Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Blogging from my iPhone

October 19th, 2011 No comments

I am writing this from the WordPress app for my recently acquired iPhone.

I have been a Blackberry user for almost three years now (I still am) and have long been a fan of the full qwerty keyboard they offer, the enterprise trade security and the rioters’ tool of choice, Blackberry Messenger (BBM).

However, since I got an iPhone as a replacement for my iPod, I have been quite impressed. It feels fast and agile yet manages to accomplish most tasks I throw at it. I still feel that the touchscreen keyboard is less reliable and slower to use than the full tactile keyboard offered by the RIM rivals.having said that the corrective text algorithms on the Apple device are pretty good even when typing gibberish. The lack of flexibility in terms of apps and personalisation is something that Android users take issue with and rightly so, however with me coming from Blackberry there was less of an impact there. In my opinion the lack of freedom is probably almost balanced by security and peace of mind, although as a fan of freedom, the balance is on the right track but is definitely not there yet!

I currently am using a Blackberry Bold as my day to day communications device and primary hand held email platform and the iPhone 4 as my social media and media (including games) device. My Blackberry contract is up in March and I am torn as to whether to replace it with another one or contemplate a standard back up phone.

Google Wave

November 29th, 2009 1 comment


Thanks to an invite from Kieran today, I have just started looking into the world of Google Wave – the real-time collaboration and communication application from Google. It is still in beta form and as such does not have all the features you would expect from the full commercial product. It is missing a lot of the customisation options that Google tends to include with its offerings.

Having only used Wave for a about an hour, I really can see some great potential in what it can do. I think this application will totally change the way that A-Soc and maybe the AHS can do business and conduct meetings, increasing participation and allowing a far more flexible approach to committee meetings in particular. Combining video and voice conferencing with the ability to attach documents, links and other bits to each thread in real-time is soemthing that I think will be of great benefit.

Of course, I do not have that many contacts to share with at the moment to test out a lot of the features and to see if this kind of application is something I would use on a regular basis. Potential is one thing, actually using it daily is another. I am a signed up user of Google Docs, Spotify, etc and barely use them (witht he exception of when on the train).

If you want an invite to join me on Google Wave then contact me with your email and how collaborating with me would be useful to us both. If you are already on Wave and want me to add you to my contacts, again contact me with your details.

I hope to let you all know how using Wave fares as I am really quite excited about it.

PlayStation 3

October 9th, 2009 No comments

I decided to treat myself last weekend and splashed out on my first new games console since I left school in 2003. It took a lot of research and delberation, but I eventually went for the 120Gb PlayStation 3 slimline model.


The sales adviser at Game spent about ten minutes trying to sell me various packages, insurance deals and add-ons. This is usually a good sign as it means they are short on their sales quota for the day and tend to be open to some negotiation. The PS3 retails at around £250, with games and accessories ranging from around £25 – £75.

I walked out the shop ten fruitful minutes later with the PS3, Fifa 10, Little Big Planet, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Guitar Hero: World Tour (with a guitar) for a snip under £330, and they threw in a 2 year extended warranty.


New kit

September 4th, 2009 No comments

With my August overtime I went out and bought the first part of my planned AV setup at home. I decided to start with the TV and plumped in the end for the LG (model 32LG2100) pictured below.
I also splashed out on a new wireless keyboard with which to control my linux media centre. I am a massive fan of linux as an OS for media centre PCs and currently run Ubuntu. After spending a day or two configuring all the codecs, permissions and general set up I have barely had to touch anything beyond the GUI except when trying to go wireless. I have never had any success getting any peripheral to operate wirelessly on Ubuntu. This includes WiFi cards, keyboards, mice and bluetooth. I always run into compatibility issues or it simply doesn’t work as required. You can imagine my surprise then when the KeySonic keyboard (picture below) worked out the box as intended. The only issue arising was dus to some local interference but fiddling with my WiFI channels fixed that in a flash.

Next on the list is a DVD/Bluray player and the PS3 is still edging it over an Xbox/dedicated blurayer combo at the moment. Will keep you updated.

New landline telephone

July 16th, 2009 No comments

Seeing as I had to get a BT land line installed at my house to get ADSL broadband delivered down and that BT insist I make chargeable calls every month so as to not have to pay for installation, I went out and bought my first ever land line telephone. I went into Tesco and bought the best looking handset I could find that offered the features I think I need for a price that didn’t make me audibly snort.

