Posted on January 24th, 2014 No comments
Had a bit of weird problem this week I wanted to write down somewhere in case it happens again!
A call came in from a client to say the laptop wouldn’t boot. On starting the laptop the usual Windows 7 boot animation was missing.
The screen was black apart from a series of coloured lines in the top left hand corner.
Turns out there is an option that controls that!
On the boot tab from MSCONFIG is a “No GUI Boot” option.
There is plenty of debate on the Internet as to what this actually does and doesn’t do – I’m not going to get into that here – the end result was that clearing this made the boot animation return.
At this point I couldn’t actually toggle that option since the system wasn’t booting. I had to use a Windows 7 install disk and boot into the recovery tools and run the command
bcdedit /set quietboot on
The next time the system rebooted the logo reappeared. It then became apparent the disk checker needed to run – the laptop had been actually booting after all, but the disk checker wasn’t visible. If it had been left for long enough it would have eventually arrived at the logon screen. After letting the disk check complete (it took about 20 mins) the system eventually booted and I was able to logon ok.
So that was it that right?
Upon next reboot the logo had disappeared again.
After logging in again I checked the “No GUI Boot” option and it was indeed cleared. Odd? What happened to the logo?
After a bit of experimentation we found out that making any change to the boot entry, via BCDEDIT and other similar tools caused the logo to reappear. After logging in and restarting it disappeared again!
Since the problem resurfaced after logging back on we had to assume something was making a change. Using the very useful Autoruns tool we disabled just about every non-Microsoft/Windows program and service that runs when the system boots.
After doing this (and resetting the boot entry) the logo appeared and stayed there after a series of reboots. Progress!
Then it was just a matter of isolating which program or service was causing the issue. This took a while!
Eventually we found the culprit
HP Day Starter
The HP Day Starter service is supposed to read the contents of your Outlook calendar and display your upcoming appointments during the boot process. Since the Windows 7 boot animation would normally be there it would need to get rid of that for it to do it’s thing.
The end user had never used Day Starter and wasn’t interested in using it so we disabled the program and disabled it as on option in the BIOS for good measure so as to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
HP do have full details for configuring the program.
It’s an interesting idea but I’m not sure how useful it would be in practise? Is anyone else using Day Starter?
Posted on January 17th, 2014 No comments
This will be last post about stuff from last year…honest…maybe.
It’s safe to say i was very happy with trying to hit my target of trying to read at least one book a month for 2013.
According to GoodReads I’ve read 44 “things” in 2013.
I’ve recommended quite a few of these to various friends and family so thought I’d do some mini-reviews of the books I’ve particularly enjoyed. I’ve read quite a few series so will group them together where appropriate.
In no particular order;
Love superhero stories? Love Zombie stories? If so this is most defiantly your sort of thing!
Set in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse in a world where people with super powers is normal this book follows a group of survivors (normal and supers) as they try to carve out an existence where they don’t get eaten! As the series progresses zombies aren’t the only things they need to be wary of. This series really had me hooked. I finished the three that are available in a very short space of time. Book four (Ex-Purgatory) has just been released and I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into it. No pun intended.
It’s very tough to put into words how much I loved this series and to how many people I’ve recommended it to. The story is set in the near feature where a major world catastrophe has forced survivors to live underground in a huge silo. Enough time has passed for it to become the new normal and talk of the outside world is forgotten (more like forbidden). The main character is unwittingly thrust into the spotlight and before long it turns out not all is as it would appear.
The second book goes to cover how they all ended up in the silo and the final book wraps the whole thing together. I’m trying to keep this brief as I’d hate to spoil it!
Genius. Very different to any other zombie fiction book you’ve read. Written in the style of a series of interviews with the people involved it explores how the zombie apocalypse came about and how the world dealt with it. Also nothing like the film that shares it’s name. I enjoyed the film but I’ve very glad I read the book first.
Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die (by Ryan North and various!)
Imagine if there was a machine that could predict the manner of your death? Would it change how you lived your life? This collection of stories explores just that. A fascinating concept and each author put’s their own unique spin on it that makes it a real page turner.
