Sunday, 23 October 2011

Techno Update

Back in the late eighties I was a bit of a I.T wizard in the scheme of things.  I could programme in BBC Basic, make changes to the DOS operating systems on early PCs and use the early clunky word processing and spreadsheet packages like Wordperfect and Supercalc.  I nearly got a job as a trainee software engineer in BT but opted for being a trainee tax consultant instead.  Nowadays I reckon I'm in the middle of a spectrum that extends between a soil encrusted Luddite and the wired up technogeek.   I'm uncomfortable with the notion of being available 24/7 so am rather pleased about being out of contact when I've 'forgotten' my mobile phone.   But instant access to information rather than endless fruitless searches  in the local library and the ability to change written documents at the touch of a key without the need for making scrubby pencil revisions have transformed my life to the extent that I'd never advocate a return to 'the good old days'.

Eight months ago I wrote about extending the life of my Samsung Omnia phone  with a quick eight quid repair job.  This gave it a new lease of life but, like myself, the poor old thing is now showing its age in more ways than one.  Its well used screen was now starting to play up again , the battery discharged itself at a rate of knots and that's if it charged at all due to increasingly dodgy mains connection.  Major electronic surgery would have been needed and I decided to retire the thing.  After all it has given me three years of hard use from when it was bought secondhand.   So did I go with the Apple iPhone 4s that seems to be the most covetable thing on the planet at the current time?

My regular visitors may have guessed that I'm not the type of girl who has to show off my toys  in the playground so the answer is 'no' even though I told a small white lie to the kindly  Parcelforce chap who delivered my new toy.  He was under the impression that I was excited to see him because  he was the bearer of the latest super-duper techno-gizmo and I didn't want to disappoint him.  He wasn't to know that   I'm always perfectly happy to stay behind with the latest innovations - a sheep rather than the shepherd when it comes to new gadgetry, software and web innovations.  But I felt that it was time to move onwards and upwards in relative terms and it would now be desirable to get portable Internet connectivity that I could use when abroad on a screen that was big enough to see the text.  I've gone all Android and opted for Samsung's Galaxy S which has now been superceded by now much more desirable version 2.

I'm quite a flexible thinker and will change my mind if presented with convincing arguments. So  whilst I thought I'd never have a phone on contract I've ended up with just that!  Whilst scouting around for a good deal I found offering a reconditioned handset with their cheapest package of calls, texts and data that's more than enough to meet my needs.  The fifteen pounds monthly that I will pay for my two year contract is less than I would have paid for an equivalent phone and my usual 'Pay as you Go' minutes.   But how to avoid being  stung  for thousands of pounds for modest surfing  activity whilst in foreign lands?  I've sussed that  Orange France have a flat weekly rate of nine euros unlimited data use on their 'Mobicarte Prepayee' so  I've just swapped my sim with one of theirs to make use of this offer. What's more  I delighted that  this new fancy pants technology means that I have dongle free laptop use too.  All familiar stuff to the communication fashionistas out there but to someone who's advancing towards hi-tech fogeydom it's really quite a revelation!

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