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Essential Programs for a new Windows 10 PC or Laptop

By TechnologyNo Comments

I recently purchased this new Windows 10 laptop, which is brilliant:


My new HP laptop from HP’s Online Store (1).


My new HP laptop features a massive 17 inch screen, 1TB hard drive, 8GB ram and Windows 10.

I didn’t realised quite how big the 17 inch screen would be, it’s massive, I’ve never had one so big, oh err!

But having been Apple-based at home for the past several years I needed to get to grips with what essential programs I needed for Windows 10. I did a bit of research, made some decisions and came up with a quick list of essential programs.

Here’s my quick list of essential programs for a new Windows 10 PC or Laptop, these are all programs that I’ve installed on my new laptop:

Internet Browser – Chrome
Chrome is quick, easy and simple to use. It’s quicker than the default Microsoft Edge. The only thing I don’t like is Google tracking my every search.

So I’ve set the search engine to Duck Duck Go. Duck Duck Go doesn’t save any personal information, has no advertisement tracking or anything like that. In my experience they also offer a more varied search result than Google. This is because Google uses your personal information to exclude websites from your results.

You can download Chrome here.

Antivirus – Avira
I read countless reviews of Antivirus software for Windows 10. Avira came top in every review.

You can download Avira here.

Maintenance – CCleaner
CCleaner gets rid of unnecessary files that ultimately slow down you computer. If you don’t keep on top of the file maintenance, your new PC or Laptop could become as slow as a half-dead snail.

You can download CCleaner here.

Office – Microsoft Office 2016
There are a few well known free alternatives to Microsoft Office (2016). There’s also cloud-based apps. But I decided to buy in Microsoft Office (2016), mainly for familiarity reasons.

You can buy Microsoft Office (2016) on Amazon here.

Video & DVD – VLC
VLC is my all-time favourite video player…it just works. An essential program for me on my iMac, iPad and now on my Windows 10 laptop.

You can download VLC here.


Images and Photo Editing – GIMP and Paint 3D
GIMP is a program I’ve used many times on my Mac to edit images and create infographics. It’s similar to Adobe Paintshop Pro but without the expensive price tag.

I’ve never tried Paint 3D. But so many articles during my research recommended it, that I’ve downloaded it to give it a try.

To me GIMP is essential as Windows 10 still has Paint but not much else.

You can download GIMP here. You can download Paint 3D here.

Music – iTunes or MusicBee
iTunes is the first choice for a music management library. However I was concerned that having iTunes on two computers (my iMac and my new laptop) might mess up the library and syncing.

So I went for a free alternative called MusicBee. MusicBee is a good piece of software and is very flexible to different needs of different users.

You can download MusicBee here. You can download iTunes here.

Gaming – Steam and Origin
I’m a casual gamer, but in order to play any games I’ve previously purchased I needed to install both Steam and Origin (I have bought games on both platforms in the past).

You can download Steam here. You can download Origin here.

Getting files and folders from Mac Formatted Drive to Windows 10 – HSFExplorer
This last program isn’t essential for everyone. But it was for me, having previously being Apple exclusive.

HSFExplorer allows you to view files and folders saved on a Mac formatted pen drive or external hard drive and copy the files over to Windows. A fantastic program that does require Java installed.

You can download HSFExplorer here. You can download Java here.

Unless stated otherwise the programs above are free. Some have to option to purchase more features, purchase other supporting programs or buy other programs within them.

I hope you’ve found this blog post useful. Are there any programs I’m missing? If so, please let me know what they are by leaving a comment below.

Blog soon,



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Tech Review: The Logitech UltraThin Keyboard Cover for iPad

By Amazon, Reviews, TechnologyNo Comments

The Logitech UltraThin Keyboard Cover

An ex-boyfriend of mine bought me Logitech UltraThin Keyboard for my iPad Air. Like anything the Logitech UltraThin Keyboard has Pros and Cons.

Logitech really need to improve the battery life of this device. After just over a year of use the battery died on mine. The Logitech UltraThin Keyboard has no way to change the battery – so it just has to be chucked in the bin. Which was disappointing and is a shame because there’s lots I like about the device. Here’s a list of Pros and Cons:


  • Easy to setup and connect to iPad via bluetooth.
  • Thin Design and white colour.
  • Doubles as a cover for iPad.
  • Easy to charge by plugging into a computer USB port.
  • The stand slot is great for positioning the iPad at the perfect angle to easily see the screen.
  • Portable meaning you can work on the go.
  • Status light: Green you are good to go, Amber (flashing) charging, Red no charge.
  • On/Off switch on the side, so that you can switch it off to save power when not in use.

  • Price. It’s expensive for what it is.
  • Battery Life and inability to change the battery.
  • There’s a lag between you typing on the keyboard and it appearing on the screen. At times, I’ve had to wait for it to catch up.
  • Lots of additional functions on the keyboard – but no instructions enclosed on how to use them. Meaning for the average user they will be useless.


The Logitech UltraThin Keyboard Cover in Use.

Logitech UltraThin Keyboard is available to buy on Amazon, although after my experience, I can’t really recommend it.

Review soon,


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My Health Woes: Clinical Depression, Dental Abscesses, The Lump and The Emergency Surgery

By Friends & Family, HealthNo Comments

Recently I’ve really not been well. Here is the saga thanks to my body that seems to be falling apart:

The Clinical Depression
Earlier in the year I struggled with severe clinical depression, before getting myself into Recovery. But this wasn’t to be the last of my health problems.

