Saturday, 21 December 2013

Going mobile

A technological milestone in my life - I've just gone mobile. After a month in the new office without a fixed-line telephone (remember those, dear readers?) it was decided that I'll get a company smartphone instead for all the phone calls I need to make to the UK and when travelling. Just imagine - we have NO FIXED LINE TELEPHONES in our office any more. Fax? Scan a document and e-mail it as an attachment. How far offices have gone... (wobbly flashback effect)

I go back to the winter of 1980-81, when I had an internship at the Coventry Evening Telegraph. Looking back, this was the benchmark of the technological base from which mankind has moved these past 30 or so years. I sat at a desk with a manual, mechanical typewriter. Fed into its rollers were three rolls of different coloured paper, with carbon-paper in between. I'd clack my story away on the typewriter "County court jails five for TV licence evasion," "Earlsdon blaze caused by gas leak" etc, when done, I'd shout "COPY!" and the copy boy would run over to my desk, take the white sheet to the sub-editors' desk, while the yellow sheet was rolled up and put into a pneumatic tube that would shoot around the office and end up in the hot-metal setting department below; the third sheet would be kept for my records. Downstairs, typesetters would copy the sub-edited text using a non-QWERTY keyboard (to keep the profession limited to skilled operators) on a type-casting machine. Molten lead would flow into matrices from which slugs of print that would be formed together to go into the press which would churn out 108,000 copies of the paper each evening. (Not a bad circulation for a city of 300,000.)

But now news input and output is digital and mobile. With more than one third of humanity armed with a mobile phone that has a camera in it, the chances of a UFO landing on the White House lawn and not be recorded by someone has dwindled to zero.

The dissemination of news today, directly to one's mobile device, instantly, without waiting by a radio for an hourly update. I read of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's release from prison over lunch; I roared with laughter at Charles Crawford's splendid Pajamaboy piece on the bus home. Instant access to news is a huge advance. I've had my smartphone - a Samsung Galaxy GT-19300 with Android operating system - for 48 hours, and I've only just started to discover its potential.

I can't easily type on it - the little virtual keyboard is too fiddly, so good for Tweeting rather than blogging. The camera, with 8 megapixels, is an advance on my Nokia 6300 Classic (5mp), but still a long way from the Noka Lumia 1020 (41mp).

More from the new, more mobile me before too long!

This time last year:
The end was meant to end today (remember?)

This time two years ago:
First snow - but proper snow?

The time three years ago:
Dense, wet, rush hour snow

This time four years ago:
Evening photography, Powiśle

This time five years ago:
The shortest day of the year

This time six years ago:
Bye bye borders - Poland joins Schengen


Bob said...

Michael - check this out:

Looks like an interesting add on for someone like you.

We went from being 'tabletless' to now having two at home thanks to my recent trip to Arizona - great kit!

AndrzejK said...

Gone for ever are the good old days when you could say that the letter had not arrived from the client and once faxes arrived claim that the print out was unreadable. In the professions I believe that the clamour for instant replies, answers and opinions has greatly diminished quality. Not least as everyone is aware that say a draft legal document can be amended ad lib. In the old days you faced the wrath of the typing pool!