Archive | June 2010

First base

This post is a day late, mostly as  I was nursing quite a large hangover which meant the creative juices weren’t exactly flowing.

So how has it gone?

So far so good, I managed to get the phone set up play with the gesture tutorial and then I started with Synergy. Big mistake on my part as I had forgotten to sync my contacts to my sim card prior to resetting my iPhone which meant that the ones the Pre now had were at least a year out of date.


For those unfamilar with ‘Synergy’ its Palm ethos that you should be able to sync all of your contacts from a range of different sources(Facebook, Gmail, Sim card etc) which is great in theroy but can lead to frustrations. Namely the fact I have ALL of my Facebook friends on my contacts list, which is fine for me as I’m a big proponent of ‘Friend Culls’ meaning that most of my friends in Facebook are actually people I physically know. The big drawback is that once you’ve added your facebook contacts, you can’t delete them from your contact list without deleting them from facebook first. This is further compounded by the fact that not everyone has their mobile numbers in Facebook (I certainly don’t) which creates a fair number of useless entries that just seek to take up space in your phonebook and you can’r remove.

So the first half hour of the my life with the Pre was spent sorting out the large mess of contacts into one list (lots of clicking, copying pasting and deleting), not the best way to be introduced to the phone.


Afterwards I setup my App Catalog account and put a card onto it, which almost didn’t work because the App Catalog only appears to accept Visa and Mastercard, luckily it seem to accept my Visa Debit card and all was well, I’m getting a feeling that this lack of clarity on certain sections is going to be an every present theme during my time with the Pre. So  now I was all set up and good to go, it was time to get some Apps, now I know the App Catalog is threadbare in comparison to the iPhone and I had indentified that I only really use three core apps (Facebook, Twitter and  Web browsing), all of which are easily available via the Pre (I’ve selected Bad Kitty as my twitter client of choice). I haven’t really spent much time looking at other apps although I may later on today.

I should take a minute to talk about the keyboard, its not great but I’m certainly getting used to it although I’m not nearly as fast as with an iPhone and the  lack of autocorrect is a major oversight by Palm. On a side note its a lot harder to type on when you’re in bed as the slider makes the phone top heavy leading to potential a TKO as you inevitably drop the phone on your forehead.

But this all sounds a bit negative right? There are many things that I love about this phone. I love the feel of the phone in my hand, many reviews have made mention of the polished stone feel of the Pre and I heartily agree, its very satisfying to hold. Another is its beautiful approach to multitasking and the coup de grace, its notification system. Now I can understand if you don’t quite have a passion for smart notifications that I do, but that’s because you may not have been an iPhone user. Let me explain, Palm and Apple have two distinctly different approaches to how they think you should be informed of something happening on your phone. Palm method can be equated to being gently tapped on the shoulder and discretely informed that you have a new text message by popping up a small notification at the bottom of the phone. Apple prefer to use a modal pop up that is akin to being grabbed by the shoulders and  told HEY YOU HAVE A MESSAGE, READ THE MESSAGE, COME ON READ IT NOW!!!!!!!  It will also not release control of the screen until you’ve either read it (closing your existing app and opening the message one) or dismissing it and returning to whatever it was that you were doing. Nothing makes me angrier than crashing during a race just because someone text me and that’s the reason I switched from the iPhone.

So at the end of the first day I’m up and running but apart from the notifications system, I’m not bowled over but that’s not to say I don’t like the phone, far from it. It currently satisfies most of my smartphone requirements, the question is can I find something to keep me here as the iPhone 4 is looming large in my mind.

That’s the mission kids, we’re about  a week and a bit away from the iPhone launch and I’m still tempted but I think I will give the Pre a month to prove itself.

After all the iPhone will always be there.

Action stations

Finally got back from Belfast at 11pm, I treated myself to  2 double cheese burgers, small fries and a small coke at the airport (about a million calories, but I’m going running tonight so it should balance out), 19 hour days on 2 hours sleep are awesome!

Anyhow, moving on.

With yesterdays post about app stores being the ties that bind us to a particular platform I decided to put my money where my mouth is.

As you may know I sold my iPhone 3G a couple of days ago and am now phoneless (save for a work blackberry), my plan was to get this:

With stunning features such as a screen and keypad

As it would do for now and the plan was going really well until I got the o2 shop and they said they wouldn’t sell it without £10 credit, which means the phone becomes £20 and much less tempting. I then played with a couple of phones, including the new Pre Plus and left the store, resolute in my new plan, to not have a phone.

But during yesterdays trip to belfast, it would have been nice not to have to bring out my laptop just to check my email (I know a stunning observation) and a BlackBerry Curve isn’t the greatest phone to use. So I then thought of a third plan: I could get a new smartphone on contract, use it for two weeks and then return it during the cooling off period and get an iPhone, genius eh? Except that the week of the iPhone launch I’m in Blackburn doing training meaning I wouldn’t be able to send the phone back.

Plan four!

I’d just got into bed last night and was at that point where I was so tired that I couldn’t sleep, so out came the hackintosh for some idle surfing.

And lo I surfed high and low, forums, blogs, wiki’s and then inevitably to eBay. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Pre of late, no phone has really captured my ADD attention like it, but they are all too expensive £160-170 (far too much to play around with) and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sell it on for the same price. So I do what anyone would do, I started messaging people on ebay asking them for BIN or if they would reduce their asking price.

