Over the last couple of months I’ve been considering buying a TV to also use as a PC monitor. I’ve been surprised to find relatively very little information online about it so here’s what I’ve discovered and my experiences so far.
Unfortunately, Timeline hasn’t worked for me since the upgrade. But today I fixed it.
What is Timeline?
Timeline lets you see a list of all the documents and applications (that support Timeline) going back about a month. The idea is that this feature should make it easier to find documents you’ve been working on.
The problem I had was that after the upgrade (which only took about 30 minutes) it didn’t work. All I saw was a list of the virtual desktops I had (which is usually two), the currently open applications, and then a message saying that I needed to use my PC more before timeline would start showing me results.
How I fixed it
This is the combination of things that I did to fix it.
Note that my user account is a Microsoft account, not a local PC account.
Settings > Activity history
The first thing was to make sure Windows was collecting my activities.
Go to Activity history
Make sure Let Windows collect my activities from this PC is checked.
Make sure Let Windows synchronise my activities from this PC to the cloud is checked.
Make sure the Microsoft accounts you want synchronised are set to On.
I next checked that the following Windows Registry settings were present in the following registry location:
The RAVPower RP-PC020 is a 30W 3-port USB wall charger that, as the name suggests, allows up to three devices to charge simultaneously.
Each port offers the same output: DC 5V at a maximum of 2.5A, so it should be suitable for charging anything from the most humble feature phone to a smartphone or tablet; I’ve used mine to charge all three without incident. The built-in iSmart technology adjusts the output automatically so that each device charges quickly and safely.
The charger comes packaged in a small, sturdy white box with a simple and attractive design. It already looks and feels like a quality product.
Opening the box I was greeted by the quick start guide (written in six languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese) draped over the charger, and a friendly “Hello” written on the cover. I like it already.
Inside the box, the charger was wrapped in a plastic sleeve and nestled between two cardboard arms within the box, offering excellent protection for transit or an accidental drop. The only other item in the box is a small card with details about a free 12-month extended warranty.
The charger itself seems solid: this feels like a quality product. The model I have is encased in hard, shiny white plastic with RAVPower written on one side and iSmart on the other. On the side closest to the floor when plugged into a wall socket is written model name and number, input and output values plus various other health and safety icons. The remaining sides offer the UK 3-pin plug and opposite it three USB type A ports.
When plugged in and switched on the USB ports light up, a light blue/white colour, which makes plugging USB cables into it in the dark a little easier — even if you always try to plug it in the wrong way first… oh for when USB C becomes the standard).
One niggle I have with many computer-related plugs is that when plugged into a multisocket block many plugs are too long and so obscure the socket opposite, reducing the number of available sockets by one. Happily this is not one of them: the body of the charger does not extend beyond the height of the plug meaning that you can always plug in something else opposite. The whole unit is really neat and portable; I wouldn’t think twice about throwing this in my bag and taking it with me — it takes up hardly any space at all.
All in all, I am delighted with this adapter. As I’ve already said, it feels like a quality product, I love that the sockets light up, and that it can handle three cables at once means that I now use this as my primary adapter for my smartphone and tablet, with a spare socket for guests or my children’s Amazon Fire tablets. I would wholeheartedly recommend this adapter.
In the interests of transparency: I was sent this product by RAVPower for review. I am not connected to the company in any way apart from having been a former customer.
My Psion archive has now been sold. This is the first day in 21 years that I’ve not had a Psion computer or book in my possession.
Many thanks to everyone who got in touch regarding these sales, and especially to the lovely Psion enthusiasts who purchased these machines. They gave me a great deal of joy over the years, I hope they serve you equally as well.
Today, I put my four Psion PDAs up for auction on eBay UK:
This was the last Psion that I bought—it must have been early 2004. I bought it to take to the US with me on holiday, and for a couple of writing projects I was working on.
It was a Series 7, bought on eBay, and later upgraded to a 7book by fitting a Psion netBook personality module. This made it capable of accepting a wi-fi adapter card (I bought two, one each of the two main chipsets that work well with netBooks).
I’m selling the lot in one bundle:
Psion 7book (Series 7 with netBook module)
Leathette carry case
Psion Series 7 user guide
PsiWin 2.3 CD-ROM
RS232 serial cable
USB to serial adapter (D400)
2 x UK power adapters
Psion Series 7 personality module
2 x compact flash cards (one contains the EPOC R5 OS required for booting the first time)
2 x Wi-fi cards (Lucent Orinoco Gold and Buffalo Air Station WLI-PCM-L11GP)
DVD containing all the Psion software I collected over the years; I used to sell this online.
See listing on eBay (offers over £80)
Psion Series 5mx
I bought the 5mx shortly after moving to Edinburgh, from Inverness in 2003. It was another eBay purchase and was to replace my Psion 3mx.
I just wanted a new piece of kit. It has a 32-bit operating system, a beautiful clam-shell case, where the keyboard slides out when you open it, and a backlit, touch screen. What more could you want from a PDA?
Psion 5mx 16MB
RS232 serial cable
PsiWin 2.3 CD-ROM
Proporta.com hard case
2 x UK power adapter (one with interchangable UK/Euro/USA pins)
Boxed Purple Software Chess software (3.5″ floppy) and manuals
Palmtop Street Planner 99 software on CD-ROMs and manuals
This Psion was my workhorse for many years. It’s solid and dependable, and I don’t ever remember the screen cable breaking, which was the most common fault these machines suffered. I did have it fully refurbished a couple of times, though, from the dependable POS Ltd in London, run by Paul Pinnock.
Something I loved about the 3mx is how long the batteries lasted. I could usually get about one month’s use out of a pair of AA batteries.
Included I’ve got:
Psion Series 3mx 2MB palmtop computer
Series 3mx original user guide
Series 3a programming manual (OPL)
Programming manual (OVAL) and disk
PsiWin 1.1 disks and manual
Psion 56k infrared travel modem (with disks and manual)
4 x solid state disks (3 x 1MB and AutoRoute Express software).
I saw an advert for the Psion Siena in a copy of MicroMart, I think it was. And I immediately fell in love with it. I pondered buying one for weeks before getting up one sunny morning in my flat and travelling to London’s busy Oxford Street to purchase it at Debenham’s department store.
It immediately became my diary, contacts list, to do list, journal and programming machine. I bought a copy of PsiWin 1.1 (for £80) and connected it to my Windows 3.11 for Workgroups PC (a 386 SX-20).
I used it to write and edit my masters dissertation in 1999.
This includes only:
Psion Siena 512 KB palmtop computer
A letter from Psion
See listing on eBay (offers over £20)
Programming Psion Computers
This book was the bible of Psion computing about 18 years ago. I managed to grab myself a copy in Waterstones bookshop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, for £29.99.
It soon became quite a rare book, and so the publisher, EMCC, made it available in PDF on their website, as well as a zip archive of the CD-ROM that accompanied it. Many years ago, I gave away the CD-ROM to someone who was desperate for a copy of the original.
See listing on eBay (offers over £12)
The end of an era
I’ve been meaning to list these for months, but only just got around to it now while I have my head in the selling-space as part of the divorce settlement.
I feel sorry to see these go, but they are just sitting in a box in my cupboard and I would much rather they went to someone who got some pleasure out of them.
About two months ago, I reinstalled Windows 10 on both my desktop and laptop computers. This post is about what I do to make sure the process is as smooth as possible.
Something I have done for years (since Windows 98) is to store most of my installation files in a directory.
I store mostly drivers, plus applications that are either rare or that I have purchased. I don’t store applications that update regularly (e.g. web browsers, WinSCP, IrfanView, etc.).
Within my installation directory I organise the files into sub-categories, like this:
This allows me to find drivers and applications more easily. It’s also roughly how I organise the installed applications on my Windows start screen:
I store these files on a separate hard drive from the one that I install Windows on; I always install Windows on its own drive. This allows me to quickly reinstall Windows without worrying about overwriting the installation files.
For each computer, I have created a separate Trello board to guide me through the installation process.
I have boards for my desktop and laptop computers, plus my work computer. I also do the same for my Android smartphone.
Each board outlines my backup routine for each computer, any applications or services that I need to uninstall or deactivate before the reinstall, and then for each driver or application I record the steps I need to take, options to select, or any problems that I’ve encountered, etc.
The first few columns on each board outline the order in which I like to install things: drivers first then essential system applications. Within each column, again the arrangement of cards shows me the order that applications need to be installed, e.g. motherboard drivers, graphics card drivers then Windows updates.
I use images on some cards to make it quicker to identify them.
And as you may suspect, the column names on these Trello board match one-to-one the sub-directory names in my installation folder.
I then use Trello labels to track the status of each driver or application. I can see at a glance which applications I regard as essential and which I install only the first time I require them.
I use red labels to indicate any problems; purple labels tell me whether I need a reboot after installation; navy labels indicate work-related applications; and light blue labels give me a clue as to where to find them.
The last piece of the puzzle is where I keep any registration or serial keys. I store these in my encrypted password safe, SafeInCloud.
Since moving to this workflow, I have found the process to be very straightforward. I can track everything using my smartphone using the Android apps for Trello and SafeInCloud, and I can easily record any problems or lessons learned meaning that each time I do this it gets easier each time.
Do you have any top tips for reinstalling your computer?