. They are free to receive, but if anyone is willing to donate to support this work, then a fiver to my PayPal account: email@example.com would be most helpful.
If, as the sender, you have unlimited texts, then this would be the best solution, but although my Three tariff has a lot of texts, it gets used up when you send 150 a day out and I am forced to purchase an add-on. Note that even though I am sending each text individually, some carriers regard this as spamming. I was kicked off GiffGaff for this, despite my protestations that sending prayers out was not selling anything, they still canned me. Boo!
2. Collating the Distribution List
Google is my backend for almost everything. When people let me know they have subscribed, I add them to my Google contacts and add them to a specific group. In my case, I put them in a group marked “Texts”. To do this: enter their details, at the top there is a button which looks like a group of people, it provides a list of the groups you have created. Add them to that.
This is why the subscription process is manual: I have control over it, and if anyone wishes to unsubscribe, then I can simply delete the entry in the contact list or remove them from the “Texts” group and it is instantly updated on my phone.
I don’t just make this stuff up on the fly. In fact, I have a document containing the whole of Lent in a table. (note: now on Office365 legally, are you impressed?) which contains Scriptures, Rituals, Reflections and Links for each day (and on some days more than one). I usually put the links through the bit.ly URL shortner which saves space.
I save this document in my Dropbox so that I have access to it on my phone.
2. Dropbox on a smartphone
You can access your dropbox on your smartphone, only downloading the files you want to access (so it doesn’t clog up your phone memory!). Many smartphones comes with an app already installed to read Word documents, and some are certainly better than others. For this purpose you need an app which allows you to copy and paste from the document you are viewing. I find that the free OliveOffice does this job very effectively.
Of course, you could cut out this part of the process and just type the text in the SMS app below, but as my texts often include shortcoded links, I want to get these right.
3. Sending Group Texts
From my chosen document reader, I selected the appropriate day, and selected “Share” (third button from left) and selected to share that text with my text app Pansi SMS.
Pansi is an excellent SMS program, and the best feature is that you can send not only to individuals, but to a Google group. Select the “people” icon at the right of the “To” and select the “Group list”
Now you can see why I collated the names in my Google address book and gave them a specific group, in this case called “Texts”. I select that group…
and select “Send”.
The whole send process takes about 10 to 15 minutes to send 150 messages. You can also schedule the sending, so (for example) on Good Friday, I schedule them to coincide with the three hour-long meditations on the Cross, when I am particularly busy. I suppose one could schedule the whole of Lent, but I suspect it would clog up the memory of my phone.
One of the addresses I text to is my Twitter account so that people who don’t have a UK mobile can also get them. Texts to non-UK mobiles cost a fortune and you don’t want to go there…
Of course, you don’t have to use this technique for just Lent reflections, there is no limit, but this process can enable us to use SMS creatively.
I hope this helps you.
There are all these reviews out there which just seem to reproduce the technical specs of the hardware in question, but what you really want to know is “is it any good?” “is it usable?” and “will it live up to my expectations>”
I’ve been using a Nexus 7 Tablet since October now and this is the 16Gb model. The current model has 32Gb for the same price.
The Tablet is the growth product of this season: the technology has started to mature to the extent to which the screen and the interface are very usable. The battery life is very good and the widespread availability of WiFi makes then the key to the final mile (ie getting the Internet in the hands of users). It is amazing to see how quickly the tablet becomes the key method of interacting with the web, and as a general tool for supporting life and ministry. I use a smartphone intensively, but never like this. You use a PC to create many documents, but for being on the road, on the train, in a cafe… the tablet is the tool to use.
I use the Tablet to present the Liturgy: creating documents on the PC and saving them in Dropbox. The whole liturgy is then available to the Tablet. It is handy to preach from, but also excellent to celebrate with. I can put notes on it and refer to them in a bible study, I can record audio of a teaching session for later use or documentation.
In downtime I can watch the iPlayer or listen to the Radio or watch a movie I have encoded. Netflix worked well on it, but boo! No player for LoveFilm yet… There are games to waste a few moments and there are Twitter and Facebook clients to keep you connected. The GMail is always there and I am linked to my mobile phone via Bluetooth so I don’t even have to get the phone out of my bag any more to answer and read texts.
The 7″ form factor is just right – it fits in my hoodie pocket or in the inside of my overcoat, the wake/sleep feature conserves energy but means that you have to hold it in a certain way with one hand when you are preaching – but you get used to that.
