Psion Series 7 featured in PC Plus (Nov 2005)

Psion Series 7 PDA
The Psion Series 7 as featured in PC Plus magazine, November 2005.

The Good News: The Psion Series 7 appeared in this month’s PC Plus magazine.

The Bad News: It was in an article entitled “Tech Misses”. It came in at number 48 out of 50. Here’s what they had to say:


Psion Series 7


It’s the PDA that you can’t fit in your pocket.

With a reasonably-sized keyboard and colour screen, the Series 7 PDA promised to take computing to places that a full notebook couldn’t reach. It was Psion’s swansong before it transformed into Symbian to concentrate on operating systems for mobile phones.

After pioneering the UK personal organiser market, the company had started to feel the pressure, first from Palm and then Microsoft’s Windows CE. The corporate netBook version found some interest with vertical applications, but for most consumers the lack of Windows compatibility ruled the Series 7 out as an option. So just as Psion had done in its previous life as a Sinclair Spectrum games developer, the company did the honourable thing when the going got tough and left the market.


Well, all that said and done, it’s still a technical hit here at Potting Shed HQ, as far as I’m concerned.

The answers appeared obvious to me

Some things I bought today
On the left the Prima Official Star Wars Battlefront II Game Guide, on the right Simple Solution Cat Stain and Odor Remover.

After I took five boxes of rubbish to the recycling centre at our local Tesco, I popped next door to Pets at Home and PC World for a couple of essentials. In both places I was asked questions the answers to which appeared obvious to me.

Pets at Home

I handed over a bottle of Simple Solution Cat Stain and Odor Remover to the woman at the cash desk.

Me: This is great stuff!

Woman: “Really? What do you use it for, … cats?”

Me: [Pausing to stop myself saying something sarcastic.] “Yes. Cats.”

She’s now got me wondering, what other things can I use it for? Does she have recipes?

PC World

The only reason that I got any good at Star Wars Battlefront was because of the Prima Official Game Guide. So I reckoned that the appropriate guide for Star Wars Battlefront II might be similarly useful. So I popped next door (from Pets at Home) to PC World.

At the front of the queue I handed over the book to the woman at the till. She took it and scanned it.

Woman: Is this for home use?

Me: [Pausing to stop myself saying something sarcastic.] Yes. Home use.

How do much I wish that I could have said, “No. No, this is for the first Scottish Episcopal Church All-Clergy Star Wars Battlefront II Online Gaming Expo next month”! It could have been a taxable expense if there was such an event.

Firefox 1.5 Final now released

About Firefox 1.5 screenshot

Great news! Firefox 1.5 has been released today. Head over to to download it (5.0 MB).

Seemingly (according to my lovely, getting-geekier-every-day friend James Frost) Firefox 1.5 is exactly the same as Firefox 1.5 RC3, which means that they obviously didn’t find any other major bugs since Release Candidate (read: nearly finished version) 3– good skills! This is a major upgrade from the previous version (1.0.7.) and as well as including a number of security updates and bug fixes, it adds moveable tabs, improved pop-up blocking, and automatic updates of extensions and also for the browser itself.

A word of warning, however. If you use a lot of extensions (installable add-ons that extend the capabilities of your browser) check whether these have been updated for Firefox 1.5 before you upgrade. In Firefox 1.0.7 I had fifteen extensions installed. So far I now have twelve, including the two that installed by default.

My Firefox extensions Top Ten for Firefox 1.5:

  1. Download Manager Tweak 0.7.1 – A modification of the Firefox download manager that changes its appearance and allows it to be opened in a separate window, a new tab, or the sidebar.
  2. ForecastFox – Get international weather forecasts and display it in any toolbar or statusbar.
  3. Google Toolbar for Firefox – Adds a toolbar giving access to useful Google functions including the essential AutoFill options for quickly filling in online forms.
  4. IE View 1.2.7 – Launch pages in Internet Explorer from Firefox.
  5. Image Toolbar 0.6.1 – Provides easy access to common image functions.
  6. Image Zoom 0.2.1 – Adds zoom functionality for images.
  7. Spoofstick 1.05 – A simple way to detect spoofed websites. (Note: I had to manually edit the maxVersion setting in install.rdf to get this to work in 1.5.)
  8. Tabbrowser Preferences – Enhances control over some aspects of tabbed browsing.
  9. Tab X 0.9.2 – Adds a close tab button [x] to each of the browser tabs.
  10. Web Developer 0.9.4 – Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.

