You’re so vain

I bet you think this mac Menu Bar item is about you…don’t you don’t you….

….quite topical really given that Carly Simon finally revealed (yawn) who the subject of her early 70’s hippy hit was….

Weather Vane is a Mac OS X utility that retrieves your local weather forecast and displays it in the menubar (both U.S. and international locations). Place it in your Login Items, and it will launch when you log in. The current temperature and conditions are displayed in the menu bar.

The User Interface | PDA-247

The User Interface | PDA-247.

Oh dear, I really don’t know why young Shaun continues to use an iPhone as he doesn’t seem to get on with it in any respect apart from games. He has his near bi-monthly rant about the iPhone Calendar application and of course it is nowhere near as good as the living wonder-ment that is the BlackBerry Calendar. It’s just a pity the rest of RIM’s “finest” is so pap in comparison to most of the best of the rest. I’m not sure I agree with the rather pretentious twaddle that accompanies the post either…..or perhaps it is because I am too thick to understand it.

“The interface that really matters is the map your mind creates to let you find what you need quickly on your phone”

Errrrr…right.

Worryingly, he is going to write a follow up article about the Memo app too on both platforms and will no doubt demonstrate how he can add a memo with pictures, a live video stream, link it to thirteen contacts in his Blackberry phone book  without having to actually open the darn app in the first place just by looking at the Bold 9700 and via the medium of mind control. Of course, entering a new Memo into my Bold 9700 is very simple, there’s no doubt about that but the problem lies with the ability to do anything else in the Notes app apart from just add a plain text note and trying to find a decent 3rd party software application in the notes/memo/List making sector for BlackBerry is likely to prove frustrating. In comparison, there is an abundance of very decent and very cheap comparable software for the iPhone/iPod Touch that adds functionality. Personally, I use NoteMaster by Appigio. It might take one step more than BlackBerry power-users, who are obviously so busy with their super hectic lifestyles that saving a few seconds here and there during the day is of such paramount importance that it makes them tolerate sub-standard software, would like but hey, at the end of the day I like it and it makes the RIM memo app look like what it is….an app designed about 10 years ago.

I go through phases of smartphone useage. Sometimes I think I have to have the latest and greatest device because only that latent power will suffice for a modern day multi-tasking power warrior like me whereas in actuality I just like the way my photos look on that hi-res OLED screen. Other times I realise I can get by with lower-specced phones because my smartphone useage is fairly standard and to be frank, 98% of phones made in the last 3 years can handle what I do with the greatest of ease. I hope however that I never get to the stage where a pre-requisite of any new device is how quickly I can add a Calendar entry as that would indicate either my work is starting to take over my personal life or less worryingly, my memory is starting to go. How do folk need to record so much stuff in a Calendar, I don’t get it? I have at most 2/3 entries per day as that is all that tends to happen in my daily life. I don’t know, perhaps they are entering stuff like …7am: have a cup of coffee, 1pm: have lunch…I live in perpetual fear of my life becoming so overrun with  work related stuff that I need to record it for fear of forgetting it.

At the moment I like the Treo Pro but I know that in 2 weeks time I will deem it to be unworthy, for some spurious and ultimately made-up reason, of not being worthy of any further use. This is likely to coincide with the launch of the HTC Legend…….a device that I know will end up annoying me within a month or so but damn it, it just looks so good.

Windows Mobile apps

I’ve got a stack of old Windows Mobile stuff, most of which had not been used for over a year. It’s been interesting to compare how some of the old stuff compares to some of the newer Windows apps I have tried out and also how they compare in general to their Android and iPhone counterparts. Looking at Twitter software first, there’s not really a heck of a lot of difference to be honest. I’ve been using Twikini for the last week or so and it is quite decent. I’ve chosen it ahead of others I tried such as MoTweet (didn’t like the interface) and Twiddle (?) which was clunky. A lot of WM software requires that you install that NetCompactFrame thingy which takes up nearly 7mb of space on a device, not so much of a problem for newer phones that have oddles of space but a more pressing concern for older devices….bottom line being I try and avoid software that needs it.

Twikini gives me and probably most other users the basic features they need for day to day “twittery”  and presents it in an elegant and simple UI. It does all that checking/automatic retrieval/notifications stuff, you can post pics easily and in general it does what I need a Twitter app to do. I’d say it is as good as any Twitter app I’ve used on the HTC Hero or the iPhone.

Next up RSS software and the picture here is not quite so good. I’ve always used NewsBreak from Ilium on Windows phones in the past and am still using it. Having been used to some great RSS apps on both Android and iPhone of late I was kind of hoping that Windows Mobile software might have raised its game in this sector but it appears not. I tried out the updated (since I last used it) SPB News but it is terribly terribly slow to download feeds even on  wifi and then SBSH GoTouch News, the less said about which the better. I’m a big fan of  their SafeWallet application but their RSS effort was awkward/confusing to set up, buggy, unbelievably slow on wifi and unreliable which surprised and disappointed me as it looks the part on the site demo. It does however claim to offer Google Reader syncing, something that for some reason neither Ilium nor SPB have seen fit to introduce in the time I’ve been away from their apps…..nearly 2 years. Nonetheless, I still prefer NewsBreak as it is quick and reliable with simple and intuitive navigation but it has not been updated since 2007 and is starting to look a bit lacking in key areas (well, key for me anyway) as it does not offer sharing via Twitter or Instapaper. Plus, it and other RSS apps on this platform are around the $20 mark which when compared to better RSS apps under the Android & iPhone platforms is starting to look less appealing. I just sort of expected that in the interim period since I stopped using WMo devices the apps would have been continually updated and improved but this is not the case….it’s something I’ve got used to with my Hero, for example, near constant updates and the same applies to the iPhone.

