Archives for category: iPad
I love it and hate it in not quite equal measure. It does almost everything you expect of it, but is in need of a couple of minor tweaks. OK, so before I loose those of you that have never heard of it, let me explain.
Flipboard is a free iPad application. Their spiel is succinct ; 

This is your Flipboard. It’s your personalised, social magazine.

so you might catch on quicker if you watch the video…

Looks very slick doesn’t it? And it is, but I do have a couple of niggles that I’ll share just to get them off my chest. 

I love the way it formats your twitter feed, grabs links and photos and presents it on a newspaper sort of way, but each time you close it and return to it, it assumes you want to view your timeline from now going backwards. I just wish it could remember where I was so that I could read from there going forwards. It’s not that I want to read every tweet in my feed (no-one could ever keep up) but I would like to not have to wait to scroll backwards through stuff I haven’t seen to get to where I was.  It’s not the end of the world, and to be fair you can drag your timeline backwards several pages at a time by holding the little red blob at the bottom of the page and dragging it to the right.
Or you can tap (in this example “44 minutes ago”) to jump back to that point. I just wish it would remember where I’d got to in my feed – that’s all.

My second niggle is content control. I know it’s built for Facebook and twitter, but you’ve given me a glimpse of what’s possible, so now I want it all.  You can add your facebook and twitter feeds very easily, but how about .. And this is purely from a selfish perspective .. MY Google Reader RSS feed?  There are plenty of suggested feeds and blogs to add as ‘Magazine Sections’ (for want of a better description) but the best you can get in terms of user definable feeds are Twitter and Facebook accounts.  There’s no simple way to get your reader feed in there.

After a little bit of digging there’s two intresting factlets. 

1) This is the most requested feature for Flipboard (LoL – I must be right then) and 
2) There is a way of doing it, but it’s a bit of a faff.

Just to go into a little more detail on 2.  You have to make your reader feeds that you want to appear in Flipboard public. Then you have to burn these feeds using Feedburner. Then you publish these Feedburner feeds to a Twitter account and finally subscribe to the Twitter account in Flipboard.

Obviously this works, but it’s a bit messy and kludgy. Far nicer would be native integration into Flipboard its self.

It is a beautiful way to “browse” the web. Content is formatted cleanly and clearly and you could easily be forgiven for thinking you’re reading an actual magazine. That is until you tap a video still that starts playing. Magical.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

The thing about an iPad is, once you’ve held it in your hand for 2 minutes and opened up a couple of web pages or better yet, looked at your twitter feed via Flipboard, you are hooked.  It is that simple.  iPhone users will be familiar with this concept already, because it works in the same way.  I’ve been lucky enough to finally get my hands on one and foolishly, I put it down for 2 minutes.  I fear I may have lost it to my Daughter or her friend both of whom instantly immersed themselves in their Facebook pages as if holding the internet in their hands was the most natural thing in the world.

I know that the guys at Apple were using that line in their advertising and marketing spiel “Holding the Internet in your hand”, but it really does feel like that. It’s the strangest and most normal thing all at the same time. Very clever stuff.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

I’ve justified it’s acquisition by saying it’s for the family to use. Replacing a laptop or phone that are often used in front of the TV,  for following twitter, or looking up those faces that make you go “Oooo, What was he in??” or “Wasn’t she so-and-so’s wife in that thing on BBC2?” or “How much is that book then?” as seems to happen fairly constantly in our house. I think in the longer term, they’ll all want their own, because it’s very difficult to put it down once you’ve picked it up and that’s not because they’ve got superglue on their fingers.  There are too many positives to list, so I’ve enlisted the help of my Editor (Ed), to see if we can find the negatives.

First of all, if you’ve got an iPhone, then you’ve got a very small iPad.  So there’s a negative…. 

Why buy an iPad if you’ve got an iPhone (or an iPod touch for that matter) ? -Ed

The differences in basic functionality are minimal.  Well, on an iPhone, so is the display. Beautifully crafted and highly resolutioned, it may be, but there’s no getting away from the fact that you do find yourself “peering” at an iPhone display as opposed to looking at it. In that respect, the iPad lends itself to reading perfectly.  (Hang on… that’s a negative for the iPhone then??) -Ed..  D’oh!

