Category: Technology

New 2016 Retina MacBook Pro is Awful

A lot has already been said about the new 2016 MacBook Pro with it’s fancy new emoji bar. I’m in the “it’s fucking awful” camp. I don’t care about the missing SD card slot. What I care about are the missing USB ports.

Future proofing something is one thing. But making something that will only be useful in 2-5 years time is pointless. Having 2 USB type-c and 2 USB type-a would’ve been perfect. Another fucking bullshit thing is the new non emoji bar MacBook Pro only has 2 USB Type-C ports. One if you exclude (and you should) one for charging.

In order to avoid dongle city (and the smaller battery (and money (and the emoji bar))) I’ve ordered a refurb 2015 13 inch retina MacBook Pro. This should last me a couple years until USB Type-C is the norm. Replacing my 2014 11 inch MacBook Air. Which is still a wicked machine.

OnePlus One: Quick Review

After Sony royally messed up an update to my previous phone I decided to (had) to buy a new phone.

I chose the Black 64GB version. Awesome phone and the sandstone back is very cool. I hate slippery phones. And having had this phone for over 6 months I can say I’m very impressed.

I decided to root and flash it immediate and went with BlissPop. Everything works well, camera etc, and it has an immense battery life!

Sony Fucked Up The Xperia Z1 Update

I regret updating my Z1. Kitkat (4.4) was perfect. After updating to Lollipop (5.0), the once perfect battery life is now trashed. It drains in hours without any warning. Going from 90+% to 0% suddenly. Countless attempts to solve this have been in vain. Can’t even easily downgrade it back.

Fucking awful.

I was planning to hold onto this phone for a little while longer and do a proper upgrade. But after a year and a half, my hand was force so I went for the OnePlus One.

Awesome phone (according to the reviews anyway) for such a low price.

Sony Xperia Z1 Quick Review: Back to the Botnet

After slating Android 2 years ago. I’ve been more than happy switching away from Windows Phone and back to Android when I purchased the Sony Xperia Z1 on launch day almost a year ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Windows metro UI. But apps matter. The perfect scenario would be the metro UI overlayed over android. All the apps I could ever want with the best mobile UI available.

Anyway over to the phone. Awesome phone. Great battery life. Lightly modified android with a sick camera! No 4k video though. But best of all, it’s waterproof!!

Told you this review was quick.

Solid State Drives Are Worth The Expense

I bought my 15″ MacBook Pro (early 2011 model) just over a year ago. I decided against upgrading to an SSD because I thought there was no point. I did get the hi-res anti-glare option. Especially since that part of the machine isn’t user upgradable.

My machine gradually got slower and seemed especially sluggish ever since upgrading to Lion (it can with Snow Leopard). I was advised (by my boss no less) to upgrade to an SSD. So I did, and boy was I glad I did. The speed difference is immense. Forget the price per gig ratio. Especially when compared to traditional hard drives. The performance of SSD’s more then makes up for the lower storage capacity. A worthwhile investment. More so then any RAM or CPU upgrades will ever do since the hard drive will remain the bottleneck.

Now, doing a clean install of Lion instead of upgrading from Snow Leopard might have also helped. But I am more then happy with the end result as it now absolutely flies. Chrome no longer hangs and Photoshop (almost…) opens instantly.


Why I Ditched Android For Windows Phone 8

I really wanted the Nexus 4. Having used the Nexus S for the past 18 months, it seemed the obvious upgrade path. I was tempted by the Galaxy Nexus when it was launched, but the poor camera put me off.

Then the day finally came, November 13th (had it in my calendar), the Nexus 4 launch day. No time for when it would actually go on sale though. Checked the Play store at 8am. “Coming Soon”. Received the email notification on my way to work at 8:45. Loaded up the Play store when I got into work at 9:20. Still says “Coming Soon”. WTF.

It was later I found out that they were actually all sold out. Less than an hour after going on sale. Still have no idea what time that actually was. Google utterly failed in this shambolic joke of a “launch” of their flagship device. Shit communication all round from Google. Losing a customer in the process.

I had to upgrade. My Nexus S was so slow it was almost impossible to do anything on the thing. Chrome would take minutes to start up. I never truly considered any other Android devices. I like pure Android. None of this bastardised Android SenseWiz crap. The device (from a hardware perspective) would have to absolutely blow me away for that to happen. The Samsung Galaxy S3 had the best chance, but failed. They all failed.

Nexus 4 wasn’t going back on sale any time soon. So what did I do, after reading up on numerous reviews, I finally decided to make the jump to Windows Phone 8 with the beautiful HTC 8X. I did initially want the Nokia Lumia 920, but after holding both the 920 and 8X, the Lumia is huge and felt like a brick next to the 8X. I knew about WP8’s flaws. But I can live with them. The only app I miss is Dropbox.

The only Google service I truly couldn’t give up was Gmail. But that’s true for everyone who’s main account is a Gmail one. Google Now is a very nice service. But it’s still something I can instantly give up. Google Music hasn’t evolved at all since it was launched. It was only a one-way upload of my iTunes collection. No syncing at all going on. Because of this I never maintained my Google Music collection. Another service I can instantly give up. Google Maps? Now that Bing Maps is using Nokia’s mapping data, with the ability to truly take a map of any country offline, that beats Google’s mobile offering hands down.

