Showing posts with label Gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gadgets. Show all posts

Monday, 17 December 2012

Glow Lamp Video Review

Thought I'd knock up a quick video review of the lamp I was on about in my previous post. I shot it with the HS30 EXR and I have to say I'm really disappointed with the sound quality I ended up with. There was a weird buzzing noise in the original clips that I tried to reduce in iMovie, but all that did was muffle the sound. Odd. Anyway, enjoy:

Glow Your Own Way

Howdy. Been sorting out my big move back to the capital of the North over the last week hence the lack of updates. Took the Goose up the line on Friday morning and stashed it in my brother’s garage before getting the National Express back late last night. I set off at about 6.30am on Friday morning in an attempt to escape the biblical storm that was sweeping across the country and I almost made it – it was only in the last half hour of the journey that the rain finally caught up with me and soaked me to the bone. I know I’ve moaned about this many, many times over the last year – but Christ. Every single time I get on that fucking thing, the heavens open. All last week it was dry as a bone. Ridiculously cold, but dry. And then as soon as I decide to get on the bike and transport it, the rain starts. I’m not stupid enough to actually believe that some arcane rain god has it in for me, but it just always seems to be that no matter how nice the weather is, as soon as I get on my motorbike, it turns shitty.

Apart from the rainy (windy and dark) journey on Friday morning, the weekend was quite pleasant. Spent Friday night at my dad’s and Saturday night I went to a friend’s house party/Christmas do that eventually spilled out into a few pubs. It was in a place called Ramsbottom on the outskirts of Manchester and was a really good event, not least because the pubs around that area mostly seem to be proper ‘real ale’ pubs with good friendly atmospheres. I don’t really know Ramsbottom that well, but from the few times I’ve been there to visit this particular friend, I have quite a positive opinion of it. The place seems to be very ‘old fashioned,’ but not in a horrible, urban decay way – more in a ‘dry stone wall’ way, where a lot of the buildings are made of those grey odd-shaped bricks. There’s also a proper steam railway around there somewhere, so it gets a thumbs up from me. I fully intend to dress as Isambard Kingdom Brunel and ride that quaint fucker one day. 

I went to Minehead a few years ago and we went down to the station there to have a ride on the steam train, but the twat wasn’t running so we just went to the pub instead. So yeah, Saturday night was a bit of a blur involving lots of ale and party food. Earlier in the day I got lost on the ridiculous motorway network encircling Manchester and ended up somewhere near Liverpool when I was trying to get to Stockport (and predictably I also got piss wet through), but apart from that, it was a chilled weekend. 

I got the coach back from Chorlton Street in Manchester and discovered to my horror that it isn’t only Birmingham coach station that charges 30p for the pleasure of being able to have a piss or shit in their toilets. Personally, I think that this kind of thing is disgusting. Charging people to carry out essential bodily functions. I remember when I went to Hull a few months ago and was bursting for a piss, but the toilets in the train station were even more expensive than the two aforementioned coach stations! I can’t remember how much, but I’m pretty sure it was more than the already outrageous 30p levy at Brum and Manc. In case you were wondering, I didn’t use the bogs at Hull, I just emptied my effluent all over the main High Street instead – not that you could tell (this is a joke, by the way – I think Hull’s a pretty nice place, especially since they built that new shopping area). But anyway, enough of my boring life story. 

When I was in Manchester waiting for my coach, I stepped into a shop called Clas Ohlson, which to me at least, appears to be Ikea without the furniture. It’s full of all sorts of tat – from garden tools and kitchenware to electrical and computer accessories. I love it, and could spend ages wandering around just looking at stuff. One thing I did see was this: 

768 colour combinations apparently. Not sure about that.

It’s a lamp. Not just any lamp though - its called 'Glow' and it comes with a remote control that lets you change the fucking colour! How insanely cool is that?! 

Each button changes the colour, the ones on the right adjust the brightness

Standard 'orange' mode

Probably should've tidied up before taking these pictures

As soon as I saw it I had to have it, so I shelled out £30 for it and transported it back halfway across the country with me. What else? Oh yeah – I sold my old iPod on Gumtree as well as my laptop in order to fund my latest ‘big’ purchase – an iPod Classic 160GB. It’s silver and matches the new MacBook Pro I got last week. I’m becoming everything I ever hated buying all this Apple stuff, but you know what? I think I can see why people desire Apple stuff: it just fucking works. It comes out of the box, you turn it on...and it just works. As simple as that. I’ve had no issues whatsoever with the MacBook, and the iPod is just the same. None of those stupid Windows dialogue boxes popping up with error messages accompanied by that stupid alert noise. Nothing but silky smooth performance. Sure, the MacBook is only a week old so that’s what you’d expect, but the OS is so much better than anything gaudy old Windows 8 could ever be, what with its hideous neon squares and incompatibility issues. Urgh. I played around with a Windows 8 PC in Curry’s last week and I was pretty horrified by how clunky it felt compared to Mountain Lion...and that was after using the Mac for about 3 days. Am I an Apple convert? Well, I was always slightly into Apple macs anyway (my first job after Uni was selling and demoing Apple G5 Powermacs), and I did all the online exams to gain ‘Apple Product Professional’ status (those RAID exams were fun, let me tell you), so I don’t think it’s a question of being a convert. More a case of ‘I ditched Windows because Mountain Lion kicks ass.’ Or something like that. In other iPod news, I’ve managed to download a piece of software that converts DVDs into mp4 movies that can be played on the iPod – so now I can watch movies on the cross trainer in the gym. Which, frankly, is awesome. Right, that’s enough from me for the moment. Until next time.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Nooks & Trannies

