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I continued my dedication to stand up comedy and performed my third Open Mic set within The Studio Theatre at The Point, Eastleigh, Hampshire on 21 November 2018 in which I performed a character role as Bob Plum the Carpenter
This original routine and character was written, developed and performed by me.
Again it was a month since my last performance and I wanted to try another style of stand up and chose this time to do a comedy character act.
As usual I turned to my previous comedic podcasts, specifically Pod 006 Characters, wherein I 'introduced' two characters as imaginary guests, one of which was Bob Plum. This routine was adapted from my original audible piece.
The keen eyed may note that I seem to be checking the piece of wood I carried to help enhance the performance. In truth I was checking my set list which I had written onto the stick, amongst the other false measurements I had drawn onto the prop. I did ask my fellow performers whether they noticed that I was referring to this too often and they said they hadn't even noticed. Which begs the question why I have admitted this here.
The video and sound was again captured by my wife, Lynda, on my Apple iPhone X and with titles lasts just 4 minutes and 14 seconds.
The video was edited in the Apple Macintosh iMovie application using customised stock title cards.
This film was uploaded into the Comedy category of YouTube on 17 Dec 2018 and at the time of publication had received just 19 views.
You can read the routine by clicking the button below to toggle between hiding and showing the transcript.
We live in a fast moving world. Fast both in development and motion. And traditionally we have powered all this with fossil fuels. We have long known that this energy supply will come to a natural end and now global warming and climate changes have accelerated to a point where we must act much more quickly to avoid further, costly environmental damage.
A sea change in finding alternative solutions for this has been the rapid recent development of electric power. Although some of this is generated by traditional fossil fuel sources a growing amount is being powered by cleaner and greener options such as wind, wave and solar power.
For transportation to embrace this power source there is a reliance on batteries, from early developments in heavy lead acid technology, through modern Lithium Ion versions which provide greater storage and even new ideas still on drawing boards and in the test tubes of many industrial chemical institutions.
Presently getting the electric power to the transport medium is a bit of a faff. High power electrical charging networks have only recently been planned and built also recharging batteries takes either massive amounts of time or massive amounts of power along with super cooled refrigeration mechanics. This is because fast charging generates huge amounts of heat as a by-product which can seriously damage or impair the equipment of the charging process.
For this reason a good compromise is solar powered battery recharge. Often readily available this is generally a fairly low powered constant supply, providing the daylight is present.
However, providing sufficient electric output for a high powered transport device such as a car is currently almost impossible to achieve other than for extremely lightweight prototype concepts. This is why no attempt is made to cover the roofs or panels of fully electric vehicles with solar panels and why all these vehicles are creeping quietly around the country looking for a fixed high amp electric charge point which they can sidle up to.
And providing sufficient panels for more energy intensive vehicles such as trucks, lorries, boats or even massive ships is even less likely.
Unless you are an ideas man like me and can see a way to beat this problem. And I present here a number of innovative concepts that may assist.
Solar Powered Cars
Let’s start with cars.
A couple of extremely light weight, prototype, hyper mileage, single seat, pram wheeled, ultra low drag vehicles with a streamlined plastic covering have been produced. These concepts were built to prove solar power concepts or challenge for self invented high mileage travel records, usually carried out in perfect solar producing conditions.
However, as discussed above our standard, fully equipped five seater electric cars need too much power storage and are used far too often in too many differing conditions to benefit from a charge source via just a few square metres of solar panel on their roof, even if you did add in the bonnet and side doors. There is just no more space to mount the panels.
This is why they are charged from a static point, either a mains public charger, from a parked charging space at home or something similar at a destination. This system works fine, providing the owner remembers to plug the car in to the mains and isn’t going on an extended journey. If such an undertaking is attempted a time consuming electrical fuel stop or two would be needed to be factored in.
So, the problem is the square meterage available of solar panels. So why not just tow a solar panel array? The increased surface area may just keep a car going for the number of miles needed for a longer trip. Imagine a trailer being towed behind the car, stretching back as far as an articulated lorry, quietly sucking up solar rays and sending the charge back into the cars battery via an attached coiled wire.
This is obviously all well and good on main, open, multiple lane roads and shouldn’t be too much of an issue but that’s not the only place cars need to go. On smaller, twistier, single carriageway roads, local suburban areas and cities a long trailer may be unruly and difficult to handle by the average driver so further innovation is required.
In these instances it is clear that the trailed array of panels needs to be shortened. So why not have an unfurling array? A twin axle trolley which automatically stretches out and also retracts to suit the road conditions.
The arrays will either have to be flexible enough to retract into a large roll or perhaps be designed to stack over and under each other in order to suit the trailer wheelbase length.
Maybe the ultimate version of this system would be a roll out trailer actually incorporated into the boot or within the rear bumper area of the car, which automatically deploys, dropping out and extending dependant on road suitability. Neat and tucked away for parking in congested cities and adjustable enough to suck up some sunshine dependant on the situation. With the advantage that the most effect will occur on longer runs on main roads, which is the weak point of electric propulsion systems.
Is it possible that this idea is so innovative and indeed needed that current, existing cars may be modified to remove the oily, noisy fossil fuel sucking engine with an electric powered transmission system and fitted out with an inboard, deployable towed power station?
Another associated thought may be that a future roadside recovery vehicle would be equipped with a trailer load of deployable, pre-charged, arrays ready to hitch to cars that have inadvertently run out of sun juice and are stranded on the edge of the carriageways? 'Eh, eh', I hear you mutter.
But enough of cars for now, what about other means of vehicular transport?