Another enjoyable series but it was the first book that I enjoyed the most. One night the stars disappear. After some investigation it turns out a “shield” has been placed around the earth. Further investigation shows that time on Earth has been considerably slowed. Every second on Earth is years in outer space. As well as all the question about why and how this has happened it also throws up interesting concepts into space exploration. A probe to Mars would in theory take a few minutes to arrive. The the events of the first book are continued in the other books but I can’t say anything about them without totally ruining the first!
Doctor Who: Shada Gareth Roberts (and Douglas Adams!)
I originally got into Doctor Who not through the TV series but through the books. As a youngster I read just about every Doctor Who book that was in our local library! Considering that I read so little Doctor Who nowadays it’s something that will certainly change after this one caught my attention. Douglas Adams of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy fame wrote several scripts for Doctor Who. Something I didn’t know until I found this book. On reflection though it makes perfect sense! This particular script was never filmed so Gareth Roberts has adapted it as a standalone novel. The Douglas Adams style really does come through and it was a really enjoyable read.
A book about the end of the world, literally and what happens to the people in it. It’s written in a similar vein to World War Z coming from the angle of a journalist going back and covering the events after they have happened. It does get a bit weird half way through but it sort of has to really if Earth is…broken.
End of the News Flesh Series and the first book in the Parasite series
I love the characters and the world she’s created and I was gutted once I’d finished the main books in the series. It then turned out she’d written various short stories that happen in the same universe. Including a prequel that explains how the whole thing started.
Mira then moved onto a new series called Parasite. While I didn’t quite connect with the characters in the same way as with Newsflesh I did enjoy it and I’m just disappointed I’ve got to wait so long for book two!
If you want to see the rest of the list for 2013 it’s on GoodReads here.
Posted on January 14th, 2014 No comments
My family are always pretty good at getting me great gifts (an Amazon wish list is great “inspiration”) and this year I was pretty pleased!
A very fancy case reveals a book that I can only describe as a kind of Sith Bible.
Here’s the description from Amazon
The Sith have existed in the galaxy for centuries, lurking, waiting for their chance to seize control. As various Sith Lords emerged and rose to power, they recorded their thoughts, exploits, and plots for Sith control of the galaxy. When they fell, their knowledge vanished with them forever. Or so it seemed. . . .
Over the years, these writings were passed among numerous Sith and Jedi, who added their comments to the pages. In his quest for domination, Darth Sidious tracked down what remained of five pivotal Sith texts written by his most powerful predecessors. Then, drawing on the knowledge within the compiled pages, he wrote a sixth text—his own manifesto. Together, these documents, along with several collected objects associated with them, shed light on the philosophy, achievements, and failures of the Sith Order. For years, this collection remained hidden, existing as legend only. But now all who are tempted may unlock the Book of Sith and delve into the dark side. . . .
This credit card sized computer is a really interesting bit of kit. I wanted one when they were first released but when the initial rush caused the stock to vanish I’ll confess I didn’t get around to going back for one. I spent a couple of hours with my niece and nephew when I first got it out of the box putting a little cartoon together in Scratch. I’ve got a couple of ideas for projects I’d like to tackle with it!
Like any self respecting geek I love a bit of Trek! Enterprise is the one series though that I’ve not seen anywhere near enough of. Thankfully this box set means I can put that right!
I saw this at EuroGamer Expo a couple of years ago and liked the look of it. It plays a little like Mario Kart and is good fun as long as you’re not expecting it to be the next Forza!
Did you get anything shiny?
Posted on January 6th, 2014 No comments
Happy New Year!
Summing up the previous year has been a tradition here for quite a while. It’s always a useful thing as it helps me mentally review what was good, what was bad, any successes, achievements or failures and help let me know where I want to go in the next twelve months.
There have been some really interesting things going on that I’d normally cover in detail. Evie started school, Alice sang in the school talent show, I inexplicably started hurling myself around obstacle courses and all the usual geeky outings such as Play Expo, the Harry Potter Tour and The Doctor Who Experience.
The problem this year is that my family were hit with a really tragic piece of news in the middle of December.
Each time I’ve sat down to try and write something about 2013 it’s the single event that has dominated my thoughts even though it happened right at the end of the year.
So this year I’m going to keep it short and urge you to make sure 2014 is a year of happy memories.
For me the end to 2013 was a tough reminder that you have absolutely no idea what is around the corner so make the most of the time you spend with the friends and family you love.