In short, I love it. It is well made, fast, responsive and has excellent battery life. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Although I have a reputation as an early adopter, and a willingness to use any technology to support the liturgy and witness of the Church, I have been careful in my use of electronics as a paper substitute for the priest. I have over time preached from a Kindle device and nowadays almost exclusively say my Daily Office from a Smartphone (extremely useful for Home Communions!) but this season, I exclusively celebrated the liturgy using my Android Tablet. Here is how it all fits together…
Daily Office: Universalis Email
The excellent Universalis website (http://www.universalis.com/) provides web, desktop and email versions of the Readings for Mass and the Texts of the Divine Office each day. You can have this for free, but for a small subscription, you can get the whole package sent as one convenient email. No more losing ribbons, no more forgetting that obscure Saints day or getting the antiphon wrong because you have forgotten what day of the week it is. Perfect for prayer on the move, you can have the text whereever you have your smartphone. This is what I use for Home Communions now, and it is very convenient.
Kindle (for the benefit for those still using one)
I don’t use my Kindle as much as I used to, which is an indicator of how fast the technology has moved on. Two years ago, I took my Kindle to the Holy Land and thanks to its Whispernet, used it to email home, update FB and Twitter all for free – no expensive data charges!
The brilliant Fr Edward Green worked out the ideal word document for displaying a homily on a Kindle. Here it is: kindleblank
If you were to save that docx document as a dotx template and put it in your Microsoft Word Teemplates folder, then you can have a new template which you can then email to your Kindle and preach from it. Create your texts in Microsoft Word as if it were paper, but using this special size and there you are!
This is the where I am at the moment. The power and flexibility of a tablet is amazing: they have come on so far recently. My tablet is the Google Nexus 7: a powerful 7 inch tablet. I highly recommend this one to you all, and at under £200 it is a real bargain. I prefer the 7 inch size because it will fit in my cassock or my hoodie pocket.
I create all my liturgy as I have always done, on a PC on Microsoft Word (service sheets and posters tend to be done in Microsoft Publisher, but for my use at the altar, it remains in Word).
I save all of my key documents in the cloud using Dropbox . This is a free service and if you sign up for you free 2Gb of storage using this link, I get a little bit of extra space for a referral (please!). The advantage of saving documents in the cloud is that they are available across all your devices (in my case, a couple of laptops, my tablet and a smartphone). Update the document and the update is automatically replicated across all your devices very quickly. I also use this to share key documents securely between the staff team: you can create folders which named accounts have access to and so rotas, liturgy and other such essential admin can be properly shared: no more “oh, I didn’t get that version” because as a document is edited, all versions are updated. This is therefore a seemless way to transfer documents to your device.
I have Dropbox installed on my tablet, so can easily access ALL my Word documents (and Excel Spreadsheets etc) as and when I need them. Anywhere.
I simply select the document I want, and Android asks me with what I wish to view the document in. There are lots of apps on the Market, and some of them may be bundled with your tablet. However, I have found that the best reader is not necessarily the best editor. I have used my tablet to write quite a lot (on the train usually) and to blog and for that OfficeSuite Pro is by far the best, but an app designed to write has the annoying habit of going into edit mode if you accidentally touch the screen. For writing and editing documents, I wholeheartedly recommend it. See here (currently only £6.20). As you will realise, if you edit a file from Dropbox on your Tablet, it becomes available everywhere – perfect!
However to view the document, ie to just read from it, I recommend the wholly free version of OfficeSuite: the OfficeSuite Viewer (download here)
This also will view PDF files for you so is even more useful. There is no problem having both on your system, because it will ask you how you want to use it. I always select “Just Once” so I can choose whether I am viewing or editing a document.
Once you have the document open in the Office Viewer, you can look at it two ways: as it looks on the page or as a web page. At the top, select the Menu (three dots to the right of Word Count) and select View
The Page View is exactly as the Word Document is. If you pinch-zoom the document to make it more readable, it will not wrap around. This keeps the format.
The Web View is even more useful for this purpose, because it fills the whole screen and wraps according to the size. I can therefore pinch-zoom the page to a convenient size for reading (and to fit a decent amount on screen so I am not scrolling in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer) and it wraps!
The Reader will cope with a lot of Word formatting, including TextBoxes, which can be quite useful. In my wedding liturgy, the bride and groom’s response “I WILL” is in big letters in a box upside down. This means that I just have to tilt the tablet towards the couple to prompt them for their response.
With Marriage, Baptism and Funerals, I create a bespoke document with all the names and prompts in place of N and M so avoiding little bits of paper getting in the way – so elegant.
