Internet of Things

We are pretty good at labelling things and then making them seem real. When the net first took off in the 90s we were using it how we wanted and we were saving to our computers or 1.44MB floppie disks. We had fun downloading programmes of our own choice to run on our computers. The desktop became the laptop became the tablet became the smartphone. We now have streaming and cloud services. Programmes became software became apps. Everything has a chip in it. We can do computer diagnostics on our cars and we have life saving monitoring equipment in hospitals. Every bit of a pregnancy and birth is monitored and tracked on a computer. Cars cannot get us easily from one place to another because of roadworks and infrastructure changes. The internet of things isn’t what they say it is but it is. It does exist and it can serve us well. We can have a smart home if we want one. We can sometimes navigate our way out of a difficult driving situation if we need to. We can connect with businesses and organisations in a helpful , effective way if necessary. We never have to live in ignorance or feel disconnected because we have internet access and we have technology tools which link us and help us to collaborate , share and grow ideas.

The problem appears to be that we are not driving it. We are being driven.  Our photos are hijacked helpfully to the cloud. Tabloid news is bingly bonging onto our devices whenever it wants to. Adverts will hang a device or a computer because they feel like it. Our privacy has been ignored and our capacity to develop our own way of being with our device has been overridden. We now have world class gamers which the gaming industry cannot keep up with. They can finish a new game and then be waiting several months for  a new game to come out. They are very good at what they do. They think at the speed of light and can process information and strategy at awesome speeds but the games are complex and take time to make. The gamers don’t want to be held in a holding pattern until something new arrives and virtual reality isn’t appealing to them much at the moment. We haven’t addressed that level of complexity. We created it but we can’t deal with it.

So many people are walking away from technology other than for essential services and contact because is has become TheirNet and no longer MyNet. The upsurge of board games is an interesting by product of that. Monopoly, Cluedo and Ludo , in particular, are enjoying new found success. People are dumping their smartphones because of all the notifications, interfering buttons and screens and lack of capacity to just do something. They are buying cheap phones which  call and message. Just like in the 90s when a phone did what you wanted. The ever growing minimalist movement is doing a lot to counterbalance and rationalise this internet of things because it isn’t what we were thinking. It exists but we need time to think about what we need and want. We need clarity but we also need our own personal space on the net which is ours and not theirs.

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Google photos

no photos

 

Google photos is designed to take the weight off your phone/tablet storage which is increasingly a problem in a world where we take and share photos and we want to be able to show photos to others. More and more people are making videos to post too. You can’t keep everything on your phone so cloud storage is possibly your answer. You don’t necessarily want Google to always back up and sync what you do . You are not able to delete the photos from Google photos . You can only archive them which isn’t right in my opinion. When we were in control of our devices we decided what we kept an what we deleted. Phone/tablet images are used for all sorts of reasons these days and some of that might be sensitive information. I should not be here making a case for anyone having control over their own images.

With Google Photos sync and back up you might want to switch that off and back up images you want when you want. The instructions for Android devices are here on know your mobile. Newatlas explains it from an iPhone point of view but also looks at the reasons you might want to be using Google photos and the advantages. The decision is yours and all I can say is what I have said before  – always check your settings.

Take better pictures with your phone

You learn something very day. I was doing some work on images related to colour yesterday and the images just were not the same as the things I was photographing and I didn’t know enough to improve the situation. The colour yesterday was important. It has not really been an issue before. I have occasionally noticed my phone is not representing a colour accurately but in the scheme of things it hasn’t been a problem. Yesterday it was.  Time to fill the learning gap. Yes, I could use an SLR or one of my digital cameras. They have a better colour representation. Some phones display better colour than others. It all gets very technical. I can adjust the light and contrast. I can play with the display settings. I tried changing the light to no avail. Gizmodo has an overview of devices and displays and some of it relates to having devices which calibrate better automatically. My phone is good on automatic image clarity but not complex colours. UX-stackexchange emphasises looking on your phone for what affects display and colour and considers some of the issues. CNET looks at how you can use filters to improve image colour. Lifehacker comes up with a number of ideas for improving phone images. It is a matter of looking through the information and trying out  the ideas  one at a time so you are clear as to which ones are the best for your phone.

Device ergonomics

microwave radiationIt is important to constantly remind ourselves about computer ergonomics so that we don’t fall foul of what appears to be easy use devices. One of the biggest concerns is children’s use of devices. Their bodies absorb microwaves more effectively than adult bodies. You can read information on collective-evolution  and environmental health trust.  

Given we are surrounded by technology it is very difficult for us to deal with these issues. We need a clear picture and we need a clear process. The video supplies some very helpful information about trackpad use. Even phones and tablets become track pads as we use them with gesturing. It’s important we listen to people who know what they are talking about.

canscribe has set up a list of things to check for office and home office ergonomics . It can operate as a checklist and a reminder. Looking after ourselves in a technological environment is as vital as when we looked at the issues in industrial areas and environments.

 

iOS 11 tips and tricks

iOS 11 has been beta tested since June 5th this year. Its official public release will be 19th September . Next week! I could have picked a shorter video but the one I have selected is well made and goes through everything you could possibly want to know about iOS 11. It does have a lot of features and it differs from previous iOS versions because there really is an emphasis on gesturing and features. A lot of people don’t get the best out of their devices because they are unaware of what they can actually do. Take 15 minutes to learn about iOS 11 and you’ll not only know a lot, you’ll get more out of your Apple phone and devices. There are 20 tips on techradar to help you too but the one about annoying Android friends could probably have been left out.

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