I really don’t know what it is about modern day telephones but the mean price of handsets in Tesco was over £50! That strikes me as ridiculous.

Anyway, I plumped for a BT branded Stratus 1500. I have no idea whether it was worth the twent-odd quid I paid for it, but it fitted the criteria above.

New phone!

April 3rd, 2009 1 comment

I have just acquired my first new handset for ages! It’s two years since I upgraded from a Nokia N90 to the N95, which I then proceeded to lose at V Fest last year. Since then I have been using Liz’s old phone until my staff contract with O2 allowed me to upgrade.

My longstanding dislike of all things Apple includes the iPhone, so one of those was out of the question. There are a couple of Sony Erricson and Samsung’s knocking about that would probably have done the job. In the end though, I went for the latest incarnation of the BlackBerry Curve, the 8900 Smartphone.

I will hope to get a review of it out on the blog soon enough (though many of you are still waiting on my promised review on my Asus 901 – it’s almost ready, honest), but in the mean time just know that I am alrady loving it and can’t understand why I have never been tempted by a “CrackBerry” before!


January 26th, 2009 1 comment

I joined the micro-blogging site Twitter just before Christmas so I could utilise its API and have it syndicate on my site, giving me a Facebook style status section – its on the top of the menu bar on the right of the screen for those that haven’t noticed.

While I had no plans to actually use Twitter for anything other than a platform to make my site a little more interactive I have started to find that I am visting more and more regularly to check on other people’s tweets (the slang for updates). There are loads of interestign people using the site, like Stephen Fry, Brent Spiner etc, and because it is all public you can read what they are doing, saying, thinking.

You can check me out on my Twitter page here.

Blogging on the go

December 30th, 2008 2 comments

This is my first blog from my new netbook whilst sat in the pub! I could definitely get used to this!

I will post a full review of the machine after I have used it for a little while, although first impressions are pretty good. The keyboard is going to take some getting used to though, as it is only about 70% of a normal laptop keyboard, but generally it is an awesome piece of kit. Just need to get myself down to Starbucks now to sit in the window with my tall skinny latte and pretend to write my novel.

I wish I could claim to have come to the pub just to write this post, but it is actually A-Soc’s second social of the Winter break and is once again pretty well attended – as of this post there are seven of us! The hardcore few!

New laptop

December 28th, 2008 2 comments

I have just ordered my first ever laptop :)

I decided that with the huge increase in travelling and commuting I am going to have to do with the AHS in the new year that I needed a way of ensuring that I wasn’t wasting the 5 hour round trip train journey from Leeds to King’s Cross (and then back of course).

I went for an ultra-mobile netbook as I felt the power/mobility compromise was the best available. I don’t need a full-specced laptop for emails, document editing and generally staying up to date online so the long battery life and portability of these little machines made sense. I settled on an EeePC 901 after spending a lot of time reading up on the subject. Its 8 hour battery life on light/moderate use is one of the longest on the market (even on moderate/heavy use it holds out for over 5 hours and will easily last for the length of a director’s edition of one of the LOTR DVDs). It also got rave reviews on everything except the keyboard (which wouldn’t matter to me as I don’t touch type at the best of times). I decided on sacrificing the larger hard drive and opted for the Windows XP version as I felt it gave me the most flexibility. I considered getting the linux version (with its 20GB drive) and putting XP on it anyway, but decided that now I have a public image to attend to that using a fully licensed version would be prudent :P

Firefox 3

August 7th, 2008 1 comment

You may or may not be aware that Mozilla have recently launched their latest offering from the Firefox web browser series. Version 3 contains, according to the official website, over 15,000 improvements on its predecesser. Now I haven’t really got under the hood of it yet, but I have noticed a few of them – namely the interface is quite different. It doesn’t strike you straight away, but when you go to click where you are used to clicking and either a) nothing happens or b) the wrong thing happens can get quite annoying. After a little while when you get used to the new interface then things start looking up. Chris, on his flashy new website, mentions in his review about the fact that Firefox 3 doesn’t leech all your memory and other system resources. Now although I never experienced this with Firefox 2.x, I have noticed that the overall memory footprint is reduced as well as seemingly making fewer demands on processor and hard disk space too. It is still a little early to make proper judgements on it and no doubt I will in the future.

On the whole though, here is to another decent product that is available as open source (which will keep Kieran happy if nothing else)!