Shopping for Electronics

Part 1

Sales Assistant: Good afternoon, sir. Can I be of assistance?
Dave: Yeah, I’m looking for a new phone; it seems my current one is kaput.
Sales Assistant: OK. What sort of price range are you looking at? And any particular make or model?
Dave: Something between 50 and a hundred. The make doesn’t matter.
Sales Assistant: Right, well we have this one for ₤59.99. It has touchscreen technology, a keyboard, wi-fi, bluetooth, and the usual range of apps: music player, voice recognition, games, office, etcetera.
Dave: Does it come in a different colour? I’m not keen on the white.
Sales Assistant: Yep, we also have it in silver, black, or sky blue.
Dave: Hmm, I don’t know. It’s a bit bulky. Do you have anything lighter and slimmer?
Sales Assistant: Of course, although the lighter models tend to cost more. Let me show you what else we have in stock

1. ‘kaput’ = totally broken (from German)
2. price range = how much you want to spend (between the lowest and largest)
I want to get a new phone, but it will have to be a cheap one: my price range is only $50-$60 dollars.
I wanted to buy the Sony one, but it was out of my price range.
3. ‘make’ = brand/company that made it
4. ‘model’ = the particular type made by that company
5. ‘app’ = application (usable programmes on a phone)
6. ‘I’m not keen on…’ = I don’t really like…
The food there is really good, although I’m not too keen on the decor.
7. ‘bulky’ = big, not easy to move or carry


Part 2

Philip: Excuse me, I’m wondering if you could help me. I’m looking to buy my girlfriend a laptop for her birthday, but I’m not particularly technologically-minded.
Sales Assistant: OK. Well, the first question is: what does she need it for? Work? Games?
Philip: She’s not much of a gamer, but she’ll need to write documents, make presentations, that sort of thing. It shouldn’t weigh too much either, since she needs to lug it with her on the morning commute.
Sales Assistant: I see. Well, you basically have a choice: price vs. performance. If she is just using it for work, surfing the net, and a bit of social networking, she won’t need anything too powerful or with a lot of memory. Something simple should suffice.
Philip: Will I need to buy any accessories?
Sales Assistant: Up to you. A lot of people like to add speakers and a webcam, and an external hard drive and optic mouse can be quite handy, but none of them are necessary.
Philip: How about software?
Sales Assistant: The basics are all pre-installed, but I can chuck on a few other programmes if you’d like. I’ll give you a USB as well, so that you can keep the directory and desktop free of clutter. Anyway, let me show you what we have, and you can take them for a test drive.

1. ‘not particularly (+adj.)’ = not really (+adj.)
‘Do you want to go to the party?’
‘I’m not particularly bothered, to be honest.’

2. ….-minded = have a brain good at understanding, or interested in, this
She has always been academically-minded: even at school she was always happy to do her homework.
I have never been very linguistically-minded. In fact, I suck at languages.
3. ‘gamer’ = a person who likes to play computer games
4. ‘lug’ = carry (usually for heavy, awkward things)
The worst part isn’t the bike ride. The worst part is lugging the darn bicycle up the stairs back to the apartment.
Don’t tell me I’ve lugged this suitcase across town for no reason.
5. ‘commute’ = journey to/from work
6. ‘suffice’ = be enough
I’d like to borrow $1000, but if you can’t afford that $500 will suffice.
7. ‘up to you’ = it is your decision
8. ‘handy’ = useful
9. ‘chuck’ = throw. It is often used for giving extra things (often for free)
If you buy both of these, I’ll chuck in a free soft toy.
The salesman was very nice: he even chucked in a free subscription to the monthly magazine.
10. ‘clutter’ = stuff that is getting in the way or making a mess
11. ‘test drive’ = try something to see if you like it (often before buying)
‘Do you mind if I take it for a test drive?’


Part 3

Nearly everyone knows the basics of operating a computer, and using a touchscreen could not be easier, yet very few people know how the central processing units inside a computer work, the processes involved in turning raw materials into these functional units, or how these processors can work just on the movements of your fingers.
In 2009 Intel published a page on its website showing how sand is turned into a CPU. This walk-through, using pictures, videos, and text, illustrates that there are actually many highly-technical and complex steps in the production process, from purification and melting of the sand into silicon ingots, through the treatment and etching of thinly-sliced segments, to the placement of conducting copper ions on the surface, before the final chip is ready for testing. The creation of these computer chips in the 1970s was truly a revolutionary technology.
The technology behind touchscreens is also generally taken for granted these days. To understand how these work, first one should be aware of how a basic keyboard works: two electrically conducting sheets are separated by a non-conducting membrane, the latter of which has holes in it, one for every key. As a key strikes down, it pushes the top conducting sheet through the hole, completing the circuit at a particular point and thus telling the computer what to do. The first touchscreens used the exact same process, only with invisible sheets placed over the screen.
Touchscreens have moved on, however, and many now operate not by having the user complete the circuit, but by disrupting it. The screen is now a permanently operating circuit – either an electric field, grid of infrared beams, or even bouncing sound waves – and as an object (such as a finger) is placed in the circuit, the processor knows where the disruption is taking place and responds accordingly. The swapping to this new model allows the screen to be manipulated in multiple areas at the same time, greatly increasing the interactive potential.

*Intel page:
*A simplified version:
*How touchscreens work:

1. ‘could not be easier’ = it is as easy as it can ever be (= it is very easy)
I don’t get how you can’t understand this. It couldn’t be easier: twist, and pull.
2. ‘walk-through’ a guide telling you how a process is completed, from start to finish
I got stuck half-way through Portal 2, so I cheated and read one of the walk=throughs on the internet.
3. from…through/via…to…: a way of describing a process (the order of the parts can be changed)
We went to Beijing from Shanghai, via Tianjin.
From the sheep’s back, via the factory floor, to the shop window, every part of the production process can be tracked.
4. ‘revolutionary’ = it changed everything that came afterwards
The creation of the electric guitar was a revolutionary moment in the history of music.
5. ‘taken for granted’ = people use it without thinking about it; people use it and forget to be thankful for it
You realise on a trip like that how much we take for granted: they had no running water, no electricity, and no hospitals.
After taking his wife for granted for over a decade, he was shocked when she left him one day.
6. ‘the latter’ = the second of the two (the first of the two is called ‘the former’)
There are two major cities in Scotland – Glasgow and Edinburgh – the latter of which is also the capital.
7. ‘thus’ = therefore, so
8. ‘moved on’ = advanced; progressed; left the old times behind
Japan’s Sharp Corporation has moved on a lot since the days of selling pencils.
9. ‘accordingly’= gives the appropriate response
When the boss comes here I want you to act accordingly: answer his questions, be polite, and please don’t embarrass us.
One of the greatest skills he had as a manager was getting the team to consider the opposition and play accordingly. They could play defensively, or go on the attack.
10. ‘manipulated’ = controlled by another; controlled in the way a puppeteer controls a puppet
I don’t like her new boyfriend. I think he is trying to manipulate her.