Buy my stuff!

Posted by Chris Green on Thursday January 24 @ 5:23 pm

iPod 60GB

I’m having a bit of an iPod clear-out, having realised that I own more iPods than I could possibly make use of.

The stuff is listed on eBay, and all proceeds will be used to buy shiny new Apple items, such as a 160GB iPod Classic, and if there’s anything left over, a second composite video cable and power adapter for it.

Everything has been looked after, in most cases you’d struggle to tell it has been used at all as I keep all my iPods in cases as I am paranoid about scratching them.

And before anyone asks – I am not selling the engraved Nano I was given just before Christmas – as the guys in the office will confirm, I’m keeping that and use it every day!

Macworld Keynote in 60 seconds

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday January 16 @ 5:52 pm

The Steve Jobs keynote, edited down to a 60 second video. From Mahalo Daily

read more | digg story

Live blogging the Steve Jobs keynote

Posted by Chris Green on Monday January 14 @ 8:21 pm

Assuming the technology doesn’t let us down, IT PRO (more precisely – me) will be live blogging the Steve Jobs keynote.

I’ll be using CoverItLive for this particular challenge, which will also be a first, so fingers crossed.

Assuming we can get a working 3G signal and the CoverItLive platform doesn’t let us down, you’ll be able to read the important details as they happen on the IT PRO web site.

All hail the new IT PRO fridge

Posted by Chris Green on Sunday January 13 @ 10:52 pm

After the little red IT PRO fridge went haywire earlier in the week I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement, as well as using the opportunity to upgrade to something bigger and better.

Sadly my shameless attempt to encourage a PR company representing a drinks brand or something similar to donate one to the cause has not proved fruitful, but all is not lost, as I bought exactly the one I wanted (see the image below – it even has the Stella branding, but we can live with that), brand new, from a eBay seller for a bargain price.

Beer Fridge

It’s currently sat in my hallway and will be transported to the office later in the week, on whichever day I can book a parking space in the car park.

The IT PRO fridge is dead!

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday January 9 @ 2:10 pm

Dead IT PRO beer fridge

Today is a sad day in the IT PRO offices. Our beloved drinks fridge has officially died after two years of faithful service.

We realised all was not well when we opened the fridge to retrieve a packet of butter for the morning toast round, only to discover that during the night it had malfunctioned and switched from “Cool” to “Hot”, and with it boiled several cans of Coke and a brand new pack of Flora. The tub of marg was given a hero’s burial in the kitchen bin.

So, in short, we need a new drinks fridge. As you can see, the current one is only small (holds about half a dozen cans), and isn’t really up to the task of keeping the growing team of a busy IT magazine full of chilled sugar and caffeine. Ideally, we would kill for something like this:

Beer Fridge

Obviously it doesn’t have to be a Stella-branded one. We are not fussed what branding is on it 🙂

Yes, I know this is a shameless blag attempt, but it is worth asking before we have to resort to finding a cheap one on eBay. In return we can offer as many IT PRO 2008 monitor calendars as you want, plus any other Dennis promotional stuff that we can find. OK, not like-for-like, but its better than nothing.

CES analysis on CNBC

Posted by Chris Green on Monday January 7 @ 3:42 pm


CES 2008 is up and running in Las Vegas. IT PRO has an army of journalists on the ground covering the event for us, but not me, partly becasue I’ve been recovering from a bout of norovirus since New Years Day, but also as I have so much going on n the office that needs my time.

It does mean I’ve been around to do some analysis on the news coming out of the show, or in the case of the Bill Gates keynote, the lack of it. Bit of a shame, would have liked and expected to see Gates use the opportunity to say or show something of consequence. An opportunity squandered.

Anyway – CNBC, video is up, click here or on the image to watch it.

The fantastic Skypephone

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday January 2 @ 2:25 am

3 Skypephone

For the last month, I’ve been playing with the 3 Skypephone and in that time I’ve given it a pretty serious amount of use. I’d go as far as saying it has had the most severe real world user test I’ve ever given a phone, mainly because I’ve enjoyed using it so much.