Updated extensions that I’ve not found so far include PrintPreview, AutoFill (which is more comprehensive than the Google Toolbar offerings) and PDF Download. However, it looks like a million people and their brothers are trying to update all their extensions too as Mozdev is running very slowly indeed.

St Andrew’s Day

The Scottish Saltire (St Andrew\'s Cross flag)
The Scottish flag: a blue field with a white saltire. (Artwork by Gareth J M Saunders.)

Today is the feast of St Andrew, apostle and Patron Saint of Scotland (and Russia and Romania). The special ‘collect’ prayer for today:

Almighty God,
who gave such grace to your apostle Saint Andrew
that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ
and brought his brother with him:
call us by your holy word,
and give us grace to follow you without delay
and to tell the good news of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

When I was a student at the Unversity of St Andrews I used to love November. November opens with All Saints’ Day (1 November) and closes with St Andrew’s Day (30 November) and as chance would have it there are two Scottish Episcopal Churches in St Andrews: All Saints and St Andrew’s. The fact that my birthday also fell in the middle of November had nothing to do with it!

Not everything in black and white makes sense!

Pile of patchwork quilts (in black and white)
Pile of patchwork quilts, in black and white. (Photograph from iStockPhoto.)

A couple of days ago someone got all politically correct on me while I was talking about ‘coloureds’.

Walking in on the end of my conversation he pulled me up for my vocabulary, “They’re not called ‘coloureds’ these days, they prefer to be known as ‘blacks’,” he said.

“Do they?”, I replied.


“Do they indeed.”

So, apparently when I’m washing my clothes from now on (which is what I’d been talking about) I now have only two hues of clothing: whites and ‘blacks’! It was so much easier when I could refer to the latter pile of clothes as ‘coloureds’.

Canons to the left of me, Canons to the right …!

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional
I don’t think I ever want to see this screenshot ever again!

I’ve now lost track of how many hours I’ve been bookmarking this flippin’ PDF of the Code of Canons (see yesterday’s blog for details), but it must be at least 24 hours.

I’m now losing the will to live!

UPDATE @ 22:55
I finished the Canons about 3 hours ago. Hoorah! I’ve sent the file to a couple of friends for testing, to make sure it looks and works ok. I just have the Digest to do now. So I’m only about 2/3 of the way there.

Bikes for asthmatics?

Sign at the Western General Hospital
Sign spotted at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

This afternoon Jane and I had an appointment at the Human Genetics Department at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh. Now that we’re on the IVF waiting list, and given that I have a kidney condition called Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), which has a 50% chance of being passed on to my children, we were keen to discuss the condition with a geneticist who would be able to explain the condition and any ways that they could help prevent the condition being passed on.

It was lovely meeting, with a lovely doctor, but the upshot is that there really is nothing they can do. There are procedures that can be done to screen IVF embryos for the presence of the genes that cause ADPCD, but the procedure is not available on the NHS, and isn’t usually used for this trifling condition! It was a very useful meeting to learn the facts and have a better understanding of the risks that we run of passing it on by having children.

On our walk back to the car we passed a bike shed (photo above) that had a sign that read:

Reserved for
emergency asthma
patients only

Hmm… emergency bikes for asthma patients?! How much did I laugh? It was only as I was taking the photograph that I noticed the writing on the ground in front of the bike shed:

Sign at the Western General Hospital in full

Emergency Asthma Vehicle

Now, THAT makes a lot more sense than providing asthmatics with bikes to get to the Emergency Department in a hurry.