Living with the Samsung Galaxy Note

February 26, 2012

Ok, let me be honest from the start.  I have owned a Galaxy Note a couple of months ago and decided to sell it.  This isn’t an indiction of whether I liked it or not though.

I am notorious for the volume of phones I go through, often the same phone more than once.

So, the first Galaxy Note I liked.  I wanted it to replace my tablet and phone, or rather combine them.  It doesn’t quite work.  The screen is simply too large for phone usage and too small for tablet use, unless of course you want a very small tablet or huge phone.  One that a 6’2 man can’t type on or use without both hands for practically ever task.  This doesn’t make it a bad product, it simply makes it a niche one.  I knew this when I got it and desperately wanted to love it.  But the natural in between nature of the device finally got the better of me and I switched back to separate device.s

In the knowledge I did really, really like the phone / tablet concept having really liked the original Dell Streak, even though it was much maligned in the tech press.  Something about the Dell Streak worked for me as a phone and media player, leaving the space open for a tablet too!  Yet, I digress.

I decided a week ago to give the Note another chance, again at first, it was love at first use.  The S Pen (or stylus as most people will call it) works extremely well, does what it says on the tin, if you want to use it.  The dedicated apps like diary, note taking and drawing all do what they should and rather well too.  It’s best aspect, for me, was the screenshot taking and ability to draw straight on to said screen grab before sharing it via email or social media.  It is intuitive and genuinely useful.

The technical specs are up there with the best of the current crop, the screen is drop dead gorgeous.  It’s an amazing Android phone.

But.

The size, for me, is just too much.  I can not be able to complete basic tasks with one hand.  I don’t want to be grabbing my phone with both hands every time I want to use it.  It fits in my pocket fine, even with a case… 6’2 remember.  That side of its large footprint is fine.  I all comes back to the point that I want to slip it out of my pocket with one hand, check some things, with said one hand and put it away again.

That is the deal breaker for me.  Everything oozes class, from build, to the dated but still great Gingerbread version of Android.  ICS is on its way for those who need ICS or want it.

It’s a real shame.  I love the phone, but it’s just outside of the range of everyday usability to me.


Macbook Part 2

July 5, 2008

It is finally here and although it is second hand I had to sell my soul on ebay to get it.  It is the first generation Macbook so it is over two years old.

It needs some work.  I have replaced the hard drive from stock I already had laying around.  It also needs some ram as the stock it came with is minimal and I hope to install some today.

However….

I am writing this blog post from the machine!  It is running OS X Tiger and  I have to say I am impressed with how slick it is.  It is nice to have a propriety machine that isn’t windows based.  It means I can finally migrate ‘totally’ away from the Redmond machine.  I expect I will be fiddling with for some time to come and that my Ubuntu Dell will be neglected no doubt.

It also means that the Asus passes to my partner and hers passes to our eldest.  She has been needing hers replacing for a while after she broke it.  So everyone wins.

Anyway, on with the work!


It's Distro Time

June 22, 2008

OpenSUSE 11 Installing

The time has come around again for me to do some switching around with regards to the Operating System I use on my main computer, my Dell XPS M1330 laptop.

Up until yesterday I had been using a dual boot system consisting of Ubuntu 8.10 Hardy Heron which I have been using on and off since the alpha stage of it’s release.  Along with Ubuntu the other OS was Vista Home Premium.

So why did I feel the need to change this set up?

To be honest I have been more than happy with Ubuntu for a long time but I wanted to switch from the dual boot system with WIndows eating up half of my 250gig hard drive, to a streamlined linux only option.  I don’t use Vista often enough to justify it being installed here.  I do, however, have Vista Ultimate on our desktop should I need it for whatever reason.

After deciding to get rid of Vista I could simply have deleted the partition, formatted it to ext3 and added it to the Ubuntu partition and edited the grub bootloader.  But I decided to take this opportunity to try out a few new major Linux distribution releases and then stay with one based on whichever I prefer.

First off was Fedora 9 which although very smart looking failed me due to issues with the way the display is managed.  The fact that there are problems getting the proprietary Nvidia drivers working for my mobile laptop graphics card is something I can’t live with.  Stuck without this working properly the system runs hot and the display simply isn’t up to scratch.  Maybe Fedora will be worth another look when this issue is resolved properly through the repos provided.