Over the last month I’ve conducted multiple Skype-to-Skype interview calls with people I’ve needed information from for articles I’m writing, I’ve even done two interviews with radio stations using Skype-to-Skye calling as the call audio quality is significantly better than a conventional phone call (previous Skype radio interviews I’ve participated in have involved me using a desktop computer, headphones and a broadcast-quality microphone, so doing the same thing with just the phone and still producing audio good enough for broadcast was just amazing).

I’ve also been having Skype IM conversations with several of the freelance journalists that work for me, using just the keypad of the Skypephone and its predictive text support.

Of course, this phone is more than just a Skype client in your pocket. It is first and foremost a 3G mobile phone, and in that respect it is very good. It’s a dinky little phone, measuring just 100 x 44 x 13.6 mm, while it weighs in at 86 grams (and that includes the battery), so as well as being the smallest 3G phone I’ve used to date, it is also by far the lightest. Mobile phone call quality is spot-on on both 3G and 2G networks, while the keypad is nice and tactile, with a raised centre line through each key and solid feedback when you press a button. Even with big fingers, you will struggle to press the wrong button or mash multiple keys. I’d say the keypad is the perfect size, while the keys are an ideal shape to suit small and big fingers alike. Side buttons control camera access and volume, while a large button in the centre of the directional controller opens the Skype client.

There’s a two megapixel camera on the back – no flash, but there is a mirror for doing self-portrait shots – and picture quality is excellent, better than the two megapixel camera on the iPhone.

Under the bonnet (the battery latch is held firmly in place using a magnet) is a 3.7v 1150 mAh battery, which is more than enough to drive the phone for days at a time, even when logged into Skype for the entire time. 3 quotes standby time at 320 hours, I’d put it at about 72 hours if logged into Skype for the duration – that’s a good figure. Talk time is put at 270 minutes, which I found to be about right. 3 also quotes video talk time of 170 minutes which is confusing as there is no front-facing camera on the Skypephone for video calling?

Feature-wise the phone is heavily equipped, a big shock considering the low price. No HSDPA, only standard UMTS data support, but the phone has built-in Bluetooth and can be used as a data modem, it has T9 predictive text support, uses the Brew application platform which allows for some pretty decent third-party apps and games to run on it. It uses a standard mini-USB socket for charging and PC connection, while concealed under the battery is a 256MB MicroSD card (I’ve successfully used a 2GB one in the phone) for holding photos and MP3 files, which can be played via the phone’s audio player. Headphones with hands free are included in the box and audio quality from the phone is very good indeed. The Skypephone also supports the Bluetooth stereo headset profile. I’ve been using the phone with my Motorola Bluetooth stereo headphones.

The phone comes with a USB cable for transferring material between handset and a computer, and the sync software provided isn’t bad at all. It’s not iTunes, but it is significantly better than the apps bundled with most Nokia and Motorola phones.

The built-in software and support doesn’t stop there. As well as the media player (which handles audio and video) and Skype client there is a Microsoft Messenger IM client, YouTube player, support for eBay, streaming TV (but not Slingbox as yet) and some games to get you going. I really wish it had a Slingbox client, seeing as it handles the other streaming TV services 3 offers so well, and even plays YouTube content well.

While the phone’s home screen looks pretty bland and basic, with no graphics and system fonts showing the network, time and date, once you move into any of the menus or applications you are presented with really nicely-styled user interfaces and menu screens. The hardware design is pretty sharp as well, with the phone available in black, or in white with a choice of light blue or pink edges. I’ve got the black one. If there was an all-white one (no blue or pink bits) I’d have gone for the white to match my iPod.

Looking specifically at the Skype client and there is a lot of similarity with the basics of the desktop Skype client, which is fantastic. It also works so much better than the Skype client does on the Nokia N73 I reviewed last year from 3, which formed part of the X-Series mobile internet bundle. The N73 Symbian client had, and still has, severe problems with connectivity, is slow and frequently fails to send IM messages. In contrast, the Skype client on the Skypephone has been faultless, sending and receiving IMs, as well as initiating and receiving Skype-to-Skype calls flawlessly.

There are some limitations – not with the phone but with 3’s Skype support. SkypeIn calls are not supported, so if like me you have one or more SkypeIn numbers, callers will either be dumped to voicemail or will ring through to any PCs you have logged in at the same time, rather than making the Skypephone ring. It is no surprise that you can’t make SkypeOut calls – after all where would 3 make its money if you could. If you dial out to a conventional number, then the call goes out as a conventional mobile phone call and is charged to your 3 bill or pay-as-you-go balance accordingly. Only Skype-to-Skype voice calls go via Skype.

