Tag Archive: Gadgets


So, about 10 months ago, I did a blog article about my experiences moving from a Blackberry to an iPhone 4s (Read it here).

Well, I’ve moved off it now. It was a combination of reasons, including:

  1. I can’t write stuff for it. I’m starting to do more programming at the moment, and it’s a nice idea to be able to write stuff for the phone I’m using. I can’t do this on an iPhone.
  2. The screen is small. I’ve also got an iPad2 and still happily use that. However, the screen on the iPhone is small compared with alot of newer smart phones.
  3. Magpie syndrome. I like shiny things, while my Blackberry 9700 kept me happy for 2+years, the Blackberry 9900 didn’t, and it turns out that the iPhone hasn’t either.
  4. Using the iPhone feels like I’m in a glass box, with all the fun things being outside. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’m not sure how else to explain it.

So, what have I moved to ? A very kind person has let me have their previous phone, a Galaxy Nexus. This is lovely to use, and easily cover the items above. In addition to this, it lets me:

  1. Use almost all the apps I was using on the iPhone (Evernote, RunKeeper, Pluralsight, Netflix, Flipboard and iPlayer).
  2. I discovered some new apps I could use now, including Falcon Pro (a really nice Twitter client) and Ingress. Ingress is really interesting, and doesn’t appear to have anything like it on the iPhone.

I’m not saying that I’m not using the iPhone anymore. I am, I’m using it as a GPS device for running. It’s great that the RunKeeper app is available on both platforms, and also, the iPhone is smaller so fits nicely in my pocket when out and about.

I’ve also started a separate blog (separation of anxieties, or something), RunningNick.com, which will be covering my training for the Great South Run, which I’m doing in October (10 MILES!!!). If you’d like to sponsor me, there is a link on the right, funds go to Diabetes UK.

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Travelling with Gadgets

Following on from a previous post on my journey to Seattle (Sleeplessness in Seattle) for the SQL Skills Immersion Event on Performance Tuning (IE2), last week, I thought, I’d share my experiences of travelling with Gadgets.

To allow me to have access to everything I needed while I’d be away, I took the following with me:

  1. Apple iPhone 4s – My personal mobile
  2. Blackberry Bold 9700 – Work mobile
  3. Apple iPad 2
  4. Amazon Kindle (currently reading SnowCrash by Neil Stephenson)
  5. Acer Aspire 3810TZ laptop
  6. North Face Borealis rucksack
  7. Logitech M510 Wireless mouse
  8. Noice Cancelling earphones and iPod Nano
  9. Chargers, US Adapters…

photoOut of all these items, I’d have to give a special shout out to the iPhone and iPad. They surpassed themselves, by giving me perfect access to the internet through numerous WiFi access points, and also by allowing me to speak to my family through Skype, over these devices.

Also, and this is a surprise to me, I have to mention the Acer Laptop. For a very long time, I’ve always found Acer laptops to be somewhat shoddy. However, this one has carried out a sterling job, with 8+ hours of battery life, and no issues with responsiveness. Having said that, I did improve it’s performance with a Crucial M4 SSD and a memory upgrade (to 8Gb, from 4Gb), just to ensure that it would be bearable running SQL Server on it.

I’ve been impressed with the quality of the WiFi access in the US (I was in Seattle). All the Starbucks I’ve been to had free WiFi, as did the hotel I stayed in (Courtyard Marriott in Downtown Bellevue).

While I could have taken notes on the course on the iPad, or typed them into the Laptop, I prefer to use a Moleskine to take notes. Yes, it may be a little old-school, but if it was good enough for Picasso, Van Gogh and Hemingway, then it’s good enough for me. Smile

Hello, my name’s Nick, and I’m now an iPhone user.

I didn’t think I’d be saying that at the beginning of the year.

It’s not really a long story, but I though it might be worth telling it anyway (particularly since I’ve not blogged for a while).

I use my phone a lot, though mainly for accessing social media (the Third Place reference…), and taking photos of my family. It’s rarely used for actually making phone calls, like a lot of phones at the moment, I imagine.

