Adam Roberts is a thwarted technophile who makes up for not being able to afford gadgets by reading about them. He'll be sharing the wisdom he comes across, fortnightly on these pages.

All you can tweet and drink

05:00am 03 Sep 2013


Platform evangelists - or evangelists in general, but that's another story - have always made me uncomfortable.

Those people who tell you that you simply have to get on Instagram, or need to create a Twitter profile, or give Reddit a go - they always seemed a little naive to me.

People have been creating virtual communities online since there was such a thing as "online", so when someone says that such-and-such a network has "a great community around it", I mentally add ". . . for me".

But some social networks are more social than others.

Generally speaking, Facebook is where you communicate with friends you've already made, whereas Twitter is where you follow people you maybe don't already know, such as famous people or people in your region.

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Simplify your choices or risk fat-finding trip

05:00am 20 Aug 2013


Last week I bought a sausage roll. I guess I should explain that statement.

Basically, every work day, just after the morning deadline, when I return to a conscious state, I really, really feel like a sausage roll.

Usually, I manage to resist the impulse, preferring to buy a much-healthier (yeah, right) cup of coffee, but not always.

I have a theory that the sausage roll is the ultimate in guilty pleasure. Even before buying it, even before unwrapping the translucent paper, even before my face is coated in the poisonous flakes, I regret the decision. But, obviously, I still eat it.

Last Friday, after a long week toiling in the word mines, I finally succumbed to the deep desire for greasy satisfaction, and made the trip across the road to Tasty Tucker.

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Social media dictates worth of message

05:00am 06 Aug 2013


In his standup special Dangerously Delicious, comedian and all-around brilliant person Aziz Ansari describes a situation which will seem familiar to anyone with a phone and thumbs.

When he's texting a girl, he says, often a conversation will develop, with each person immediately replying to the other.

Then he asks: "alright cool, you wanna get pizza on Tuesday?", but hears nothing back.

"And I'm like: What just happened? I know you read that . . . You responded to 20 other things I said, what you now don't like me any more? You don't have two seconds and say: ‘Yes I wanna get pizza.' Or: ‘No I don't wanna get pizza.' What, did you check your phone into a locker and go ride a roller coaster for a few hours?"

A familiar frustration to teens, and some adults, no doubt.

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Conversation killer moves to the wrist

05:00am 23 Jul 2013


Picture the scene, if you will: You meet up with a friend or a colleague at a cafe, order your respective nourishment (or not, as the case may be) and before sitting down, you place your phones on the table in front of you.

You sit down, have a conversation, drink your coffee, rooibos or artisanal organic feijoa and straw concentrate, and start to relax. Then one of your phones vibrates, buzzes or makes any one of a dozen commonly used alert noises.

Depending on your level of mutual respect, your age and your general politeness, you could do anything from apologise and quickly put the phone away, to pick the phone up and address its complaint.

Most often in situations like this, you'll both briefly glance down at the offending device, then quickly try to continue the conversation as if nothing had happened, but it's not the same.

You're both now thinking the same thing: is whatever just happened on that phone more interesting than whatever we're talking about right now? Then: I bet they're thinking the same thing.

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Street View offers panoramic blast from the past

05:00am 09 Jul 2013


Often people will ask if I'm a Nelsonian, and when I say no, they'll ask, quite reasonably, "Oh, so where have you come from?" forcing me to consider how bored I wish to make them. It's kind of a long story.

So: Before I came to Nelson nearly three years ago, I had spent two years in Wellington, finishing off a degree and completing the journalism course which allowed me to work here.

Before that, I spent four years in Otago, studying at university and developing a healthy respect for alcohol through rigorous trial and error. But neither city is really relevant to their question.

My family live in Auckland, so I usually say that. But we moved there when I was nine. Before that we lived in Samoa for a year, so sometimes I mention that to spice things up, but it's a whole conversation in itself, and who really cares about that?

But the full answer - like a lot of Nelson residents it seems - is that technically, I'm from England.

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