1. Open Safari on your iPhone or iPad and navigate to www.robosoul.co.uk
2. Tap the action button. This is at the top of the screen on an iPad and at the bottom of the screen on an iPhone. You will be presented with a menu that looks something like this:
3. Select "Add to Home Screen". You will be prompted to give the shortcut a name. Type an appropriate name into the box.
4. Tap "Add", then exit Safari and behold the lovely new icon on your home screen. Tapping this icon will open Safari and take you directly to the web page you have just bookmarked.
Go to gov.uk/book-practical-driving-test on your smart phone or tablet to give it a try. I gave it a wee test on my iPhone and it seems fast and easy to use.
The system will now only ask for a theory test pass certificate number if it can’t automatically find one on the system.
I’m pleased to say I’ve never been in the unfortunate situation of having lost or broken my iPhone, nor have I ever had one stolen. I don’t put this down to good luck, I put it down to the fact that from the very beginning, when I got my first one, I laid down a few ground rules for myself which I’ve stuck to pretty rigidly over the years. I’d like to share those rules with you, in case they may be of help.
There are also a few other rules I have which are less concerned with the risk of losing or damaging the thing and more concerned with the risk of turning into some sort of iPhone zombie: somebody who rarely looks up from that tiny screen, and comes to see the virtual world in their hands as more real than the physical one around them.
The Rules: how to avoid breaking or losing your iPhone
• Never leave your iPhone unattended in a public place. Never. If for for some reason you leave it with someone else, tell them not to let it out of their sight.
• As much as possible, keep your iPhone in your pocket when in public. Don't have it clipped onto your belt for all to see. Don't put it on the table. Don't keep it in your hand unless you're using it. It's very pretty and nice to hold, but it's a lot less likely to get dropped or covered in liquid if it's in your pocket. It's also a lot less likely to get swiped if it isn't seen in the first place.
• Never put your iPhone in your breast pocket. It will fall out as soon as you bend over. You've got plenty of other pockets - use them!
• Never place your iPhone on top of your car, not even for a second. The chances of you driving away with it still sitting on top are fairly small, but the extent to which you will feel like a complete twat if you do is extremely great.
• Avoid becoming engrossed looking at your iPhone while walking along the street. Apart from being thoroughly embarrassing when you walk into a lamppost, you need to remember that a shiny new iPhone is a fantastic prize for a mugger. Be aware of who's around you and remember that you're carrying something worth hundreds of pounds. I don't know how many hits of heroin that amounts to, but I suspect it's a lot.
• Avoid leaving your iPhone in your car. If you do, always lock the car and don't be away for more than a minute or so, or let the car out of your sight. If you're leaving the car for more than a minute, just take the phone with you.
• If you're sitting in the car playing with your iPhone, lock the doors. This may be more appropriate in some areas than others, but wherever you are you've got nothing to lose by taking the precaution.
Some suggestions for looking after your iPhone
• Don't put your iPhone in he same pocket as your keys or change if you don't want it to get scratched.
• Get a decent case.
• Get a screen protector.
Suggestions for having a happy life with your iPhone
• Keep it off the dinner table. Insist that your partner/kids do the same.
• Don't jump up and run to it every time it beeps. Learn to ignore it.
• Remember to notice other people. Smile, make eye contact, speak to them occasionally.
• When walking your dog, walk your dog. Play with your dog. Don't just play with your iPhone while holding onto one end of the dog's lead.
• Remember that having a short attention span is not cool!
Most of these rules can and should also be applied to the iPad, although I hope you wouldn’t even consider playing with your iPad while sitting at the dinner table or walking your dog!
The Bird Stories is an interactive storybook written and illustrated by the excellent Aimee Lockwood. Aimee is responsible for creating Otis the octopus (of Textopus fame) and also for the illustrations in Learn To Drive: Controls. You can read more about The Bird Stories on Aimee's blog.
Hit the button below to get it now:
You can do this the manual way, or the automatic way. This support document from Apple does a good job of explaining how it works.
Traffic Lights received a much needed bug fix and the addition of a yellow box option for the crossroads.
Mock Test now has the ability to take notes, as well as some user-configurable options which can be tweaked using your iPad's Settings app.
An update to Records has gone live today. It features a number of improvements, including the addition of some new fields, better support for storing pupils details, some user interface tweaks and some user-configurable options which can be tweaked using your iPad's Settings app.