Next up was Linux Mint, which is a perfectly fine distro.  It is basically a modified Ubuntu Heron which includes the restricted extras like codecs.  The front end is very smart indeed but I found that it was basically a pretty Ubuntu and the extras are things I already had working in Hardy Heron.

I am currently writing this on the Gnome version of openSUSE 11.  This is definitely a promising distro and one which I have not used for any length of time before.  That is about to change however as it installed like a charm detecting all the relevant hardware, including the wireless, out of the box.  I need to keep an eye on the battery life as that is one thing I have discovered with different Linus Distributions on laptops.  They all seem to use up battery power at different rates by default, with Ubuntu being the easiest on power consumption as far as I can tell.

Next on my hit list is Debian, which I have used before and I know will take a bit more setting up on this laptop.

At the moment though, as I said, it’s time to give openSUSE a fair run out.  I’ll post my thoughts on it later.


It’s Distro Time

June 22, 2008

OpenSUSE 11 Installing

The time has come around again for me to do some switching around with regards to the Operating System I use on my main computer, my Dell XPS M1330 laptop.

Up until yesterday I had been using a dual boot system consisting of Ubuntu 8.10 Hardy Heron which I have been using on and off since the alpha stage of it’s release.  Along with Ubuntu the other OS was Vista Home Premium.

So why did I feel the need to change this set up?

To be honest I have been more than happy with Ubuntu for a long time but I wanted to switch from the dual boot system with WIndows eating up half of my 250gig hard drive, to a streamlined linux only option.  I don’t use Vista often enough to justify it being installed here.  I do, however, have Vista Ultimate on our desktop should I need it for whatever reason.

After deciding to get rid of Vista I could simply have deleted the partition, formatted it to ext3 and added it to the Ubuntu partition and edited the grub bootloader.  But I decided to take this opportunity to try out a few new major Linux distribution releases and then stay with one based on whichever I prefer.

First off was Fedora 9 which although very smart looking failed me due to issues with the way the display is managed.  The fact that there are problems getting the proprietary Nvidia drivers working for my mobile laptop graphics card is something I can’t live with.  Stuck without this working properly the system runs hot and the display simply isn’t up to scratch.  Maybe Fedora will be worth another look when this issue is resolved properly through the repos provided.

Next up was Linux Mint, which is a perfectly fine distro.  It is basically a modified Ubuntu Heron which includes the restricted extras like codecs.  The front end is very smart indeed but I found that it was basically a pretty Ubuntu and the extras are things I already had working in Hardy Heron.

I am currently writing this on the Gnome version of openSUSE 11.  This is definitely a promising distro and one which I have not used for any length of time before.  That is about to change however as it installed like a charm detecting all the relevant hardware, including the wireless, out of the box.  I need to keep an eye on the battery life as that is one thing I have discovered with different Linus Distributions on laptops.  They all seem to use up battery power at different rates by default, with Ubuntu being the easiest on power consumption as far as I can tell.

Next on my hit list is Debian, which I have used before and I know will take a bit more setting up on this laptop.

At the moment though, as I said, it’s time to give openSUSE a fair run out.  I’ll post my thoughts on it later.


Integrated webcam

March 8, 2008

I hadn’t bothered looking at the integrated webcam on this laptop since I rid it of Vista, so I thought I would have a look today.

Considering this laptop, the Dell xps M1330, can be bought with Ubuntu preinstalled direct from Dell, as expected, the webcam works out of the box driver wise.  Software?  Well Ubuntu 7.10’s repo’s include a program called ‘cheese’ which picks up the cam straight away and allows recording of video and photo taking.  The other option is downloading Skype 2 Beta for Linux which also runs the cam ‘out of the box’.

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Me and me and Marie.


New Laptop Update

February 18, 2008

There was a slight change of plan when it came to the laptop. After placing the order with Dell I realised there was going to be a 15 day wait for delivery.

Can I wait 15 days? You must be kidding.

