I was an English teacher for many years in Italy, and every year I played a game with the students. In groups we had an hour to invent an incredible product, prepare publicity for it and act it out to the class.
I had a can of Happiness and the logo “Happiness, now available in cans”. Many of the inventions revolved around making your school life easier though, including the intelligent pen that could for example write the correct answers in the test or translate from one language to another.
Well girls from Liceo Secco Suardo your dreams have come true. You in fact saw the future. Roll out the Smartpen.
The Learnstift Smartpen checks your spelling as you write. Incredible but true. Learnstift is a German Start up, and they are about to release their incredible product in English and German. It has 2 functions, one to help you write better that recognizes the form and shape of individual letters, and one that checks the spelling.
The pen has a tiny Linux computer inside that runs off a battery. It is fitted with a non optical motion sensor and a vibrating mechanism, so it can recognize the word you have written and if it is spelt wrong it will vibrate so you can try again.
It has wi-fi so you can connect to your phone or other hardware, and with a launch price of between $150 to $200 it is cheaper that paying me to come round to correct your homework.
Joking apart the producers hope the pen will become a valuable learning tool and of particular interest to dyslexic children. Although initially only in German and English as the project takes off more languages will be introduced.
Any of you who have learned a new language will understand how such a tool could be used in language learning and business communication, and as the pen can be made in ball point, fountain and even pencil versions I think there might be a fuchsia for it.
There are many ways to deal with old computers. One popular way is to get rid of it. This is because old computers have no value, are slow and take lots of physical space.
The other way to deal with them is to sell them for a super low price so that you can buy a new one without paying too much. However, second hand electronic stuff does not really have any value. For instance, you probably ended up selling a graphic card for $50 that you bought for $200-$300 originally.
So why not keep your old computer and make good use of it.
2. Install an new Operating System. If you are looking at Windows, XP might be a good choice for an old PC, however 7 also handles low spec hardware pretty well, so is also worth considering. There are several reasons why I think Windows XP is no longer the best choice:
License rarity – Windows XP is 3 versions behind the current Windows operating system, meaning few firms still stock XP licenses
Support has ended – Microsoft have officially announced the termination of the support for Windows XP in 2014
Malware issues – Windows XP is prone to more security risks than more current operating systems, simply because it has been around longer; this means you are likely to need a better antivirus software to keep the PC safe
If you don’t want to go down the Windows route, I highly recommend is the Ubuntu, which is a free Linux OS. There are several free Linux operating systems out there but so far, I think Ubuntu is one of the popular Linux distribution and probably easiest to use.
What is the requirement to run Ubuntu? According to the official site, these are the requirements.
700 MHz processor
512MB of RAM
5GB of hard disc space
VGA capable of 1024×768 screen resolution
Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port – or both
I bet you have a better PC than Ubuntu requires 😉
Uses for an old computer running Ubuntu
No matter how old the computer, it always has uses. Here are some of my suggestions:
Use it for regular web browsing. With a lightweight operating system (which won’t suck up your RAM and CPU usage) your old computer can still perform pretty well for simple web browsing
Use it for data backup. You can always transfer all your important stuff into an old computer, and use it as a backup machine, so you can keep your files safe and access them easily
Home surveillance system. If you buy a webcam or two and install them into your house you could use your old computer to run your own home surveillance system!
So now, if you have an old computer lying around or burred in your storeroom why not dig it out and start making good use of it?
If you have any good idea on how to re-use your old computer, why not share with us below?
This post was going to be entitled “Why you should stop using Internet Explorer” however I didn’t think that was a strong enough title, so I changed it to the direct instruction you see above this text: Stop using Internet Explorer.
You have a choice. You can use Google, Bing, Yahoo! or Ask. You can buy Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS or Ubuntu. You can go with Apple, Samsung, Sony or RIM.
Although Google dominate the search market, there are still many other search engines out there. Microsoft dominate the computer market, but you can still choose from a [reasonable] selection of other, popular operating systems. You could argue that Samsung now dominate the global smartphone market, but there are still many other companies you can go to to get a smartphone.
You also have a choice as to what browser you use. The internet is arguably now the main function for any computer, so surely you should devote some time then to choosing which browser is right for you?
If you have tried more than three different browsers before, for a considerable length of time and have after weighing up all the pros and cons of each, have chosen your favourite, well done you. If you haven’t, read on.
If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), stop. Okay, well you can finish reading the article, but then stop using it. A simple instruction, which could do wonders for your internet experience.
Reasons To Not Use IE
There are many reasons not to use IE. Here is a list of what I think are the strongest arguments against the heavy, slow and outdated browser.
Lack of Security
IE seems to constantly be in the news for its security issues. Much of the malware out there on the internet is only made possible by bugs and holes in Internet Explorer! Need proof? Check out this section of IE’s Wikipedia page.
In recent years Microsoft have been really working on making Internet Explorer faster, and IE 9 is much faster than IE 6 or 7 were; granted. That said, it is still much slower than the competition. For example, loading Technology Bloggers from cold (hard refresh) in Firefox, Chrome and Safari took 3 seconds, Opera took 4, while Internet Explorer took 7 seconds.
Lack of Features
Without a doubt, for features, add-ons and extensions, Firefox and Chrome are miles out in front. Safari and Opera also have a reasonable number of things you can add to your browser to customise/improve it, but Internet Explorer has only really started to embrace such features since IE 8. Apart from toolbars, Flash, Adobe Reader etc. IE 6 didn’t really do add-ons.
How IE rendered the same code (our social buttons) on three separate page loads – neither is correct.
Take a look at the three images to the right.
Each of the images is a different variation of the social buttons on our sidebar that IE rendered. The screen size remained the same, and the loads were seconds apart.
IE managed to render three completely different versions of the same code. How does that work?
In the first image it didn’t even attempt to load the social buttons before declaring it was finished. It took a better shot in the second image, whilst in the third image it didn’t bother loading Twitter and threw Google+ to the bottom. Why?
Upon loading the blog in Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera, I saw the exact same result. Each browser displayed them as they are meant to be displayed, every time – Internet Expolorer didn’t.
Lack of Compatibility with Modern Code
Code is advancing all the time, and a good browser will keep up to date with changes, and make sure it is able to interpret and display modern CSS, HTML, PHP etc.
When the blog snows at Christmas, IE doesn’t show that, IE also doesn’t like the ‘modern’ code which makes our search box work, or the code we use to add shadows to text.
Lack of Compatibility with Older Operating Systems
IE 9 doesn’t work with Windows XP, or any Mac OS or Linux system. Only Vista, 7 and 8 support IE 9. IE 10 only works with Windows 7 and Windows 8. According to StatCounter, in the last 6 months, 26.55% of all computer users used XP, whilst 7.13% used Vista and 7.46% use MacOSX – that’s 41.14% of the market that Microsoft are isolating straight away, and Windows 7 and 8 don’t even own all of the 58.86% share of the market that is left!
Microsoft have recently undergone a quite extensive advertising campaign for IE, to try and shake off its bad reputation. They state how ‘lightning fast’ it is compared to how it used to be, which I can’t dispute. What they don’t however say is how it compares to Chrome or Opera. They also try to reassure users that it is now secure, although that is still debatable!