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There’s a Cr-App for that…

Now what exactly do we need to invent? Better treatments for cancer? Absolutely! Cheap orbital access? For sure! Room temp superconductors? Of course!

But no! Instead human ingenuity has given us this. Behold!

With recent figures showing a huge rise in the number of toddlers being given iPads and other expensive gadgets, the iPotty – a potty with a built in iPad holder, might not be as daft as it first seems.

Yes, it is as daft as it first seems. And why dear Gods are people giving toddlers iPads? I honestly don’t really see the point of iPads anyway. I mean let’s all buy a piss-poor laptop without a keyboard for more money and no HD. Steve Jobs must be chuckling from the grave. If I had a kid (a fair bit above potty training age) I’d get ‘em a Raspberry Pi. I mean I had a Speccy as a kid. I didn’t take it into the bathroom, mind. And I programmed it rather than watched Peppa sodding Pig.

The invention, goes on sale in March from CTA digital for $39.99. [About the same as a Pi].

Some experts have pointed out it shows how easy the iPad is to use.

Experts? It’s not rocket science. It’s playing “Angry Birds” whilst having a shit. I mean for fuck’s sake! I mean I can code. I even recall creating MSDOS 5 boot-disks to get games to play on my 386 (I also recall when this was all trees) and stuff. In short I prefer to write code and batch things rather than the “more human level” shitty little fingers scraping the screen.

‘When the Apple marketing bods said using the iPad was like child’s play, I don’t think they had this in mind,’ said Stuart Miles of gadget website Pocket Lint.

No shit Sherlock!

Give me a Linux system or similar – I still miss AmigaDOS – I’ll take that anyday rather than a (Hamid) Khazi with a load of junk from Cupertino made by the slaves of Foxconn.

I hope you’re all impressed by my avoiding of such terms as “logging-on”.

Typed on a Lenovo S205 running Win7.


  1. john in cheshire says:

    NickM, msdos 5; that takes me back. I’ve certainly got a copy of msdos 6.22 on disk because I was reminiscing over it recently. I’ve probably got a copy of 5 too somewhere in the loft. I don’t have a disk drive these days and I doubt any new PC would actually run it. What is most surprising is that though this software is from the past, it’s only 20 or so years ago. Speaking of disk drives, I remember using the older 5.25 inch disks.
    And you try to tell the youth of today and they don’t want to know.
    Having said that, I do have an android tablet (cheapest from China), which I justified purchasing because I can read your blog while lying on the sofa, instead of trying to balance a laptop on my stomach.

  2. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    When you have a toddler who refuses to use a potty, you will think this is the greatest invention since superconductors. Trust me.

  3. RAB says:


    I can see it’s going to turn into an Anorak thread again.

    Other people’s toiletry habits have always mystified me. Ever since the end of nappies and the advent of sitting on the loo and trying not to fall in backwards, I only go to the loo when the bowels move. Do the business and leave. I do not make a ritual of it and take newspapers and paperbacks in there with me, so I am at a loss to figure out what the hell a toddler (who should be running wild, not surfing the net) wants to have a bloody i Pad in there with them for.

    Has Health and Safety seen this? What about the accumulating bacteria etc on the screen? Tablet screens get smeared up enough as it is. And who is wiping the botty?

  4. Captain Fatty says:

    Good for CTA! The sooner we wean people away from crappy systems with separate keyboards the better. Hooray for progress!


  5. Sam Duncan says:

    I was amazed to see my cousin’s 8-year-old with an Apple fondleslab at New Year. The things cost a bloody fortune. If I had one I wouldn’t let anybody under the age of consent anywhere near it, and only then with full written indemnity. Geez. Toddlers? What’s wrong with Lego Duplo?

    Anyway. You’ll like this, Nick.

    Two years ago, my son Jacob (then 3) and I built his first computer together. I installed Debian on it, but never put a GUI on the thing. It’s command-line, and has provided lots of enjoyment off and on over the last couple of years. The looks of shock I get from people when I explain, as if it’s perfectly natural, that my child has been able to log in by himself to a Linux shell since age 3, are amusing and astounding. Especially considering that it is really not that hard. Instead of learning how to run an Xbox, he’s learned how to run bash. I like that.

