Tag Archives: phone

My del.icio.us bookmarks for December 17th through December 30th

  • Market Yourself An iParadigm – "The part I love the most is that the people making the 'just market your app!' comment have no real idea how much effective marketing costs. Oh sure, you can go far on viral and word-of-mouth marketing, but it all pales in comparison to even a small banner graphic in the App Store." Making your application visible is hard.
  • Matthew Alexander on Torture – Nice examples of why torture doesn't work. Worth reading the linked articles.
  • Robbery suspect left his address – "Chicago police have arrested a man who allegedly robbed a bank using a threatening note written on the back of his own pay cheque." Brilliant.
  • Reliving Cuba's revolution – Interesting to see this on "film." They wouldn't let us take cameras up there when I visited in 2004. (Plenty of other pictures of Cuba on ZX81.org.uk though!)
  • What Carriers Aren’t Eager to Tell You About Texting – "Once one understands that a text message travels wirelessly as a stowaway within a control channel, one sees the carriers’ pricing plans in an entirely new light." I worked on text messaging software back in the late nineties and, at least for GSM, is absolutely true.
  • Internet sites could be given 'cinema-style age ratings', Culture Secretary says – "Giving film-style ratings to individual websites is one of the options being considered, [Andy Burnham, British Culture Secretary confirms]." The government still seems not to understand how the internet works. If implemented, this will basically result in a system that's easy to circumvent and is paid for with higher ISP connection fees. We all lose.
  • Happy Birthday Earthrise – "Oh, my God! Look at that picture over there! Isn't that something…" Still very much awe-inspiring even forty years later.
  • Fearless: Apple's Macworld Expo exit is part of its DNA – "In Apple's estimation, the best time to kill off a successful product or brand is 'as soon as possible.' Dropping a winner means creating a new winner to replace it, and that's exactly what Apple has decided it must do to be successful: create great new products again and again."
  • If programming languages were religions… – Apparently I'm into Voodoo and Taoism…

My del.icio.us bookmarks for May 14th through May 17th

My del.icio.us bookmarks for January 29th through February 3rd

My del.icio.us bookmarks for January 4th through January 7th

Update: Belkin Wi-Fi Phone

I just realised that the story of my Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype lacks any form of closure. But before we get there, let’s start with a quick recap in case you didn’t read the original review or its follow-up.

Last year, after realising that we had spent over ?30 in a quarter on line rental but less than 50p on phone calls, we decided to get rid of our land-line and rely only on broadband and VoIP technology. After some thought we went for Skype and a physical handset that connected to our wireless access point. This seemed like a great solution as leaving a computer switched on 24/7 just so we could recieve calls on our SkypeIn number didn’t appeal.

The appeal quickly wore off when it materialised that the Belkin handset just didn’t work very well. Other parties complained of an annoying echo while we complained that it drifted on- and off-line, meaning that people had to be lucky and call us when it was online. It also exhibited stability problems, often crashing during a call or even while in standby. Belkin were actually pretty efficient about taking the handset back and replacing it with a less broken one.

    We were initially quite happy with the new phone. It actually worked free of the power cable and people were able to call us on our SkypeIn number on a couple of occasions.

    Unfortunately, the more we used it the more we noticed its flaws. For a wireless device, one of its biggest problems is the fact that you pretty much have to leave it plugged in all the time if you want to reach the end of your call without the battery dying. It was fine to unplug it when the call came in but the battery life in stand-by mode meant that even leaving it unplugged in the office for half a day would have been asking for trouble if someone rang.

    Then there were the random hangs. Sometimes, as noted in my follow-up post, the time just stuck, the machine unresponsive. Actually, I tell a lie. If you pushed a button the back-light would come on, giving the impression that it was still alive, but it wouldn’t actually do anything, like make or receive a call.

    Of greater concern were those hangs half way through a call. Typically it would happen after ringing a phone banking service and being kept on hold for an inordinate amount of time. It’s amazing that the phone is still intact after letting us down so badly. Actually, after a several such hangs during what was supposed to be a single transaction it’s amazing that all furniture, glasses and windows are still in one piece.

    Now that I mention phone banking, there was another point where the phone would let you down. At the beginning of each call I was expected to enter my card number and PIN. Fine, but their systems never seemed to recognise the Belkin. Now maybe this is a localisation issue (we have to call both UK and US banks) and not something I can squarely place with the phone, but it was nevertheless a frustration.

    In the end we dare not use the phone to make important calls, fearing that it would cut out at some critical juncture. Equally, we weren’t keen on using it to call family as they, understandably, were irritated when we had to call back three times just to complete a conversation. In the end it was a nice ideal that just didn’t work in practice for what we wanted it for, so a couple of months ago I put it on eBay.

    Now we have our SkypeIn number forwarding to our mobiles, meaning that, like international roaming, we have a pay to receive calls. With the number of landline calls we get this is not a huge problem, but it’s sad that it currently seems to be the only viable method of using Skype without having a computer switched on 24/7.

    Apple Addict

    Apple Store 500Like the true Mac obsessive that I am, I was “tuning in” for all the news on todays press event.

    Judging by the effect that the coverage is having on the UK store (see screen shot) it seems that I’m not the only one!

    First impressions: I like the new iMac. I’m not likely to buy one (since a laptop is powerful enough for all my needs), but the glass/aluminium shell looks great, the new CPUs are fast and the price-points (in the US at least) look reasonable. Not so sure about the keyboard, but I guess it’s just a less mobile version of my MacBooks.

    The changes to iWork seem fine. It’s shaping up nicely, but it’s still no Microsoft Office. You still get documents from clients that won’t open in anything else. Shame. And .Mac. Well, it was the price and reliability that made me switch and nothing has changed there.

    On the “more likely to buy” list is the new iLife. The organise feature looks a bit like stacks in Aperture, which is neat. The other components I don’t use anywhere near so much.

    Overall, it looks like a great way to bring the focus away from the iPhone — which you can’t even get in the UK yet — and back to the Mac.