Cortana is now on IFTTT

In a move that has frankly been a long time overdue, Cortana is now available on IFTTT.

If you did not already know, IFTTT(IF This Then That) is a service for connecting various other services together. Literally, if this happens on one, then that happens on the other. Cortana, as I am sure you will know, is the personal digital assistant available for your Windows 10 PC, phone or Android. As a follower of both Microsoft and IFTTT, I have been waiting for this development since the beginning of Windows 10.

With Cortana on IFTTT you can connect your Internet of Things devices together and control them from Cortana. Philips Hue, Manything, Harmony TV, WeMo and Samsung Robot vacuum are some of the many services that now have Cortana integration.

Some of the many new Cortana applets on IFTTT
I have been playing with this new feature by making a few applets of my own.

The first one I tried was an applet that rather pointlessly fires a notification to my Android whenever I utter the phrase "Hey Cortana, what's happening?".


Tadaaa!


Ok, so that one was rather pointless, but as proof of concept goes I am pleased with the result. I suppose it has a use if you were feeling really lonely.

The next thing I tried was a slightly different trigger for Cortana, that is to use a specific phrase with a text part that is then specifically used for some purpose. I thought that it would be useful to have an applet that creates a new page in OneNote, with a title you specify, whenever Cortana hears "Hey Cortana, create a OneNote page X", where X is the name of the new page.


Notice the $ indicates the text phrase that you want your new page to be called. I used 'test' here, but you could say 'my world domination plans', or 'reasons I hate Apple' or 'help I think I am sinking' or whatever.

OneNote page created by Cortana with some dummy text just to see what would happen, look!

And that's about all I have managed to play with so far, although I have also been looking at creating some Cortana applets to work with LaMetric time as well. I think it would be really handy to be able to start and stop LaMetric internet radio from Cortana. Currently, this takes several clicks of the LaMetric Android app.

If you have managed to get all the way down to the bottom of the page without your face melting from boredom, then you might like to read my other Cortana posts, or maybe you want some more technology news. Either way, you might like to post a comment on this noticeboard?

Compact cassettes comeback

Yesterday I enthusiastically wrote about all the fun you can have with the seemingly obsolete media format compact cassette. Today a bunch of compact cassette videos.




Cassettes - better than you don't remember by Techmoan. Techmoan is a great channel if you are interested in all things retro, tech or audio. I often enjoy watching his videos for his enthusiastic approach and exemplary subject knowledge. In this video, you can hear the difference between the different types of compact cassette and noise reduction technology.



The last audio cassette factory although a little out-dated this is a great video and worth watching for the great story.



A short film about cassettes - you need to hear this - indeed, you really do. Watch it. Watch it now!



Kids react to walkmans (portable cassette players) aw, as they say, from the mouth of babes, or if kids don't think it is cool, then it is probably cool, or something.



Playing 50 YEAR OLD tapes, busting the myth that cassettes have a limited lifespan.



That's all for now, although I reserve the right to add more if and when I find any of interest. If you enjoyed this post then you might like to tell me about it on this noticeboard, or maybe just read something else retro related.

Cassettes are back

I walked into HMV the other day. HMV is a British entertainment and record retailers. I haven't been to a physical record store in many years and was suddenly surrounded by aisle upon aisle of DVDs and CDs. There were loads that I like the look of, and I had some cash burning a hole in my pocket. It was then that I realised that I no longer own a single device that can play a CD or a DVD.

I felt like a historical reenactor of the Tony Blair years.

The only CD/DVD player that I still own is connected to my main laptop computer and it is seriously damaged. Some time ago I started to get my media either streamed or downloaded and I never noticed that the lack of a disc player was an issue. In fact, it is not. I listen to music on streaming services such as Spotify or on one of the thousands of internet radio stations on my LaMetric time device. I watch YouTube and download movies from the Windows store. It was really a long time ago that I bought CDs or DVDs.