    I can’t help feeling Jacob is like those kids at school in the ’70s and ’80s whose parents didn’t have a TV, but his dad’s heart’s in the right place. And he already knows more about how the magic box actually works than most people ten years older. There’s a whole generation who’ve been led to believe they don’t need to know anything about the primary technology of the age. No, you don’t have to know all about the internal combustion engine to drive a car, but a) a basic understanding of what happens when, for example, you change gear is useful, and b) a computer is a vastly more complex system than a simple horseless carriage, and some knowledge about what’s going on in there really does help a lot, even on these keyboardless toys.

  6. CountingCats says:

    I’ve got five raspberry pi’s right now. I using them to build media centres for friends and a VOIP PBX.

    They are WONDERFUL.

    Bit slow while scrolling around within XBMC tho, although they play HD movies perfectly.

    If they keep the price and bring one out with a faster processor, rather than keeping current spec and dropping price, it will be spectacular.

  7. Jobrag says:

    Is there an APP that wipes shit off the screen?

  8. Julie near Chicago says:

    What JuliaM said.

    Heh…I’m not going to share certain memories at this time. But I do want to know, Nick: What’s a “Speccy”?

  9. John Galt says:

    In reference to a Speccy, Mr. Nick is referring to a UK home computer first released in 1982 by Sinclair Research called the ZX Spectrum.

    It was the first generally available home computer in the UK and was sold through high street resellers such as WH Smiths rather than specialist computer shops as was the case previously.

    The ZX Spectrum was a programmable computer which came pre-installed with ZX BASIC and was considered the reason why much of the worlds computer software (even in the US) was written by British programmer’s.

    I myself won one in a competition in 1983 and spent many hours programming idiotic nonsense onto it as well as typing in software published in magazines.

    Along with this came Crash Magazine (computer porn for Speccy geeks) it was probably also responsible for a dip in population during 1986-1989.

    Thrill and adventure with Morkin, Coreleth, Rothron the Wise and Luxor the Moonprince were only a download away…

  10. Tim Newman says:

    I don’t see the problem with giving a toddler an iPad to play with. Most of my friends with kidz let them play on their iPads, and I’m still gobsmacked by how quickly they figure out how to use it.

    I honestly don’t really see the point of iPads anyway. I mean let’s all buy a piss-poor laptop without a keyboard for more money and no HD.

    Okay, find me one that boots up in 3s and runs for several hours playing video even after it’s 2-3 years old and doesn’t overheat when you use it in bed.

    My iPad is brilliant for travelling – light, boots up in seconds, and charges from a small adaptor and cable; it is okay for surfing the internet, and okay for checking mails. And there are one or two good apps and games. For all other things a laptop is better, but the portability and battery life wins out every time when you spend half your life on aeroplanes or in hotel rooms like I do.

    I was won over when I boarded a flight and the chap next to me whipped out his iPad, headphones, and was watching a film within 30s of sitting down. I had to lug out my laptop, wait 3-5 minutes for it to boot up, haul out a pretty chunky charger and cable (I appreciate they have since got lighter) and get the film going. 2 minutes in we were ready to take off or whatever, I had to power down (another 2 minutes), coil the charger away, and the laptop (although small) didn’t fit in the seat pocket in front. So I had to put it back in its case and stick it in the overhead locker. The chap beside me simply closed the cover, shoved it in the pocket, and that was that.

  11. Lynne says:

    A shit idea – literally.

  12. Julie near Chicago says:

    Ah, the Sinclair! We never had one…our personal computing began with a Vic-20. Alan’s lab did give him one of those suitcase-sized 95-lb. “portables” to use for awhile, though. (She said, brightly.) *g*

    Thanks for the education. Your Speccy, and Basic: Programming really CAN be fun, can’t it!

  13. John Galt says:

    At its most very basic, it kept us off the streets and it taught us the concepts of logic, programming and syntax if nothing else, but Sinclair Basic was a harsh mistress.

    Quite why I still retain a copy of both the Sinclair ZX Spectrum BASIC programming book after 30-years I have no idea….and no Nick – I’m not do “Picks or it didn’t happen” again.