Vans, Trucks and Lorries
A similar system could be adopted for vans and trucks. But with these larger vehicles there is additional unused roof space for fixed panels and more space for incorporating a slide out additional array. Already many vans and lorries incorporate rear mounted equipment such as fold out load lifting platforms and even especially designed slimline forklift trucks.
For larger lorries already incorporating articulated designs an additional fixed or roll out trailer would be too unwieldy however their roof space is even more generous in the first place so should be utilised.
And in the case of the many articulated lorries which are just independent truck and trailer models with the cab owner hitching up the trailers of others the two parties would need to work to a commonly agreed system to ensure compatibility. Which makes me think that maybe the universal container design needs remodelling to incorporate solar arrays? And to avoid having to bolt on ill fitting solar panels to the corrugated roofs why not ‘paint’ a solar panel direct onto the corrugations? Surely this must be possible using laser etching?
But what if we consider other means of transportation?
The idea of roof mounted solar panels on trains is not required on much of the already electrified network. However the rail network system certainly lends itself to miles of fixed solar panel arrays alongside or between the rails for use of the rail network or to feed other non-rail infrastructure, homes and businesses nearby.
Notwithstanding the above, much of the network is not yet electrified and to convert it may be very expensive and require a lot of disruptive construction often in remote and environmentally sensitive areas. In these cases adopting roof panel mounted arrays on the long trains could be a good option and the towing of multiple, long, linked additional arrays is certainly a feasible thought.
And why isn’t wind power harnessed as the trains pass by? If you are unfortunate enough to be close to a passing high speed train you would feel the rush of wind created. Put up vertical fans near to the edge of the train which would spin up when a train passes and convert this mechanical energy back into electrical energy to help power the network points, lights and other infrastructure.
Canals have some similarity to the rail networks. Some of the bends may be a little tighter but it is still essentially a system that suits elongated design. And much like the rail system many miles of it are very open to daylight.
Already many canal boats, usually those that house live aboard residents, take advantage of a few solar panels along with the necessary electronic systems and batteries to power their onboard electrical needs. However, their roofs are often too congested with guy ropes, poles, brightly decorated watering cans and other useless ephemera to be fully equipped with major arrays.
This is because few canal craft rely on full electric propulsion. Most instead rely on fossil fuel powered engines. But if one considers that these engines are usually very low powered they could simply be replaced with a similar power output electric system.
It is doubtful that with current technology that a single boat, even one that extends a full 72 feet in length, would be able to site enough panels on its own roof, even if we utilise my earlier idea of spray painted arrays. So instead, why not tow an additional hull packed with a full set of solar arrays?
I would add a couple of other extras onto this big fuel cell to make the system more easily manageable down the cut. I would add a small seating area at the rear and a deployable electric outboard type motor, powered from the array, to make the craft individually controllable when needed. This would be required when the towed power source is detached from the main boat in order to pass through the standard locks on the canal system.
Finally why not incorporate onboard the hull array a mechanical or electrically automated pivoting system to steer the individual array panels towards any light source to increase efficiency of the system?
The ideas are just flowing out now so let’s scale this up.
River Boats and Ocean Yachts
Already there are fully electric powered catamarans on the market taking full advantage of their generous roof and deck spaces being covered with solar panels which feed battery systems and electric propulsion. At present their power is limited compared to other more powerful, faster boats and yachts but they can apparently sail continuously in the right conditions at a modest cruising speed.
The trouble with non catamaran design is the lack of roof and deck space. Plus many yachts are designed with open flybridge cockpits and many, many more are already built already incorporating big, heavy, fuel sucking engines. So I need to find a solution for these craft as well.
The natural energy source can be the same as the model suggested for the canal boats. Towed solar panel arrays, powering an onboard battery storage, electric propulsion motor system.
Yes, I can hear you already picking up on a couple of key points. Calm down I have already thought of these and have them covered.
Firstly, yes some modifications have to be made to the original watercraft. The current diesel or petrol engines will need replacing with electric units. But these will be much more compact and whilst being fitted likely to incorporate updated innovation such as steerable pod propulsion to increase low speed manoeuvring around the harbours and marinas.
The balance of the boat design caused by the reduction in engine weight from big heavy fossil fuel engines and gearboxes with huge fuel storage tanks to more compact electrical motors can be offset by judicious positioning of the necessary battery and charging equipment.
Alternatively just build new boats with design incorporated, electric motors and battery storage systems.
But, you exclaim, what about having to tow a massive solar panel array craft behind us whilst trying to pose around the Mediterranean beaches and tearing about in pointless but addictive high speed turns? My answer is don’t. The power source doesn’t have to go everywhere with you. Just tow it to a convenient bit of empty sea, anchor it from tidal movements, disconnect and go off to have some fun whilst it sucks up some sun, only to return at the end of play to recharge from your own self sufficient ‘fuel’ station.
And if you wish to harness even more power why not incorporate some wave energy technology into your floating power station as well? I'll explain how when we really scale this up.
Ocean Going Ships
You may think that this article has developed from my ideas on road vehicles, adapting some of these basic ideas onto small water craft and now I’m going all in in an attempt to exaggerate and scale up a basic concept. In truth it was the energy efficient powering of ocean going liners that made me come up with these ideas in the first place.
I have been on a few cruise trips, including ocean crossings on some magnificent vessels and enjoy it too much to want to give it up for the sake of the environment. But I have a conscience and want my actions to impact the world in which I live in the most sustainable way. I heard that cruise ships have an enormously disproportionate effect on natural resources and they are getting ever more popular so I wanted to come up with a solution to save the industry. I know, it's all me, me, me.