Primarily for me this means my girls who currently seem to visibly grow on a daily basis!
and of course my lovely wife!
Posted on December 10th, 2013 2 comments
I’ve had my Lumie wake up light for a couple of weeks now and since I’d tried to do as much research as I could before getting this I thought I’d share my experience in case it’s of use to anyone else.
First up what is it?
Quite simply it’s an alarm clock with a light built-in. Half an hour before the alarm goes off the light very gradually comes on getting brighter and brighter. It’s intended to simulate a sunrise. You can also have an audible alarm for the prescribed time. I’ve got this option turned on as the light itself isn’t enough for me. Thankfully the noise it makes isn’t quite as jarring as with my “regular” alarm clock.
Inside the box you get the alarm itself, a bulb and the instructions.
Initial setup is easy enough. Take the top off, screw the bulb in, put the top back on and plug it in.
Using the clock is straight forward.
The + and – buttons are used to increase and decrease the brightness. Pressing the middle button activates the alarm program. If you’ve got the light on at the time it starts a 30 minute countdown and slowly lowers the brightness simulating a sunset.
When the light is turned on there are some slits in the back of the light cover to help simulate rays of sunshine. I’ve got mine tucked into a corner so the effect isn’t quite as dramatic as it could be if it was against a big empty wall.
Changing the options is reasonably straight forward. You hold the middle button until the display flashes and you can then press the button again to cycle through. The + and – buttons change each option.
It did take me a little while to realise you can’t change the setting while the alarm program is on!
Easy enough on the whole though.
This is the entry level model. The more expensive models give you more options such as the ability to control the amount of time it takes to brighten instead of the default thirty minutes. I’m happy enough with the model I’ve got though.
That’s the practical stuff out of the way. If that’s all you were interested in thanks for reading .
You might be wondering why I felt the need to get this?
The first and most obvious reason is sleep.
Sleep is something I’ve struggled with for years. Getting to sleep, staying asleep and waking up in the morning are all very difficult for me and have been for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried various things down the years but it’s just something I’ve learnt to deal with. (which isn’t without it’s benefit, sleepless nights with two kids were just normal to me!)
However, this year I actually realised that on the whole I’d sleep pretty well during the summer.
This brings me onto the second reason, winter.
I really dislike the winter in the UK. The cold, wet and dark make me miserable and it was only this year I joined the dots to realise that my problems with sleep seem to be much worse once summer finishes.
This lead me to look into Seasonal Affective Disorder (sometimes called the Winter Blues)
Looking down the list of symptoms highlighted a lot of things that do seem to affect me that I’d not really considered as part of something bigger.
Now…I’m not normally one for self diagnosis after reading something on the Internet but I figured that getting the clock wouldn’t do any harm just to see what happens. At the very worse it would mean I wouldn’t have to turn the light on in the morning!
A few weeks in I have a couple of things to report.
It hasn’t made all that much difference to how easy it is to get up. It’s just not bright enough to wake me up on it’s own. I’ve had to use the audible alarm too.
However there have been two noticeable differences.
Firstly, I am actually sleeping better. I’ll know a little bit more as the months go by but I’m waking less in the night and significantly I’m actually remembering dreams. This is hard to describe unless your really sleep deprived and have experienced it! Dreams are something that I’m not usually aware of. I’m not saying I never have them but I very rarely wake up knowing I’ve had a dream.
Last night I dreamt I’d won a million pounds on a scratch card….
The most important difference is how my mornings go.
Until I started using the clock I’d wake up with what I can only describe as low energy levels. It sets up an awful start for the day and comes with various problems around mood, and motivation. It’s not something I can easily describe but it’s more than just tiredness.
Now I have a new found alertness when starting out. It doesn’t mean I’m suddenly not tired but the huge feeling of lethargy just doesn’t seem to be there anymore.
I’m pleasantly surprised as I’ll be honest I was a little sceptical about the whole SAD thing and wasn’t sure if a light would make any difference.
I’m going to give it until the new year and take a look at a proper light therapy lamp. Sunrise simulators are not specifically used to treat SAD. They can help with some of the sleep related symptoms but actual treatment is with a specific type of light. I’ll likely talk to my doctor too.(you know, because of that whole self diagnosis thing!)
