There and being assessed

Yes, it’s another Vodacom Tablet Repair Update. By SMS.

1315: Job Number XXXXXXX has been received at the Advanced Repair Centre

This is good news. Being Pseudo-Capetonian, I’m always concerned over the safety of loved ones and loved things when they head up onto the hijacker-filled, e-Tolled highways of Gauteng. Thankfully, my broken tablet has made it all the way to the ARC, where presumably it will be joined by another broken tablet, and two of every other sort of defunct device, and be safe from the 40 days of rain which has been widely forecasted by Russell Crowe.

But wait, there’s more:

1345: Job Number XXXXXXX is currently in the assessment process at the Advanced Repair Centre

Game on. They’re having a look at it. This bit shouldn’t take too long, because I have already told them what’s up with it.

In fact, probably my biggest concern here is what my broken tablet was doing for the 30 minutes between SMSs. I can only presume that the ARC is so big that it actually takes 30 minutes to get from the Reception to the Assessment bit. One would think that – for reasons of efficiency – these two hives of activity would obviously be next to one another.

Equally concerning is the lack of any further promise to keep me informed by SMS.
Is this where it all ends, where the trail runs dry, where the toilet door slams?

I anxiously await the next installment, where my broken tablet hopefully heads to the Repair section – or even the Advanced Repair section – of the Advanced Repair Centre.

It’s enthralling, isn’t it?

Vodacom Tablet Repair Update

I’m already missing my tablet. The words of Professor Phillip Collins spring immediately to mind:

We had a life, we had a love,
But you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it.

Life and love aside, my “lost” tablet has indeed led to the sudden epiphany that I didn’t know what I had, (’til I lost it).

It is imperative (for my productivity (and possibly my sanity)) that I get my tablet back as soon as possible. So, having said that I would keep you updated on the progress of the tablet repair, please find here the first delivery on that promise.

I handed my tablet in for repair at Vodacom yesterday.
They said that they were going to send it away for repair and that they’d keep me informed by SMS.
I got an SMS as I left the shop, telling me that I’d handed in my tablet for repair and that they’d keep me informed by SMS.
I got a phone call this morning telling me that they were going to send it away for repair and that they would keep me informed. By SMS.
I got an SMS this morning telling me that they were going to send it away for repair. It also noted that they would keep me informed.
The medium through which this information would be relayed would be SMS.

Apparently, it’s going for a “higher level repair” at the “Advanced Repair Centre”. I guess that this is the tablet equivalent of major surgery and then ICU. We must just hope that it pulls through and doesn’t develop complications or a superbug or something.

I can’t fault Vodacom’s efforts to keep me informed, though. Previous repairs with the yellow company have left me frustratedly chasing shadows. Vodacom have started well. Now, can they keep it up?

I’ll keep you informed. By SMS.

Tablet Engagement

You may remember last month when I wrote about how the kids’ school wants to introduce iPads into their learning programmes.

This weekend, I was reminded of this line particularly:

They cited the engagement that the kids had with the device (I’ve seen this with my kids and my tablet) and the way that that engagement facilitated learning.

We were at a birthday party for one of the girls in Scoop’s year, but having no-one to look after Alex, I took him along as well. I also took the tablet, because there’s probably limited interest for a 7 year old boy in a younger girls’ birthday party.

Here’s what happened:

Alex and the (educational) Make Your Wild Self website was suddenly the centre of attention. And the kids came away having learned about bats and penguins.
The tablet came away covered in cupcake icing, but that’s not the point I’m trying to illustrate here.

Just having the device in front of them engages the kids. What’s on it is up to the parents and the teachers to sort out, but get it right and yes, it’s a fantastic learning tool.

Little tablets. Why?

I had my first hands on experience with an Apple iPad mini yesterday. Cute little thing, neat and tidy too (as you might expect), but I’m still struggling to get my head around why anyone would want to have a mini tablet. Each to their own of course, and my own isn’t Apple, wherever it can be avoided. But Android has its fair share of these mini tablets too and they leave me equally mystified.

Why would you want a device which looks like your phone, is ever so slightly bigger than your phone, but doesn’t make phone calls?

My phone is great, I love it, but the only place it falls down is that the screen isn’t big enough to do “some stuff” on – well, do some stuff easily anyway. Stuff like spreadsheets, documents and the like. Looking at pictures in detail as well. You’d just rather see more bits at the same time.

Of course, these mini-tablets are bigger than my phone. But they’re not very much bigger and it’s still awkward to do these things.
It’s at this point that I don’t get it. Why not just go for a 10 inch screen instead of a 7 or 8 inch one? Yes, it’s bigger and heavier – “more cumbersome” if you want to use negative flowery language – but it’s not like your iPad mini fits in your pocket anyway, is it? Unless you have really big pockets, in which case normal rules obviously don’t apply to you anyway.

The benefits of the larger screen far outweigh its cumbersomeitude. It’s more practical, it’s more versatile, it’s just… better.

I am sure that my “not getting it” will prompt a flurry of indignant cries of “you don’t get it”, and they’d be right. Because I don’t get it. So won’t somebody please explain the vast array of benefits of the mini tablet?
It probably won’t sway me, but it might help me understand why this is such a fast growing market at the moment.

I do hope it’s not just that usual Apple thing of being cool over being functional. That would be terrible.

Slice Rotary Keyboard

This looks interesting.

Time to retrain our brains people. Just as touch-typing has become something of a sport, with lightning fast texting and constant keyboard contact, a new app is looking to change the paradigm. The Slice Keyboard app is a new on-screen rotary board that redefines typing by creating new finger movements.
The idea is the typer will always have certain fingers on the touchscreen of their device. Depending on which circle the users’ fingers are on, a rotary wheel appears with certain characters that allow the user to quickly access via simple taps.

The question is, can we handle a change in such a fundamental and important means of interaction with our devices?


I already use Swype, which makes my typing lightning fast. Even that, using a standard Qwerty keyboard, took some getting used to. But I’ll give this a go and report back. Better still, of course, would have been to actually use Slice to write this post. But ain’t nobody got time for that.