Case roundup (expanded): Google Pixel 2 XL

Last year I covered a selection of the best cases for the Google Pixel 2 XL, but with the handsets new role as standard bearer for Android P testing, I wanted to highlight it again and also some new case options.

All covering a variety of styles, and all supplied by MobileFun, kind people that they are. See their complete range of Pixel 2 XL cases and covers.

Rather than make you click on two different stories, I'm covering the three new arrivals here first, and then I'll paste in the previous five case verdicts afterwards, all in this story/URL. OK?

New then are:
Olixar Ultra-thin Gel, £8 The adage that you get what you pay for is true here - when Olixar says 'Ultra-thin' it's not kidding.

It adds less than 1mm to the phone, while protecting the back from scratches and stains. Just don't expect any protection at all if you drop the Pixel 2 XL - there are no reinforcements, no bubbles of air, no struts or structure. Just a thin and pliable layer of clear plastic…

Casing the best compact smartphone in the world: the Sony XZ1 Compact

Fans of The Phones Show will have seen my glowing report on the Sony XZ1 Compact - it's old fashioned in many ways, thanks to a 16:9 screen (i.e. BEZELS!) and it's 'old school' size, but it's a cracking handset that does everything (including having a headphone jack and stereo speakers) and yet fits in the smallest of pockets.

I even made the confident statement that its aluminium and reinforced plastic construction meant that it didn't need a case.

'Need'. Regardless, a case is till a good idea, especially if you're venturing into the great outdoors or live a rough and tough life. Which is where these two options come in, I'll link to the Mobile Fun pages that they were sourced from.

Both are highly recommended, though the second is undoubtedly my favourite, as you'll see.
Roxfit Gel Shell Slim, £15
The idea here is to be as minimal as possible, with ultra clear back to 'show off the phone' and with opaque outer rim with corner reinf…

'Waiting in' for the repair man/courier, etc. - when IS the best time to nip out?

I realise this is basic probability theory, but almost no one gets this right, so I thought I'd put it in plain English...

The situation. You're expecting a package delivered (and needing signing for), or perhaps it's a repair man. Either way, you know it's happening today, you just don't know when. You may even have taken the day off work to accommodate this.

So you're waiting in. It might be 10 minutes. Or it might be 10 hours (a 8am-6pm window). You just don't know.

Yet you want to either:
nip to the local shops for milkhave a shower/toilet/whateversome other task which only takes a few minutes but which will mean you're unavailable When should you do this? Is there a best time according to the laws of probability?

Common sense says that it's random when the courier or repair man comes, so it doesn't make any difference when you take your break.

But in fact, although the arrival is indeed random, the fact that your own unavailability is under …

Warning: the perils of proprietary backup software!

True story.

Back in 2006 (ish) era, for a couple of years we used 'Backup Made Simple', a well regarded backup utility for Windows PCs. Multi-CDR-support, selective restore, it all worked a treat. And we still have the backup discs from that era.

Except that we needed to access some of these files this week. And have utterly failed. The CDR are fine, it's the software. The app was written for Windows XP/Vista (that era, anyway) and I've had real trouble installing it under modern Windows 10, some 12 years later. Even with all compatibility modes enabled, the best I can get it to do is recognise the backup files - when I try to actually restore anything I get low level and very odd Windows library errors.

Now, if we were DESPERATE for the files back then I guess I could reformat an old laptop, try re-installing XP on it and then go from there. It's A solution. But that's multiple tens of hours of work in all.

The moral, of course, is obvious. When backing anythi…