offline blues

October 30, 2010

So much stuff stuff happening that each evening when I’ve made it home all I’ve been able to do is huff and puff at my broadband modem to try to get it to go faster.  I’ve been getting speeds of less than 0.002 monkey-nuts,  when I want, expect, even pay for “up to”  9.7831 bananas!  (yes units are in fact mostly irrelevant in the market of ISPs).  But have been too busy to get around to fault tracing to find out if it is my home network or the ISPs broadband modem.

Tonight I finally had enough and put in a call to India… I pressed #1,#2,#2,#3 and then..

“Hi, my magic white box with wires and flashing lights isn’t working”  ….
“yes I have tried switching it off and back on again – I am an IT professional you know”  …
“ok, I’ll wait” … HOLD

I listen to Rio by Duran Duran, followed by ABC’s classic ‘Gold’, I was happily dancing around the room when I was interrupted by..

“could you tell me Mr Lunch, what lights now are appearing on your wired-less modem” …
“I am sending now an update to your wired-less modem” …
“The update didn’t work you seem to have a very slow connection” …  *@!?!!##*&@!
“we will have to send a technician to your address, will you be in when?”

So here I am (again) using a 3G modem – oh well, at least I don’t need to check facebook :-)


Best gadget get’s better

May 9, 2009
2009-05-09 18.27.12

Flowers Behind Bars

Back in February I blogged not once, but twice about ‘TheBest Gadget I’ve bought this year…(so far)” my new G1 phone.  Which, basically I was very happy with.

There were however a few things which were really not very good.  The camera being the most disappointing feature, being slow to respond, very blurry and having no video capability.  Well, this week ‘cupcake’ or firmware version 1.5 of the Android operating system appeared and has made many improvements.

So I thought it was time to have a quick word about that and reflect on how many of the ‘features’ I am still finding useful and what has since dropped by the wayside.

Sticking with the camera – I have found this unusable till 1.5 came out.  Now, from the photo above you can see that the quality is acceptable and more importantly the time delay has been improved on and usability of camera save, share or delete functions all much easier than before.  By the way, this looks like there may be flash involved but there isn’t any flash on this phone.  Also the camera can now shoot video which certainly is good enough to watch back on the camera I haven’t yet tried viewing it later on a computer.

Other than that the only things I’ve noticed about the firmware update has been that perhaps the browser is slightly faster, but many of the options in various widgets and apps are more obvious and easy to use.  I’ve found it hard to quantify but keep noticing small things that are slightly better – not a great review but there we are.

Now, looking back at what I thought were good features in my initial review to see what (if any) I am still using.

GPS – is good, I’ve used it much more than I thought I would and other than being a little slow (this is a general 3G problem) it is accurate and easy to use.  What I would like is some form of bookmarks or breadcrumbs feature which I believe are available through Marketplace but I haven’t found anything I liked yet.

Gmail integration – excellent, can’t fault

Google Cal – OK, but I haven’t found a ‘view’ I like.  still like it and use it but probably only becuase it interfaces with google cal so all my stuff is there… if I was just looking at this as a phone calender solution I would find it hard to use.

Apps like Shazam (which recognizes music being played to tell you what it is) and Shop Savy (which scans bar codes on books, CDs, DVDs and some other things and gives you reviews comparative prices, etc.)  are excellent.  I use both of these a lot!

Fbook – a facebook app is alright but then I don’t check facebook that often

BBC News widget – always gives you something to read when you have 5 min and want to look at your phone for a bit.

Games – I can take or leave.  Some have been a little more addictive than others, but really it is good that there are so many in the market place so you can simply try out new ones now and again.

Notebook – there are lots of different ones and I’m still trying a few, but they are very handy and I’ve used these for simple shopping lists, reminders and for taking full notes of sermons or at meetings.

As for build and robustness – generally I do take care of the phone, so it hasn’t been too abused but I’ve found the keyboard still satisfactory sturdy when you slide the screen out, it is very easy to use and responsive.  The screen is easy to read in all lighting conditions I’ve noticed so far (I am in Scotland so I’ve not had too much glaring sunshine to test this with).

So, in summary, still by far the best gadget I’ve bouthg this year (so far)  ….  oh and BTW my other major gadgety purchase has been a PS3, which is great but not as good as the phone.  Now, while I might find this a bit useful to look back on I really can’t imagine why anyone else will still be reading this all the way to the end so for those who have here is a quick word of thanks… Ta!

Best Gadget I’ve bought this year…(so far)

February 8, 2009

Commonly known as ‘The Google Phone‘ the G1 is the first mobile phone to use the Android operating system built by Google.  Now, straight away I run into the problem a lot of the online and more technical reviews have – do you review the hardware or software?  The other problem is that reviewing technology now is that it is a moving target because you can upgrade, patch or add applications to it.

So, I will start with the hardware….  one of the first things I was interested in (because it isn’t possible to tell from online reviews) is the build quality.  I like it.  It feels solid, the action of opening the screen to access the keyboard feels smooth and robust.  It does feel like it will hold up to wear and tear (I hope!!).  The keyboard itself is very easy to use, with a positive response it is really designed just to use with your thumbs rather than hold in one hand and type with the other – however this is fine and unlike a stylus operated keyboard  you always have your thumbs with you (hopefully – and with apologies to those without thumbs).


Unlike the iPhone (which is obviously the closest competitor and what all phones are measured against now) there are a small number of useful buttons and controls, answer/make a call, hang up/off, back, home, menu and a small trackball which is extremely useful when trying to do precise things like selecting a small link on a web sites rather than having to zoom in till it is big enough to use the touch screen.

The camera is 3.2MP, which is much better (on paper) than the iPhone, but forget it – it’s crap!  The delay is awful, the light levels are terrible, response of the shutter button dreadful, no video (although this is supposed to be coming in a software update)… not very good at all.

The touch screen on the other hand is excellent!  Apparently it is plastic instead of glass and that is supposed to be a problem according to the reviews – but it is great.  I’ve still not removed the original protective sheet that came with the phone and the touch works through it no problem at all.  It doesn’t have the gestures that the iPhone has (I think some of this has to do with Apple patenting almost all hand gestures making it difficult for others to use it).

g1-phoneThe only connection is a USB cable, so power, connection to PC/mac or headphones all connect to the same socket.  This is OK and the headphones that come with it are actually very good, the sound quality is good even just with the built in speaker.  Lastly, but worth mention because it is a phone after all, the quality and clarity of the calls is also excellent.

Much mentioned online is also the poor battery life – I have no idea, I am still using it all the time so the battery needs charged every night and often during the day as well :-/  It will take me a while before I’m not using it enough to tell what ‘normal battery life’ is.

G1 is only available from T-Mobile, but that was fine with me.  I’ve been with them for a while and haven’t taken an upgrade for some time so I’m on a good low tariff so all I had to do was add the constant web access and I was off.

OK, that’s enough… the Android OS and applications will need to be different posts.  Sorry if you’re not interested, but there you go.