Showing posts from January, 2021

The last luxury gasp of the Psion 5mx Pro, with Point5 and Mulberry

Although I owned a great number of Psion palmtops back in the day, they broke one by one and I was very happy with @sandvixito donated his for me to own and play with. In fact, it was the top of the line Psion 5mx Pro, with reflashable ROM and updates (well, back in the day, anyway), complete with metal Point5 stylus and a luxury Mulberry case. All very stylish. However, ageing plastic and moving hinges caught up with this unit too and I heard an ominous crack from deep inside - the palmtop had one proper 'open' in it before never closing properly again, I calculated, so if I was ever going to document this classic palmtop in photo form then now was the time. The deluxe Mulberry leather. Lovely! Inside, the Psion nestles in a custom container, plus storage for batteries and a paper notebook (remember them?!) The Psion can fold open while cased, which is a really neat design trick. A laptop within a filofax form factor, almost. This was cutting edge back in 1997!!  Spare battery

Review: Drake Car Handle

It's a pretty vanilla product name and with no overt company branding, but as Ted and Aidan say on ' Whatever Works ', whatever works, works. Very meta. Anyway... What's going on here is a way to get an extra grab handle for getting into or out of a car door. You might know that I injured my back recently (and am still in pain as I write this) - so I was dreading getting back into my car when needed. I saw this on Twitter as an advert, noted the price of £20 and then searched Amazon UK, finding the same item for £15 . Which is about right for a very tough accessory. You may have noticed that most car door 'jams' have a loop of tough steel, this is what the car door itself latches into - and it's tough because it's part of what makes your car safe in the event of a crash.  But someone had the bright idea of making a (also steel) accessory that inserts into this loop and then presents a textured plastic handle at right angles, perfect for using as a brace

On how I became a VAX cluster system manager by stealth!

Once upon a time I was a tech support chappie in an aerospace company, helping support 3000 people using a Vax cluster (ah, happy mini-computer days!) But a chance 'spot' in the server room promoted me to a viable system manager... Back in the day, users were users, support people (like me) were 'operators' and could do stuff like resetting passwords, restarting printer queues. Then there were 'system managers', very rarified and usually only one of them. With full system privileges, anything could be set up, anything could be deleted, absolute power, mwhahaha, etc!! In the server room (air-conditioned, where the Vax mini-computers lived) there was a 'console', hardwired into the master Vax and with attached printer. The idea was that if all the networking went tits-up, one could enter commands there to reboot everything. And the echoing to printer was part of traceability, should the system manager (or operators) need to proof what they did. One day I w