Month: July 2008 (page 1 of 2)

Monkey Magic

The Olympics are only a few days away. I love the Olympics – so many different sports, so many heroes and increasingly more villains. The TV coverage by the BBC is usually excellent and this will be the first to be broadcast in HD. I’m already impressed with the marketing and titles that the beeb are to use:

They were produced by Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn and are so different from the norm. That’s a good different by the way as there are lot’s of moan’s from traditionalists about the titles. Good to see the normally staid BBC doing something different. Let’s hope the GB team can be as successful. More importantly, let’s hope China do a good job of hosting the games.

Already there is doubts being cast on the full internet access that journalists were promised. Will they all stick to sport reporting or try and use this opportunity to report on what China really is like?

From the iphone

So I’m writing this from the iPhone. The WordPress app for the iPhone came out this morning which I installed over 3G onto the phone. I can now write up posts on the move, adding tags and categories too.

Seems to be working well so far although will only truly work if it posts to the blog successfully. The over the air app install was a bit hairy though. Two resets required before it finally installed. That’s what I get for adopting early.

iPhone One Week On

One week done and it’s time to share some thoughts. In no particular order:

  • The iPhone 3G uses a lot of battery. For the first few days I had to recharge daily. However with some careful management that seems to be stretching to two days now. The biggest difference for me was made by managing 3G and wi-fi networks. At home I use wi-fi, elsewhere I use 3G/Edge. So at home i switch off 3G, outside home I switch off wi-fi and only switch on 3G when I actually want to use faster access. Management of these settings has made the biggest difference to the battery life.
  • The on screen keyboard is really good. Much faster than I imagined and great for texts, e-mails, tweets although I’m sure a long blog post/document creation would be pretty painful.
  • iPod is great. Coverflow really works well on a screen this size. Music sounds much better than my old iPod.
  • Some of the AppStore app’s have been pretty buggy. I guess that’s to be expected but it’s still annoying when you launch an app and it either repeatedly crashes or, worse, requires an iPhone reset.
  • Call quality is excellent and taking phone calls while listening to iPod works well.
  • Twinkle appeared on the app store yesterday and is a great Twitter client. Looks good and has a nice location based feature where people in 10, 25 mile radius to you can see your tweets and easily respond. For me it’s work so much better than Twitterrific which is buggy and allow in comparison.
  • App’s launch quickly and it’s easy to move between sending a text, getting mail, browsing and then back to some video’s or music.
  • When I’ve been typing I occasionally notice some lag. It’s like the key’s are taking a half second or so to register and then appear. Nothing to bad but there are reports on the net than some people are seeing scary 20 second delays in typing. Hopefully these issues are firmware fixable.
  • Love the text’s layout. Just makes so much sense when you see then laid out as an iChat sesion.

Great phone and despite it’s shortcomings it’s the best I’ve owned. It’s easy to do and does so much more than other phone’s despite it having inferior hardware.

Thank You SuperDuper!

Since I bought my Mac I have backed it up using SuperDuper! which was one of the recommended Mac backup applications. I’ve tested the backup to make sure I could boot from it but I’d never needed to use it in anger. Until today.

I had to reboot the iMac. It came up fine displaying the Apple logo and the spinner. Then the hard disk switched off and I was left looking at the logo and the spinner. That’s not right. Switched off and on and it was the same again. Feck. Another couple of goes and it was still the same. Time to reset PRAM. No difference. NVRAM? Still buggered. I booted from the Leopard DVD and ran a disk check. No issues. I ran a disk repair – no difference. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I did some surfing from the laptop and couldn’t really find any other step’s that would help. So it was time to finally use the SuperDuper! backup. It was time to restore!

I erased the disk and restored from the firewire drive. A couple of hours later I rebooted and I was back in business. Kind off. The backup was taken before the iPhone, iTunes and MobileMe updates and one they were on I synced with the iPhone…which wiped all the app’s from it. I had to download them, then install and set them up again. Annoying but nothing compared to the hassle and data loss had I not had that backup.

So thank you SuperDuper! for saving me tonight and hopefully this is a small lesson for anyone reading who doesn’t take regular backups. It also show’s that you should never assume a Mac is full proof. I just hope it was a one off glitch I experienced and it’s not a sign of impending hardware problems.

Some more app's anyone?

More iPhone chat unfortunately. I threw on three more app’s tonight and all of them are working really well. The first is Vicinity. Using the location services on the iPhone it works out where you are and provides easy access to a list of local services.

VicinityThe first list is to Wikipedia providing snippets to articles from around your locale with links to the full Wikipedia articles. You can also see a list of nearby places. This is a mish mash of all the different important buildings and services that are close to you. You can then see different services in more detail – banks, hotels, restaurants. The list generated was pretty accurate for me and selecting a restaurant allowed you to easily call it and then get a map with directions from your current location. This will be really handy for me as I’m working away from home quite a bit more. Couple of issues though. The list of services is often missing results and those returned can be out of date. Secondly, reading the reviews on the Appstore shows that it’s results are very hit and miss. While it’s only £1.79 to buy, it would be nice to have a demo for some of these app’s.

Next up is Tuner from Nullriver (the people behind the excellent Connect360 and Medialink). Tuner has one role in life – let you browse and listen to internet music streams. The range of streams is massive. In fact it’s pretty bewildering just how many there are but you can bookmark favourites you find over time. Streaming worked really well over wifi and was pretty good on 3G too. What’s really nice is that for £2.99 I have easy access to almost any music I want.

lastfmFinally, some humble pie. I posted at the weekend that I was tired of last.fm and didn’t really mind not being able to scroble from the iPhone. The last bit is true but the free last.fm app for the iPhone is superb. Amazing. My favourite iPhone app so far. You login in to your last.fm profile and via the app you can listen to a radio station based on your previous listens. You can also see what your friends have been listening too and listen to stations based on their tastes. What I really liked was browsing to charts, seeing artists and listening to music from them or similar to them. It worked really fast on wifi with small buffer pauses only. On 3G it worked but was less effective. Buffering was longer and moving to the next track started the buffering process again. But the app is free, the music is free so hard to be too picky. No scrobling either but I’m sure that’s down to the background process nonsense from Apple. Music can be bought from the iTunes store with ease if you like what you hear. Did I mention this was free?

Do you need Last.fm and Tuner? Probably not but each does generate different results and Tuner wasn’t to expensive. Lot’s of travel tomorrow so be interesting to see how the iPhone performs away from home with more usage and a different, less populated, location.

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