Monday, July 12, 2010


Are you as smart as your phone?

And here’s a surprise: most people don’t make full use of their smart-phones:

As smartphones increasingly penetrate the market, with nearly a quarter of mobile users owning one, data consumption is becoming more stratified: the heaviest users most frequently use their phones’ advanced features while many people hardly touch them, according to a Nielsen report.

I expect that’s at least partly because most people don’t know how to make full use of them, just like most folks don’t know how to use all the features on their digital cameras, their DVRs, their high-definition televisions, and many other bits of electronic technological marvel.

I take full advantage of my BlackBerry, but for me the item of conundrum is the camera. It has so many features, and so many that I seldom would want to use anyway, that I can’t get my head around them all and remember how to use them. Nor, in fact, do I usually even remember that they’re there, so I could remember to use them in the first place.

Probably the most useful feature that I need more practice using is the manual focus. I once saw a leaf dancing in the air on the breeze, and took several shots of it. Of course, the camera focused on the background, and I completely missed getting an image of the leaf — which would have looked great if it were crisp against a blurred background, instead of the other way ’round.

So, yes, we’ve gotten to where we’re often not as smart as our tools. Now... where did I put my programmable digital hammer?


Brent said...

Perhaps some of the blame belongs with overly complex and poorly designed user interfaces?

HRH said...

I recently purchased a Sony-CyberShot digital camera, to be cognizant of its features, and settings, I began reading the supplied user’s manual enthusiastically. The abundance of information in the manual is overwhelming, and remembering all of it, for the occasional use, is certainly onerous. The user interface is great and friendly, only if one can remember all the settings such as EV (exposure value), the different ISO setting for luminous sensitivity, various metering mode, recognizing the appropriate scene selections (of course some are intuitively obvious), the white balance for different scenes, and so on.
Ostensibly, my memory is reticent to retain all that information, when the camera is providing the “Intelligent Auto Adjustment” setting, where the device makes the appropriate settings on my behalf. Instead, I tried to learn and remember other features that are not covered by the “Intelligent Auto Adjustments” such as “Sweeping Panorama”, “Movie mode” and the “Burst setting”.