iPad – An expensive fashion statement!

I’ll start this quick post by being completely honest. I don’t own an iPod, iPhone, Mac or iPad – and never will. Simply put, I don’t like Apple’s business model of controlling customers and am not persuaded by the hype and marketing.

The new iPad so many people are raving about is just one more gadget to draw in the fashion victims, rather than something to take us away from our beloved netbooks and laptops. Apple may wish you believed otherwise, so I thought I’d just comment on the things I’ve read about the iPad recently. If I were in the market for something like this, these are the cons that would have me looking elsewhere.

To add to their woes, it appears there may be issues with at least some iPads failing to connect to and keep a wifi connection…as reported by the BBC here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8606727.stm

Some of the following reasons I’ll spend my money elsewhere also apply to other Apple gadgets, such as the iPhone:

  1. Multi-tasking – What decade are we in again? I remember having a multi-tasking OS on my Commodore Amiga over 20yrs ago. Yet, Apple can’t manage to include something so fundamentally necessary in the year 2010. Seriously? This glaring omission alone is enough to stop me ever buying an iPad or iPhone. I’ll stick to Android on my mobile phone, thanks.
  2. Apple in control – Another huge deal breaker is the control Apple has over any of their products I might own. If I buy a netbook, I can expect to install any OS or software on it I wish. Not so with the iPad/iPhone. If Apple don’t approve of your choice, tough. Sorry, but if it’s my equipment, then I won’t be told what I can and can’t do with it.
  3. No Flash – WTF? Flash is used in a huge number of websites and seems to be one of the benchmarks for judging smartphones, yet the iPad doesn’t have it. Another nail in the coffin for me!
  4. No removable battery – The iPad is meant to be a portable device. For me, having the option of inserting a fully charged spare battery into my netbook/laptop is a must when I’m away from home. Yet, you cannot get to the battery in the iPad. FAIL!
  5. No camera – A normal camera is probably a silly idea on the iPad granted, but what about a webcam? Isn’t that another normal feature on most mobile devices these days? Oh dear.
  6. No standard USB port – Well, what can I say? Unforgivable. Not conforming to the industry standards is just stupid and arrogant.
  7. No external memory slot – Music, movies, ebooks etc. Was it so hard to add even something like a MicroSD slot? Another FAIL!

So, in addition to the pain of constantly quitting one app to allow you to open another,  and not being able to view a good percentage of modern websites properly, and not being allowed to run any software you like, or unable to plug in your own standard USB peripherals or SD memory card – it looks like a great bit of kit. Yes? No actually. It looks like a very expensive fashion statement to me, the same as many Apple products.

All in all, the iPad might be very desirable if you’re in the market for a portable device, no doubt because it’s got the Apple name engraved somewhere prominent. However, in practical terms, my Acer Aspire One wipes the floor with the iPad for all the reasons given above, and more besides. Granted, it’s not an Apple product, but that’s my point really. I wouldn’t swap my freedom for the shackles provided by Mr Jobs and co.

Let the fanboys come….!



Tesco Digital Camera – 5mp? Not really!

I recently bought a 5 mega-pixel digital camera from a local Tesco supermarket. It was branded Technika, which is Tesco’s own.

The camera was very cheap and I didn’t have high expectations for the quality of it or the pictures. As it was a gift for someone quite young who wouldn’t necessarily be gentle with it, I wasn’t too worried.

So, I got the camera home and unpacked everything. I had a cursory glance through the manual, which wasn’t particularly well written and seemed to miss out any info on certain features. Ok, what did I really expect for such a small amount of money?!

I inserted the batteries and had a play with the camera menu. Again, it looked ok. Nothing special or fancy, but some of the functions weren’t exactly clear. I took a few snaps around the house, with and without flash on the highest quality settings possible and downloaded them to my PC.

Well, to say I was not impressed is an understatement! The pictures were terrible. I tried again, with the same result. For a 5 mega-pixel camera, they were grainy, had lots of pink and purple banding around areas of high contrast and were just crap, to be blunt!

Back to the manual. I’m no newcomer to digital cameras, so was fairly confident of having set everything properly. Imagine my surprise when I read a section in the manual about quality. It said that although this camera was capable of 5mp, it was only through interpolation as the camera was actually 3mp!!!!!! No bloody wonder the pictures were rubbish!!

I was furious. Nowhere on the box, advert in-store or in the packaging did it state that this was a 3 mega-pixel camera. It actually said on the box that it was 5mp.

So, I rang Tesco customer service and complained. The guy I spoke to agreed with me. I then spoke to the customer service manager of the store who agreed to let me have a refund.

I’m going to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about this as it is misrepresentation, plain and simple. If the box had stated “5mp (interpolated)”, then I could have made a more informed choice. I dread to think what their 3mp camera really is.

Caveat emptor! Check the details before you buy from Tesco!


Guitar Hero & Left Handed Players!!!

You know, this is one of those things that really, really pisses me off! Yes folks, I’m left handed. No, that’s not what makes me rant though. It’s the arsehole manufacturers who don’t cater for us!

I really want to buy a console (no names for free advertising!) just to play Guitar Hero (ok, so maybe this name, but I can’t omit it or the post would be nonsense!), but as the guitars are made for right handed people, it aint going to happen. I know there are menus for lefties in the game, but as the guitar manufacturers failed to make it physically cater for both, it’s a bit academic.

The strap is apparently a little too short if you try to use it left handed, not to mention the fact that it attaches on the wrong side of the guitar! The cable comes out the bottom of the guitar if you’re right handed, but the top if you are left. Yes, I know there’s a wireless version! One of the biggest issues of all is the whammy bar, which is above your hand and keeps dropping down if you play left. I think that’s enough reasons, apart from the main one for not buying this game: The fact that the manufacturers, who are making a mint from sales of this game anyway, couldn’t make a generic enough guitar model to allow us to play their game.

I really don’t want to shell out almost £300 on a console and game that I would have to “make do” with. Why should I? I don’t want to play it that badly and there’s a serious principle involved here.

How many sales have been lost over this, I wonder? I’ve seen dozens of posts from frustrated and irate lefties online, so there are probably quite a few of us. That makes me feel a little better!

There’s an interesting post in a “console” forum, featuring the associate producer of the game. The interview was conducted in April 2007. He was specifically asked about a left handed guitar due to the “tremolo arm” being in the way whilst playing. Here’s his response:

We’ve thought about it and it may happen sooner or later.

Well, careful there mate, you might commit yourself to something good for customers!

Nah, I’ll save my money and wait and see.


iPhone madness

What is it about the iPhone that’s got everyone in such a tiz? It’s a phone! Wow, that’s amazing. It makes calls, surfs the WWW and plays music (DRM anyone?). Wow, that’s revolutionary. Apple. They are good at marketing, but their products are average, and I’m being generous.

When everyone was raving about the iPod, those of us with some rationality and sense were looking at products based on quality, features and price when looking for a multimedia player. Brand name and (very dubious) style just don’t cut it if the product is inferior and vastly more expensive than rivals. Think about it…By buying Apple products, just because they’re Apple, you are just one more sheep instead of a tech savvy consumer looking for quality. Think outside the box for a moment and you’ll realise how absurd it all is to spend a stupid amount of money on something just because everyone else seems to be. Who’s the idiot?

Needless to say, I never bought an iPoo (Creative Zen Vision M thank you very much!) and will never buy an iPhone. I have a great mobile/pda already.

It’s so bad now that I’ve stopped my subscription to a number of well known RSS feeds because I’m sick of hearing about the bloody iPhone. Every other news item is one more rumour. Who cares!?