What about the price of Apps?  Everyone says they’re really expensive on the iPad. -Ed  

Errmmm…. actually. They’re not.  Where else can you get an entire office suite of the calibre of iWork for 15 quid??   Scrabble for 6 quid??  That’s expensive isn’t it?  Nope. Not when you consider the cheapest version of scrabble retails at around 12 quid in most toy shops. You’ve just got to put it in perspective.  There’s plenty of free apps still and some of them are seriously not to be missed. Top of that list is Flipboard, but I’ll write more about that elsewhere.

Alright, so not expensive apps then, but it doesn’t have a camera…  Ah ha…  got you there…. -Ed

Correct. It doesn’t have a camera.  And your point is?   Why would you want it to be a camera??  Surely you wouldn’t want to try and take pictures with something that big would you?  OK, so you might want a front facing camera to be able to video chat with people. Fair point, but if anything that’ll be in a later release of the device. Facetime is barely taking off yet. If it ever actually goes mainstream, then I’d support your criticism of a lack of front facing camera, 100%.

It’s expensive. -Ed

I won’t argue with you on that point. Even £430 for the lowest priced model is in my opinion too much, but this isn’t because the product isn’t worth the money, it’s that you and I both know the components used to build it are not 430 quids worth.  For me, the price issue is more about my antagonism towards the level of profiteering. But this is something we see in all consumer products in all walks of life. If everyone charged cost + 5% for every single product in the world, I suspect, we’d moan like hell about the price of milk going up, but we’d be overjoyed at the reduction in the cost of housing. Or maybe not… (Interesting subject for another day)

I can’t expand the storage. -Ed

Another truth. Well done you. I do worry though if you think your photo collection will be safe on an iPad, or an iPhone, or a memory stick, or a single hard drive for that matter.  Think about it.  This device is a connected device. It’s supposed to be connected to the Internet or you’re personal network (for those of a rightly paranoid disposition). So that is where you keep your photos. or your documents, or anything else for that matter. 16Gb may not seem like a lot, but it’s a goodly size for most people. For example in the last 12 months I’ve taken just over 5000 photographs. That’s 4.1Gb, so the best part of 12 left still.  I suspect in the future you’ll be more concerned about the speed of your connection that you will the amount of local storage.  The cost of storage will come down of course, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want your precious media backed up someplace safe rather than in your pocket.

It doesn’t multitask, -Ed

Until next month, when a new (free) release of iOS specifically for the iPad means that it will multitask and wirelessly print to name but two changes to bring it inline with the iPhone 4.

I’ve already got a PC, so I don’t need one. -Ed

If you’ve got a PC, you do need one, but I’m not rising to the PC vs Mac argument. That’s been done to death already.  In shorthand, how long does your PC take to boot up??  ’nuff said.

It’s cool to use, but you look a bit of dick when you’re using it. -Ed

Mmm…. You might have me there. Or do I detect a note of jealousy ??  😉 And since when did I care what you think I look like?  I’m a Geek… or a Nerd…. or something….  and I’m kicking your harris at Scrabble as we speak.

So there we have it for now.  I’m very pleased with my purchase – but it does mean that I wont be giving any more cash to Mr Jobs’ team for a few months now. I was going to upgrade my Apple TV, but I’m not made of money Steve and the current one functions perfectly well for the time being.  

Next job is to try out some of the more technical tasks without the aid of a mouse or proper keyboard and see how that works out.  

Take care.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

If it turns out that I’m one of the lucky 100,000 lottery winners Tax payers, to get a rebate in Gloucestershire, and if it’s £400, Can you guess what I’ll be doing with it in Cabot Circus ?  

Microsoft don’t do iPads. They’ve fumbled about with Tablet PC’s and touch desktops, but they’re not going in quite the right direction yet. I’m sure you recall that Microsoft are the largest IT corporation on the planet with the hugest amount of financial resource available to them to dabble in whatever technology takes their fancy.  Well, them and Google at any rate.

After Apple’s phenomenal success with the iPod they went after it with the Zune and what a disaster thatwas. To be fair it does have some following in the US, but considering it’s not actually available anywhere else, it looks like they’ve missed the boat. They haven’t given up all hope yet, but it must be soon.

