Splash

One thing that truly annoys me is when you are using a computer and you load a program, and there is a splash screen. You know, the thing that tells you the program you are using, versions, puts a jolly picture up etc.

It’s when the splash screen takes over most of the screen, stays on top regardless of what you try to do, takes ages to load and you can’t do anything else.

Are you listening Adobe, Pinnacle…?

Web sites

I think it is just about essential for businesses to have a proper web site. Yes, fine, they can have Facebook pages or whatever, but a serious company should have a formal site that provides useful information for any customer wanting to use its services or products.

A restaurant, for example, should have pictures, a sample menu, contact details and opening times, possibly an on-line booking system (this always sways me, given a choice of two, one with and one without), possibly comments from customers (though the only ones are likely to be good and perhaps not 100% representative). The site should reflect the nature of the restaurant and, if there are rules, eg jacket required, it should say so.

Whatever the business is, the information should be accurate and sufficiently detailed. The contact information will have a telephone number and an e-mail address, and if you send them an e-mail, they should respond in a timely manner.

A formal web site does not have to be boring. It should reflect the nature of the business, it should appeal to potential customers. But, at the same time, some care is needed in the presentation. Black writing on a black background is not good, hidden items, broken links, missing pictures etc and spelling mistakes will put potential customers off. Information should be easy to find. Given all the competition about these days, making it hard for a potential customer to get information is not a good plan.

I was disheartened recently to find a pretty well known rock group had announced a tour for 2018, so went to their web site to see if they were coming my way, which is London. This is their official site. Last updated 2009. Really.

Things like a shop or a forum can be a plus, but need someone who will commit to managing it/them. Of course, a shop especially can be a money earner. For musicians, for example, some kind of unique product will sell. I have several signed discs in my collection. On line chat or help can be good (personally I hate ringing companies and being on hold for hours), but the people on the other end need to actually know things and be helpful.

This just seems logical to me. It’s called being business-like, professional. Web sites don’t have to be huge. I have a few sites and one has nearly two hundred pages. It has generated exactly £0 in the 17 years it has been run, but that is not its purpose. As a repository of knowledge on a certain subject, it is pretty exhaustive, either from what I have included or through links to other sites. There is another site I do for someone that is barely five pages and generates thousands each year. It serves its purpose totally and has no gimmicks, mistakes or waffle. People who visit it find what they need and at least one reliable method for getting more help and purchasing the product.

4K

I bought a new tv some time ago. It’s a Sony, and they are all now Android tvs. I have grumbled about it elsewhere: it’s not the set, it’s the Android.

Well, just the other day I managed to complete the second half of the project and bought a 4K bluray player.

Now, since my tv was made, something called HDR (High Dynamic Range) has been implemented on some discs, but I don’t have that obviously.

The player is also Sony, and is a bargain at under £300 in many places. It comes with a free film, and mine had a cable to connect to the tv.

So, I have been looking at a few films, Underworld: Blood Wars, Wonder Woman etc. But the highlight was the original Blade Runner, yes, originally shot on film, which looked spectacular.

Except, some parts are shot on regular 35mm and the effects are on 65mm are are noticeably less grainy.

What 4K does is makes the problems easier to spot.

Hopefully more titles will be available soon. Close Encounters… is coming soon.

 

This is my opinion

We live in interesting and unique times. For the first time in the whole history of mankind, anyone (virtually) can share their thoughts on any subject, and the whole world (virtually) can read it. Yes, I know there are some countries where blogs, Facebook, tweets etc are restricted or banned, but mostly they are not. All you need is a bit of cheap technology and access to the Web.

Great, huh?

Well, no. I think not. Let me explain, and if you want to call me a hypocrite, please do.

In one way, everyone on this planet is equal. We are alive, we are human, we have needs. If I post a blog about open heart surgery, it carries the exact same weight as a blog from President Trump about open heart surgery, or by my Aunt Mary. Specifically, none.

My knowledge of such surgery is pretty much nil. I am guessing Mr Trump’s knowledge is the same, and my Aunt Mary’s is definitely nothing.

Mt Trump has an advantage though. He is, or can be surrounded by experts on heart surgery.

There are things I know a good deal about – teaching, computers, Mathematics, photography and so on. You could say I am an expert in those fields. If I say something about, say, how to interest girls in ICT, you might listen to me because you know I had 40 years doing just that. If Mr Trump listens to his experts on a topic, then makes decisions, informed decisions, on something and perhaps tweets about it, then, if we now he has distilled the advice from his helpers, we may take notice.

The problem is that anyone can give their opinions. All you need is a bit of cheap technology and access to the Web. You don’t even have to be able to spell.

Is spelling important? Well, yes it is. If the topic is important, then writing about it in reasonably intelligible English shows that the author is treating it as important. Correct spelling gives you an extra air of confidence about the whole business. I do appreciate that there are trivial topics (like the music of Lil Wayne) where perfect grammar and spelling are not important. but if you read a declaration of war between the USA and North Korea that was full of errors, you would be inclined to wonder if it was fake (assuming you noticed them, of course).

I used to work at a school where e-mail was the preferred method of communication. All the deputy heads seemed to be dyslexic, and the head teacher simply did not care and would send of messages that were often so hard to understand that you gave up.

What makes it hard on the Web is that the good posts, blogs, tweets whatever are often lost in all the noise.

Mr Trump knows this, of course. He knows that if something is getting a bit sticky for him, he can change the topic, send out a number of tweets and we are all distracted and forget the rest. Trump’s tweets have grammatical and spelling errors in. People retweet them, sometimes because they think they agree with what he says, often because they are hilarious and meaningless. Mr Trump or his helpers can then say, look, everyone is talking about so-and-so (eg Mr Trump is the greatest president who has ever lived).

Which, I am fairly sure, he is not.