Flickr

Posted by Chris Green on Friday August 12 @ 2:48 pm

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Mighty Mouse – the first impressions

Posted by Chris Green on Monday August 8 @ 1:47 pm

Just got back from the Apple Store in Regent Street, where they finally have stock of the new Mighty Mouse.

Have decided not to purchase one at this stage, and instead wait for my review unit to arrive. I did have a few minutes play with one in the shop though, and these are my thoughts:

  • As with the conventional wired and Bluetooth Apple mice, the Mighty Mouse is very high resolution, and as such, even at maximum pointer speed, still needs a very generous arm movement to get it from one side of the screen to the other.
  • The click mechanism is interesting. There is still only a single click movement, the same as the existing Apple mice, with the whole front of the mouse pressing down. However, pressure points on the forward left and right areas of the surface determine whether the click was a left or right button click. This works well, but means you can’t rest your finger on one button while trying to ‘click’ the other button – the mouse gets confused and doesn’t register anything.
  • The USB cable – fine if you don’t want the hassle of buying new batteries every 6 weeks, but apple mice cables are a pain at the best of times.
  • The scroll wheel is an excellent idea. It is easy to control and allows for both horizontal and vertical axis movement. A bigger ball would be a great help though.
  • The price – for what good points it has, the Mighty Mouse simply is not worth £35.

Sorry Apple – it looks like I’ll be sticking with the Logitech Click mouse for a little while longer yet.

So long 35mm – we hardly knew ye!

Posted by Chris Green on Monday August 8 @ 1:13 pm

And so, the end is near, too near in fact for the traditional 35mm film camera. High-street electronics monolith Dixons today announced that it is to stop selling 35mm cameras once it has exhausted existing stocks, on account of their falling sales and increasing popularity, quality and falling cost of digital cameras. The announcement comes just a few months after the company announced it would stop selling VHS video recorders amid falling sales and growing popularity of their digital counterparts.

The Dixons we all know and hate (remember, its parent company DSG has been prosecuted countless times for selling refurbished and customer returned goods as new) started life as Dixons Photographic – a camera shop! Its transformation into the consumer electronics group it now is did not start until 1984, with the acquisition of white goods specialist Currys, and was followed by the launch of PC World, The Link and the acquisition of Byte.

The downturn in 35mm camera sales is not a surprise. Kodak announced last year that it was to stop production of 35mm cameras, and has laid off thousands of staff from its developing business. Most recently, it announced plans to stop making some types of photographic paper due to falling demand. Kodak is still attempting to transform itself into a digital imaging company, and while its digital cameras have enjoued much acclaim, the business is struggling to adapt to this new digital landscape.

And so we have to ask, just how much longer will the film camera survive as a mainstream product. Excluding disposable cameras, which serve a niche unlikely to disappear any time soon, 35mm is the only film camera format still in any form of production. 110 and Disc have long since disappeared, while Polaroid is following Kodak and going digital (sales of its instant cameras continue to slide, and the company has only recently emerged from bankruptcy).

It’s not entirely the end for 35mm cameras at Dixons. The company will continue to stock a small range at its Tax Free airport shops, to cater for tourists and travelling photography professionals.

More on the OpenTech iPod Shuffle shuffle incident

Posted by Chris Green on Friday August 5 @ 12:50 pm

iPod Shuffle - an awkward device in more ways then one

I have to say I am stunned at just how much interest and coverage there has been regarding the iPod Shuffle shuffle incident that took place at OpenTech on Saturday July 23.

In less than two weeks the story really has found its way all around the world, thanks to the blogging community.

