It giveth and it taketh away

By | August 27, 2018
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Technology – it giveth and it taketh away.

Don’t worry, I’m not getting all philosophical on you. This isn’t a long diatribe about whether technology is good for you or anything like.

It’s about something more down-to-earth: Buttons.

Not the chocolate kind or the kind that stops your trousers falling down. The kind you press on a mouse or other gadget. Or even the kind that are on the screen of a tablet or phone where it looks like a physical button but really you’re just tapping the screen to use it.

Generally, devices have fewer buttons nowadays. Mobile phones used to have loads – one for each number so you could dial, for a start.

Now many have only three or four – an on button and ones for turning the volume up and down and maybe one other. Other things appear on the screen when you need them.

The trend is definitely towards fewer buttons.

But if you use Google Chrome as your web browser on a tablet or phone, you might have noticed a new button appear, albeit one of the ones where it just appears on the screen and you tap it, not a physical one.

It’s just to the left of the place you type in the web address you’re looking or whatever your searching for, near the top, where the home button used to be.

It’s meant to look like a tiny picture of a newspaper article – with a square meant to represent a picture and two lines for lines of writing.

If you tap on it, it’ll give you a selection of news articles – and not just from one newspaper or website. It gets articles from all sorts of places.

But the clever bit is it uses what you’ve read on the web before to try to find news you’ll be particularly interested in.

When I tried it, I got a list of articles about Formula 1 racing, some music (mostly articles about guitars or about particular musicians I’m a fan of) and some technology articles.  All things I read about on the web.  And several of the articles it suggested looked interesting to me.

I’m not sure whether I’ll use it. Generally when I want to read something on the web, I’m after something in particular. But it might be interesting to use it to find about things I didn’t know to look for – unexpected news that’s about something I’m interested in.

Anyway, if you have Chrome on a phone or tablet and this button has appeared, it might be worth giving it a try. If it hasn’t appeared for you yet, don’t worry, they often roll things like this out gradually so they might have not got to you yet!

Buttons on a mouse
I mentioned about the buttons on a mouse earlier and it occured to me there are few things not everyone knows.

So if you use a mouse on a PC or laptop, here are a few things worth knowing.

You probably know that (with a normal mouse that’s set up normally) the left hand mouse button is the main one – the one you click for most things. Then there’s also a right button, which can be useful now and again.

The right hand button is often used to bring up a little menu. If you’re ever not sure how to do a particular thing, it’s often worth trying clicking the right mouse button on whatever it is.

For example, if you have some text and you want to make it bold or italic and don’t know how… try right clicking on it.

If you have an email and you don’t know how to tell the PC it’s not spam, try right clicking on it.

You’ll often get a little menu pop up that gives you the option you’re after.

But a lot of mice have other buttons as well – sometimes a bit hidden away.

Some have buttons hidden on the side, where your thumb goes. Yours might not, but it’s worth a look. If it does, they probably act as “back” and “forward” buttons if you’re browsing the web. The forward button probably isn’t that useful, but the back button can be – it does the same thing as clicking on the back button in the top left of the browser screen.

And you probably have a wheel between the two mouse buttons – that’s usually a button, too. Press it down and your mouse usually goes into a mode where you can move it up and down to scroll the page up and down.

Personally I don’t tend to use that but you might find it handy… and at the very least if it now happens to you by accident, you now know what’s happened – all you need to do is click that middle button again and it’ll go back to normal.

So there you go – I was hoping to end with an awful joke about this email having been worth buttons, but can’t quite make it work, so you’ve escaped that! Have a good week!

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