Who Needs a Personal Trainer? (Samsung Mob!lers)

So, a few weeks ago I was saying how we increasingly find ourselves using mobiles phones in every area of our lives. Well, guess what? I’ve found something else to use mine for.

I’ve never been a fitness freak but in recent years I’ve developed (or, more accurately, rediscovered) a love of swimming. I go at least twice weekly, it gives me a buzz and hopefully helps to counteract the less healthy bits of my life. Not to mention turning my stomach on the odd occasion, but I try not to let that put me off.

I’ve always felt at home in the water but my lessons stopped when I finished school (and most of them seemed to involve waiting for the boys to stop pushing each other in or watching my friend go into full blown panic because she had water up her nose) so I’ve never had chance to hone my style as an adult. I’ve seen posters advertising adult lessons at the pool but they tend to be for people who can’t swim at all (*laughs and points*) rather than people who want to enhance their techniques. Step forward then, the Go Swim app (a companion to the website) which provides tips and instruction, as well as photos and films, to help swimmers of all abilities improve their strokes.

I’ve found it incredibly useful, especially the pieces on warm-ups, which I never considered doing but now seem obvious, given that I often swim full pelt for over an hour at a time (yes, I know it doesn’t look like that’s possible but I promise you I’m quite a graceful beast in the water, like those ballet dancing hippos in Fantasia!).

Obviously you can check out the website when you’re online at home but it’s great having the videos on your phone to study the examples before or after your swim – I’d suggest NOT trying it during but if you’ve got an underwater phone, who am I to stop you?

Failing to be Moved

If you follow me on Twitter or we’re friends on Facebook, no doubt you’ve spotted me moaning about our house sale over the past few months. After 2 years on the market we accepted an offer in June (was it June? It could have been May, it’s all so very long ago) and since then I’ve felt like life has been on hold while we wait for other people to move things on (at a snail’s pace it would seem). At every single stage there have been hold ups, miscommunications, mistakes and, without going into the mind-numbingly boring details, it has, thus far, been a ruddy nightmare. And we still don’t have a moving date.

The thing is, speaking to other people who have recently been through the same process, we’re not alone. In fact, most people seem to find the experience nothing short of horrific. It’s not the physical moving process (though the control freak in me does NOT relish the prospect of giving three strangers a van full of my stuff and letting them drive off with it!), it’s the build up, the legalities, the bureaucratic faffery and general messiness of the thing. And it’s not as if it isn’t something that happens on a fairly regular basis. AND with the market as quiet as it is right now, surely all relevant parties should have more time to concentrate on the cases they do have.

What I’m saying is, it shouldn’t be this difficult, should it? I swear it will be a miracle if I make it into a new house without my hair having turned completely white. I’ve told N that we’re never moving again and we haven’t even moved yet! If I am totally truthful, I think one of the reasons I’m so fractious is that, in readiness for moving, and so we don’t have to pack up 150 tins of tomatoes/fruit and umpteen bags of rice/pasta, I have been running down my Zompocalypse cupboard which makes me feel vulnerable and a bit grumpy. If Z-Day hits now I shall be utterly livid.

If someone could just reassure me that it’ll all be fine, the Zompocalypse won’t break out until after the move and I’ve had chance to restock, and that by Christmas I’ll be settled in the new place and all this madness will be a distant memory, that would be lovely. Or feel free to purge yourself of your own horror stories too.

Won’t Someone Think of the Children?! (Samsung Mob!lers)

When I was a nipper, my Gran was impressed (and no doubt a wee bit scared/hacked off) that I could program the video recorder whereas she had trouble turning on the TV. Some things never change and kids are still often more au fait with new technology than many of the older generations. It’s second nature to them and they have no fear of ‘pressing the wrong button’ – though this is probably because they didn’t buy whatever they’re fiddling with and so have no concept of how expensive it would be to replace.

Either way, I have it on good authority that the small annoying people (that would be children) love technology and often borrow their parents’ devices to ‘play on’ (read keep them quiet while Mummy tries to stave off the fourth migraine of the week). The guys at the Samsung Mob!lers obviously aren’t aware (and why should they be?) of my disinterest in all things kiddiefied (unless you include cartoons, stuffed animals and brightly coloured sweets which, for some strange reason, seem to be aimed primarily at kids – I quite like all of those things) and have asked me to come up with app ideas for under 5s (They’re the one’s that are about *holds hand a couple of foot above the ground* this big, yeah?). If I haven’t made it clear before, children and all the surrounding hoo-hah, do nowt for me. But hey, I like a lot of stuff that kids like, I get on pretty well with most of the ones I meet, so I’m possibly better placed to complete the mission than I first thought.

So, what did I like when I was a kid? Pretty much the same things as I like now – food, animals, films, reading (yes, I could read very early on – thanks to Mum for making me a precocious little madam). With that in mind, I think I’d like to see something that entertains and educates. I basically learnt everything I needed to know in life from watching Sesame Street, though I do now lay the blame for my fat ass squarely at the door of the Cookie Monster! I think something that allows the child to express creativity would be a great addition too. So perhaps a selection of basic words (illustrated by pictures) that can be selected (by the child) and arranged (by the app) into a story which is then spoken back to the user, while they read along. The user could illustrate the story (perhaps following a guide) and the app could animate the pictures (similar to the fantastico Draw A Stickman that seems to be doing the rounds on social networks this week). The story could be saved and/or emailed.

Cute huh? I bet something like it already exists. Unless I’ve just blogged, and given away for free, my million dollar making idea. Ach well, consider it a gift. And if anyone asks about my generosity, we’ll tell ’em I did it for the kids.

Do you have any opinions on children using technology? Do you allow your kids to play on your gadgets or do they have their own? What are their favourite apps and do they know more about how to use them than you? Or would you prefer that kids were out in the fresh air?

Blue Skies over Yorkshire (Samsung Mob!lers)

So, the weather hasn’t exactly been glorious this summer, no tan to be had in the back gardens of Hull this year. Still, I’ve had some great days out and about and Yorkshire has, as ever, done itself proud.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been getting to know my Samsung Galaxy Pro and its nifty camera. It has the capacity to produce some great shots and various effects can be achieved (I love the Retro Camera app) for quite impressive results. I thought I’d share a selection of the pictures I got over the summer holidays that show we did have the odd nice day (each one has at least a tiny slice of clear/blue sky).

Recognise anywhere?

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