But how do you electrify a huge cruise ship without if being tethered to a large cable attached to shore? The answer lies in utilising wave and solar power whilst out and about. And much like smaller boats and craft the onboard surface area is not sufficient to meet the needs of the many decks of energy hungry occupants below.
I therefore envisaged an idea that the vast surface area of a massive solar array could be towed behind to power the ship, all fitted out with steerable panels to zero in on the source of light power. Overall size and space taken up need not be a consideration due to the environment in which these vessels operate. Why not tow massive panel sets over a mile in length? If size requires it to be unhooked and anchored temporarily whilst the ship puts into ports then shore power can be used whilst the ship is there.
Yes, the towed power source will need some battery storage for harvesting power whilst unhooked, it would be best served with independent motors for manoeuvring and probably incorporate a small manned onboard control tower [and lifeboat for emergency], particularly if it is a mile long!
Finally add in some wave energy harnessing technology as well into this power station, possibly by articulation of sections of the craft and hey, I may just have had an idea that could help save the industry and our planet. And more importantly, my future cruise desires.
And finally, as a call back to the section above entitled Vans, Trucks and Lorries, remember my idea that all standardised containers incorporate solar panels. These adapted containers can all be linked whilst transported on massive container ships to provide more self sufficiency and even more planet saving. I’m starting to wonder whether I could actually be saving the equivalent of two planets by now.
Oh, and as for powering all the oil tankers chugging around the world. No need, they will all become redundant.
Summary Of Ideas
Wow, what a lot to think about. Just in case you have been overwhelmed by the number of innovative ideas in this one single article let me summarise them below.
Towed solar panel arrays for vehicles
Adjustable length towed arrays - Retractable roll out and stackable
Adjustable towed arrays stored within the rear of vehicles
Roadside recovery vehicles carrying spare, pre-charged roll out towed arrays
Redesign of the universal container system to incorporate solar panels, adaptable enough to be joined up to help power a container ship
Spray painted on solar panel arrays with laser etching
Fixed solar panels within or without the parallel rail lines to power electrified trains and infrastructure on electrified and non electrified routes
Harnessing wind created by high speed passing trains to power the network infrastructure
Floating, towed solar panel arrays for canal craft, boats and even big ships
Floating, towed solar panel arrays incorporating wave energy harnessing technology
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.284 15 Jan 2020 [First Publication]
These are conceptual ideas, untested and made without engineering calculations. For instance I have no idea how many more miles a towed array would make to an electrically propelled vehicle or craft. I do however surmise that it would be more with than without
I have not overly emphasised the additional components of solar panel and battery systems. I do understand that there would be other components such as solar charge controllers, inverters, wiring and isolation to consider. I also understand that all these things would add both weight and cost and be needed to be incorporated in either the vehicle or towed array or both. An unaccompanied, towed array left to soak up some sun whilst drifting quietly at sea would do no good to its owner when it returns if an onboard battery etc is not included
At the time of publication I had not fact checked whether any of the ideas listed above have already been produced, developed, patented or are in the process of development. All I claim is that I have not come across them naturally. If you know of such innovation already out there let me know and I’ll amend and credit accordingly.
I place these concepts into the wild as I feel it wrong to keep them to myself and I also hope to inspire others and generate interesting discussion
As ever, my many ideas are never commercially exploited nor formally patented by me but I would like to see them used. I presume if you are the sort who takes up the ideas of others and passes them off as your own you would not be the sort who credits the original inventor or chucks them a bit of financial thanks. If however you are not such a dreadful monster my name is shown above. Find me, thank me, credit me, reward me. You’ll feel a much better human
These innovations have not been fully developed, tested, proven via prototype, safety tested, manufactured or fully engineered and are just conceptual ideas therefore the author cannot accept any liability for loss or damage in the use or manufacture of any of these conceptual ideas
For Laughing Out Loud
During the latter part of 2018 and into the beginning of 2019 I embarked on a series of stand up gigs at a local comedy venue. All told I wrote, learned and performed seven original five minute open mic slots. For proof of this boast you can check out my videos of these performances on YouTube or here on my web site.
During the course of this time at the venue I met with the other performers at regular times and we exchanged ideas and assisted each other with our performances. One such performer, Paul Jones, performed comedic songs and invited us to suggest some lyrics for him. This inspired me to pen some full song treatments and the song lyrics below were offered. However Paul claimed unfamiliarity with the original song and was dismissive about developing it.
However, I am very familiar with Meat Loaf's version of For Crying Out Loud and feel the parody version I wrote is worthy of consideration. I only wish I could sing like Meat and had a backing band like him. You will just have to imagine what this would sound like if I had these facilities.
If you are as fired up about this as I am and want to record a version do please share and if it's any good [or really bad] I'll include links.
Vince Version 5.283 3 Jan 2020
For Laughing Out Loud
A parody, written in 2018
To the tune of For Crying Out Loud
Yes, that famous Meat Loaf Track
With apologies to Jim Steinman, who wrote the song upon which this parody is based
I was lost till you were found,
And I never knew how far down,
I was falling ‘fore I reached the bottom.
I stand up but you sit down.
Coming here from all around.
Just waiting for me to tell you the first funny line.
And the now inevitable nervous wind,
Is blowing out my body again,
And we're sinking deeper and deeper into the recesses of my mind.
Oh how I know there’s jokes there inside my aching heart,
But I can’t stop this damn routine from breaking apart.
And please don’t let me use puns,
They just won’t flow.
And don’t you miss the call backs,
At the end of the show.
I'm in the middle of a dark stage,
On the end of a Mic.