I got my lamp from Amazon but they are available from lots of different places.
sad.org.uk (has a list of various approved manufacturers)
Posted on December 5th, 2013 4 comments
It’s fair to say I came pretty late to podcasts. Between my music collection and the radio I was pretty generally entertained in any scenario where I had the opportunity to listen to something.
However after having a variety of podcasts recommended to me (and Radio 1 deciding they don’t want me as part of their audience) podcasts are now my primary in car entertainment.
Having your own personally curated radio station is perfect for whiling away the miles on any journey!
Since my first foray into podcast listening was through recommendation so in no particular order here’s what I’ve got on my phone at the moment.
Welcome To Night Vale – This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if you “get” it then it’s very entertaining. It’s the community radio station for the fictional town of Night Vale where the weird, wonderful and terrifying are mundane and routine.
Freakonomics Radio – A companion to the book that “explores the hidden side of everything”. This is one of my favourites as it puts a different spin on a variety of topics. A great example is the show they did around car parking. Sounds dull but was one of the most interesting things I’d heard in ages!
This American Life – This is a recent addition but one I’m hooked on. First-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising. One of the first couple of episodes I listened to had me welling up in the car!
The Bugle – satirical news podcast. That’s enough to describe it! Has me in stiches every week as John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman slaughter the weeks events.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show – very geek culture orientated (just how I like it!) but in depth interviews with a ton of interesting people from the world of geek.
Wired.co.uk Podcast – Complementary podcast to the Wired UK magazine and it’s accompanying website. Takes a look at the weekly events in the world of science, technology and business.
RadioLab – very similar to This American Life. They take a concept and dig up interviews and stories around that theme. Some very powerful stories make for compelling listening.
Stuff You Should Know – Very cool. With titles like “How werewolves work” and “How Guide Dogs Work” this is pretty self explanatory.
Richard Herring Leicester Square Theatre Podcast – or as all the cool kids are calling it RHLSTP! Richard Herring chats with the biggest names in comedy and entertainment in only the way Richard Herring can! Serious and ridiculous in equal measure. his is podcast where Stephen Fry revealed he’d once tried to take his own life.
Friday Night Comedy From Radio 4 – Alternating between The News Quiz and The Now Show.Comical look at the weeks events. I listened to these shows before I started listening to podcasts. Now I don’t miss any!”"
Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – Adam Savage from MythBusters fame! Primarily about the “maker community” but frequently talks about movies, comics and similar subjects. Adam tells really interesting stories so I enjoy it even if it’s not a topic I’m specifically interested in.
Radio 4 Comedy of Week – A weekly comedy program from Radio 4 with a variety of different shows and comedians.
CIAOPS Need to Know Podcast – Small Business Community stalwart, SharePoint and Office 365 expert Robert Crane regularly interviews a variety of people from around the world who are involved in SMB IT. Always informative!
I’ve also got some other new podcasts that are queued up for to listen to or I’ve only just added – I’ll likely update this list once I’ve listened to them properly.
Wired Storyboard (RSS)
Richard Tubb also has a “Recommended Podcasts for IT Business Owners” list which is well worth a look.
Is there anything you’re listening to I’m missing out on?
Posted on November 1st, 2013 1 comment
Earlier in the month I wrote about my thoughts on the decision I’d be making for replacing my phone.
You probably figured it out already from the title though…
I’ve ended my long running association with Windows Phone and gone with the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Unfortunately, as with the Surface RT I mentioned recently the current state of the app store is hard to deal with. Too many apps either never arrive, are poorer versions of their iOS and Android equivalents or are just too late to the party. The Instagram app is due imminently for example when everyone else has had it for a long time.
Instragram is a good example to use actually. Mrs P has been an iPhone user for some time and there are a ton of photos of my own children I’d never seen because they are day to day shots she takes and shares on Instagram. I miss plenty of things on Vine too as it’s meant to be used pretty much entirely through the app.
I know those are two specific examples but on the gaming front WordsWithFriends and DrawSomething had come and gone as crazes go before the Windows Phone versions were available.
I’ve only been using it for a week or so but I’ve already come across a couple apps that just aren’t available on Windows Phone that I’m becoming attached to. Live Scores Addicts is a particular favourite. And the Richard Tubb recommended DoggCatcher has fulfilled my podcasting needs and is used daily.
