From Telephones To Tudors

I recently discovered that there’s a national collection of telephone kiosks. I was far too excited by this news and was determined to go and see them.
They live at Avoncroft as part of a collection of historic buildings.
On arriving I was even more excited to find that the telephones actually worked and we could call between them. They were connected via a small exchange which, of course, we could also see working.
Having played there we set off to explore the rest of the museum, finding such gems as a prefab house, a corrugated chapel and a fibreglass spire. We also encountered some re-enactors, some of whom were doing Elizabethan dancing to a surprisingly recognisable tune.

I May Not Have To Give Up My Phone Keyboard After All

Tactus KeyboardI like my phone. It’s a good old Nokia smartphone running Symbian with both a touchscreen and a physical Qwerty keyboard. That keyboard is invaluable. I write a lot on my phone, text messages, poetry, blog posts and I appreciate the physical feedback that a real keyboard can give you.

I’m aware that my phone is getting older, the hardware is beginning to show signs of wear and I don’t expect to get software updates much longer. However the lack of smartphones with a physical keyboard sees me hanging on to this phone, past the time I would usually have been looking round hopefully for a replacement.

Then I saw a picture of a technology that creates a keyboard on a touchscreen as and when it is needed. It’s being developed by Tactus Technology and uses micro-fluidics (where fluid is routed through tiny channels to expand the top polymer layer to create the physical buttons) to create tactile, physical buttons when an application needs them and allows them to disappear afterwards.

Now sadly I don’t know of any way currently to get my hands on such a device (although if they wanted to send me one to review I’d be more than happy) but it certainly looks as though it might be a solution for smartphone users (like me) who value the feedback only real buttons can give.

I’ve seen suggestions that it might be available as an addon to an existing device as well as built into new gadgets.
In either case, I’ll be looking out for this and hoping I can have it in my next phone.


Things I Can’t Find

Once upon a time there was no internet. People looked up information in huge paper things called books (not sure what one is? Google it). Or they just lived not knowing the answers. Shopping was something you did by walking into shops and choosing from the items on the shelves and finding out what products were available relied on the knowledge of your friendly local shop assistant.

Now of course, we have the internet. I like the internet, I can find out almost anything almost instantly. I can choose from a variety of products and have them delivered to my door without me having to get cold, wet or sore feet from walking around town all day. It does however have its limitations.

So here are some things I have not been able to find:

  • A website which tells you which new phone is the best one to upgrade to based on your current phone (If I find one it will laugh at me and tell me to get two tin cans and some string, but that’s not the point).
  • A way of automatically marking up an e-book script for a part (if you use Apple though, ScenePartner looks amazing and does audio too).
  • A website which given a dish and a geographical area will find a restaurant that serves it.
  • A website which lists all the things that you can’t easily find on the internet (hang on…).

If you happen to know any answers, or even have things of your own you cannot find then do please comment and tell me.