Friday, March 21, 2014

My Apps

Dear sister,

Now you have a smartphone people will tell you correctly that you need apps. Here are some of those cute little bundles of smartness to be found on my phone.
  1. Maps - from Google
  2. Le Monde - I get to practice my French every now and then
  3. BBC iPlayer
  4. Vue - check out the local films
  5. Assistive Light - turn your phone into a torch (strictly a 'widget')
  6. IMDb - is the film actually any good?
  7. Clock - make sure the alarm can ramp up in volume gradually
  8. Antivirus - I use AVG
  9. infoCycling, cricinfo, Eurosport, BBC Sport
  10. Amazon and Amazon Kindle
  11. The Economist - I have a subscription
  12. The Times - I have a subscription
  13. LinkedIn - the working person's Facebook
  14. BT WiFi, The Cloud FastConnect - for those cafe hotspots
  15. Realcalc - I have the paid version of this scientific calculator
  16. Google Sky Map - how do they do that?
  17. National Trust - map based and essential when travelling around
  18. BBC Weather and The Weather Channel - (I toggle these to get the best forecast!)
  19. Wikipedia
  20. Google Calendar
  21. Google Chrome - much preferred over the Galaxy-supplied browser
  22. BBC News - a rather addictive app
  23. Gmail (and the POP3 email client 'Email' for business email)
  24. Fast Balance - the HSBC app to check my account
  25. Skype
  26. DropBox (I use camera upload to automatically transfer pix to my DropBox account)
  27. WhatsApp - yes, please install this early to avoid MMS charges!
  28. iChing - I like to hear the advice of The Sage before big decisions!
  29. London tube map - good to be there when you need it
  30. Google Translate - with French dictionary downloaded for offline use
  31. YouTube
  32. Chess - I rarely play and never win
  33. Heathrow Airport Guide - for checking arrivals/departures

Like any toolkit, these apps have been added (and others deleted) over many months. What a zoo! I cannot imagine how many hours of my life I will never get back!

Thank you for your fond wishes that I not break a leg; in fact you are the fourth person to express such benevolence. This morning I traversed the entire length of the Mendip Snowsport Centre slope (which in fact consists of three linked slopes of varying gradient) from top to bottom, multiple times, with linked parallel-ish turns and without crashing!

A parabolic mike would have picked up my mutterings: "crouch and weight forward on balls of feet; feel the boot-pressure on the shins!"; "drop and turn the skis - push up out of the turn!". Through such mantras I am somewhat grimly getting down in one piece and avoiding limb fractures. I expect in a few sessions time my subconscious may even come to believe this is not insanely dangerous!

Checking my records, I had my first ski lesson on Saturday February 8th ("this is a ski boot - here's how you do it up; this is a snow plough, see if you can get down this six feet of slope") and my final lesson two weeks later on Sunday, February 23rd (my instructor that day, Bernadette, shakes me by the hand afterwards to congratulate me on some sliding madness which in her wisdom she recognises as the precursor to a parallel turn).

Since then I have revisited the slope a further ten times - I guess ten hours of practice - and as a result I kind of get it, with concentration, most of the time. A long stretch of practice lies between here and making all this stuff reliable and second nature.

Anyway, one day, when I think I can do it and survive, I may shoot a video of my descent - and send it to you via WhatsApp!

Best wishes from your brother.