Mum, take your tablet……

Here is a blog we posted earlier this year on, thanks to Chris Hinton who runs the blog site, thought we would share it again with you and find out if you have a family member that you have tried to introduce technology to and how it went?

technologySince everyone seems to constantly get older, and no one is getting younger, it’s no surprise that I now find myself looking after my elderly mother in areas where she and my now departed father would have coped easily in the past.

I don’t mind this after all she is my MUM….but it did get surreal when, a few years ago, she said she wanted a laptop and the Internet. She was about 80 at this point and had never worked a computer in her life; she even has trouble using digital TV. I went ahead and we sourced her a laptop. We then got BT, who she had her telephone with to give us Internet as well, it is easier when it comes to mum to have everything in the one place – believe me.

This seemed to be OK;  I placed shortcuts on her desktop and she merrily went along playing Solitaire and a word search game on the laptop. I showed her the email and Internet, but she never touched these areas as she thought she might get in a mess with it and break the laptop. I did explain that this would not happen but she did not take it any farther. Every now and again, when visiting, I asked to use her laptop and carried out all the Updates for Windows and anti-virus etc.

I later purchased a tablet for myself for ease of carrying and using.  I would get it out and connect to mum’s Internet and do some work while chatting and, while visiting her last year, she declared that she would love one of those; she was 84 at this point and remember the history of the laptop usage. Of course Apple had been filling the TV screen with images of iPads that you must have to complete your life but I was still surprised and put her off for a good few months. Each time I visited, though, and got my tablet out, she would say “I would like one of those and it would be easier than handling the laptop as I have to put it on the coffee table and bend over it.”

I tried to ignore it but in November she stated that I was to source one, buy it, and she would give me the money for it – she was treating herself for Christmas early. I went about the task and bought an Android based tablet that would be easily carried and large enough screen to be seen by her when using it. Of course I downloaded solitaire and a word search app for her and placed shortcuts on the desktop, which she uses. I showed her email again and Internet, I even signed her up for a G+ account and we had a hangout with my phone and her tablet in her living room. I thought this might help if she wants to chat and see someone’s face in the evening when she gets lonely.

When I now pop in I look for the tablet and it is in the box as she is frightened any children visiting will knock it off her table and break it. She tells me she does use it and plays word search or solitaire, but nothing else and I have sneakily sent her hangout requests to see if she is on it and try to get her to talk and use the hangout facility to no avail.

All good fun and makes me smile when I think about it.

Ian Thomson
Founder/Senior Trainer
IT Turning Point

There’s an App for that………

appsThe phrase that Apple have made famous by their Apple store advertising. We all expect an App for almost anything we want to do. We are getting so used to doing things on the hop now that everything is mobile. Smart phones for smarter working.

We thought we would look at the current race for having the most Apps available for users. The race is between the three main players, even though there are really, at this stage, only two, Apple and Android. Microsoft and Blackberry (RIM) are around but playing catch-up in this volatile market place.

Here are the latest stats at time of writing this article.

Apple store                                                        775,000+ apps available

Android Market Place                                        667,647+ apps available

Microsoft Store                                                  150,000+  apps available

The obvious question is, do we need all these apps and if so how did we ever perform without them. Now remember I am a self-confessed geek and use a good number of apps and technology that I never used in the past and find them to be some of the most useful kit I have and now rely on them, probably too much. That feeling of when your phone decides to not work, being the equivalent of your right arm being cut off. So I am not anti apps and new ways of doing things.

Apps tie you in

I have also found that apps tie people in, so there is another reason to be on the front foot when producing them. I told a friend of mine that they should try an Android based phone and see what they thought and they said that they couldn’t as they had spent so much money at the Apple store on Apps and other Apple related stuff that they would be losing out on a lot of money they had spent. So there is motive in the madness of App production.

Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the Apps race? Do you over rely on them or do you think there is an app that would be great and nobody has produced it yet. Or are you just an Angry Birds gamer and like all the gaming that can happen in the mobile arena.

Whatever your take, this is a race worth watching and we certainly will be keeping our eye on what is happening in this area. Follow our blog and we will keep you up to date on all things techie.

Ian Thomson


What should you carry around with you, A Window, an Android or an Apple?

training and consultancy

Yes that’s the burning question today, the mobile smart phone market is heating up for the next round of devices and various manufacturers are hedging their bets on one of the above.

Nokia have got into bed with Microsoft and have launched their next range of mobile phones with the new Windows 7.5 mobile on board, Samsung have launched some windows based offerings as well. Google have upped the pace by purchasing the mobile side of Motorola so all Motorola offerings in the near future should be running Android and with the launch of Jelly Bean and there is Keylime Pie in the wings. With this latest version the stakes are greater than ever before.