My book finally arrived at Waterstones and they promptly called me when it was ready for collection. Sadly, it appears that it's been used as a rugby ball. These probably sound like the ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic, but I'm guessing the fact that I complained about the delay has played some part in this. The cover is all bent (with a massive crease down the front of the book) and the spine and back cover are scuffed to hell. Yes, I'm a little annoyed that a company as large and reputable as Waterstones can allow this sort of thing, but then again maybe it just got like this in transit. Either way, Waterstones have lost a customer in me - when you spend £20 on a book (a fucking book!), you expect to get it on time and in an acceptable condition. By God, what has happened to customer service? I've seen books on car boot sales in better condition that this supposedly new copy of House of Leaves. Bah! At least it's here though - which is the main thing.

I shall be delving into it later on this evening and imparting my thoughts on this very blog in due course. On the subject of books and bookstores though, I noticed an advert on TV t'other day for the Barnes & Noble Nook. Does this mean B&N are finally launching in the UK? If they do, they won't have to try very hard to kick Waterstones' arse judging by my recent experience - all they'll have to do is not send orders to wrong parts of the country, and then deliver said orders in a condition vaguely approaching 'new.' Oh, and maybe employ staff that don't have massive tattoos of the Batman symbol on their forearms (with matching batarang earrings) or look like Hagrid stunt doubles. Seriously, I'm all for people being individuals and shit - but at least try to make yourself look presentable whilst being 'individual.' There are certain shops where it seems to be a prerequisite that you've got bright blue hair and a luminous nose ring in order to get a job there. Gamestation is one such place. Why? I'm a gamer. I'm probably the biggest games geek I know, but it doesn't make me want to walk around wearing a ripped tablecloth and have a gravestone tattooed on my neck.

HMV is another one. Actually - wait an fucking minute, there's a trend developing here (I think). Gamestation. HMV. Waterstones. All shops I've been in recently where at least one member of staff has had black lipstick on (and their sex didn't seem to matter). Curious. There's definitely some kind of link or correlation going on here...but I really can't deduce what it is. I suppose all of these stores sell electronics of some form...maybe that's it? I don't know, but it seems to be the de rigueur for somebody whose job it is to stand around offering (usually incorrect) music or games or book advice to middle aged people in beige trousers and brown NHS spectacles.

I seem to have gone off on quite an unexpected tangent there...but speaking of the Nook, it looks like quite a nice e-reader/tablet thingy. But seeing as I've already got both a Kindle and a BlackBerry Playbook (a device which also allows you, I don't think I've got much need for one. Maybe I'll go and ask the steampunk goth working in Rumbelows for his/her advice.

I recently bought The Click Five's second album Modern Minds and Pastimes. If anyone in the UK knew who The Click Five were, I'd probably get kicked to death and then set alight, but thanks to their total lack of presence here, I'm good (for now). Basically, TCV (as they shall henceforth be referred to) are what would be produced if Rivers Cuomo ass-raped any one of McFly. They're a band who sing ever-so-catchy pseudo indie/pop and sing it fucking well. I've had their first album for ages (can't remember where I even got it from) and most of the tracks are pretty hummable, but then a few weeks ago I bought their third album off iTunes. My god - what a record. So on Monday night I paid another £7.99 for their second album...and it's easily as good. Want three albums of toe-tapping power pop? TCV should be your first port of call.

Other recent media-related good shit I've encountered: Seasick Steve (music), Moneyball (film), Warehouse 13 (TV series). Seek them all and thou shalt be rewarded.

Friday, 14 September 2012

BlackBerry, and Apple Crumble

PayPal finally caved in and allowed me to have access to my own money, which was nice of them. I got an email late on Wednesday evening alerting me to the fact that they’d reviewed my transaction and found nothing to raise concern, and that my cash had been released. Well thank you very fucking much, PayPal. I don’t actually recall asking you to come and investigate the totally legitimate sale of my motorcycle, but thanks all the same.

I’ve transferred the majority of the money back into the savings account from which I funded the purchase of the Suzuki Goose, and paid off a few minor debts I had (I gave back money I borrowed for the purchase of cheap booze and heroin). I did make one purchase with the spoils of my profit-making sale, however – a new phone. I think this must be about the 5th time I’ve bleated on about a new phone on this blog (let me see...HTC HD2, Palm Pre, O2 XDA, Huawei Blaze...yep, it is), so that just shows you how prone to failure/out-moding these ubiquitous devices really are. Fuck me – I’ve only been blogging since 2009 (well, 2006 if you count the Dreamcast Junkyard, but that doesn’t count) and I’ve already gone through 4 different mobiles! Planned obsolescence in action, or evidence of really shoddy manufacturing? You decide (in an old skool Big Brother Geordie voice). I’d probably go for the latter, as at least two of the mobiles had to be replaced due to the hardware going tits-up through no fault of the user (me); the Palm Pre’s touch screen went haywire and rendered it useless, while the Huawei Blaze’s speaker died so phone calls became an impossibility.

