Running

March 5, 2013 at 11:49 am | Posted in Other, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last May I ran the Preston Guild 5k and had a time of 35:54 (position 671!) Results here http://www.ukresults.net/2012/guild5k.html

I’m currently running at around that already…. fingers crossed I keep it up! 🙂

http://www.rundouble.com/?page=map/2974305/0hwovrOn3Z

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2 years later!

August 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Geocaching, Life, Mobile Phones, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Since I’ve not posted a blog for 2 years I thought it was about time I did! Last time I did I was complaining about my (then) new HTC Desire! After a little while I discovered Swiftkey keyboard and that made typing a lot easier! However I think the small screen was fundamentally one of the biggest annoyances when mixed with my fat fingers! The other large issue with the Desire was the lack of storage space. Once I rooted the phone and installed a ROM supporting A2SD, life was a lot easier! However still became an issue after a while! LeeDroid was good, but still not good enough!

Once the anniversary of my 2 year contract was up I called o2 hoping for another fantastic deal, but as I had decided that I wanted the Samsung Galaxy S3, they wouldn’t negotiate until they had stock, and even then suspected that they wouldn’t be able to match the deal that I had found on buymobilephones.net. A Galaxy S3 in White, £31 per month with 1.5GB of data, 300 minutes and unlimited texts. Happy 🙂 And I’m on T-Mobile with access to Orange’s network, which is good at work, and I get Orange home broadband for a fiver and Orange Wednesdays to get cheap cinema tickets! What more could I want? 😉

Personally I’m finding the coverage on T-Mobile to be about as good as it was on o2, so I’m pretty happy there!

The phone is great, I was split between the Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X, and there is so little difference between them that either would have been as good, however, i’m pleased with a few things, such as the USB OTG, I’ve used it several times to copy files to and from USB Sticks now. Its also pretty impressive plugging a USB mouse and/or keyboard in and using it as a computer!

I’m also enjoying having a play with NFC tags. AutomateIt! and other similar apps allow me to tell the phone that i’m at work and to turn off wifi, bluetooth, volume etc, and also turn on all that in my car and fire up the MP3 player app! Very impressed, and hopefully an NFC geocache is coming soon!

Life is very different when compared to 2 years ago, my girlfriend(then) is now my wife! What more can I ask for! 🙂

Tonight we found our 1000th geocache, so thats good progress! 🙂

Looking forward to going to the Olympics this weekend! Football and Hockey! 🙂

Think that’s enough for now! 🙂

Replacing the N95 8GB shouldn’t be this difficult!

July 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Posted in Life, Mobile Phones, Other | 1 Comment

After using my old Nokia N95 8GB for 2.5 years, I finally decided it was time for an upgrade. I looked at the phones on the market, hoping something would catch my attention. As I’ve always been a Nokia user, I wanted to stick with them, I looked at the N-series available at the time and decided that the N97 mini was good but didn’t really offer anything significantly different over my N95, ok so it has an FM transmitter and touchscreen, but it would just feel exactly the same as my old phone when it came to using it, and that wasn’t what I wanted, I wanted to feel like i’d got a new phone! I wanted new menus to explore, something that made me feel like it was worth changing!

Then Nokia released the N900, running Maemo, therefore customiseable, flexible, high spec, lots of new things to learn, but still with that familiar boot-up screen of the 2 hands! Maybe this was it, the holy grail of new phones! When it was released, it didn’t have the capability to do MMS messaging – OK, so i only get about 5 a year, but its something I use! Its bulkier than the N95-2, and as time passed the software updates have been few and far between, the Apps have been slow to arrive (with the exception of Angry birds!) and the OS is already being replaced with MeeGo, so not really the ideal phone to buy, although maybe the N910 (guessed name, not announced!) might be worth having if/when it ever arrives.

