Two pieces of stunningly useful new technology!

For Christmas, my girlfriend bought me a new 22" Hyundai flat screen for Dark1, a PC I’d built some time back. Actually, I had built it with the aim of selling it, but… well it turned out to be such a powerful beast that I couldn’t bear to part with it. It gets its nickname partly from its phenomenal computing power and also the fact that I’d built it in a black windowed tower case.

Anyway the new screen was also black, which left me with an old beige keyboard and a white microsoft IntelliMouse – neither of which looked very good, but they worked and that was the main thing. Well, actually the mouse had seen better days, and about a week ago I’d stripped it down for a much needed cleaning and unfortunately… it broke… ho hum, I guess it had probably done too many miles anyway. So my sweetheart gave me her wireless IntelliMouse Explorer and bought herself a new mouse. Okay, back up and running. I started having problems with the keyboard… nothing major, it still works, but it occasionally does weird things and locks the whole system up when re-booting. So whilst I was wandering aimlessly around ASDA the other day, I decided to buy a nice new black microsoft keyboard for my system.

Wonderful, everything nice and black now… Then it happened… My girlfriend gave me a sweet sticky liqueur in a tall shot glass, I put it on my desk and swiveled my chair round to give her a peck on the cheek and promptly knocked the shot glass over… Amaretto poured into my nice new keyboard!!! Arrggghh!!!!

Years ago this would have meant instant death to a keyboard, and only last summer I’d had to take a client’s keyboard apart to fix a key that was sticking (35 bloody screws in that thing, it took me ages) so I was dreading the damage I’d find. I dried it off as best I could, and it still seemed to work, but 24hrs later and I was in sticky key city!

Well, these things are advertised as being water resistant these days, but even so, I wasn’t looking forward to stripping it down and cleaning it out – but I got a nice surprise.. 12 screws… all easily accessible and the whole thing was open, and nearly everything inside was washable. The keys were all retained in the top half of the keyboard and there were no electrical parts to the top half… so in the kitchen sink for a wash it went.. along with the rubber membrane that protected the bottom half of the keyboard. All dried off and reassembled, a 10 minute job… wow. I’m impressed… does it work… you bet! What do you think I’m typing this with? I guess microsoft must be doing something right these days!

Okay, that was the first bit of kit I was impressed with…so what’s the second? Well I’ve been short sighted since I was 13 and have to wear glasses to see anything clearly that’s over about 25 foot away. Now, that’s a bit of a damn nuisance for a photographer, as it means I can’t see things close up while I’m wearing my glasses. Normally I just push them up onto my forehead to take a shot, and pull them back down when I’m done. However, it’s winter here…and it’s cold… so I wear a wooly hat to keep my head warm and stop me shivering when I’m out. That’s fine, except it prevents me from sliding my glasses up onto my forehead. It’s a pain, I have to go through a tedious process of removing gloves and then glasses, put them in my pocket, take picture, put glasses and gloves back on for every shot.

So anyway, I was in a small town called Oakham yesterday, wandering around taking pictures and going through the process I’ve just described, when I walked past a chemist shop and was suddenly struck by a brilliant idea. I went into the shop and purchased a Spectacle Cord… £2.50 for a piece of string with a couple of rubber loops at either end. Now, it may not be the sexiest or most exciting piece of kit I’ve ever bought, but you know… It’s probably one of the most practical and certainly the cheapest! lol. Well, what did you expect? A new camera or lens or something exotic like that? Nah! The point is that instead of taking me 20 seconds to be ready to take a shot… I can do it in 4… now that’s gotta be worth £2.50 hasn’t it?

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  • David Meacham
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