Christmas is a time for giving and sharing. It’s also a time for total confusion for the non-tech savvy. Each and every time they get another year older and another whole 12 months further adrift of what the world of technology is up to. Christmas Day is the sad reminder of that fact, as wrapping paper goes flying and yet another incomprehensible gadget comes out of a box to oohs and ahhs of everyone else but to the total bewilderment of others.
We at Pocket-lint believe that technology is for all and have decided that it is our duty this time around to bring those less connected back into the fold and make sure that no conversation is too daunting a task. So, here are 10 ways you can bluff gadget knowledge to your Christmas guests, friends and relatives. We guarantee you’ll learn a little something and it’ll be worth it to watch your loved ones fall off their perches in shock. Remember, the more lingo, the better.
Offer the Wi-Fi code when they walk through the door
You probably have the Internet at home and there’s an excellent chance it’s wireless as well. You might know it as Wi-Fi. Chances are a family member or some nice gentleman from the telecoms company set it up for you a while back. Anyone who visits can access the Internet over your Wi-Fi so long as they have the secret code which you can really impress people with by referring to it as the Network Key or WEP Key. What you’ll need to do is locate your wireless router which will be a smallish box with antennae sticking out of it and three or four flashing lights on the front. Turn it upside down and you should find the key written on the label underneath. Copy it down on a piece of paper and then offer it your guests as they’re settling in suggesting that they might like to get their smartphones onto your wireless network. They’ll know what you mean even if you don’t. Expect open-mouthed looks.
Ask people to bring Blu-rays
Okay, we’re guessing that you have an HD TV. You probably weren’t interested in getting HD, but chances are that you ended up buying one anyway. The next thing you want to do is check whether your TV is Full HD or not. You’re either looking for the words Full HD or 1080p. Check the device itself for markings and logos, then try the manual. If there’s still no joy, then enter the make and model into a Google search and you’ll find out. Now, provided you have a 1080p set - not a 1080i or 720p - you can do a good bit of bluffing. Buy a Blu-ray player or ask someone to bring one with them along with some Blu-ray films. If anyone asks you why, you say, “well, it’s the only way to watch true 1080p24 content”. They may try to counter with Sky HD or BBC HD or Virgin Media HD or something else, but you can casually inform them that all the broadcasts are only in 1080i and you feel it lacks ever so slightly. If they push you on it just bang on about picture quality and colour and leave it at that.
Have you all checked in on Facebook?
We doubt that you're on Facebook, but that doesn't matter. The minute everyone is settled, ask them if they've all checked in on Facebook Places. It refers to telling the world what location you're in. When people arrive at a bar, hotel, park, cinema or anywhere at all, they check in and let people know in case their friends are there as well or in case anyone they know is thinking about coming along too. Don't question whether or not you think this is a good idea. Just ask if your guests have done so. There will be a stunned silence, but it doesn't mean you've done something wrong. As it happens, you'd better hope no one has checked in. Doing so effectively puts your house on the Facebook map meaning that all sorts of randoms could turn up at your place too. On the other hand, it could be quite amusing to create a swarm but we're starting to get a bit technical now. The point here is that you just let them know you've heard of Facebook Places and the idea of location services.
What apps are you using at the moment?
This is a question you can use on both the young and the old to equally powerful effect. An app is something you use on your mobile phone - often a game or a tool of some kind, you can read more about them here with pictures and no big words - and lots and lots of people use them. Let your guests do most of the talking from then on. Just listen to what apps they use and ask them to explain what each one does. You’ll probably be quite impressed. If they don’t mention them, ask if they’ve tried either Angry Birds or Hipstamatic. Whether they have or haven’t, they’ll be wowed that you know what two of the 2010 big hitters in the app field are. If your guest’s reply to the initial question is that they can’t get apps on their phone, just suggest that maybe they’ll get a new handset under the tree. They won’t but that doesn’t matter. Difficult situation avoided.
Will video calling take off with FaceTime?
This is an excellent debate that requires little technical skill but displays a good depth of knowledge. The latest iPhone, the iPhone 4, for the first time, comes with a front-facing camera. What this means is that you can make video calls to other iPhone 4 handsets. The question, of course, is that just because people can, does that mean they actually will want to be seen while they’re on the phone by the person at the other end? So, in fact, this is a discussion about human behaviour and not really about technology. What’s key to point out is that video calling has been around for nearly 10 years now, but it just hasn’t taken off. For an extra bonus, you can always mentioned that it’s popular in Japan and bring up cultural differences.
Should I get an Android phone?
You’ve already demonstrated your knowledge of the iPhone and apps. The coup de grace is to let slip that you know about Android as well. We’re not going to tell you about Android. You don’t need to know. Just ask your mobile-savvy guest what they think about it. You don’t even have to listen to the answer if you don’t want to. It’s just impressive to have heard of it.
Is it a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera?
If anyone pulls out a camera at any point during their visit, this is the question to ask. It probably won’t be but, again, it’s all about the fact that you know this term. It’s not an easy one to get your tongue around but it just means a camera that allows you to physically strap on and off different lenses and doesn’t have a mirror inside. You’ll need to brush up on some details which you can read about here and you’ve then got the makings of a really rather impressive piece of chat. The only pitfall to be wary of is not to ask this question when someone is using their mobile phone to take a picture. You will look like an idiot if you do. If you want to stay safe, avoid this one if the camera looks rather small and pocketable.
What’s the email address of your printer?
Ask this one at any point you like really. There’s a good chance your guests will laugh at you, but it’s them who’ll be looking stupid when they find out just how cutting edge you are. The latest development in printers is that you can send them an email from anywhere in the world and they will print out what they receive - a photo, a document, whatever you like. Clever eh?
iPad - and the analysts thought it would flop
Again, this is another conversation around technology that you need to know nothing about to enjoy. There’s a good chance that someone’s going to bring up the iPad at some point. Once a consensus has been reached about how great it is, you just drop that line in as the cherry on the cake. It’s true. That’s what the UK analysts said.
It’s going to be interesting to see what comes out at CES
CES is the acronym for the Consumer Electronics Show which happens once each year in January. You can read more about it in nice, simple terms here. With the 2011 show just around the corner it makes an excellent point of conversation should anyone start talking about gadgets of any kind. Obviously, there’s no facts to remember apart from what CES is as nothing will actually have been launched there yet.
If you have any hot tips to help people bluff tech knowledge or any areas you'd like to be filled in on, then let us know in the comments below (That's the little box a few inches down there, where you can type stuff).