Saturday, 2 October 2010

Star Wars on your TomTom

First the big D:

and Master Yoda:

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Robin Hood

I rented Robin Hood last night with a little trepidation.  Whilst I though Gladiator was fantastic, I had seen mixed reviews of this Ridley Scott / Russell Crowe pairing.

This film takes a grittier approach to the Robin Hood legend than some previous ones and certainly has some epic scenes but overall it just failed to capture either the magic or charm of some of the previous outings.

The story concentrates on Robin before he becomes an outlaw, starting with him as an archer in King Richard's army returning from the Crusades.  The initial castle siege is reasonably well done but with some unnecessarily OTT elements (and the start of the fiddling with history - although this has come to be expected in this sort of film).  Crowe goes on to reprise his Marcus Aurelius role (although with less depth).  It moves through some entertaining story development and battles scenes to the climactic battle which was rather a disappointment in my view and then to a rather rushed ending.

It's not difficult to identify some of the main failings of the film:

  • Russell Crowe's accent - whilst this settles down a little later in the movie he can't seem to make up his mind which accent he is doing
  • The landing craft (knight) - I don't dispute that there were landing ships in medieval times but the design of these just jars too badly
  • Maid Marion as Joan of Arc - unnecessary and implausible
  • King John - lacked the appropriate depth and complexity
As you can probably tell this movie was a bit of a disappointment for me and given the material and budget I felt more could have been made from it.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

BlogPress for iPad Experiment

Whilst overall the iPad still continues to impress, there are some niggles. The web browsing experience is good and the extra screen real estate over the iPod Touch makes all the difference - as I had hoped - and avoids all that pinching and zooming; however, there are some sites that just don't behave themselves as expected. Obviously the absence of Flash is one part of this - although I haven't missed the crashing - but there are other issues and Blogger has some of them. The most obvious is that the blog posting page doesn't work properly with the normal text entry box not accepting input - you can only do it via the HTML entry box - and scrolling within the boxes is somewhat challenging. Given that one of my proposed uses for the iPad was write as well as read blogs and that both of my blogs are hosted on Blogger, this presents something of a problem. Enter BlogPress...

BlogPress is a blogging tool that appears to cover most of the main blogging platforms - including Blogger - and seems to address my posting problem. It isn't a free solution - currently £1.79 in the UK App Store - but it seems to cover what I need along with photo and video posting (not that I can generate either of those from the iPad itself) along with Twitter and Facebook integration.

This is my first post using BlogPress so I clearly haven't yet had any chance to find its foibles as yet but as I continue to trial it I will keep you updated.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 31 May 2010

First Weekend with the iPad

So I splashed out and pre-ordered an iPad. It arrived on Thursday morning, a day earlier than expected, but since I was at work all day and then out in the evening I didn't have much of a chance to play with it. Fortunately, this being a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, I have since managed to get quite a few days with it and so I thought I would post my first impressions.

The device is pretty much as I expected, but then I already have an iPod Touch, so I had a pretty good idea what I was getting. "If you've got an iPod Touch, why do you need an iPad as well?" might well be a sensible question. The answer is simple, more screen real estate. I have spent lots of time with the iPod and, whilst I have been very pleased with it, the small screen has alway been very frustrating to use with a lot of websites. The iPad gives you so much more room (enough to avoid having to pinch and zoom on most pages) and is so much more responsive. The bigger screen also provides for a decent on screen keyboard too.

What about the lack of flash, I hear you ask. It's not been a huge problem for me as I was used to not having it on the iPod. It is a nuisance especially as some sites I would like to be able to use are flash based but it's not made the device unusable that's for sure.

The interface is familiar and easy to use and it is very responsive. The battery life is very good and some of the apps being released are starting to show what can be done with the device. Plus the BBC has updated the iPlayer site to work with the bigger screen too.

I am also using it as a PDF reader which is so much easier than having to print out the multitude of PDFs I have (and better for the environment and storage!). But I have yet to be sold on it as an eBook reader, not because it isn't capabable - it is - but more because I am yet to be sold on eBooks themselves.

So overall it has fulfilled my expectations and is proving to be extremely useful for the use cases I had already identified and that will only improve once more apps are released.

It certainly does have some significant limitations, no flash, no printing, limited connectivity, no camera etc but, whilst these would all be useful, none of them undermine the role I intended it for. If you are considering buying one you'll need to consider whether the same would be true for you.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Should I get an iPad?

I have been pretty pleased with my Asus EeePC netbook but there are a few niggling issues with it (speed) and there are some use cases it just doesn't work well for (PDF reading for example). Equally my iPod touch is extremely useful but the screen size really hampers its use for web browsing.

The new Apple iPad seems to fit right between these two devices. It's smaller and lighter than the netbook but has a decent sized screen to enable it to be useable for web browsing and PDF reading should be no problem. Plus all my existing iPod applications will work on it.

The big question is how much will it cost when Apple eventually release it in the UK (now slated for the end of April)?