If you don’t have an MC, then you can hold your tablet yourself, place it on a legillium or on the altar. Missal Stands are perfect for a Tablet, but I have also used a cushion on the altar (as some Churches do) and have also simply put the Tablet on the altar by the Corporal. At Midnight Mass the MC held my Tablet for me whilst I proclaimed the Gospel. I must admit, I was a little worried I might clonk the tablet with the thurible, but it was fine (and I am so skilled with the thurible anyway!) We both reflected afterwards how the signing and kissing of the Gospel was affected by a touch-sensitive device, but it was fine.
My Tablet has a Wake-Sleep Cover, which turns the screen off when you close it. This does mean you have to hold it carefully but practice sorts this out. I don’t set a password so if my device does accidentally sleep, then it wakes instantly into action. I did try it without a cover, and it was okay, but I was a little anxious about dropping it (and dropping it into the font).
In summary, I can’t see me ever going back. You don’t need a torch during the Easter Vigil or Nine Lessons and Carols because it is backlit. It wastes no paper, it can be totally personalised to the service and changes can be incorporated really quickly.
I have been working from this template (with appropriate seasonal variations) for most Sundays, cutting and pasting in the collects, introductions etc Download: Sunday Mass Template for Tablet
I have always said that Blesséd was the last truly radical and subversive alt.worship group simply because we use PCs instead of Macs. I am not (as you will tell if you read this blog or follow my tweets at @frsimon) an Apple Fanboy, although I have had an iPhone (ugh!) and a Mac Mini and a Macbook, so I know how beautiful and utterly useless they are: noddy machines with expensive pricetags. If you can afford one of these things, then quite a lot of this is directly transferrable. You can still use Dropbox, (or indeed any cloud software – there is Google Drive and Microsoft Skydrive and I am sure Apple has an equivalent). I am also sure that the iPad will have a viewer that will expertly read a Word or Pages document. Take these principles and apply them as appropriate for your system.
I’m delighted with how my setup works, and I hope it works for you.
(apologies if this post makes no sense to you, but occasionally I need to talk tech. If you are looking for posts on theology, youth work or liturgy, don’t worry there will be one along in a minute)
Typo3 has been for the last 10 years a mainstay of my development work: a powerful and yet easy to configure tool for creating dynamic websites with a minimum of fuss. I started working on it for the Portsmouth Diocese website and developed much of the programming for that on my own sites, especially using the Templavoila templating engine which made it all graphical and a breeze.
I have been aware that the hardcore programmers have been tinkering in the background and making the system slimmer, more elegant and in the process much more complex, far less graphical and more of a programming framework rather than what I and I suspect most of us need: a powerful web tool. The result is this thing called FLUID templating, and it makes no sense. Not a bit.
The latest release of Typo3 6.0 is totally locked into the FLUID templates and the flow engine and I simply can’t make it work.
So I realise that I can no longer keep using the latest versions, and the implication is that my time with Typo3 is coming to an end, and a new CMS which does what I need must be found. Once I find one I will have to migrate all my sites over the the new CMS and start again. Pity: we had had such a good relationship, but when things are now so different, and so unintelligible, then a different solution must be found. Any suggestions?
As I wrote the title of this post, I called to mind “new wine in old wineskins”, but here and now, new life and new functionality can be breathed into that tired and somewhat aged laptop that you’ve been complaining about. Here are some simple steps, and all or some of them can extend the life of your aged laptop immesurably…
1. New Battery
For under £15, a supplier on eBay will send you a new battery for your laptop which will improve things immeasurably. It’s the single best investment, I promise. Suddenly, an ancient machine which lasts 10 minutes can be used around the house.
2. Extra Memory
If you have slots spare, upping the memory can make a big difference. Most laptops are very easy to access the memory slots and so almost anyone can open it up and see what can be done inside. Many will have a spare slot and doubling the memory (around £30-40) has a great boost to performance
3. Turn off all the Windows 7/Vista Whizzbangs
Under CONTROL PANEL / SYSTEM / ADVANCED SYSTEM SETTINGS / PERFORMANCE / SETTINGS select “Adjust for best performance”.
Sure it turns off all those flashy settings, but makes a Windows 7 or Vista laptop run much much faster. I’d go for performance over style anyday.
4. Install Linux
Noted for turning even an old 486 machine into a functional device, Linux just knocks the socks off Windows, but you have to learn a new workflow. Certainly, OpenOffice does all that MS Office can, and with a decent browser who needs an Office suite anyway when all you do is on Google Docs anyway. If you can get over that hump, then suddenly, that unit good only for keeping the door propped open has a new lease of life, as a media streamer, as an online radio or iplayer.
I have to celebrate this milestone. Today I have achieved 1000 followers on Twitter as @frsimon .
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who choose to follow my mixture of faith, prayer, inane tidbits of parishLife and the occasional rant on political and religious radicalism. You are all very brave. Thank you.