Computing & Technology

Category Archives: Computing & Technology

Computing & Technology

Apple iPad Pro Pencil, not the first Tablet or Stylus by a long chalk

Apple iPad Pro Pencil

Apple have invented something revolutionary and yet familiar, or rather they’ve reinvented something that has been around as long as the wheel. It’s the pencil. Well, ok, we’ve only had pencils since 1564 but we’ve had writing implements since 4,000 BC. Rather amazingly the new £79 Apple Pencil has a full 12 hours of battery life – not as long as a real pencil, but you won’t need a sharpener, just a charger, when it runs out.

“When using iPad Pro, there may be moments when you want even greater precision. So we painstakingly designed Apple Pencil to expand on the versatility of Multi-Touch. And while the technology inside is unlike anything we’ve ever engineered, picking up Apple Pencil for the first time feels instantly familiar. It lets you make any number of effects, right down to a single pixel, giving you more creative freedom than ever before….The precision and versatility of Apple Pencil make it a natural tool for artists”Apple Pencil

Artists may disagree, having used stick brushes for millennia, as far back as 40,000 years. With Chinese writing and calligraphy came the use of more conventional brushes around 300 BC, ultimately reaching Western art many centuries later and first being mentioned Tuscan painter Cennino Cennini in his Il libro dell’arte, written in the early 1400s.

Read the review by Guardian illustrator Chloe Cushman:

“it didn’t feel like drawing with a pencil. It felt a lot like drawing on an iPad, which is sort of like drawing on a sheet of glass with a piece of plastic while having bright light beamed into your eyes. It’s not even the best tool for digital illustration – that’s a Wacom tablet, the gold standard used by professional artists and illustrators.”

Cushman quotes Steve Jobs who in 2010 said: “If you see a stylus, they blew it.” He thought the idea of a digital stylus was an admission of failure to design a graphical interface that worked with mouse or gestures alone. Gestures and flicks were actually patented by GoCorp and their PenPoint OS before Microsoft and Apple, back in 1991. Indeed, IBM brought out the ThinkPad 700T in 1991/2, the first iPad, well Thinkpad, back then:

Pen and Stylus Computing

We’ve had stylus based devices on Windows and Android since 1998 and earlier – Windows for Pen Computing was 1992. The 1998 Palmax touchscreen modeled on a Toshiba Libretto ran a customised touch-screen version of Windows 98, pre-empting Windows XP Tablet edition (2001) and Windows 8. My VHS cassette-sized 6.1″ screen Palmax PD-1000 still works. Compaq iPAQ PDAs running Windows Pocket PC 2000 & 2002 and HP Jornadas from 1998 running Windows CE had stylii, as did the Palm Tungsten and the 1993-98 Apple Newton. Around the same time as the Newton there was also the commercial failure, the Amstrad PenPad. Great innovations all of them – only the Apple iPad has been a real commercial success. One of the best smartphones or phablets is actually the Samsung Note and its stylus pen which is leaps and bounds ahead of innovations over a decade ago.

In 2001, IBM released the ThinkPad TransNote a combination X20 Thinkpad and convertible tablet as well as a real paper and pen notebook with electronic digitiser to convert notes to the laptop!

IBM Thinkpad Transnote
IBM Thinkpad Transnote usage variations

The Transnote didn’t sell well at its $3000 price tag, but it’ll still set you back £300 on the rare vintage market. Pen Computing said this of it in 2002:

“In many ways it is too darn bad that IBM gave up on the TransNote. It is an unusual design that includes a lot of great ideas–the result of many years of research in IBM’s advanced technology labs–and the overall package works surprisingly well.” – Pen Computing Magazine

First hybrid convertible laptop/tablet

IBM Thinkpad X41 Tablet
IBM Thinkpad X41 Tablet configurations

In 2004, Lenovo bought IBM Thinkpad and in 2005 their first touchscreen tablet convertible laptop came out, the Thinkpad X41, with a stylus pen that docked inside. Aside from the abandoned Transnote, this was the first convertible tablet – that wasn’t linked to a notepad. These ran Windows XP Tablet edition but from Windows Vista and 7 onwards tablet features were embedded within the Windows standard operating system.

Pen and Paper

Of course, pen and paper have been around for nearly 2,000 years, since the Chinese invented paper, the same Chinese whose descendants bought IBM and now resell it as Lenovo! The pencil has been around since 1564, the first patented pen in 1888, and the first tablet – neither Apple, IBM, Windows, nor Samsung, but ancient Sumer, around 4,000 BC.

Uruk Cuneiform Clay Tablet, 3000 BC, Beer Allocation
Uruk Cuneiform Clay Tablet, 3000 BC, Beer Allocation!

The original clay tablets came in a choice of colours including “bone white, chocolate and charcoal“. History demonstrates that just because we have great technology does not mean that we will use it for lofty pursuits. Cat videos, adult entertainment, and Kim Kardashian on the Internet, all come to mind. This very early writing tablet is not the Epic of Gilgamesh but an early record of beer rations!

Computing & Technology

Android Facebook Messenger App Permissions Privacy Scare Story Examined & Debunked

A story on Huffington Post from December 2013 has been shared over 200,000 times, 10,000 were in the last 24hrs – The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger’s Mobile App Terms of Service, but is it as scary as is made out? Should we all dump the Messenger app ASAP to save our privacy and protect our mobile from Facebook‘s access to it?

It seems to have started via Paul Joseph Watson’s November 2013 Infowars piece.  The story opened with a black ops-style reference to the “terms of service that allow the social networking giant to use the microphone on their device to record audio at any time without their permission.” Whilst Watson admits that “most apps on Android and Apple devices include similar terms to those pictured above, this is easily the most privacy-busting set of mandates we’ve seen so far.” He goes on to alarm users and assert that they “are agreeing to let Facebook monitor them 24/7, green lighting the kind of open ended wiretap that would make even the NSA jealous.”

The same story, which is actually old news, is doing the rounds on Bubblews thanks to its sharing on BubblewsFacebook page, although the post has now been removed, barely minutes after several people started liking my comment in response to the scaremongering. I wrote responses both on Facebook (thread now deleted by Bubblews) and on a several Bubblews‘ posts (some comments of which were also deleted), correcting people’s fears. In the end I wrote an article linking to the original scare stories.

All this is a re-visiting of old stories because Facebook is now forcibly transitioning its users (well closing the messaging features of its full app) from in-app Facebook messaging to the external separate messaging app Messenger, over the last week.

Facebook Messenger can accessIn the Bubblews post – viewed over 500 times, We Are Borg, &skilledz, scares us with the news that the app requires “unrestricted access to your phone’s system” and “Can call phone numbers without the user’s consent and can send SMS messages. Audio recordings can be made anytime by using the phone’s microphone without requiring user consent.”

This is simply not true, these are pre-permissions necessary to enable the app to respond when the user consents to dialling or messaging out!

Take the microphone, for example, whilst “permissions sound scary, [they] are actually logical. Permission to access the phone’s microphone to record audio does makes sense: it records audio when you’re taking a video and also when you’re video conferencing.”

In part II of his post his kneejerk response is to “recommend[s] a factory reset”. NO! This is misinformation and can cause untold stress and anxiety, not to mention data loss. This is irresponsible scaremongering and the article should not be being promoted on Bubblews’ Facebook page without some caveats and more responsible reporting and technical advice.

I’ve been an IT professional for 20 years, run a software company for 15 years, and been a computer programmer for over 30 years – my first programming was at school in BASIC on a 32k BBC ‘B’ Micro, next was a Napoleonic wargames simulator written on an Amstrad CPC 464 with 64k RAM to a C60 audio/data cassette! I went on to study Fortran 77 at University and learned to program HTML, javascript etc and then employed programmers in PHP, MySQL, Java, Ajax, CSS etc. I’ve used mobile phones and handheld devices since 1991 and still have every one I’ve owned from early Nokias to Sony Ericssons, via Psions, PalmPilots and PDAs from Compaq and HP to each and every Samsung tablet and Note 3.

Enough of the technology CV, to prove I’m a verified geek, what annoys me about these scare stories is that it puts people off useful software, feeds paranoia and makes people not trust technological advancement. Yes, there may be some dodgy companies out there, who ‘may’ misuse your data, but a factory reset is not going to remove Google, one of the biggest data miners out there, whose misuse of collected data has been proven – remember the ‘accidental’ collection of wireless data whilst creating Google Streetview?

