Something very unusual (and some jargon explained)

By | January 15, 2013
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Something unusual this time!  But first a question I’ve been asked a few times lately, answered.

Different versions of the same website…
One thing I get asked occasionally is about webpages and how they work on tablet PCs & mobile phones.  The screens are much smaller than on a normal PC, so how do you fit a full webpage on?  If you just shrunk it to fit the screen (or “zoomed out”) you wouldn’t be able to read anything… but if the writing was full size you’d hardly fit any of the screen on.

So how does it work?

Well, websites that are designed to work on mobile phones have a separate version specifically for mobile phones.  The website is clever enough to work out what you’re viewing it on and display the right version.

For example, if you go to on a PC, it’ll show you the normal version.  But if you go to it on a mobile phone it’ll automatically take you to , which is a different version designed to work better on a mobile phone.  And small tablet PCs will get the mobile version, too.

Some websites even have different versions for the different type of tablet – one version for an ipad, another for a Google Nexus and so on…  But the most important thing is that they’re designed to fit into the smaller screen and not to have tiny little buttons you need to tap or click, because you’re using your fingers and it might be hard to be precise enough if the buttons are very small.

A useful website: Something very unusual…
If you’ve got my book “Computers one Step at a Time” you might know that the idea came about after I was jotting down some notes to help my Dad with his PC and thought “Why isn’t there a book like this”.  Well, it seems to have worked – he gets a lot more out of his PC than he used to.  But it’s not often he tells me about something new.

(I’m sure Dad wouldn’t mind me saying it’s not often… I hope he wouldn’t mind, anyway, as I know he sometimes reads my newsletters… if I have a clipped ear next time, you know what happened…)

Recently, though, Dad told me about a nifty website that I didn’t know about.

It’s and it’s for if you need to send a parcel.  There are lots fo courier companies that will take parcels and even pick them up from your house and this website lets you put in the details of what you want to send and it’ll recommend the best/cheapest courier to use for that particular parcel.

Handy for sending toy ride-on tractors, for example!

I suppose it’s most likely to be useful at Christmas-time, but it could be handy during the rest of the year too.

Computer Jargon: is there really such a word as “phablet”?
I’m inclined to say no.  It’s a cross between a phone and a tablet PC – the idea is it’s a tablet PC that’s a bit smaller or a mobile phone that can access the internet and has an unusually large screen for a phone.  It seems daft to me – what’s wrong with saying “Large phone” or “small tablet”?

But some people are using it, so it’s worth knowing what it means so you don’t get confused when you hear it.

(Apparently the word tablet is French and phone is Greek, so the words shouldn’t really be combined.  I’m reminded of the quote “Television?  The word is half Greek, half Latin.  No good will come of it.”  Then again, much the same was true of the Byzantine Roman Empire and that lasted a reasonable time…)

Well, that’s all for this time