When lightning strikes…

By | June 11, 2018
This content is 6 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind. Thank you.

I’ve got a few things for you today. Though one of them isn’t really from me…

First, though, you might have noticed lots of fuss in the papers about iOS12, the latest update to Apple’s iPhones and iPads.

From the way some of them are getting excited you might think it’s something completely new.

Well, if you have an iPad or iPhone, don’t worry. For a start, the new version of iOS (that’s the system that “runs” the iPhone or iPad) won’t be out until September – and even then, it’ll only be available on brand new phones bought in September.

If you already have a newish iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to get the new version of iOS sometime after that.

But the main reason I’d say don’t worry too much is that it isn’t really looking like being that much of a change. The main thing they’ve concentrated on is making it crash less and run a bit faster, especially on older phones. Good stuff, but it won’t make any difference to how you use it.

Then there are a bunch of what I call “bits and pieces” changes – where they’ve added the odd thing and tweaked how specific apps work, rather than changing anything across the whole device.

I’ll go through the main changes nearer the time, but for now, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

When lightning strikes…
I don’t know if you saw the thunder and lightening (well, heard the thunder I suppose but you know what I mean) a week or so ago. There wasn’t much up here in Cumbria but we saw some when we went down to Rochdale to visit Julie’s mum.

But further south I know there was a lot more. And one reader sent me an interesting email about it. I was going to tell you about what he told me because I thought it was interesting… but instead it’s simpler to just copy what he said:

I don’t know if you’re aware of a website called Lightningmaps.org but my son recently introduced me to it. If you click the link below it will take you to a map of the south east of England, (where I live), but you can move to any part of the UK. In fact at the top left you will see options for Europe, Oceania and America. Every time there is a flash of lightning an Orange dot appears to mark the spot. Unless or until you have a storm where you are you obviously won’t see how it works, but during the the storms we had in the southeast on Saturday night my son tells me it was going mad. I’m in my seventies but can’t remember a storm like it. Usually you get a pause between lightning flashes but on Saturday they were almost continuous; I would think something like 40-50 flashes a minute for probably near an hour, so you can imagine the map covered in hundreds, if not thousands, of Orange dots.
If you click on the speaker symbol in top right hand corner, you will get a circle centred around the orange spot that slowly increases in diameter. This indicates the progress of the thunder. Yesterday while I was at my son’s there was another storm and at one point we observed a lightning flash on the map which we knew was about six miles away. We watched the circle grow and at the time the circle reached his house we heard the thunder, but given that thunder (a sound) travels at a specific speed it ought not to be too difficult to work out its progress.
The information I have given is based on use on a PC, but if you Google Lightningmaps.org there is the option for an App which might work slightly differently.

Wishing you an early thunderstorm (so you can test it)

Chances are there won’t be a thunderstorm while you’re reading this but when I tried it, I looked around the map of Europe and there was one off the coast of Italy, so I could zoom in on that area and have a look. I’ve now bookmarked it ready for next time there’s lightning near us.  Here’s the link if you want to have a look.

Thanks, Ken!

Survive and Thrive in The Digital Age
You know, I’ve been writing these emails for over 12 years now and the other day I was looking back to some of the early ones.

It was interesting how much things have changed even since then – first I was writing just about computers, then tablets and phones as well.

Nowadays I throw in the occasional thing about anything from smartTVs to wifi controlled heating. Not to mention all the other ways technology affects day to day life.

It’s really not just about the devices you own anymore – not just about PCs, tablets and phones.

Of course, you still want to know how to use whatever type of device you have, but that’s only part of it… for a start until you know what’s out there (either devices or things you can do with them) you can’t know whether you want to do that thing… or have that type of device.

And unless you know a bit about what’s out there, it won’t make sense when people talk about it to you or tell you “you really must do such and such”.

So recently I’ve been working on a book to make sense of the modern, digital world. A kind of “lifebelt for modern life” or “handbook for living nowadays in the digital world”.

The working title is Survive and Thrive in The Digital Age and it covers both how to make the most of the stuff that can help you – that can help you have more fun, save time or even save money… and how to deal with the stuff that could otherwise be a pain in the neck.

Anyway, it’s not quite finished yet (nearly!) so you can’t order it yet, but I thought I’d let you know what I’m working on.

More on this shortly…

One thought on “When lightning strikes…

  1. Eryl Bassett

    The lightning app mentioned near the end is (for Android at least) Blitzortung. It gives location information about recent (e.g. last 30 mins) storms, and enables users to get an idea of the direction of movement. The two apps complement one another neatly.


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