Saturday, 21 May 2016

Chrome OS - Make Your Old Computer Useful Again

Do you have an old laptop or desktop PC that is past its prime, just sitting in a dusty office corner or loft?

Rather than throwing it away, you can turn it into a Chromebook!

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook looks just like a normal laptop but instead of running a Windows or Apple operating system it runs Google's Chrome OS; which primarily uses Google cloud apps such as, Drive, Calendar, GMail, Chrome Browser, Maps etc.

Should I use a Chromebook?

It all depends on what you use a computer for. If like most people, you just want to do email, web browsing, iPlayer, YouTube and a bit of word processing, a Chromebook is an excellent option.

If you use software that is not available in Chrome OS, e.g. Adobe Photoshop, iTunes etc then a Chromebook is not for you.

How does this benefit my old laptop?

The main problem with older laptops is that they simply aren't fast enough to run modern operating system. They likely came installed with Windows XP (a small operating system) but will struggle to run Windows 10 (a much larger operating system). Chrome OS does not require large amounts of processing power or hard drive space as it is cloud based. Your old laptop will be both useful and fast again!

How can I turn my old computer into a laptop?

As a general rule this procedure will work on any Intel based laptop or computer that have a 64-bit processor. All but one of my laptops I have been able to run Chrome OS. The one that didn't was a 2003 IBM Thinkpad T40 which had a 32-bit processor and did not support Physical Address Extension. There is a workaround but it is far too time consuming for most users.

You will need:

  • 8GB or larger USB2.0 memory stick
  • A computer with an internet connection
  • Google Chrome installed
  • A Google account

1. Download CloudReady from Neverware
2. Follow the installation instructions:

Once installed with ChromeOS your old laptop will have a new lease of life!

If you attempt this, please let me know how you get on and what if any problems you encountered.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Truth Is Out There - Help Find Aliens With Your Raspberry Pi!

Australian electronics engineer Dave Jones has published a great video on YouTube showing how you can help SETI search for alien radio signals using your Raspberry Pi. 

Don't worry if you don't have a Raspberry Pi and would like to get involved, you can download the software for many other devices (Windows, Linux, Android and Mac).

Go to: to download the software. When your computer/tablet etc is idling, BOINC harnesses your computer's spare CPU power to process scientific data.

More detailed information can be found here:

Who knows, your computer may be the one that proves we are not alone in the universe!