Interestingly, the only format in the record store that I could actually play was in the vinyl section.

Vinyl is making a comeback, if you didn't already know, with year-upon-year growth in the format as people begin to crave the feel of the needle in the groove and the tangible album art in their hands or something.

But this post isn't about vinyl it is about the other ancient analogue format that is making a comeback: compact cassettes.

Of all the formats it is compact cassettes that I miss the most. So, as you can imagine, I am delighted to announce that I have recently purchased a near mint condition, racily-titled Sony TC-WE 825S.

Photo from eBay
This device was originally manufactured in 1988, rather late in the lifetime of the compact cassette. It features most of the designs you would expect of a high-end product: Twin tape decks, simultaneous recording, pitch control, fade in/out, highspeed dubbing, auto this and that and the other, There were a few features that came as a surprise: RMS, or Random Music Sensor not only allows you to fast forward to the next track on the tape but also allows you to enter up to 28 tracks into a programmable memory to be played in any order you like from either side of the tape, just like on CD. My original tape-player was a dirty model from the early 1970s and had no microelectronics although it did have a very funky stainless steel finish, which made it look great, despite it sounding awful.

The most exciting feature is the Dolby-S noise reduction which is a significant improvement on the Dobly-A noise reduction. This feature removes a significant proportion of the tape hiss that is inherent in recording on magnetic cassette tapes. Dobly-S was a leap forward in compact cassette technology that bypassed most people at the time as they had already moved to digital formats. Back in the 1980s, I did not have the luxury or Dolby noise reduction and I think I just put up with the hissing noise.

Of course, there is absolutely no need for me to own this product beyond the sheer joy of recording in analogue. I have currently spent the afternoon making recordings of my vinyl collection just like it was the 1980s again.

There are a number of outlets that still sell new blank cassettes and if you are thinking of following suit then I recommend the Tape Line Ltd. The Tape Line Ltd provided me with a pack of 5 Type-I compact cassettes (these are the cheap ones that most people used back in the early days). I also bought a single TDK Type IV metal alloy compact cassette which has much better recording quality than their Type-I counterparts although at ten times the cost! I recorded some digital files from my RISCOS computer onto metal tape with Dolby-S and the sound quality is unbelievable. In fact, it is very hard to believe that it is an analogue format at all as the quality of the recording is so, so good.

If you want to know more, and actually hear the difference in quality, then I can highly recommend this video from TechMoan in which he demonstrates the quality of Type-IV cassettes with Dolby-S.



If you have enjoyed this post then you might like to read about some other retro products, or maybe you just want to write something down. Either way, I'll be back soon with more geeky tech stuff, or maybe I'll just talk about the weather, I don't mind, it's my blog.

Prick!

Today was cactus repotting day. I have three succulent plants that needed some attention before the start of spring.

Prick, by Gynelle Leon, link and description below

Here I am repotting a cactus called Tephrocactus Articulatus - a hardy little plant which seems quite resistant to the cold. It has an interesting way of propagating which is to let several of its stem segments break away to begin a new life as an independent plant.

First I got a roomy ceramic pot and filled it with a layer of cat litter a couple of centimetres deep. This is an attempt to preserve moisture. I am not sure whether this will work, but that's the whole point of experimenting.
I used multipurpose potting compost. Although you can get compost specifically for succulents. I used a newspaper lasso to remove the plant from its original pot as those spines are very prickly.
Next, I added a layer of horticultural grit on the surface. This should help keep the moisture in the soil as well as look attractive.
The next succulent is one that I took as a very tiny cutting a couple of years ago and was surprised by how well it has thrived.

You might notice some small white spots on the leaves. I think this is a fungus but it came off easily with a damp cloth and hopefully has not damaged the plant.

Well, this is a technology blog, so here comes the tech stuff.

