Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Technologically Moaning

Tonight, I’d like to have a little moan about technology, which is usually something I’m in full praise of. This particular issue has been on my mind for several weeks and you’ll have a good idea of where I’m headed with this from the photo below.

As I began to write this post, I’ve just received an e-mail from a customer… It’s made me feel a bit sick inside. It’s not something you would like or expect to see as a maker and I do sincerely hope it’s just a one-off. It’s not their fault and, when I can find the word to reply, I’ll have to acknowledge that it is my responsibility. I might well bring this up in a separate post sometime but, as of right now, I haven’t yet figured out how it could have happened… Mystery, is the word!

This year, I feel I’ve been putting a lot of effort in to increasing my presence on YouTube and with that the regular stream of content uploaded to my channel. This has been a demanding year for my rather simple digital camera, which turns one this very month. I had to invest in a couple of large SD cards to cope with the HD-ready files (along with my own photography) and that’s been manageable, as long as I keep photos on one and not the other.

But the battery life is taking its toll on my rhythm. Each time one battery discharges, I have to replace it with the spare. If I haven’t charged that then, I often have to put my tools down and to wait until I see the green light again.

Yes, with prior planning and care, I can create a system that works with this. But, when you take in to account the fact that the camera is also the battery charger (ie. there is no separate charging unit) then, you can perhaps see where problems can occur… This camera will also charge while it’s connected to my laptop via. the USB port (as and when I’m downloading content from the SD card) but then, I’ll rarely leave my laptop on long enough to complete a full charging cycle. I will almost always have to resort to plugging the camera in to the wall.

Why doesn’t the Nikon S8200 come with a separate charging unit? My old Fuji Finepix F500 did. I could probably find something suitable on eBay or Amazon but then, why should I have to?

None of this is quite touching on the point I’m hoping to make here, because there’s one gripe that really gets to me in all of this… Like many screens on portable electronic products (phones, tablets, etc.), my camera displays a gauge for the current battery level. After several hours of use, it’ll drop down to, shall we say, ‘less than full’… You’d expect this to fall in stages but no… There’s fully charged, there’s part-charged and then, within minutes after that (especially while filming), it’ll cut to the blank screen you can see above and, I can assure you; it is very irritating. There isn’t nearly enough of a warning.

So, I think you can assume that I took that same photo using the camera on my smart phone (a Samsung Galaxy SII). This is my very first smartphone and I think I’m right in saying that it’s the fifth phone I’ve had since the year 2000. From one Sagem through three different Nokias; I would be able to charge the phone to its max, knowing full well that, even with regular calls and texts, it would last for the bare minimum of 48 hours before the battery level became critical.

Now, with this smartphone; I have to put it on charge every night.  Quite often, I have to give it a quick blast as soon as I get in from work. For all the forward steps we have taken; it seems as though we’ve either fallen back or left a few notes behind at an earlier stop. I rarely use my phone at work and I can barely get a 3G signal or even an H when I do want to use an app. Yet, it’s rare that I come home, nine hours later, to find much more than 60% remaining.

It stays in my pocket for most of the day. It remains on (just in case) but I rarely ever send a text these days. I guess I have quite a few apps but they aren’t set for regular status updates or anything. Looking at the stats, the highest percentage of battery consumption belongs to the screen and that’s while I’m running it at close to the minimal settings… But why? How can an idle phone consume so much power and is there anything more I can do to preserve it, aside from switching it off?

My final lines on this post refer to my iPod, which has befallen a similar fate to the others. To be fair though, it is now pretty close to its 8Gb capacity with all the music I have on there and I should be actively seeking to upgrade to a larger model. But again; I can charge it one day and use it for several hours… It might appear low when I finished using it two days later but then, the next time I come to switch it on; I can almost guarantee you it’ll be flat. There will be no ignition. No start screen. It’ll have to reach the wall again.

I even have less confidence in some Li-ion power tools that I’ve used. My little 10.8v drill driver can struggle to last 90 minutes when I’m drilling holes, where as the impact driver (using the same batteries) will outlast that with ease.

Rant over. 🙂

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2 responses to “Technologically Moaning

  1. Andy Williamson 03/08/2013 at 11:24

    Olly
    I think you speak for most of us as regards technology. We can’t do without it but it can be frustrating at times.
    I’m no expert and I don’t have a Samsung phone but if it’s like my iPhone the Apps will continue to run in the background even if you have finished using them. On the iPhone you double click the Home button and this will reveal the Apps running. If you press and hold the first App it will enable the “stop” function on all of the Apps. “Click” each App to stop it. Perhaps there is something similar for the Samsung?

    Good luck
    Andy

    • Olly Parry-Jones 03/08/2013 at 22:34

      Andy, thank you.

      You’re quite right! Having tried this for myself, my Samsung phone has a very similar feature that is accessible by holding the Home button.

      I guess that’s a situation where it pays to read the manual when you buy these things! 🙂

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