Image: Intel 80486DX2 processor die, 12×6.75 mm, in its packaging (Wikipedia)

Image: Intel 80486DX2 processor die, 12×6.75 mm, in its packaging (Wikipedia)
If only DEAD people understand hexadecimal, how many people understand hexadecimal?  (soo‘ㄥs :ɹǝʍsuɐ)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Contactless payments for mobile phones

Mobile phones may be about to replace smart cards for card payments, avoiding the need to carry a wallet full of plastic cards as well as a mobile phone.

The next generation of mobile phones may be equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless communication technology incorporated into their removable SIM cards.  Since a SIM card is issued to a user by a network operator, it can be used to identify a mobile phone's user.  As an interim measure, phones may be provided with RFID tags to perform a similar function.

Try these links:

Please leave a comment if these web pages are unavailable to you, stating the country from which you are attempting to access them.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


When you read Cambridge IGCSE Computer Studies Coursebook with CD-ROM, please use the Comment facility below to let me know what you would like to see improved in a future edition.

Also, please let me know what extra resources you would like to see on this blog.

Optical Character Recognition

You don't need your own OCR software to try this out. Use the search engine criterion "online ocr", to find a number of free websites to which you can upload a scanned image of some text.

If you have no access to a scanner, you can still generate your own test image by entering some text in presentation software such as Open Office Impress or Microsoft PowerPoint. You can then export or save the file in JPG or other image format.

Concept keyboards

For an interesting example of the use of touchscreen concept keyboards, you could take a look at My mother could really benefit from such a user-friendly computer, except that she is blind.

How could we design similar computers for people who have visual impairments?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cambridge IGCSE Computer Studies Coursebook

Due for publication in August 2011:

Cambridge IGCSE Computer Studies Coursebook with CD-ROM

  • Written specifically for the Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE 2012 and 2013 syllabuses by experienced teachers and examiners of CIE syllabuses in IGCSE Computer Studies.
  • Uses CIE's new ‘house style’ for presenting program code and pseudocode.
  • Coursebook includes questions and tasks throughout to reinforce learning.
  • Accompanying CD-ROM provides practice activities for students.
  • Both coursebook and CD-ROM offer practical support for students, including for the new Paper 3: Alternative to coursework.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Switching a spreadsheet between results and formulae view

Did you know that there was a keyboard shortcut for performing this switch? This is particularly useful when you need to prepare screenshot evidence of what you have built for coursework.

In both Open Office Calc and Microsoft Excel, you simply type Ctrl+`

But what do you call the ` key? and where do you find it? Its official name is the backquote but, unsure what it was called, at least one school in Cambridgeshire in the UK has given it the name "Gary".  Perhaps you could give it a local name, too.

It looks like this:

On this keyboard, it is at the left-hand end of the second row down: