Tag Archives: technology

How the iPad saved the day

Part 2 of The Power of Technology

 

 

 

Previously I set the scene for my repressed paranoia about keeping hard copies of everything and filing them away just in case. I admit I’m a horder and take after my father who, no matter what you might need in a crisis, seems to be able to lay his hands on it. Well, here I carry on with the tale of how the iPad saved the day in a (mini) crisis.

Where we live, we get the occasional power blip. They’re never usually more than a blip and if the power goes off it is usually only for 30 minutes at the most. We this time it’s been over two hours and could be longer. This has brought home to me how reliant we have all become on electricity in our everyday lives. So much so that I’ve made a plan to go through all my contacts on my mobile phone and write them up in a little black book. [actually its a very large book with a dog on it.]

What use is backing up these contacts to iTunes when there’s no power? Not only had the power cut prevented me searching for images to add to slides for an online session I’m currently planning but I had no cellular connection neither. No-one could contact me and I could contact no-one. I felt terribly isolated. Can you imagine it. Me – someone who looks for caravan sites with wifi and gets the jitters if she’s left her mobile phone in the house while she pops to the shops. This was truely a nightmare of huge proportions. The panic was short-lived.

I soon found the isolation quite liberating. It meant that no one interrupted me with e-mails, I was able to concentrate on the main points of my new session without becoming side-tracked by searching for that ‘perfect’ image and the ‘that looks interesting too, I’ll have a quick look’ seduction of the WWW.

I had no telephone or skype interruptions or little e-mail alerts popping up. I really did more work in that two hours than usual just purely without the usual interruptions. I felt strangely able to breathe instead of drowining in a sea of information and connectivity.

So how did the iPad save the day?

Well, as I mentioned before, it’s my husband who has the iPad and whereas I have a supersized battery for my laptop, his laptop battery isn’t too hot these days. Not only that, the work he does means that the processor takes quite a hit and the battery is sucked dry in no time so it wasn’t long before it became impossible to work.

Enter the iPad.

With a longer battery life and a good selection of apps to allow him to work on spreadsheets, create outlines and write notes it meant Dean could continue to work without resorting to pen and paper only to have to type it up again later. It is unusual that the cell coverage crashed at the same time on this occasion but with our trusty smart phones and tablets it would have been feasible to carry on communicating too.

I was never in the girl guides but my inner administrator’s ‘be prepared’ strategies kicked into action. Here are some tips from me should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

1. Try and make sure you laptop has extra long battery life
2. Always work with laptop plugged into mains
3. Back your files up everyday
4. Keep your mobile phones regularly charged and synchronised with your contacts
5. Keep a basic telephone handy so you can at least make emergency calls
6. Keep a traditional telephone book up to date
7. Keep your iPad or Android tablet charged
8. Invest in some office applications for your mobile device (they only need to be basic)
9. If you work over a VPN to access files on a remote server, work locally and regularly synchronise
10.Take the opportunity to work the old-fashioned way – with pen, paper and good old peace and quiet.

The Power of Technology: are we masters or slaves?

and how the iPad saved the day
Part 1

I love new technology (if you hadn’t guessed already) but the traditionalist in my never really disappeared. With my background being in administration with a little librarianship along the way, you can imagine how I loved my paper, my triple copies of everything and my books.

Many years ago (too many than I care to remember) I was issued with a brand new computer thingy to replace my trusty typewriter. I hated it with with a passion but that was probably down to the fact that I was given no instruction on how to use it. [Why is it that just because you can type 80 words a minute without even looking at the keys people assume that you can automatically use a computer?]

Anyway, after I perservered, finally getting to grips with the formatting tags for bold, italics etc (something I never had to bother with on a typewriter) I was a convert. Anything that made my life easier was certainly the top banana for me.

But always at the back of my mind was that little voice of caution. That ‘what if’. We were told that computers would herald the paperless office. [ Hmmm – well certainly not in my experience. In fact it, produced more. It was too easy to rethink and rewrite letters whereas if produced on typewriter they were more careful to get the first draft as perfect as possible.]

My fears were always if we were to keep everything on disk and save valuable office space by reducing the amount of paper to file away, what would happen if we had a power cut? For that reason, I kept everything in hard copy – for years.

As I got to trust technology a little more, I’ve learned to let go of my old administrative ways and little is now printed off and filed in sad looking filing cabinets. I’ve embraced technology to the extent that I would, if I could, have every gadget imaginable (I blame my techie of a husband for nurturing such compulsions). I became quite jealous when Dean got his iPad a few weeks back whearas I have a second hand Galaxy tablet – very nice but nowhere near as responsive. Both devices however, have proved to be very versatile and have allowed us to carry out tasks we would not have otherwise been able to do. More about how the iPad saved the day later.

Although I have the occasional palpatation about how all my eggs seem to be in one basket and what would I do if somehow I couldn’t retrieve them, I quickly dismiss those ugly thoughts.

Until yesterday when we were cut off from the world and the iPad came to the rescue…..

See my next post about how the iPad saved the day.

Are you using a hammer to crack a nut?

 

Or do you really need the right tool for the job?

Hammer cracking nuts

As some of you may have guessed, I’m a really big fan of social media.  I think it’s the best thing invented since sliced bread.  Now for the uninitiated, when I mention social media and in pa

rticular Twitter, the initial reaction is either  ‘oh no here we go again’ or ‘I can’t see the point in hearing what everyone had for breakfast’.  But social media is so versatile.  It’s just another conversation tool – just like the telephone.

What’s the betting that when telephones started to be installed in more homes, people just rang each other up to find out what they had done that day.  It’s a novelty thing. It’s a ” We just gotta try it out but I can’t think of anything profound so I’ll just say the first thing that comes into my head” sort of thing.  In fact, my mum still does that.  I’m not going to tell you my age but I think you’ll guess I’m not a kid any more but I still have to telephone ‘home’ every night when I travel anywhere.  There’s usually no new amazing news to hear so I just get “have you had your tea?  What did you have?”.

But of course we also use the telephone for some of the most important of calls as well as keeping in touch with our loved ones.  The same goes for e-mail.  I remember when e-mail was first introduced where I worked.  There were e-mails being sent all over the building just saying saying “hello, how was your weekend” even when we were just in the next office (or even in the same office).  It was a novelty.  Then came the policies on how to use e-mail responsibly, how to communicate correctly and all was good with the world.

What I’m seeing now though is e-mail being misused in as much as it is becoming a conversation tool.  Yes, I know it IS a conversation tool in a way but we’re seeing it being used for chit-chat again even if that chit-chat is work related.  Yet there are many more appropriate tools we can use for this type of conversation within a work environment:

Skype for example.  Here people can have real time business conversations either on a one to one basis or group.

If it’s more about collaborating on a project, what about using Google Docs and Google Buzz.

If we need to share research, discuss ideas, view and review little videos we’re planning, what about creating a Facebook Group for your team.

We are so blessed nowadays with a variety of different tools that do different things can we really look back at our current practices and say we are working efficiently?  Of course, we need time for a bit of research but sometimes, we just have to give it a go.

And that’s just what I’m just about to do now.  I’m going to create a team Facebook Group for collaborative working projects and see how it goes.  How about you?