The Weekly Round-Up: Why mobiles make us rude and wi-fi makes us grumpy

Our sideways take on the news of the week...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Our sideways take on the news of the week...

Sorry, can you wait a second? Right, um, how about... OK, and... press Send.

Sorry about that. Just tweeting something.

So, in this week's... oh wait, hang on, someone just retweeted it... with a comment... that's out of order. Give me a second, will you?

If that sounds familiar to some of your office interactions then you're not alone.

Smartphone addiction

Addicted: Is your mobile phone making you rude?Photo: Shutterstock

More than a third of UK adults describe themselves as "highly addicted" to their smartphone. After all, what's not to love? They do most things a laptop does in a neat little pocket-sized packet.

They're always with us, filling up those empty moments with entertainment when other technologies might not be available or practical - at the dinner table, in bed (alone or not), in the toilet (don't deny it) and while out socialising (especially with boring acquaintances).

But, as well as occupying all the spare time that previous generations used to daydream and exercise their imaginations, the ubiquity of instant communications is also having a profound effect on out manners too.

Smartphones and other devices are putting pressure on business communications to be less formal, according to a story on silicon.com this week which asks, Is your phone making you rude?. Rude as in vulgar, not as in the unwise photos you 'accidentally' took that one time.

Now this is fine, if you are a young, happening hipster talking to another young, happening hipster. It should be quite evident that the Round-Up is not one of these types of people.

But these aforementioned youths might want to change their approach when dealing with older execs who didn't get to where they are today without a little deference and, whisper it, respect.

The silver foxes of the corporate boardroom are less likely to respond positively to getting a pitch via SMS or an emoticon-ridden email as Gen Y'ers are.

In other words, what the kids see as cool, the grey beards see as rude. You need to communicate in a language appropriate to the audience. It doesn't matter if you are crowdsourcing on your iPhone, you still need to mind your Ps and Qs.

So ditch the emoticons and the tweets and get yourself some smart-headed notepaper. And we might even need to talk about something called 'stamps'...

iPad honeymoon period

The iPad has opened the floodgates for the tablet computer and a brave new world for technology, and it's certainly - much to the irritation of its rivals - leading the battle for hearts, minds and wallets.

But once you've run joyously from the Apple Store with your new tablet and fired off some "Sent from my iPad" emails to make all your friends and colleagues jealous, what next?

It seems that for some people, despite the initial thrill and buzz of first tablet love, the humdrum reality is that the relationship between an iPad and its owner can sometimes lose that magic spark.

According to research by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, some iPad owners get bored with their new device pretty quickly.

When asked how often they use their tablets, 42 per cent of iPad users said they turn to their tablet...

...every day, but 26 per cent of iPad owners said once a week, while another 11 per cent said even less than weekly.

Among those who said they only use their slate once a week, 27 per cent said they didn't use the device very often as they didn't see a need for it.

Only Apple could make people fork out £500 for a device they had no idea what to do with...

Nothing comes for free

Finally this week, if you are a tablet or smartphone user then you'll most likely have an ambivalent relationship with free wi-fi.

If it's free in the true sense of the word then it's happy days - email and web browsing here we come. If it's the other kind then we're suddenly filled with fear and loathing and there's a lot of that about these days.

The main problem with much free wi-fi is this: it's really annoying to spend 10 minutes doing the fiddly dance of registration to access a service that will only deliver benefits for the length of time it takes to finish a cup of coffee.

The Round-Up's even done the dreaded dance of registration in a desperate attempt to take advantage of 'free wi-fi' while a train had stopped momentarily in a station.

Despite a flurry of fingers entering email addresses and passwords, it's never managed to download its email before the train chugs out of range leading to an anguished scream that echoes through the carriages of the train.

And then the reminders of failure arrive, in the shape of a flood of emails with offers of unwanted products and services days later.

Maybe you've felt the same? According to a report by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, many have.

The report confirms that logging on to public wi-fi is still too complicated, leading to relatively low take-up by device owners and, the Round-Up would add, many anguished screams.

Apparently there is huge ongoing growth in the number of hotspots being rolled out. But not enough people are using them because -surprise, surprise - the registration and logon process is a chore. Newer, simpler authentication technologies have not been introduced yet that will cut out the pain.

We want our free wi-fi and we want it now!

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