I have used one of my microbit moisture sensors to monitor the moisture level in this succulent. Getting the right balance of water is essential to succulent survival. It is a good idea to let the pots completely dry out before gently rewatering again. The microbit water sensor is ideal for this job.

My micro:bit water sensor showing animated "don't water me".

Succulents and cacti like dry and warm conditions and, believe me, plant fungi like to grow in damp conditions. If like me you find that you have a problem with this then you may find a portable dehumidifier is a not-too-expensive solution. The link below shows the dehumidifier that I use.


I can thoroughly recommend this book - Prick, by Gynelle Leon. It covers everything you need to know about the care of your cacti friends. Within these pages Gynelle covers the history, origins and background of succulent cultivation; a gallery of popular plants including care instructions as well as in-depth guidance on watering, repotting and style guides.

Bug fixing with Mac, the chatbot

I've just fixed a bug in the data files for my chatbot, Mac. The bug was preventing Mac from replying to your input. It turns out there was a misplaced comma. All fixed now and Mac is chatting away like a four-year-old child again.

The usual standard of conversation you can expect from a computer program written in JavaScript.


Goji Cafe York

Today I went to York for breakfast. This post has nothing to do with technology and geeky things, but it's my blog and I don't care.

York is a fantastic city in Yorkshire, full of ancient ruins and endless cool places to explore. Founded by the Romans, invaded by Vikings and more recently by countless tourists. There is too much to see and do in York to write about here, so I will just mention what I had to eat.

One of my favourite places in York is Goji Cafe on Goodramgate. I had this delicious vegan sausage ciabatta. All the food at Goji's is vegetarian or vegan and it is all delicious. The staff are friendly, the service is great and it is well worth a visit if you are ever in York.

Nom nom nom
If you haven't already set off for York, and you are still able to wiggle your mouse after this post, then you might be interested in these photos of computers from the 1970s, or perhaps you just need some light reading.

@gojicafe #york #vegan

Setting your Chromebook desktop to the Bing image of the day


Until recently I had set my Chromebook to regularly update with an interesting daily desktop image. The option to do this is in the settings under Appearance > Wallpaper > 'surprise me'.

Setting your Chromebook desktop to the Bing image of the Day
These kangaroos are brought to you by Bing.
It occurred to me that the Bing image of the day was often far more beautiful than what is offered under Chrome OS and there must be a way to change the desktop automatically to the Bing image of the day.

A quick search in Bing led me to the Chrome Web Store, and there it is, the Wallpaper from Bing for Chromebook app. It only works on Chromebooks, but there are other workarounds for different platforms which I may go into in detail in another post sometime.

'Wait!' I hear you cry, with horror: 'you Binged it?!? Why didn't you Google it??'

Well, I quietly changed from Google to Bing a few years ago. There are a number of good reasons for this.

Back in the day, well the nineties, when music was good, and we did actually believe that things could only get better (that's a Dr. Brian Cox joke) I used Netscape Navigator and searching the web was a rather hit and miss affair. A typical web search would throw up thousands of results and you would spend half an hour scrolling through irrelevant results. I think I was in the middle of a troublesome and tiring search through Ask Jeeves or Yahoo or something similar when a friend asked me why I wasn't using Google.

'What's Google?' I asked. This was around the end of 1998 and the first iteration of Google's search engine had just appeared. I wasn't disappointed, as you can imagine, and in the intervening years, the word 'Google' has become synonymous with searching itself. Not only is your preferred target on the first page of results, but it also predicts your search term and completes it for you.

A couple of years ago Microsoft launched their 'Bing Challenge'. Switch to Bing and see if you notice the difference. Being the naive sort of fellow that I am, I gave it a chance and noticed only that Bing seemed to give slightly better results and came with a beautiful image of the day.

But there are a few reasons for sticking with Bing, such as better image search, but here is the main reason...

...You get paid to use Bing.

