Updated 16:23 April 1st 2018

Prof Harold Thimbleby …
Fun and trivia

Apple MacBook Pro 15"

My new Apple MacBook Pro 15" laptop keyboard, 9 days out of warranty — it was not out of warranty when it first had the fault, but to diary an appointment at an Apple Store took me just beyond the warranty period.

It has always had a poor keyboard ever since new, and finally one key stopped working altogether, rather than just being unreliable. I made a special trip to Apple, who fixed it. It broke again the next week. Another trip, and Apple repaired it, but this time wanted £481.80. (Actually, £332.50 plus labour plus VAT.)

It’s hard to imagine, for a long-established company, that this isn’t a clever strategy for making money: make an unreliable keyboard (the Apple Store said it was!) and design it so that the keyboard ‘has’ to be replaced along with the entire top of the laptop. Then you can make £481.80 for repairing one key.

I had been thinking of writing a review of USB-C and minidisplay port confusions, and charging confusion, but the key cap failure trumps it.


Genailles Rods

Front cover of Mathematica Journal based on my program for Genaille’s rods, a fun type of calculator. Henri Genaille’s Rods are a nineteenth-century scheme for doing multiplication, similar to, but easier to use than, the more familiar Napier’s Bones — as you can see, Genaille’s Rods are visually attractive. They are useful in teaching. My article gives full details.



Clear presentation, recursive programming, and art are all irresistible — here is a clear visualisation of the deaths on the Titanic that also makes a nice Mondrian-style painting. — click this link to find out more!


Harold in Trivial Pursuit

Here’s my name on a card from a Trivial Pursuits game. Mouse over the card to see the answers!

Based on analysis of use of Jonathon Fletcher’s JumpStation, the world’s first web search engine, in fact I said most internet searches were for porn — perhaps not so surprising given the demographic of surfers in those days!

For a more substantial discussion about the internet see my Personal boundaries/global stage article for the IEE 2020 Visions conference, now published in First Monday.

Trivial Pursuits
Trivial Pursuits

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