Saturday, 6 June 2015

Some Thoughts on IT

Sony Xperia

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

I'm not an IT nerd, but do appreciate the usefulness of the emerging technologies when it comes to doing my job.

I can go into a school, do a day's work, and have reports and recommendations written up and available in one day, largely because of mobile technology.

Using a tablet, I can record text and images on the go (and if necessary videos) and email them from my tablet to my laptop on the job. In the evening (or early the next morning - depending on stamina levels) my reports can be cleaned up on the laptop ready to be emailed to the school in question.

When I get back to base, hard copy can be printed out, and posted to the school if necessary. This hard copy can also be filed, as we still use paper files - something that strikes me as absurd. It's a bit like wearing braces when you have a belt, but there you go.

It all works very well when the network is operating as per specifications, but that's not always the case. When it goes down, things get very difficult, especially as I rely on email as my main means of communication.

It works well for me (with 45 schools on my caseload) until it doesn't - and then life becomes difficult.

The hardware I use to make this happen is an Apple iPad which works on the agency network, and my trusty Dell Latitude E5440.

I also travel with a smartphone. Until recently it was an Apple iPhone 4S which has very strong performance on the Telstra network in the more remote locations in which I work. It's an old phone, and its battery life began to degrade, so I replaced it with a Sony Xperia on the basis of reputed performance in the bush.

The Xperia does indeed perform well on the edges of coverage, and it has great battery life and a good camera. It is, however, nowhere near as user-friendly as the iPhone.

The Android logic isn't, and there's far too many unnecessary Apps installed, many of which can't be uninstalled. The new phone came free with a Samsung Galaxy Tab S, which, although a bit cheap and nasty has great screen resolution and a good camera. I actually prefer it to the iPad.

The only downside to the Tab S is that the Apps migrate to different positions every time you boot it up. Maybe this feature can be over ridden in the settings, but as yet I haven't figured out how.

I went out and bought a new battery for the iPhone 4 and it works a treat. Which was handy, as I dropped the Xperia one week after acquiring it, shattering the case. I've owned four smartphones, and this is the first one I've broken, so maybe the Sony's a bit delicate. It fell only 40cms on to cork tiles, but that was enough.

Getting it fixed was no drama, and I used the iPhone whilst the repair was done - almost convincing me to go back to Mr Gates' system, but in the end I stayed on the dark side. Android will do everything Apple will, but not with the same style and panache.

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