Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Technology Grrr, this is what I do not what I tell you to do, a very long rant.

They say there is no fool like an old fool and old fools like me, for the most part, know damned well that if you let your grip on technology slide it will probably rebound horribly.

Anyway this is one of my occasional posts about the state of my technology, as much for my own information in future as for anyone else’s now.

With the announcement of the newest I-Phone to be released at £1,000 and looking at the prices of the various technological options that I can’t afford, combined with the pile of technology accumulated but unused, either because it was never any good or because it is now out of date, I thought it was about time I did another technology post.   

First how badly can things rebound? I suppose the answer to that is what happens when you personally go wrong, waking up in hospital is always a bit of a leveller. Anyone miss reading this, be assured that I haven’t but have met a few people who have recently. Back in the day there used to be the headphones and even if you couldn’t twiddle the knob then someone would do it for you. Hospital wards for the most part used have a TV too. Nowadays what you are most likely to get in terms of entertainment and connection with the outside word is free wifi and the loan of a phone charger. 

If you wake up in hospital without your phone and headphones, you will have to wait until someone brings them and if you haven’t got, can’t use, then it’s the ultimate pits may be long and silent wait for the grim reaper. If this is all too much to consider I can of course sell you a good book that you haven’t read, we really are pretty good on “I really liked book X what else would I like?” so you carry it around unread in case you have issues.

Now I have three children in full time education and work in a shop with my wife, so this means were we to upgrade everyone to the latest I-Phone it would cost £5,000, which isn’t really shop assistant country.

There is also the cost of the other technology, which essentially will only do what a smartphone does, but will sometimes do it, better, faster, louder, larger or wosisname.

I am writing this on a Windows PC with Windows 10 operating system and have just used my mobile phone to take a picture of it, which has automatically uploaded onto the internet and will be already there when I paste this post into blogger and go to add the pictures.

Anyway the last time we replaced five phones was about a year ago, the cost was about £130 each, this was mainly because of the previous Android operating systems and the amount of memory on the phones, rather than breaking them or losing them.

The main issues with mobile phones for us, in descending order, starting with the worst have been, battery life, operating system getting too out of date, not enough memory, physical ware and tare.

Personally I reckon that it is better to get a cheaper new phone than an expensive one secondhand, last time this was 4x  “OUKITEL K6000 Pro 5.5"4G Android 6.0 Octa Core Smartphone 3GB+32GB 16MP Touch ID” obviously a year has passed and this is now a dated phone so probably  not the one to buy now.

The camera is reasonably good and I use it for nearly all of the photos that appear on this blog, although I use A Better Camera app as this means I can lock the camera on infinity and take snapshots outside with out waiting for it to focus.

I have mentioned this phone in previous blog posts, here is the link to them https://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=oukitel

The main pro to it is the battery life, which means it doesn’t go flat on me or my children, so when asked, they are sticking with theirs too.

My wife has a Wileyfox phone which has a better camera, better wifi connectivity but not the long battery life which is the priority for me and the children.

Computer wise for the most part it’s Windows 10 that we use, and looking at the blog statistics it seems that it is Android Phones and Windows computers that most people use.


There has been a change recently with Microsoft, with a shift away from trying to sell you a new operating system to trying to rent you software and it is important to be aware of this.

The main issue if you have a Windows computer is likely to be updates, if you have your computer set on automatically update then this sometimes gets stuck and needs sorting out using the Windows update website. The secondary issue is programs that get downloaded by mistake, mainly virus checkers. Windows 10 has its own virus checker Windows Defender, it’s free and seems to work adequately. The old issue of forgetting of forgetting to untick the box saying “would you also like to install McGonagall’s poetry”

Sometimes you can get rid of these issues and you have to wipe the whole computer and start again. This brings us to the issue of where do you store the stuff that you don’t want to wipe?

Here we are talking about access to a very big computer, either for free or by paying various amounts for the pleasure. This is called cloud computing and I use Google Drive and Google Photos to do this. So what can you do with the cloud. You can use it as backup in case one of you technological lumps beaks or gets lost. You can use it instead of finding the right lead to shift things from one you technological lump to another, or you can have everything going on on several lumps at the same time.  

I was writing this blog post on MS Word mainly because I am lazy and it’s better a capitalisation than Google docs, however come lunchtime and wanting to go on writing it, I pasted it into a Google drive document which I can open on my phone, laptop and this PC in the shop, all at the same time if I want and add to it as I see fit.

So what am I actually using on the tech front at the moment? One smartphone, one fairly ancient Windows 10 computer on my desk in the bookshop, one fairly ancient Windows 10 laptop, one secondhand bridge camera and one folding bluetooth keyboard.

Technology I hardly use but that is still being used, DSLR camera, essentially replaced by the phone camera but still used to take the pictures for the stock on the shelves bookshop site http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/browsethebooks/ Android tablet, taught me to use my phone much better but in the end not used as I use my phone instead of it but now used in the bookshop.

I find that I can do everything on an Android phone that I can do on an Android tablet and as I can access the great big computer at Google can do pretty much everything I can do on the PC or laptop, using that remotely.

I cart around the following bits of wire which allow me to use my phone to charge other people’s devices and for me to connect the bridge camera to the phone so I can publish pictures I have taken with it onto the internet.

Thoughts on the extra tech lumps.

Camera wise, for most things, the camera in the phone is good enough and performs most of what I used various digital cameras for in the past. In most cases I would say that most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a shot of Ramsgate Custom House, taken in normal daylight, using a £100 smartphone form one taken using a £1,000 digital camera.

The recent exception to this has been the bridge camera. This really started out because of wearing reading glasses during this summer. I find it much easier to use a camera with a viewfinder that has optical correction.

To explain this further. There is a little knob by the viewfinder that compensates for my reading glasses which means that when I look into the viewfinder, not only can I see what I am taking a picture of, but can read all setting inside. This is no new thing the slr I had in 1972 did the same thing, although I didn’t need reading glasses then.

My dslr is too big and heavy to cart around with my painting equipment, so I too to going into the Cex Shops in the various local High Streets, here is their website https://uk.webuy.com/ and trying any smallish digital camera with a viewfinder, that was under about £50.

What sold me on the Canon Bridge was the zoom. These are all photos taken standing in the same place at the same time using various levels of zoom.



now it may be that the £1,000 phone can do this too, and I think my dslr could with the right lens and a tripod.

The pictures above use a mixture of digital and optical zoom and assume having the camera already set on low enough quality for sensible internet publishing, around 500 KB per picture, if you already have the camera set on maximum quality they you won't get any digital zoom.

The folding keyboard that works with the phone is another essential for me. 

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