Pet peeves online

phone numbers This week I am part of the laptop roll out for our Year 9 students. I am really looking forward to it. One of the things all the instructors teach as part of setting up the laptop is for students not to put their own address and phone number onto the laptop. We have a bona fide work around to keep them safe. It is a good message for them and their parents in terms of online safety and parents seem to appreciate it. So one of my pet peeves at the moment is sites which want my phone number as part of the registration. Needless to say, they don’t get it. Then this afternoon is the second time I was going to download a programme online only to find out they want my address and my phone number. Why? I accept if I am ordering by post I need to furnish an address and a phone number where I can be contacted should there be a supply or delivery problem. Not when I am downloading. Sorry. So now I haven’t made those purchases and have gone elsewhere. Why wouldn’t I be practising what I teach and why the sudden urge for companies to want my personal details? No, no and no. My other pet peeve with these online downloads is you have to check very carefully whether you are renting or buying and what the licensing agreement is. You might be thinking you are purchasing software you can use. You then discover the licence needs to be renewed after a year or you are limited to one computer and that might only be ONE computer. You load it onto a computer and then find if you want to change to another computer (computers do wear out!) you are no longer entitled to a licensed copy of the software. Please check licensing agreements before you purchase.

My two other current pet peeves are not related to software nor privacy issues. The first is Twitter. On and on and on – the same thing is repeated and repeated and repeated. I know retweeting counts and is important but it is so mind numbing when the same thing is repeated far too many times. This is not effective communication. It’s made me think I won’t retweet and that’s a shame in a way. It is how someone can know they have tweeted something worthwhile. We need a better way.

My last pet peeve for now is pixellated pictures. Don’t use them. Don’t put up a blurry picture. Either don’t use it or get a crystal clear version. It’s worse with HD screens which are so good you can tell when male politicians are wearing foundation and pink lipstick. On lower resolution it tends not to be so annoying but devices are coming with very good screens now so we need top quality pictures. It is something I show my students as we are preparing our presentations. On a whiteboard they can see the bad impact of a pixellated picture and then make a huge effort, in my experience, to get some really good quality images.

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