A word in your ear …

Are you shopping around for wireless earbuds? I don’t blame you. I recently purchased a pair, and now that I have discovered how convenient they are, I would never go back to corded earbuds.

Mine are comfortable and very easy to pair. The sound quality is fine for casual listening, but it lacks bass and the microphone I would describe as no more than adequate. Overall I am very happy with my purchase.

Having discovered how much better they are than I had anticipated, I did consider upgrading to a more expensive pair. After all, price-wise the sky’s the limit and mine were bargain-basement. But there is a significant factor to consider when budgeting for Bluetooth ear buds, and that is that they are essentially disposable.

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Who knew?

I have had my Nokia Lumia 635 mobile phone for two and a half years. Today I discovered a feature quite by chance. If you rotate the calculator to landscape it transforms from a basic versionregular calculator

into a full scientific versionscientific calculatorAt first I was surprised and delighted at this ‘Easter egg’ feature. After a few moments I began to feel more critical of the designers who chose not to make it more obvious that this alternative was available.

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Text message receipts

This is one of those posts which is likely to be old news for most people. However, for the rest, I hope you find it useful. When you send a text message (aka SMS) you can ask for a delivery receipt. Did you know that already? OK then, nothing to see here.

A delivery report is an automatic timestamped message confirming that your text has reached the recipient’s phone. It does not tell you that the message has actually been read.

Depending on your network provider you can either turn this feature on in your phone’s Settings, or you may have to start the body of each message with the three character string *0# (that’s star zero hash). The recipient does not see this string in the message.

You can use delivery reports as an indirect way of learning that someone has arrived safely after a plane journey. Simply send them a message during their flight, and then when they turn on their phone at their destination, you will receive automatic notification.

Apache OpenOffice Calc ‘Find’ behaviour

LIke many people I use OpenOffice 3.4.1 for word processing and spreadsheets. It closely resembles the Leading Brand office software suite, yet is completely free!

Using Calc today, I noticed an unexpected behaviour in its Find and Replace feature. I wanted to search for the value ‘55.80’ which I knew was contained somewhere in my spreadsheet. However, it could not find it.

The reason for this is that although the cell apprears to contain ‘55.80’, when you highlight the cell the input line near the top of the screen shows ‘55.8’. Even if you enter ‘55.80’ in the cell, Calc drops the trailing zero.

Is this normal?

Don’t do what I just did!

If you write a blog using WordPress, be very careful not to accidentally delete the new post you are working on. This is all too easy to do – simply hit the ‘Esc’ key and the entire post vanishes!!

And don’t think that Autosave will help. All it will do is save the blank composing window that you are staring at, neatly erasing all the precious text it autosaved 30 seconds beforehand.

I consider this to be a design flaw. In fact, two flaws; why does the Escape key delete everything anyway?? Grr. From now on I shall hit the ‘Save Draft’ button regularly. I suggest that you do the same.

Bicycle journey planner

I have just discovered a great app for your iPhone or Android smartphone. It’s a full-featured satnav for cyclists and pedestrians. This means it will navigate a route on cycle paths and quiet roads and use bike-friendly cut-throughs and short-cuts where available. It even avoids hills if possible, and will show you A to A leisure routes from and back to a specified location.

It’s free from Bike Hub thanks to a voluntary bike industry levy.

How It’s Made

Factual TV programmes abound. From economics to art, from astronomy to natural history – there is no shortage of documentaries to educate and entertain for the price of a TV licence.

I like learning about science and technology. Tomorrow’s World was a weekly favourite, although thirty five years later tomorrow has truly been and gone and we’re still waiting for most of the products featured in prototype on that programme. Continue reading

’allo ’allo?

When I was growing up, there was only one phone in our household …

Well, I could go on. But who would believe me? If I went on to describe it as weighing two and a half kilos, wired in, and rented to us by the State-owned post and telephone monopoly people would think I was making it up.

So I won’t mention that it didn’t even have a screen, for that would be unimaginable.