iPhone People…

Are smartphones killing polite conversation? Personally I find that my attention span seems to get shorter and shorter the smarter my phone is, when there is a lull in the conversation it’s sometimes easier to quickly check Twitter or Facebook than it is to try and re-engage the conversation. Perhaps there is a hope in the back of minds that something on Twitter will be usable as a starter for the next short burst of conversation. The cycle then repeats it’s self ad nauseum…

I acknowledge it’s rude, I’m not sure that there is an equivalent pre smart phone behaviour, I guess if you always carried around a magazine or a book and popped it open during a lull in the conversation that would be similar, somehow that is less socially acceptable though, I’d never consider reading a paragraph of a book midway through a chat with someone but for some reason I find siren song of Twitter almost impossible to resist. I’m sure there are studies that could be conducted on the subject of why in our heads we think it’s okay to glance at Twitter or Facebook despite that fact that it’s essentially telling the person or people that you are talking to that they are not worthy of your full attention.

Perhaps it’s something that has evolved around the way we use our phones? If you receive a text message, I’d say it’s perfectly acceptable to quickly glance at it and if required quickly respond, maybe in our heads that’s how we justify it? On the other hand I’m sure most of us have been in a situation where someone is blatantly having a really heated conversation with someone else via text message, I think there is a point where is just crosses the line, I’m not sure where that line is and I think that’s the issue. Is there a rate of text message replies per hour that makes it rude? I think it’s a bit subjective, but it’s very easy to slip from being polite to whomever has texted you by providing a prompt and swift reply to being rude to the person who you are physically with. Twitter makes it easier to cross that line I think…

Don’t even get me started on people who pull out their phones and play games in the middle of conversation…

Via Suicide Geeks.

The Clocks Went Forward on Sunday Morning… Or Did They?

On Sunday at 1AM the clocks went forward an hour in the UK, that is the official UK time changed from GMT to British Summer Time (BST) I was at a party at the point which lead to the inevitable is it actually 3 O’Clock or is it 2 O’Clock, has my phone automatically gone forward or not… I think these days most phone automatically set themselves forward if you are set to a timezone where that is relevant, computers likewise will automatically change the time unless you have told them not to.

To be honest those two devices are my core method of telling the time, sure I own a myriad of watches, but I’m one of those people who despite owning multiple watches forgets to actually wear them. I’ve also got a few clocks strewn about the house, one in the living room, one on the microwave and a bedside alarm clock among others. The thing is for almost all the clocks in the house I didn’t have to change the time. Not because they are super smart clocks that automatically change in synch with daylight savings though, but because I never bothered to change them when the clocks went were rolled back, so now they tell the right time again.

I view this not as laziness however but as a mental exercise, knowing which clocks are not telling the right time and by how much they are off keeps me on toes. At least that’s what I like to tell myself. Also it confuses any house guests I get, which provides me with no end of amusement.

I hazard a guess however that many clocks will not have been reset on Sunday, out of pure laziness either because they magically started telling the right time having been an hour off for 6 months, or because the people who own them are too lazy or distracted to remember to change the time on them. Then of course there are the clocks which no one can figure out how to change, like the ones in your car, inevitably when you are getting in your car you are doing so with the intent of using the car for it’s primary purpose, getting you from A to B. You don’t have time to sit there wondering about the inner workings of the in dash clock, which invariable requires you to hold down half a dozen buttons, put your car into the correct gear and drive forwards or backwards a number of metres equal to the number of minutes you want to change the clock by. It’s just too complicated most of the time and to be honest it’s easier to just remember that the clock is off by an hour.

Is choice a bad thing in consumer electronics?

I’ve been thinking about getting a tablet PC for some time now and I’ve been humming and hawing whether to get an Android tablet like the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, or whatever one is getting the most media attention at the moment. My other option is to get an iPad 2; now I was initially skeptical about the iPad when it launched, it lacked several features that I thought were “essential” at the time, was too expensive, and was locked in Apple’s legendary walled garden etc.

As time goes on however I’m warming to the iPad, those essential features don’t seem so essential, the price although just as expensive seems to be the same as all the other tablets on the market, plus the iPad seems to be the only one that is available subsidised with a data tarrif in the UK. As for the walled garden… I have to admit having used an iPad it’s a really nice garden. I mean it’s no garden of eden, but… I’m going to stop that metaphor before I start talking about being chucked out of the garden for eating an Apple.

Anyway, I look at the Android landscape and it’s constantly changing, there are countless articles that compare the “best Android tablets” on the market, but by the time you read the article it’s already obsolete because bigger better more powerful tablets have been released.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is awesome, I really like the Android ecosystem and I love my Android phone.

There is an implicit “but” in that last sentence though, the “but” is that my top of the line HTC Desire was obsolete 3-4 months after I got it, I’m not looking at all the cool Tegra2 powered smart phones with envy. Okay it’s a year later now, and my phone contract is nearing an end, but I wanted a Desire HD when that came out, and there has been phone after phone that I’ve thought hey that’s pretty cool I want that.

Before I went Android it was the constant Stream of Nokia phones that filled me with envy, not sooner had you bought a new Nokia phone then they would release a new one with a slightly better screen, slightly enhanced camera, or one cool new feature. They just kept on coming, no manufacturer should make you regret buying one of their products, but that is how I’ve always felt with phones, there is always a better one around the corner, so how long do you wait?

This is where I think Apple may have stumbled onto something, with Apple you know where you stand, they will without fail release a new iPhone every year, and it seems that this policy is being extended to the iPad. this new phone/Tablet will provide an incremental upgrade to the previous one, so if you are a gadget whore you will want to get the latest and greatest but if you aren’t it’s okay if you skip a generation. This works well with the 18-24 month contracts that carriers are pushing these days, you can comfortably buy on release date and be happy with your phone/tablet for two years before it’s time to get the next iteration.

Apple also subscribe to the Highlander “There can be only one” strategy, all iPhones are created equal, the only difference is the size of the solid state drive, you don’t have to worry about getting the one with the better processor or the one with or without GPS or Bluetooth, or WiFi or whatever other sparkly feature, they all have the exact same features. The same applies to the iPad except that you have the choice of 3G or not, although arguably if you wanted a non 3G iPhone you can get an iPod touch (Don’t call it an iTouch, Apple employees hate that).

So yeah, from a consumers point of view there is something comforting in the knowledge that there isn’t going to be a bigger better badder, more sparkly phone/tablet coming out in a months time to make your once shiny but now quite dull one look like a turd with a touchscreen.

From a manufacturers point of view Apple’s iPhone team have a year to focus on building the best possible iPhone they can without being distracted by releasing half a dozen different other phones in the interim, they have one product one live version of the OS and one dream (okay I just like having things in three’s because it sounds better they probably don’t have one dream).

Whether or not I get an Android tablet or an iPad 2 is still up in the air, I’m probably going to play the waiting game a little longer, but how much longer? I don’t know.