Rather than flee the Internet from fear, learn how to use it safely, and understand what app permissions actually do, rather than terrify people. One quick place to check on things is Snopes which checks out rumours, scams and urban legends for you. Just search it for “facebook messenger” and you’ll see 4 results, the most recent update of which was yesterday, 8 August.

Whilst Snopes gives Messenger and the scary reports a “Mixed” review, due in part to the facts of the permissions being true but the interpretation of them being false, it ends with a reader comment to Sam Fiorella’s HuffPost piece, comments on which are now closed:

“Oh for crying out loud…

[Facebook Messenger] needs permission to record audio & video so that you can send an audio or video message. It can’t do it without you asking it to.

It can make calls if you ask it to because it links your facebook and local contacts lists.

It absolutely CANNOT do these things without YOU initiating them! It needs the permission in advance so that when you ask it to do these things, they WORK.”

The HuffPost article comments report people uninstalling the app as a result, Facebook could sue for defamation! Fiorella finally replied, before the comments closed, saying:

“I would agree that it’s not Facebook Messenger’s intention to record audio or take a photo without being initiated (eg. taking/adding a pic to a text msg) but once you give permission for the app to do so automatically, what’s to stop a hacker or other app from doing so? We have too much blind faith…that’s the point I’m trying to make.”

More responsible reporting can be found at Android Central, which describes Fiorella’s original story as “spreading what we call Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). They’re irresponsible, show a distinct lack of knowledge on the way Android permissions work, and frankly they do very little to educate. That’s not to say you shouldn’t look at an app’s permissions before installing it — you absolutely should.”

Facebook Messenger App PermissionsYou can check out the Messenger app permissions in the Google Play store or once installed via your phone’s SettingsGeneralApplications Manager select Messenger and then scroll down to see the permissions.

The majority of these are scarier than they look, but mostly exist to allow the app to send messages, make calls and add pictures, ‘selfies’, video, audio, media attachments.

Writing to and editing your SD card is for data cacheing, and “draw over other apps” allows the Chat heads to float in the foreground over other apps for incoming messages.

All permissions need to be accepted in order to install but some can be edited and turned on/off once installed via the app’s settings, such as turning Notifications or Chat heads off.

Google‘s Hangouts app, and SnapChat, also use similar permissions, indeed much of the “Big Brother” language of permissions, is decreed by Google‘s Android system itself, and not by Facebook. The wording and indeed the application of the permissions “doesn’t necessarily reflect the way the Messenger app and other apps use them”, says Facebook. Check out Facebook‘s explanation.

Some have suggested that the large memory consumption by the Facebook apps hides nefarious NSA-type secret monitoring and that like Norton, information could be passed to the FBI or MI5 without a court order. My Facebook app is currently using 195MB and the Messenger app only 45MB on my Android device – but that will vary with usage and cacheing, you’d have to delete all your data and logout then boot up the app but without logging in to run a full comparison. Skype is currently using 47MB, even more than Messenger. Twitter is using 152MB. There is nothing sinister with these memory usages, just bloatware and increased feature sets of evolving software.

On the Media‘s report describes the ‘news’ that Facebook wants to “listen to our phone calls” as “seemingly very Orwellian” but which is in fact a “good example of paranoia that misses the point.”

If anything, this false furore is a good example of poor communication – for a communication app, that is somewhat ironic! The poor messaging skills come from Facebook‘s media and PR department who are so mistrusted, especially after trying to cover up, I mean explain, their recent secret psychological experiment on hundreds of thousands of users.

Facebook is not good, at communication, by its own admission. Particularly, when it states that it takes “privacy and security at Facebook really seriously because that is something that allows people to share” opinions and emotions, said Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s deputy.

A recent Guardian poll suggested that 84% had lost trust in the social media network, with 66% considering closing their account as a result. Although in the 10 weeks since that poll, I’ve not seen more than 2 out of my 2000+ Facebook friends close their account, and at least one of which was for different reasons – transitioning to a professional page. So 0.1% at best have reacted by closing their accounts.