    What kind of idiot, even at 15-years old spends 10 minutes typing in a program for “Frere Gustav” to hear his computer give out a brief mono-aural dirge that would put a tamagotchi to shame.

    I must have been keen as I’ve written in the missing beep codes for G# and A#.

    The names Galt…John Galt….Über Geek!

  14. Simon Jester says:

    MS-DOS 5?


    *I* remember having to support people who only had MSDOS 3.3. Have you ever tried to talk an end-user through editing a .bat file in edlin…?

    (First computer: ZX80 with 8k ROM)

  15. First computer: ZX80 with 8k ROM

    Bloody Luxury!

    First computer: 12-bit PDP-8 with front-panel input

    Since we seem to be repeating Monty Pythons Four Yorkshireman sketch.

  16. Sam Duncan says:

    “Quite why I still retain a copy of both the Sinclair ZX Spectrum BASIC programming book after 30-years I have no idea.”

    Because it’s the finest introduction to programming and basic computer science ever written, that’s why. I never had a copy; for some reason, Sinclair saw fit to replace it with a dumbed-down Dorling-Kindersley “handbook” with lots of pretty pictures for the Spectrum+ and 128K models (in his obsession with design, Sir Clive was almost like Jobs and Wozniak rolled into one; the ZX80, 81, and Speccy were the Woz side, but by the time of the +, the Jobs side was winning). The ZX81 version, which I did do have, is basically the same though, without the extra commands of the Spectrum. The system variables, memory map, and charater sections were different too, of course, and I still have the photocopies I made of the Spectrum’s from a mate’s copy. I wonder if he still has the original.

    There’s a thought, actually: the Raspberry Pi Foundation should ask Steven Vickers to write a manual. They’re big on Python, though, and I suspect that’s not his thing somehow. After the Speccy, he and Richard Atwasser went on to produce the doomed, FORTH-based, Jupiter Ace. Python’s probably too simple for him.

    Crash was awesome, but don’t forget Your Sinclair, probably the most influential computer magazine ever published. Yes, really. Its style spread quickly to other computer and videogame mags, then later to the more general press, partly through imitation, but also via the surprising number of journalists who cut their teeth at Castle Rathbone and the Shed. I sometimes think our entire popular culture has been taken over by YS.

    Tim: fair enough. But there’s no fundamental reason a “real” laptop can’t be as convenient, other than the fact that nobody makes them that way (mainly because of MS Windows and its requirements). The boot time is largely down to software – my Linux desktop boots in 9 seconds, my netbook in 15* – and the Pad’s battery life is mainly due to it using an ARM processor rather than one of Intel’s behemoths, and solid-state storage. The Raspberry Pi pulls about 10 Watts when running flat-out, and runs a full-fat Debian operating system.

    *I’m not including the BIOS self-test here, because that’s another thing you’d change.

    Uh-oh. Looks like you were right, RAB.

    I’ll get me anorak.

  17. John Galt says:

    Present for all those nutters on the bus:

    Sinclair ZX Spectrum BASIC programming book

  18. Kevin B says:

    A picture of me at my first programming job.

  19. NickM says:

    It would appear we are definitely at home to at least four Yorkshiremen.

    I mean I used to chew cogs from wood for my difference engine and boot-up times! Depends how quick the lad shoveled coal etc… Obviously he’d be beaten if he didn’t get a good head of steam up in under two days so I could view images via the clacks of match-girls and guttersnipes. Built the Empire that did!

  20. John Galt says:

    Don’t forget that ARM chips running most of the worlds smart phones were an offshoot of Acorn Computers (ARM being an acronym for Acorn Risk Machine) started by Chris Curry, former partner of Clive Sinclair.

    That technology certainly spreads well…

  21. NickM says:

    It’s RISC – reduced instruction set computer. Much easier to program esp. in machine code because it’s one instruction per spin. Or was. But yeah JG, the British Cambridge computer mafia – Sinclair and Acorn were something else. We were once #3 after the USA and Japan for game coding. We are now #6 because of ITC neducation in schools which is all building spreadsheets (i.e. user not creator stuff) and bores kids to tears. That is what Raspberry Pi is about. Hell’s bollocks! As an undergrad in ’92-’95 I had the web and built little Lego robots controlled from a 386DX programmed in QBasic. That was fun and I got credit for it! But that was Jesse Boot’s academy physics and not the school system’s crap-fest. Hey! We still had BBC Micros for data logging. They were great for the purpose being easy to use if you could grok ‘em (and if you can’t eff off out of the lab!) and were very easy to interface.

