Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Well, now...

My new upgrade phone arrived a couple of hours ago - by Parcel Force, no less. Those who know me well, will have heard me turn the air blue (and many other colours besides) when muttering about their shortcomings in delivering - or rather, not delivering - stuff to me. To keep it polite, let's just say that we've had issues, Parcel Force and I.

All this appears to be changing, though. Including the last delivery - I wasn't home so, rather than take the items (presents for someone) back to the depot, the driver stuck a note through the door, telling me to collect the items from the local sub-post office - which was nice, as their local depot is over ten miles from here. I was very pleasantly surprised at that, but didn't expect it to be more than a one-off occurance.

This time, their lad actually not only found the place (even the local Pizza Delivery places occasionally have CRAFT moments, as there are two roads with the same name as mine within a mile of here!), he hit the buzzer and delivered properly - unlike a fair few of his colleagues in the past - so maybe, just maybe, PF are getting grip after all. We shall see.

Oh yeah, the new phone? Impressively solid, with a truly massive screen compared to my last phone, swift in doing what I've tried to do on it, and - lo and behold - all i had to do was enter my gmail account details and the phone did the rest, importing my contacts, mail, and calender. VERY nice. I didn't even have to enter the settings for Vodafone, they were already in there!

Next up, get to grips with Android, and get a couple of accessories, like a rubberised armour case, a screen protector film, and a belt pouch. I can do that over the next couple of days easily nough, anyhow.

What I have seen of its capabilities, though, has been very impressive, and thus far, I'm very satisfied - heck, it even came with an 8 Gig MicroSD card installed!

Can't say much better than that, can you?

Oh yeah. CRAFT? It means "Can't Remember A Flaming Thing". Well, close enough to that as makes no real difference, anyhow. Blame my Old man for that one. I was drinking a pint when he told me. Guess where it landed up, aerosol-like *grin*

Monday, 24 October 2011

It's official. I really, truly, and whole-heartedly...

... hate having a cold.

My entire body above the waist, less arms, neck, and head, ache through repeated coughing and sneezing. My nose is regularly blocked, and kleenex and (would you believe it, they make Soothers) Cadburys need to really start better marketting of their stock, as I'm going through their products like a hot knife through butter (there's a much more appropriate simile involving wildfowl, but it's not at all polite, so use yer imagination).

Anyhow, I phoned Mobile Phones Direct today, in a rare few moments of light coughing (as opposed to rafter-raising sneezing and industrial strength coughing), and explained that I'd like to upgarde to either the HTC Sensation or the Galaxy S II. And once again, it seems that the deals I saw online related to new contracts, not existing upgrades.

Oh deep blue-language joy.


If I was willing to go for the Sensation rather than the Galaxy, then I could have it on a two year contract for the same cost as my existing (roughly 31 quid a month) contract, and without having to change my mobile number. Oooo. My ears perked up. In between coughing fits, of course.

While I did the maths on this, I looked over the specs on both phones again. About the only thing, materially, that I'd loose out on, would be USB-On-The-Go, a way of plugging conventional USB devices, such as external hard drives, memory sticks, and such like, into the phone directly, rather than via another computer when monted on that, as a throughput device. I'm not sure I've worded that correctly, but I think you get the gist.

Honestly, it's something that would be nice, but which isn't, really, an urgently must-have thing. Yeah, it'd be nice to be able to plug an external USB keyboard into the phone, and be able to type quickly and accurately, without having to visually check that my finges were in the right place for every key, but I'm sure there are hardware add-ones - such as wireless keyboards via bluetooth - that I can get and use, should I feel the need to use an external, rather than the built-in firmware/software keys that the phone comes with, so the lack of this USB thing isn't a deal-breaker by any stretch of the imagination. Besides which, it's an optional extra requiring a plug-in accessory from Samsung, so it's not something that comes with the phone, after all.