I was planning on replacing the Huawei with another touch screen, Android-based device – the Sony Xperia Tipo. This particular handset is described as a budget device, but it boasts a newer version of Android than the Huawei Blaze (Android 4) so that was the main attraction for me as I was pretty attached to the apps and stuff that the Play Store offered for Android 3.5. Upon reflection though, I wasn’t overly keen on the ‘screen only’ input methods of both the HD2 or the I took a gamble and bought a BlackBerry Curve 8520 instead. It’s a little antiquated (no 3G, for one), but BlackBerrys are renowned for their robust nature and the solid user interface, so that’s what swayed me.

My first impressions are pretty positive, even if the OS on the device is a little arcane at first glance. As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve also got a BlackBerry PlayBook so I have some basic knowledge of how these things work, but the Curve is a lot more simplistic than the PlayBook. There’s no touch screen for a start, which may be a blessing in disguise – you have to scroll around using the little optical trackpad thing. Also, BlackBerry seem to be really into ‘security’ and such, so you have to create all these fucking accounts and stuff and go through registration setups and shit. Bit annoying, but I’ve managed to link it to my existing PlayBook ID so it’s all working fine(ish). I say ‘ish,’ because due to some fucked up method of operation, I need to have a special add-on with my Giffgaff account in order to use the BBM and email etc, but I can’t add it to my profile I’ve got to wait until October to add this magical extension. The phone works fine as it is (I can call, text, go online via the Wi-Fi or through Opera Mini (love a bit of OS trickery!) when I’m out of the house), but I’m assured that the BlackBerry phone comes into it’s own once you’re allowed to access all the cool shit like the instant messaging etc. Ah well...October is but a few weeks away, and I’m sure I’ll cope.

Away from the minor shortcomings of the OS and the network, I really like the look of the Curve, and the keyboard is fantastic for writing text messages. The coolest feature though? I can connect this badboy to my PlayBook via Bluetooth and use the thing as a mouse! Yes – you read that shit correctly! It’s possibly the most pointless (geddit?!) thing I’ve ever heard of considering the PlayBook is just one bit capacitive touch screen, but there you are. I don’t know how I could ever use this feature, other than to impress my equally nerdy flatmate (as I did, yesterday), but the fact that it exists is enough for me. There are other uses for this ‘BlackBerry Bridge’ feature - for instance you can tether the tablet to the phone for internet access etc...but I doubt I’ll ever feel the need to do that when Wi-Fi is pretty much everywhere these days.

Does this make me a BlackBerry fan boy? Maybe...but I’m several degrees further from hell than all the Apple zealots clamouring to get their perfectly manicured, fresh-from-the-cloning-vat hands on an iPhone 5. What is the deal with all the ‘new’ versions of the iPhone? They don’t look any different from the last one, but people are falling over themselves to get the latest model as soon as it's announced. There’s at least one person where I work who has a perfectly good iPhone 4S...yet they’re sweating about how they will be able to fund the purchase of an iPhone 5. And the price...fuck me - £500 minimum? My BlackBerry cost me just over £100 from Sainsbury’s, unbranded and SIM free. I just don’t get it. Neither does the guy who wrote this article about Apple's new product launches being boring now that Steve Jobs has uploaded himself to the iCloud.

However, I’m not going to turn this into another Apple-bashing session. I’m over that. I’m a BlackBerry power user now, and we just don’t stoop to that fucking level. Peace.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I Ran So Far Away

Finally worked out how to upload my running totals from my Forerunner watch to the Garmin Connect website this morning. It's pretty cool to be fair. Not only is it much more detailed than the software that you can install on your PC, but it allows you to share the details of your runs and training sessions. Yesterday I completed a fairly epic 22 mile jaunt around the highways and byways of Somerset and here's the little info pane that relates to the run:

I did another run today, but it was only a ten mile one as my legs were fucking killing me from yesterday's little escapade. Here's the info box thingy:

I'm doing a few more half-marathons in the coming months so this gizmo really helps with the training, and being able to embed the workouts on your own blog is a nice touch. Still on the subject of running, I bought some Saucony Jazz 13 running trainers a few weeks back to replace the bargain basement Saucony Prestige I got from M&M Direct. To be honest, the only real difference I can see between them (apart from the price) is that the Jazz are 'Pro Grid' and have a little window in the heel so you can see the cushioning thing, while the Prestige are just plain 'Grid' and have a solid heel with no window. They're both pretty comfortable, as you'd expect from Saucony, but I'm not sure splashing out on another pair was such a good idea when I'm trying to save money for my impending return to the real world (see previous posts on redundancy for clarification). Saying that though, the Jazz are a lovely shade of electric blue whereas the Prestige are boring old white, so I suppose it was money well spent. Not just an investment in fitness, but also an investment in fashion. Like the Scarlett Pimpernel. Or am I getting that reference confused with something else. Meh.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