Anyway, not be downtrodden, they’ve also gone after Apple’s next little baby, the re-imagined smart phone. The iPhone has done massive amounts of business globally and can only be described as a roaring success. Google are hot on their heels though with the Android powered phones. Google may not be up to the Hardware challenges, but they certainly can do software and after the recent Antenna-gate charges it’s possible that Apple can’t do hardware either (although, like most people I think this is more of a blip on their part than anything else).

Apple do learn from their mistakes. I’m not so sure that Microsoft do, otherwise why would they be putting out stuff like this ?:

Do they really think they’re going to get all that ground back again ? iOS is reportedly the 3rd most used Operating System online even beating Linux. Now that really is a big shout. Linux is almost as old as the Internet itself, but has continually grown and shaped and moulded to fit it’s users needs. iOS is barely out of nappies by comparison, and yet is overtaking it’s elder cousin already.

Thanks to NetMarketShare for this data.

You can judge for yourself by taking a ride through the demo’s that are available here on the website. I like the interface. The way it moves and flips around, are all very nice touches. But, it’s all about Facebook and Windows Live and Outlook. By default there’s no Twitter client, so you’re back to the browser for the good stuff. Mind you, even that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

Yesterday I mentioned, the HTML 5 based app for checking in to multiple locations. Well, today I’m going to point you at which does a similar sort of trick for the SocNet (Social Networks; It’ll never catch on – Ed). If you’re familiar with Teetdeck, then you’ll know what to expect.  Essentially, you give it the login details of each of your accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Buzz etc) and it then presents you with a column view in a similar fashion to Tweetdeck.  There’s even an app for it naturally: although I hav to say, the mobile version isn’t quite as slick as the full web browser version IMOH.

Still, What do I care…  I won’t be needing any of that when my cheque drops through the letterbox.  You can see me sat patiently waiting by the door even now.   What’s that?  No, no. I’m sure you’re mistaken, I can’t have underpaid surely? Nobody said it works both ways!!  Arrrrrrhhgghgh.

Until next time.

This post originally appeared here:

Daughter is recovering well from her surgery. So much so that yesterday she had reached the point where she really needed to be getting out and about and back to normal. Remarkable considering it’s barely a week. However, she knows she should exercise a level of caution, so with this in mind she decided that she’d like a little trip out somewhere in the form of some retail therapy.

A couple of weeks ago, Mrs G and I had been telling her all about ‘Cabot Circus’; the relatively new shopping centre in the middle of Bristol. It’s about a 30 minute drive on a good day, so I suggested we go and take a look at it. She would drive on the understanding that any discomfort could be dealt with by me driving instead and as Mrs G already had a hair appointment, this was to be one of those rare father/daughter bonding trips. And so our plan was hatched.

Personally I’m not a huge fan of the cult of shopping. Mostly I find it uninspiring and boring, but on this occasion I had some ulterior motives. Firstly, it was just good to get daughter back on her feet and feeling normal again and to be honest that in itself is reason enough to put up with the hell of retail rambling. However, Secondly, I remembered Cabot Circus being a pleasant and compact shopping experience so it wouldn’t require hours of mindless dawdling. Thirdly, I wanted to try out some foursquare checkins in a different city (I really am that much of a geek) and finally, there’s an Apple Store but no horse ( ) to my knowledge (I know, but like I said, geek) WooHoo! Enough already. Let’s get going.

Not a bad journey. We were very lucky to have avoided an accident on the M4 which had just happened and caused a major tailback. No-one was hurt, but their cycling holiday was going to involve a lot more walking than cycling I fear. At the end of the M32 there’s plenty of ‘Cabot Circus’ parking, so it’s all very straight forward.

Daughter’s jaw dropped somewhat when she realised just how many procurement opportunities lay in wait for her and it wasn’t long before she’d busted her budget and was ready to head home. We had a bite to eat and while waiting for my watch repair had a crafty look in the Apple store (as you do).

Daughter is very forgiving of my geekery which I suspect is a generational thing. Mrs G, less so but she does try to understand. Daughter did share an interesting observation with me though; since Mrs G has had her iPhone, daughter hasn’t heard her complain once about it (use of her previous handset was generally accompanied by a list of expletives) and now I come to think of it, neither have I. Mrs G may not approve in principal but in practicality it’s clearly a different story.

