Showing posts from July, 2023

When classic smartphones become collectables

This post was first written and published by me on AAWP and is both backed up and updated here with extra text and images... When a smartphone falls out of use in your life, there's a temptation to find a good home for it. Often a family member, often a second hand market like eBay, but sometimes - just sometimes - the phone is special enough, is unique enough, in fact is downright collectable enough, that you might like to hang onto it. Not necessarily just for pecuniary reasons, but perhaps sentimental reasons as well. As an example, I've picked out a dozen smartphones from my own collection that fit this bill. Classics one and all... I'm sure you'll agree with some of my picks, but you'll also have your own favourites. That's what the comments are for! I had a quick round-up from the office and found most of the devices listed below, at least. A spring clean does indeed beckon, I think, to find the rest! Note that some phones I've used were game changers

Sony Xperia 1 v: musings on PureView, image purity, ProRAW, and more... Has Sony gone far enough?

Long time readers of my scribblings on camera phones will know my passion for photos to be captured as they look in reality, not in some high contrast, over-saturated, edge-enhanced version of reality. Sure, the latter look better on 6" phone screens. That's why these trends have become common. But the photos themselves are terrible in terms of image quality. By which I mean they've been messed around to look great on the phone or embedded in a narrow social web feed but you can't do anything else with them. Say you want to use a section of the photo only, cropping in to a group of people or an object in a scene. Or you want to show the photo on a large desktop display or TV. Good luck with that with a photo grabbed at 12MP on an iPhone or Pixel or Samsung flagship with all default settings. You'll see artefacts, jagged borders where there should be none, and general 'over-processing'. Which is why I applauded Nokia's 'PureView' approach ten yea

Microsoft, I'm fed up explaining to people why they can't get your greatest hardware invention...

This happens at least once a week to me. I'm with a customer (or friend) and we're talking tech. I whip out my Surface Duo, currently the main Android phone in my pockets that's signed into all my stuff (social, banking), to look something up or demonstrate something in the OS. And their jaw drops. "What is that?!" I then have to explain that it's actually quite an old device, brought out in 2020 by Microsoft and then quietly forgotten. True, there was the Duo 2, which I loved in its own way, despite a compromised form factor - and this was also forgotten about. No real updates to either after Android 12L, with the Duo about to hit end-of-support this year, and the Duo 2 Autumn next year after yet more mandatory Android security updates. Oh, and you can't buy them new anymore. And if anything breaks then they can't be repaired. So almost impossible to recommend, then. I proceed with a quick demo. Two apps at once, something spanned, laptop mode, with Q

Why podcast advertising doesn't usually work...

We've all been there. Listening to a well known podcast and the host says 'And now a word from our sponsor', followed by three minutes of waffle about mattresses or pelvic grooming tools or NordVPN or whatever. What do you and I do? Immediately hit the 'skip 30 seconds' button a few times in our podcatcher, until our ears detect that the advert slot is over. So we hear perhaps the first few seconds of the advert and maybe the last few, if we're unlucky. So what's the point? Annoying those listeners who don't have a hand free to reach out and hit the skip button? It beggars belief that there are still companies willing to pay significant money for multi-minute ad spots on podcasts. Isn't it just a big waste of their money? The same applies to video podcasts and embedded sponsor slots in videos too, since the timeline bar has a handle and it's trivial to slide this over a few minutes to miss out anything that's not core content. So what's t

The Top 15 Hawkwind Tracks from the 1970s (Top 10, expanded!)

[Yes, yes, a little self indulgent, but I was musing on such a list recently and thought 'Why not do it properly and do it in a blog post?'] I was chatting to my daughter and talking about the 'old days' when we used to make 'mix tapes' on cassette, painstakingly copying on tracks from other tapes or LPs to create curated compilations. She paused for a brief moment and then said 'you mean like a playlist?'(!) Ah. So yes, turns out the mix tape is redundant in 2023, but the idea of picking 10 (or 15, as has ended up here!) favourite tracks from a band, an artist, an era, or a genre, and then theoretically putting them into a playlist is a good idea still. Not least because it filters out a lot of the rubbish that every artist inserts. Because none are perfect and all are guilty of putting in 'filler' songs, let's face it. The better artists or bands have less filler, but it's still there, and therefore warrants a retrospective curation. In

Hawkbinge - the review!

Here's something off the wall. And not a little psychedelic. Also, I don't think I've reviewed a podcast before. Shiny gadgets are more my staple. But I wanted to put some thoughts down - and a recommendation - for Hawkbinge, an occasional podcast covering the complete discography of Hawkwind, the space rock band from 1970 through to the current day (with the main man, Dave Brock, now in his 80s(!), though thankfully supported by a revolving cast of younger chaps). Hawkwind as a band were always interesting to me because of their driving sound, sci-fi lyrics, and progressive/experimental leanings. And there have been many books written about their history and output. (I've even done a few mini-sites on tangential personnel and bands . Plus webmastering, in the past, for Huw Lloyd Langton , and playing Hawkwind tunes in support gigs .) But Hawkwind music has never been covered in this much detail . Andy Hood (long time Hawkwind fan) and Matt Longstaff (complete novice