(Half) Marathon Man

Took delivery of my latest piece of running-based tech yesterday - a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch. You may recall that I previously owned a Garmin Forerunner 405 (or you may not. In which case – I did.), but had to sell it in order to pay my rent when I lived in that fucking weird house-share last year. Anyway, I got my new Garmin 110 yesterday and went for my first trial run with it (13.6 miles, just in case you wondered), and the verdict is thus: It’s every bit as good as the Forerunner 405, and happily (in my humble opinion) omits the slightly fiddly touch-sensitive bezel and questionable water resistance.

As you may be able to guess from the numbers in the title of the device, the 110 is marketed as a ‘lite’ version of the 405, and as such it boasts fewer features (for one, it doesn’t support wireless data transfer to the PC software suite that collects your activity records), but to be fair I never used the advanced features of the 405 anyway. For me, the important factors of any run are covered: time taken, distance covered and speed. Don’t personally need any more than that to be fair. I’ve not updated this blog for a while (well, prior to last week) so you won’t know (or care) that I’ve been keeping on top of my running and even took part in last month’s Plymouth half marathon. According to the official timing website, I completed the 13 mile course in 1 hour and 31 mins, coming in 200th out of about 6000 runners. Which suits me fine, considering it was my first competitive run/race. I think the actual winner did it in 1 hour 5 mins, so I’m more than happy with my time. I can see why people get so addicted to doing those kind of events though, as even though I’ve done much longer road runs on my own, the sense of achievement when you cross the finish with a large crowd cheering is amazing. As a result, I’m also doing the Bristol half marathon in September and there are a few 10k runs I’m looking at entering between now and then.

On a slightly different note, last night I looked at the records from when I had the Forerunner 405. I only owned the thing for 5 months, but I appear to have run, jogged and staggered a grand total of 741 miles during that period. No wonder I fucked my leg up...

In other news: Wii U. Why? I know I said the same thing about the iPad when it came out, but for fuck sake Nintendo - who exactly is the Wii U meant to be aimed at? They're taking a console that alienated the hardcore Nintendo fans and then complicating it. I don't know about anyone else, but when I saw the promo videos for it, it just looked like too much hard work. What, by the way, is wrong with just having a normal console with a normal joypad that connects to your TV? Pfft. I already know I won't be bothering with the Wii U and it's not even out for another year or so.

Call me a morbid, depressing, nay-saying cunt-hole if you want, but the Wii U just looks like a gimmicky waste of time that'll be fun for a few days and then just end up sat under the telly collecting dust. Like most of the Wiis various mates own.

Right. I'm off for a run. Or a brew. Probably a brew. Knackered.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Assorted Stuff from the Ether

Hello. It’s been ages since I’ve even thought about updating this shit. Mainly because no-one actually reads what I spunk out on here. But I’m a bit bored so I thought I might as well have a go at writing something to see if it makes any sense. To be fair, I’ve actually done quite a lot of interesting stuff since I last put anything on here (and looking down there at my previous entry, my amazing deduction skills tell me it’s been 9 months), so I may start updating again on a more regular basis just to boast about the exciting shit I’ve been up to. Maybe.

But anyway, here we are. I’m still in the employ of the navy, but hopefully not for very much longer. Why? Well, I’ve applied for voluntary redundancy. You may think this is madness in a time of recession, but I think I’ve definitely had my fill of being treated like an imbecile and living in ‘unsuitable’ conditions. I’m not one for being cryptic, so let me explain. When the powers that be in government decided to bin the Harriers and flog the Ark Royal for scrap, they also happened to shut down most of the Fleet Air Arm’s operations at several RAF bases around the country. As such, we had an influx of naval personnel sent back to Naval Air Stations. Where accommodation was already stretched. So the top brass decided that all junior rates should be taken out of single living accommodation and forced to double up – that is, cram two people into a room designed to house one. This might not sound like the end of the world, especially considering the cramped conditions people serving onboard ships have to live in, but when the only place you have to store all your belongings in suddenly has to accommodate the belongs of two people, you can imagine how crowded it gets. So yeah, along with hating my job, I now have to live in a cramped shoebox. With a bloke who snores so loud that the corpses in the graveyard at the back of the base probably have to wear earplugs every night.

To combat this, I have been sleeping on a couch in the mess square (basically a communal TV room), and it was during one such night a few months ago that I decided that I’d had enough of living like this, at nearly 30 years old. Doing a job I fucking hate, sleeping on a couch, living in the middle of nowhere and only getting to see my girlfriend at the weekend and never being able to go home to Manchester because it takes 5 hours to drive back there. So for me, the idea of taking voluntary redundancy has been a bit of a dream come true. People constantly ask “what are you going to do?” and I constantly reply “start living my fucking life again.”