But there's a border to some lines waiting,
And there’s just some you won’t like.
Oh give me just another moment to craft the clever retort,
‘Cause if I get it worded just right you could laugh till you snort
And I’m gonna need some great lines to make you feel you like me.
And I will receive everybody with open arms, open flies,
Open up the sky and let the comedy that I love shine through.
For laughing out loud,
You know I love you.
For laughing out loud,
You know I love you.
For laughing out loud,
You know I love you.
The interval and you’re at the bar.
Got so drunk you can’t find the car.
You’re thinking about calling for an Uber.
You could laugh or you could cry.
Strangely now your throat feels dry.
You were spinning,
Ah, you now really need a pee.
Again the inevitable nervous wind,
Is blowing out my body again.
Still sinking deeper and deeper into the recesses of my mind.
Oh I know there’s still jokes there inside my aching heart.
Still can’t stop this damn routine from breaking apart.
And please don’t hear me use puns,
They just won’t flow.
Here comes the damn call back,
Its all part of the show.
Still stuck here on the dark stage,
On the end of my Mic.
I’ve found the border to some lines broken,
And there was some you just don’t like.
You gave me just another moment to craft the clever retort.
And I worded things just right so you could laugh till you snort.
And I managed to find some great lines that made you feel you like me.
And I received everybody with open arms, still open flies,
You opened up the sky and let the comedy that I love shine through.
For laughing out loud,
You know I love you.
For laughing out loud,
You know I love you.
Oh for pissing your pants,
You know I love you.
For laughing out loud,
You know I love you.
For smiling at the chicken when it’s crossing the road.
For chuckling at the doctors when the curtains are closed.
So I suppose,
For that I thank you.
For tittering at the knock, knock when it’s just Doctor Who.
For smirking at the dentist at thirty minutes past two.
Oh, so that’s a clue,
For that I need you.
For getting the idea of an elephant with feet buttery.
Or one with red toes sat up high in a tree.
You should believe,
For that I serve you.
For groaning when I tell you my dog has no nose.
And getting all the references, the ones that I chose.
Oh, I hope it shows,
For that I want you.
For whooping and for cheering and for playing the game.
For praying that the ticket price next month stays the same.
With no shame,
For that I hold you.
Ah but most of all,
For laughing out loud,
For that I love you.
Woah but most of all,
For clapping out loud,
For that I love you.
Woah but most of all,
For cheering out loud,
For that I love you.
When you're shouting encore,
You know I love you.
Author: Vince Poynter Version [First publication] 5.283 3 Jan 2020
Lyrics originally written in 2018
The image depicts Vince performing a stand up routine on board the cruise liner Queen Mary 2 on 27 Jul 2019. It is a still taken from the video of the performance shot by Lynda Poynter. The video is also available on YouTube and on this web site.
It's the end of 2019 so what better way than to celebrate this by penning an article on my Twitter story for the year. The only problem being is that I have yet to do my story from my Twitter years of 2014 to 2018. So, for the sake of order you can have this for now. You will have to follow me on @vinceunlimited on the Twitter.com site if you can't wait for me to set out my stories of 2015 onwards.
Twitter '14: My Twitter Story of 2014
As usual I continued my use of Twitter throughout 2014 and have once more collated all the most memorable ones here for prosperity.
Not that you will get any actual prosperity from reading this, or even checking the full archive at www.twitter.com/vinceunlimited, nor even if you check out my current tweeting, also at… well you know by now.
Looking back at my tweets during the year shows I was pretty busy doing the old tweet thing, just check out my productivity on 22 April 2014 for proof. Generally I majored on simple, humorous one liners including some you may see relating to the current issues of the day. I just wish I could remember them all so they could be amusingly inserted into my conversations at appropriate moments.
All together the collection provides a fantastic archive of amusing ideas, indeed a diverse, eclectic range from an inventive mind. Or, if you prefer, the confused rantings of someone who has yet to find something to settle on.
A couple of minor themes to look out for this year including a handful of tweets with hashtags, for example #iwasinaband in January and #animalalphabet in March, although most tweets are unrelated to each other, apart from their author.
As usual all the entries here are [mostly] exactly as they were posted online, contemporaneously, without rechecking spelling, grammatical corrections or censure. This is not due to laziness but a desire to maintain historical accuracy. However I have added an odd explanatory [word] or letter to help explain any mistakes.
So, go forth, read and enjoy.
6 January 14
Should all atheists be called Godfrey?
It continues... If you want to read the full article click on the blue button:
For those of you that just like the best of the best I have curated this list of my top ten best Tweets of 2014. Based on my personal choice, not based on views, likes, comments or retweets. They are in no significant order other than date of posting.
Should all atheists be called Godfrey?
#iwasinaband that gigged only in cake and sweet shops. Back then we were huge
One day I'll tell you about the grizzly I live with. Bear with me
My Uncle lost his wife at the zoo. I suspect the Anteater #animalalphabet
Reversed the car back down the multi-storey car park ramp. Which was wrong on so many levels
I beat all the chickens in a race. But I did have to break into a run
I said you're not the usual dental assistant. She said no I just fill in
I was in the restaurant and asked to see the waiter. I was shown the second man in the queue
I said "I knew a boxer once" He said "Amateur or Professional" I said "Pedigree"
Fireworks - So be careful with it
Have I picked the ten best? If you want to know the full story of my Tweets in 2014 just select the Twitter 2014 option above.