The other thing is the smaller Storage and RAM on the HTC Sensation. That gave me brief pause, until I realised that really and truly, I could use a microSD card in the phone, and still have 16 gigs of storage (already have one, just needs a major reformat). And storage  cards are currently really cheap, compared to what they were priced at two years ago, so again, who'm I kidding? Yes, onboard storage would be nice, but it's really that essential, as long as there's the avilability of card storage. As to RAM, the Galaxy has 1 Gig, the Sensation 768 Megs (about three quartes of a gig). Is it that much of a difference? For high-end mobile applications (I mean software packages, bit my tongue, lol), yeah, it could be, but will I be using them? Let's be realistic: Probably not. So again, it makes little difference.

One thing that MAY make a difference, though, is the almost instant photo capture processing on the Sensation, which should enable faster photographing speeds - and that IS an important feature for me, as I take photos for this blog, and having the capacity to take fast photos is a useful one.

As to the battery life of the Sensation. I already have a stand-alone emergency recharger for my Touch Pro 2, which uses the standard miniUSB charging plug to recharge the phone, and this can be used on the new phone with no modifications, so that's not a real problem either.

So, on balance, while it'd be nice to have some of the bells and whistles of the Galaxy, the solid features of the Sensation have won (well, that and the price).

So, I've ordered the free upgrade, which should be with me in the next couple of days.

We'll see how I get on with Android over the coming months.

Stay tuned - I mean Soothed ;-)

PS - it took nearly an hour to type this up, mainly as I was back to my industrial coughing and sneezing again.

And the muscles in my chest STILL bloody hurt.

I know Flu's a killer, and important to combat, but here's a hint, bio-medical types - more days of work appear to be lost to the common cold than Flu - can't you come up with an actual CURE for the common cold?


Saturday, 22 October 2011

A Long Weekend...

...and of course, I've come down with a stinker of a cold in the last two days. Just as well I had the 'Flu jab a fortnight ago, if this cold is anything to go by.

*Insert window rattling sneeze and obligatory "YeeeeeeUCH!"*

You see what I mean.

Anyhow, it's given me a chance to go over the on-line mobile phone deals again; you will recall a few months back, I was looking at a couple of phones, the HTC Sensation, and the now prize-awarded Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II (here's the award news: it got 'phone of the year').

Well, there are good deals on both at the moment from my preferred supplier, Mobile Phones Direct, so it appears that waiting a little while has earned me dividends, as all my previous calculations have been blown out of the water (in a rather excellent way) by mobile phones that have even more recently been released, will soon be, or may soon be, onto the market.

So, I have to decide which phone I want. the HTC, or the Samsung.

Decisions, decisions.

On the one hand, there's very little to choose between them; they have practically identical screens - the HTC one seems to score better on resolution, meaning smaller and thus more detailed inconography, text, and so on, on the screen, but with my aging eyes (hells bells, I'm only three years shy of the big Five-Oh, AAARGH!) that's not much of a worry. The HTC seems to promise the ability to take and process to storage rapid photographs, which would be nice for action shots on one's phone, and the resolution appears to be a damn sight better than my current offering (Touch Pro 2 at 3.15mp versus the Sensation and Galaxy both offering 8mp); the list goes on with similar features, or competing features. Read the technical comparison linked to above.

The things that appear to be over and above the other, in favour of the Samsung, would be that it's got Gorilla Glass (that's a toughened screen, more resistent to scratches and impacts), a higher on-board storage and RAM facility, and, the most important feature, a better battery life than the HTC offering; and that's the most important factor, when all is said and done. Yes, I want the features, yes, I want a smartphone that'll run Android, to replace my now aging and slightly faulty HTC Touch Pro 2 (which runs Windows Mobile 6.1) that's done me stirling service over the last two years, but if it's one thing I've learned, it's that these darn things are well battery-hungry.

So, it looks like my original choice, the Samsung, stays the same.

So, I'll be on the phone to MPD in the week ahead, to talk more my potentially free upgrade. And the beauty of this? It looks like I can upgrade the phone, AND reduce my monthly bill, from 31 quid a month down to 26 quid a month. OK, it's a two year contract, but it's even cheaper than I'd dared wish for a few months back, so here's hoping!