And so to my opinion of my 5minute hands on with an iPad. Press the home button, press the Safari icon, browse a web page. Sold! It’s that simple.

They say it’s like having the Internet in your hand – they are not lying. But my problem with it is the price. Innovative, yes, value for money, no. This is only made worse by the knowledge that the same device is almost £100 less if purchased in the US and that just feels like too much of a gap.

Well, daughter being the wonderful woman that she’s become could clearly see this problem and came up with what she believed to be a stunningly simple solution. She’s off to Thailand in November for 3 weeks, she’ll bring me one back from there. Awww. Bless her heart.

I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful family. I hope they realise it.

I couldn’t tell her they’re still not available there yet and that grey market prices for them (at MBK in Bangkok) are about 20,500 Baht (£425) for a 16Gb WiFi – So the same as the UK then. They’re $499 (£325) in the US. Maybe they’ll be genuinely available by the time she goes and the price might be more attractive (or my will power will have disintegrated completely and I’ll pay the extra)

This post originally appeared here:

Finally the news is out there and good old Mr Jobs has announced the successor to Apple TV in the form of iTV.  Apple held one of their now legendary press conferences in the YBCA Theatre, San Francisco, California at 6pm UK (10am local) time with a whole bunch of new product announcements and for the first time the video of it was streamed live across the internet to apple devices. I experienced crystal clear video and no lag, most definitely NOT like watching YouTube. All very apt given the content of the presentation. In particular and of great interest to me is the future of Apple TV.

I’ve been an Apple TV user for around 3 and half years now and I love it. It streams media from my iTunes library wirelessly into my living room onto my HD TV. I get full 5.1 surround audio and an HD picture (assuming that the source contains both or either of these). It’s a great way to share photos with the family, watch Movies, listen to music and even stream the odd YouTube video. It’s like an iPod for your TV. Awesome.

So here’s a quick list of the new stuff:

  • Some new retail stores in Paris, China (Shang-Hai) and London (Covent Garden) all looking beautiful as usual. They now have 300 stores across 10 countries with around 1million visitors per day.
  • iOS 
    • Now exists on 120 million devices
    • 230,000 new activations per day
    • 6.5 Billion apps downloaded from the app store
    • 200 apps downloaded per second
    • 25,000 iPad apps
    • New release: iOS 4.1 free upgrade next week
      • Bug Fixes
      • High Dynamic Range Photos (Improved Photos)
      • HD Video over wiFi
      • TV Show rentals
      • Game Centre (Multiplayer Games) 
        • Epic Games release: “Project Sword” (which looks amazing on a phone!!!)
    • iOS 4.2 in November for iPad will a be free upgrade
      • All the Multitasking/Folders & current 4.01 features
      • Wireless printing (via Print Center)
      • AirPlay is the new name for AirTunes
  • iPods
    • 275 million iPods have now been sold
    • Every model redesigned
      • Shuffle: has buttons again, Playlists ($49)
      • Nano: has multi-touch display, FM radio, 24hour battery life, no click wheel (8Gb $149, 16Gb $179)
      • Touch: Even thinner! Retina Display, A4 Chip, Gyro, FaceTime & HD Video (front & rear cameras), 40hours playback time (8Gb $229, 32Gb $299, 64Gb $399)
    • All shipping next week
  • iTunes
    • 11.7 Billion Songs downloaded, 450 million TV episode, 100 million Movies, 35 million books, 160 million users with valid accounts
    • iTunes 10
      • New Logo (Ditched the CD)
      • Clearer views
      • New music discovery system “PING”
        • Social network for music built into iTunes
        • Follow Artists/friends 
        • See what they’re listening to
        • See which concerts they’re performing at/going to
        • Top 10 Chart based on the people you follow
        • Post your thoughts & opinions
        • Emphasis on privacy
        • It’s open and available today: Get it here iTunes 10
  • One more thing….Apple TV
    • Users love apple TV (I do, that’s a fact!). They want professional movies & TV shows, everything in HD, low prices, not a computer, not having to manage storage, not syncing (too complex), silent, cool and small.  That’s the requirement.
      • Apple TV 2.0 is a quarter of the size. Palm sized black box. Power, HDMI, Optical Audio, Ethernet and 802.11n WiFi.
      • New Aluminium remote
      • Movies, TV & Music
      • No Purchases – all rental
      • No Storage any longer – all streamed
      • New Movie rentals $4.99 the day they’re released on DVD
      • HD TV Show rental: 99 cents (ABC & FOX to start with)
      • Netflix streaming if you’re a subscriber ($8.99/Month)
      • YouTube, Flickr Photos, Video & Photos from MobileMe
      • Airplay – allows you to send video or music from your iOS device straight to apple TV with a single click.
      • $99 available in 4 weeks time.

