July 2005

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Mark Thomas

Posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Mark Thomas on stage at Concorde 2I saw Mark Thomas doing a stand-up gig at Concorde 2 in Brighton this evening with Alex, Simon, and Simon and jolly good it was too. The man can certainly express some righteous anger!
It wasn't all political ranting (which was still very funny), there was a good mix of humour, some of which went beyond the pale for some of the audience; Along with some excellent anecdotes from various anarchic protests he has taken part in.

Two thumbs up :)

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SonyEricsson k750i

Posted on Tuesday, 5 July 2005

I just upgraded to a k750i from a t610 and my initial impression after a few days is that it's a very good phone overall. It's not perfect, but it many of the weaknessesof the t610 are gone or minimised, and new features have been added and integrated extremely well.
Visually the phone is quite simple, I have a mostly black one and half of the front is flat clear plastic for the screen, the rest is buttons, which are bigger than those on the t610, but seem like they are quite flimsy and may be easily encouraged to fall off. Time will have to tell on that.
The phone has plenty of hardware, too much really. There's a much more detailed display than on the t610, mp3 playback, fm radio, movie playback, movie recording, flash, autofocus... it's all a bit much really. I already have two digital cameras for different occasions, I don't really need a 2 MegaPixel camera in my phone; I do realise that these are "useful" to a lot of people though ;) The shortcut button between the two soft buttons is very nice, being able to quickly pull up the functions you most use can save a lot of menu diving. The thing has a MemoryStick Duo slot too, which is a genius plan really. If you don't already have a little digital camera to keep in your pocket and a little mp3 player to keep in your other pocket, this phone can realistically do the job of both, and save you having a third pocket used by your phone. The Duo cards are pretty cheap and I have seen suggestion that it can support up to 2GB (mine shipped with a 64MB card pre-installed, in addition to the 30-somethingMB onboard). It also seems to have some kind of 3D graphics ability - my Orange branded unit shipped with a Sega tennis game that is in 3D and Alex's one on O2 came with a 3D flight sim of some kind (I don't mean crazy red and green specs, it is rendering a 3D engine ;)
The biggest improvement over the t610 and probably the best thing about this phone is the software. It's clearly based at least in concept on that of the t610 (which in turn in herits from the t68 and earlier), but it's much, much faster. Speed has often been a problem for SonyEricsson, text message inputs regularly lag a long way behind even a moderate typer. I was often several menus ahead of mine in general use, which is a serious pain. No more, menus appear much quicker and are able to use the higher screen resolution to display more information, reducing the number of questions you have to answer to perform even the simple task of calling someone. The phonebook is wonderful now; if you start typing it jumps to the letters you press instead of waiting a second; instead of selecting a person and then getting a request to select the number, it now displays the default number and offers a direct call option, then offers horizontal scrolling to select alternate numbers/addresses. Very handy. Also nice is the text message recipient chooser keeping a list of recent contacts.
The browser seems to work well, the menus/notices are often animated and pretty, you can have an animated background if you really want. The media player is quite an interesting idea, I am investigating transcoding movies and putting them on memory stick - it'll be interesting to see how the battery stands up to such tests.
The supplied USB cable charges the phone; very handy and it also presents the MemoryStick to the host computer as a USB storage device, so it will work with pretty much anything that works with USB memory sticks. It's bloody fantastic to see mobile phone and camera companies adopting this more and more instead of proprietary communication protocols. It makes integration far easier for Operating Systems, as shown by the fact that I connect the phone to my PC running Ubuntu Hoary and it is able to mount the storage drive and notice there is digital camera data there, and offering to import the photos into my albums. Simple things like that make these devices much more rewarding in my opinion (and I'm pretty sure I'm right ;)