In the mean time, wrap up warm, and don't catch a cold. This seasons offerings are a real pain, as I can truly attest to, as I've been coughing and sneezing like a champion while I've been writing this.

So, I'm off to do my on-line Lotto lines, and then I'll relax for the rest of the day.

God knows I deserve a rest after doing a week of up-before-the-crack-of-sparrows-breaking-wind shifts!

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Idiots, Screaming Kids... And Oh Yeah...

It's Saturday. Normally, this means that a shift at work is going to be overly hard work, with short turn-round times, loads of traffic, and short meal reliefs...

Imagine my vast relief when I found out it was to be a short shift, two rounds only, with close to an hour meal relief!

Unfortunately, the feeling was not to last long.

First trip...

For practically half the trip, I had the Screaming Brat From Hell on the bus. Not even two years old, and probably already the less-than-proud owner of a noise abatement order, her lungs could likely as not have out-blown the brass section of the London Symphony Orchestra. And she was on my bus. My ears are still ringing, hours later as I write this on the way home. Or was that the bus stop bell?

Second trip...

It's normally Sundays when white van man makes even amateurs look talented. Not this one, though. This git was on the other side of the road, and pulled right in front of me, across my front, causing to have to stand on the anchors, lean on the horn, and hope like heck that I could stop in time. The cussing of the punters on the bus attested to how close a shave it was, and on of my safety razor blades *might* have fitted in the gap once I managed to stop. How I didn't broadside the twat is a matter of discussion for my now somewhat paler passengers. And no, he never indicated, said sorry, or even acknowledged my being there, he just carried on regardless into the loading bay alley he was aiming for, the bastard. Unfortunately, I never got his vans registration number, or I'd number and shame him here.

At this point, it was my meal relief time, and much needed it was, too. Amazing how a bit of food tends to help you unwind for a short while...

Trip three...

This time, it was a minicab driver, and I DID get his number. AD08CVW, you are a bloody dangerous ****wit of the worst order, having overtaken me in the face of oncoming traffic.

Again, I was forced to brake hard to avoid being forced off the road by this miserable excuse for a motorist. I have no idea what my passengers thought of this gormless pea-brained halfwit, but I know what I thought, and as it's rather vulgar, I won't repeat it here!

Trip four...

Literally right out of the gate, trip four almost didn't happen.

I'd served the first bus stop - at the western end bus stand - and, having waited patiently for a gap, pulled out, to find that a car, parked just after the stand, had the same idea, but without the right turn indicator being used - who then slammed on her anchors at the pelican light ten yards later which was showing green.

I was still accellerating - thankfully gently - when this git stopped.

An accellerating bus doesn't like stopping suddenly. It tends to confuse the ZF model automatic gearbox, which is still in 'lets get moving' mode. Consequently, hard braking at this juncture is pretty messy, to say the least. It's abrupt, not at all smooth, and bloody uncomfortable. And that's just for the bus driver, who has, at least, got the steering wheel to brace himself against.

The passengers are nowhere near as lucky, and tend to impersonate nodding donkeys, and try headbutting the back of the seats in front of them. The air was definately blue, and not just from my comments. I wasn't able to get the registration number - I was a bit too peed off with the female wotsit to grab my pen and paper, but I'm sure she knew I was a tad frustrated, as the horn on the bus was, for a change, rather a loud one, and I leant on it for a rather long time - this in addition to my and my passengers comments, and I feel sure she knew that she screwed up. Of course, like almost all amateur motorists, she didn't acknowledge either that she'd messed up, or even our very close presence behind her. she merely pootled off to the roundabout the other end of the road, went round it, and came down the road the other way, studiously ignoring everything around her. Typical, that.

So, a usual weekend shift, then.

Thank whatever you might beleive in, that it's my day off tommorrow.

I damn well need it!