So now we have something new to look forward to and at a fab price. A mere $99 (£65). Of course we all know of old that what this actually means is when it’s available in the UK (3 months after the US) it will actually cost us £99 or $152 (almost double) thanks to the ridiculous import duty and taxes that we pay in the UK. The problem for me though, is that as an avid user of Apple TV already, I won’t be able to resist and I’m likely to be quite near the front of the queue come release day.

It also includes Netflix.  You may not be aware of it if you’re a european reader, but Netflix is an online streaming service for movie rental. Today, it’s only available in the US and Canada, but I have made noises at them in the past about a UK/EU service with fairly positive results.  I’m not on the alpha program yet, but I am on the list. Watch this space.

And where apple go, everyone else is sure to follow. So you can expect to see online streaming services appearing from every nook and cranny available, including: beefed up services from Amazon, Sony and a more defined service from Hulu (if it makes it across the pond)

To flash or not to flash that is the question.

Having read & watched this Dan Simmons piece about Andriod 2.2 on the HTC Desire and how it runs adobe flash, and I find myself considering jailbreaking my iPhone 4 just so that I can run flash too. I say, so that I can run flash, but actually even then I can’t run the real live 100% cosher Adobe version of flash.

So what’s going on and how are us mere mortals supposed to understand the pluses and minuses ?

Well, flash (in the form we’re used to seeing) is a browser plugin that allows your web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, A.N.Other) to play animations and certain videos. For example in the UK the BBC uses the flash plugin to play it’s video content. What this means for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch is that you simply can’t watch flash video on these devices, because Apple won’t allow the flash plugin on the mobile version of safari.  Apple have published their thoughts on flash for all the world to see and it explains why Apple don’t allow it, but here’s the conclusion that Steve Jobs draws from his article.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Not to be outdone or put down by this, Adobe wrote their own reply, entitled Freedom of Choice, and the shorthand summary:

We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web — the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.

I’m actually with Mr Jobs on this one. HTML5 does a great job without the power hungry flash hassle and extortionate fee’s involved for developers (The cheapest version “Flash Builder Standard” costs £163, “Flash Builder Premium” is £466, while “Flash Pro CS5” costs £653), but – and it’s quite a big but – HTML5 is in it’s infancy still. Most developers have not adopted it yet and so we still have a distance to go before it’s a prevalent as flash is today.  I’m pretty sure that will still happen, but it’s no instant fix.

In the meantime this means all the iApple device hackers are in their element trying to find new and interesting ways to make your iDevice play flash. Fun times.  Basically once you’ve applied a jailbreak to your device you can install all the stuff that Apple would rather you didn’t.

Until recently the act of jail-breaking was illegal in the US, but there’s been a change in the law and that means you can jailbreak without fear of reprisal. However, Apple still insist that jail-breaking invalidates your warranty – although this pre-supposes that they know you’ve done it, because it’s just as easy to reverse the process should you ever want to.

How do you it then? Turns out it’s really easy to Jailbreak the handset unless you’ve installed today’s firmware upgrade. You see, this is how it goes with Apple and the Dev team. These guys spend their lives in mortal combat of iOS security. It’s great fun for us to watch. Every time the Dev team find a way around the Apple security, apple release a patch to block it, and the Dev team start searching for another way in. Todays update (iOS 4.0.2) has locked it all up again, but you can expect the dev team to have that sorted today or tomorrow probably.

So, that’s the decision made for me. I’ll just hang on until next time round I guess. If you haven’t upgraded (from 4.0.1) and you still want to jailbreak, simply visit this site in the iPhone safari browser: and from here you simply follow the instructions.