Facebook, is a net social benefit and/or necessary evil, depending upon your preference, just as I find having a phone useful, but sometimes invasive – I actually hate being called and prefer to use Messenger, or SMS if I have to, because I can control when to reply at my convenience, depending upon my time, health and mood.

Facebook is becoming as ingrained, prevalent and near universal, as phones and the Internet itself. Many people get their news directly from Facebook. For many it is their homepage upon opening their browser or booting to a Windows 8 tiled home-screen. It has become almost an operating system in itself where which one can search the web, read articles, watch videos, without leaving Facebook.

The best form of counter-attack to fear and ignorance is information, not alarmist misinformation or cyber-isolationism. Please think before spreading false or exaggerated stories, and check and re-check your facts, as well as your app permissions. Happy messaging!

[This article was first published on Bubblews]

Computing & Technology

Google goes gay, Twitter flags up rainbows, Search terms for LGBT Pride

This year’s “Google goes gay” search style for Pride Month and the Stonewall Inn riots anniversary was a tessellated rainbow background strip to their website menu bar. This is the 7th year running Google has demonstrated its diversity and made the none too subtle statement of support worldwide.

Google rainbow search terms Pride Month 2014

Enter terms like “Gay Pride”, “Stonewall riots”, “Pride month”, “London Pride”, “Same-sex marriage” and the strip would visibly transform before your eyes and produce tens of millions of results. Curiously and sadly “Gay Pride” dominated and “LGBT Pride” was ignored. Searches for LGBT, GLBT or LGBTQ were rainbow styled but not the more inclusive LGBTI or LGBTIQ/LGBTQIA, excluding Intersex people from the gender and sexuality spectrum terminology despite inclusive advances elsewhere, such as in Europe, with the shift to LGBTI/Q.

Google same-sex marriage search 2013

Google has gone “gay” before, last year same-sex marriage was highlighted during Pride Month because of the US Supreme Court Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 rulings. Outside of LGBT calendar events Google has also been political in support of LGBT gay rights. It has created 2000+ Google doodles over the years and for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, it added a far from subtle LGBT activism to its logo doodle by using the 6-banded rainbow flag colours behind various sports events images. The search box would also come up with the Olympic Charter words highlighting inclusivity in sport as an obvious dig at Putin’s anti-gay education laws: Google Winter Oympics, Sochi Russia, LGBT Doodle

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” – Olympic Charter www.google.ru/#q=olympic+Charter

This year, someone has also discovered an “Easter Egg” or hidden coding within Google Docs Sheet (similar to Excel) that turns the entire spreadsheet’s column background colours rainbow hues simply by typing P in Cell A1, R in Cell A2, I in Cell A 3, D in Cell A4 and E in Cell A5, spelling out “PRIDE” across the first row columns.

Google Docs PRIDE Rainbow colors SpreadSheet

Microsoft’s older Excel versions have long had hidden Easter Egg programs buried within, several were full blown racing or Doom style games. #Pride hashtag on Twitter 2014Twitter #Pride hashtag flagMeanwhile, during this year’s Pride weekend, Twitter has interpolated a mini rainbow flag  image anytime the hashtag #Pride was used.

Search Engine Land monitors Google’s annual LGBT activist and temporary re-branding of search results. Personally, I think it’s great, but it’s also clearly far from neutral, or non-partisan. It shows the world’s largest search engine is on side, but also political which makes one worry in what other ways it manipulates results and opinion. Read more about this year’s Pride parades and Stonewall Inn riot anniversary. [An earlier version of this article first appeared here]

Computing & Technology

Facebook error, Sorry, something went wrong – Life without Facebook

Facebook website goes down

Without warning Facebook terror has struck, well Facebook error at least, and with thousands taking to Twitter to inform us of what we already knew, but at least it confirmed it was global and not a purge of ailurophile account holders – that’s cat lovers to you and me.

The dystopic vision of life for over 1.25 billion people without Facebook is over, as after 30 minutes down Facebook was back. For 30 minutes this morning around 9am GMT in the UK, as everyone logged onto their computers at work – and checked their Facebook accounts first, the site crashed rendering just a 2013 error page saying “Sorry, something went wrong – We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.”

