Reach out and Touchscreen

Touchscreen are now becoming ubiquitous on smart phones and other gadgets, and new computer Operating Systems are now start to include touchscreen options as standard. So how useful are they for your office computer systems?

Using a touch screen as a “user interface” has a lot going for it. It is intuitive, you literally point at what you see, and it can be more ergonomic than various other methods. The previous downsides of high price and low responsiveness have been largely removed by cheaper high quality touchscreens: decent 15 & 17 inch screens can be bought for around £150 and slightly more for 19 inch.
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Age of Irresponsibility

Much has been made in recent years of the problems of the “Compensation Culture” and many politicians have expended great gusts of hot air about how they propose to end it. However, in reality this is merely a symptom of a far wider problem.

Historically in the UK, when a government department got something seriously wrong the Minister for that department would give an “honourable resignation”, leaving his position on the basis (as a US President1 famously said) “the buck stops here”. Now we have government Ministers who when something goes wrong send a junior member of staff to face the wrath of the press and carry on regardless. But it is not just politicians, this type of behaviour is endemic across society.  Bankers mess up in catastrophic ways, even breaking the law, and walk away with large bonuses in their pockets. Security contractors accept lucrative jobs, then ask the government to bail them out when they can not do what is needed.
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The Great Dictator

In an earlier blog, I made a remark about some firms still using cassettes for dictation, which attracted a couple of comments. Therefore I thought I’d go over the moderns options, pros and cons.

The first decision is to dictate or not to dictate in the first place. The advantage of not dictating is a possible reduction of costs in equipment and staffing, but this is set against having to deal with the production of text yourself. This ranges from typing everything yourself (where output depends on your typing speed), to document creation systems which let you simply pick from banks of styles (which reduce ability to make bespoke documents) This is not an either/or proposition, but a continuum, and the more work a document creation system does for you in general the dearer it costs, possibly outweighing the savings of have less staff.1
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