Apple have launched the IPhone 5, with the 5S rumoured as I type, but are experiencing battery drain where some people are reporting it only lasting half a day of usage. Is a phone even a phone anymore?

It is no doubt that this is a lucrative market and an article I read recently said that 60% of the UK market had smart phones. They do so much more than just telephone people and have revolutionised the way we browse the Internet and get fed information. You only have to look at any news broadcast to see the effect that social media via smart phones is changing how we get our information. People even interact with their favourite Television shows via social networking on their mobile phone while watching the television. Instant comment and voting.

So what does the future hold? Well we can look forward to even smarter devices and the more interactivity than ever before. But will you opt for the Window, the Android or the Apple as they all fight for market share and each one trying to top the others dominance of the market. Of course there is even talk of new OS’s coming into the phone market, with Blackberry and LG etc. testing them.

I will try and keep you informed as much as we can with the changes as they happen.

Happy Mobiling

Ian Thomson


Technology: – For better or for Worse


This March I thought I would consider our marriage to modern day technology and whether in our vows to our life long addiction to it include for better or for worse.

Where am I coming from? Well like any marriage we make commitments to the bond that is marriage and to our partner in the act. Through thick and thin, for better or for worse, and so on.

With today’s technology we probably spent more time with it than we do with your partners and I wondered what the loyalty factor was and what drives the loyalty. I remember not to many years ago I would not have considered any phone other than a Nokia; you would have to be a fool to use any other handset. The loyalty was in the brand, for better or for worse.

Then Nokia lost grip of where the market was going and made the bad mistake of creating fashion looking phones and ignoring the massive move over the thin clam shaped phones and of course Apple blew the market wide open with the IPhone and the age of the smart phone.

Loyalty then just became about desire and I want the new phone because look what they say it does.

Of course technology is in almost every part of our life, from the box in our living room that we stare at for hours as it streams the latest and greatest programmes to us, to the laptop or tablet that we use to surf the net. Even to the choice of kitchen appliances that are around.

There are so many elements that guide us, is it the budget, well I am as loyal as the money I can spend, so brand loyalty is out the window or is it down their durability, I always buy their stuff it just seems to last for ever and ever.

I have to ask if the consumer of today is better informed than the consumer of the past due to the Internet or do they just succumb to the marketing that the Internet allows. The other thing of course is peer pressure and what difference that makes. Having been in IT for a good few years now and a self-confessed GEEK and I do love the latest bit of technology and if budget allowed would gladly like to try most of them. However I have also become discerning and use the Internet as the sounding board it really is and take in as many reviews as possible as well as first person testimonies of people who have used the kit I am interested in

However, I still see so many people flash out their new IPhone or Samsung and when questioned have done little to no research and in fact the loyalty is not even to the brand but to the trend that could be here today and gone tomorrow.

So is our loyalty to our beloved technology down to a fleeting trend or something else, what are your thoughts.

Ian Thomson


IT Turning Point

Windows 8 is on the shelves, will you change?

windows 8Microsoft have launched the latest incarnation of the Windows operating system and it’ s again a major revamp to tap into the mobile tablet market, where they have been lagging behind for some time.

Is it too little too late? Well that remains to be seen, they still have 2.5 billion desktop users worldwide and they have to be maintained and brought into the next operating system. This proved hard with Widows Vista where less that 30 % adopted the new operating system. Windows 7 redeemed them slightly and has now been adopted widely and clients and enterprise networks moving into Windows 7 with gusto now. Of course this was on the back of Microsoft dropping Windows XP, by far best incarnation so far and the one that just runs and runs.

So what of Windows 8?

Well it is a change again from what we are all used to and is designed primarily to attack the tablet market and mobile devices. The Start menu has changed and the desktop layout is completely changed.

In the main guts of it the system itself has changed, better power usage, more difficult to hack, faster to boot up as it leaves some of the operating system on a hard drive space in a memory slot so it can boot quicker, similar to the hibernation system we have had in Windows for some time and it works. There will be the inevitable learning curve and complaints about where everything now can be found. But that’s progression for you.


As usual we predict that the larger organisations will stay with an older version of the operating system until Windows 8 has been proven and the first or even second service pack is launched.

This is always the case and nothing new for Microsoft. The biggest up take will be home users and the new computer purchases, which will drive the sales forward. Also the launch of Microsoft Surface, which is another name for the Windows 8 on a tablet. So the tablet market may take off big time. So look out for bargains of the older stock that retailers will get rid of.

Will you change?

Well it is this author’s opinion that it is a personal matter of the individual user as to when you change; just make sure that all your existing apps will work with Windows 8.

For companies it is always advisable to wait for the fixes to hit before adoption on a large scale.

Check out the buzz on the Internet now about Windows 8 and read as much as you can before you believe all the hype and take that plunge.

Good luck.

Ian Thomson

Founder/Senior Trainer/Consultant