With Microsoft rewards, you can earn points each time you search. Points add up and can be spent on sweepstake entries or saved up for gift cards for some of your favourite department stores. The more you search, the more points you earn (up to some daily limit). You can even donate your points to charity.

Microsoft rewards for using Bing search
Some of the offers available for using Bing.

Well, that's all from me for today. If this post hasn't made you rage-quit the Internet, then you might like to stick around and read about some other Chromebook posts, or maybe you like calendars instead?

Updated day clock

Today I have been updating my day clock to include even more historic events, pagan festivals and international days of this and that.


It would be great if you went and had a look, and even better if you set it as your homepage.

A vision of 1970s Computing

I recently found a pile of books in the back of a cupboard at work. They are a series of books introducing children to the wonderful world of computers written in the early 1970s and published by Chambers. The books have inspiring names, such as "The Useful Computer" (IBSN 0 550 77111 5) and "The Computer Becomes Literate" (ISBN 0 550 77109 3). Throughout the books there are delightful photographs of computer devices being used in business (very few home computers in the early 70s).

Considering the age of the books, let's assume that they are fair use. Which is good because I want to post them here and write faintly amusing things about them.

In this image we can see a person from the 1970s using one of the most up-to-the-date computer systems to update her eHarmony profile. This would then printed out and placed on noticeboards around the building.
In the 1970s it was thought that Babbage's Analytical Engines would become smaller, faster and more portable. It was thought that the main use for these flawfless mathematical calculation machines would be for sending Tweets. This never came to be.

In this image we see an office worker phoning her boss to admit that she has deleted the spreadsheet, again. Yes, all 500 bytes of it.

A typical man cave from the 1970s. This gaming setup includes a tape deck which later evolved into the 'restore point'.

Early Facebook users from the 1970s would print out their friends profile pages and then spend their evening reading through them. If they 'liked' a post they would draw a little thumbs-up or heart next to it in red ink and send it back to them in the mail.

Whenever someone made a copy-paste error in their spreadhseets in the 70s, they would telephone the debug man who would spend his evening rewiring the spreadsheet. Typically, the problem was fixed in time for another working day.

Back in the 1970s storage devices were kept under lock and key. A specially trained technician would feed and train a small zoo of mice whose job it was to keep the spindle rotating high enough to achieve data transfer rates of up to 8 bits per second. It is from this practice that we get the computer terms 'mouse' and 'hard cheese'.

An early storage device from the 1970s. This one was mainly used to store cat photos, as they still are today.

A rare photograph showing early Tumblr memes being uploaded.
There was always much excitement in the office whenever a new Linux distro came out.
Back in the 1970s it was thought that the office of the future would involve desk after desk of office workers staring at their computer screens all day. Thankfully, this never happened.
If you liked this post, then do please share it with your friend if you have one, alternatively you could look at this other post which has nothing to do with the one you just read, or look at a home computer from the 1980s.

Lines

I love simple and beautiful puzzle games, and this one is my favourite at the moment.

Lines by Leo de Sol Apps
In Lines for Android, you must race to 'flood-fill' more of the screen than the computer. The gameplay involves selecting a point on the line for your coloured paint to start filling. The colours then race each other as they run down the lines with apparent minimal viscosity. If you have filled more of the screen than the computer, then you win, and you get 'medals' with which you will be the envy of your friends.


When coloured paint collides there is a piano stab sound effect which adds to the game's ambience. Not only is this puzzle a great way to challenge your brain, but it is beautiful as well. It is what would happen if the gods of geometry had a race. Ok, I don't think that mathematics has gods, but if they did...


There are multiple modes of play which get unlocked as you defeat different levels. The main mode of play involves choosing one or more points on the line to start from. In 'Eraser' mode, you get to remove one or more of your opponents starting points, you meanie! In 'Rope' mode you have to add one or more of your own lines to create short-cuts in your race against the opponent. In 'knife' mode you must cut the rope next to your opponent to strategically and dastardly stop him from filling your own region of the map. I haven't unlocked any more than that, however, there is also a 'paint' mode, and a 'mixed' mode which presumably requires you to do combinations of the other skills, such as cutting ropes as well as adding new lines.

