My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
Category Archives: Toys & Gadgets
Now, I’ve been a bit skeptical about the iPhone, I’ve played with a few – nice to use but very much a 1.0 product from a software point of view (great hardware – except for the battery), this link from engadget gives a transcript of the SDK announcement/press conference – more here too.
Looks like there are some good apps coming and support for Exchange over the air via ActiveSync (EAS) – this will be a big selling point, most current EAS compatible devices are Windows Mobile and IMHO are quite poor from a usability point of view, this could change all that… the touch interface opens up a lot of interesting possibilities.
Interestingly apps will be available for the iPod touch too (at a nominal cost), making that a compelling proper PDA/media platform rather than “just a big video iPod”.
Will see how things go, but that’s the only announcement that’s even piqued my interest in getting one at some point, iTunes is neat and easy to use (bit slow, but) and will be the primary method for downloading apps.
**update: BBC iPlayer now available for the iPhone. Cool – shame it’s not 3G capable yet or that really would be compelling!**
I generally wouldn’t touch anything other than a Dell/HP/IBM laptop with a bargepole for reasons of spares availability/cost… but at £229 inc VAT this is almost disposable if something dies.
It’s tiny and has a (small) solid state HDD but SD card reader slot to allow you to add more storage space.
Expansys are going to have them soon..
No Bluetooth but has a £40 option for adding an integrated 3G modem very cool.
I had a P133 Toshiba Libretto years ago and it was ace.. I like the idea of this..
Linux OS only at the moment (+VMWare maybe?) but WinXP in near future
And a bit of an update to this post Bryce posted a great link to a site covering upgrades to this mini notebook – 2Gb RAM upgrade, how to install other software & WinXP. Must, resist… must… http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4062
My laptop is a Dell D620, I opted for the built in 3G data modem when I ordered it as my PCMCIA vodafone 3G card didn’t have Vista drivers available and I liked the idea of not having to have a great big card hanging out the side waiting to be snapped off.
I have been very impressed since I got it and I use it a lot on the train, hotels and on client-sites when I can’t get an Internet connection to my own laptop because of some company security policy about connecting non-corporate machines, sometimes it’s even more convenient to use it rather than the corporate wireless LAN!
It’s suprisingly cost-effective too (although full-disclosure I don’t pay the Vodafone bill myself) especially if you travel a fair bit and stay in hotels/use public hotspots. It never ceases to amaze me that here in the UK they want to charge so much for WiFi or broadband access in public places.
Hilton Hotels for example; I stay in a lot of Hiltons on business, they typically charge at least £110 per room per night even on a corporate rate, they then want £15 per night for wireless/BB access; they do a number of package deals but they’re still pretty expensive, and let’s not get started on the “tray charge” of £3.50 + the overpriced food… yes I guess I do have a choice to stay elsewhere, but they are convenient to where I usually work and have a good points scheme – so maybe I’m a sucker for familiarity whilst I’m away!
I see a fair number of BT Openzone, T-mobile Swisscom, wireless hotspots about the place but they all generally want you to take a subscription with them, some offer a complicated roaming deal but if you do the maths it’s not cheap.
Add in the limited coverage and highly variable quality of service (I lost count of the number of public hotspot’s I’ve used that either just didn’t work or were too slow to be usable – a fact you find out after you’ve given them your credit card details.
Now compare that against my 3G data card – I can use it pretty much wherever there is mobile coverage; granted it falls back to GPRS where there is no 3G coverage – but the mobile network has significantly more coverage than any WiFi at the moment.
It’s flexible, I can use it when/where I want and I’m not tied to a particular provider and the locations that they provide WiFi and the best part of all its about £40/month for an unlimited* data package, or to put it another way that’s the same price as 3 x 24 hr sessions a month in a Hilton, or most other WiFi hotspots – yes they offer pay by hour – but do you really want to do that?
3G speed is pretty good; I’m typically getting about 250kbs+ and that’s more than usable for email and general web browsing etc.
Will be interesting to see how some of the bigger carriers change this market space with their quad-play offerings, that may make mobile 3G data even cheaper if you take a TV/home phone/mobile/broadband package – I see a lot of people buying laptops rather than desktop, they could really clean up here.
However, I’ve been in Amsterdam for a couple of days now and have ben using it quite a lot inbetween conference sessions as the on-site free WiFi hasn’t been working – suspect I may get shot when the bill comes in at the end of the month as roaming data isn’t quite as cheap as doing it in the UK! I just discovered iTunes has been downloading about 150Mb of Podcasts as I typed this over my 3G connection, a figure of £4/Mb for roaming data seems to be at the back of my mind..ulp.
*Fair-use terms & conditions apply – from memory “fair use” is up to 1Gb/Month