David Artiss

Month: January 2010 (page 1 of 3)

HTC Hero – my early thoughts

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I’ve now had my HTC Hero (AKA T-Mobile G2 Touch) since yesterday, so thought I’d give an update on my initial impressions and thoughts.

There were a few initial issues but these were all related to my network provider, rather than the fault of the phone – my data connection didn’t work (T-Mobile had to resend my settings) and I couldn’t access the Android Marketplace (this is because it may contain content for over 18’s so you have to override this on the T-Mobile website).

Once all that was sorted, I was off.

My thoughts, before I got the phone, is that Android provides only the basics, expecting you to populate your phone from the Marketplace with what you want. Well, thanks to all the “additions” from HTC, this is not the case and I’ve been surprised how “well stocked” the default set-up is.

I was very impressed with the way that I supplied my Google signin details once and it automatically connected all the appropriate Google apps – including downloading all my contacts to the phone book. A nice touch.

There is no PC software with the phone, but you can download HTC syncronisation software – but this is merely to syncronise contacts, etc, with PC applications, something I don’t use. That means there’s no backup software, which will be one issue I’ll need to tackle.

Once connected via USB there is an option on the phone to “mount” the device to the PC, allowing the phone to act as an external hard drive. From here you can use Picasa to import any photos and Windows Media Player to synchronise music.

Now I continue with setting the phone up and getting it just how I’d like. The built in alarm clock is okay, but doesn’t have a “vibrate only” option (and when I’m getting up at 5:30am this is essential for me) – I may have to splash out a whole $1.99 for something more advanced!

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The Apple iPad – my views

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So, the Apple iPad has been announced after months – and months – of speculation.

Many people were expecting some exciting name, with it often being referred to as a “slate”. In the end it’s the underwhelmingly named iPad. You see, it sounds like iPod. How they must have chuckled at their own ingenuity.

The thing is, nobody was really talking beforehand about the software – that’s the one thing that Apple are good at and with the iPhone and Mac OS already available, it was obvious that one of them would be used. None-the-less, most thought it would be the latter as they were expecting a slim, multi-touch computing device. In the end, it’s turned out to be a big iPod.

And there’s the rub – Apple have traditionally not been so good with the hardware so, to me at least, the resultant iPad isn’t very exciting.  It literally is a big iPod. Or iPhone if you buy the 3G version. Look at the picture above of Steve Jobs with the iPad – it does look like he’s got some kind of promotional oversized iPod in his hands. To me, it looks like some kind of bad Photoshop picture.

What does the iPad offer? Well, it’s got a special screen with a wide viewing angle but it’s smaller than the screen on my Netbook. It’s not even OLED – it’s just a bog standard LED with better viewing angles. And, well, that’s about it.

Apple are intending to target gamers and, particularly, eBook readers.

The former, well, I can’t see it working. Gamers either want full scale powerful gaming or a pocketable device – this is neither. Electronic Ink based eBook readers are 100 times [1]okay, maybe I made that statistic up better for reading eBooks with. Why spend £500 on an iPad instead of under £200 for a dedicated eBook reader?

Okay, I’m not Apple lover but I can appreciate a good bit of kit and I will happily say good things about the iPod and iPhone, even if I don’t want one myself. But the iPad has left me cold. I just don’t get it.

References   [ + ]

1. okay, maybe I made that statistic up

I Need A Hero.. a day earlier

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My plan WAS to order the Hero tomorrow for delivery on Friday at work. However, I had a nagging feeling that I should check this assumption first.

And I was right to – T-Mobile will only deliver to your home address.

A quick phone call revealed that they delivery next day before 1am if they receive the order before 16:45 [1]their website said that it’s a 2 day delivery. At this point it was 16:40 and I realised my wife would be home until 1am tomorrow but not on Friday. You’ve never seen an order rushed so much before (but I did remember to use Quidco to get £35 back!)!

So, instead of there now being 2 days remaining, it’s now 1.

But, can I resist getting home tomorrow and not using it [2]the reason for this is because, I believe, the Hero wants to connect you, via a non-secure Wi-fi connection, to register your user details as soon as you start using it. I can do that at work but not at home. Well, not without turning off encryption temporarily.?

References   [ + ]

1. their website said that it’s a 2 day delivery
2. the reason for this is because, I believe, the Hero wants to connect you, via a non-secure Wi-fi connection, to register your user details as soon as you start using it. I can do that at work but not at home. Well, not without turning off encryption temporarily.

3 days to go…

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Anybody who follows me on Twitter (or Facebook) will know that I’ve been counting down since yesterday. Today is 3 days to go.

To what?

Yes, it’s finally come around. My contract with Carphone Warehouse and O2 has been cancelled and expires in a couple of weeks – time to get a new one. And the HTC Hero it will be. Or, rather, the G2 Touch, which is T-Mobiles name for it.

T-Mobile it is simply because of the cost. Where everybody else is insisting on £35 a month for a reasonable number of minutes and text (and unlimited data) for 24 months, T-Mobile is offering it at £27.50 for 18 months. In all cases, the phone is free. With a £35 Quidco cashback, that equates to £460 over the contract period. This compares to £680 at Vodafone or Orange and £760 with 3.

On top of this, I also need to consider selling my Nokia. When doing something like this I’d recommend using the MobileValuer site which can compare the various companies that pay cashback for them. At the moment my N95 is worth £122.51. Again, factor in cashback from Quidco and the final tally is £122.51. Take that off my contract and my bill over the next 18 months is £337.49. Not bad.

Now I’m trawling through the huge number of sites that recommend Android apps to see what I’d like to install – I plan to make a lot more use of this phone than my N95, which I didn’t really get on with. It’s very confusing though, with many people recommending different apps – trying them together I suspect is going to be the best way.

Naturally, expect to see my own lists sometime soon. If you have any of your own that you’d like to recommend, then please let me know.

How to get incompatible Firefox add-ons to work

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Firefox 3.6 has been released and that means, once again, that you might find some of your add-ons don’t work. Now, this isn’t Firefox just wanting to cause problems for us all, but for genuine security and stability reasons.

None-the-less, if you need to get an add-on working, then there is a (relatively) simple way to do it.

  • Download the .XPI add-on file
  • Change the file extension from .XPI to .ZIP (because that is what they really are)
  • Double click the .ZIP and you should see a file called install.rdf
  • Drag this file out of the zip, to your folder or desktop
  • Open the .RDF file with Notepad
  • Find the line that contains maxVersion and change the 3.5 to the current version of Firefox
  • Save and close the .RDF
  • Drag the edited file back into the .ZIP
  • Close the .ZIP and rename it back to .XPI
  • Double click the .XPI and it should offer to install to Firefox
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