Monthly Archives: June 2011

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.

Reflections on making a video interview

Accidental Learning

I’ve always advocated that the best way to learn to do something is to do it. Sometimes, we just need to jump in at the deep end and try it out. I also have to admit that I’ve never been the ‘follow the instructions’ type of person but would rather get stuck in. However, that doesn’t mean that instruction guides are not necessary as I’ve often found that after ignoring them initially, I eventually have to give in and read something.

Of course sometimes we just learn by accident. When something happens unexpectedly but we learn from our experiences. Other times, we decide to do learn something which is often borne out of necessity and sometimes it’s a deliberate choice out of interest i.e. just because…. We are all learning machines and much of the time it just happens.

My journey into video interviewing was a dileberate choice – out of interest initially. I wanted to try it. However, it was also becoming relevant from a personal development point of view. I thought I’d reflect and share my own learning experiences from the interviewing process with you.

But before I do, considering a great deal of accidental learning occurred before I got there, I thought I’d share that first.

My adventure (yes it turned out to be a very eventful adventure) started with a long drive to Brighton from Shrewsbury on a warm and sunny day. It was my first trip to Brighton and so my first new experience of the journey. The trip, according to TomTom would take about 4 hours and I factored in a short half-way stop. It was at this comfort break that my best laid plans went out the window.

After stopping at the services en-route, I returned to my car to find a big dent in the side of it. Someone had taken the turning into the adjacent parking space next to mine a little too wide and a little too fast. Fortunately, they had waited for me to return to my car and we exchanged details.

 

Learning point 1: Have faith in others – there are still honest people around.
Learning point 2: Try and park the furthest distance away where less people will park
Learning point 3: Always keep insurance details with you so you don’t have to get husband to search files
Learning point 4: Remaining calm helps you think more clearly and diffuses tension
Learning point 5: Take lots of photos at the scene – your mobile phone is a useful tool

After at least an hour and half delay I was back on the road towards the goal of my journey. Only 2 more hours or so to go!

Nearly there and dutifully following TomTom’s instructions I was looking forward to enjoying a couple of deserving glasses of wine to relax and and reflect on my notes before the interview the next day. My TomTom, however, had other ideas and after being directed to take a turn signposted Eastbourn rather than Brighton and Hove, I began to wonder whether I should continue trusting my co-pilot. I stopped to double check the route….

Learning point 6: When programming your SatNav, make sure you know the difference between co-ordinates for East/West. A rogue minus can make a lot of difference to your journey.
Learning point 7: Always check your route properly with a map rather than rely wholly on SatNav
Learning point 8: Concentrate on your route despite following SatNav

What would I learn the next day? I’ll cover that in my next post.