Archive for Gadgets

Jul
18

Week 28 Photo

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There’s been a few times when this bad boy has bailed me out.

It’s a Gum Plus Power Pack and is an emergency power supply you can attach to your iPod, iPhone or iPad when you are running low on battery power. Has come in handy on numerous occasions, in particular on the way home from a day’s freelancing when I need to listen to tunes on the train. It’s become one of the vital gadgets in my bag.

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May
01

Week 11 Photo

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It was the wife’s birthday on the 28th March so we had a family ‘whip round’ and bought her an iPad 3.

I’ve got to say, all the hype about the display is totally justified. I compared it side-by-side with my iPad 1 and it truly is gorgeous. So much so, I’m reluctant to go anywhere near it – it’ll make me want one too much.

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Feb
08

Week 4 Photo

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Do you agree that the earphones that come bundled with your iPod/iPhone/iPad are utter crap?

For a company that prides itself on the quality of it’s products, it’s a glaring oversight on Apple’s part that they have created probably one of the worse pairs of earphones… ever!

For me, the sound quality isn’t too great but the most annoying thing is getting the bastards to stay in your ears. Fine, if I sit completely motionless and do not attempt to move my head a millimetre in any direction, they just about stay put. But if I should happen to be walking with them in, forget it.

I reckon Apple have some kind of pact with third-party earphone manufacturers. Apple continue to bundle those shitty white earphones, causing customers to invest in an alternative pair from another manufacturer. In return, Apple get a cut of the sale. I could be right.

Anyway, I decided I needed to invest in a decent pair of in-the-ear phones. I love my Bose headphones but they are just too cumbersome to take out with me all the time. They are reserved for listening to tunes in the office when I want to shut out the world.

Getting back to the in-the-ears, if you have happened to take a look at the choice that is out there nowadays it’s astounding! Where to start?

So I did what most people do, I asked the interweb. A couple of sites were saying some good things the SoundMagic E10’s. I wasn’t looking to spend a small fortune but I also didn’t wanted a piece of shit – I already had that with the Apple buds! Now normally you wouldn’t expect £35 to get you much in the way of quality but a couple of the independent reviews I read said they performed much better than earphones more than twice the price. Combining these reviews with actual customer reviews, I thought £35 was worth the gamble. If they turned out shit, I hadn’t broke the bank.

As it turned out, they aren’t shit… far from it. I’m suitable impressed with them.

Can’t fault the sound quality. The bass of my dance music makes my ears bleed and my orchestral film scores are crystal clear. They have passed the Jean Michel Jarre test with flying colours!

The earphones came with EIGHT pair of ‘flanges’ – more than enough to find a comfortable pair that keep the earbuds in and external noise out. I’ve had no problems with them while pounding the streets of Manchester, nor have I needed to crank the music up while sat on the train. All-in-all, I’m pretty chuffed with them.

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Dec
15

Amazon Kindle

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Recently, I’ve been getting more and more involved in producing books, book covers and magazines for the Kindle. I could continue using the excellent Kindle Previewer app on the Mac to view my work before sending to the client, but, you know me, I’m never going to turn down the opportunity to buy a new gadget.

So a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a Kindle 3G from PC World. Originally, I was just going to purchase the £89 base model, but after comparing the specs, I swayed in the direction of it’s bigger brother – packing a keyboard and free 3G. My thinking was that the free 3G would potentially come in handy when not connected to a WiFi network i.e. lying by the pool, sat waiting to board a delayed plane. I did buy the Kindle for work but if the wife and I can get some extra use out of it on holidays, then bonus!

I’m loving how when you connect it to the Mac via USB, it appears on the desktop as an external hard drive which you can just drag and drop files to. No need to add files via an app like the iPad. Take note Apple.

Navigating round the actual Kindle takes a bit of getting used to. Having owned an iPad for almost two years, I’m constantly touching the screen on the Kindle to select items – which obviously doesn’t work. You have to keep reminding yourself to use the scroll pad and buttons.

The only other issue I have with the Kindle is when you flick between pages of a publication. Instead of the black text disappearing and the new text appearing, the screen does this annoying thing of momentarily inverting to white text on a black background while it refreshes itself. Why does it do this? Is this something in the settings you can turn off?

All-in-all I’m quite satisfied with the Kindle. It’s very lightweight, easy to hold, easy to read (in decent light) and came in some lovely packaging.

I don’t think my iPad has anything to worry about. Apart from previewing work and reading the odd book while on holiday, the iPad is still my king-gadget.

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