  22. RAB says:

    Absolutely Nick, my first computer were a bloody Etch a Sketch…

    But since we have all the geeks gathered together… I have fancied getting a Tablet for all the reasons that Tim mentioned above, but which one?

    I have played with a friends iPad and like it, especially the paint App that Hockney uses, but we already have a Desktop and a laptop, and I am wondering about internet connectivity. If you are out and about in pubs and cafes there is often a free wifi connection going somewhere, but other than on holiday the only place we use the laptop is in house, where it is connected to our broadband or in my mum’s house in Cardiff, and she doesn’t have broadband being 89 and can’t work a video recorder even. So we use a Dongle with the laptop over there. Thing is our pay as you go Vodaphone (top it up in £15 chunks) is friggin useless, painfully slow (you can make a cup of tea and a sandwich while a page is loading). So which tablet would be best to use in those circumstances?

    Some models of iPad have 3g built in, but how do they operate? Are they free? not likely. Do you have to have a monthly contract with some provider? In which case I dont want one, and can I attach the said painfully slow Dongle to a Tablet on the limited occasions I need to do so, cos I’m a tight arsed git who has lots of money because I don’t go round recklessly spending it! :-)

  23. JuliaM says:

    I must congratulate Sam Duncan on the term ‘Apple fondleslab’ – I just spit a mouthful of gin & tonic over mine on reading that, and it cleaned it up a treat! :)

  24. JuliaM says:

    “It would appear we are definitely at home to at least four Yorkshiremen.”

    And I’m the daughter of one!

  25. NickM says:

    I dunno much about tablets but here goes…

    It’ll cost ya to go 3G with one. One way or another. OK, tablet-wise you are looking at the iPad (obviously) and there is also the Google Nexus-7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire. Now the iPad is much the most expensive but… The others are not as cheap as they seem. The entry level Kindle Fire is not worth the bother and there is a nasty little trick – you have to pay GBP20 to get rid of it’s nag-ware which pumps advertising to you whether you like or not (or have 20 quid). AFAIK they are pure wifi though they might have a USB port for a dongle.

    But there is another factor. I have spoken to my mother about it because she’s eckling towards an iPad. I told her it wasn’t a replacement for a lappie (her Acer is ancient). Now here is a thought. Consider a Lenovo Yoga convertible. I’d personally go for a T-430 trad lappie from Lenovo. I like Lenovo. I’ve typed this on one! My point is a Yoga will be cheaper than a lappie and a tablet and having one device rather than two makes life easier – less synching.

    Sorry if that isn’t too helpful. Put I really don’t care for tablets. Too many years temping at 80wpm for that!

    Anyway, I’m watching the doc on 5 about real tech – about the Tsar Bomba which at 57 MT was scaled back with lead tampers from it’s design yield of 100MT. I was born way to late! The Yanks have just blown a bikini off.

  26. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    RAB –

    I got my iPad last March and I’ve never looked back. I’ll second everything Tim said about it. Hell, I’ll double down and say I can’t imagine being without it anymore.

    As for your question: I have the basic WiFi-only model. That’s fine for when I’m in the house and even the garden. I”m with BTInternet so I have access to free BT hotspots around Newcastle, but I find I rarely need the net outside the house. Maybe that’s just me.

    The iPad with 3G does require a contract with a service provider. And the iPad doesn’t have a USB port to plug your dongle into. But there’s another way. Get yourself a personal hotspot device. Basically, it’s a small bit of kit that connects to the net via a dongle and generates a small-range WiFi signal that his iPad can connect to. I’ve not used one myself, but one of my work colleagues has one and he swears by it. That would give you net access at your mum’s.

  27. RAB says:

    Ta Nick and Philip, and that personal hot spot device sounds very interesting, not heard of that before. Aint technology wonderful! I shall pop down Maplins tomorrow and enquire, they’re only just down the hill from me.

    It reminds me of buying our iPod when they first came out, when docking systems to HiFi’s and Car onboard entertainment was pretty much non existent. Then I came across a little cheap as chips device that was in effect a little radio station that plugged into the phones socket. Tune the Car radio and the device to the same frequency, and William is your Relative!

    Well we move at Tortoise speed with technology in our house, so we’ll probably wait until the Tosh laptop goes tits up to upgrade or whatever. But then again maybe not. Very tempted to get an iPad, except typing on the thing is a pain in the arse is it not?

  28. CountingCats says:

    PST, & RAB

    Just about any smartphone is capable of being a wifi router these days. If you have an android phone you are probably carrying a hotspot on your hip anyway.

    RAB, before you buy a pad look at the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

    As to the pad. I have never been able to justify to myself getting one, but my Galaxy S contract expired last month and just after Christmas I treated myself to a Note II. Everything I need in a pad, plus more, all for the cost of a phone.

    Ebook reader, GPS as good as any commercial device, phone, small pad, audio book, holds as many movies as a decent pad (if that’s your bag), the lot. I couldn’t recommend it higher. It will even multi task in multiple windows.

  29. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    RAB –

    Very tempted to get an iPad, except typing on the thing is a pain in the arse is it not?

    Not at all. I initially thought the same. I’m a touch-typist, for heaven’s sake. I figured the on-screen keyboard would be useless. So I bought one of Apple’s ultra-thin aluminium keyboards for about sixty quid. I also bought a case for the keyboards that folds up to make a stand for the iPad. The end result was, basically, a laptop.

    But it turned out that for most day-to-day uses the external keyboard just isn’t necessary. The on-screen keyboard is perfectly adequate.

  30. Julie near Chicago says:

    Thank you, JG:

    “Present for all those nutters on the bus:
    “Sinclair ZX Spectrum BASIC programming book

    That was very helpful.

    /sarc off

    Russian-challengedly yours,

    –J. LOLOL

  31. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    RAB –

    Then I came across a little cheap as chips device that was in effect a little radio station that plugged into the phones socket.

    Yes, the micro-transmitter. I have one I built from a kit a few year ago to programme my pride and joy, a 1949 Brooklyn-built FADA 790. Put a bit of Benny Goodman on the iPhone and it’s like Goodnight Sweetheart is a reailty. :-)

  32. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    @Julie near Chi

    Ah, yes, the Commadore Vic 20.

    In those days I was living in Ann Arbor, at the other end of I94 from you guys. I’d just seen War Games, with Matthew Broderick. I had a major pash on him. I screwed up my meagre student savings and bought myself a Vic 20. It was the best computer I could afford.

  33. CountingCats says:

    Speccie? Vic-20? ZX-80?

    Johnnies come lately, the lot of them.

    Now, when I were a lad….

    I’ll stop there or I will start remarking on how much programming you can do with a hex keypad, 8 digit led display and 256 bytes of memory – and yes, that is 256 bytes, not 256k bytes.

    What do you expect when RAM sold for over a thousand dollars for 64k? 1970′s dollars at that. Two months salary in fact.

  34. John Galt says:

    My apologies Julie, I realise the utter uselessness of a copy of a defunct tech manual, but was just suffering from a bout of home computer nostalgia.

    For those suffering from the same, total immersion is still possible:

  35. Sam Duncan says:

    Julia: I can’t claim credit. It’s one of <a href=””The Register’s.

    I can’t add to the recommendations, Rab, except to say that a friend of mine is very happy indeed with his new Nexus 7. You’re stuck with whatever storage size you buy, though, since there’s no slot for an SD card or suchlike. That’s the deal-breaker for me; otherwise they look almost perfect. (Bootloader unlocked, so you can run any proper OS you fancy on it? Oh, yes…) And good luck finding one: they’re selling like garishly-coloured drinks at a hen night.

  36. Lynne says:

    I went a completely different route – Dragon 32, Atari ST then a basic 086 desktop. I’ve upgraded many times since until I got me an all singing, all dancing beast built by my other half to suit my needs. Lovely jubbly.

  37. Blindcyclistsunion says:

    “Typed on a Lenovo S205″
    Most of which was manufactured by Foxconn.

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