My most recent tech purchase was an Amazon Kindle. It wasn’t an easy one mind you. Life was beginning to get a bit expensive and I was trying to not spend any money other than on the essentials, but with a week-long trip to Juba in the coming week and a near 20 hour plane journey ahead I decided it would be worth the purchase. In the end I plumped for the bog standard, no frills, with-buttons, wifi-only, £89 version. And it only came in grey.
My previous experiences with e-Readers hadn’t been great. I’d tried to use “Books” on the iPad without much success. I even bought Stephen Fry’s most recent book in an attempt to push me into using the device as an e-Reader. This didn’t work. The device is too heavy to use as an e-Reader. I couldn’t hold it for too long before I needed to move my arms, change my position, even rest the iPad on something else. In the end I gave up because using the iPad to read simply became something I didn’t want to do.
During my recent trip to Juba I encountered an office which was suffering from a collection of viruses on its computers. The AVG installation had a license which had expired some months before and this had left most of the computers exposed. A new license had been bought but this was too late for some machines who had already succumbed to a number of viruses.
One particular machine was being used by a good friend and he kept a collection of important documents on a USB stick which he carried round with him everywhere. Unfortunately in the past couple of days this had been attacked by a virus and all of his folders on the stick had been converted into shortcuts which pointed to a copy of the virus stored away in a hidden “Recycler” folder. The aim here was to infect any PC on which he tried to open a folder from the USB stick.
I’ll be the first to admit it, I have an over-reliance on technology. There are some things I don’t carry around with me simply because they’ve all been replaced by some gadget or other.
On a recent trip to Juba I had a stop-over in Cairo. The airline had put me up in a nice hotel just outside the airport and I was all booked and checked-in on the flight out to Juba the next morning. The problem was I needed to be up nice and early, with enough time to get some breakfast, check-out and be back at the airport for 7.30am.
When you’re at home this is no problem as I suspect most of us have a dedicated alarm clock on our bedside table. When you’re travelling you obviously don’t pack everything and technology can be fantastic when you need to economise. Devices such as your mobile phone can do many tasks that remove the necessity of carrying extra items in your luggage; an alarm clock being one of them.
I’m sat in Heathrow Terminal 3, waiting for my flight to Cairo. In the Business Lounge I’m in there sits a row of eight Apple Mac’s. 22″ models (Hang on, just checking into Foursquare!). Imagine my utter despair when I found that they’ve all had Windows XP installed on them! Someone actually made that decision to install XP onto an Apple Mac.
If we rewind the clock just a little bit to this morning, when I was going through the various bits of information I have on paper for this trip, I thought it would be nice to have something in which I could just setup my flight details and quickly check the scheduled time, gates etc. Initially I wondered which device – iPad or Windows Mobile. The iPad is a difficult device to pull out of your pocket when you want to check details, so the phone it was. Off to the Windows Phone Marketplace and a quick search turned me towards an app called FlightTrack.
Before the blog starts to whitter on about new tech, new application purchases, features and functionality found and how use of tech has helped or hindered me it’s probably useful to get a baseline written of what tech I currently have and what I use day to day.
First off, desktop computers.
At home it’s a 27″ Apple Mac.
At work, a Dell Optiplex running Windows 7
The Mac also runs Parallels, which through the use of a Watchguard VPN allows me to connect Outlook to my work mailbox. My own personal mail is collected in Mail on the Mac. At work I’m a Development Director for a software company so most of my time is spent in Visual Studio 2010 and now 2012, Outlook and YouTrack, our bug tracking/ticket software from JetBrains.