The Recurrent Dental Abscesses
Over the past few months I’ve had recurrent dental abscesses in a wisdom tooth. After several courses of antibiotics and regular Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (painkillers), the tooth had to be extracted.

Then I got a dry socket infection. It was the weekend so had to see an Emergency Dentist who prescribed me more antibiotics and recommended regular painkillers. Luckily this time the antibiotics worked and touch wood (touches bedside table), I’ve had no more dental problems.

The Moment of Panic
Next my blood sugars were off, I started to feel exhausted and generally terrible without any trigger. I went into a spiral of panic, thinking that I was getting ill with depression again. This panic only served to make me feel worse. But then a lump appeared.

The Lump – Return of the Jeff
A lump appeared on my right buttock. A bacterial infection, that I’ve had several times before. I always feel terrible before it appears.

I’ve had this lump enough times to name it Jeff and to tell close family and friends that I was going to stick some goggly eyes on it and draw a mouth using a marker pen.
I went to see by GP about Jeff. As usual I was given antibiotics. By this point, I was beginning to feel that I was living on antibiotics. But as always, I took them religiously.

Never one to miss an opportunity to get a laugh at my own expense, I spent several hours creating this on my iPad:


Could be a blockbuster.

I shared it on Facebook, forgetting that most of my Facebook friends don’t know about Jeff, so wouldn’t get the reference. But those that did laughed, so it was totally worth creating this piece of artwork.

The Hospital Admission – For Emergency Surgery


Admitted to Hospital for Emergency Surgery.

After five days on antibiotics Jeff had only seemed to get bigger – looking like he was the size of a gold ball. I was unable to sit, stand or lie down comfortably for any length of time. So I went back to see my GP.

My GP said that I needed to see a Surgeon immediately and referred me to the Surgical Team at my local hospital. He gave me a two week sick note and told me that I’d be off work for at least the next fortnight.

I went to hospital and was admitted to the surgical ward. I was reviewed by the Surgeon and Anaesthetist. It was decided that they would operate on me first thing in the following morning, with me being first on the emergency list on the account of having type 1 diabetes and having to fast.

I went up to theatre about 9am in the morning. I was put under general anaesthetic and next thing I knew I was in recovery and in a lot of pain. Thankfully I had been prescribed painkillers which were administered quickly.

After I had eaten, drank and peed I was allowed to go home with mum. She had to observe me for the rest of the day.

Wound Healing
Initially, I had to have the wound packed on a daily basis by the District Nurses. Then as the wound has got smaller, the District Nurses have been packing it every other day.

Thankfully, so far, touch wood (touches bedside table), there have been no complications such as infection at the wound site or accidental tearing of the wound.

My Experience of NHS Care
The NHS care that I have received has been superb. My GP has been exceptional. The Dentist’s have been helpful and supportive. All of the hospital staff (including the Surgical Team, Nurses, Porters and other staff) were great and efficient. Special mention must must be made of the Anaesthetist who looked after me. I felt that he genuinely treated me like a member of his family. All of the community service staff have been fantastic too.

Thank you to all the staff who have looked after, supported and cared for me this year.

I know the NHS is not perfect. But my recent experiences have been perfect.

Tough Year
2015 has been a really tough year for me health-wise. But Autumn is upon us and is a season of change. Leafs will change to bright colours of red, yellow and orange before falling from the tress. I hope my ill health falls from the tree of life, like one of these leafs and that it leads to a sustained period of good health.

Take care & I will write soon,


I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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Health Tech Review: Contour Next USB Glucose Meter by Bayer

By Health, Reviews, TechnologyNo Comments

Diabetes/Health Illustration Logo.
© Antony Simpson/Sye Watts.

I’m a type 1 diabetic. See my blog post How I was diagnosed with Diabetes to learn more about my diabetes story. Anyway today I’m reviewing the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter.

Sometime ago, I switched to the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter. It was one of the best diabetes-related things I’ve ever done.

The Contour Next USB Glucose Meter is small, easy to use and track trends. There’s so many good things about the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter, that I’ve put together a list of features that I like:

  • It’s small – tiny in comparison to most other Glucose Meters. Something I appreciate and that I imagine others would.
  • It’s easy to use – with it’s big colour display and three options. It’s three options being: Logbook, Trends and Setup.
  • As well as logging blood sugars it has the options to log carbs and/or insulin.
  • USB connection to the computer with java-based software that’s Windows & Mac compatible.
  • Software – That creates great detailed reports in PDF format that you can then share with your GP, Diabetes Nurse, Diabetes Consultant, etc.
  • Both the device and software track trends – the software reports giving much more details on trends.
  • USB charges meter battery – not that in the plus 6 months I’ve had it I’ve needed to charge it.
  • Meter allows you to fill the same strip with extra blood if you didn’t put enough blood in the first time. Rather than starting again.
  • No coding or quality testing required.
  • Finger-pricking device is small.
  • Comes with a slightly bulkier case that keeps everything together – the meter, the testing strips and the finger-pricking device.

Here are some images of the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter:


Contour Next USB Box


What The Meter Looks Like


Sample of PDF Report that the software creates.

The only thing I dislike is that the java-based software can be slow and occasionally crashes. But the benefits the software brings far outweigh these slight annoyances.

Overall the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter is by far the best glucose meter I’ve used. It’s probably the best on the market. An improvement on future models could include connection/communication with Apps that could be used on the iPhone or iPad.

You can Request a FREE Contour Next USB Glucose Meter or Find Out More about the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter here.

Review soon,


I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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