Once you’re jailbroken, then you use the Cydia app (installed as part of the jailbreak) to install “Frash”. Navigate to Cydia on your Home screen, then tap on “Manage –> Sources”, then tap “Edit” followed by “Add”. Type then tap “Add Source”. Finally search in this source for “Frash” and install from there.


Friday was as Friday is. Work, work, work, although I think I’m finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. One largest piece left and just pick up a new smallish one. Of course the one’s I’ve done will be nothing but trouble for a while. We have all these processes to make things run smoothly and they never (and I do mean never) ever do. Such is the way of Starfleet. Swan like to our customers.

On the plus side, a good colleague (I’d say friend but we, as yet, have not had the oppertunity to socialise outside of Starfleet). Is that what makes a colleague a friend?? – you know I don’t think it is. So as I was saying before I so rudely interupted myself – a good friend of mine at Starfleet has suggested he knows of someone who may be a source of reasonably priced (ie: US priced) iPads. I think we know where this is going. Mrs G’s laptop may very well be appearing on eBay in the coming weeks. Time will tell.

Now Saturday has arrived and the kids will be back this afternoon. Mrs G and I are going to take a walk to the city to do a few ‘bits & bobs’. I’ve persuaded (well told) her that an iPhone 4 will solve her phone rage. Scobi intrigued me with his tale of an Android he’s bought for Mrs Scobi, but as we’re an Apple household now (barring Mrs G’s and Daughters laptops) the choice is as clear as a retina display (see what I did there?). So a visit to the O2 shop is in order. I’ve pre registered for micro-Sims, but I want to talk to them about the recycle option, and most importantly the cashback which I’ll be wanting to offset against buying out the remaining contract. I don’t think I can officially pre-order until next week though.

There’s also father’s day just around the corner. Mater G has suggested Pater G would like gardening vouchers – which Sister G has agreed to. This is all fine and dandy but I’ve also caught sight of something in waterstones that may be of interest to him, so it’s an excuse to peruse the book shop (not that we need one).

I have it on good authority that there’s a fairly interesting football march on today. Something to do with little stars on football shirts. What is all that about? Oh yes….
I absolutely refuse to have flags on the car – because it really does make you look like a d1ckhead, but I will wear the shirt….

Oh dear…. What am I doing?

So the day is almost upon us in Europe when Mr Jobs (Mr Big Jobs as Microsoft enthusers refer to him) unleashes his latest pet gizmo – namely the Apple iPad. As a result the tech press are fawning all over themselves in a desparate attempt to bask in some reflected glory that they percieve exists. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a converted apple man to the core (First rule of comedy: Be Funny – Ed) but people do get ever-so slightly carried away with the crowd sometimes.

This sort of behaviour reminds me of that line from “Jurrasic Park” where Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) says: “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should”. In a sort of ‘follow-the-heard’ kinda way. At this point of my rambling I could easily have a Squirrel moment and start telling you about my social anthropological theorums that I’ve developed and enhanced over the years as a result of firstly, studying sociology and secondly, studying people – but I won’t.

Ahhhh. Don’t think anyone noticed that particular Squirrel. Where was I?? (Get on with it – Ed) Ah yes, iPads….

No, not the Michael Jackson eye pad, which really is very disturbing. I would never want to wake up to Mrs G (or in point of fact anyone) who looked like that!! No, not those… I’m referring to the Apple iPad, due for release in the UK tomorrow (Friday). The apple stores are all going to open early in the hope that hundreds if not tens of people will que up and buy one. Until I get my hands on one I remain unconvinced. But I am leaning in that direction. The reason being, that Mrs G’s laptop (which runs Vista) is horrendous. When I consider that all she really wants to do is check her email & facebook and do the occasional bit of surfing…. why have the agony of Vista in the middle ?? This is what’s driving me to buy her an iPad. Not the marketing, or the schpiel, just the fact that you press a button, you’re on and it works…..

Anyone got any suggestions as to why this is a bad idea? Let’s here them in the comments please…

Monday’s don’t get any easier do they?

