Sprouts and cobblers (and computers as well, of course)

By | November 1, 2014
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“Desktop” PCs have become less and less popular over the last few years as more people choose a laptop.  And I can see why – even if you don’t want to use it out and about, it takes up less space and you can use it in different rooms (or even the garden – not today, though).

But Hewlett-Packard have come up with something that might change all that – this could be the return of the desktop PC…

An end to the decline of Desktop PCs?

Do you like sprouts?  I don’t – can’t stand them. I like broccoli and cabbage, but not sprouts.

I might have to change my mind, though, now I’ve seen HP’s latest offering.

It’s a computer called “Sprout”.  Now I’m not sure I’m impressed with their naming team, but the technology is really quite nifty.

For a start, it doesn’t come with a mouse or keyboard.  Instead, a tiny projector on top of the monitor beams a picture onto the desk in front of the monitor.  And you can type on that or touch it and move objects about by touching them and dragging them about.  So no need for a keyboard – you just type on the desk.

That also means you can easily change the size of the keys or the layout of the keyboard easily – you can’t do that on a normal keyboard.

The monitor itself is a touchscreen, too, so you can touch that to control the PC, too.

But that’s not all. As well as a projector, there’s a sensor that can tell if you put something into the area it’s projecting into.  So you could put a photo there and it’ll scan it.

Clever, but you can already use a separate scanner.  But here’s the really clever bit – it can scan 3-d objects, not just pictures.

So if you’re a designer, you can scan in things you want to tweak on screen.  Or you can scan in a plasticine model your 4 year old has made, to send a 3d model to family across the world.

Or if you also have a 3d printer, you can print a 3d copy of a physical object.

It’s not for everyone, not yet anyway.  But it’s pretty impressive stuff and I’m sure some of this technology will catch on and become much more commonplace, just like gadgets like printers, scanners and even PCs did in the first place.

(If you’re curious, there’s more detail and photos here: http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/pc/hp-s-new-desktop-will-change-computing-forever-1270944 )

Backing up – cobbler’s children and all that…

When I give advice to people about computers, I try to do the decent thing and take my own advice too.  Usually I’m not too bad at it.

But you know what they say – it’s the cobbler’s children whose shoes are falling apart.

And I noticed the other day that lots of the photos and videos I had at home (including some of the boys when they were little) weren’t backed up – the only copy I had of them was on my laptop.

If my laptop had got dropped, tea spilt on it or just decided its time was up, it could have been frustrating.

Now, I’m pretty handy with computers and could probably have recovered the files even if the computer gave up the ghost.  But I’d rather not have to.

So I’ve now backed up all the photos and videos onto a portable hard drive.

And (now I’ve taken my own advice) I’d suggest you take a moment to think if there’s anything on your PC that would matter to you if you lost it.  If so, back it up by copying it to something else.  It doesn’t matter whether you get a portable hard drive like I did (ideal for LOTS of photos and videos), use a USB/flash drive or simply put them onto a CD.  But if you’d hate to lose something, make a copy.

Exciting news (not a new product!)

Well, it’s exciting for us, anyway… we’re shortly going to move to some new premises.

We’re not going very far – just about 200 yards down the road.  But we’ll have a bit more space for all the books and for all of us!

Not only that but some of us will get a bit of a view across the estuary from our desks.  (The rest of us will get a view of the forklift trucks across the way…)

It shouldn’t affect you too much – I’ll still keep on with the newsletters and the email addresses and phone numbers won’t change.

But the address will – instead of 8A Devonshire Road Estate, it’ll be 13B Devonshire Road Estate.  The rest of it will be the same.  (And don’t worry if you send anything to the old address – we’ll have the post redirected anyway.)

Anyway, we don’t actually move in until the end of the month, but if you happen to ring up to order anything and can heard the sound of packing in the background, now you know why!