The world keeps changing and technology is always being updated. So there are always lots of ways to keep on being good and geeky. It’s not limited to just messing around with a computer, fooling around with code, fiddling with electronics or playing with gadgets. One of the ways I’m being a geek these days is with my electric car. Mind you, you could say that having an electric car is owning a computer on wheels which you can drive. You can certainly see this is the case with the Tesla cars and the way they get their over the air updates for the operating system of the vehicle. Volkswagen are also moving towards improving their cars with software and sending it wirelessly. No more need for electric car owners to go to a service centre or a dealership to get the latest update. I’m hoping Nissan will follow the lead so I can see new capabilities in my Nissan Leaf on a regular basis. Onwards and upwards with tech.
In order to be good and geeky you just have to have an eye on the future. You need to have a desire to use the newest technology to improve your life. Have a willingness to try out new stuff to see how it fits in with your wants and needs. My mother is good and geeky at the age of 79 because she’s trying out the Amazon Echo, wondering about buying a new digital camera or whether her iPhone is all she needs for her photography. I like to geek with voice controlled home technology. I’ve added motion sensors to turn on lights for me. I’ve connected the Amazon Echo system to the lights and also to the socket for the television. I like to be able to turn on the television by uttering a command to the lady who lives in the network. Hey presto and the job is done.
What geeky things am I looking forward to?
It’s the time of the year when the new iPhone will be announced soon. I’m thinking along the lines of upgrading my iPhone 7 to the latest and greatest. A two year old iPhone still has sufficient residual value to offset the cost of buying the new one. I’ll have to change from the fingerprint security I have now and go with the face recognition instead. I suppose I’ll get used to it and perhaps it will be improved with the next version of iOS and iPhone.
I’m very much looking forward to the next version of iOS, iOS 12. This is due to the addition of Google Maps and Waze to work with Apple Carplay. I adore using Carplay in my Nissan Leaf and it sometimes seems quite futuristic. It’s particularly good if I want to send a message to somebody while driving. I can get Siri to read my messages to me and I can reply without taking my eyes off the road. It’s safe as well as being something you might expect from the Jetsons. I don’t tend to make a lot of phone calls but that’s another good thing within Carplay and my electric car. If I want to make a phone call it’s easy to do so just by asking Siri to call a number for me. You only have to press the on screen button to start Siri and then it’s all voice controlled after that. I should be able to say the magic command “Hey Siri” in the car too.
Personalised transport of the geeky kind
On a recent visit to a shopping centre I spotted a place selling single wheel Segway type transports. I had a little go and I’m sure I could get used to riding one of these round fairly quickly. This one had plates you put your feet on either side of the wheel and you controlled it with your balance. Leaning forward to go forwards and leaning backwards to put on the brakes or to go backwards. It seemed fairly safe although I expect quite a bit of practice would be needed to become an expert. There are also the hover board style of two wheel personal mobility scooters. The small children seem to do well with these, I’ve seen them flying around the campsite where I work. You can also get these with a support in the centre you can grip with your knees. Like a short Segway. You get extra confidence with this type of hover board. At the moment I’m deciding whether I should get one of those electric scooters. I think I would be safer on it than I would be on an electric skateboard. I’ve even considered getting one without the electric motor, just to put in the back of my Nissan Leaf. I know in the past they were considered just for children to play with. These days it just seems like a good way to get around when you’re visiting someplace or other, kid or not. Park the car and grab the scooter from the boot of the car for the last kilometre or two of the journey. I can get one without electricity for about €100 and could spend about €700 for a decent one with a motor.
More goodies with iOS 12
It’s really good and useful as well as good and geeky to use automation. I have a number of automation applications on my iPhone and iPad. I don’t really use them as much as I could do, but I like to have them there. With the next version of the operating system, the application Workflow is changing to Siri Shortcuts. This adds Siri automation to what was Workflow. I expect one or two things will get lost in the first iteration of this new application. On the other hand, having the voice control with the automation combined and infused into the operating system alongside the application Siri Shortcuts, will give new and improved automation possibilities. Just by using a single command you’ll be able to complete several tasks all in one go. All you have to do is to identify and be creative with how you can put together a number of tasks to make your life better in a good and geeky way. It can be hard to notice what you do repeatedly which could be automated.
To a certain extent many of the iOS improvements are tweaks and minor enhancements to options already present. There are also the silly little items like Memoji and some of the things you can do with ARKit. Make your own little avatars you can use wherever within the operating system. Have things show up on your screen which are not really there, but they are in a virtual reality sort of way. Fun things which make being good and geeky a great way to run your life. Why stick with the old-fashioned and outdated way of doing things when there’s something new and fun available?
Good and geeky photographic fun
One of my favourite things to do is to create 360° photographs. One of the ways to do this is to use the camera on the iPhone and use the Street View application from Google. You stand in a spot and spin around taking photographs in 360°. The software puts these photos altogether into a single image which you can scroll around and up and down to see all around you. It’s like a fully enhanced panoramic view. I did buy a 360° camera which does the job with just one click. It’s faster and fairly easy-to-use. The only trouble is I have to take it out of the bag, connect it to the iPhone and fiddle with the software to take the picture. If my iPhone is inside my heavy duty case it can be just too much trouble to get started. The camera I bought doesn’t have quite sufficient resolution either for the pictures to go to Google Maps. There are other 360° cameras which are better although they are more expensive. The photos app is going to be improved when macOS Mojave and iOS 12 become available in autumn of 2018. Photography is important to us geeks.
Digitally Recording Your Life
One of my favourite applications is Day One. This is a fantastic application on Mac and iOS which synchronises across the platforms. Sometimes I record a post using DragonDictate into Scrivener. I use a Keyboard Maestro automation to copy and paste all of it into Day One. This is for when I want to do something with a lot of words. It’s nice to have the option of creating quicker posts using iOS or even using my Apple Watch. I open the application on my iPhone daily to create a quick journal post. In the standard application you can add up to 10 photos along with your text. In the premium version of the application you can also add audio which is new in version 3. I don’t really need to add audio and I can use Siri dictation rather than the Day One transcription. So I’ll stick with the version I’ve been using up until now. I don’t really need to spend €25 per year for the added extras.
One of the features I particularly like with Day One is when it gives you a notice about what happened on this day over the years. I’ve been using Day One for over five years now so I often see a notice telling me I’ve got between five and ten journal posts for that date. It’s cool to look back and see what you were doing two, three or five years ago. Day One is the easiest way to keep a diary and it is most definitely good and geeky.
The video of my life on YouTube
With my new electric car, the Nissan Leaf I’ve been keen to do road trips on my days off from work. While going on these trips I’ve been creating YouTube videos. Not only is it good for sharing with my YouTube subscribers, but I aIso have a record for myself. It’s good fun even though it does take some time to put the videos together if I want to have them look fairly professional. I’m enjoying using Final Cut Pro for the editing process. It’s all marvellous, clean, good and geeky fun
Are you going to be good and geeky?
Do you find it easy to keep up with the new technologies as they become available? Are you finding it fun to use software and hardware in combination get things done? What’s your favourite new, good and geeky thing?