So, Just What Does This Thing Do?…..

…..or, What Can It Do?

The title of this post can refer to two things. The first is obvious, what the gadget, software or app is meant to do. The purpose for which it was designed. For example, a toaster to make toast or a music player to play music on the computer or other device. The other meaning refers to what is going on underneath the hood, the inner workings if you will.

Over the past few months I have been able to get my hands on some new toys (TV, Tablet, etc) as well as new services and apps to use on them. Each new thing as been got for a reason, it has something I want or has a purpose for which I have a need or require. Although in the case of apps, a use or pupose such as music, navigation or something else to make life easier. Many have been deleted because I found they weren’t what I wanted or didn’t fulfill the purpose for which I intanded. In this case I will download/install apps until I find something which serves the purpose.  I try and keep apps/software up to date so updates are done when they come out but some updates have bought in things I think aren’t so good so apps will be uninstalled and replaced.

This ‘not so good’ seems largely to apply to android apps…heres a hint, new permissions which I find unacceptable and an invasion of my privacy. I find this a good reason for NOT updating and will find an alternative. Many times it has been a google own app so when I get my new phone I plan on putting a custom ROM on the thing and making it fully custom, eventually! Or at least root the thing and unstall the offending item. Its one more reason to learn to code so if necessary I can pull the nasty stuff out if I need to. If Android is supposed to be open why cann’t I uninstall the stuff that I don’t want?

Now back to what does this do thats useful. In many cases good things can be introduced with updates such as new features or, I can find an app which suits my needs and a little investigation provides me with more useful stuff within the app, In some cases I find that a device will have a feature that is useful that I didn’t know about because the feature isn’t well  publicized. This is were research comes in. It can largely be a simple matter of reading that handbook or idiots guide as I call it that it comes with. But this doesn’t have everything. Stuff can be found in various places, the manufactures web page,  forums and even G+. Recently I didn’t find out about a feature by research but simply came across a blog post that detailed a feature in Android that hadn’t been publicized but was useful.

In the case of apps and services it can be a case of checking the wiki or in the case of forums, information is posted by people who have somehow found a hidden feature, An example is the advanced privacy settings in some android (the latest android updates). In the case of services, it may pay to check the on-line guides. For example I have recently been using Spotify for streaming music as a replacement for LastFM as well as listening to albums that I haven’t got a round to buying or just a ‘test’ listen. I was poking around the guide for this service and found features that I didn’t know about or at least realise what they did. And I only thought it was a streaming service.

Now, bare in mind what I have said and apply it to gadgets (TV’s, phones, etc). If you spend sometime playing with your toy, gadget what ever you want to call it. You’ll soon have an idea of what it does. You’ll soon have it doing the thing for which you intended but do a bit of reading (even just checking the web) you’ll get more out of it. BUT, do this reading lark with the aid of a search engine because you’ll get better info from those who use the stuff than from the manufacture. I have a feeling they don’t want to give much away as the web site as the info seems very basic.

I decided to write this post on the grounds there are many stupid people out there that I see every day either not making the most of or incorrectly using or just plain not getting the phone, tv, etc to work properly. Just look at people trying to get their phones to work…



This post was started a month ago and is a little out of date but still went a head with it has I wanted to get these words out of my mind!


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