Finally, I've just submitted an update to Road Board, which will take a week or two to go through the review process before it is ready to download. The update incorporates five new backgrounds and a number of new items such as traffic lights. A full list of changes will be available when the update goes live.
I've also updated the FAQ page with more details relating to the updates.
If you do have problems running any apps on your iPhone or iPad after updating them, you should delete the app and then reinstall it. This will fix the problem only if Apple has already put things right at their end. If it doesn't work straight away, try deleting and reinstalling again after a day or two.
I have an update to my Mock Test app currently pending for App Store approval. I might hold off on the final release for a few days while this is all sorted out.
UPDATE 06/07/12: According to Apple, this issue has now been fixed.
The main incentive for me to buy this app was the ability to search the Highway Code using keywords and quickly find the section you're looking for. This is a big improvement over both the paper and the PDF versions.
This is an essential app for any driving instructor and, along with the DSA's Theory Test Kit, ideal for learners too.
Both apps are available on the iTunes App Store:
Official Highway Code
The Official DSA Theory Test Kit for Car Drivers
This is called "force quitting". Force quitting does not delete the app from your device, nor does it delete any saved data. It simply restarts your session with the app, which is exactly what you need if the app is in an inconsistent state.
£259 for an iPad 2 is an absolute bargain when you consider that Apple's refurbs are more or less as-new, and come with a one-year warranty.
You can also get a refurbished 16GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G for £359. This is a good option for a driving instructor, although you can get by easily enough without the 3G option.
Between the Wi-Fi only models, I would definitely pay the extra £20 to get the iPad 2. It's noticeably thinner, lighter and faster than the 1st generation iPad. It also has front and back cameras and is likely to support more advanced software upgrades in the future.
I've met plenty of people who would love to have an iPad but are convinced the price is out of their reach. I think many people don't realise just how affordable these things have become.
£259 for an iPad 2! Tell your friends!
In some ways the British version is half-hearted. To reach the South Kensington museums, visitors must still cross a busy four-lane road using traffic lights. In places, bollards have been erected to stop vehicles straying where the pavement would be. Ranks of bicycles available for hire and parked cars clutter the street. The road surface itself is not completely flat: following a legal challenge mounted by Guide Dogs, a charity for the blind, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was obliged to install ridges where the kerbs used to be. And the kerbs themselves reappear at bus stops, to enable step-free access.
This story has provoked the inevitable criticisms that the additional safety feature will encourage some to drive more recklessly on the basis that the consequences of an error would be reduced. This is exactly what was said by similarly pessimistic people about seat belts when they were first invented, and it has been the same for just about every other safety technology invented since.
The car, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, features sensors in the front bumper that register physical contact between the car and the pedestrian. The rear end of the bonnet is released and elevated by the airbag as it inflates to cover the entire area under the raised bonnet as well as around a third of the windscreen. The raised, cushioned bonnet and airbag should help reduce the severity of pedestrian injuries.
Driver awareness of the safety of pedestrians is improving all the time. There are still way too many fatal collisions, however. Anything that can reduce the severity of those collisions has to be a good thing.
If you own an Apple iPhone, iPod, iPad or MacIntosh, Steve Jobs has changed your life. I can't think of a single company that generates so much satisfaction amongst its customers. It's a fact that once someone starts using an Apple device, they rarely ever want to switch to using something else. These products make our lives easier, and they make us smile.
It's also hard to think of a large company that so thoroughly embodies the spirit of its founder. Steve Jobs was passionate about Apple and its products. It's because of his perfectionism, his inexhaustible attention to detail, and his uncompromising pursuit of excellence that we Apple users get to enjoy such wonderful, awe-inspiring technology in our everyday lives.
Let's all keep alive the spirit of Steve Jobs by always doing our best, and striving to be different.
First of all, after several years of working with a couple of different driving schools in Edinburgh, I've decided to become an independent instructor. In the past few years I've gained a lot of experience, learned a lot about the business, and established a solid base of satisfied customers. It's now time to go it alone.
The past week or so has been spent preparing this new website for Robosoul and transferring data from my old one. I've also been spending many long hours on a new app for the iPad which I hope to make available in the coming weeks. All I will say for now is that I'm very excited about this project and I look forward to sharing more news soon…