“It just works”… really?

By | May 11, 2015
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First of all – sorry for my incompetence! Last time I gave you a link to the ebook about Windows 10 – only the link got garbled and didn’t work. The real link is here. If you haven’t looked at it yet and might be interested in Windows 10 (or are just curious), then it’s worth a look. I think it’s going to be a big improvement over Windows 8. Rumours are it’ll be out in July – not too far off!

Now onto something different…

A clever idea from Apple
A lot of technology is complicated – it has to be to make it work. And sadly, some of the ways you use it is complicated, too.

But some of the best ideas are really simple – and I think something Apple have introduced on the iPhone is a great idea. (I suspect Google will shortly do the same on Android phones.)

When your iPhone is in “standby” mode, you need to wake it up to be able to make a call. And you can set it so you need a sort of password to do that – so if you lose it, other people can’t use it to make calls or check your personal details. Sensible enough – and that’s been true for ages.

But they’ve recently changed it so you can make emergency calls without knowing the password – so you can call 999.

It’s a good idea. If you have an iPhone and are out for a walk and get knocked unconscious by a bus (say) and someone who’s trying to help doesn’t have a mobile, they can use yours to ring for an ambulance, even if they can’t unlock it properly.

But that’s not the only thing that’s new. You can also add health information into this screen. For example, if you’re diabetic or suffer from epilepsy. So not only can they use your phone to ring for help, they can tell the doctors about your condition.

I know there are wristbands for diabetics and so on… but this lets you put much more detail in.

It’s a simple idea – letting this one bit of info be accessed even when the phone is otherwise locked. And of course, it only works if you actually put this information into the phone! But it’s a great facility for the phones to have.

It just could save lives.

What’s the difference between…
I spotted the other day that lots of people get confused between “predictive typing” and “autocorrect”. Even some websites telling you how to do things get them mixed up, which makes it really confusing!

Both tend to be particularly common on touchscreen tablets and smartphones – but PCs can use them too. Here’s the difference:

Autocorrect tries to correct when you make a mistake when typing. For example if you type in “teh” it might change it to “the” (my computer just did and I had to change it back again!)

It’s just trying to correct mistakes – I find it useful so it looks like my spelling is better than it is! (Though occasionally it means I end up with the American spelling if the program hasn’t been set to UK English.)

Predictive typing, on the other hand, is really trying to save you time and effort. It guesses what you’re typing and gives you the chance to accept its suggestion, either by pressing enter (often on a PC) or by tapping the option that’s correct (on a tablet or smartphone). It’s a bit like “autocomplete” which is when a web browser finishes off a web address or something else for you because you’ve typed it in before.

Or if you’re typing “Sincerely Yours” at the end of a letter on an iPad, you might get as far as “Sinc” and it’ll realise what you’re up to and give you the option of just tapping a little box with “Sincerely Yours” in to save typing it all out.

It’s similar to what’s normally called “predictive text”, which is when a phone guess what’s word you’re typing on a little keypad that only has buttons for the numbers, so each has several letters on… but not quite the same.

“It just works” – really?
It’s funny, actually. (Funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha.) One of the things that Apple in particular say about the iPad (and other companies say about their tablets) is that “It just works”.

The idea is that it isn’t as fiddly to use as a PC and doesn’t go wrong in the same way.

It’s not true, though. I’ll accept that maybe they don’t cause quite as many problems, but they still do go wrong, get into a pickle and leave you wondering “How do I get such and such working again?”
Things like the device mysteriously turning itself off, that I mentioned last time.

There are lots of other different problems. Lots are easy to solve – if you know how. Others are quite tricky and you need to know exactly what steps to take.

Anyway, more about this shortly…

2 thoughts on ““It just works”… really?

  1. Ray Mugford

    Many thanks for the information re Windows 10……
    However, much like the garbled link previously, I cannot get further than the blue diamond with Windows 10 in the middle!! Me? or another malfunction?? Sorry to bother you, but would love to read about 10!
    Ray Mugford.

    1. Tim Post author

      that’s the first page (well, the cover, really, I suppose, if it was a paper book) – if you scroll down or use the cursor right keys (or the page down key) you should see each page in turn!
      Hope that helps.


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