Saturday, 27 February 2010

Pod Delusion - Technological Fashion Victims

The Pod Delusion is a weekly podcast about interesting things. It takes a skeptical, secular, lefty view of the world. The latest edition is well worth a listen. Its at

By complete coincidence I have made a contribution this week called "Technological Fashion Victims" its about why we buy so much technological junk, especially mobile phones and it references the excellent web site. I also managed to get some remarks in about the new device thats about to save mankind, yes the Apple iPad ;-)


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Pod Delusion: Apple vs Nokia Stores

I recorded a 5 minute podcast contribution for the Pod Delusion, Podcast . It describes my adventures visiting both the Nokia and Apple stores earlier in the year

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Is the Nokia OVI Store Broken?

When the Nokia OVI Store opened I found some great software called "Scalado PhotoTwister" this manipulates camera photos on the Nokia 5800 and produces hilarious distorted photos - like a software hall of mirrors. For a £1 I thought this was a no-brainer and was delighted with the results. Scalado works with my phone provider to do operator billing and so I didn't even have to use my credit card to make the purchase. Great. Well it was until I needed to do a hard reset on the phone.

Great software but theres a catch!

After resetting I logged into OVi store went to the "My Stuff" section to redownload the software . The problem is, there is no Redownload option . In fact the only way I can redownload the software is by rebuying it. Ok its a £1 I could afford to buy it again but I think there is an important principle at stake here. What if the software had been £20 or £30, would I really want to pay that AGAIN if I needed to redownload?

I contacted Scalado, this was there response

We will contact Nokia to discuss how this should be handled, it seems to me that Nokia should have stored a record of your purchase along with the IMEI number of your phone, thus enabling you to download the purchased item as many times as you want to that phone.

We will get back to you when we have a response from Nokia.
I have contacted Nokia via there OVI feedback form. No reply. I have posted two items of feedback on the PhotoTwister software telling people about the problem. Have also used the complain form in the software section twice, no response from Nokia.

Several days later I bought Shazam software for £4, this isn't even showing up on "My Stuff" list at all.

Matthew Miller from Nokia Experts has had similar problems, as the Tweet below explains

Major FAIL with Ovi Store! Cannot redownload after a reset? What the heck? Should NOT have to individually contact customer support
Its not clear whether there are widespread problems or just one affecting a small number of people. Are you have problems? Let me know.

Nokia really need to sort out these problems, the reputation of the Nokia store relies not only how well it works but how quickly they resolve any problems that occur.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Nokia Store VS Apple Store (London)

Last week I was in London and called in at both the Nokia and Apple stores. I’m a first timer to both places and I was surprised by what I found, especially as I am a bit of a Nokia fan(boy) at heart. However Apple fans read-on you might be pleasantly surprised!
Inside the Nokia store:
Creative Commons Licence - Rafe Blandford
The Nokia store is bright and technological with amazing colour shifting translucent walls that give the place a futuristic feel. There is plenty of glass, monitors, flashing displays everywhere and a glossy slick feel to the place, it’s a bit like stepping onto the set of sci-fi movie. At the far end of the store is the mysterious looking Vertu section. Vertu is a UK subsidiary of Nokia that produce some fantastically expensive “pimped up” phones. Though that’s not how their marketing site describes them!

Around the walls of the store are all the Nokia phones in the current range, with cute little fold-up leaflets listing info and technical specs for you to take away. All the phones are available for hands on playing. If you want to compare their phones in one place it saves trawling around mobile phone shops being harassed by sales staff. Some music capable phones are also setup with headphones so you can listen
in as well. Each phone is fastened to a security stalk via a heavy cable, making it quite difficult to play with the product. Also its difficult to judge the weight of product in the hand, which is an important factor when buying new technology. I was pleased to see loads of the new Nokia 5800's xpressmusic phone available for customers to test, it launched a couple of weeks ago (see bottom for links to coverage). Staff were polite and one of them asked me if I needed help so I can’t fault them there. There were quite a few alarms going off whilst I visited, and no it wasn’t me who set them off! Though I did get the feeling that I was being watched. So an impressive store, with high tech feel, plenty of products to play with but few actual customers on the day.

Inside the Apple store:
Creative Commons Licence - Jon Rawlinson
The Apple Store over the road is big and spacious. Giant white Apple symbols decorate the windows looking over the high-street from the beautifully restored, light and spacious building. The first thing you see is the enormous glass staircase that takes up the centre of the store, the glass theme continues where a section of the floor upstairs. Its quite scary to see the shadowy figures of people moving below you through the frosted glass.

Oodles of Apple equipment is laid out on tables and the chairs are all taken with people using the products. In fact the whole store is packed with people. The atmosphere was more like a festival. There is a buzz, a feeling of excitement; people are engaging with the products, in an excited fervor. Upstairs at the back, a man waves his arms excitedly in front of rows of seated people sitting with their Macbooks learning about Apple products. The store events leaflet has news about future visits from Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard. Young friendly people in bright orange t-shirts welcome the faithful to the store with a cheery smile. Like the Nokia store the products themselves are secured to the desk with cables but the Apple ones are thin and discrete and don’t interfere with your ability to play.

There were books, accessories, magazines, and almost every available Apple product available to try and buy in bright cheerful surroundings. Rows of iPod touches are paired with gorgeous but expensive Bose headphones and there are queues of people waiting to play with the iPhone 3Gs. I left the store feeling better about Apple and amazed at the people enjoying their shopping experience.

The cynical voice in me says that these people were Apple-fans blindly consuming Apple products. I think it goes further than that though. Apple is clearly selling products to an enthusiastic and devoted audience, even if the products are not always as revolutionary as they like to think , they are well designed and marketed.   More crucially the way they sell and market the product is attracting people to their lifestyle, people want to associate themselves with Apple, and they want to consume the Apple brand. The atmosphere in store reinforces this. If Nokia want to remain at the top they need to take note.
More info Vertu phones:

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Which is the Geekiest Watch?

This is a Casio F-91W wrist watch and it cost about £6 from Amazon.  I think its the best Geek watch, but the question is.... What is the Geekiest Watch? 
Are you old enough  to remember the LED watches appearing in the 1980's? The ones way you pressed a button and the display just lit up for a few seconds?  And then the later LCD watches just like the Casio above?   Like all radical new technology they were very expensive,  I remember a friend paying over £50 for the calculator model. 

Of course a real contender for Geekness is the binary watch, a timepiece where you have to know the base 2 numbering system to tell the time and translate it to decimel every time you look at the face!   This evening whilst surfing for watches I was shocked to discovered that the big catalogue retail chain  Argos now sells binary watches, is nothing sacred?

If we talking binary watches then the O1 The One Kerala Trance Blue LED KT102B1 is probably one of my favourites

Which do you think is the Geekiest watch?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Gadget Desires

Wayback in the last century, 1996 to be exact, I bought my first real gadget, it was Psion Siena. Since then I haven't stopped buying new technology.

In this blog I will be talking about my obsession with new technology, reminiscing about older devices and taking a sceptical view of the whole gadget bandwagon.

More posts soon.