So the phone itself.
I was tempted to wait for the Nexus 5 but I ran out of time waiting for the official announcements as there were other people at work waiting on a phone upgrade.
The Nexus 5 was annoyingly announced as I was writing this. It looks very nice indeed!
As phones go it’s pretty big but it’s not so big that it doesn’t comfortably fit in the pocket and it sits nicely in the hand. The screen is really crisp and video and pictures look very sharp. I’ve not taken too many pictures but the results have been good enough for what I need it for. I’m still pretty taken back with how thin and light it is. The volume when using headphones is much better than on my last device and while it isn’t a huge thing I’ve noticed the difference when driving as some podcasts have entirely different volume levels to others and there were one or two I used to struggle to hear. From a performance perspective I’ve no complaints at all. It’s snappy and everything opens pretty much instantly. Although comparing the Galaxy S4 to my previous Omnia 7 on the hardware front isn’t strictly fair. The Omnia 7 was never meant to compete at that end of the market. (I think?). Battery life has been pretty good even while I’ve been hammering it while getting used to it.
It also has some features I’ve not quite got to yet, such as eye tracking, multi window and air gesture which will be interesting to take a look at.
The 4G speeds are obviously nice too…even if they are a little erratic depending on where I am. That’ll get better over time as the network matures (We’re with EE)
Three of these were in our office in Coventry. One while I was visiting a client in Birmingham
This is my first real regular use of Android.
I’m going to write a separate post about my experiences but initially it’s been pretty positive. If I had to choose one positive and one negative from my first impressions I’d go for the notification centre as the biggest win for me so far. It’s something that was severely lacking in Windows Phone and already I’m not sure what I’d do without it.
On the flip side I miss the social integration Windows Phone has. Specifically the people hub and the me tile (is that two things?). It’s possible I’ll find apps that fill that gap for me in time though.
I’ve also quickly discovered a whole world of customisation is available to me and I imagine it won’t be too long before I’m picking out one of the many available ROMs!
Alongside the Nexus 5 announcement was the Android 4.4 KitKat release. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long before it’s available for my phone.
Posted on October 30th, 2013 No comments
I’ve had a Surface RT for about six months now after a client asked if we could have a chat about the touch devices that are on the market. After that conversation I thought the Surface could be something that would fit in with how my days generally pan out so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
As already mentioned I’ve had it for about six months now and I’ve written and scrapped posts on it about five or six times but with the recent Windows 8.1 release and the Surface 2 announcements it’s been at the front of my mind again
On the whole I’m largely happy it. .
A bit obvious I know but any extended usage on my mobile has me worrying about the battery and while the portable charger I’ve got is great when I’m running low it’s not quite the same as having something that will last all day. It’s great knowing I can take it out fully charged and not have it die on me. Something I can’t say for my laptop either.
Another obvious one and not specific to the Surface I know but this one of the things I wasn’t convinced on as my laptop is pretty light but I’ve found it lives in my bag now and I generally don’t notice I’ve got it with it me.
The Surface is more of a rectangle than a square. This is because it’s a widescreen (16:9) device which makes it great for videos and the like. That’s not quite why I like it though. The big thing for me is for when I’m reading web pages, PDFs, blog posts, etc I can turn it on it’s end making the reading experience much much better (less scrolling for one thing!)
This is particularly useful for documents as the reading experience is very similar to having a printed copy (granted paper is much lighter!)
I like the fact I can setup different user profiles. If I wanted to give the Surface to Mrs P or one of the kids they can have their own apps, start screen and be signed into different services. I don’t have to worry about signing out of anything so someone else can use it. i can see how this would be useful in office environments, a meeting room for example could have a device that several users could share.
A little thing but it’s got a version of BitLocker running on it that means in the event of it getting lost or stolen the data is going to be safe.
It’s got a USB port on the side that let’s me plug additional storage or keyboards, mice, etc into it without any need for convertors and adaptors. There is a mini-HDMI port too if you wanted to plug it into a bigger screen. It’ll even let you extend onto that second screen exactly the same way as you would with a desktop/laptop.
Yes I know Microsoft are slowly bringing various Office applications to other platforms but having Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote baked in is useful. That familiar feel means not having to worry about working differently just because I’m on a different device. Having Outlook with Windows 8.1 has made a huge difference to me. The mail app was “ok” but as I spend a big chunk of time in Outlook having the same experience for mail, calendars, tasks, contacts is a big plus.
