Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Apple buttons and fake Steve

(Or: Apple, buttons and Fake Steve Jobs)
Now I think I know why there are so few buttons on iPods and the iPhone. According to a number of sources (Slashdot and Free Mac Blog to name a few), Steve Jobs hates buttons. Even fake Steve Jobs ranted about a Washington Post Article about Steve and buttons.

Ah, that explains why iPods don't have FM radios, voice recording or line-in recording. Adding these features would require more buttons, as the click wheel is totally maxed out for the functions it performs. And more buttons would be a no-no.

Yet in some ways this minimalist design works. Sure I like the additional functionality of the Creative Zen V Plus - the ability to delete tracks on the devices as well as create and name playlists. But I can operate my iPod Nano with acupuncture needles protruding from my my hands and arms without causing myself a major injury.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Treo versus iPhone

I know the iPhone has been out for a while now, but I have hesitated mentioning the following article since there was a huge reaction to it - almost 400 comments, mainly from iPhone fans telling the writer he was crazy (among other things).

Editorial: 10 Rounds with the iPhone

Anyway if you feel you must comment, do it at the Palm Infocenter editorial here

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Digitizer Drift

This is a dreaded phrase for some Palm owners particularly of the Tungsten T3. When a PDA has handwriting recognition it becomes rather aggravating when it no longer wants to recognize your "Graffiti input". This has been happening to me with my Palm Tungsten T3. Writing slower and occasionally resetting it seemed to help.

First I changed the screen protector, which didn't really help, then I tried calibrating the screen. This just seemed to mess everything up. Palm in their wisdom just calibrates the top 320 by 320 pixel area of the screen, and not the bottom 320 by 160 pixel Virtual Graffiti area. There is a program that does the full screen, called PowerDigi, but the website was down for a few days and appears to be up again. If that doesn't work I may be hunting through my collection of Palm handhelds for a replacement. The Treo 650 is out of the question, it just doesn't have enough memory for even half of my programs. Unfortunately this time I don't have a backup Tungsten T3, so the move won't be so easy.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sony PS3 price cut, or not?

This week I was watching the news from the E3 conference in Santa Monica, California, keeping my ears open for an Xbox 360 price drop which analysts expected. It did not come.
Instead, after announcing a price drop of $100 (down to $499) for the 60GB PlayStation 3 on the day before the conference, Sony confirmed that the company is no longer producing these 60GB PS3s and that "all new PS3s will be 80GB models to be sold at $599" according to the Crave Blog, "PS3 price cut isn't going to last?"

Also announced at E3 was the redesigned Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable). It has the same form factor as the first Sony PSP, except it is "33 percent lighter, 19 percent slimmer, offers better battery life, faster game load times, and video output to TVs" (also from the Crave Blog)
It is not quite the Sony PSP 2, but the video output sounds promising.

Of course a whole bunch of new games were announced at E3. I must admit I didn't pay too much attention these, having more than enough PSP games, and trying to keep my Xbox 360 game collection small (the ability to download playable game demos from Xbox Live is really cool).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

General Hardware Failure

This Microsoft-ism is almost as meaningless as "General Protection Fault".
Something in the Xbox 360 fails, it is not software - Microsoft says, wailing about a Billion US Dollar plus cost to fix the mess.

When I was researching gaming consoles I kept on coming across stories of Xbox 360 hardware failure - not from rabid complainers either, but from people who really like the console. I only read one posting by someone, who after about their third or fourth replacement console failed said "That’s it, I’m getting a PlayStation 3".

The Xbox 360 also has a bad reputation for chewing up game discs. A sticker on the Disc drive of the Xbox 360 warns "Do not move console with disc in tray" in English, French and Spanish. The Xbox 360 can supposedly be placed either upright or laying on its side. Of course most pictures show it upright - it actually looks better that way. But that is not the position recommended by those in the know. They say it is best positioned on its side. The reason - the game discs are more likely to be damaged when inserted with the disc tray in a vertical position. There is even an "Xbox Disc Replacement Program"
With the price of newly released Xbox 360 games at $60, and the much-hyped Halo 3 going for at $70 on pre-order, I’d be pretty upset to have the console chew up a new game disc. Unfortunately, this plan only appears to cover some of Microsoft's own games.

So far, I'm quite happy with my Xbox 360.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Music to my ears

No, I'm not listening to my iPod, or (gasp) an iPhone - but have just read this:
"Microsoft Extends Xbox 360 Warranty to three years" on MyWay.com/AP News

After just having got an Xbox 360 recently that is really music to my ears.