So it was time for plan b, have a look on the high street stores via the internet to find a replacement. After some proper searching I had come to the conclusion that I had two choices. One was a Macbook (yeah, I know…) and the other was the same Dell (not available in shops eh? lol) as the original just with a souped up spec and a few quid more. I was very tempted by both, but what swung it in the end was the spec per pound of the Dell. So, here I am happily typing a way on this pretty little beast:

Processor Type INTEL CORE 2 DUO T7250
Processor speed 2.00 GHZ
Memory Size 2048 MB
Memory Type DDR2 SDRAM
Hard Drive Capacity 250 GB
Optical Drives DVDRW + R9
CD-ROM Speed 24 x
CD-RW Speed. 10 x
DVD-ROM Speed 8 x
DVD-RW Speed 4 x
Floppy Disk Drive NO
Screen Size/Type 13.3
Graphics Card Type NVIDIA. GeForce? 8400M GS
Graphics Memory 128 MB
TV-out NO Yes,it does have it really, just via HDMI
Sound Type INTEGRATED
Wireless Enabled YES
No. of USB Connections 2
No. of Firewire Connections 1
Other Interfaces 8-IN-1 CARD READER
Battery Type LI ION
Software Titles Included Works 8.5
Operating system VISTA Home premium
Weight 1.8 kg
Height 34 mm
Width 318 mm
Depth 238 mm

Yeah. Vista, I know. But I am tempted to leave it on as one system so I do actually use Vista as a regular OS. And I have just spent a good half an hour cleaning off all the crap that comes installed. only four or five toolbar icons now.

Anyway, that’s all folks.


Dell Laptop

February 17, 2008

Decided it was time for a new laptop as I am starting to learn to program, and although my ASUS EEE is an excellent machine, I really needed something a little bit bigger with more get up and go.  This is where Dell come in:

Base
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T7250 (2.00 GHz, 2 MB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB)

Memory
2048MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2×1024]

Keyboard
Internal Lightweight Keyboard – UK/Irish (QWERTY)

Video Card
128MB nVidia® GeForce® 8400M GS

Hard Drive
160GB (5400RPM) SATA Hard Drive

Modem
No Modem

Optical Devices
Fixed 8x DVD+/-RW Slim Slot Load Drive, including SW

Wireless Networking
Intel® Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-Card – Europe – Core 2 Duo Processors

Power Supply
65W AC Adapter

Bluetooth
Dell™ TrueMobile 355 internal Bluetooth Module – European

Primary Battery
Primary 6-cell Lithium-Ion Battery (56 WHr)

Biometric Identification
Biometric Fingerprint Reader

Colour Choice
Midnight Blue & 2.0 mega pixel Camera for CCFL Display

LCD
13.3″ UltraSharp™ WXGA (1280×800) CCFL Display (220nits) with TrueLife™

This should be delivered next week.  Why did I choose this model specifically?  Well I was listening to Lug Radio‘s recent podcast and it swayed me.

So, in the mean time while I wait it’s time to brush up on some C++ that I started a while back and prepare for the arrival.  I’m also thinking of doing a ‘diary’ of how I progress with my chosen language here when I start.  Again, we’ll see.


Vista haters

February 11, 2008

These people really get on my nerves. Why?

Well Vista is designed for the ‘United Radio Op’s’ of this world. People who are pretty clueless when it comes to anything computer related. Not only them though. Vista is aimed at every walk of life computer user. So bearing that in mind it is going to be difficult to please everyone all of the time.

I’m going to list a few points and deflect them as best I can.

  • Vista is buggy, doesn’t work et al.

This is simply wrong. Vista is more stable than any other version of windows at it’s same time of life. Drivers? Yes, it was a problem, but you can’t expect a new operating system to have every driver covered, and that is less of an issue now. I just installed Vista on someones laptop and everything worked ‘out of the box’; from graphics to wireless. The driver argument simply isn’t one anymore. It’s stable and it works exceedingly well.