Author: Vince Poynter Curated: Version 5.282 31 Dec 2019
First Published: Twitter during 2014
Computer Tech 2019
Most of my computer stuff now fitting easily on one small desk. The smartphone is heavily involved in taking the picture so couldn't attend this tech party
When I designed my first web site way back before 2003 to be launched that year I envisioned four primary elements would form the layout - Ideas, Opinions, Personal and Writing. Within the personal section I wanted to tell all a bit about myself and also to include details of my computer set up. I wanted this because at the time I imagined a fair percentage who were surfing at the time may share similar interests to me and would appreciate information on how I operated my technology. As a result since October 2003 I have included details of my computer hardware, software and web use. You can see these unaltered articles by following the links below.
I created an update to my computer story in March 2010, also seen within the links below, which is now nearly a decade ago so I thought it timely to provide another round up of my tech.
When I left off in 2010 I had just started to work myself into the Applesphere. My main computer was a Mac Mini viewed on an Apple Cinema Display. I also had an Apple MacBook whilst I waited patiently for the rumoured iPad which hadn't materialised but sneakily came out just a month after I posted my article.
I also had a couple of Windows based laptops. My ageing, noisy, overclocked Novatech lap top and a tiny new Dell Mini netbook primarily for servicing my HiFi processor.
Apple's iPhones were becoming more common and I noted in 2010 that I was on my third one and I have listed a full schedule of those I owned below.
Other accessories included an Iomega MiniMax MMHD 500Gb USB/Firewire 400 back up drive running Time Machine, a Logitech QuickCam Fusion web camera, a Hewlett Packard HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-one WiFi full colour printer/photocopier/facsimile machine, a 2009 BT HomeHub 2 WiFi N router, a Bose Companion 5 Series 2 sound system with stereo speakers and Subwoofer, a first edition 2008, 160Gb Apple TV plus an iPod Classic.
Since these heady days of multiple devices I have greatly simplified my set up which is now fully suited to remote working and have subsequently sold off or given away everything I had previously listed. Now it is just one lap top with a few accessories, an all-in-one device, a smartphone and router.
My current laptop is again an Apple product. I have not deserted the brand but did upgrade. As advised in March 2010 I was considering an iMac but never went down this route. I really liked my white, unibody MacBook and appreciated the simplicity of using just a single, portable working device which suited my changing lifestyle. I did try a couple of iPads along the way, a 64Gb black WiFi, 3G enabled iPad 2 in November 2011 and a 128Gb space grey WiFi, 3G enabled iPad Air 2 in November 2014 but none could be considered a true laptop replacement. Data and software back up to anywhere but the cloud was too difficult, my old file system comprising sometimes deprecated file extensions couldn't be handled, I wasn't able to natively title and sort my growing photograph collection and web coding was awkward to do in the way I wanted too, which is simply. So in the absence of suiting these critical criteria I purchased a proper, full power, old style lap top in November 2014.
I choose a new MacBook Pro, a late 2014 Retina 15" model with a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7, 16Gb 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, an Intel Iris Pro 1536Mb video graphics card and a 1Tb Flash hard drive. This was a standard selectable Apple configuration and I haven't modified it in any way. And as you are dying to know it cost me £3.60. Short of £2,400.
My trusty old MacBook hooked up to the new MacBook Pro. Some time later the Pro was fully impregnated with the guts from the willing donor
The alleged lack of connections didn't concern me as the world was moving in a WiFi interconnected way but I was concerned about reliance on huge operating system updates over the air and the ability to play and record to disk media such as CD and DVD so I also purchased an Apple DVD Rewriter, a USB Super Drive, for £65, which has since rarely been connected.
I intended to use the laptop in a place where it could suffer potential loss so needed a way to secure it to some infrastructure in a room. The MacBook Pro didn't have a Kensington Lock slot, the standard in computer security, so I had to find a way to provide this kind of protection myself. I discovered the solution in a LandingZone Dock Express, model LZ3015AL, similar models of which are currently on sale, new for $99. This MacBook Pro accessory clamps into opposing connectors either side of the laptop edge and locks into place, protecting the removable base plate whilst providing substitute connectors and crucially a Kensington Lock slot.
As the hard drive on the MacBook Pro was 1Tb and my Iomega MiniMax was only 500Gb I also had to upgrade my local back up drive. I wanted greater portability and the option to have two solid state drives so one could be stored away remotely and each could be swapped regularly to ensure the most reliance in case of major theft or failure. I chose the bright orange, rubber encased LaCie Rugged 3.0 Thunderbolt 2Tb flash drive and purchased two at a price of just under £200 each. I also bought a lightweight My Passport Ultra 500Gb back up drive, for about £60 and used this to make a further copy of my photographs and videos which hold the greatest digital sentimentality.
The only mouse I now have is my Logitech V450 Laser Cordless Mouse which I purchased in 2007 but failed miserably to mention in 2010. I purchased this mouse to be a portable input device, small enough to pack into a rucksack with the laptops I took to work but I don't tend to bother with it as I find the MacBook Pro's large trackpad sufficient for most of my needs.
The remarkably beautiful HP Envy 110 all in one printer, copier etc., etc., just before it was sold
My Hewlett Packard Photosmart printer/copier/scanner/etc device was getting old and I wanted a WiFi model so in May 2012 upgraded to a very smart looking HP Envy 110 D411a printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc which cost a whopping £175. Although sleek and beautiful it eventually needed new inks so naturally I bought a new printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc/etc. Sadly these days buying a whole new printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc/etc/etc is now a cheaper option than ink replacement. It is an Epson Expression Photo XP-760 printer/copier/scanner/etc/etc/etc/etc/etc which I got for £98 [new obvs], in October 2017.
