Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category
My iPad (latest model) arrived today. I have been saving Amazon vouchers from surveys and every bit of cash forever for it.
I have an inexpensive cover for it, because I’m not idiot enough to walk around with a naked expensive device, but I saw this today and melted. Sadly, it’s way out of my budget. Especially now I’ve spent all said budget on iPad and cheap accessories.
If you don’t watch Doctor Who (what kind of freak are you?), you won’t know that River Song, who is very close to the Doctor, keeps a diary. It was given to her by the Doctor, and is leather bound and styled to look like the TARDIS. Joe V. Leather have made a leather iPad cover (also available for various Kindle models) that looks exactly like it. WANT.
Costiness: $94.99 (about £58.82 at the time of writing) from Joe V. Leather
The Xoom is Sindy to iPad’s Barbie – they’re both desirable toys; but the former is slower, clunkier, uglier and doesn’t even have the decency to be properly cheaper. In the ’80s, do-gooder Mums plumped for Sindy to challenge Barbie’s dominance and “shallow” good looks, bigging up her more realistic proportions, but which is the design classic? Sindy was only the best of the Barbie copies, not brilliant in her own right. So it is with the Xoom. One day there may be an iPad killer, or at least an equal. This is not it.
One of my favourite record labels, Wichita, have produced a delightfully non-naff free iPhone app with exclusives and stuff. Marvellous. They’ve also just rush-released the digital version of what I think will be one of my albums of the year, Sky Larkin’s new LP Kaleide. I will be pre-ordering the collectors’ edition of the physical record next week (i.e. when I have a small amount of cash available). Immediate digital download.
You can hear the album now on their website (linked above) to boot. It sounds amazing. Like the first one, only more so. Sky Larkin are one of my favourite bands, which is not an accolade I bandy around lightly. I don’t write about music much on here as I fear the deluge of emails from terrible bands (most bands are terrible) or friends wanting me to write about their projects. Sky Larkin are worth poking my head above the parapet for, I’ve loved them from the earliest demos and they know it. Anjelica Huston is my current top track…
I’ve had my iPhone 3G since the end of March last year. So yeah, I’m a bit behind the times since I’ve not got a 3GS, but I was only able to upgrade to such beauty at all through the power of cashing in my old phone and a bit of Quidco. Hey, it might work out for the best – my contract runs out in October and there’s new software and almost certainly a new model coming in summer…
When it comes to phone accessories, I don’t think I’ve really bothered in the past ten years. When I first got a mobile, in 1998, they didn’t really exist. Then I bought a couple of fun fascias for my first Nokias, and hand decorated a couple…but after that I always got smartphones (7110, several Treos, a couple of Windows Mobile phones – never again, N95…), and never felt the need for more than a plain and easy to use leather case.
With the upgrade to the iPhone came more options. Mostly expensive options. I’d had a couple of radio transmitters with my now sadly deceased iPod 5G, a basic plug in the bottom FM transmitter that drew power from the iPod and ate batteries, and a later model of Griffin iTrip that plugged into the cigarette lighter and charged as well as providing a much better signal from phone to radio. In the car, it was great. It didn’t work with the iPhone. Damn. And the iPhone compatible version? Cost thirty quid even on offer. Too much, more than twice what I’d paid. So I haven’t done more than a case and a headphone upgrade with this, either. I’ve been tempted by a fair few music accessories, but not been convinced by the cost/build quality trade-off. No extras for me.
Until now. MobileFun.co.uk offered to send me one of their iPhone accessories to test. It’s exclusive to them, the Desk Genie Non-Slip Charging Desk Stand, and sadly it’s utter bobbins. £14.99 of bobbins to you.
It’s a stand and charger for your desk, as you might imagine. It comes in a plain white box, with a bag full of adaptors, a few cables and the stand itself. The stand attractively lights up with a gentle blue LED at the bottom when plugged in, and that’s about the only positive thing to say about it. It looks clunky and outdated, the rubber pad that’s supposed to keep your phone in place…doesn’t, and attracts dust and muck like no man’s business (they suggest regularly wiping it, as if that helps and as if you could be bothered). You can’t adjust the angle of the stand so it’s crap for watching video or similar on it on your desk and it’s too bulky and heavy to be worth taking say on a train or plane and using with a seatback table, or propping your phone up in the kitchen to check recipe info. It won’t sync your phone, so you’ve got all this gubbins plugged in just to charge it, it has a pointless card reader built in and the adaptor to make it plug into the iPhone is so badly designed that it doesn’t even fit properly and, worse, feels like it’s doing your phone damage when you try to insert and remove it. None of the other cables fit well. If it worked long-term as a stand, I might at a push just use it as a stand and cable tidy and plug it into the Mac to charge and sync, but since my iPhone kept falling off it and the angle is so awkward…nah. Sorry lovely MobileFun people, it’s rubbish. It tries to do too many things, none of them well, and it’s ugly.
On a more positive note, if you want a cheap and cheerful stand that’s portable, cute and adjustable – try the MoviePeg. It is indeed an ergonomically-designed peg, available in a wide range of colours. Click it onto your iPhone, adjust the angle (yeah, they actually let you) and you’re away. Use it to watch videos on your iPhone from your desk or on the move, prop it up on your desk and use Spotify as a radio, hold your iPhone in position as an alarm clock or to look up recipes, or as a camera tripod… Simple idea, executed brilliantly.
Cost: £4.99 from the MoviePeg website.
Finally, someone linked to the Desk Phone Dock today on Twitter, and it raised a smile.