Palm Pre update

The Pre has become my favourite phone over the past month or so despite its wobbly build and mediocre battery life. It has so much going for it elsewhere that I kind of forgive it for its shortcomings. It’s certainly not the hardware that endears it so though but rather Web OS which is my favourite OS and it just works so well, it never gets in the way and you always feel like you are in charge whereas on Android I sometimes feel like I’m fighting it. It’s a bit disappointing to me that there are so many Palm fans and ex-Palm users out there who have just abandoned or dismissed the Pre purely on the basis of an hour or two’s play in an o2 store or through word of mouth. They’re missing out in a way and if Palm can get a better hardware device along the lines of the Pixi form factor out over here then it should be a winner. I just also wish, and again I suspect I’m in the minority here, that more devices these days had a scroll type button/pad/wheel as continually having to touch the screen on smartphones to scroll up and down pages can get a pain. Sometimes, I just like to have a physical scroll button control like there is on the HTC Hero to navigate through longer pages on websites and RSS feeds for example.

Not long to go until March when the promised App Catalogue brings paid 3rd party software to the UK and Europe plus there is the soon-to-arrive v1.4 of the OS which will add video recording and Flash, the latter being something that a lot of people seem desperate for whilst I’m more in the Steve Jobs and Apple “bag of hurt” camp. I’ve already lined up some software and my first purchase will be NewsRoom RSS application. I use this on the Hero and this app is probably the only reason why I still keep the Hero charged and alive. When it’s available in the UK the Hero will be going on eBay. NewsRoom is the best implementation of a mobile RSS app on a device that I’ve ever used, better than any iPhone app and considerably better than any of the limited Pre software in this category.

This is like a golden age for smartphone lovers and the promised land is just around the corner. The iPhone is great and hopefully the next gen model later this year will will lift it higher, there are some great looking Android phones coming out like the revamped Hero/Legend and Web OS is fab as well but just lacks a great device. A couple of years ago I had a succession of duff devices from mainly the Windows Mobile and Symbian stables but since then the stakes have been raised considerably and the phones I currently own are some of the best I’ve ever used. Even the Hero with its iffy keyboard and annoying sliding screen is still way ahead of anything I was using two years ago and I suppose it jolly well should be. Even the much derided Windows mobile looks like it will be back in serious business when v7 appears later this year. That just leaves RIM and BlackBerry out in the cold as their OS is looking a bit flaky and needing an overhaul. Extremely functional they may be but it’s all rather bland and uninvolving and with no mainstream touch screened model available all that tiresome menu clicking and scrolling up and down through long menus becomes a tad tiresome after a bit. It has for me anyway and hence the Bold 9700 will be on eBay soon, there are just going to be too many other better devices out there in the next 3-6 months to justify hanging on to something insipid like the 9700.

Twunes : for mac

Not so sure I should be posting this as it is liable to lead some folk to post details of their poor taste in music on Twitter…

TwunesMaybe you like my Twunes tool and like to support further development with a few bucks.So you’re a Twitter AND a music addict? Ever wanted to know what your “I’m a Mac” Twitter buddies are listening to on iTunes? Always looking for musical inspiration to widen your musical horizon?Well, good news: here’s Twunes, my free Mac OS X application that tweets the current iTunes track’s title, artist & optional album that you’re listening to. And this is how it looks:

via Twunes : MetaWops’ Home..

Samsung N150 update

Two weeks into my Windows 7 toting netbook ownership and things have been a little mixed to date. I appear to be having some problems with files disappearing randomly and software that I thought I had installed not being there next time I start it up. I could get all pious here and point out that things like that have never happened to me in 10 years of using Macs but remarkably, have surfaced within 2 weeks of PC ownership but as you all know, I’m well above that sort of thing.

I do like the Google Chrome browser which seems ideally suited to netbooks as it is light and quick. Here’s another thing, I installed my Vodafone Mobile Connect dongle software when I first got the Samsung and the icon was right there in that task bar thingy next to the Start Menu…I pinned it to that dock thing as sure as I’m sitting here typing this. Next time I fired up the Samsung it was nowhere to be seen. I had to stick the dongle in and then do that windows “auto-run” thing and then it started doing that “installing drivers” lark nonsense before I could use it again. I am doing something wrong here, is there something obvious that I am missing about installing apps? And another thing, I installed ListPro on it and that worked great for a week then it suddenly couldn’t locate the ListPro file I had transferred onto it previously. Luckily I had a copy of it on my portable USB drive otherwise that would have been 5 years of info kaput.

I’ve got used to the keyboard now and find it to be quite good, it has a nice clicky action and feels well built, as does the Samsung itself. I keep meaning to do a whole lot more with it but it was bought for a purpose or two and thus will tend only to get used when those needs arise and as such, I can’t muster a huge degree of enthusiasm to do much more at present, particularly if things are going to keep on mysteriously vanishing.

myPhotoEdit for Mac

myPhotoEdit for Mac – Free Mac software downloads and software reviews – CNET Download.com.

Not free but appears to have a little more in the way of features to compensate and of course it claims to be simple to use. something I couldn’t say about a lot of photo editing software I have tried down the years.

The image editor for dummies.

  • The image editor for minimalists.
  • The image editor for the impatient.
  • The image editor for the crazy ones.
  • The image editor for all and sundry.
  • The image editor for everyday.
  • The image editor for you.
  • What’s new in this version:

  • improved ‘HDR Filter’
  • improved ‘Bleach Bypass Filter’
  • improved ‘White Point Correction’
  • improved ‘Auto Levels’
  • improved ‘Noise Reduction’
  • fixed lots of bugs