And to complete my hardware set up my Wifi source also had to be addressed. For a while I was reliant on using a commercial over the air source which at first only provided about 0.1-0.5 Mbps. Over a couple of years it increased to a more reasonable 5-6 Mbps but I changed tack, invested in my own mobile router, a Huawei HomeFi B311s-220 and now get around 10-12 Mbps from a 3 SIM, just shy of 4K streaming.
I no longer own any Windows equipment nor use any emulator.
Software and Web
The MacBook Pro running at near full speed during a video conversion process. Note the near full capacity of the 8 cores [4 core hyper-threaded] and GPU
As I am now solely reliant on Apple devices I naturally err toward Apple software, the latest operating system being MacOS Catalina version 10.15.2. My pattern is to always update to the latest formally issued non Beta version of any OS X since I purchased my first MacMini and have never had a problem.
I also always favour Apple supplied software applications and programs such as Books, iMovie, Music, Mail, Maps, Notes, Numbers, Pages, Photos and Safari, all in their latest guise.
Web site coding is now handled within Apple's Xcode with uploading to the cloud via FTP within a non Apple product, Filezilla [ver 3.46 currently] up to my web hosting service provided by UK2.
When I reported in 2010 I mentioned that I had been through a slew of Apple iPhones and this trend has continued until this day.
Prior to 2010 they were an 8Gb [original] iPhone in February 2008, a 16Gb 2.5G iPhone in July 2008 and a [replacement] 16Gb iPhone 3G the next month.
In 2010 I upgraded to a 32Gb iPhone 4, in October 2011 I chose a 64Gb iPhone 4S, in October 2014 I went for a 128Gb iPhone 6 Plus and my latest choice, from November 2017 is a 256Gb iPhone X.
You can see a pattern of purchasing the largest capacity version available, which I did to attempt to chase a dream of fully storing high quality versions of my photographs. You can see that my 'phone updates originally occurred around once a year but slowed to replacements every three years as the technical abilities of these smartphones matured. So I expect my next one to be the iPhone 12S with around 500Gb. Not that such a large storage is needed as I currently use around 200Gb of my 256Gb capacity including now being able to store all my photos and filmed videos at full resolution on the device.
For mobile sound I used the out of the box wired EarPods for most of the last decade but am now using the wireless Apple AirPods, which are great for sound and safety in operation as a hands free device whilst driving. I have tried the latest, wirelessly charging, noise cancelling AirPods Pro but remain unconvinced that their performance is worth the very high price of upgrading.
Binning The Tech
But what about my superseded, now no longer required tech.
As you will be aware from reading my Computers 2010 update I take digital security seriously. This is why I destroyed my Mac Mini and its hard drive. However I felt guilty about doing the same to my MacBook, which still retained considerable value. I twice cleaned the hard drive with a security wipe but did not want to sell the thing to an unknown source on an auction site. Whilst most likely to be purchased by a grateful teenager who wanted to spend more time on their ass watching YouTube I couldn't risk it being bought by a clever dick, Black Hat, cyberpunk who could unmask my security cleansing. So I chose to donate it to a family member.
I had done something similar with my original Packard Bell desktop system which went to my brother-in-law. He did eventually pass it on to his own father but I have no idea where it went after he died. Maybe to that Black Hat?
My mother was given my old Dell lap top, which she didn't get on with on the grounds she only played Solitaire so my father eventually used this. Occasionally. Over the years he had collected a number of lap tops and enjoyed the variety despite being unable to consistently remember his passwords and not really utilising any of his machines. He also owned a ChromeBook and a separate netbook along with his ancient desktop system which he liked messing around with in both Windows and Linux.
All this confusion led to much requested tech support from me so I figured that I could offer him my MacBook, watch him get to love its powerful simplicity and consequently tech support from me would be greatly eased. However an illogical opposition to Apple products meant he was determined to dislike it and so never used it. I took it back.
I offered the MacBook to my brother who really needed an update to his old desktop system but sadly shares my father's same illogical opposition to Apple products so turned it down. It seemed I couldn't get rid of my valued old friend. But then I heard my nephew was struggling with an old Windows laptop he shared with his partner and needed a device to assist in his studies to become a Fireman. He willingly accepted my offer of a free, high end Apple MacBook and has gratefully kept it since.
The Novatech was too old to be touted around like the MacBook and so I decided to risk selling it on the open market. Any secure data on it had already been well superseded and it was primarily used for business work for most of its life. I once again cleaned up the hard drives and sold it for £62 in November 2017. Furthermore, it would not have looked so interesting to Mr Black Hat due to its age, specification and low value.
The Dell Mini 10 was also sold, in April 2012, for £121. No major security wiping was necessary as it had only ever been used to put processor updates on my HiFi and if that software was interesting to anyone or a security risk to me I'll eat my hat, which for the record is not Black. I do intend to tell the full story of my HiFi system in a future blog update and will include details of why I needed this netbook and why it is now gone. Contact me if you need this story sooner rather than later.
The Apple Cinema Display was no longer needed when I sold the Mac Minis so this had to go to a new home as well. Due to its quality and being just three years old I got £350 for it in November 2010. It was perfect and well worth the money to the lucky buyer.
Other accessories were also sold, for instance the Logitech webcam around the same time for just £16 and the stunning HP Envy 110 D411a for a pitiful £25 seven years later.
One item I could not sell was the Iomega MiniMax MMHD 500Gb back up drive. Not that it wouldn't find a market or fetch too little but that I was concerned that it had held too much personal data. Although fully encrypted as a Time Machine back up I couldn't guarantee that some smarty pants couldn't unlock these bits and bytes so decided to destroy it instead. I duly picked the case apart to get at the internals.