Facebook down error The irony of having to use rival Twitter to announce a Facebook error meltdown, which included the mobile platform too, was tracked in tens of thousands of tweets and trending hashtags #facebookdown as well as “facebook error”, and then after ‘THE EVENT’, via #WhenFacebookWasDown and #facebookup. A TEOTWAWKI moment if ever there wasn’t (“The end of the world as we know it”).

There was no sign of an immediate crash in the share price after its near 2% rise the day before, just a drop of 1.9%  in trading later that day when the NYSE/NASDAQ opened. Longer term, advertisers and shareholders may reflect on the downtime of something that in barely over 10 years people have come to regard as universally available and as synonymous with life’s daily essentials as having a phone, electricity or the Internet.

For many, instead of the morning login to check cute cats, messages and memes, it was a case of having to read a paper, talk to your partner or work colleague, or go for a walk and enjoy nature, even do some work.

For a productivity increase to really happen, Twitter and Pinterest would also have to go down.

Funny how we forget the simple things and it takes the denial of service of some technology to realise we survived half our lives or more without it. Indeed, Facebook has only been around a decade, and thus February 2004, the birth of Facebook, was year zero, I was born 37 BF (Before Facebook), today is 10 AF (Anno Facebook).

All the Sci-Fi films of the past predicted androids, utopias, flying cars – none of which have fully happened, and none foresaw how endemic and pervasive a social media platform might become and how technology would be part and parcel of being social. Star Trek communicator “badges” never had the option for “Klingons on the starboard bow” – Share this on Facebook.

I remember, as a kid, a television show called Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?” The 1973 TV show actually ran until 1995 with Russell T Davies of Doctor Who fame being at one point a producer and director of it. Again, the irony, as a television programme self-referenced turning itself off so that we would go and play outside during the school holidays rather than be glued to the gogglebox. The BBC itself said “If the programme had actually succeeded of course then it wouldn’t have had an audience.”

According to analytics by the Guardian, users didn’t just switch off and do something off social media, instead they simply switched channels from Facebook to Twitter. Some, “Apparently, … even went to Google+.”

News sites seemed relatively unaware at first, papers that publish throughout the day like London’s Metro were quick to publish after the site was restored but with little response from Facebook yet other than this:

“Earlier this morning, we experienced an issue that prevented people from posting to Facebook for a brief period of time. We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100%. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused… This doesn’t happen often, but when it does we make sure we learn from the experience so we can make Facebook that much more reliable.”

Back in 2010 when the site was down for 2.5 hours Facebook issued an apology or rather an unintelligible engineering explanation for it. The Independent reported that people were  complaining about having to spend time with their offspring or go on to Pinterest for inspirational quotes. They quote the movie about the founding of Facebook, ‘The Social Network’, where Mark Zuckerberg proudly said “Facebook would never go down.”

The dilemma is that for many business models Facebook has become one of the leading referrers for business traffic, alongside Google, Pinterest etc. So 30 minutes downtime is 30 minutes lost business, losing millions worldwide. “Publishers” in particular “saw referral traffic from Facebook fall off a cliff as the outage hit”, the Guardian reported.

Taking advantage

The Metro was also quick to jump on the ever pervasive lists bandwagon with “Five ways we used the crash to our advantage“, it won’t be long before the blogs have “Ten things to do when you can’t get on Facebook”. The Nestlé KitKat Philippines ‏Twitter account @kitkat_ph was quick to take advantage “Looks like #Facebook is having a BREAK right now. Have a BREAK, too! :)”.

Tech tip

You can always check whether sites are down for everyone or just you on isitdownrightnow.com and downrightnow.com.

 

Computing & Technology

My technology path: first computers, software business, web development

Computer Software, Technology & Web Development

I founded BMSoftware back in 1998 but my computer background began at school in 1982 aged 15 with BBC B 32k computers, tape decks, BASIC, then aged 18 an Amstrad CPC464 CP/M with all of 64k memory. I spent a year designing a historical Napoleonic wargames programme only for it to run out of space saving it on the tape cassette!  I could not be bothered to rewrite the game code I had written from an earlier saved version and abandoned my career as a software game designer.

