Monday, 15 June 2009

Rendered immobile by having too many choices

Continuing last week's theme of writing about trivial nonsense rather than what's really occupying my head, today I present to you... mobile phones!

These are the five mobile phones I have had. Though the picture's not life-size, it is to scale. No surprise to see that, for the most part, phones have got smaller. Actually, this head-on photo doesn't really convey how tiny the T10 in the middle was: so thin, and with a bevelled back, it was minute. It weighed something ridiculous like 78g too. But then the trend switched from miniaturisation towards feature-richness... colour screens, cameras, MP3 players, video....

I've had my current camera, the K750i, for three and a half years now. It's been faultless. I chose it back then for it's excellent camera which, for me, still outperforms many newer phones that are, on paper at least, technically superior. And it's well made too. After more than 1,200 days of heavy use, it still feels solid - no creaks, no wobbles, no keypad wear. Battery life is excellent too, still. So why am I even thinking about changing?

Well, it's a little on the bulky side - it really is a phone in my pocket, I'm not just pleased to see you. And after three and a half years of sharing a pocket with keys and coins, the case of Old Faithful is starting to look a bit scratched and tatty. Plus, I'll be honest, I see the bells and whistles on some of my friends' phones and I get gadget envy...

Since I have no desire to change networks, I find my choice of phones is limited to what my current provider offers. From that, I've narrowed it down to two: the Sony Ericsson K770 (left) and the Nokia 6220 (right). The first of these is familiar (I've only ever had Ericsson and SE phones) and is notionally the replacement for my current phone but... but the camera has no zoom, unless you downscale to VGA mode. My old phone has 4x zoom, even in 2MP mode, though admittedly you need a vice-like grip to get good, steady results like that. So I'm very attracted to the Nokia 6220, with its 5MP camera that zooms at all resolutions but... but I tried one in the shop and it just feels like it's made from recycled plastic cups. The battery cover was so loose it wobbled from side to side and felt like it would come off if you breathed on it. And the keypad? It creaked and groaned like an arthritic hip when doing something as simple as sending a text. This was on a brand new phone, don't forget - what's it going to be like in three and a half months time, let alone three and a half years?

So I either choose one of these phones, both of which are flawed, or I hang on to Old Faithful until it does what modern electronic gadgets always do in the end, and gives up the ghost. If this blog actually has any readers (a fact I often doubt, despite web stats to the contrary), do any of you have thoughts on, or experience of, either the K770 or the 6220? Care to share them if so?

Maybe I should just wait in the hope that my network will eventually offer the phone I really like the look of, the Sony Ericsson C510. Choices, choices...

Friday, 12 June 2009

I get a kick out of you

There are lots of things I could write about today. Firstly, there are the news story that beggar belief - you know the sort, how a footballer can be worth £80million, how MPs stretch the truth to breaking point and beyond on their expenses, how Big Brother is somehow back on our nation's screens (a story I will not dignify with a link). And then there are the appalling news stories - a female nursery worker arrested for various forms of child abuse (I suppose I should add "alleged" somewhere here), children being killed in knife attacks, husbands disposing of wives in wheelie bins... I could go on and on, the list of bad news stories is endless.

I have opinions, strong ones, about all of these stories, what they say about society in the UK, and a lot more besides but...

...but it's a beautiful sunny day, I have cause for some moderate optimism in my life and, for now, my world is a predominantly good, positive place. So I don't want to rant and rave, don't want to moan, don't want (for once) to think about all the bad things we have to contend with every day in 21st Century Britain. Instead, I want to talk about something cool. It's called SongKick.

SongKick is, I suppose, sort of like a social network but unlike Bacefook, MyArse, Twatter and the rest it's a network with a purpose, that purpose being to track your gig-going habits and (potentially) link you with people who went to the same gigs. An ever expanding, user-contributed archive of gigs with photos, reviews, posters, support acts and set lists is available, from which you can select to proudly declare "I was there!" As someone who keeps all his gig tickets in an old Oxo tin, I have to say I think that this is a brilliant idea.

As with any new website, there are teething troubles. Firstly, there seem to be a few errors, with gigs listed under more than one entry, or headliners listed as support and vice-versa. And the same venue is listed more than once but with slightly different wording... but these aren't problems that can't be resolved. I’m still working my way through my gig list (I'm between houses right now and the aforementioned Oxo tin is buried in a box somewhere, and my memory's only so good when it comes to dates...) but why not start your own gig history? Go on - you know you want to... and, if nothing else, it beats "poking" people or writing banalities like "thanks for the add"...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Hired and fired

On the basis of having watched one episode, I wrote back in April about The Apprentice, and who I thought would win it. To save you reading that post (though April was a good month for blogging, you could do a lot worse, really you could), I predicted Kate would win. Now I haven't seen the final yet - I'm going to iPlayer it when I get a chance - but as it turns out, I was wrong. Though she made the final Kate ended the show as the runner-up; Sir Alan picked Yasmina to be his apprentice. Good for her.

Just goes to show how little I know then, right? Well maybe, though I did back Roger Federer to win the French Open (which he duly did) so I did okay there, more than doubling the admittedly small amount I had staked... maybe all it goes to show (and I'm writing this with my blog-tongue firmly in my blog-cheek, before anyone complains) is that a good brunette will always beat a good blonde...

Saturday, 6 June 2009

More than meets the eye

Much has been written about Natalie Suliman, the young model who appears on the new Marks and Spencer billboard advertisements. If the tabloids are to be believed, people are almost crashing their cars as drivers cannot take their eyes off Natalie's assets which, those self-same tabloids are quick to report, measure 32E.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a heterosexual bloke and I like a nice pair of breasts as much as the next man (and I cannot emphasise enough that "nice" doesn't have to equal "big" and "big" certainly doesn't always equal "nice", at least in my book). Natalie's ad turns heads for obvious reasons. But the full ad, which you can get a slightly better look at by clicking the thumbnail to the left, well, that just shows her torso - it's even worse than the 90s "Hello boys" Wonderbra ad featuring Eva Herzigova - at least that showed the model's face, as well as the contents of her bra.

So to restore a bit of balance in her coverage (and uncoverage), here's a picture of Natalie, right, that shows that she has a pretty face too and, like all the most beautiful women, she's a brunette. She's not just a pair of breasts. Again, you can click the thumbnail to the right for a closer look.

You can find more pictures and a biog of Natalie on her profile page at Elite.