In all, I think this phone is utterly brilliant, so much so that I recommended it to several people looking to buy Christmas presents for people (at £49 each or two for £89 on pay-as-you-go, the price is cheaper than most lesser phones) and even bought a pair for two friends.

If you have any money left now that Christmas is out of the way, go and buy one. On any of 3’s contracts, the phone hardware is free, or you can get it on pay-as-you-go and top-up with a minimum of £10 a month to keep the Skype service enabled.

The pay-as-you-go credit that my review unit was loaded with has now expired. Will I be reloading it with some more – absolutely. Do I want to give the phone back – absolutely not. Will I continue to use the Skypephone – definitely.

New Year Resolutions

Posted by Chris Green on Tuesday January 1 @ 10:49 pm

This year I’ve decided to split things into two posts – one for here and one for my IT PRO blog. For the personal blog I’m doing my resolutions, for the work blog I’ll be doing my technology predictions for 2008.

I should add at this stage that I am hopeless at sticking to such resolutions, but it remains important to at least try. You never know, this might be the year that one sticks!

Chris Green’s 2008 New Year Resolutions

1) Blog more – both my blogs (this one and the IT PRO blog) have been suffering a bit of late. I’m not losing interest in blogging, quite the opposite in fact, it is just a problem with spare time, and not having any. I need to blog here and at IT PRO more than once a week each. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time this year as things continue to settle down at work and hopefully at home. Also, now that we have completed the migration of the IT PRO blogs away from the abysmal system we launched with and onto WordPress, using it will be a lot more practical and pleasant.

2) List stuff on eBay – before anyone gets the wrong idea I’m referring to my own possessions, not anything I’ve ever received as a press gift of review item. I’ve become overloaded with junk again, and I need to do a massive eBay selloff to get some space back in the house. That means getting rid of things like obsolete computer equipment and software I’ve bought and subsequently replaced with other kit (for example I have a pile of CRT monitors I desperately need to get rid of), DVDs I no longer watch, obsolete DVD players and Freeview boxes, plus anything else I’m not using any more that is occupying space and cluttering the house up.

3) Pay down my credit cards – they are way too high and need sorting, sharpish. Item 2 will go some way to helping.

4) Get some exercise – I’ve spent the last 18 months driving a desk and I’m really feeling the worse for it. I have not been travelling to the extent I usually do over the course of a normal year, and believe it or not, all that time usually spent out at conferences, running around airports and generally working in the field does do some good in terms of keeping you healthier than normal (you don’t eat as much, you eat at regular times and you get some upper and lower body exercise from all the walking, running and luggage carrying). I’m not talking about getting back into the insane shape I was in at school and university (it would be nice, but is ultimately unnecessary), but I do need to be more active, and I’ll feel better as a result. That means less time in the car and more walking, getting back to the gym more often, dusting off the golf clubs now and again, and maybe laying off the Coke – maybe!

5) Write more – not just blogs but do more journalism in general, I need to write much more than I did in 2007, more news and especially more features and reviews. I am going to set myself a target of writing at least one review and one feature a month as a minimum, and see where it goes from there.

6) Podcasting – need to do the podcasting more regularly, and start doing some of the video stuff I’ve been threatening to do for a while.

7) Summer Party – For the last three years I’ve been talking about holding a summer bash at the house for family and friends, this year it will actually happen. Now I’ve said that we had better have the weather to make it happen.

8 ) Redecorate the conservatory – it’s a mess, I hate the colour and the roof needs some work to stop it leaking – again. All stuff I need to do this year and the sooner the better so that the conservatory can be used come the summer, as right now it is not somewhere I’d like to be, let alone entertain guests.

Happy New Year

Posted by Chris Green on Tuesday January 1 @ 1:18 pm

New Year’s Eve in Beaconsfield

Originally uploaded by Chris Green.

A quick pic from the New Year’s Eve bash we went to at the Loch Fyne seafood restaurant in Beaconsfield last night.

Have a happy 2008 everyone.

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