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Geriatric smartphones, part 2

April 25, 2012 - Harry Eagar
Last year, I asked for bigger portable phones ("Geriatric Smartphones," Nov. 15) for us oldsters with dimming eyes and tremulous fingers. At the time, I was thinking in terms of an iPad with a phone in it, because I wsnted to carry a tablet with voice transcription on interviews. My arthritic fingers no longer write well enough to take notes with a pencil.

Since then, I have retired from reporting (except for a little free-lancing), and no longer want to carry a tablet around. But bigger little phones still seem like a good idea, and it appears that the manufacturers are getting on board.

My son is carrying a Samsung Galaxy, which is nearly as big as a small tablet and is as big a phone as will fit in a man's shirt pocket. He loads it up with movies to amuse my grandchildren, but mostly he uses it to manage the three webpages he runs for the benefit of CIOs -- a page each for different platforms, like Android.

He likes the Galaxy and Android because he can use it across platforms to sync to all his various computers. Things an iPhone won't do.

But on to the subject mentioned in the previous post ("Computer Crash"). His latest page is devoted to the RiM Blackberry, and he developed the page on an emulator. As is his practice, he always does the final test on the mobile device itself, because he has found that, in the real world, computer emulations are not a perfect match.

So it was with the latest Blackberry. He tells me the latest, superduper Blackberry lags noticeable compared to earlier Blackberries and to some other platforms. He says he thinks he knows why (it has to do with the response of the touch screen), but the point here is that the "laggy" behavior didn't show up on the emulator. Only in real life.

There are animal rights zealots who want to ban testing of medical products on animals, because the testing can be done by computer simulation. (I first heard this claim, from the University of Iowa Medical School, 30 years ago.)

It can't. It never will be possible. Sometimes life just has to be lived.


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