The Future Called Me On The Phone

The drawing to the right could use a little explanation. No, it doesn’t actually make any sense. Yes, that is a pink rabbit staring at the sun for absolutely no apparent reason. It’s just a random doodle, and it has to be admitted, a pretty crappy one.

What distinguishes it is the fact that I just drew it on my phone. I can’t quite believe it; to get a pen-like line like this on any electronic device would be impressive enough. Yet even a first attempt compares well to drawings on this blog done with a high quality graphics tablet.

But to be able to do that on a device I can carry around in my pocket – a device I can also use to edit and publish the drawing to the web, and make phone calls sometimes, well to me it’s a dream come true.

Have you guessed what it is yet?

Stunned By Technology

Actress Audrey Munson (center) in role as arti...
Oh Hell I'm tired, let's just have some porn

Oh God. Been playing with this thing¹ all day long, and most of the night. Got less than four hours’ sleep. Excuse me please if I’m writing little and making sense even less.

Did you see there’s going to be a new Agatha Christie film? What makes this one different is that the woman playing Jane Marple is in her thirties rather than her sixties. Perhaps we’re going to be treated to the first Miss Marple nude scene.

There’s a phrase I never thought I’d be saying.

Ha! Poor cat. That must’ve been a shock. Since the weather got warm, I’ve been opening the window in the attic room where I sleep. She’s taken to coming up here and using it as her cat flap. She hops onto the bed first, then leaps through.

It was cold tonight.

From now on, I will always recognise the sound of a cat attempting to jump through a closed window.

 

  1. The new phone.

I Can’t Tell You Much

it's real :)
This is *not* the best phone ever. This one is hideous.

These are my first faltering steps, but I am blogging now on a hanheld device. It’s tricky, it has to be said.The tiny screen I can handle, but the microscopic keyboard with weird layout will take some getting used to.

That though could be said of anything from the latest iPhone to the cheapest Symbian or Android device. This one, in my opinion, is the greatest smartphone ever made – indeed, that perhaps ever will be made. Seriously.

But that’s all I can tell you right now. Partly of course to keep you guessing that bit longer.

And partly because I need to relearn how to type.

First, Some Phone Nostalgia

Recently a friend asked me for advice on choosing a phone. It was hideously difficult – I don’t think it’s ever been harder to pick a phone than it is now. I miss the days when you couldn’t go wrong with a Nokia.

My first ever phone was a Motorola M3688, which was as charming as it was inept. Its sole apparent advance over Motorola’s previous model: It had a flip to cover the keys. It didn’t fold in half, you understand. It just had a plastic bit to cover its big rubbery buttons that you had to flip down if you wanted to dial. It served no clear purpose whatsoever, but that was the sort of design frippery that wowed us at the turn of the century. I can’t be sure now, but I think it may have swayed me to choose this one over the splendid Nokia 5110. A lesson to designers and marketers everywhere: shit sells.

It was massive by modern standards. Nowadays I keep my phone in my front left pocket. If I did that with the M3688 it looked like I was pleased to see everybody. Despite the mass though, they were vulnerable. If you dropped one, it flew into pieces. Though admittedly once you reassembled it it usually worked again. (They were less resistant to moisture; in the end I lost mine to submersion.)

After this it was Nokias all the way, or almost. The great 5110 (stolen), followed by what I consider to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing phones ever, the 3210, which also brought predictive texting (also stolen). This was followed by the 3310; though a lot less appealing in looks this introduced a raft of great features like vibrating alert (still have, still works).

But then I took a wrong turn, and bought a Sony Ericsson – the V600i. Now I am possibly being unfair; the problem with swapping between Nokias and Sony Ericssons is that they are so similar. It is the tiny differences in key layouts and so on that you will find too irritating to bear. But on the whole this wasn’t a very successful phone. Every plus had its concomitant minus. It was very attractive and impressively compact, but the keys were too small and – stupidly – glossy to use comfortably. It was my first camera phone, but at 1.3 megapixel resolution it was barely worth having. It was a 3G phone – the first affordable one on the market – but its tiny screen, weak camera and hopelessly basic browser meant there was really nothing you could do with that fast data.

Vodafone seemed to think they could get us streaming video – to 1.8″ screens. My devious plan, in the days when 3G or even GPRS data modems were still expensive business toys, was to hook it up to my laptop to feed my Internet addiction when I couldn’t get Wi-Fi. But I hadn’t done the research; though it could get 3G data, and though it had a data transfer cable to connect it to a PC, it couldn’t share the connection over the cable. Dumb bastard. (Still have, though I can’t find charger.)

