Tag Archives: phone

New Fangled Gadgets

Why, back in my day …

The height of sophistication!

Trimphone! The height of sophistication!

… we didn’t have mobile telephones. We had one “land line”. In the hall. (Actually, due to Dad being paid “in-kind” rather than in cash for one job he did, we were one of the few families who had multiple phones in the house, but I digress). It had no “speed-dial”, or saved numbers. Just a ring of digits that you could dial individually to make up the required Number. If someone else was using it, you had to wait. If you were using it, you had to endure a parent glancing at their watch, and tutting (especially if it was before the 6pm cheap-rate!). The lack of privacy became noticeable as teenage years arrived. I recall changing my pound notes(!) into 10p coins and going to a local “phone box” in the village, rather than have my family overhear conversations with my friends. Ah, good times …

Or was it? It may sound like the moanings of a pre-Millennial, but we did get by without them. Mostly. Sure, I missed a few good parties because people couldn’t contact me. I failed to talk to a local girl I fancied because both of us were being eaves-dropped on by parents. I annoyed some friends because I missed the bus, and they had to wait around, not knowing whether I was on my way or not. But we got by. Mostly.

These days …

iPhone - new-fangled gizmo

Dang new-fangled gizmo

… I see too many of my generation (and previous generations) bemoaning the very existence of Global Communication Technology. They take that last paragraph I wrote, and turn it into a crusade. “Kids these days are not social” … “they don’t play outside” … “they have no real friends” … “We got by without mobile phones!”

Who do they think kids are talking to on their phones? I understand the dangers of ‘strangers on the internet’ (better than most, my alter-ego being PC Wizard), but mostly, they seem to be communicating with their school-mates. Arranging when to meet down at the local park. Checking who is going to the football match at the weekend. Apologising for being late, and finding out where people will be. Checking that their mate who hasn’t arrived is OK. Swapping gossip, and giving out #spoilers for the latest TV shows (“Netflix”, I think they watch, these days).

Yesterday:

I went to my niece’s first birthday party. It was a wonderful affair, with family and friends gathered to wish my niece and her parents the best for the future.

I got my invite via Facebook, and texted Lucretia to arrange our attendance. I checked the location, and driving directions, from my mobile phone. We kept in touch with everyone, complicated by Lucretia’s recent illness*, via TXT, Facebook, voicemail, and email.

Would I have attended without mobile phones? Probably, but it would not have been so easy.

The Future:

Mobile technology is not going away. People who are new to it will get used to it. The newer generations will have grown up with it, and wonder how we got by without, in the same way that we wonder how the world worked without radio, motorised transport and frozen food.

It seems odd to think that the iPhone is only 10 years old. We have come so far, to be able to carry a mobile computer, capable of linking to the Global Superhighway, and processing data faster than our forefathers thought was possible. The main question it leaves me with is: What next for mobile technology?

3d Printing is becoming more common, but feed-stock currently precludes it from being truly portable. Bio-monitoring (heart-rate, pulse, sugar levels etc) is advancing. Augmented Reality may attempt to surface again, although Google Glass failed to take off, and Pokemon Go is ‘only’ a game. The veil between the “real world” and “cyberspace” is breaking down, and who knows where that will take us!

We should not mourn the loss of the past, but rather celebrate the onrushing Future, and grasp it with both hands, lest it slip past us!

*Another example of how Modern Technology helped us to communicate! Her days at the hospital were greatly eased by being in constant (txt/Facebook) communication with her nearest and dearest, even though they could not be physically at her side.

Art In Space!

In Space, no-one can hear you say “Actually, I’m really enjoying this game!”

Star Traders, one of the Trese Brothers‘ games for Android phones/tablets, has been described as “Elite for the New Generation”. Although it lacks the 3D flying-through-space effects that made the Sinclair game a Classic, it does have over 200 planets to visit, with control of them spread between the Three Great Houses and the Three Syndicates, along with some Independent places.

The basics of the game are quite simple – choose a profession (including Merchant, Pirate, Explorer or Military Officer), jump in your ship and zoom around the Quadrant, trading, exploring Wild Zones, fighting other ships, Aliens and Pirates! But soon the intricacy of the game’s design becomes apparent. The Quadrant is not a happy place, and each of the six Factions has their own plan for ruling it. Political Intrigue soon (from Turn 1) colours your choices, as Factions declare Trade Embargoes, Alliances, Spy Battles and even Solar War on each other, but beware, these relationships can change rapidly, leaving your peaceful trade mission suddenly in the heart of hostile territory! Aiding a Faction in its cause can be very profitable, but will make you enemies!

I could go into details of how to play, what tactics work best for each style of play, how to customise your ship, etc, but I think I’ll leave you to explore it yourself!

This is made all the easier with, like all of the Trese games, free versions being available, so that you can try them out before deciding whether to upgrade to the Pro versions. There is also an active Forum, where you can read up on other players’ tips, and ask how to refine your strategy. Even better, the Designers constantly monitor the forums and have opened both  “bug reports” and “Design Suggestions” threads, which they take on board, and reply to swiftly, letting you know how things are progressing. There are constant updates to the Game Engine, which is generally a positive affair, adding new features, extra ships and tweaking the interface.

So, if you like the sound of taking control of your own spaceship, and zooming across the vast expanse of The Quadrant, dodging Patrol Vessels, fighting Aliens and Exploring Wild Zones, ready to land at a safe haven to off-load your ill-gotten gains hard earned cargo, why not give Star Traders a go! You won’t be disappointed!