At University I studied Fortran 77 an already ageing engineering computer language. All this was pre-Internet, pre-Windows. My next computer was a gifted Sanyo twin 5.25″ disk desktop and daisywheel printer. I bought my first 386 laptop for £1400 back in 1992,  it had a 20Mb hard drive, 640k RAM and ran MS-DOS 6. It blew up after 14 months and I managed to get a free upgrade to a 486, 120Mb drive the next year, running Windows 3.1 – I still have it and it still works! I did my first writing on it for a correspondence degree in theology that I undertook post-Uni degree in Economics.

I began reselling computer software via BMSoftware because of a need to multilingual wordprocess in Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Cuneiform and more for a Hebrew course I was writing. That led to contacting suppliers and being offered trade prices if I resold the software to students.

That led to setting up my first sales website, learning HTML and Javascript in the process, which has grown to over 3000 pages and 1000s of software products. Basically, I figured if I wanted something why not buy it trade for myself and resell it to others if I liked it!

That led to me reselling IBM Thinkpads, the only laptops I have used for 20 years. They are so well made and I’ve travelled the world with them, to wet British festival campsites along with a solar panel and spare battery packs, to Kenya and the dry Egyptian desert. I once dropped one 3 feet onto concrete and it still worked with barely a scratch. I even have an IBM Thinkpad 701c Butterfly (1995) with a clever fuller sized keyboard that splits and retracts to fit inside a smaller laptop clamshell.

I’ve a touch screen laptop from 1998 running Windows 98 so Windows 8 with touch screen is hardly innovative! It was made by Palmax and similar to the Toshiba Libretto. It was 8.4×4.8″ and with a 6″ screen and stylus pen/mouse, just like the Samsung Note phablet and Thinkpad X41/X61 tablets. Enough of memory lane!

For a number of years I became a leading retailer of religious research software especially academic, Hebrew, biblical, Talmud, Koran etc. I bought the business and stock of a London-based Jewish software seller to add to a portfolio of 1000s of education and religion software titles and stock.

Because of my interest in languages I ended up specialising in translation software and supplying numerous UK prisons and public authorities with wireless free (for security reasons) laptops and HP iPAQ handhelds with dictionary and translation software in 40+ language for working with foreign nationals.

As Amazon and Ebay took off and Microsoft and others went Cloud and Subscription-model for their software offerings, the software business had to evolve again. So now I specialise in both the old and the new. Much software has moved to download provision and that is great to supply, almost zero effort but often reduced margins as manufacturers realise they don’t need resellers anymore. Many rivals have gone bust as a result. I added some contingency to my portfolio by also selling old software – or vintage as I prefer to call it. As a result I shift multiple copies of software from as far back as 1995 on a daily basis with a profit margin that exceeds that of the newer software I sell.

The technology world remains a passion of mine, and the software websites I run still bring in revenue streams that are low-effort and because of my SEO knowledge rank well on search engines for products, usually on the same first page as Amazon, Ebay and the maker’s own site.

For example search for “Davka Biblical Hebrew” on Google and the first 4 sites after the 3 by the manufacturer are all mine. Alternatively search for “translation software” on Bing and one of my sites comes #1.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was an early field of expertise and paid better than web design itself, particularly with owning 200+ domain names. I managed to be an early adopter back in the days when domain renewals were costing me £1000s each year. Fortunately, many have made their money back and more. One keeps earning several thousand a year in affiliate income for no work at all. I paid £2,500 ten years ago for one domain name and was offered £10,000 for one name I own.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Optimisation (SMO) have become bigger areas of interest now as I seek to publicise my speaking, writing and campaigns for equality, diversity and human rights that I am involved in. I’ve been on Facebook since 2007 with 2000+ friends and followers, Pinterest appeals to my very visual OCD outlook but I’ve only just started to enjoy the immediacy of Twitter for news and comment, nonetheless I was able to gain 100+ followers a week as I grew my Twitter feed and following.

My computers have to cope with my multipassionate 4 browsers with 150+ open tabs working environment (on my worst recent tally I had 220 tabs open!). I was drawn to multiple screens when I watched Sandra Bullock in the film The Net (1995) ordering pizza off another screen whilst working on another! As a result I use a dozen laptops and screens in various offices, studies, bedrooms and the garden.