Windows FanBoy alert???……

Random Dumber Generator: In Defence Of Netbooks.

Ian continues his crusade against the living evil that is Apple and Steve Jobs whilst at the same time pointing out, quite rightly, how every single Windows laptop and PC is obviously way better than any laptop or computer that Apple has or could ever build. He also seems to have, not a chip, but rather a sack of King Edwards on his shoulder. Ian’s Blog is always a good read though.

You’ve seen my review of the Acer 1810TZ so you’ll know all the areas where it eats the iPad and the MacBook for lunch………..Considering the beating up that Microsoft took for making Internet Explorer the default browser in Windows, its about time the EU started taking Apple to task for not allowing alternative stores to run on its iPhone OS devices.


Crush the Castle for iPhone and iPod

I saw this game over at TUAW and the review was very positive so decided to give it a bash. It’s a bit of a hoot actually and i can recommend it, the sound of screams from soldiers as you flatten them with a gloriously timed “lob” is worryingly satisfying. There is also a free “lite” version for you to try out.

To Arms my Lord! Crush the Castle is now available on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Unleash your Trebuchet around the Kingdom as you conquer the lands of The Black Shores, Umbria, Wintervale, Dante Flats & Betsonia.

Exclusive features to the iPhone include:
*10+ Ammo Types
*90 unique levels
*Achievement Medals
*Castle Editor
*And a few other surprises

Let the Crushing Begin!!

Save to Instapaper v1.0 for Android…works a treat

Save to Instapaper v1.0 Application for Android | Tools.

Hoorah. I was very pleased to find this application in the Android Market and even more pleased to find that it works using my preferred RSS app, NewsRoom, and also when using the browser. You need to log in first and then when you find something you want to post to Instapaper you need to find the “Share” menu in that app and send it from there.

Instapaper is a great app, is it an app?, for storing web pages for reading later. I use it at home and have a bookmark installed in Firefox for easy access.

I’m really starting to get very enamoured with Android as I find more and more apps that replicate apps available on other platforms. I look forward to getting more Android phones available here in the UK and may even take a punt on the Nexus at some point.

Bold 9700 and 8520 Curve

The classic dilemna. The Bold 9700 is nearly £200 more expensive than the cheap and cheerful 8520 but has an inferior keyboard. Some however find the Bold keyboard to be superior so it could just be me. I actually prefer the look and feel of the less blingy all-black 8520, there’s something basic but satisfying about its appearance over the Bold and I find the keyboard much easier to use and more accurate. One thing that is better on the Bold are the menu keys either side of the trackpad, those on the 8520 have little feel to them and I am often pressing them with no outcome whereas on the Bold they are very clicky and nicely defined.

However the Bold has a bigger screen with a higher resolution which makes stuff like viewing pics and text a nicer experience, unsurprisingly. It also has a higher specced camera with a useful and reasonably effective flash so if you take a whole load of camera snaps you’d be better off with the 9700. When you get used to a nice, hi res screen it is difficult to go back to something  not quite so hi-res in comparison. Mind you, the screen on the 8520 is still a cut above that on the Nokia E72 I had recently.

Text on the cheaper Curve can look a bit grainy, smaller text almost fades away in places and looks, quite literally, washed out. This is most apparent when hovering over app icons. You’ll also lose the faux leather battery cover which some may see as a blessing. Oddly I find the cheaper 8520 less creaky than the Bold, I also prefer the slightly squarer profile sported by the former over the slightly more curvier Bold. Hmmmm… strange that, the Curve feels less curvier than the Bold. Both feel speedy, I’m sure the Bold has more memory but it’s not so hugely noticeable between the two and the 8520 speeds along quite nicely.

In an ideal world I would take the keyboard and look and feel of the Curve 8520 and mesh it with the better specs of the Bold, for a price in between the two.. Perhaps there is a BB out there or about to be out there soon that will fit the bill. If not then the 8520 makes for a very affordable and useable way into the world of smartphones and at £200, unlocked is a bit of a good snip if you must have a BB.

Samsung Netbook…n140

We got our new laptops at work last week and for the first time I took it home at the weekend for a proper play. Things like this are a good advert for things like the iPad. It’s fiddly, the trackpad feels tiny and has a very small clickable bit that makes clicking to access stuff tricky. Whenever I type a letter which has a number on it the number gets chosen instead of the letter which is very annoying. Apart from that though the keyboard is actually rather good.

Of course, our work IT guys locking down a lot of functions, including the control panel doesn’t help one jot as it means changing settings to make it less intolerable to use is a no go. Nonetheless for me this sort of small laptop is a chore to use and I could only really use it for short bursts of browsing, email and that’s about it. The font on the screen is too small for my fading eyesight for starters plus despite being able to connect to my home wifi network, when I opened up Internet Explorer I couldn’t browse as it didn’t want to recognise the wifi network. Might be our good ol IT boys doing that though as they have done some other stuff like replacing Windows 7, which it should come with, with XP for some reason.

Every time I turned the thing on all these “new updates are available” messages would spring up, a bit irritating that was. I was mainly sitting with it in the front room and in that seated position, with the Samsung on the laptop stand thing that sits on my knees and raises the laptop, it was too far away to be able to read the screen comfortably. This is nothing to do with it being a Windows device, I just think the 10 inch screen and overall size is too small for me to use comfortably without being able to increase font size.