I wasn’t expecting any takers at my offer of £120 + pnp but you gotta chance your luck sometimes.

And then, something unexpected happened, I got a bite. I knew it was worth a shot being that the Pre is deffinatly a phone unloved by the masses (but with a solid if tiny hardcore developer community) and with the new iPhone coming people are probably looking to shift handsets quickly but still.

So I’ve got a 2 month old Pre £120, its coming tomorrow and no doubt you think I’m crazy but lets look at the TCO:

LG dumbphone £20 (£10 phone with £10 useless credit as I’m on contract)

Palm Pre £120

Now, on looking at it the Pre is far more expensive but I did get it cheap and I know I can sell it for at least £100 in three weeks time. Making the total cost of ownership (less shipping and app purchases), £20.

And I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty decent price to pay.

What does the 0 stand for

Christ its early, its 7am and I’ve been up for three hours.

That’s not right, that’s not human.

Why am I up so early, because I’m flying over to Belfast for the day to chat about the next stage of the project. I’m very tired, I nearly always sleep like shit when I have to do long distance travel, I think I finally crashed out at 1am last night.

Which is why I’m feeling so stupendously awseome right now. Moving on from my amazing ability to sleepwalk through the airport, I had a chance to play with an iPad.

It’s a lovely bit of kit, as fast as they say it is, not as cheap at the airport as I was hoping though (I expected it to be vat free but it comes out at £416 and I’m far too tired to work out the maths of that). I have no reason yet to get one, but if I spend significant time away from home during the go live in sept I won’t hesitate to buy one.

Well maybe, I need to figure out which is heavy, my hackintosh or an iPad, I think the iPad may just have it beat.

ION this is day one of not having a personal phone, in a fit of desperation I bidded on a Palm Pre last night (unboxed, untested and with no cables), I’d set my max at £80 and I think it went for £95 which is more than I’d want to pay for a  potentially bricked device. I’ve got a big soft spot for the pre, I like the ethos behind the operating system and I’ve always liked Palm. I do want to own a Pre at some point (especially now that you can overclock the phone to 800mhz) but I’ve always held off pulling the trigger. There are two reasons for my reluctance:  I don’t want to enter into a 18 month contract on any phone unless its the best of the best (Palm Pre Plus costs a similar amount over 18 months as the iPhone) and two I feel like a prisoner.

Why? Because I’m trapped by the apps that I’ve bought on my 3G, I can get similar apps for 90% of the ones I use (not a big gamer) but there are two in particular that keep me trapped to the iPhone. Chess with Friends and Run Keeper (Run keeper free is available on Android but doesn’t offer the same functionality as the Pro version on the iPhone). Apart from Twitter, Facebook and Safari those are my default apps.
And sadly the Pre doesn’t offer them, I don’t see that changing anytime soon (even though porting a iPhone app to the Pre is pretty simple apparently.)

Which is why the Pre would only last so long before I would return to Apple.

And that’s a shame, I don’t want to be trapped onto one brand of phone, which is why I think that there should be one app store for mobile devices.

HA HA HA, fat fucking chance of that happening, but one can dream of a phone middleware platform that can run on multuple devices.

Oh wait it exists already, it’s called Java, but it will be a cold day in hell when we’ll see phone makers come together on one App platform.

Shit there calling my flight, gotta go kids

One year on, time to ramble

Today marked the end of an era, well not quite but I shipped my iPhone 3G off to its new owner so as of now I am a phoneless man. I haven’t been without a phone for over 10 years but prior to the iPhone I don’t think that not having a phone would have bothered me too much.

The iPhone is my go to device for everything and probably gets used far more than any other phone I’ve had.

Need to find somewhere, don’t ask someone, just use google maps

Need to find the nearest store, don’t ask someone, just use yelp

Want to catch up with your friends, don’t call them, use facebook

Casual browsing, chess games, keeping track of my runs, sharing it with everyone (regardless if the content is missed among the Digital cacophony), random app purchases.

The list goes on and on and on and on

I think I share too much, perhaps that’s due in part to my work from home job, which by its very nature implies a removal from normal day to day social interaction. By putting so much of myself online I am reestablishing a connection with textual representations of people, even if the connection is tenuous at best.  I’m not complaining, I am grateful for twitter and facebook as it keeps me sane to a small degree but I am interested to see how these next two weeks go by (24th is iPhone 4 launch date), I suspect not much will change as I’m not expected to be away from home for any great length of time.

I am supposed to get the iPhone 4, its the logical choice but I can safely say that no phone out at the moment has that WOW factor, that instant kill, instant sell factor. Perhaps I won’t get it, perhaps I could simply not replace it or get a simple phone. Learn to communicate and search out things without telling anyone remove the digital crutch and find out whether technology is the great empowerer that I believe it is.

I do believe it, I do .

But this is an unusual situation I’ve always had the next phone lined up, like a junkie, ready prepared. Do I really need twitter and Facebook? Probably not, in fact definitely not are they distraction masquerading as aids? Possibly.

Perhaps I’m just going through the 7 stages of grief.  Why? Because the iPhone was my first smart phone and because I’m one of many sad people that ascribe far too much to a digital device.

Screw it, I’m going to find a phone box, can some one text me the……..