Well – that was quite a year…

By | December 28, 2020

Since this is the last newsletter of the year, in true “clip episode” style, I’ve pulled together some bits from my emails that I think sum up the year pretty well!

(By the way, this week’s email is “pre-recorded” – there isn’t actually anyone working today – but we’ll be back in the office tomorrow for a few days before New Year.)

So without further ado… this was 2020…

January: We said goodbye to Windows 7 and I got nostalgic about the last 10 years of tech

Windows 7 was a great operating system – no two ways about it.  It had a good innings, but after 10 years, the time came in January to bid it a fond farewell.  

And while I was thinking back to the bad old days before Windows 7 came along, I looked back at some of the other big tech changes of the last 10 years.  It’s weird thinking back – but there’s been some pretty big stuff…tablet computers (Tim and I never thought they’d catch on), smartphones, voice assistants, drones, delivery robots and driverless cars…

February: I said goodbye to Silecroft and hello to Horsforth

At the end of February, I spent most of a week moving things from one room to another, opening and closing boxes, and generally failing to find things – it felt a bit like being in a giant rubik puzzle!

And then a few weeks later, with a new house came a new list of DIY bits and bobs that needed doing.  There’s not a lot with this house, to be fair, but there were a few things we wanted to change.  One of them was the knobs on our bedroom cupboards.

I’d wondered about looking in B&Q or Homebase, but I was really hoping for something a bit more unusual.  So I decided to do an internet search instead – and I’m so glad I did.  I came across a little online shop called Knobbles and Bobbles, run by a woman called Lucy.  You can have a look here if you’re interested.

March and April: Well… we all know what happened then…

Over the next couple of months, I tried to share some things with you to help us all get through lockdown in one piece.

There are all sorts of hobbies and interests that it’s hard to keep up with when you can’t go out and socialise with people.  But forums and online learning can really help.

I gave you a quick rundown of how to use video calling to keep in touch with friends and family, and Tim made a special guest appearance with a list of places to buy food and other essentials online.

July: We all needed some good news by the summer, so I shared a few Moonshots with you…

I was reading the tech news and came across something really good for once!  Rather than security breaches and privacy violations – this was the culmination of nearly two decades of work by some very, very clever people.

It’s a project called “Loon”, that aims to bring internet access to remote areas of the world using giant hot-air balloons (a bit like weather balloons).  It’s a Google project – something they call a “Moonshot”.  These are big, ambitious research projects that have the potential to make a huge difference to the world.

I think it’s a fantastic idea – as well as Google’s everyday business, they have people whose job it is to come up with and develop these big ideas.  The part of Google that comes up with these ideas is called “X” – a bit of a silly name, I know, but there you go.
The overall goal of the X projects is to find good solutions to the world’s biggest problems.  Not just little improvements – projects that could make the situation at least 10× better.  And I reckon that’s a pretty good aim to have.

September: Some unfamiliar voices…

After a bit of a manic year so far, we welcomed two new faces to customer services this month,( so you might have heard an unfamiliar voice on the phone!)  Steph has spent the last eight years as a travel agent, which has left her with a yen to see the world (might have to wait a little while for that, though, Steph).  And Karen’s been making lots of friends in the office (in a safe and socially-distanced manner, of course!) – I hear she makes a cracking cuppa…

November: A few quick tips when you’re video calling

At the start of November I gave you a few tips for you to help improve the sound or picture quality when you’re making a video call.  I’d have mentioned these back in the spring if I’d thought about them, but you know what they say – better late than never!

And while all that was going on…

We also managed four new books, two new courses and a very busy summer on the Tech Inner Circle.  No partridge in a pear tree, though.

That’s all from me for this year – let me wish you all happy New Year and all the best for 2021 from all of us here at Helpful Books.

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