Yearly Archives: 2007

The Commodore Legacy – Part III


Considering the Herald Express is a local newspaper I’m often surprised by some of the letters I receive from across the UK.After my Commodore legacy article last week I received this letter from a PR company based in London.

I read your article in the Herald Express this morning, and I thought you’d like to know that the Commodore brand was recently resurrected in the PC industry.While the original owners of the brand led it to bankruptcy, the new owners of the brand aim to restore the Commodore brand to it’s former glory.You can see what they are up to at

If you’d like any further information or images, please visit our press site at

Jools Moore, Naked Ape PR

I will be honest in saying that I did know about the new Commodore Gaming PC but choose not to mention it last week; I was unsure what Read the rest

The Commodore Legacy – Part II


Last week I started talking about the history of the now bankrupt computer manufacturer Commodore; a company that undeniably had a profound effect on the IT industry.

We left off last week after talking about the Commodore 64.This was a machine priced so aggressively that, along with bringing down the cost of computing to the home user, also marked the departure from the market place of several high profile computer companies.

Despite Commodore gaining a large market share during this period the board of directors didn’t agree with the slashing of prices and profit margins.This sparked a power struggle which ended with the departure of Commodores founder, Jack Tramiel who later started his own company along with a number of key Commodore loyalists. A year later Tramiel purchased the Consumer Division of Atari who one of Commodores most high profile rivals at the time.This situation was made worse as Tramiel Read the rest

The Commodore Legacy – Part I


Although at times I may try to hide it, at times there is unfortunately no escaping the fact that I am what many would consider a ‘geek’.The last two weeks have seen me lying on the sofa for an hour at a time reading a fantastic 520 page book entitled ‘On The Edge – The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore’.

The majority of you will probably not know that twelve years ago, at the tender age of thirteen, I started producing a fanzine entitled ‘Zine 64 which focused on the Commodore 64 computer; a machine released in 1982, just one year after my birth.Although many would consider such a machine long in the tooth when I started writing the fanzine, it had a fantastically hardcore user base who all pulled together to try and prolong its’ already long existence.As I write today, there are still peoplesupporting this twenty five Read the rest

Wireless Security


We’ll start this week with a letter from one of my regular readers and contributors who starts off mentioning my rant last week about how the banks and police deal with credit card fraud.This was an extremely popular feature, with random people literally walking in my shop, shouting ‘good on ya!’ and then walking out again.For those that missed my rant following the poor handling of the situation by my bank when my card details were compromised check out

I’ll hand over now to Ian MacMillan who makes some interesting points about wireless security.

It was interesting to read your rant about credit card security in this Friday’s Click.Recently there has also been quite a fuss about wireless network security. Nowadays routers are becoming very affordable and most new laptop computers are already equipped with wireless networking cards - This brings with it some risks.Recently the police Read the rest

Online Fraud


Online security and the way that card fraud is dealt with is an important issue for me, since my primary income comes by taking card transactions online and over the phone.I’d naively like to think that the banks and police work together to track down card fraud and stamp it out so that customers feel safe participating in ‘customer not present’ transactions.

Occasionally I get a chargeback letter from the merchant services department of my bankers telling me that someone has used fraudulent card details on my site and as such the money is recovered from my business bank account and returned to the genuine card holder.I’m assuming that this is the same with all Internet companies, and whilst I’m absolutely fine with the principle I’ve just discovered quite how little is done behind the scenes in order to discourage card fraud in the future.

The catalyst for my rant Read the rest

Windows Gallery


After talking about Vista so much just recently I got thinking about new gadgets that I could download and integrate into the Windows sidebar when I came across the Windows Live Gallery website ( particular website which has been set up by Microsoft contains literally hundreds of small pieces of software that can be used alongside a Vista installation, along with software compatible with previous versions of Windows through the Windows Live service.

The Windows Sidebar is one of the new developments built into Windows Vista - it sits on the right hand side of your screen and contains ‘gadgets’ which can be best described as mini applications.Out of the box Vista contains eleven gadgets, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, CPU Meter, Currency conversion, RSS Feed Headlines, Notes, Picture Puzzle, Slide Show, Stocks, and Weather.Fortunately the community is free to develop further gadgets and this is the main interest of Read the rest

OpenOffice 2.2


Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been driven slowly mad by Microsoft Office 2007 and its new “easier to use” interface which I just can’t get my head around.The problem is that I’ve always been used to using keyboard short cuts and knowing exactly where to look for a particular function within a given menu or sub menu.I can go for hours on end without even thinking about touching the mouse and now Microsoft have completely changed everything around and whilst it looks very pretty it is seriously slowing me down!

Don’t get my wrong, all in all Office 2007 is a lovely new piece ofsoftware, but it’s because of these teething problems that my mind started wondering back to several years ago when I first used a piece of open source software going by the name of OpenOffice and decided to give it another go.

Now up to Read the rest

Windows Vista Part II


Last week I talked to you about Microsoft’s new Operating System ‘Windows Vista’ and discussed the functionality updates that have been introduced and how they could possibly benefit you.Those that missed my original article can check out to download a copy.

As half the measure of a good Operating System is determined by its applications I think we now need to focus on this particular aspect of Vista.I promised last week that we would look in to the bundled applications and as I see it the below points highlight the most significant developments in this particular area of Vista:

Windows Sidebar – This is a transparent panel anchored to the side of the screen which allows the user to place small applets (known as Desktop Gadgets) which are designed for a specific purpose such as displaying your instant messaging contacts or the day view from your calendar.You aren’t confined Read the rest

Windows Vista Part I


A couple of people recently have mentioned to me recently that I’m yet to review Windows Vista in follow up to the feature that I did regarding the beta (test) edition last year.This isn’t an oversight on my part but something I did intentionally as a true review of an Operating System requires the writer to use it day in day out for an extended period before giving his opinion.I’ve now been using Windows Vista since its launch date at the beginning of the year so I’ve now had a couple of months to get used to the replacement for Windows XP and am ready to give my opinion.

My first observation would be that I am completely unable to ascertain why such a development took so long - Microsoft started production on their new OS way back in 2001 and it seems bizarre to me that it took their Read the rest



A consistent problem that we’re having at Refresh is customers purchasing DVD discs and then returning them as being ‘faulty’ because they refuse to work correctly on their machines.Once they come back in to store we then run a couple of tests and they check out as being absolutely fine meaning that quite often a customer has just returned to us dozens of completely fine discs.

The reason for the media being incorrectly identified as being faulty is that each brand of DVD disc uses a different dye on the bottom of the disc as well as differing plastic compositions and silver reflector density.As such the DVD writer has to adjust its laser for each different type of disc and if your DVD burner doesn’t recognise a particular disc then this process becomes quite difficult for the writer to achieve.

This week I’m going to show you how to do Read the rest