There is a daily challenge to keep you entertained for longer, as well as a series of challenges for the dedicated Line player to test themselves against.


This simple but fun and beautiful game does have a few drawbacks. Some of the levels are rather easy to complete, but then again, I have only just started playing so maybe the challenge ramps up later. Secondly, the advertisements do come fairly thick and fast, which I know many people find annoying.

Overall, a great game to help keep your brain ticking over: +1 Geek Experience Point for Leo de Sol Apps.

If you haven't already left this page in a huff, then you might be interested in some other posts tagged with the word 'puzzle', or something completely different.

Windows 10 shortcut keys

While not an exhaustive list, here are some Windows 10 shortcut key combos that I did not know about until today, so I have decided to share them here, in the hope that you didn't know them either.

If you want to be a Windows 10 keyboard ninja, read on...

Windows key + SHIFT + S
This opens the screen clipping tool. This confusing one used to be Windows key + S in Windows 7 (without the SHIFT), but this combo now opens Cortana (in Windows 10). Phew!

The snipping tool allows you to screenshot sections of your screen which then gets copied to the clipboard. I am glad I found this as it is going to save me from overuse of the PrtSc button. If you don't know what PrtSc does, find it on your keyboard and press it now.

A screen clipping of my desktop. This image is generated by the Tiny Planet Maker app for Android.

Windows Key +  D
This is a useful combo for when you are working on your secret plans for world domination and someone walks into the room behind you. Unless that person is a trusted minion or lieutenant, then you might want to keep your plans secret. This combo will automatically minimise all your windows and deposit you at your desktop. Now, whoever it is will just wonder why you have been staring so intently at your desktop (unless your desktop image is something unimaginably gross or stupid, in which case they will just get the wrong idea about you and you should probably change it immediately).

Windows Key + CTRL + D
This combo is the same as above, except it will create a new virtual desktop. Press Windows Key + TAB to enter the task viewer to manage all your desktops.

Windows Key + CTRL + cursors
Pressing this combo with left and right arrows will cycle through your virtual desktops without needed to go to the task viewer. I promise that this will make you feel like a keyboard ninja.

Windows Key + Alt + D
This one opens the Windows Calendar. It is the same as aiming your mouse pointer at the digital time display in your taskbar and clicking. This is very useful for when you need to remember how long you have until your BFF's birthday, or when you plan to use the doomsday device that you have been building in your shed, for example.

Oh, and Happy new year by the way

Windows Key + T
This toggles through the apps you have pinned to your taskbar. Hold down SHIFT to toggle in the reverse direction. Press enter to load your selection.

Windows Key + cursor keys
This one deserves some experimenting. First press Windows key with the right arrow. Then press Windows key with the up arrow twice in rapid succession. What happens? I'm not telling you, but you will enjoy it, you keyboard nerd.

F2 in file explorer
This one will save some pointing and right-clicking. Simply press F2 to rename any selected file in the file explorer without having to take your hands off the keyboard. Need to quickly rename 'my secret diary.docx' to 'osughsdmbfw'? Windows has your back.

CTRL + 0 in your browser
You probably already use CTRL with the plus and minus keys to zoom in and out of a webpage. Pressing CTRL + 0 will restore the page to the default magnification again. I have tested this in Chrome, Edge and Firefox so far.

So, that's all the combos I learned today. You can find the full exhaustive list over at Microsoft support pages.

If you enjoyed this article, then you probably need to seek some sort of professional help for that, but until you get that booked in, you might like to look at some other Windows related posts, or maybe something completely different.

Conways Game of Life in 3D running on BeebEm BBC micro emulator (shown here for no reason whatsoever)


Public noticeboard

I'm probably going to regret this.

It is an experiment.

