Terminology, Power, and Inclusive Language in Internet-Drafts and RFCs

If you are working in technology, I urge you to view the above RFC Language is important, and we should be aware of the terms we are using, and the impact it has on other people.

Fonts Nice Things

Billy Argel Fonts

Some nice footage at

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This is such a simple, but powerful concept about thinking of some of the work that we have to do lands our desks. Because often it requires investment of time or money, with the result being seen elsewhere (or by other departments) it is often really difficult to change things.

I explained this to a colleague (as I couldn’t find the original post at the time) and from that point on any rework or corrective action that had to be done was met with an exasperated exclamation of ‘marbles’.

That Marbles Post – Think Productive –

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A nice little expression I overheard

Didn’t quite get first word of it, but either works well. Thanks Angela

Adapt, use, tweak, or fuse

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What to do…. sort your passwords out

While you may have some time on your hands, now would be a great time to download a password manager (1Password is my favourite) and get all your usernames and passwords under control.

1Password is by Agile Bits – their website is

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Platform History – OS

Many conversations around tech often end up in the ‘Apple users are sheep and as they don’t use a ‘real computer’ they are therefore unable to critically evaluate a platform on its own merits

As a bit of a counter to that, I thought It would be interesting to document my own platform history.

Current platforms

iPadOS × 2

macOS × 2

iOS × 1

Windows 10 × 2

Previous Platforms

ZX Spectrum 48

Spectrum +2

Atari ST (TOS 1.04)

MS DOS 3.3


MS DOS 4.01

MS DOS 5.0


MS DOS 6.0

MS DOS 6.2

MS DOS 6.22

Windows 286

Windows 386

Windows 3.0


Windows 3.1

Windows for Workgroups 3.11



Windows 95

Windows 98


Windows ME

Windows 2000

Windows CE

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 10


House numbers, people

I did a clinical shift on Friday, and one thing that I’d forgotten about was the joy of trying to find houses when everybody seems to think that having a house number displayed on their property is above them !!

Even if you don’t think you’ll need your house to be numbered, it does help others be able to find other properties, and do so quickly. The standard rules about odd one side and even on the other are no longer guaranteed, especially in cul-de-sacs, and as I discovered a while back, that are broken by a traffic island.

So, make sure you have a nice visible number on your house, encourage your neighbours to do the same, and in the meantime don’t worry about the strange hooded figure holding a bag that is shining a very bright torch onto each door in your street !

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Upgrade plans

Can be summarised as ‘ugh’.

Currently waiting on

  • Mac transition to ARM
  • Mac laptop keyboard that won’t actually fail
    iOS upgrade to support power of iPad Pro
    Microsoft Surface to go to ARM

I also want to move to USB C Power Delivery charging across as many devices as possible (including work laptop) to make charging pretty much ubiquitous, and to reduce the total number of dongles that I need to carry with me.

There is also the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 that I am lusting over a little – a portable external USB C monitor with 2 usb c ports. Admittedly I’d look like a total douche in Costa, but for the times I’m working from different locations it would be great.

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The Logitech R500 Review

Logitech has launched the second in its latest generation of presenters, the snappily titled Logitech R500. The first in the generation is the Logitech Spotlight.

This is a standard wireless presenter offering remote control of presentations with a built in red laser pointer. The differentiating factor here is that the device offers connectivity either by a built in USB A receiver or Bluetooth 4.0.

My preferred pointer is a the Kensington Presenter with red laser, however I will use the presenter expert pro due to its green laser. If am using a large television to present, then the only option is the Logitech spotlight.


This is clearly a commodity item with the presenter being completely encased in a plastic carton, although Logitech have clearly given some thought to user experience by including two convenient tabs to get into the pack.

The battery (AA or LR03) is already installed, with a pull tab preventing the device from drawing power while it is sat on a shelf.

Design and feel

The R500 is designed like an elongated tear, with a flat front surface, and rounded rear. The buttons are in a vertical line, with the ‘forward’ button being larger and in the centre. Its is this button arrangement that shows it is the same family as the Spotlight.

There are two colours available – Black and Grey. The version I have is the black one.

The vertical button arrangement may look neat and tidy, but it does have some drawbacks compared to that of the Kensington Presenter. The first is that you loose the immediate sense of which button moves to the next slide, and which moves back. The second is that natural resting position of your thumb is on the next slide button, as opposed to a neutral inactive space, this may lead to more accidental clicks.

The device is made of plastic, which came as somewhat of a surprise given the premium price of the device. That said the device does feel a little more premium due to the weighting and balance which is firmly in the centre of the device.

The USB dongle fits into the base, but unlike the Kensington Presenter it just pull out, as opposed to having a sprung mechanism. The device does not automatically turn off when you insert the dongle, as Bluetooth connectivity may mean that the dongle is never used.

There is a white LED at the top of the device which comes on whenever the laser point is active, and will flash to indicate Bluetooth pairing mode.


For macOS and Windows the R500 can be used with the Logitech presenter software. This adds that ability to add a long press function to each of the navigation buttons, and to display a timer when presenter display functionality is used. This is not essential to the R500 being used, and in a corporate environment may not actually be supported.