The iPhone 4 is now out, I’ve never been an Apple fan, I don’t own an iPod, a Mac, or anything else from them, so it’d be a bit of a change… having had a play with a 3GS at the time i was making my decision it was nice to use, but if I want to do much with it, I have to do as Apple want me to or nothing at all. If i want to listen to music it has to be put on through iTunes, same goes for Apps, I can’t just find someone who has written Application X for purpose Y and get it from them in case Apple don’t like it. Also insuring the phone costs more, the monthly tariffs are an extra fiver a month, and its just not the phone for me!

At this time i started looking to Android. My Domain runs on Google, so my mail, calendar, documents, search and everything else runs on their servers, so that’d be handy to have a phone that integrates even better with it all

Having decided on Android, The next question was which handset to get, getting the latest OS and handset is a good move in my eyes as its more likely to be supported into the future. As Android 2.1 was the current release, the handsets to choose from are the HTC Desire, the Samsung Galaxy and the Nexus One. With all the reviews raving about the HTC Sense interface I went for the HTC Desire. Calling o2 daily for 2 weeks eventually paid off and I got a deal I was happy with for the handset. The day it was due for delivery I went to the DHL depot at 8am to collect my parcel before it left. Then i went to work where i couldn’t play with it! Good way to make me leave it on charge all day instead of using it while it was on charge!

My initial thoughts on the Desire are how well presented it was when it arrived, I got that real sense of excitement when opening the box! So it went on charge for the morning and after 5 hours i couldn’t wait any longer, so i switched it on! The initial setup was harder than it should have been because this was the day o2’s data network went down, so I couldn’t connect to Google to set anything up! Had a bit of a play with it anyway after working out how to bypass the config!

At night the network came back up so i spent a while configuring it the best I could, although as I hadn’t gone through the initial config the Marketplace won’t let me purchase anything, I just get into a continuous loop of entering my details and clicking next! Calling HTC’s support line says this needs a factory reset of the device, which as I’m now a few weeks into owning the device, I’m not keen on doing as i’ll lose some of those valuable texts and have to reinstall all my Apps that i’ve installed (the free ones work, i just can’t pay!)

That aside, as I’m not a regular purchaser of that type of content anyway, here are my thoughts on the HTC Desire : (slightly hurried as this has taken longer than I’d intended!)

Camera, blurry in low light, but the good pictures are good when it takes them the rest of the time.

optical Trackball, a bit unresponsive, I dont seem to be getting used to it, it either moves 3 places or nothing when you roll over it, no matter how fast or slow you go!

screen, Very responsive, love the multi-touch input. bright enough in all but the very brightest sunlight, and even then you can make things out, just not as well as on some other handsets.

battery, lasts about half a day on a reasonable level of use. Very poor! Its worse if i leave bluetooth and wifi on! never even tried it for geocaching as the GPS will kill it in under 2 hours i estimate!

No FM transmitter, a feature I really would like, then i could use this as an in-car podcast player

No forward facing camera, this feels like a step backwards, although I’ve only ever used video calling about  times in the past 4 years, so maybe its not the biggest thing, but if Apple get their way, it could finally be about to take off!

No official BBC iplayer, apparently this is coming for Android 2.2

No voice dialling. Makes it hard to comply with UK Laws on Handheld telephones while driving. Admittedly I dont make a lot of calls while driving, but its handy for those quick calls to say “Put the tea on, i’ll be there in 20 minutes!” and so on.

And now onto my least favorite thing about the Desire, the input method. While keeping the phone in portrait mode, the keyboards are all difficult to use accurately, the QWERTY keyboard is reported to be as good as that found on the iphone, but I find it difficult to be accurate and quick. Selecting which word you want of the options is tricky, and half the time when you click on it, you miss and it takes you out of the edit mode, if you want a word that isn’t on the list, the “more choices” button is usually just over the Send button, so if you press that too quickly, you send a message by accident with a mistake at the end while you’re half way through editing it! using the phone number keypad is slightly easier, but the comma key is right next to the settings button, so when typing quickly again it brings up the settings and takes you out of the edit mode!!!! argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I tried Swype, what a refreshing change! extremely intelligent input method and is very often correct at the word you’re intending to input, although i find I have to pause between words to check its got the right one and that slows it down, and its a nightmare to input passwords as the keyboard feels even more fiddly that the standard Android keyboard, and that is saying something!