Man Utd 3-1 Man City (agg 4-3)

BBC Sport – Football – Man Utd 3-1 Man City (agg 4-3).

Ah well, City’s world domination attempt has been put on ice for a couple of months after last night’s traditional heart breaking defeat at Old Trafford. I’m not a good loser, especially when it comes to losing to Man Utd so I’m going to have a pop at a few of them.

First up is Sir Alex Taggart.  People are saying his playing his full strength side was a tribute to the increased threat of the “noisy neighbours” down the road. This is partly true but also reflects the fact that Taggart realises the Carling Cup is likely to be the only trophy Utd are going to win this season. Judging by their shaky performances of late, increasing reliance on Rooney and the fact that three of their most influential players are the wrong side of 35 and I reckon Sir Taggart knows full well that Utd’s days of dominating domestically are at serious risk. Plus, they’re not exactly rolling in cash at the moment are they and it doesn’t, very sadly, look like it will get any better anytime sooner for them.

Rio Ferdinand shouldn’t have been playing either. How he was allowed to appeal his 3 game ban, when it was patently obvious he was guilty of whacking that Hull player, and thus avoid being banned for the game last night is daft especially when the FA call the subsequent appeal “frivolous” and thus increase the original ban.

A lot of people are commenting how Utd were “comfortably” the better side over the two weeks. Odd that as over the two legs, according to the official stats on the BBC site, the attempts on goal on target was only 16-14 in Utd’s favour which doesn’t suggest to me that things were as comfortable as some are making out. This tie was close and City came close with a side lacking Toure, Bridge, Adebayor and Lescott…basically their biggest signings over the last 12 months.

City were comfortable for a long period last night. I was starting to believe, 5 mins into the 2nd half, that we were looking more likely to score than them and then we win a corner, Bellamy gets floored by a thrown coin from the crowd, fluffs the corner, they break away and score a goal that really should have been prevented. Utd at that point were going nowhere, their fans were getting restless and we basically hand them a goal…. And the rest is history….

Anyway, here’s a treat for fellow City fans.

iPad…is that it? No…

The iPad looks like a nice device and has garnered a lot of post-launch attention. Much of the reaction is a bit iffy with very few being genuinely hugely excited and a lot of people claiming they are a bit unimpressed by it. Mind you, it’s easy to recall how a lot of people were similarly unimpressed by the iPhone when it first got announced. Most of the non-plussed reaction comes from those stodgy Windows-like types, the types who pretend to be all liberal and comfortable with how well Apple are doing but behind closed doors are either (but probably both) a) burning effigies of Steve Jobs or b) crying their eyes out as yet another new Apple product has that wow factor that has yet to be afforded to their Dell boxes. They’re all secretly delighted it doesn’t offer something truly revolutionary. I don’t know what people were expecting the thing to do, offer mind control and coffee making facilities? Whether it is a success or not will be judged in 2/3 years time, not now or in the next few months.

I ventured the opinion on here last week that I didn’t think the technology behind the iPad was going to be such that it would blow people away nor was it ever likely to be such a huge advancement over anything that had come before that it would blow everything else out of the water. It’s not so much what it can do now that is relevant but of more consequence will be what it will be able to do in a years time with the content and how that may change the way that we interact with such content in the years ahead.

There are some big things here…eBooks and Newspapers, TV and games. The base line model will be $499 and that is not hugely more expensive than the Kindle. The former looks like something out of Star Trek, like something Nurse Yeoman Rand would carry around and makes  the latter looks like something out of the late 1990’s. There’s surely little doubt that this device will revolutionise, if it sells, the way that Joe Bloggs views eBooks as it will bring them more into the mainstream.  Who in their right mind would now buy a Kindle?

As for newspapers you can be assured that a lot of publishers will be looking to get their content onto the iPad, for a price, and replace those dwindling paper copy sales and falling advertising revenue. You only need to see the amount of iPhone apps from this sector to realise this. In 3 years time we could really embracing this especially when you see how the iPad can also be used to play videos embedded with these digital editions.

TV. You just know that at some point in the not so distant future you’ll be able to watch TV on this thing. Look at the Sky Sports live football iPhone app, how hard would it be to turn that into an iPad application? Answer – not very. Dad can carry it around the house, out to the conservatory or wherever and watch the big match as it is so portable. I can see this having an affect on future laptop sales. If I look at myself and how I use my current laptop then I see that 95% of my useage is basically more or less exactly what I do on my iPod Touch and I think, well, if I can do that on an iPad what is the point of upgrading next time around to a new laptop…I’d be cheaper getting an iPad plus it would be lighter to carry around, could have an inbuilt 3G connection,  would be faster to start up and I already have 99% of the software that I’d need.

Of course it could all fall flat on its face but the price point appears reasonable and is less than most probably anticipated. Apple know they will skim plenty off via app sales and content sales as they have done with the iPhone. I think it unlikely I’d get one now but would certainly, if I was looking to get a laptop now, give it some serious consideration and I suspect that a lot of iPhone/iPod owners out there who have no particular affiliation to any specific platform will also do so especially if they have been happy with the ease of use of said iPhone’s and iPod’s. Apple have been sensible in not marketing it as a cut down MacBook and in giving it an “i” name instead of a “mac” title as they are then bringing it into or associating it with the existing successful (and locked down) iPhone/iTunes eco-system.