RSS

Smartwatches

Never thought I’d go for a smartwatch, but as times change so do thoughts.

I now own a fossil. A Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3. There is also a Gen(eration) 4, but the price of that isn’t appealing.

Why a Fossil? Why not a great Apple Watch?

Easy: I don’t have an Apple phone.

The Fossil Explorist is a really nice watch. A bit larger than I had expected it to be, but that’s fine. The size makes it easy to read the screen (which is very clear and sharp).

So why a smartwatch?

Safety. I live alone. I’m getting up in years a little (slowly approaching 60 as I write this). On the phone and the watch I installed Rightminder, an Android app that makes life a little safer. I don’t plan to, but in case I fall and hurt myself, the watch and/or phone will notice that (gyroscope movement detection) and they’ll ask me if I’m OK. If not, then after 15 seconds the phone will send out alerts to certain carers I’ve set up in the app. The phone will even send the coordinates where I am.

That’s what I call safety. The beauty is that it will work with any Android 5.0+ phone, you don’t even need a smartwatch for it. And for the basic functionality, the app is free. Go figure.

Of course, being a bit of a nerd is part of it too. Owning such a device is neat.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 8, 2018 in Android, Tech stuff

 

Tags: ,

A drawback on no headphone jack

More and more companies start to remove the headphone jack from their phones. Wonderful, great, no more wires because we have Bluetooth. I guess that’s what the majority apparently thinks.

Still there is a drawback to this. Suppose you need a special device hooked to your Bluetooth to keep you safe. Let’s say a fall detector, for the elderly or someone with balance problems. And the directions say: “Don’t connect other Bluetooth devices to assure this device can work properly.”

Then what if the user of such a device also wants to listen to music and there is no headphone jack? Take the risk of falling and the device failing? Get a second device like an MP3-player with a headphone jack so music isn’t a problem?

I’m still not sure that removing the headphone jack is a good thing. Nor am I certain that this craving to have wireless everything is such a great thing.

I’m probably oldfashioned.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2018 in Bits and bobs

 

Tags: , ,

Note of some importance.

Since the site for my author needs has gone to https://www.paulkater.com I plan to use this space for an entirely different purpose.

Selection_039.jpgBe warned.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The blog has officially moved

Yes, dear reader,

my new domain is active and from now on all updates will happen there.

Please update your bookmarks so they point to http://www.paulkater.com. My blog is there too.

Thank you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

E-readers and tablets.

Welcome, dear reader, to another article on this weblog.

Today: e-readers and tablets.

The electronic world is full of new gadgets. Daily or weekly new toys are presented, one more beautiful, powerful, convenient and portable than the previous one. As this weblog is about reading, writing and language, I want to focus on the ability to read e-books on the various devices.

Devices

My first electronic reading experience happened on a Sony e-reader, the PRS-505:
A very convenient device, small enough to take a long, it held a lot of books and the battery, when charged well, lasted for almost a month. This device has by now been replaced by a PRS-350.

As I was curious about the hype about tablets and all the marvel that surround them, I dared to go out on a limb and purchase a cheaper one, a Yarvik 7″ Android tablet.

This is not a power-packing device, I was aware of that, and it also lacks all kinds of features that more expensive tablets sport (e.g. Motorola Xoom, Samsung Glaxy Tab, ipad), but for a test this would suffice. The device comes with an e-reading application called Shelves. It supports EPUB, PDF among a few other types.

I was able to install the Kobobooks Android reader app on it, which then allows reading DRM-protected books acquired through Kobobooks. The Yarvik is recognised by Adobe Digital Editions, and after authorising it as a valid device, I could upload DRM-protected books to it without a problem. “Shelves” picked it up and allowed me to read it too.Battery life for this tablet is certainly not bad. I can watch 6 hours of HD movies on it, and the screen and speed of the device is certainly adequate for that. But, of course, that was not the reason to acquire the Yarvik tablet.

Reading

Reading on the Sony e-readers is always a pleasure. The device is light, responds well to paging, and regardless if I use it by lamp light or outside, it is always easy to read from it. In fact, the more light there is, the easier it is to read from an e-reader. I have also seen the cheap e-reader from a friend, brought out by a local bookstore, and that also is very easy to read. The matted surface of the screen is not hindered by external light sources and there is hardly any reflection. None of that has ever been so bad that I could not read from the e-reader.