Google has failed to retain me as an Android user. I’ve avoided using (and getting locked in to) many of their services. Making the switch easy. The only Android devices I would buy are the Nexus ones, but Google wouldn’t take my money. I still love my Nexus 7, but since I don’t carry it around with me, I’ll be turning off Google’s ability to stalk me.

This is Jimmy, leaving the botnet.

Nexus S Review: My First Android

Review time.

Since the google playground event, I’m buying the LG Nexus when it drops. Replacing my current mobile, Nexus S.

I bought it in June 2011. The day after Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC). I was waiting for the new iPhone to be announced. Back then the iPhone 4 was the current model. It’s successor was pushed back to the Autumn instead of the Summer for the previous models. Due to this delay, they have lost me for life. And I’m glad I didn’t purchase an iPhone. Hate iTunes. Apple’s arrogant “their way or the highway” attitude. And their walled-garden.

The Nexus S came with Gingerbread (Android 2.3). And had upgrades to Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and Jelly Bean (4.1). With each upgrade, it got slower and slower. Ridiculously slow.

Since the release of Android 4.0, Google has replaced the 4 button layout with 3 onscreen buttons. Back, Home and Multitask. This makes making the most of the ICS difficult. Since it has physical buttons, the onscreen buttons aren’t displayed. This takes away the quick multitasking feature as it means you have to hold the Home button instead of simply pressing a single key.

Solid phone. Classic Samsung plasticky build quality but a good introduction to Android.

Quick Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Review Before The Google Nexus 7 Drops

Since I’ve pre-ordered the Google Nexus 7 tablet, I figured I might as well do a quick review of my existing tablet, the Lenovo IdeaPad A1, before decommissioning it in a couple weeks time.

Important things first, the specs:

  • 7 inch 1024×600 display
  • 16GB storage
  • MicroUSB and microSD card
  • Android 2.3, Gingerbread
  • GPS, Bluetooth

I bought this last christmas while it was on sale for £150 and at the time, it seemed like a good deal. Decent specs at a good price. 7 months later and the Nexus 7 just blows everything out of the water. Obviously technology improves at a rapid rate, but none of the current crop of tablets compares against the Nexus 7 in both price and specs. The only thing the A1 has over the Nexus 7 is the inclusion of the microSD slot.

The A1 is my first ever tablet and only my second ever Android device. The first being the Nexus S, which I still use. And is still an amazing phone. I might even “review” it when I replace it with the next Nexus phone which is scheduled for release later this year.

It (back to the A1) ships with a slightly modified version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It has this gigantic widget in the middle (first image above) which cannot be moved. Annoying as hell as it limits how much you can customise the home screen.

Prior to buying this thing I made sure I could root it and promptly rooted this as soon as I received it. This is a must as the screen density set on this thing is utter crap. Imagine the exact same icons and widgets on a 4 inch screen, stretched to fill 7 inches. No tablet optimization was made at all, just making everything bigger and blurrier.

I bumped up the screen density from the default of 240 to 160. Because I hated the huge, non-removable widget, I installed a custom launcher, ADWLauncher EX. Which I bought during Google’s 10 pence sale. This made things slightly better. But it still had the Lenovo bloat running in the background. Stealing valuable system resources.

Eventually I gave up and decided to play around with custom roms. This would be my first time entering the Android world of modding. My Nexus S remains unrooted as I don’t really see the point as it gets it’s updates straight from Google anyway. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean should be beamed straight to it sometime this month!

So, I flashed ClockWorkMod and CyanogenMod 7 (CM7) onto this thing, and fuck me, I should’ve done this sooner. As this made the A1 infinitely better to use.

Even though flashing it with CM7 greatly improved the experience. I desperately wanted Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). After updating my Nexus S to ICS in December, I couldn’t stand Gingerbread any more. ICS looks so much nicer.

Then last month, what I believe is an official (beta) ICS update direct from Lenovo was leaked. It still has some issues though. Main ones being (infrequent and rare) random restarts, and intermittent issues with the loud speaker. To be fair the random restarts were in the Gingerbread rom that shipped with this device.

Saying that, after experiencing ICS on this thing, even with the above issues, I’ll live with them for just a little while longer. At least until I get my Nexus 7.

If the Nexus 7 never existed I would have recommended this as a cheap tablet to get your teeth into. Not anymore.

Google I/O 2012: The Result

And with that, the unveiling of the Google Nexus 7 tablet, confirming the rumours and meeting my expectations, I have placed my pre-order and it should be with me in 2 – 3 weeks!

It comes with the new Android Jelly Bean OS. Plus my current phone, the Nexus S, will also be receiving the update next month!

Google I/O 2012: My Expectations

So the Google developer conference is tomorrow and there have been strong rumours of the Nexus 7 tablet (leaked image above) along with the next version of Android, Jelly Bean.

If the leaks are true, and Google does announce the Nexus 7 tablet with the rumoured quad-core Tegra 3 chip and a 7-inch 1280×800 IPS display for less than $250. Then it’s a definite day one buy for me. No reviews necessary.

And Android Jelly Bean? I don’t really care. I’m happy with Ice Cream Sandwich. Just improve upon an already solid OS and I’ll be happy.

So my expectations for tomorrow? Confirm the Nexus 7 tablet rumour and I’ll start throwing cash at the screen!