Pairing and Setup

I have tested theR500 with the following devices:

  • MacBook Pro running macOS 10.13.4
  • iPhone X running iOS 11.4
  • IPad Pro running iOS 11.4

The software was not tested, but does

MacBook Pro (macOS 10.13.4)

There are two options for setup with a MacBook Pro – Bluetooth and using the dongle. The dongle set up is the most straightforward – just put the dongle in and you can use the forward and back buttons on the device to control a presentation. Both PowerPoint and keynote worked as expected.

The MacBook Pro used does have a USB A port, if your device only uses USB-C then you will need a dongle for the dongle.

Bluetooth setup is easy, press and hold the laser pointer button and the back button and you can pair the device. The device will then function as you would expect.

iPhone X (iOS 11.4)

The device refused to pair, giving an error that the device took too long to pair. The iPhone was tested as some people may wish to use the iPhone as the presenting device and the control with an iPad in split screen view.

IPad Pro (iOS 11.4)

The R500 connected perfectly. However iOS is not the best operating system to use presenters with. As the presenter connects as a keyboard it will cause the onscreen iOS keyboard to be hidden. Otherwise it will control PowerPoint and Keynote. Unless you have control over the environment you work in, then I can not recommend iOS devices for any form of serious presenting, unless you have a specific need which the iPad addresses. This is due to the way that it handles the device and the overall lack of control over what happens.

Range and Distance

If you are in the type of environment where range and distance may be an issue, then you are likely to have enough resources to get one of these devices and try it for yourself. The range of the laser pointer appears good enough, as does the range of the connection.


If you need Bluetooth connectivity with a laser pointer, then this will be a great device for you. If you need a presenter with laser pointer I would still recommend the Kensington Presenter due to the better positioning of the buttons.

The RRP of this at £44.95 is a little steep for the device given its construction, but this price is likely to come down.

Amazon UK Link – Black

Amazon UK Link – Grey

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A frustration of riches

For pretty much every tech situation, there is an xkcd comic

My main job frequently involves things being displayed on a projector. Either my things or somebody else’s, but regardless of ownership it involves things on a projector.

My second job as an educator definitely involves things being displayed on a projector.

I am one of the cursed! One of those blessed with enough technical literacy to become the de facto technical expert in any room, group, or even building. This means I usually always get to sort out the projector issues.

If it was just in one room, then it would be easy, but the rooms I am in are spread across several buildings and organisations, and conference / meeting venues, each with their own particular set of connectivity issues.

Years ago you only had to worry about VGA. If you were really a pro you would have a spare cable and a gender changer VGA pin to socket converter, but that was it.

Now you not only have to worry about wether it is HDMI or VGA at the projector end, but wether you have HDMI, Display Port, USB C, Lightning, VGA, Mini Display Port, or some proprietary thing on the device itself.

This has resulted in me carrying round at work a lovely slim laptop….. but with enough dongles and cables to fill some carry on luggage. Regardless of what anyone says, dongles are an industry problem, not just an Apple one.

I offer no panacea for this, but I will share my strategy for managing it.

Reducing friction is key

As a student I would lug PowerBook, powerbook charger, printer, keyboard, mouse, and cables between home and university each week.

Had I any sense back then I would have just had one set at home and another at uni and then only had to transfer the printer. Given at uni I was on the fifth floor of an apartment block with no parking outside this would have made my commuting a whole lot easier. It would have cost some money, but that would be worth it for the really smooth experience it would give.

So rather than moving stuff between day job work bag and second job Really Useful Box I have decided on the following which will negate the need to transfer things between bags.

Per Device

Each device has its own set of dongles that will connect to VGA and HDMI.

  • 7m HDMI Cable
  • 5m HDMI Extension Cable
  • 5m VGA Cable
  • VGA Gender Changer pin to socket converter
  • 3.5mm audio cable

Venue Kit

This kit is independent of the device kit(s) and is for where the venue has no infrastructure or unknown infrastructure.

  • Spare projector (with 5m cable)
  • UE Boom Speaker
  • 7m HDMI Cable
  • 5m HDMI Extension Cable
  • 5m VGA Cable
  • VGA Gender Changer pin to socket converter
  • 15m extension power cable reel
  • 4 gang power adaptor with USB power
  • 3.5mm audio cable
  • Display Port to VGA adaptor
  • Mini Display Port to VGA adaptor
  • USB C to VGA Adaptor
  • Display Port to HDMI adaptor
  • Mini Display Port to HDMI adaptor
  • USB C to HDMI Adaptor
  • 5m USB extension cable
  • USB A to Micro USB Cable
  • USB A to Mini USB Cable
  • USB A to Lightning Cable
  • Ikea USB Light
  • Spare Kensington remote presenter
  • Gaffer tape
  • Spare AA batteries
  • Spare AAA batteries

I have these housed in Really Useful Boxes that stack. This not only makes them easy to store, but also allows them to be stacked neatly at whatever venue you are at.

The Ikea USB light is great for illuminating notes / keyboard in a room where the lighting is dimmed.

The Kensington remote presenter can be picked up from amazon or ebay at good prices if you keep an eye out.

The gaffer tape is for taping down any extension cables so they don’t form a trip hazard.

Update – 2020-08-02 – Removed text ‘Gender changer’ to replace with something less metaphorical to avoid causing offence. (I’m cis – I know trans people, I don’t feel comfortable using those terms, so therefore I’m not going to use them)