The Built In Stand
A very small thing but I lose count of how many times a day I flip the stand down. It’s nice that it’s “just there” and I can prop it up easily. I frequently stand it up on the kitchen table for catching up on the news while I’m drinking that all important first cuppa of the day!
It’s not all roses though..What isn’t so good
I don’t know..I don’t mind IE as such. But the performance of it isn’t quite as snappy as I’d like. Sometimes you click a link and when nothing happens you jab it again and before you know it the first link has been dealt with and you’ve unintentionally clicked something on the next page. I’m not sure if the hardware isn’t up to it but IE is mostly the only time I notice a “laggy” experience and I’ve had experiences with some sites that just don’t like it.
Price and Accessory Slashing.
I was rather annoyed about this. The covers which double up as keyboards are really interesting and it’s definitely useful to have a keyboard from time to but with the cheapest one adding around £100 to the price I decided it wasn’t that important to me for how often I’d actually need it. About two or three weeks after I got my Surface the prices were dropped AND they were throwing in the cover for free.
Thanks a lot….
Yeah….the elephant in the room.
The lack of apps is still THE main thing getting in the way of making this useful to a wider audience.The official Facebook app was only recently available with the 8.1 release and it’s the same problem Microsoft have Windows 8 and Windows Phone. It’s not that there are no apps..just not the wide variety that are available on iOS and Android. It’s a shame Microsoft aren’t developing more of their own apps as well as trying to convince other developers it’s a viable platform.
It’s not that there aren’t any apps to use. I’ve got Netflix, Twitter, Facebook (finally), Amazon, Skype and Ebay. Lots of things you’d expect. But on the flip side there is no official app for Instagram (the Windows 8 one is imminent) or Vine. I’m a big GoodReads user but the unofficial apps aren’t great and the website is a pain to use with a touch screen. The list of popular apps that are available on other platforms is pretty daunting when you’re comparing devices.
Also..I’m writing this on my laptop as opposed to my Surface. There is no Windows Live Writer or similar that I can use. My only real option is to use Word as a blogging tool…Bleurgh. When you’ve been using Live Writer for so long going back to Word for blogging? I’ll pass thanks.
So why Surface RT and not Surface Pro?
That’s pretty easy
Cost – I didn’t want a Pro enough to spend that sort of money, especially the launch prices. The plus points of the tablet form factor aren’t worth that much to me. If I need the “full Windows experience” my laptop is fine in those scenarios.
Battery life – My RT device lasts ages for how I use it. If I take it out on a full charge I don’t have to worry about it running out of juice.
Office – I know it it largely depends on how you buy Office, (Office 365 Home Premium is up to five devices) but having Office included in the cost of the Surface was a big draw for me. If you have to add the cost of Office on top of the Pro that total price is pretty steep.
I’m of the opinion that if they’d spent all that money used developing Surface RT into making the Surface Pro cheaper and with a comparable battery life they’d have sold so many they wouldn’t be able to get them out the door quick enough.
In my experience the Surface is really good at a specific thing for a specific set of people who want a seamless Windows experience using a common set of apps. Those people will get a lot out of it. Outlook and OneNote on a decent screen I can take everywhere is unbelievably useful for me.
The new Surface 2 model and Windows 8.1 makes lots of incremental improvements to make what’s actually good about the device even better. The two angle stand is a brilliant addition as an example. You’d only really know that after having used the current one though.
So to finish…(since this post is a little all over the place!)
Should you buy a Surface RT? It depends…
If you’ve never owned a tablet and spend a lot of time using other Microsoft products it’s worth looking at.
If you’re coming from another product, unless there is something you specific want (Office..) then you may not find anything that’s a big pull.
As always..comments, opinions and questions always welcome!
Posted on October 11th, 2013 6 comments
As seems customary now on this blog every time I have a decision to make about a new mobile phone I write about it!
I think getting it on screen and out of my head certainly helps.
Two years ago I went with a Samsung Omnia 7 and explained why I chose that over the others.
The market is certainly different from May 2011 and some of the hardware available is amazing!