  • Vista is resource hungry

Compared to xp, Vista is resource hungry. What would run xp easily, sometimes will struggle to run Vista with all it’s bells and whistles. But. I don’t advocate ‘upgrading’ to Vista unless you have a pressing need, such as Direct 10 gaming, not that that has taken flight yet. If you aren’t upgrading, which the majority of everyday users wouldn’t do anyway, when else would you come into contact with Vista? If you bought a new machine. Well if you have bought a new machine, the specs will run Vista. People then complain, well what ran xp like lightning, runs Vista slowly. Yes, that is true, but then the price of a new PC reflects that. Prices of hardware have tumbled as usual for what you get. You can pick up a stick of 1gb of ram for £20 and get change these days. As is always the norm, if you splash out for a new cheap pc, you will get the performance of a cheap pc with regards to today’s software. If you buy a midrange to highend pc, you will get better performance. It was the same with xp. Times change and computing specifications reflect the advance. Software requirements increase with time as do the available high end components.

  • Vista is annoying with all it’s pop up windows

Security, security, security. It’s all people complain about these days. ‘Windows xp is soooo insecure’. So Microsoft add features to deal with this in Vista and we get. ‘Vista is soooo annoying with all its confirmations and pop-ups’….. Make your mind up….

  • DRM and phoning home

This is one aspect of Vista where I am not so happy. DRM I can accept from a 2007/2008 commercial OS, that’s the way the market is. As much as I dislike it MS couldn’t have released it any other way. The giant’s of intellectual property law / companies are focused this way and until something changes globally that’s the way it is. If you don’t want drm, install Ubuntu Linux, which is in many ways far superior to Vista and pirate your music and film. Microsoft could have tried to go in a different direction, but it simply isn’t viable until there is a commercial shift wider than one company, no matter how big they might be. Phoning home? Well this is something I can’t stand and one of the main reasons I don’t use Vista. Once you have activated your copy of windows, that should be that. No need to pry any further into your computing habits, ie every time you switch on your computer.

  • The frontend

It’s different than xp. Is that a reason to hate it? So some things are in different places and somethings work a little differently. Not really. As with most new products, there are changes and it takes a while to get used to them. That’s the way it works. If it were any other product it would have a settling in period and people would get used to it and that would be that. With Vista? Of course not. It’s a deal breaker, it’s awful, etc etc. Get over it. Use it for a few days and get over yourself. Things change.

Those are some main points. There are plenty more out there of course, and people are bound to disagree with me. But, in my opinion, Vista haters, for the most part, hate Vista because that is what they are conditioned to do, via peer pressure and for no other reason than it’s the cool thing to do.

Vista works, it works well, it’s stable, it’s frontend is very pretty to look at. It’s user friendly, all the features for the more experienced user are under the bonnet. The improvements over xp are up front and inside for all to see.

The only reason I can see to hate Vista is Big Brother syndrome. Saying that, MS has been going this way for a long time in xp and if you continued to use xp why not use Vista with your new machine. Like I say, don’t pay for the upgrade, but if you were happy with xp there is no reason you won’t be with Vista. Unless you are the above mentioned ‘Vista Hater’. Dell’s Ubuntu laptops retail for almost the same as it’s Vista products. SP1 is very quickly appearing over the horizon. Vista seems to be on the up and up. If you buy a new system as most people do, it will come with Vista and most people won’t have an issue after using it for a couple of weeks.

So how would I sum up?

Well Vista is here to stay. And unless you want to move to Linux or to a Mac OS, Vista does fine and is better than xp in most respects for the masses. If you have a special need in your computing world that Vista has trampled all over, then make a switch or stay with xp. As for the millions of everyday Windows users, Vista makes a fine operating system. As long as you are getting it by default with a new pc. However saying that, Vista isn’t exactly expensive compared to buying xp.

Vista is fine.

Btw, for those of you who got this far, you might be thinking I am some kind of Vista or Microsoft fanboy.

Well I’m not, I run Linux, and am typing this on Slackware Linux now, I don’t use Vista or xp very often, though I do have them both. The reason I wrote this is simple. I am sick of the sheep, the crowd followers and the idiots who slag everything off because some die hard OSS user who they think is cool does so too or whoever else. Or because they hate Microsoft full stop over and despite anything that they actually create that is good they stick by their irrational opinions.