My first actual smartphone was a Nokia N70. It ran the Symbian operating system, and could do real smartphone stuff like syncing contacts and calendars. I know, not impressive in this age of apps, but a huge leap still. At last it could be used as a tethered data modem, but 3G modems with much better data pricing were now coming out so there was little point. (Stolen – though only after it had been retired to spare phone status.)

And it was a good enough camera phone to get me hooked on the spontaneous kind of photography the things allow; soon I wanted a better one. The 5 megapixel Nokia 6220 Classic was that, plus it added GPS to the mix and finally made Web on a phone comfortable. In almost every respect this phone was really an N82, one of Nokia’s top models, squeezed into a smaller and (visibly) cheaper package. The only real sacrifice was Wi-Fi. In brief, a good mid-range smartphone at a great price.

And thus, irrelevant.

The dinosaur metaphor is irresistible. The landscape they once ruled has changed suddenly and utterly. The comet of course was the iPhone, and Nokia are left blinking and wondering what the cold white stuff falling from the sky is. Compile a list of the ten best-loved phones today, and there might not be a single Nokia on it. It isn’t that they got worse. I would argue in fact that Nokia still make the best phones, as phones. Their problem is that a lot of people don’t want phones any more. They want repurposable social connectivity stroke mobile media Swiss army… things. What are they even? The phone is evolving, and it’s not yet clear into what. Nokia certainly didn’t seem to know.

But never mind what’s next for Nokia. What the hell phone am I going to buy now?

First, Some Phone Nostalgia

Recently a friend asked me for advice on choosing a phone. It was hideously difficult – I don’t think it’s ever been harder to pick a phone than it is now. I miss the days when you couldn’t go wrong with a Nokia.

My first ever phone was a Motorola M3688, which was as charming as it was inept. Its sole apparent advance over Motorola’s previous model: It had a flip to cover the keys. It didn’t fold in half, you understand. It just had a plastic bit to cover its big rubbery buttons that you had to flip down if you wanted to dial. It served no clear purpose whatsoever, but that was the sort of design frippery that wowed us at the turn of the century. I can’t be sure now, but I think it may have swayed me to choose this one over the splendid Nokia 5110. A lesson to designers and marketers everywhere: shit sells.

It was massive by modern standards. Nowadays I keep my phone in my front left pocket. If I did that with the M3688 it looked like I was pleased to see everybody. Despite the mass though, they were vulnerable. If you dropped one, it flew into pieces. Though admittedly once you reassembled it it usually worked again. (They were less resistant to moisture; in the end I lost mine to submersion.)

After this it was Nokias all the way, or almost. The great 5110 (stolen), followed by what I consider to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing phones ever, the 3210, which also brought predictive texting (also stolen). This was followed by the 3310; though a lot less appealing in looks this introduced a raft of great features like vibrating alert (still have, still works).

But then I took a wrong turn, and bought a Sony Ericsson – the V600i. Now I am possibly being unfair; the problem with swapping between Nokias and Sony Ericssons is that they are so similar. It is the tiny differences in key layouts and so on that you will find too irritating to bear. But on the whole this wasn’t a very successful phone. Every plus had its concomitant minus. It was very attractive and impressively compact, but the keys were too small and – stupidly – glossy to use comfortably. It was my first camera phone, but at 1.3 megapixel resolution it was barely worth having. It was a 3G phone – the first affordable one on the market – but its tiny screen, weak camera and hopelessly basic browser meant there was really nothing you could do with that fast data.

Vodafone seemed to think they could get us streaming video – to 1.8″ screens. My devious plan, in the days when 3G or even GPRS data modems were still expensive business toys, was to hook it up to my laptop to feed my Internet addiction when I couldn’t get Wi-Fi. But I hadn’t done the research; though it could get 3G data, and though it had a data transfer cable to connect it to a PC, it couldn’t share the connection over the cable. Dumb bastard. (Still have, though I can’t find charger.)

My first actual smartphone was a Nokia N70. It ran the Symbian operating system, and could do real smartphone stuff like syncing contacts and calendars. I know, not impressive in this age of apps, but a huge leap still. At last it could be used as a tethered data modem, but 3G modems with much better data pricing were now coming out so there was little point. (Stolen – though only after it had been retired to spare phone status.)

And it was a good enough camera phone to get me hooked on the spontaneous kind of photography the things allow; soon I wanted a better one. The 5 megapixel Nokia 6220 Classic was that, plus it added GPS to the mix and finally made Web on a phone comfortable. In almost every respect this phone was really an N82, one of Nokia’s top models, squeezed into a smaller and (visibly) cheaper package. The only real sacrifice was Wi-Fi. In brief, a good mid-range smartphone at a great price.