So that’s the main thing going on at the moment – getting away from here, this job, this subservient lifestyle. Meh.

Got my car insurance renewal quote a few weeks ago. For some reason, the same company that last year demanded £550 for third party fire and theft cover wanted £2165 for the next. £2165 to insure the most undesirable car ever built?! To them I said “fuck you kindly,” and went on the hunt for a new insurance company. I eventually managed to get a quote of about £400 and I’m happy with it, but because I went on Compare the Finance Supermarket or whatever the fuck website it was, I’m now getting constant phone calls from dodgy insurance brokers asking me if I want a quote or, more worryingly, if I want to claim the accident I had recently. What fucking accident?! Has somebody stolen my identity and started having accidents? Sounds outlandish, I know, but there are shady fuckers around and they’ll stop at nothing to make a quick buck and bollocks to whoever’s life they screw up. Hypothetical cunts.

Also managed to acquire another Xbox360. Selling my old one cut me deep, but I had to in order to buy food or something. That was last year so since then, the only consoles I’ve been able to play have been my trusty old Dreamcast (respec’) and my crusty old PlayStation. But now I’m back in the game (excuse the piss-poor pun), but not without a bit of annoyance. You see, because I’m a cheapskate, I thought I’d go for a pre-owned Xbox 4GB from GAME. It was £139.99. And then a day later I saw that Argos were selling the exact same machine for about 10 quid more, but brand new. I then, after a few weeks of ownership, discovered that the 4GB hard drive fills up pretty quickly and have had to fork out for a hard drive that slots into the bottom of the console. That was another £30. So all in all, I would probably have been better off just buying a 250GB model in the first place. It’s not all bad though, as I now have a 250GB console, but in the preferred matte black, as opposed to the shiny, smear-prone actual 250GB. I’m confusing the hell out of myself now, so I feel for you, dear reader. The games I have bought thus far are such: Aliens v Predator, Alan Wake, Halo Reach, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Forza 3, Fight Night 3 and WRC and I must say that I am impressed with all of them so far (and looky over there at my gamertag thingy! It's automatically updated itself! The wonders of modern technology, eh?!). Not so much Fight Night, actually, but it was only a fiver so I can’t complain too much.

The last thing I want to announce, proudly, is that I have finally defeated my Facebook addiction. I decided one day a few months ago, to go cold turkey and totally deactivate my account. I thought I'd only be able to last a few days...but here I am, three months later and I don't even miss the cunting thing! So you see, it IS possible to exist without updating the world on when you're having a shit! WIN!

That’s enough from me for now. I’ll probably write some more words next week or something.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Man from the Pre

So my new phone turned up in the post. Surprisingly quickly, actually - and in a totally undamaged state. I saw a documentary the other week about Royal Mail and was pretty disgusted (although not exactly surprised) at the way postal workers treat our mail. Opening birthday cards and stealing the inevitable cash inside; chucking parcels about like rugby's a fucking disgrace. However, as previously stated, my new mobile telephony device arrived in perfectly good order. Well done, postie.

It's a Palm Pre. Here's what it looks like:

Now, some people who know a bit about mobile phones may think I'm a bit of a knob for swapping my all-singing, all dancing HTC HD2 for this handset. However, even though it is technically inferior I believe that the Palm Pre could be the new 'best phone I've ever owned.' Why? Well, it's in the subtlety of the thing. When I first unboxed it and turned it on, I was slightly underwhelmed by the simplicity of the OS and the comparatively basic features: text messaging, web, email...a few memo and calendar programs and the most threadbare options menu you've ever seen. But then I dug a little deeper. There's an 'app store' where every single app is free. The phonebook pulls in contact details from your Facebook account and merges all the duplicates you already had on your sim card.

Palm offer 'over the air' OS updates that continue to improve speed and stability of the operating system almost monthly. A good example of this is how the Palm Pre I have now does not have the ability to record video through it's 3 megapixel camera, but the next update will reportedly add this feature to the OS. I personally find this level of support from a manufacturer very impressive because it shows that they not only have faith in the hardware and continue to push it, but that they also give a shit about improving the experience for owners of their device. The same simply cannot be said of HTC.

I went onto the HTC website numerous times with the sole aim of updating the ROM on my HD2, only to be constantly confronted with error messages and such like. And that leads me to another aspect of the Palm Pre that I'm massively impressed with: everything just works. It doesn't freeze, the apps you download run perfectly and even YouTube runs smoother that it ever did on the HD2. Granted, the jitters I had viewing videos on the HTC could be levelled at the crapness of the O2 network (again), but I've been using the Palm in the same location as I used the HD2 and the quality and speed of the downloads/web browsing speed is vastly superior.

This thing came with my Palm Pre:

It's called a Touchstone and is essentially a wireless charging device. You change the standard battery cover for the Touchstone one and then you can just stick your Pre to the 'dock' part and it will charge up without the need for plugging wires etc in. It may seem like an insignificant feature of the Pre, but in practice it becomes invaluable. I've certainly never been able to just throw my mobile onto the windowcill and have it charge up, and then just be able to grab it again if somebody rings. Like I said, the beauty is in the simplicity.

