Thursday 27 September 2012

iPhone 5

Following my 24 hours with a Samsung Galaxy S3, I pre-ordered an iPhone 5. I didn’t really think I needed one at first, and I still don’t need one if I look at it philosophically, but I wanted one. At first I wasn’t going to buy one, but my justification was that my iPhone is my single most-used possession, apart from perhaps my flat or my bed, which don’t really count.
I’m happy justifying more than the cost of a new iPhone just on annual insurance for my motorbike, so why shouldn’t I get a better phone handset that works a little faster and has some better features?
So because I was about 5 minutes late ordering at 9am on launch day, my delivery time was estimated around the beginning of October. My brother ordered one the day after me and got a delivery time the day after too… so it surprised me when I went to visit at the weekend that he was sitting there with an iPhone. He told me his nano sim arrived so he went to the apple store in Brent Cross to check out the phone, and they had some in stock so he bought it and cancelled his apple store order. That of course prompted me to visit every apple store in London, but alas it was nowhere to be found (in stock) so I ended up just waiting for mine to arrive!
So far I’m very happy with it. I’m concerned that I’m slowly turning into an apple fanboy, and part of me wants to buy an Android phone for no other reason than to redress the balance, but that would be silly.
My biggest bugbear, aside from numerous applications crashing unexpectedly, is apple maps. It’s not completely useless but it is a huge downgrade compared to Google maps. Yesterday it told my friend to turn into a restricted bus-only traffic lane, which he did, only to realise it was restricted. I hope he doesn’t get a ticket! It’s not very good at finding things and the interface is very clunky.
But I know my way round most of London so hardly ever need to use it. I hardly ever needed Google maps either, so I guess it’s a moot point, and I am confident apple will fix it, especially after they issued their apology.
My other problem with it is the lightning connector. I prefer the connector itself, but it’s just rendered all my dock connectors and charging cables useless, and at £15 a pop the replacements didn’t come cheap.
Finally I have a problem with my mobile phone insurance company, who won’t accept apple’s PDF proof of purchase with a serial number on it as proof that I bought the phone. No, they want one that has the IMEI number on it. What a farce! I’ve complained, and they’ve tried to call back twice while I’ve been unavailable and they want me to dial a premium rate number to get back in touch with them. Fat chance of that happening. I do need to sort my phone insurance though!
Oh well, I guess that’s the price you pay for being one of the cool kids Winking smile

Tuesday 11 September 2012

24 Hours with a Samsung Galaxy S3

What’s wrong with all you people? Why do you keep buying this phone? What’s so amazing about it?
I suppose I should start with my phone requirements. Perhaps I’m special, or perhaps I’m just not afraid to say what I think about this craze for big screens on phones.
So here are my requirements:
1. My phone should be a smart phone. This means it should have a decent data connection and access to apps that I find useful.
2. I should be able to use my phone with one hand. This is very important. If I have to use my phone with 2 hands, I can’t even walk down the street while using it. That's not because I walk on my hands, but because a 2-handed phone naturally requires more concentration.
3. It should fit in my pocket comfortably.
4. It should have a decent battery life.
5. It should have a good screen resolution.
6. Using it should be more pleasurable than painful.
How does the Samsung fare?
1. It’s smart, but perhaps too smart. The data connection is fast, but it struggles to switch between wifi and data, and the result is that no matter how many cores the processor has, the phone has to keep up with me as I walk through the city, rather than being fast enough for what I want to do.
2. The screen is way too big. I can only imagine that Koreans all have huge hands, or the phone has been designed for gorillas. If I try to type with one hand, my thumb can’t reach across the screen and if I try, the inside of my hand touches the screen and messes up what I’m trying to type. I ranted about this on facebook and the response was that there are increasing media requirements from most people that need bigger screens. Seriously? Guys, if you want to watch movies on your phone, perhaps you should consider investing in a television. Or a tablet.
3. It doesn’t fit comfortably in my pocket. It’s too big, and sticks out of the top of my jeans. I couldn’t ride a bicycle with this phone in my pocket, so whilst I appreciate how thin and light it is, unless it folds like a piece of paper it’s no good for my pocket.
4. It passed this test. Battery life seemed good. Certainly better than my iPhone.
5. The screen resolution is good, and the colours are vibrant. But you can’t see it in direct sunlight. What’s the story with that?
5. Using it was more painful than pleasurable. The reason for this is that I would have had to spend a long time setting up the way I wanted it to be. I would have been fine doing that if I’d bought one, but it seemed like a lot of hassle for a phone that was already troubling me due to its physical size.
In case you’re wondering, no I would definitely not buy one. And now I’m worried that the iPhone 5 is going to be too big for my thumb as well Sad smile


I forgot to write about my trip to Dublin back in June. It was great! Not only did I get to see my best friend who'd moved to New York, I got to meet her baby, who's adorable!
The weather sucked. It was cold and wet, just as I'd been warned by everyone else who's been, but the people are friendly and it's true what they say about Guinness. It really does taste better in Dublin!

London 2012

What a year it’s been for London! The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and then the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

In typical British fashion.

The Queen’s Jubilee weekend was a complete washout. It rained, rained again and rained some more. But people came out in their thousands to wish the Queen a happy birthday, myself included. I’d scoped out a great spot from which to watch the flotilla the day before, but when the time came my plan was thwarted by crowds so big it was impossible to get to my spot! So I didn’t get to see Her Majesty, but I did take several photos of wet people standing in the rain watching a big screen. I’ll post photos of this later, when I have a chance to go through the thousands of photos I’ve taken.

And then we had the Olympics.

I was full of scepticism about the Olympic Route Network. I predicted gridlock, traffic chaos and road rage. I was cynical about the corporate sponsorship. And I thought the whole thing would be a waste of public money. But I was wrong. For 2 weeks, driving through London was an absolute pleasure. And that was only the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t seen London with such a great atmosphere in my life, and I’ve lived here all my life. Everyone was friendly. Strangers were talking to eachother on the street. London 2012 Games Makers were posted on what seemed like every street corner, providing cheery directions and help to anyone who needed it. Signs were colourful, and the city felt alive.
A gorgeous friend of mine got me a ticket to the technical rehearsal for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, so I was one of the first 80000 spectators to visit the venue. The ceremony was epic and all I could do was tell everyone they should cancel whatever plans they have and stay home to watch the ceremony. It was excellent! Sadly, I wasn’t able to watch it in the comfort of my own home. I had to settle for the TV screen in the Costa in Toddington Services, as I was driving up to the Lake District for a wedding that weekend. But what a show it was! And what a show the Olympics were! Team GB outdid themselves, and although I wasn’t able to visit any more Olympic events, I more than made up for it at the Paralympics.
I’ve got 9 t-shirts, a jumper, 3 Wenlocks, a Mandeville, 4 umbrellas, a towel, a bag, a cap and several tickets to events. And I almost (foolishly) bought a genuine Olympic torch on ebay! The torch was probably going a bit too far, but I am proud of having been part of the games. For the Paralympics I managed to go to the Opening Ceremony, Table Tennis, Goalball, Wheelchair Basketball preliminary match, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball gold medal match, a brief visit to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where the Paralympics began, Wheelchair marathon and finally the Closing Ceremony. And I haven’t had enough! I’m already looking at hotels in Rio for 2016!

The London 2012 Olympics truly have inspired a generation. Thank You.

I guess all that remains is for me to thank all those who made it possible. The Games Makers (especially friends of mine who were either performing at the ceremonies or in uniform at the events), Team GB, LOCOG, Boris Johnson, ALL of the corporate sponsors and of course the mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville!