Posted tagged ‘gadgets’

Talking points: Keeping watch

August 8, 2015

Is the Apple Watch a major success or has the company made a mistake? Those assessing this particular product don’t seem too be able to make up their minds, or agree. Recent reports suggest that Apple may have got it right again. If so, it is ironic that Apple may be about to revive the fortunes of a particular accessory – the watch – that its other products had been busily killing. A group of students told me recently that they would not wear watches because their iPhones told them the time; watches were superfluous and awkward.

But of course the Apple Watch is more than a chronograph. It puts a number of elements of my smartphone on to my wrist, and it monitors my lifestyle and my health. The information it gathers can of course do more than amuse me; I suspect insurers would love to have it.

I have an Apple Watch, having been given it as a present. I like it. And I wonder what it tells us about times yet to come.


Gadget world

April 10, 2011

Some weeks ago I was at a meeting at which we had to work out at one point how much 12 pieces of equipment would cost if the price of each was €1,100. The moment the question was asked all the participants except me pulled out their calculators (or calculator apps on their smartphones). I am happy and relieved to report that I had the answer before any of them, without any use of a calculator. I asked the others whether they really didn’t know how to find the answer without electronic assistance. One of them thought (but was not sure) that he could have done it in his head, while the other nine people present all said they couldn’t work it out unaided.

But it is not just that too many people today cannot do elementary tasks without a computer or electronic device. Research conducted in the University of Maryland has just revealed that, once deprived of their gadgets, many people now show clear withdrawal symptoms indicating an addiction. Gadgets perform basic tasks for us and provide us with our main forms of communication. As some readers know, I am myself a committed gadget fanatic, but I try to ensure that they never take over my life. They cannot answer and address all the issues that we encounter.

As gadget ownership sweeps across the world of young adults and children, it is important not to let them lose more traditional computational skills. Not every calculation should require a calculator, just as not every message needs to be delivered electronically.

2010’s top 10 gadgets

December 12, 2010

Time magazine has just published its list of top 10 gadgets for 2010. I am shocked that I only own three of them: the iPad (which tops the list), the iPhone and Apple TV. I hadn’t even heard of one of them (Nook Color). That’s seven things to aim for in 2011. Or if you’re still wondering what to give me for Christmas…

Gadgets, gadgets – the new Kindle

February 10, 2009

Today I received an email from Amazon telling me that they are releasing the second generation Kindle later this month, and offering me, as a ‘valued customer’, the opportunity to get into the line early. And of course I can never see a gadget without wanting it, even if I already have the thing; and so I duly placed my order for the Kindle 2. I tell myself that it’s worth it because I have someone willing to take the original Kindle off my hands for a small amount of money.

Since I have never seen or held the Kindle 2, I cannot tell whether this is worth the money. But it is, according to the specifications, much thinner, with better screen definition, much more disk space and longer battery life. As I did find the original Kindle just a tiny bit bulky, this seems good to me. I shall offer a review when I have received it towards the end of this month.

Once again, this is for the US market only. I get round this by having it sent to a US address. Also, I imagine it won’t let me connect wirelessly from Ireland (though it’s now running on G3, so it’s a theoretical possibility); I’ll have to download to my computer and transfer the books from there.

On various Kindle-related discussion lists, a large number of users are expressing anger at the new release, as they feel they should have been told when they bought the original Kindle. That seems to me to be naive; of course there was going to be a new model.

Will I use this gadget? Well, I certainly have been using the first one. Not as a substitute for paper books, but as a replacement mainly when travelling. Which is why the bulk and weight matters. And the battery life.

More on all this when I have it. And this being a recession and we all having to tighten belts and all that, let’s hope there isn’t going to be any other enticing gadget for a while.