Reading on the Yarvik is quite good as well, but here we have the disadvantage of the backlit screen. As soon as the environment becomes brighter I have to set the tablet’s screen to maximum, which is a severe assault on the battery. Going outside to read with the tablet is a bad idea unless it is cloudy, or dark. Screen glare and reflections make it impossible to read from the device otherwise. It helps somewhat that both reader-programs I mentioned can be switched to black letters on a white background (which puts even more strain on the battery), but even in that mode the tablet cannot win the battle with an e-reader.

Ergo

Both devices have their pros and contras. A tablet can be used for many things but the display severely lacks in the outdoor department. An e-reader is good for just a few things (showing pictures in black and white, reading and often listening to music). Some e-readers can also browse the web (mine does not).

I would suggest to someone who is about to invest in a new device: consider well what you mainly want to use it for. If you can, see if you can borrow the thing you fancy and take it to where you primarily intend to use it.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 9, 2011 in ebooks, Reading

 

Tags: ,

Currently reading

Heartless, by Gail Carriger.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Reading

 

Tags:

Coming soon…

Greetings on this Friday, dear reader.

Within not too long, I hope, this weblog will be moved to my own domain, which will be http://www.paulkater.com. It is registered and within a few days it should become visible all over the Internet.

This blog will remain in place, but all new content will appear on the new site as soon as that is “alive”.

Of course I will send out proper notice of the event as it is taking place. I hope this is not going to be a hassle for the people who are following this weblog, I am doing my utmost to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Regards!
Paul

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Featured quote

Writing is one of the few professions in which you can psychoanalyse yourself, get rid of hostilities and frustrations in public, and get paid for it.
– Octavia Butler

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 4, 2011 in quote

 

A Dance With Dragons

Welcome, dear reader.

Something about reading this time, instead of writing. Because yes, I read as well, be it not as much as I would like to. This is however to blame on the limit of 24 hours in a day.

I finished reading A Dance With Dragons, by George R. R. Martin. (link to Hardcover, link to e-book).

It’s been a long wait for the fans of Mr. Martin’s bestselling series Game of Thrones. Over 10 years he had promised that the book would be finished soon, although the ‘soon’ became less and less mentioned.

It is a magnificent book. We meet many of the characters again that have become so familiar in the first four books. A lot of background is brought to the surface, many things, plans and reasons from the previous plots and plans become clear. Or at least clearer. And many new facesare coming into the arena as well, each one with their own desires and faults.

There are dramatic turns in the story, something that Mr. Martin is very good at. And staying true to another part of himself, he still is not very kind to his characters. Many if not all of them are put through quite a stack of bad news and rough situations. The story grabbed me by the eyes and did not want to let go, and with good reason.

An excellent read, I can highly recommend it. The way Mr. Martin mixes the fantasy elements into the story is fabulous. There are all kinds of fantasy elements present, but they do not take the overhand. First there are the people and their adventures good or bad, and the “magic” of fantasy is woven into the words in a modest way. Perhaps that is what makes the story so good.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 1, 2011 in Book review, Reading

 

Going through the fog

Today I drove to work. I do that regularly, but this time there was quite a lot of fog around, and the early hour made it appear even heavier than it actually was.

I could not help but feel that going through the fog is a bit like writing. Especially when you write freely, without a real fleshed-out plan.

The area directly around you is visible. You have a reasonable idea what you have, what you can write about. It is what you see without straining your eyes. Further away there are shapes. Some you recognise, like trees, buildings, lamp-posts. The fog however eats up their exact shape, so they may have changed since you last saw them. Well, they probably haven’t. Although… did the house on the corner really look like that yesterday?

Going further away in the fog there are still shapes, shadows really. Things that probably belong there, but… what are they? What were they? What will they turn into? The mist shrouds their real nature, there is promise in these shapes, potential. And potential threat. Will they make life good, or are they there to ruin the story?

And then there is the material you can’t see. It is hidden behind the thick layers of low cloud and fog. You know it’s out there, waiting to be discovered, to be used, to appear and do whatever it can to and in your story. You can only find it when you “boldly go into the fog, where no author has gone before“, and seek out everything that is there, waiting for you. And yes, at times that can be a bit scary, when you go out on a limb into a realm you’ve never set foot before. There may be rock or solid ground, but you can also find yourself in quicksand.

This way, going through the fog is like writing for me. Exciting, and full of promises. Some of which aren’t kept. And some I never saw coming.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Bits and bobs, Writing

 

Tags: