Friday 13 August 2010

Apple iPad Review

Yesterday I had my first go on an iPad, several iPads actually since they had one in Comet and several in Currys, both shops being in the same area of Triton Road, Lincoln. Apologies for the poor photo, I had to be discreet and use my phone. Having heard people going on about the device for ages, with all the hype, I was expecting to be blown away, or at least a bit impressed. But it was not a very 'magical' experience for me, not helped by the fact my fingers still hurt from typing on the on-screen keyboard. I managed some Tweets, browsed the net and checked out the various apps installed. It was annoying trying to select part of a URL to delete it and it was harsh to type on without feedback. I could have attached it to the keyboard accessory, but that seems like defeating the object of a tablet.

I played with it for awhile in Currys, I must have been there for about 20 minutes without being hassled by staff, plus the time I spent on the one in Comet, so I had plenty of time to explore it. The iPad is most at home playing music and videos, and viewing photos, which was the only thing that impressed me, a bit. The way you can flick back and forth with your finger, and zoom in and out by moving your fingers together and apart was nice. Also doing this with web pages was useful too, though I couldn't seem to get the page to stay zoomed in like that. Auto-switching between landscape and portrait when it is turned round was nice too. Browsing through iTunes was OK apart from I kept accidentally selecting things. I suppose at least it could play music and browse the web at the same time, which is something...

I then tried the "Magic Piano" app that, having seen many videos of it, I expected better. The lag was atrocious! It was difficult to play a proper tune or chord sequence when the sound took a few seconds to play after hitting the keys, no matter what instrument I chose. I suppose the only realistic instrument to emulate would be a Mellotron, perhaps that's why there's a Mellotron app, even then the lag is longer than most Mellotron's I've seen in videos. And it was hard to actually play a chord without my fingers touching other notes by mistake.

Overall I wasn't blown away by it and I was not comfortable browsing the web on it for more than a few minutes. For viewing photos, music and videos it's fine, but it seems a very expensive toy just for those features, I was more impressed by an £79
Eken tablet from Amazon than this, which has the greater freedom provided by the Android OS, though i think I might save my fingers for something with a keyboard or a stylus. I certainly wouldn't recommend a tablet like the iPad for those who have even the slightest RSI!

Thursday 12 August 2010

Integrating GMX Storage as a network drive via Nautilus in Linux

This is quite a simple way to access your GMX online storage in nautilus, I found this trick on this forum post, so I'm posting it here in case it disappears.

1) In nautilus' location bar, type this in and press enter:
davs:// (or davs:// if you live in the US).

2) Enter your GMX e-mail address and password when prompted:

3) And now your GMX storage appears in nautilus:

Tuesday 10 August 2010

PC vs Mac: Here's what you (really) need to know

Microsoft really must be getting desperate when they resort to simple mud-slinging to get people to buy there products. MS has a new page on their website on why you should get a PC rather than a Mac. Here's just some of their points and my response:

"Macs can’t connect to an Xbox 360" Why? because MS made it that way! Also you could use open source software to stream media to your 360 on any OS.

"Macs take time to learn" ALL operating systems take time to learn. As soon as you start to use a computer, you have to learn how to use it. It just depends where you start from! If you started off from Mac or Linux you would take time to get used to Windows.

"Apple’s productivity suite file formats won’t open in Microsoft Office on PCs." Er... MS Office available on the Mac. Also if MS file formats were truely open there wouldn't be any problem on any OS.

"It’s easy with a PC." It's easy on the Mac too. It depends what you want to do, some things are easier on Windows, some easier on the Mac, some easier on Linux.

"If there’s a Mac version of a program you need, you’ll have to buy it again and relearn how to use it on a Mac." Again, that works both ways, same argument as previous point. Plus there's plenty of free equivalent software on the Mac.

"Macs don’t work as well at work or at school." Increasing numbers of schools and university students use Macs.

"With PCs running Windows 7, you can play the videos and music stored on your home PC while you’re on the go, for free." Try Subsonic which is cross-platform, and also has iPhone and Android apps.

Microsoft should just concentrate on making a good product (or trying to) and not mud-slinging.