I have used lino it to create a public noticeboard. Anyone may post onto the noticeboard. The only rule is that the content must remain suitable for children.



Acorn Pocket Book II

The Acorn Pocket Book II is a personal digital assistant manufactured in 1991. Actually, it is a Psion 3 that has been rebranded by Acorn.

Imagine, if you will, a device that you could carry around with you, and that had apps on it. In 1991!

The Acorn Pocket Book II was truly ahead of its time. I picked up my version on eBay for about £20 and I am interested to see how it compares to a modern device and whether it can still be used as a personal assistant today.

Acorn Pocket Book showing the desktop and the huge amounts of memory available. This model was the 256K version. About 90K of this is used as graphics memory.

Well, the first thing to note is that the size of pockets hasn't changed much since the early nineties. Although it is slightly larger than a modern smartphone (and a few times chunkier) it still fits in most of my pockets, so all is good and the device lives up to its name.

The desktop is initially difficult to navigate, although even with the touch-sensitive buttons that launch many of the apps, most of the navigation is achieved with the cursor keys. The desktop displays icons in a horizontal row, with files associated with each application stacked vertically below.

The 'file' button brings up a menu bar containing all of the various file operations you would expect an operating system to provide.

Interestingly the Acorn Pocket Book II was designed for the education market and so it came with security features such as passwords disabled (although it is possible to switch these back on). Presumably, Acorn were worried that naughty school children would change the passwords and lock their teachers out of the devices.

OK, let's have a look at all of the pre-installed apps and see if they are still relevant. I'll put a score out of 5 based on how useful the application is, where 5 is 'as good as any modern smartphone app' and 1 is 'of very limited use'.

Cards (1/5)

Cards is a card filing system. I had originally hoped that this would be similar to the Card File program in Windows 3.1, however, instead, it is a very simple database with fields for 'name', 'phone', 'address' and 'notes'. I find this feature completely redundant as I would prefer to use the contacts/address book features in Android and Windows 10 to store this information.

Write (4/5)

Write is word processor program. It works really well, although, as you might expect, it is rather simple and using the tiny keyboard is difficult at times, especially when using the shift key at the same time as another key. Even so, if you wanted to use your Pocket Book as a notebook, then this application would still be of use today.

Schedule (1/5)

Schedule is a diary application. I have no use for this as I use Outlook.

Time (4/5)

Time is a clock/alarm clock application. It is simple but comes with multiple alarms as well as the ability to program them with repeats on workdays etc. In fact, this application is almost as good as any modern alarm clock application.

World (3/5)

World is a world time clock, with many cities as presets. It will tell you the current time in any of these cities as well as the distance, sunrise and sunset time. This app is still relevant today, although I am not entirely convinced that it gets the daylight saving times correct for Wellington, New Zealand.


Calc (5/5)

Calc is calculator application with powers, trig and preset memories. It is as useful as any standard calculator application. It is simple, but I have no complaints here.

Abacus (4/5)

Abacus is a spreadsheet program. Although not as powerful as a modern spreadsheet, it is still useful for basic tasks. In fact, I have found various uses for this application, not least to calculate my mortgage payments.

Acorn Pocket Book showing Abacus spreadsheet.
Spell (4/5)

Spell is a dictionary, anagram and thesaurus application. It is quite good, although I am not convinced that the on-board dictionary is all that big.

Record (3/5)

Record is an application for recording sound from the onboard microphone. It works. You don't get much more than 10 seconds of recording time before you run out of memory.

Plotter (3/5)

Plotter is an app for graphing mathematical functions. It is no Desmos but it does a job.

OPL (N/A)

OPL is a programming language for the Psion series personal assistants. I am struggling to find much documentation on how to get started and so I haven't even managed to write 'hello world' yet, but in theory, OPL allows you to write your own native applications for the Pocket Book, as well as integrate scripts with some of the other standard applications.  I've rated this N/A as I know that it is a really useful feature, but since I can't get it to work I won't be commenting.