Oh yeah, and the Palm has a proper QWERTY keyboard, so everybody's happy. Well, I am. Right. No more boring posts about new gadgets. For now.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Facebook of Psalms

Yep - it's been more than a fortnight and I've not written anything down. No particular reason, other than that I simply couldn't be bothered trying to get online. To wit: it really annoys me that getting online in this day and age is seen as a privilege as opposed to a right of living in the so-called 'digital age.' I remember when I was at secondary school in the time before the world went online mental. IT lessons were the only time you ever got near the internet (usually to check cheats and other such game-rated shite), and because stuff like Facebook, Hotmail, eBay etc didn't exist then, it wasn't overly important. And because of this lack of importance, the fact that the only way to get on the internet seemed to be a few stolen minutes in an IT lesson didn't matter. Fast forward to now though, and little seems to have changed - for me, at least. Trying to get the internet up on my phone inevitably leads to constant 'page error' messages, whilst trying to access a wifi hotspot on my laptop almost always leads down the dead-end, pot-holed lane of 'lack of connectivity;' or the appearance of one of those BT Openzone pages where you have to pay £6000 with a credit card for 3 minutes of internet access. Alas, in a parallel to my earlier internet experiences, the only time I seem to be able to actually get online with a decent, reliable (yet censored) connection is a few stolen minutes at work every now and then (like right this minute, for example). And yet still we are being coerced into thinking we live in some highly advanced, hi-speed online world. Come and live with me for a week. Not only will you learn to live on a diet of Cornflakes, toast and lager - you'll also learn that trying to get online appears to be more trouble than it's worth.

But enough ranting about that. In the time gulf between now and my last post, a few things have happened. Perhaps the biggest thing is that I finally managed to move into an actual house. It's not an exclusive, me-only house though. It's another shared one. However, unlike the one I lived in down in Portsmouth the landlord is a live-in one and so actually possesses the right to turn up at the house when he wants and sleep on the couch. The last landlord didn't live in the house, yet still partook in this activity. Which, as you can imagine, was a bone of contention with me. No, this house is infinitely better than that hole. It's massive, has a top view of Weymouth/Portland Harbour and I'm living with a good, varied bunch of people. Really can't complain. For now. I also got my first ever valentines card yesterday (which wasn't sent to me by myself), which is a result!

Tech news: I'm swapping my new phone. Yes, I harped on about the HTC HD2 a few weeks ago, and I still think it's one of the best gadgets I've ever owned. The only problem I have with it is the touchscreen interface. I'm forever texting and on Facebook (when it loads, fucking shitty O2 network), so a good input method is a must for any phone I own. This is really where the HD2 falls down for me. For obvious reasons, the keyboard you have to use is a software one that pops up on the screen when writing. It must be the buggiest input device on the planet. 5 times out of every 10, it will not register the letter you are trying to press and even with the predictive word suggestion (which is a godsend, by the way), it's still all too easy to end up writing a sentence of complete and utter gobble-de-gook when all you wanted to say was 'crypto-zoology.' It's even worse if you're outside in the blistering cold. For some reason, the capacitive touchscreen doesn't like the cold weather, so trying to text in such conditions truly is a test of patience. The only thing stopping me from hurling the bastard thing at the pavement at times was the knowledge that it's worth about £400. I thought about going into the O2 shop near my new gaff to see if they'd swap it for another handset with a keyboard, but abandoned that because I knew what the answer would be. So instead, I went back to my old friend

Lo and behold - I have found the perfect replacement for my HD2 - the Palm Pre. Whilst it doesn't look even half as technically advanced as the HD2, it has one massive advantage: a proper qwerty keyboard! It's also a bonafide smartphone with all the bells and whistles you could want (including the coveted YouTube app that I've been abusing (when it works)). So I've arranged a one for one swap with a guy who wants rid of his Palm. It comes with a fairly nifty little charger that allows you to simply place the phone on the charging 'block' without actually plugging it in. Sounds pretty cool. I should have it by the end of the week, so I'll post my views as and when.

Speaking of that swapz website, I got my Nintendo DS. To say it's addictive is an understatement, especially since it came with a thing called an R4 cartridge that is in effect a device that allows you to put roms on an Micro SD card and then play them on the DS. Since I acquired the DS, I msut have played nearly every major DS games there is...and I'm impressed. I used to have a PSP and granted, whilst the visuals of most of the games are far superior to any on the DS, I have to admit that having the touch screen adds an extra dimension to a lot of them. Most impressive for me is the way that a lot of the first person shooters use the d-pad and touch screen as a mouse and keyboard substitute. So you use your left thumb to move around and your left index finger to fire (via the left shoulder button), whilst you control the view with the stylus and touch screen. Intuitive - especially in Metroid Prime: Hunters. Furthermore, the range of different games available for the DS is staggering. From games where you have to survive on a desert island (Lost in Blue), beat em ups (Viewtiful Joe), racers (Mario Kart) and crime sims (Crime Scene) to slightly more bizarre things like a game called Scribblenauts where you get to solve puzzles by 'drawing' items - every gamer is catered for. Seriously though, the sheer number of genres represented is amazing - I for one never thought I'd be playing an air traffic control game on a handheld console before I got my DS. It's a brilliant console, and even has wifi capabilities...not that I've been able to use the wifi, or access any of the multi-player modes in any of the games. See paragraph 1 for details.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Random Meandering Crap

Hello. I'm bored at work so thought I'd update this thing for my own amusement. It's a bit like a virtual version of writing down the day's date or a comment in the corner of the page you're reading when ploughing through a book. Ever done that? I have (obviously). No point to it, just think it's cool to randomly stumble across shit written down years ago. For example, I recently found my old copy of The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (the one with all the books in one volume) and remembered that I'd done the old 'write in the corner' thing with that. The notes I found were scribbled while I was reading said sci-fi comedy epic during night shifts in my job as a concierge in the Hacienda Apartments in Manchester. They were only things like 'bored, it's 3:12 am and I need a piss' etc, but I thought it was quite interesting to glimpse back into the past, and at the inanities of previous employ.

The Hacienda Apartments, yesterday.

That was a fucking weird job though. It was 2004 and the building itself (constructed on the site of the renowned Hacienda nightclub) wasn't even finished - indeed only a handful of the flats on the lower floors were actually occupied. The upper levels of the building were far from finished though, and some sections didn't even have the lid on yet - an aspect of the place I used to exploit by going up on the roof at night and watching the skyline twinkle. All very romantic, I'm sure you'll agree. Took a dump in a few of the unfinished apartments' toilets, too. Perks of the job an' all that. Seems like a lifetime ago now - so much shit has happened between then and now its unreal. But that's another post, on another long boring night here at my desk. I suppose it's quite apt, writing about my nights at the Hacienda though, seeing as I'm doing nights now and am equally as bored!

The Hacienda, back when it was a nightclub

Anyway, back to now. I've recently, through a website called, managed to swap (naturally) my Flip Video Mino and O2 XDA Mini S for a Nintendo DS Lite. I'm still waiting for it to arrive in the post, but hopefully I'll have it in my hands by the end of the week. I've never actually played on a DS so I'm intrigued to see what all the fuss is about. I used to have a PSP many moons ago and was addicted to it, but sold it to fund the purchase of my first car. I know, from looking at screenshots on various websites that the DS's graphics aren't really up to the standard of those displayed on Sony's handheld, but it appears to have a fair few decent-looking RPGs available for it, and that's what I'm after if truth be told - a game with some longevity and a meaty storyline. Oh, and a bit of Mario Kart action.

A low quality size comparison of the iPad and other devices. It's between the DS XL and the Amazon Kindle.

Been reading about that new tablet PC (Mac?) from Apple - the iPad, too. Personally, I don't really see the point. It just looks and sounds like a big iPhone, with the functionality of a Macbook. Who, exactly, is the thing aimed at? Most people who want the features that the iPad offer already have either an iPhone or an Apple laptop of some who else is there left to appeal to? Steve Jobs reckons that the iPad will offer a 'complete' browsing experience. Don't iPhones, iPod Touches, Powerbooks, iBooks, Macbooks, Powermacs, iMacs, PCs, PDAs, Blackberrys, smartphones, laptops, internet tablets and games consoles all offer a 'complete' internet browsing experience, y'know, already?! I'm not an Apple basher - I used to sell/demo the fucking things for a living (and I've still got my 'Apple Product Professional' badge and certificate to prove it), but the iPad just seems like a bit of a stupid thing to exist. Very cool, don't get me wrong, but still stupid. I have no doubts whatsoever that I'll be proved very, very wrong when Apple sell 20 billion of them and then use the profits to buy the moon, scoop a big chunk out of it and turn it into a massive, ubiquitous nocturnal corporate logo. Bah. Fuck you Apple and your money and stuff.

On the subject of money, it appears that an immediate lack of the stuff is having a profound impact on my ability to find a house share. I've been looking at various house mate websites, but all the landlords advertising seem to want some ridiculous deposit paid up front before you move in. I can see the point, don't get me wrong, but even when I explain my circumstances and offer to pay a deposit over, say, a few months, I just get the silent treatment. I'll keep trying though...and if it comes to it, I suppose I'll just have to save a deposit this month and then move next month when I get paid again. Not ideal, but what can you do?

Anything else I can bore you (ie, myself) with? Oh yeah - stop the press! I finally finished my book! I didn't actually write on any of the pages in this one because I forgot to, but I digress. The book was Fallen Angels by Richard Morgan - the sequel to hisawesome debut novel, Altered Carbon. The series depict the exploits of one Takeshi Kovacs, an ex-Envoy soldier ( hard cunt) who lives, dies and kills people with relative ease in a distant future where corporate corruption is rife, humanity has crossed the stars, and life is cheap.