I’m yet to make a decision so I’ll go through my current thought process
They have launched their much delayed Blackberry 10 operating system, shed a ton of jobs, decided to leave the consumer market to concentrate on the Enterprise side of things and have just been sold off.
As it stands things are certainly not looking great!
Even taking all that into consideration this isn’t much that would make me want to jump ship to a Blackberry phone.
The juggernaut of the mobile space! With the ability to run on a wide variety of devices Android commands a big chunk of the market. it’s popularity has created a well stocked app store that can do just about anything you’d want with a mobile phone!
I’m very very tempted in all honesty. The Galaxy S4 looks like a seriously good piece of kit that would do pretty much everything i would need. Especially now there is an official OneNote app and QuickOffice is free.
What more can be said about the iPhone? Even with the success of Android if you mention the word “smartphone” most people automatically assume you’re talking about an iPhone.
That said I’m personally surprised that Apple haven’t done more. They have made quicker. faster, lighter devices but on the software side of things is there all that much difference over the last few years? iOS 7 is completely new direction in terms of design but is there anything new to get excited about?
That’s obviously a matter of opinion but it’s not the phone I’m looking for.
Microsoft are still paying the price for being so late to the party. Windows Phone is a pretty decent operating system but it’s biggest shortcoming is that in can’t compete on the range of apps that are available on the other platforms
It’s in the horrible chicken and egg scenario where developers aren’t writing apps for it because the phone doesn’t have enough market share but it’s struggling to gain market share because it doesn’t the apps.
They haven’t done a good enough job on the marketing and awareness front either. Some of the good features it does have people just don’t know about, even people with Windows Phones!
Choices, Choices, Choices
As it stands for me at the moment it’s a choice between a Windows 8 phone (probably a Lumia 1020) and an Android phone (probably a Galaxy S4).
Because I’ve been using Windows phone for the last couple of years there are a lot of features I use daily that I’m not sure if I want to give up. However, the lack of apps is getting rather frustrating.
An Android device would keep me “app happy” but is that enough to make me want to lose the functionality I use every day and I’m perfectly comfortable with?
I’ve talked before about how I think you should choose a smart phone so I need to figure out what irritates me the least!
Posted on October 9th, 2013 No comments
I had a really weird customer service experience recently and it’s been on my mind ever since so thought it was worth sharing.
A couple of nights ago I stopped at the chip shop on the way home from work. One of the items I ordered was going to take a few minutes to get ready so I found a wall to lean against and started to read a couple of pages of the book I’ve got currently got on the go on my Kindle.
Everything was soon ready and the person serving started to ask about salt and vinegar and the like before bagging everything up, handing it over and saying thanks and bye.
All pretty normal on the face of it.
I was half way home when I realised I hadn’t paid. He hadn’t asked me for any money and I was that interested in my book and getting home I didn’t notice myself.
Now my first thought was obviously “free chips!!” but in the interests of supporting a local small business and one I’ve been pretty happy with so far I decided I’d go back and pay. (after going home to eat first of course…I wouldn’t want them to go cold!)
So I nipped back to the shop and as I approached the counter the person who served me, a young man, about 16-17 and and an older lady were waiting to serve people. She caught my eye first so I started to explain what had happened.
She was very defensive and the first words that came out of her mouth were
I didn’t serve you!
I was a little taken aback as it’s not quite the reaction I was expecting and she then starting shouting at the guy next to her and another teenage boy who was cleaning tables, trying to find out who it was that had served me.
Eventually, the person who did serve me asked me what I was that I’d ordered and took my money, offering an embarrassed apology and thanking me for coming back.
As I’m doing this the person who had been cleaning tables seconds before leaned across the counter next to me shouting,
“What’s happened? What happened?
As I was leaving I could see in the background the lady explaining to the owner what was going on and pointing fingers at me and the person who’d served me.
It just all felt a bit odd.
Is it that bad a place to work that the first reaction of the staff was immediately to make sure it wasn’t them that had been found out making a mistake?
If that is the case have I gotten that person into trouble?
I wasn’t expecting them to fall to their knees and worship me like some deity for paying for seven pounds worth of food but what I didn’t expect to happen was for a bunch of adults to behave like children who were scared of getting in trouble with their parents.
What would you have done in my position?
If you worked at the shop what would you have done?
If you were the owner how would you have expected your staff to behave?