The Other Computer War

At the same time the competition between Microsoft and Apple was beginning, in England there was the computer rivalry between Sinclair and Acorn. I think somewhere in the basement I still have my tiny Sinclair Z80 computer, which was distributed in America by Timex. This 2009 movie, featuring Martin Freeman, is a lot of fun and well worth watching.

Retirement Man on the Go

When I’m in Phoenix to visit my father at the assisted living facility, I stay at his house, rather than at a hotel, so I can leave a lot of things there, including items forbidden in the plane cabin — a can of shaving cream, shampoo bottle, etc. This makes it possible to avoid checking a bag at $25 each way, and instead I spend $35 to upgrade my seats and board flights in a lower-numbered group that assures me space in an overhead bin for a carry-on bag.

The catch is that my old bag is a bit too big to reliably get past scrutiny at the gate. So I went in search of new luggage at a sprawling “outlet village.” Nothing at the Samsonite store was right at all, and even if it had been, almost everything was over $200, even after a 30% discount. Upon leaving, I saw a Brookstone store across the way with a “closing — everything must go” sale in the window. I went inside and immediately my eyes fell on exactly what I was looking for.

It’s shorter than a standard 22-inch carry-on bag, but at 70% off I couldn’t resist getting it for only $36, and it’s working out very well, assuming it holds up. Something else I’m doing to pack as lightly as possible, and with TSA security in mind, is leaving my laptop at home. I found an inexpensive Android tablet with a unique design that does the trick. The 8-inch Lenovo YOGA 3 Tab with 2GB of memory.

I love this thing! Construction quality is superb, and the sturdy built-in stand makes it useable as a laptop alternative. It has only 16GB of storage, but a cheap 32GB microSD card, combined with outstanding battery life, takes care of downloading many hours of Netflix videos to watch during a flight. I used only 8GB to hold more than enough for at least two round trips. Netflix, and the technology to deliver and display content, have come a long way in the ten years since its streaming service was introduced.

There is a (Christmas) Season (Turn, Turn, Turn)


Another post about a turntable? This one is exclusively at Best Buy. It’s a Pro-Ject Carbon Esprit SB, which is considered to be an excellent table. The list price is normally $600, but this one costs an extra fifty bucks because it’s a Beatles Edition.

A competitor of Pro-Ject, called Rega, had a Queen special limited edition turntable that originally went for the same price, but it was eventually offered at a discount. I’m not in the market for a new turntable myself, having just replaced the broken RCA plugs on my 30-year-old Thorens turntable, but I’ll be interested in seeing how well the Beatles table sells.