November 27, 2017
Civil Defence sent an emergency alert to mobile phones last night.
My farmer got it but I didn’t.
A few minutes later I read a tweet from a woman saying her husband had got the message and she hadn’t too.
I was just about to reply to the tweet saying the same had happened to us when I got the alert.
I hope that in a real emergency those few minutes wouldn’t matter.
A bigger problem was that I swiped my phone when I got the message, it disappeared before I’d read it properly and there’s no record of it.
An even bigger problem was that a lot of people didn’t get it at all.
In a real emergency there will be other methods of communication but mobile phones could be the best way to alert many people.
May 23, 2017
Technological progress ought to bring better mobile coverage but we’ve found it’s got worse when we’re on the road.
We used to get good reception up the Waitaki Valley from Duntroon to the Otematata saddle, now it’s intermittent.
State Highway 1 from Christchurch south has suffered a similar drop in reliable reception and on other roads we use often, coverage is no longer consistent.
My farmer and I were blaming new phones and called into a Spark shop to discuss the issue last week.
The helpful young man who served us fired up his computer which told him that the changeover to 3G means rural coverage isn’t sparking as it used to. It’s led to patchy reception in many of the areas where it used to be better.
Friends who use Vodafone and 2Degrees tell us they are faring no better.
This isn’t just a matter of convenience.
Reliable mobile coverage is necessary for many rural businesses and it can also be a matter of safety when there’s an accident or illness.
We’re in desperate need of a bright spark to come up with a solution to improve reception and ensure mobile coverage is at its sparkling best.
June 30, 2016
Not too long ago toll calls were so expensive they were rarely made and reserved for matters of great moment.
Calling between countries was even more costly – unless as friends and I once did, you could find a phone box in London which enabled you to call New Zealand for a very few pennies.
Technological developments have brought great leaps in telecommunications, increasing the ease of calling and decreasing the cost.
A niece phoned me from France recently for no cost at all.
I haven’t found a company offering free overseas calls in New Zealand but Internet options like Skype and Facetime do the same thing at no extra cost, and enable you to not only hear but also see the person with whom you’re conversing.
I’m now in the happy position of being able to talk to family and friends anywhere in the world without counting the cost and I’m grateful for that.
June 11, 2016
You know how sometimes women and men have communication problems, that’s because it’s not about the nail:
March 9, 2016
The home in which I grew up had one telephone.
It was attached to the wall in what we called the sun room.
As its name suggests it was warm on a good day but in inclement weather or at night it was cold.
If you didn’t need privacy or quiet you could stretch the cord far enough to converse in the kitchen which was always warm. But if you wanted to hear properly or keep your conversation to yourself you had to stay put regardless of the temperature.
How much easier it is now when most phones are cordless and many are mobile.
Today I’m grateful for portable and mobile communication.
February 25, 2016
Phone calls, emails, texts and a variety of social media make keeping in touch with friends and family much easier, and more instantaneous, than they’ve ever been.
But there’s still something about a handwritten note on paper or a card that comes in the post.
Today I’m grateful for hand-written correspondence, all the more so for its rarity nowadays.
February 22, 2016
Many years ago at a parent-teacher meeting for a three-teacher country school, someone raised the desirability of the school having an answerphone.
The principal wasn’t in favour because he’d have to listen to the messages in his breaks.
One parent pointed out that would be preferable to fielding a lot of calls and many of the messages would not require a call back but he wasn’t persuaded.
Answerphones were fairly new back then, now they’re common place for land lines and part of the package for mobiles.
They have their disadvantages – when you leave a message you don’t know if, or when, it will be listened to; and not everyone listens to every message.
But providing the messages left are clear, concise and provide the name and number required for a response, they serve a useful purpose.
Today I’m grateful for answerphones, and to the people who give their name and number clearly at both the start and end of their messages.