A quick scamper around Technorati reveals that pretty much everyone that was in the room has blogged about it in some form, and several have made the connection back to me, if my WordPress Incoming Links box is anything to go by. It is interesting to read some of the third party perceptions of what has happened. Many consist of extremely thought-provoking discussions of the pro’s and con’s of the iPod Shuffle shuffle experiment and plenty have made me chuckle, especially the couple that have pointed out that one person “walked back to their seat with a face like thunder”, and another blog which reported that “one guy was seen out in the lobby mid way through Ewan’s session exploding at one of the organisers about the Shuffle hack”. Yep – both bits refer to me – to say I was less than impressed would be the understatement of the year :)

My view of the experiment as-was remains unchanged – I think it was a bloody stupid idea and was totally irresponsible. However, this is not to say that we cannot learn something from the concept. The theory of experiencing the content and audio choices of other people, as stored on their MP3 players is a solid one, and one that remains very interesting. Nevertheless, a more sensible method would have been to mark everyone’s Shuffle going into the box, to allow for an orderly swap back afterwards, or better still, just encourage people to plug into the MP3 player of the person sitting next to them for a while.

A couple of the blogs I have read on this have suggested that we can learn much about the tastes and creative processes of others by listening to their music and audio choices.

My suggestion for how to achieve this goes something like this: The next time you are on a plane or a train (not a tube or a bus mind, if you do what I am about to suggest on a London tube or bus, you are likely to get stabbed or worse), ask the person sitting next to you if you can plug into their MP3 player for a while (carry a headphone socket doubler to make this easy), and offer them the opportunity to do likewise. Alternatively, in the case of a long flight where you and the person next to you are trapped on the same plane, invite them to swap players with you for a while. In that environment, you can be sure you will get your own one back at the end of the day, hopefully without the need for a row with your fellow passenger.

Apple launches multi-button mouse – Finally!

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday August 3 @ 11:04 pm

Since the launch of the first Macintosh, Apple has talked down the need for a mouse with more than one button. Indeed, Steve jobs has remained vocal on the subject, only recently reinforcing the fact that you only need, and shall always only need one mouse button to use MacOS.

Thankfully, reason has prevailed, most likely faced with the fact that Microsoft, Logitech and others are raking in a fortune from Mac users who crave a Mac-compatible USB mouse. I am one of those people – I currently use a Logitech Click Optical mouse with my Mac Mini, having ditched my single button white Apple mouse.

Apple Mighty Mouse

Introducing – the Apple Mighty Mouse. It’s an interesting device – left and right mouse buttons concealed beneath a single solid shell (they are using pressure sensors apparently to detect the attempted clicks), two side buttons (one either side of the main body) and a minature trackball in place of the now industry-standard wheel. This in theory allows for scrolling and navigation on any axis, beyond what can be achieved with a normal wheel, and allegedly superior to the more recent Microsoft X/Y axis rocking wheel.

Haven’t had a chance to test it yet. While the UK Apple online store is selling the mouse right now and reporting immediate availability, the Regent Street store is not expecting stock until at least this Friday. Will pop back in on Friday to see if they have them in, else I’ll get one and report back. Will also put in a call with Apple’s PR firm in case they can get me one to play with in the meantime.

More delays for the iTunes phone

Posted by Chris Green on Tuesday August 2 @ 8:41 am

It would seem that the on-going story of the Motorola iTunes phone is far from over. After having stated a few weeks back that the long awaited gadget would finally make its debut in the UK at the V music festival as part of a launch on Virgin Mobile, the mobile network has now spoken out to dismiss the claims.

Virgin Mobile has stated that the phone will not be launched at V, that it has not yet scheduled a launch date for the phone, and has even gone as far as to say the phone may never actually appear on its network.

So we are back to square one. We do not know when the thing will launch, which network it will appear on, or even what country it will appear in.

Meanwhile, we wait and see what Apple’s own iPod plans are. Having finally rationalised the line of full-size iPods, it can only be a matter of weeks, if not days, before they announce that the 4GB iPod Mini is history, along with the 512MB Shuffle, and maybe even the 1GB Shuffle, to be replaced with a 2GB Shuffle with a 1 or 2 line display.

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