Cheap, because the vast majority of people have their personalities 'backed up' in little canisters, or 'stacks,' that are implanted in the back of the neck. If they die, the stack is just implanted into a new body (called a sleeve) and then carry on regardless. Obviously, there's a fuck load more to this particular pantheon, but I can't really go into any great detail here simply because I can't be arsed. But take it from me, both Altered Carbon and Fallen Angels are brilliant books. There's a third in the series called Woken Furies (which I'll be buying), and Altered Carbon is rumoured to be getting the movie-adaptation yeah. Go and check them out if Sci-Fi awesomeness is your bag. If it's not, and read something else. Or don't. It really is up to you. You could go and wander around a shopping centre, looking at stuff in shop windows that you can neither afford nor have the inclination to buy, for example. Or you could have a biscuit. See - there's loads of things you could do. Bye.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Hello there. Does anyone actually read this shit? I'm guessing not, but I'm fucking bored so I'm writing this to entertain myself. Can't believe it's been 3 months since I updated this blog. Mainly through lack of motivation and a fucking crap 1992-style internet connection, I hasten to add. So what's been happening in my life? Well, I've moved away from Portsmouth - which is good. I fucking hate that place. And I've taken up road running, ditching the treadmill for the lovely outdoors. I used to think running 10k on a treader was quite good, but nowadays I tend to crank out distances of the 17-mile variety instead. How can I tell how far I've run? Well it's down to my latest gadget acquisition:

It's a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch. It's basically a watch (natch) that has GPS abilities and is tracked by a satellite so you can view, in real-time, how far you've run. Once your run is complete, you can then link it wirelessly to your PC and view your route, calories burned, distance, time, speed etc. It's a cracking little gadget although it was quite expensive. £200 actually, but I use it quite a bit so it's paid for itself. The only thing is that it doesn't like getting wet, which is a bit of a pain in the arse in England. In Winter. But when it's dry, it's brilliant.

I really love running through the countryside too, but I'm not very fond of the fucking arseholes who thunder around the pavement-less lanes of Somerset in their Volvo estates. I got hit by a deaf and dumb driver the other day whilst out running. I wasn't injured or owt, but I was wearing a bright yellow running top so I was hardly inconspicuous. Cock tried to blame me mouthing and mumbling that I should've been on the pavement, to which I replied "what fucking pavement?" Should really have poked the ugly twat in the eye, giving him the full set of sensory disabilities. Speaking of inconspicuousness, I could've done with some of it when I got caught short while out running last week - about halfway through it became apparent that I was dying for a shit and every little lane or path I ran down in my search for a decent toilet-bush had some knob walking his dog sculking about. When I did finally find a spot, I let out the most explosive watery shit I've ever experienced...but the relief was almost nirvana-like. Didn't wipe my arse though, so ran the rest of the route with a shitty crevice. That's how I roll, peeps.

What else? Oh yeah, went to yet another wedding yesterday. It was good but I'm getting a bit tired of going to these events now. Yesterday's was my fourth (yes, FOURTH) of the year and whilst I'm happy to have an excuse to go and get obscenely drunk, I'm getting a bit sick of seeing other people happily in love whilst I grow old alone and stinking of piss. Speaking of being drunk, I was yesterday. After the wedding itself there was the expected reception where a frankly unbelievable amount of free champagne, wine, beer and port was being thrown about. Not literally, you understand, but I simply couldn't control my inner alcoholic and so I (naturally) drank everything I could get my hands on. This lead, rather inevitably, to me being unable to walk after a few hours and I have only vague memories of the rest of the night's events. I do, however, remember waking up this morning feeling like a human turd and then throwing my guts up in the toilet several times until nothing but stinking bile came out. Oh, and I seem to have mislaid my brand new, 10 megapixel camera. FUCK! Hopefully, someone has handed it in to the bar at the place the private reception was held...but if not, I'll just have to wait till next payday and buy yet another one...that I can leave in a bar when I'm pissed.

I'm meant to be going to another wedding in a few weeks but I'm seriously considering making up some lame-ass excuse just to get out if it. There's only so much soft smiling and acting like you give a flying fuck that a man can fake. Great, you're getting married. And it's nice that you've found your soul mate. But let's cut the crap - when's the ceremony over? I want to get pissed and eat free food. And don't fucking judge me - everyone thinks the same way.

Oh, and my back hurts. I can't even stand up straight, so I'm walking about like the frigging Hunchback of Notre Damme at the moment . It's probably down to something that occurred last night that I can't remember. Oh well, I'm sure someone will tell me how much of a cock I was at some point.

Lastly, just to address a post I wrote several months ago - I saw Terminator Salvation the other day. I never got around to seeing it at the cinema, even though I waxed lyrical about how much I was looking forward to it - and I'm glad I didn't. What a load of shit! Crap, confusing storyline and what's with the computer generated Arnie at the end?! He didn't even look like that in the first movie - he had short hair, not Conan-style flowing locks! How the producers managed to fuck it up is beyond me, but hey. I'm contemplating going to see The Fourth Kind this week - hopefully that won't turn out to be poo. But probably will. I'm such an optimist aren't I?!

More random bullshit to come this week, fans.