Mrs G has a particularly tough start to the day today, because on this particular Monday she starts her new job. On the surface she didn’t appear too terrified, but I think underneath she was pretty nervous about it. Of course she’ll be fine and no doubt will have plenty to say on the subject when she gets home tonight.

Apple have announced the release date in the UK for the iPad. WooHoo… but before you get too carried away (if you’re that way inclined) the price is not what I would call appealing. In the US the most expensive model (The 32Gb 3G version) is $829, that converts to £553 in the UK. The UK price though for the same model is £699 ($1047 if you wanted to know). £150 in import duty??!!!??! For crying out loud. Someone is seriously taking the pish! These prices are all tweakable though, with Tax/VAT being applied differently in the US, but regardless it still feels wrong. Obviously I need a trip the states if I’m serious about getting one – although actually I think I might wait for the next version which is almost certain to have a front facing camera if the rumours about the iPhone 4 are to be believed.

More Tech chat now. TimesOnline which it has to be said has been a quality website so far and a very interesting point of reference (even if it is owned by Mr Burns) has come out in favour of a Linux Distro in the shape of Ubuntu. They cite, faster setup and the fact that it just works as two of the reasons for going this way, which bizarrely are two of the reasons I now follow the way of the Mac. So that’s now added a new job to my non-starfleet todo list, namely the downloading of Ubuntu and setup on a virtual machine…. when I get five minutes…. so expect something on this by the end of the year.

I’ve been reading of late, how bad the terms and conditions of Facebook are. Now while I have a Facebook account, I really don’t use it much anymore. Until last week I had my twitter account tied into my facebook status, but I was getting so prolific in my twitter postings (brought on by the ingenious mess that was #ge2010) that my Facebook status was just becoming annoying to anyone I was friends with on there. So I’ve disconnected the link for the time being, but might bring it back if I can find a more satisfactory way of maintaining it and not bombarding the innocent with the utterly trivial. (At least with this poxy blog the reader can choose not to read it -Ed). But what of the Facebook Ts&Cs ? There’s an interesting article here which makes me want to switch off my Facebook presence, but there’s definitely a gap in the market with what to replace it with….. hmmmm… Google have had a pop with Buzz and Wave, but they’re no Facebook and neither is it twitter, or IMVU, or Plaxo. Perhaps Facebook has just had it’s run and much like Bebo will be consigned to the “What on earth was all that about” pile, but clearly it will leave a vacuum…. I think something is brewing or the conversation would never of started.

Movie news: The Wizard of Oz was one of those weekend movies that I caught yesterday. It is a classic, but I’ve seen it so many times (what with it being on every Christmas for 10 years when I was a kid) that I do loose interest in it a bit. That said, it still has some classic lines “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!”, and the special effects really stand up well for a film that was made over 70 years ago. I was completely terrified of flying monkeys as a child (and you see so many of them about… Duh -Ed)

The other one is Ghandi which is the Biopic to end all Biopic’s. It comes in at just over 3 hours long which is a hell of a long time to stay sat in one position, but it’s a gripping enough story that it’s nothing like as painful as one might think. Of course the content is a very worthy one and if you’re not familiar with the man’s life story, you absolutely should watch this movie for such a superb rendition of it. Not only that, but the movie itself won 9 academy awards (No doubt thanks to everyone’s favourite uncle and dinosaur collector, Sir Richard Attenbourogh) and while the academy don’t always get it right, this one ticks all the boxes. Ben Kingsley is completely believable in it, so much so that it’s hard to get your head around the fact that he played such an opposing character in Sexy Beast – which has to be seen to be believed!.

Well, that’s it for now – back to my Starfleet responsibilities…. Oh yeah… 10 minute phone calls?? 10 minutes my arse!! beam me up Scotty!!

Complete lack of Scobi Wan yesterday. I suspect he’s hiding out in his new department.

Finally managed to pick up some new windscreen wipers for the car yesterday. 25 Quid??!! How Much ?? It’s only two windscreen wipers! I swear the last time I bought any they were about £11. What is going on in the world ? In danger of turning into my dad/grand father etc. here. I have to remember that growth continues (and in theory will always continue) in an upward direction which is part of the reason you can’t get penny chews anymore. Well, that and the fact that Woolworth’s has gone bust and such sweets only seem to be sold by the pound now-a-days. Still, it was a bit of a shock. (visual: “Shakes head in despair while staring at the floor” mutters in exasperated tone while sighing: “Twenty five quid, sheeesh”)

A relaxing evening in front of the telly brings me to the subject of the peak time televisual experience in the UK. Let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a mess.

“Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover. ~Homer Simpson” He says it like it is.

There are pinpoints of light that shine through the schedules and provide what it says on the tin (ed. Philips ??) ie: Informative and entertaining programming, but they are few and far between. Generally I don’t watch a great deal of TV, it tends to be BBC News 24 (I’m my mother’s son, she being a newshound), Sky News or some useful documentary, but I do like a decent comedy or drama or a comedy/drama. Of course Movies are a passion, so that’s what gets the most of my eyeballs, probably.

So what have we got? The One Show on BBC 1. Adrian Chiles is to leave ‘The One Show’. That’s a relief. If ever there was a man who embodies the phrase “Housewives favourite” it is he. Personally I won’t miss him. The show itself though is proper “car-crash TV”. You really don’t want to watch, but it’s difficult to look away – you’re inner curiosity outweighs your ability to change the channel. It has some of the most incredible gear changes ever witnessed on television. They’ll start with something light hearted – like “It’s pancake day! and today we’re making pancakes” and then switch to “The terrible plight of the starving children in earthquake hit Haiti” and then switch to “The number of guile-mots in the outer Hebrides” and wind it up with one of Giles Brandrith’s mini history lessons on something like “Holst’s – The Planets”. It’s a whirlwind of a show that leaves you wondering “What the hell just happened?”. Very odd.

Coronation Street is the only soap that I’ll allow myself to watch – which is handy because Mrs G likes it too. It’s the only one that has laughs in it. The others try, but consistently fail and Eastenders (or “The Eastenders” as Gordon Brown refers to it) is just wall-to-wall shouting at each other – which simply isn’t entertaining. Last night’s two episode’s of “Corrie” didn’t have as many laughs as usual but it did have a very expensive looking car crash caused by Kevin not fixing Tyrone’s brakes. Tyrone had been to a country pub with his wife, Molly (who’s carrying Kevin’s baby unbeknown to Tyrone) so all good drama as long as you don’t take it seriously. If you’re interested (and you’re probably not) the pub featured in last nights Corrie was the Chapel House Inn which gets a rubbish review here, but looked very nice on the telly.

Then there’s The Gadget Show on Channel 5. I really like this – unsurprising really as I’m such a geek, and the bit I caught last night featured the inevitable iPad review. It also has the gorgeous Suzi Perry – which is reason enough to watch it.

Now, 9pm – which in my book is proper peak time telly had the following on the main channels. BBC1: New Tricks (Old age pensioners fighting crime – it’s actually a vehicle for some of our best loved old actors to be seen on prime time). BBC2: Out of the frying pan (Two blokes running dinner parties for so called celebrities). ITV1: Jo Lumley up the Nile (nuff said). Channel 4: Blitz street (Tony Robinson blows up a 1940’s style street of houses in the name of history? a bit interesting actually and I did watch 15 minutes or so) and finally Channel5: Flash forward (American TV drama over a bazzillion episodes, so if you’ve missed a couple you’ve had it.) Is that the best terrestrial TV has to offer ?? Tosh. Early night it is then.

Not looking forward to Thursday – starting to feel uncomfortable already.

Daughter off to Thorpe Park in the sunshine with her mates today. When she’s not learning to be a police-person, she and a bunch of other girls work in a local hostelry (well a carvery actually) which is being refitted. This means they’re effectively all on holiday, so they’re off to try and scare themselves stupid and get wet in the process. Can’t blame them – it’s a beautiful day for it.

Finally – this morning’s news….. Volcano Flight Chaos still. I hear the Icelandic banks final wishes were to have their ashes spread across europe. 🙂 Banking reform!! Fix the old Casino banking system. Start Lending money, Bank Directors responsible for banks – not government, Regional Stock Exchanges, Get rid of Goldman Sachs as Government advisors – That’s an interesting bunch of ideas – I like them….. It’s no use, it looks like I’m becoming a Liberal Democrat. I agree with Nick…. and Vince! D’oh!