I suppose I should say in its favour that the Apps are great, I’m reliving my younger days by playing games on Gensoid, the widgets are excellent (although I’d like a better calendar), handy set of pre-installed one. I’ve installed Advanced Task Killer, which is great as it stops the handset using the internet to continue streaming in the background if you close an Application. This helps the battery life a lot! While its a great idea to have your apps pause in the background when you exit them, it also eats the battery, despite claims that it wont! trust me, it does!!!! Juice defender is a handy App as well, it enables and disables your internet connection on a schedule that you can control so that your email can Sync regularly without killing the battery by being live all the time!

I use the excellent Hullo Mail, and the Android App for it is excellent, this feels like a massive upgrade from voicemail on my N95.

I’ve started to use Dolphin Browser HD instead of the stock android browser, which feels a little smoother and nicer to use.

One of my hobbies is Geocaching, and having some decent Mappign available is vital! The Apps I’ve found so far but not really used very much are OS Map, gvSIG Mini, GeoBeagle, and C:geo. These are all installed and waiting for me to have time to play!

I’ve installed myPlayer as an iplayer application, which works, but I’m looking forward to an official one!

The DocPics application seems to be the best I’ve found for viewing and creating documents on your google docs account

The Navigation is excellent, and the integration of it into the calendar means that when you set a venue for something, you can easily navigate to it, or even ask for the streetview of it, which is excellent, and feels easy and natural to use compared to the PC version.

Overall I’m finding this phone to be a bit of a mixed bag, difficult to input things, you always need to know where your next charge is coming from, and a few toys missing that I would have really liked, however, it is easy to use, although maybe not ready for the mass market in the way that an iPhone is. There are plenty of Apps available, I’ve always found one when I had something in mind that I’d like to try!

I’ve got an o2 customised version of the handset, and over a week ago a minor software update was released that most uk networks have had, yet the o2 specific release doesn’t seem to have had.

Also, Android 2.2, FroYo, is now released, and it could be 3 months before HTC release it for this handset, which is frustrating considering how long its been in testing! At least we’re likely to get it for the Desire, HTC have very quickly dumped their previous models, and I can see me “needing” to buy a new handset in 2 years to be able to get updates, which isn’t good when the reason for buying this handset was the open OS, but the HTC Sense is now the problem rather than the reason to buy it in a way! when its there, its great, but they need to keep supporting it, and try to make it generic across all handsets, so that people can do their own updates to the OS and add that over the top. OK, so i’m no software engineer, so i’m sure its not that simple, but that should be a reasonable aim to allow for future-proofing surely?

So, the big question is am I happy with my choice of replacement for the N95 8GB, and the answer is “kind of”. Its not as nice as I’d have liked, maybe i should have given google an extra couple of years to mature Android and gone for a Nokia X-series or N-series instead, however this isn’t a terrible phone, it could just have been better. I’m looking forward to seeing what FroYo brings in terms of software updates, and I’m currently planning to look around for a better handset in a year while this is still relatively new and I can afford the cost to change outside my contract, potentially via ebay…

First Blog!

February 22, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Posted in Geocaching, Life, Other | Leave a comment

Its taken me years of meaning to have a play with blogging but i’ve finally done it! Being off work with a nose in plaster and having the laptop on my knee pretty much started me off for now….

Well, what is there to know about me? I’m currently 28, I design, maintain and support Flight Simulators, I live in Leyland in my own house, I have a great girlfriend called Sandra. We’ve been together just over 6 months at the moment.

We love geocaching! It gets us out for exercise and we enjoy the thrill of finding a cache, especially if we’re first to find it!!!!

I enjoy climbing, although i’ve dropped my grade from 6b to 5a after a couple of months off, eating too much and losing fitness! Hopefully it’ll all be back soon!

I’ve written enough for now. I’m sure i’ll have a go again soon!

Time for Bed!

Simon

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