The case and mother-board proved low resistance to my assembled tools and were suitably destroyed allowing me to concentrate on the internal disk platters. They were held together in some sort of clear glass moulding, the destruction of which I considered to be effortlessly simple. However this glass like substance proved to be actually made out of unbreakabilium. It successfully survived dropping onto hard surfaces, frenzied attacks with screwdrivers and a crow bar and even blows from a full size metal mallet with a three foot handle being swung against it whist it was precariously supported at a forty-five degree angle across two bricks. I was fully impressed despite being exhausted from my efforts and furious at my predicament.
I had to find a way to hide this perfectly undamaged drive from future prying eyes and concocted a plan to drop it in a deep river crossing. I imagine it is now roaming the seas balanced precariously on the back of an enormous crab and I am relying on that crab to be the final protector of my data.
A neat thought that my 2019 set up is now truly mobile.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.281 17 Dec 2019 [First Publication]
The first photograph shows my computer tech set up in one place, taken in December 2019. The image includes the MacBook Pro, a USB Superdrive, orange clad portable drive, a smaller red external drive, a Joby Gorillapod adjustable tripod, a Logitech mouse and a small external USB drive in front of the laptop. On the desk to the left is the Epson XP-760 printer and Huawei router
The second image shows my unibodied MacBook linked to my new MacBook Pro Retina 15" during the process of transferring data from one machine to the other on 26 November 14, as taken by the me
The image of the printer is my HP Envy 110 all-in-one WiFi device, shown in a standby state. The photograph implies the panels are mismatched but this wasn't so apparent in real life. The photograph was taken by me on 8 October 17
The final image shows a screenshot from my MacBook Pro during an intense workout for the CPU processor cores. The Activity Monitor indicates 8 cores in operation but in reality the computer has four cores each hyper-threaded. Note also that the NVIDIA graphics card is also in full use for the intense mathematical computations required. The screenshot was grabbed on 5 October 2018 by the author
The LandingZone dock can be found at https://landingzone.net/products/macbook-docks/for-the-macbook-pro/#products-macbook-pro-description
The vinceunlimited Suzuki GSX250 Story
Engineering Over Soul
Lynda’s Suzuki GSX250 so new it’s still proudly displaying its L plate. Her now superseded Renault Fuego now skulking in the garage behind
The Suzuki GSX250 came into my life at the same time as my wife, for it was her bike so the story must start with her.
Lynda always hankered after a motorcycle but left it until her late twenties in the early eighties before taking the plunge. An inexperienced rider who had owned new cars for ten years took her disinterested father to the local bike showrooms to choose a steed. She wanted the fantastic new six-cylinder Honda CBX1000 but laws restricted learners to a maximum of 250cc. Unfortunately she discovered the Honda CB250N Super Dream was more difficult to get on the centre stand than the big six.
Honda didn’t produce a two stroke 250cc road bike but other manufacturers did as this was a popular option at the time, offering high performance, light weight and easy maintenance for these ‘starter’ machines often purchased by those on a tight budget. Kawasaki offered the manic, thirsty but ageing, triple cylinder KH250, Suzuki the super light, super fast GT250 X7 and Yamaha the stunningly engineered, water-cooled RD250LC.
Four stroke options other than the Super Dream included Honda’s own slim CB250RS, the similarly square and unremarkable Kawasaki Z250A, Suzuki’s ageing GS250, newer GSX250 and Yamaha’s twin-cylinder XS250 or custom style, single cylinder SR250.
There were also some alternative options to the Japanese big four but none were widely sold. Benelli 254 anybody?
Given these choices my heart would have hankered after the Kwacker triple but my wallet would note the high fuel costs and suggest the ultra smooth, modern, beautiful, water cooled LC.
But I wasn’t around and Lynda’s dad advised her to avoid the two strokes, purely on engineering grounds. It was also this thinking that considered the high level of sophistication of the Suzuki’s DOHC motor. It’s a pity that they didn’t stand back and look at the damn ugliness of it compared to its contemporaries.
Lynda’s brother Kevin sitting on the Suzuki. Unfortunately for the viewer he is stationary so has his leg down, revealing the horrendous side panel
Looking at it now you may wonder why I disliked the look so much. Yes, it has a slightly dated 1980s vibe, but it was the 1980s so that can be forgiven. The overall styling is fairly neutral and the twin megaphone, slightly upswept exhausts look OK. I preferred the circular cam covers of other Suzuki four cylinder bikes over the newer more befitting square ones on this model but this alone shouldn’t relegate the thing into the ugly bin. What did this was mainly the slender, tall styling exaggerated by the crappy side panels with their multiple parallel indents. Furthermore, the upswept optional rear rack and engine mounted crash bars didn’t help.
The NVH was also irritating and shouldn’t have been so. It was designed to be able to willingly rev to a maximum power at 10,000 rpm but didn’t have the banshee lightness through the power train of a two stroke, meaning a chainsaw motor but no pay off in top end speed. Buzzy but strangled. It lacked the lazy, comforting thump of other four stroke motors and allowed the motor’s vibes to be easily felt through the handlebars and hard, narrow seat, which inexplicably rose over the tank.
But it was brand new, a nice red and Lynda liked it. Slightly less than the physically bigger, more accommodating Super Dream which she admits she should have had.
However before I entered the picture Lynda had to set about becoming a motorcyclist. Enter brand new bike matching leather jacket, trousers, gloves and moto-cross style boots. On her head a matching, quality full face helmet, around her a fluorescent body sash and in case of rain a full one piece Belstaff all in one waterproof suit. She was quite literally the example set to others on her motorcycle training course. In fairness the other young lads there hadn’t just sold their less than year old new Renault Fuego to their dad to fund their steeds.
