How do people use the PBS online services?

Started by Martin Bohnet, March 04, 2022, 03:25:12 AM

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Martin Bohnet

After a quick remark from @Rdevries I was left wondering: are we all assuming too frequently that others  do things the way we do? I have yet to find a single application to make me even wanting a smart phone, others seem to barely notice other options exist. I guess it's quite helpful for development of the pages and services to get a broader picture, so please tell us your perspective through poll and discussion.
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

Robin Hansen

I just had a conversation with a member who lives in a remote area, with intermittent dial-up. He has an android and finds interacting with the internet difficult at times due to poor service. Just passing that along for what it's worth....

Regarding android/smart phones, they cost a lot, decidedly don't like being physically abused in any way, require more finger dexterity than I have and the monthly charges are double what I pay for a dumb phone. Plus, I do not have time to mess around with a bunch of "apps", let alone any social media. What money I have or earn has other priorities.

And yes, I drop my phone on an irregular but not infrequent basis, or leave it in the house to avoid the mud,the buckets of water and watering cans and the dog who finds empty pots, coffee cans, sticks and anything else that strikes his fancy to be wonderful toys. I still have the old phone with his baby teeth marks on it. Miracle of miracles the damage was only cosmetic.
Robin Hansen
President, PBS

David Pilling

What is the target demographic - old non-tech people living in the back of beyond, or the average person in the world.

(I am not a phone lover, I spend my time cursing that without using my smart phone I cannot do many activities, like banking or shopping for groceries).

You can't make a business out of disliking people or their choices. The first person I ever sold anything to, I did not like the look of. As I took his money I realised that business did not have to care.

I spent the best part of my career working on a computer system that to me was obviously superior to Windows - a complete was of time - because the punters love Windows.

IMHO PBS has gone wrong in not getting mobile right long ago. We were behind the curve in 2015, but all I got was "I don't like phones", instead someone should have emailed me about progress every week.

Martin Bohnet

Quote from: David Pilling on March 06, 2022, 06:37:06 AMYou can't make a business out of disliking people or their choices. The first person I ever sold anything to, I did not like the look of. As I took his money I realised that business did not have to care.

True - one of the reasons I opened up this poll, which will only give a clear picture after the forum goes really public. Trouble is, as it looks now all of the involved tech volunteers are "no phone people", so if this goes towards phone, we may need to recruit phone oriented techies - Which I personally see as a big problem. Each step in technology has raised the entry barrier, weakening the "techie-to-user-ratio". My first computer greeted me with "Commodore 64 Basic V2, 64k RAM System 38911 Basic Bytes Free. Ready.", almost begging me to code instead of just play something ( In fact doing so with LOAD "*",8,1 and RUN was a bit code-ish in itself, and you sometimes cheated by writing directly into memory via the "POKE" command).

But hey you, reading this, maybe I can provoke you to contradict - show us fossils how it is done!
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

Martin Bohnet

I'd like to bump this topic into peoples awareness, as we already have some device related issues. Please vote, everyone!
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

Steve Marak

I realize you're wanting to keep the poll simple and easy, but it's not really a simple question for some of us. For visits to the PBS wiki to look up a plant, I use whatever device I have at hand (since we both work in IT, we have at least two of pretty much everything, phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop). I do read email on other devices, but for writing email or posting to the forum, I greatly favor my laptop - but only because that's the smallest device that has a "real" keyboard, which means I can type very quickly.



I use mobile phone for the easy stuff that doesn't require much searching around.    I use my desktop when I want better image quality.

don't access this forum on my phone.

Arnold T.
North East USA


I use what is at hand to access the Internet. I prefer a desktop because the screen is larger and it has a larger keyboard, but when away from home I use the phone. I don't use dedicated apps on the phone because they take up so much room on the phone and they steal personal information. I use Web sites in the browser on the phone.

There is a wide range of relatively inexpensive mobile phones one can buy. You don't need to buy your phone from your Internet service provider. I won't pay over about $150 for a phone. I break mine about every 3 years. There are excellent repair shops but by that time the software is usually having trouble, so I find another cheap one. I've seen the expensive ones; for me the increase in quality isn't worth spending over $150.


I also prefer the desktop because of the full-size keyboard, but I often look up information on the laptop. I very rarely use my smart phone for anything but calls while traveling and casual photography (no family, no job, nobody to tell me how to do things on it). It's very difficult for me to input on it. It does seem, though, that computer software is increasingly aimed at the phone user rather than those of us who do our work with it. It is easier to look up an unfamiliar plant on a phone than to run into the house and use the computer, but as Arnold notes, the images are much better on a large monitor. I don't think that PBS should go too far toward making the forum phone-friendly. But have you seen the new phones that are almost as big as tablets? What goes around ....

David Pilling

Analytics reveals 50% of PBS wiki users are on phones and 20% of forum users are.

Interesting if the forum share would be the same for a large number of forum users.

Looking at the PBS list archive, again results are 50:50, which may confirm some of this discussion, people use phones to look things up when in the garden.


I didn't notice this until now because I forgot about the PBS forum for a few days. I don't like accessing the Internet through a tiny fragile phone unless I'm not at home and I need to, but it seems most people do like this. Especially younger people like the phone, though I think that will change as their eyesight and dexterity change. I agree with the voices above that it's critically important to have Web sites that work well on phones.


So is it either / or? Do ETHER optimize it for the phone, OR we optimized it for a desktop?  I travel a lot, so I access it by phone, when I'm home, I often use the desktop. I guess I'm not 'techy enough' to understand why administrators would need to be phone people or desktop people?
Member: : Pacific Bulb Society

David Pilling

Ken - it is not a matter of one or the other - phone or desktop. It's do we support phones. If everyone involved on the admin side is a desktop user, then they don't see the problems phone users may face.
If you look at the PBS wiki there is a desktop version and a mobile version and the user can choose which to use. I use the mobile version on my desktop, which shows a mobile version can be a success on both.


I carry the phone with me because of the places I go, I need to have access to call out. Also to be tracked in case of emergency. I use the phone for everything but I decide when I use it for what reason. I have no desire to look at the PBS Forum on my phone. I have no need to receive dentist or other such notifications on my computer, and I don't want Apple to use the phone and the computer as a pair, even the tablet. But I can use these devices interchangeably if I need to. Phone allows for scanning for purchases or information, wallet payments, and that's ok for the convenience. You only have to carry your phone. Reality - something may happen to your phone.