These pages contain collated personal views on a wide variety of topics including computing, Apple, iPhone, software developed with passion, UK consumer experiences, the NHS (or the state of it), healthcare and medicine.

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EE Gets Visual Voice Mail

I have always thought that having Visual Voice Mail (VM) on the iPhone was essential to complete the iPhone experience. Being the first carrier to have iPhone in the UK, only O2 had VM functionality. Other networks just did not comment, and deployed iPhones without it - and many new users who had not experienced it before did not miss it. I however stuck to O2, quietly suffering their pesky 3G coverage in Sussex, just so that I could have VM. Somewhere end of last year I woke up thinking I was being stupid to stick to GPRS and not use the iPhone properly. So, despite the lack of VM, I switched to EE for better coverage.

Whilst the lack of VM annoyed me, I enjoyed better data coverage. I then discovered the app HulloMail, which offered VM functionality pretty much any network. Though they could design the app better, it worked reasonably well, and life was bearable. There were some teething troubles to get it to work, but it was worth having the app.

Today I received the best news - EE has finally enabled VM on their network. I have switched from HulloMail, back to VM nirvana.

It is useful to add that HulloMail has other functionalities like being able to send voicemails to designated email accounts etc, which is actually useful when you are abroad. However, I have made the jump to EE VM, driven by, once again, UI design! HulloMail should update their design to match the default phone app more closely.


Fastest Broadband, Slow Service

I do not know if it's me or this is a universal finding. I find virgin broadband customer service slacking. They used to take pride in providing rapid UK-based customer service previously. In the wake of recession this seems to have changed and the quality of service has fallen through. The broadband speeds have also come down and problems are more difficult to fix. Sign of the times?


Mountain Lion And External Displays

I turned up for a talk, smug in the knowledge that I can just plug in my MacBook to the projector using a VGA adapter and finding and connecting to the projector would magically happen, as it generally does for most Mac users, on connecting to a projector. Not this time. One of the ‘Over 200 enhancements’ has kicked everything back a few years.

Since the projector failed to recognise signal from the MacBook, I opened the Display preferences. In the older versions of Mac OS, you would see the displays listed there, if not one could just click ‘detect displays’ button to find the projector. Annoyingly, there was not a ‘detect displays’ button to find. After a restart and further fiddling, no luck. So I was reduced to presenting from a PDF copy of my presentation on a Windows machine.

Having done some research into this, I can confidently say that this ‘enhancement’is the product of a quirky programmer’s whim. If you hold down the Option key whilst on the display preferences, the Detect Displays button will appear. Thanks Apple!

Furthermore, the help button does not list this either. Note to self - try option key when something does not make sense… .


Mountain Lion And Siri

24 hours into installing Mountain Lion I am absolutely enjoying the dictation feature. However I did not realise this feature needed to be specifically enabled in System Preferences. Once you do that, it transforms your life. Especially if you are using your Mac for clinical work. SInce my clinical workflow for private practice is 100% electronic (using ClinicYou), I find the new voice recognition facility with near 100% accuracy such a game changer. To be able do enter text into any text field using your voice is such a great thing. And you do not have to run additional software like Dragon Dictate like our PC wielding colleagues will have to do.

Siri on Mac

Apart from Siri, I like a number of other new features which I will be commenting on soon. For instance I like the move to unify iOS and Mac OS interfaces, and better iCloud implementation. Overall, 24h on, here’s a happy convert.


Touch Your Info

It is no surprise that the iPad in the iPhone are a great success. A touch interface removes the layer of complexity and fear associated with computing that affects a lot of people. Being able to directly manipulate elements on the screen is welcomed by a number of people, young and old alike.

So what then, is the future of the PC? PCs will be confined to specialist uses and consumer computing will be mainly on touch based devices. Should vendors then touch enable their OSs? Microsoft seems to think so. They have ‘touch-neabled’ Windows 7. I had the misfortune to use it the other day. I found it slow, sticky and kicks everything back to last century in a tablet PC platform. For some reason Microsoft does not get it.

We need fast, lean OSs and light weight apps. That’s the future of computing both consumer and professional - like healthcare for instance. Hopefully big companies will get this simple concept one day.