Many moons ago, I had a Nokia N95, and that was the phone I had when I started using Twitter. It was a great phone for its time and I loved using it, primarily since it had a really good Twitter app.

Then, at some point later I decided to move to a Blackberry Bold 9700. This was a good phone, and I used it for a good 2 years, and am still using it as a work phone now. During the time I had this Blackberry, I also won a Windows Phone 7 phone in an MSDN competition, and while I liked the phone and the look of the OS, it turns out that I couldn’t actually type on the keyboard. It made me feel like I have fat fingers, so I stayed using the Blackberry.

Then the new Blackberry Bold 9900 came out, which it’s bigger touchscreen, and faster processor, so I upgraded. We never really bonded in the same way as I had with the 9700 and the N95. I think the main reason was that there was no real buzz from using it, I was expecting more. I guess it was actually disappointing, even though spec-wise it was supposed to be better than the 9700.

The final straw came when my parents both moved to Android phones. They were good, better than I was expecting, but that gave me a dilemma. Should I change to an Android, or look at the iPhone?

Having looked at the iPhone, I went for that (iPhone 4S), and I have to say, I’m very, very happy.

Why?

Well, the reasons are pretty straightforward. It’s all down to usability. It doesn’t make me feel like I have fat fingers, it has a good keyboard to type on, though I do need to learn to type better on it ( I keep sending texts saying hometown instead of hometime to my wife, but shes very understanding). Also, I love the integration between the iOS devices. I have an iPad 2 which I’ve had had for a while and love that (and am typing this article on that, rather than the PC).

I am sorry to have left the Blackberry behind, but I feel I am in a better place now.

If you are debating whether to change from a Blackberry to an iPhone, I’m sure you know someone with an iPhone (or a friendly Phone Shop). Go and try it out and I’m reasonably sure you won’t be disappointed.

Gadgets for Life…

Following on from my previous post on tools, I thought it’d be worth creating a post on the gadgets I use daily.

iPod Nano

I got this just over a year ago, to replace my iPod 3rd gen, which was suffering from a very short battery life. I use the iPod to listen to podcasts in the car (Hanselminutes, This developers life, DotNetRocks, Runas radio, and a few others). It’s also used to play music to aid concentration (Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Random 80’s music, Gregorian chant, depending on the project).

Blackberry Bold 9700

My personal phone. Prior to this I had a Nokia N95, and wanted to move to something Smarter. I’ve had this nearly a year, and have not been disappointed. It has a great, responsive UI, and a great range of apps for it (ubertwitter, WordPress client, Facebook). I did consider the iPhone when I was looking to change, but it didn’t feel right for me. Another 6-8 months left on this phone before an upgrade is due, but even then, it’ll probably be either a newer Blackberry, or some form of WP7 device.

External Hard disk

A few months ago, I built an external drive. The recommendation came from a Tweet from Liam Westley, which was for an Akasa P2 series 2.5″ drive enclosure and a Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB 2.5″ drive. The drive case has both USB2 and eSata connections, which means it’s really snappy for VM’s, which I use in abundance.

Crumpler Belly XL

I’m using this as I needed a big bag for my laptop, and plenty of space for all the associated gubbins. It has space for everything, and is comfortable to carry too. This I recommend to anyone who’ll listen.

Kindle

I recently got an Amazon Kindle (3g+Wi-Fi). I’m impressed by this device, it’s lighter than my PowerShell 2 Admin guide, has plenty of space for other books, and is really easy to read. I’ll be posting a review of the Kindle in the coming weeks, but suffice to say, I like it.

Finally, FiloFax Urban Personal

Strictly speaking, it’s not a gadget, as it’s not really technological, however, I use it alot, happily. There is something about being able to read and write things down, with a pen, also, it has space for me to make notes at various events (such as the upcoming DDD8a. While all of these tasks could be done using the Blackberry, there is something about having a tangible piece of paper, and it certainly feels tangible.