Category Archives: Technology / Innovation

Circuit Mechanix – March 2017

Welcome to the first issue of Circuit Mechanix this year! A little later than expected this issue focuses on flexi and flex rigid PCB design and manufacture. This issue also looks at the National Physics Laboratory soldering defects database and we get a new feature – The PCB Mechanic. Every issue will now […]

via Circuit Mechanix – March 2017 — circuitmechanix

What annoys me about Technology

Unless you have the awareness of a hibernating hedgehog as a ready of this blog you will know that I’m an engineer. Engineer’s work with technology and therefore I should love Technology. 

Err… No.

Actually let me clarify that, I like technology up to a point and even then it annoys me. For the most part technology annoys me because marketers and accontants have decided to get involved in the design and messed it up in the way it works or…. The dreaded bug is ever present and I have to work around it.

But even when things work perfectly technology still annoys me and here’s why:

Technology is meant to aid us in our lives by taking away the tasks we find hard or boring to to or even to do things we simply cannot do. Washhing machines, cars and jumbo jets fall into this category. What makes technology work for us is that it is NOT in control, it is meant to do the things we want it to do!

Where this goes wrong is when technology is trying to decide what we want. I’ll give you an example – automatic windscreen wipers. Nothing is more annoying! In light rain or heavy fog it just doesn’t get it, it either doesn’t wipe or wipes like we’re driving through a typhoon! I can handle a control with loads of setting because I decide what speed I want, but this automatic wiping needs to stop! I know this will touch a nerve with American readers, but the same goes with an automatic gearbox. I’m sorry, I just can’t do it! I’ll decide what gear I want and that’s  that!

Now we have smart technology too, based on what we’ve done before it can suggest where we might like to go, or who might be our friend. This means that everyone that has been to my school in the last twenty years must be a friend the same goes for anyone who visited the taj manual in town or the supermarket. I’m sorry, but none of these people are friends and I have no idea who they are!

I understand what these guys are trying to do, they are trying to reduce the need for searching. But is it really that bad? It’s much better than looking through a telephone directory, but I guess we need jobs for data analysts and other such clever clogs to make this kind of stuff happen. But my view is simply that we should be the masters of technology and not the other way around.

Simon 😀

Linux Took Over the Web. Now, It’s Taking Over the World | WIRED

I’ve written a number of posts about how Linux had changed the way i use computers. What not more widely known is that most smartphone use Linux or another OS developed from the Unix code. Most of the internet runs from it and Microsoft has recently been breaking down the old divides and letting Linux run some  programmes in Windows.

But it seems the blogging project is nowhere done yet and it shows now signs of stopping…

Simon 🙂

The nightmare of a corrupted SD card and what do do about it.

How often have we picked up our phone and flicked it on so we can take a picture? This is simple right and it works every time – it has done for me for years without fail. So the other day I’m out and a strange symbol appears in the top corner of this Samsung I carry around as a camera. I look on it and there was a blood curdling scream beyond any that you might hear in a horror movie. fortunately this was only in my head, but still it was loud to me.

I was told that the SD card couldn’t be read and sure enough, no matter what I did the SD card couldn’t be read. Bollocks! This might have something to do with jumping into a pool with the said phone in my pocket, but I digress and we don’t want facts coming into things at this stage.

Looking at the SD card on my notebook, sure enough the damn thing is corrupted. In this situation there’s only one thing to do…




I turned to the great web oracle that is…


And I found out there is free software to download to help recover from this kind of disaster. The one that was the top of the list was a program called ZarX. It’s as simple and downloading and installing the software,  open it up and select the drive in the computer that’s corrupted (i.e. the SD card) and then letting it get on. Once it’s finished doing it’s pretty little thing it’s a matter of selecting the place you want to put the recovered files. A little hint here , don’t put them back where they came from!

The interface is a bit complex, but if you just let ZarX do it’s thing and pick where to recover and where to put the files it works well and the data from my SD card was recovered.

So, the next time you dive into a pool with your SD card – download ZarX!

Simon 🙂

What happened to Bitstrips???

What has happened to Bitstrips? It’s gone! I went to my tablet the other day looking to make some new strips to add to my little collection. To my dismay I find that it has gone!


I’m really annoyed by this, there will be no new cartoons of my head exploding or rushing home form work. I was hoping to see if I could get more space themes Bitstrips, but this won’t happen. I would put on one of me crying – but I can’t do that either!

Pleeeeease come back Bitstrips, all is forgiven. I know I’m not the only one is saying we love you. Alternatively do any bloggers know of another similar cartoon app. Bitmoji is similar, but is scrawls stupid writing all over the cartoon.

Simon 🙂

Technology – The great Memory Swindle

No one manufacturer does this, pretty much all of them do this. Either the buyer is browsing online or they go to a shop to get the pone / tablet / other device and at some point the spec list comes up and is glanced through. At about this point the buyer carries out their balancing act between storage space and cost.


Let’s take for example a small device from a popular fruity brand, it’s essentially a media player – no phone option and the model that can store 16Gb is around £120 which is fine. But oh – they’re not in stock.

Looking down the list we see there’s a load of 64Gb models available. Brilliant, they can’t be that much more expensive as it’s only a bit of memory right? Wrong – only another freaking £100 or so more. £100 more for a chip that maybe costs £10 more, if that. This is the con, charging an extortionate amount of money for something that costs very little.


At this point Mr Fruity pipes up and says ah – but you’re getting more value with the 64Gb device! While this statement is true, lets consider something. I tried to get a 16Gb device, which was sold out. I eventually bought a 32Gb device, so lets ask something here – In a market a supplier makes to demand, there is more demand for the 16Gb device so they should make more. But what if they don’t? At the end of the day it makes more sense for them to limit supply of the cheaper devices in favour of the expensive ones! All three devices are the same except for a silly little chip or two, so from their point of view it makes sense to make more of the devices with the bigger profit margin.


What’s the way out of this swindle? I can’t see one, they supply and we buy, or not. What we buy is up to us and the thing is this is what has made some brands as big as they are – us. We decide that we have to have this device and we buy the one we don’t want because we have to have it – it’s a sellers market. As long as this continues, it will continue to be a sellers market and we volunteer to be swindled!

Simon 🙂