Monday, November 01, 2010

Reflections on 3 conferences in 2 1/2 weeks

Back in quiet and sparsely populated NZ after 21/2 weeks traipsing across a very crowded Europe and Asia. In addition to visiting 5 countries and 3 conferences, I also met up with my PhD supervisor to complete the final edit for my dissertation, shopped around for Android tablets and caught up with family in Singapore. Not sure if I will try to pack in as much another time!

However, time spent in airports was generally productive. The availability of free WiFi at most major airports helps plus on-board power for laptops on some aeroplanes assisted as well. Nothing worst then a dead laptop or no WiFi when trying to bring up Google maps to work out the best route and mode of transport from the airport to booked accommodation. I noticed in most airports, how people who were using the free internet desktops were mostly updating their facebook or similar. Road warriors seemed to have their own laptops and mobile web access.

On the shopping front, Android tablets were not as prevalent as I thought they might be. As in Hong Kong, there were very few in Singapore. I managed to play with one ePad which was being sold for Singpore $599, just $129 less than the 16G basic Ipad. Will need to wait until at least early next year for the market to mature.

Also, as people in other countries commute on public transport much more than the average NZer, the use of mobile devices was much more prevalent. As noticed in Singapore earlier this year, Italians, Romanians and Hong Kongers were all pretty much permanently wedded to their mobile phones. Almost everyone was twiddling with one on the bus, tram, subway or at the airport. In all countries, there were many shops selling mobile phones, often at very low prices when accompanied by a fixed term data plan.

I think the advent of ubiquitous computing is very nearly mainstream, especially in countries where the mobile web is not expensive. Even my 4 aunties (all in their seventies) who had all vowed to not become computer literate. They were all teachers who, aged 50 plus and early 60ish, had to attend PD sessions on using technology in teaching! However, everyone of them now uses a mobile phone and able to txt in both English and Chinese as it is the only way they are able to get hold of their children or grandkids. One has just succumbed to an iphone after being taught how to use it by her son-in-law. An ipad going to be the next investment (time and learning, not money) after I showed them how user-friendly mine was.

All in, a good time to catch up on completing the last edits towards dissertation, observe changes in mobile technology use, see some nice places, meet interesting people, play with a range of technology difficult to find in NZ and remember how lucky I am to live in clean and uncrowded NZ :)