Is that is?

No way! The Acorn Pocket Book had a thriving shareware community back in its day, and if you search hard enough you can find many more applications and games for this device. I have only discussed the applications that came with the standard release.

It is also worth noting that this device is very power efficient. I don't know how long, but I know that the batteries will last for a very, very long time.

The verdict... (3/5 )

Overall, I think that the Acorn Pocket book was a brilliant device for its time, and even today has some use.  Overall it gets 3 out of 5, about the same as Revenge of the Sith.

Obviously, the lack of internet makes it much less useful than your modern smartphone for almost all of the above tasks, but it still is a curious device and I do love finding uses for it from time to time.

If you found this post interesting, then you might like to read about how I tried to use an Acorn BBC microcomputer as my main computer.

Good bye

Next steps with Ubuntu

Last time I wrote about setting up Ubuntu on a virtual machine. Today I shall ramble on about stuff I have done with it so far. This will be more of a general ramble rather than a set of instructions, but it may be useful to anyone thinking of trying out a new operating system just for the giggles.

Ubuntu settings
The first job was to dive into the settings to try and personalise the experience a bit. Apart from changing the desktop background I went into 'Online Accounts' and connected a few services together. I do intend on using Ubuntu as a productivity machine, so it was important to link up my Google drive account. I added in my Microsoft, Flickr and Pocket accounts while I was at it. More about them later.

The Ubuntu desktop may look unfamiliar to a Windows user. The first place you will want to start is the 'Show Applications' button, which looks like this:


You will find the settings program on the menu that appears.

Some of the programs that come bundled with the current Ubuntu release.
Ubuntu comes bundled with various applications and utilities that will be of use to the general user. My next step was to link my Firefox and Spotify accounts. I wouldn't get far without some tunes and web tools.

Installing new applications

The bundle of applications that comes with Ubuntu is fairly rich, however, it is extremely likely that you will want to browse the store for more programs.  The software store icon looks like this:


The first application I installed was for Dropbox. Once installed and your account has been confirmed a DropBox folder will appear in your home folder your files will sync between your devices.

Tadaa!
The time taken to sync will, of course, depend on the speed of your broadband, and the size of your Dropbox. If you intend to sync files in this way, then it is essential that you have chosen a virtual hard drive of the appropriate size when setting up the machine.

I am going to need a notebook, so the next application I chose to install was Zim. Zim is a 'wiki for your desktop' and is available for both Ubuntu and Windows. I am pretty sure that I already wrote about Zim once so I won't go into too much detail here, suffice to say that it is a pretty neat tool for notetaking.

I chose to save my first notebook into the new Dropbox folder so my notes are available on all my Windows devices as well as the virtual machine.

My current desktop showing Zim, a notebook where I keep all my world domination plans, and recipes for chilli sauce.
There were a few other applications that I installed next including 'Photos' which is a fairly good application that links with your Flickr account so you can see all of your selfies and duck faces.

It is also worth noting that Ubuntu comes with Libre Office pre-installed and the Thunderbird mail client, so if you are missing Windows and Office, then there are still document and email options available to you right out of the box.

Adding the file store

I have a network file store. Connecting to this was really easy under Ubuntu. First I opened the 'Files' file explorer and selected 'Other locations'. Then in the 'Connect to Server' edit box, I entered the path to the file store. This starts with the 'smb://' samba protocol, followed by the internal IP of the router, and then the folder that I was interested in - 'usb1'.

Setting up a samba connection.

Installing Apache

The last thing I did before writing this post was to install Apache web server. As this requires the use of the terminal commands in Linux, it is probably beyond the scope of this post so I will save it for another time.

If you enjoyed this post then you might want to take a long hard look at your life. If you are still awake, then you might also like to read about my experience with the RISCOS operating system, or maybe you just want to play a game.

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