One of my photos

All caught up?

August 12th, 2013 · Posted by Skuds in Technology · No Comments · Technology

Despite working in technology companies for most of my career I am hardly ever an early adopter of any new technologies. I was very late in getting a CD player , still buying vinyl years after CDs came along. I was also late getting a DVD, and have still never had a DVD recorder. Originally this was for economic reasons but then I got into the habit of avoiding v1.0 of anything and waiting for emerging technologies to settle down both in terms of stability and price.

Probably the only area I was into early was the Internet, because I  had a modem at home for work purposes way back in the early 90s and also used it for going onto BBSs. All this late-adopting hasn’t really changed, but I think I have finally caught up with a lot of things in the last 12 months.It all started on my 50th birthday, when Jayne bought me a replacement for my AV amp and got a package that included a Blu-Ray player. I felt like the last person on Earth to get one.

During this year I took another leap into the unknown and bought a tablet computer. I didn’t really know what I wanted it for, which made it really tough to decide which one to get as they all have their own strong and weak points. In the end I went for the Google Nexus 7. I didn’t want anything much bigger than a Kindle, which ruled out the iPad. I had no intention of taking photos with a tablet, so didn’t care if it had a rear-facing camera and don’t intend to try keeping my entire music collection on it so wan’t worried about having a slot for memory expansion. I can’t see myself watching films on a tablet or I might have considered the Kindle Fire HD.

I went for the Nexus 7 because it seemed like a good spec for the price and had the plain Android OS on it without some manufacturer’s own customisations. It also seemed likely to receive Andoid upgrades sooner than some other devices for that reason.

Soon after that, my mobile contract on my BlackBerry was about to expire so it seemed logical to get an Android phone too. I don’t expect to do much actual computing on the move so didn’t bother with the latest top-end phone and ended up with a Sony Experia J which costs less per month than the BlackBerry did.

At about this time I had an unexpected acquisition: wireless speakers. I have never really been tempted by multi-room systems before, but had the opportunity to have a pair of Pure Jongo speakers for free so I could test them out. They can be controlled by the tablet or phone (or via a computer with Bluetooth on it)

The last piece of the jigsaw was getting the latest Microsoft Office, again as a freebie to test out.

I am now happily listening to music from the cloud on the PC or on the wireless speakers via the tablet, or listening to Internet radio stations from around the world. I am using the tablet to check Facebook, Twitter, email and news feeds on the Nexus while having breakfast.

A couple of tiny reviews of some of these new toys:

Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft Office is worth having for all sorts of reasons, but I am not sure the 2013 version is enough of an advance on 2010 to make it worth upgrading from that but it is well worth upgrading from Office 2003 or earlier. Upgrading from 2007 is a bit borderline.

Sony Experia J

Very much a budget smartphone. The processor is not terribly fast and the camera is adequate but nothing special. It is good for music though. Obviously using earphones is best, but the sound from the little speaker at the back is impressive – far better than the much larger Nexus 7. I will probably stick with my old faithful Creative mp3 player for train journeys, mainly because so much of my music is ripped as wma, but I the phone would do the job. Ideal for a very light phone user like me, but the on/off button is really badly designed. OK, it is really hard to accidentally turn it on or off, but it is not much easier to do it deliberately.

Google Nexus 7

I’m really happy with this. To be avoided if you want to take photos or store lots of movies or music, or if you want to access anything on the move. All the places I use it have wifi so no problem with most of the content I access being in the cloud somewhere, except for some books.

The screen is big enough to be able to read the full versions of websites and not just the mobile versions and is good quality, though I think not full HD. The sound from the speaker is not up to much and, like the Sony phone, the on/off button is ridiculously placed. Fortunately I hardly ever use it as I got a case which uses a magnetic clip that make the tablet turn on when you open the case and turn off when you close it – a bit like the light in a fridge.

Mostly used for checking email and social media at odd moments, without having to boot up a laptop. Also used to listen to Spotify at work sometimes and to access Internet radio at home and send it to the wireless speakers.

Now I feel all up-to-date I am confidently expecting some new game-changing technology to come along and render all this obsolete any minute now, which I will probably ignore for a few years until it shows no signs of going away.

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