Saturday, June 1, 2013

#anz23mthings Week 4 Maps and checking in #blogjune Day 1

I don't know how we went on before we had Google maps.   Well, I suppose I do really.  We used paper maps and street directories a lot.  I love using Google maps for working out where places are and how to get to them. In fact these days I get quite peeved if addresses don't have a link to Google maps.  And, of course, if you are going somewhere new using the GPS on the phone tells you exactly where you are and how to get where you are heading.

Well, maybe it's not always exactly right.  You will all have read about the unfortunate issues with the maps program that came with iPhone 5.  One of the stories that hit the press was about people missing Mildura.  Fortunately there is now a Google Maps app for the iPhone 5, though unfortunately you have to go to it specifically and don't get there automatically from other sites.

However, Google Maps certainly isn't perfect either. One example of its inaccuracy I found recently was its placing of the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens in the National Gardens, not on Syntagma Square where it really is. However, I recently used Google Maps to plot a whole road trip around Greece, with its assistance working out distances of legs of the trip as well as routes and highways. Its coverage of public transport is rather chequered around the world but presumably this is gradually changing.

So yes I love using maps on the go, but I always like to plot stuff in advance and have some idea where I am going rather than doing it completely on the run.  Of course, some times this isn't possible but I don't think I would have ended up missing Mildura as I like to have a general sense of direction and geography.

But checking in, now that's another story entirely.   I thought I had signed up for Foursquare ages ago.   And I had BUT I hadn't got very far with it and I hadn't installed the app.  So this time I installed the app (see above), dutifully found friends who belonged and asked to befriend them.  So I am now getting push notifications about where these friends have checked in.  But they are hearing nothing from me.  I don't want to go any further with Foursquare for the same reason I don't checkin with Facebook, why I don't put GPS on lots of my photos and why I didn't even give my location to Foursquare years ago. Foursquare seems to think I belong in Glenferrie Road Hawthorn as I must have been there when I joined up originally :)  I simply don't want people to know exactly where I am every minute of the day.  In fact I simply don't want them to know where I am particularly at all.  They get lots of clues from social media but I don't think people need any more detail about me.

It is interesting to think about this in the context of the blog @flexnib did recently about being plugged/unplugged.  Checking in is one area where I choose not to be plugged in. I do wonder how many people actually use Foursquare or other checking in programs regularly.  It was interesting to see all my friends who cropped up on Foursquare.  But when I looked at how frequently they used it a lot hadn't used it for a year or so.  The friends who seem to use it most regularly are my friends who do geocaching.  This is just a general reflection not based on empirical evidence (or any evidence really), but I do wonder how many people joined up when it came out and don't really use it any more?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Mikis Theodorakis, ''STO PERIGIALI'', 29 09 2007

Αφιέρωμα στα 85 χρόνια του Μίκη Θεοδωράκη - Φινάλε

#anz23mthings Week 3 Email on the go!

I love email on the go! I have five email accounts linked up to my iPhone, my iPad, and even my old iTouch so that they are part of iCloud.  Some of my friends think I am crazy for even having four personal email accounts, but I use them for different things.  The fifth email account I have linked up is the Collingwood Historical Society Yahoo account.

I don't use push notifications for any of these accounts as it would drive me mad.  I do check the emails regularly though and any new ones upload when I open the interface.   In fact, I am not a big fan of push notifications for anything so it is nothing different for email accounts or apps.

I use the standard (IOS I suppose) interface on my devices. I already had the individual Gmail and Yahoo! Mail apps installed on my phone, but I didn't know about Mailbox until I was reading for this Thing. I can see that they all have good things about them and things that would improve the IOS interface. But I don't use them except occasionally.  And the reason?  These are all limited to a single email provider, though you can have multiple accounts registered with the one provider with Mailbox at least.

Why I like the IOS interface is quite simple. I have email accounts with my ISP, Yahoo!, Gmail and Hotmail (aka Outlook).  I can see all my email accounts on the one interface, and even through the one master inbox.  I can flag items for followup action in any account and they appear both there and in the flagged file, and ditto with VIP emails. With the Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts I can move them into relevant folders and I can view the complete online contents of those folders like I would on the web. Once I had to go into different websites to do this. You can see the interface for my Yahoo folders above.

The downside to reading email across different devices is that some work well with this and others don't.  The emails from my ISP account are the main problem with this as they remain unread on other devices and on webmail despite being read on one device. I don't think this is a settings problem.  I just think it is a downside of the service.  I'm not a big Gmail user and was very late getting an account as by the time it arrived I already had active Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts for cloud email.  I find Yahoo! works best across devices and syncs immediately.  Hotmail seems to have a bit of a time lag but does catch up.  Maybe I should fiddle with the settings again?

One issue can trick me and I need to be conscious of it I have had Outlook open on my PC. That is that intermittently, if Outlook is open and I think if it does an auto send/receive, the new items uploaded will not appear on my devices.  And all emails written in Outlook will only appear on my devices if I bcc or cc my myself.  That can be a pain if you want the full email trail on the go.  But really these are minor things compared to the convenience of having access to all the accounts in one place.

So yes, email on the go is a great thing for me.  It's a great way for people to get in contact with me.  If I don't want to deal with stuff immediately I just flag them for later action and I regularly review the flagged items.  I do wish there was some way of linking these as tasks to my calendar.  If there is a way someone please let me know!

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