A shining example of how all new motor bikeists should present themselves. All the gear and riding in a carefully controlled, professional manner
It didn’t take long for Lyn to get her riding skills up to speed. She passed her gold star training easily, utilising the benefit of a decade of driving and set about joining a local club to meet new friends in her newfound hobby. Which is where I joined the story.
I was a reasonably experienced biker by then and a member of the same local club. I was without a ride due to self imposed poverty and had virtually only the clothes I stood in. But I did have my jacket and helmet which became useful when I persuaded this naive, new biker to give me a lift back to my place. We became close friends and have spent the rest of our lives together.
Her dad wasn’t impressed. Nor her mother. They never liked the idea of Lyn taking up two wheeling and thought it dangerous and dirty. My lust for life and adventure and unwashed jeans only served to confirm their suspicions and it took me some time to win them over. And one episode in those early days didn’t help.
I never minded being on the pillion seat whilst Lynda was riding, other than the narrow, hard seat. Many men feel this placement is incorrect and wouldn’t countenance the idea of sitting at the back. But it was her bike after all and it was very snuggly holding onto my new girlfriend, knees tightly gripping her bum and indicating directions by friendly taps on her thighs. However she also liked me riding her bike. When tired at night it’s nice to just sit there holding your partner whist they do all the riding and concentrating stuff. Plus I had to show her how to really ride. All the stuff that the new riders course didn’t go into. Such as how a bike could perform, why full revs don’t harm the thing, how it could really lean in corners to the point of foot peg grinding, how you can overtake any car you chose to, the safest way to brake sharply in full control and most importantly be ultra defensive when needed to survive.
But an early incident could have derailed all this. I was riding, Lynda on pillion and we were leaning through a series of tight corners when I hit a huge pothole with the front tyre. It destabilised the bike which slid away leaving us sat on the tarmac. The corner was so tight that there was virtually no speed and we were properly dressed so there was no human hurt. But Lyn’s shiny new GSX had picked up some battle scars. Still, it was her first lesson from me on how to crash.
I made sure she was alright, retrieved the bike, jumped back on and we shot off to my parents house for a quick fix. Within moments Dad had helped me remove the handlebars and crash bars, straighten them back into position, reverse the clutch and brake levers so the damage didn’t show, tugged the loose rubber snags from the grips and forced the left foot peg back into shape ready to get back on our way after a nice cup of tea from Mum. Lynda was astonished by the speed and efficiency of repair and her own parents never found out about the incident until we told them several decades later.
The Suzuki attending a Motorcycle Action Group [MAG] rally in Southsea, Hampshire. We were also there, me riding helmet less with many of the other attendees in protest about compulsory helmet wearing laws. Which we actually agreed with. Still, anything to have fun when a biker
We had many more adventures on the thing. Pottering around two up all the time, going places, touring, learning together improving our riding, avoiding any new crashing etc. But I never really enjoyed the bike itself. It wasn’t something special to ride or to arrive on. It never excelled at anything or even disappointed in any aspect to give itself some sense of character. It was just there. Well engineered but ultimately soulless.
It should be noted that Lynda doesn’t share the same negative feelings as I do. But consider it was her first steed and on it she was introduced to a wild new world and friend in me so must be influenced by this. But unlike my feelings for Lynda the bike never really grew on me. She should have had the Yamaha ‘Elsie’ or the Honda Super Dream, both of which still have legions of fans nowadays. I could have taught her how to get the awkward Honda on the stand in no time.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.280 29 Nov 2019 [First Publication]
The first image is of Lynda Clare sat on her brand new Suzuki GSX250 outside her parents home in 1981. Photograph taken by Lynda’s brother Kevin Clare on her Canon SLR digital camera
The second image is of Kevin Clare sat on Lynda Clare’s brand new Suzuki GSX250 outside their parents home in 1981. Photograph taken by Lynda on her Canon SLR digital camera
The third image is of Lynda Clare riding her brand new Suzuki GSX250 outside her parents home in 1981. Photograph taken by Lynda’s brother Kevin Clare on her Canon SLR digital camera
The final image is of Lynda Clare’s Suzuki GSX250 parked in Southsea, Hampshire in 1982 at a Motorcycle Action Group [MAG] Rally. The helmet and gloves on the seat are Lynda’s and the one strapped to the rack is the author’s. Photograph taken by Lynda on her Canon SLR digital camera
It may have been a while since I last updated my web site but at least the update has been a well overdue one. I have been working on a better way to present my photographs page.
You will have to click on the 'Photos' thumbnail on the left hand column or blue button below to see what I have done but in essence for version 5.278 I radically altered the view layout to incorporate clickable thumbnails for my photos and in this version I added a couple of more 'thought provoking photographs' along with a new section entitled 'Intreesting Photographs'.
The layout required the use of some more CSS coding and makes the layout respond differently dependant on the size of screen that you are using. On a mobile size screen the photos should show as singles or pairs but on a larger desktop the number of horizontal thumbnails across the screen may be dependant on the window size as each resizes to fit in about a quarter of the window area but can slightly alter depending on the text autosize function. So, if a line of images appears to have less than four thumbnails across the layout may correct if the window size is changed. Let me know if this is the case on your desktop.
In accordance with previous practice I could have reproduced the latest set of images here to allieviate any further effort on your behalf but that would deprive you of all the fun of discovering a visually interesting part of my web site. You may thank me later.