And thus, irrelevant.

The dinosaur metaphor is irresistible. The landscape they once ruled has changed suddenly and utterly. The comet of course was the iPhone, and Nokia are left blinking and wondering what the cold white stuff falling from the sky is. Compile a list of the ten best-loved phones today, and there might not be a single Nokia on it. It isn’t that they got worse. I would argue in fact that Nokia still make the best phones, as phones. Their problem is that a lot of people don’t want phones any more. They want repurposable social connectivity stroke mobile media Swiss army… things. What are they even? The phone is evolving, and it’s not yet clear into what. Nokia certainly didn’t seem to know.

But never mind what’s next for Nokia. What the hell phone am I going to buy now?

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet…

The woman in my life is asleep beside me. She’s had a long day. First working all Saturday until late, then a bus journey of three hours. To see me. I feel privileged; spoiled even.

It’s been a very full day. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to write much. Later I hope to fill you in on the further travails of the Very Sick Computer. Also, I have an announcement to make: I know which is the best phone.

Hint: It probably isn’t what you think is the best phone. But I hope to write a guide to help you choose the right one for your needs and desires.

Good night

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet…

The woman in my life is asleep beside me. She’s had a long day. First working all Saturday until late, then a bus journey of three hours. To see me. I feel privileged; spoiled even.

It’s been a very full day. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to write much. Later I hope to fill you in on the further travails of the Very Sick Computer. Also, I have an announcement to make: I know which is the best phone.

Hint: It probably isn’t what you think is the best phone. But I hope to write a guide to help you choose the right one for your needs and desires.

Good night

Can We Arrest Property Speculators Now Please?

Quality and Cost of Services Concerns
Investors to sue Financial Regulator for recklessly letting them do whatever they wanted to do.

“An organisation representing property investors and developers is to take a class action in the High Court against the Government, the Financial Regulator and the banks over their roles in the collapse of the property market.” ~ The Times again.

I’d be all for suing the banks. If we weren’t all liable for their debts now, making it just a little self-defeating. But how do property investors get to sue them? These were the ones trying to make money out of house prices magically going up forever. The only people they should have a right to sue are their parents, for breeding them too stupid to breathe and tie their shoes at the same time.

Ah, because the banks lent recklessly. True – though this does overlook the fact that the people they were lending recklessly too were the property investors who were borrowing recklessly. It’s the alcoholic’s justification: they didn’t drink too much. They were over-served.

Having destroyed our economy with their bare-bollocked, dribble-soaked avarice, property speculators have decided that they were the real victims here. So once we’ve finished selling our hospitals to pay off foreign banks, they want whatever’s left.

At what point does it become legal to hunt these people down with dogs?

Libyan Rebels ‘Undemocratic’

History of Fine Gael

Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin thinks that the rebels in Libya should not be supported because, as quoted in the Times, they “did not follow democratic means. They took up arms against their leader.”

I will allow you a moment to take that in.

The rebels against Gaddafi should not be supported because they… are rebels.

Fine Gael, the party of obedience.

I wonder what democratic means she supposes are open to the inhabitants of a dictatorship – other than the one of mass protest, which I think we can safely say was exhausted when he started shooting them.

There are many clear reasons to be against intervention in the Libyan uprising, and they must be weighed against the good it might possibly do. I outlined what I think is the most important one days ago. There are even reasons why it might be wrong to rise up against Gaddafi. But his being the legally constituted dictator for life according to the constitution which he wrote personally, that is not one of them.

You idiot.

Save The Senate

This is a photograph of the Seanad chamber, Le...
What our Senate might look like with the useless scum removed

There could be no better image of all that’s wrong with the Senate than Ivor Calelly contemptuously abusing the house to save his own political career. No wonder the public has no respect for it when so many of its denizens were dumped there, in what the parties seem to think of as long-stay parking.

This is a great shame. Though as presently constituted the Seanad is, let’s face it, a pustule, what we need in this country is more oversight of the executive, not less. It may be little better at this than the rubber-stamping Dáil, but it is a little.

The Senate has some great strengths. You can get into it without really being a career politician, without being slave to the party whips. We could use more of that, you know. The Senate has – or had – people like Shane Ross and David Norris.

Want a simple way to reform the Seanad? End the Taoiseach‘s right to stuff it with useless lackeys. Skim off the political pond scum.