Thursday, 30 September 2010

Places where I have lived in London

It was 2007 when I moved to London from Glasgow, I had a job but no where to live when I arrived. I had a plan, I'd drive down in my wee car, and then find a nice internet cafe, and sit on the internet on Gumtree until I found myself somewhere to live.

It was a fine plan, I only slept in my car for one night before I found a room in Alperton, about five minutes walk from the factory where I was a manager.

Living near enough to your place of work to be able to walk home for lunch is a luxury, its a joy. The accomodation was a bit crap though

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Revulsion of Desire

My heart, it swelled, I was so ready to love, the joy of the life we could have lead together.

But it wasn't to be.

I can't stand my HTC Desire, and I'm going to have to take it back to the Orange shop.

I got it yesterday, after awaiting for ages for the Orange online shop to have some in stock, I took the advice of the internet and went into Harrow to check out the high street shop. The gentleman who served me was friendly and helpful, he gently tried to persuade me to get the Samsung Galaxy instead, but my heart was set n a life with the HTC Desire.

Somehow I'm on the £15 a month Dolphin price plan, but regularly pay £40 a month, somehow although the internet shop says I'm entitled to an HTC Desire as a free upgrade, in real life I'd have to pay £50 to upgrade, but my heart was set on our life together, so £50 wasn't so bad. I handed over the money, was advised to charge it for ten hours before I used it and skipped merrily home.

But after a few hours with it, no, its not to be, and back to the shop it will go.

Before I go on, here is a small bullet-pointed list of the reasons why:-
  • 9 hour battery life
  • Cluttered up with irremovable Orange Apps
  • Poor 3G signal
  • Poor GPS signal
  • Orange SafeGuard censor/filter thing
  • Clunky user interface
Like the nice man said, I charged it up for ten hours, so it was the middle of the night when I started playing with it, and after a few hours I needed to charge it again. My last phone was a BlackBerry Curve, which when I first got it, had a battery life of ten days, more than a week. The HTC Desire, I'm going to have to charge it up every time I go near an power socket. Maybe some folk are used to crap battery lives, their phones always on the very foreskin of technology, but for me that kind of neediness is too much.

I'd be a little fucked without a phone, and so a short battery life is Thomas the Tank.

There are two Maps applications on the phone, google maps and Orange Maps, two app stores, the Android Marketplace and the Orange App Shop, there are a tonne of games. I'm not really a game kind of person. Sure, I'm addicted to Mario Galaxy 2 on the gf's Wii right now, and I have been dreaming of buying an Xbox 360 S 250Gb for months and months in the hope I'll be able to play Warriors and Project Gotham Racing 2 again, but on a phone, I don't want games.

No games on my phone please. Sadly you can't remove the Orange installed games, there's five of them taking up valuable program list real-estate. I have to scroll past them, any time I want to go into the program list, there's no way to get rid of them.

Similarly, the stocks and shares app, the weather app, and whatever the heck FootPrint is, there's no easy way to get rid of the or hide them. At least on the BlackBerry you could hide stuff, but on the Desire, nope.

I dunno, maybe only some of the unwanted apps are Orange-installed, and some are Android HTC affairs that are also locked. Either way, I don't care, it don't matter to me, all that matters is the only way to declutter the list of programs is to take it back to the shop an not bother with the Orange HTC Desire.

Ooh, I downloaded a bar-code reader app. Its great, you just point it at any barcode on anything, and it'll read it. 2D barcodes too, so you can see what all those cool internet folk are really saying in their 2D barcode avatars. I spent a joyful few hours going through the gf's cosmetic collection, scanning barcodes then searching for how much these potions cost online.

Maybe I'm a dirty perve, but its so much fun.


But is it enough fun to keep the phone, to spend my life with it forever?

I downloaded the FourSquare app and we headed off to Brent Cross. On day I shall be mayor of all of London, with my Blackberry I was making good progress, alas it didn't have GPS, so I was always in the vague area, but with the HTC Desire from Orange, it would know exactly where I was.

That was the plan, that's what was supposed to happen, but no no.

Wandering round Brent Cross there was no GPS signal, and barely any 3G signal, I couldn't even update Twitter to moan about it. My little FourSquare dreams of skipping hand in hand with my Desire through clothes shops and coffee bars, came tumbling down. The grim reality of silence and shite signal strength.

Ah, in the old days of my BlackBerry Curve I'd spend hours on google reader, catching up with the world, reading blogs, frothing at the injustices of the world. Hours at work would fly by, with muted snorts and sniggers, evening with loved ones spent smiling and nodding and vaguely agreeing with whatever they were prattling on about whilst I was in my own little world.

With the Desire's larger screen and fast 3G connection and cool pinching zooming in type things the world ought to have been a more beautiful place. But no, my dreams were dashed again, as soon as I sign into google reader, I get some blocking screen from something called Orange SafeGuard, that is to protect me from things only over 18 year olds can view.

I'm a youthful looking chap, even with a couple of grey hairs, the folk at work reckon I'm a good decade younger than my ID has it, so its understandable that Orange SafeGuard would try to protect me. I have a healthy appetite for porn though, redtube, youporn and pornhub being my choice video sites, and Curvy, Menage a 3 and Chester 5000 XYV being my choice of rude webcomics, so I clicked through to get the SafeGuard thing removed, only to have my dreams dashed once more with a broken link, so I couldn't actually remove SafeGuard.

Strangely though, the next time I logged into Google Reader, I had no problem. That kind of inconsistency frustrates me.

Hours pass, and I've installed a few new apps, and had my dreams dashed by them, and I think its about time to tidy up the desktop from the standard on, move things around a bit, and that experience was clunky too. I couldn't find how to delete apps and widgets from the desktop so I had to start a new clean slate, and then if I made a mistake and placed an app where it wasn't wanted, I couldn't shift it, and had to start again. Maybe there's an easy way of doing it, but with the rest of the shite I've put up with the thing, I can't be arsed.

Not everyone has these problems, some people enjoy using the HTC Desires, I've seen them, they're satisfied.

I'm not though.

I painted a beautiful picture in a heid of life with an HTC Desire, and this thing from Orange don't match it. It doesn't come close, it is a worse experience than my two year old BlackBerry Curve. And so, back to the shop it'll go.

Then what?

On Twitter @marksany is the herald of the iPhone. I have given this though. I like the idea of the iPhoniverse, the Apple life. I'd want an old school iPhone 3GS rather than the iPhone4, that antenna business hasn't been resolved satisfactorily.

But no, its not going to happen, I'm not at a point in my life where I can embrace the iPhone. I'm typing this blogpost on my Acer Aspire One net book, running Ubuntu. There's no iTune on Ubuntu. I have no Apple Mac, and my old Windows desktop 'puter is about to be packed away, and unlikely to ever reappear. Without some kind of home computer to 'tether' (if you will) the iPhone to I'd be missing a chunk of the iPhone experience. Its unsatisfactory.

I could be wrong.

I often am.

In fact, one of the main points of this blogpost is incorrect. It is possible to remove the Orange-installed apps from their HTC Desire. I can re-flash the memory with the uncorrupted Android OS. People off of Android fora all over the internet have done it. It voids the Orange warranty, but it resolves the issue. It requires a Windows PC, but it does resolve the issue. I'm unwilling to try. I've had the HTC Desire from Orange for just over 24 hours, and I think I prefer my old BlackBerry Curve.

Its possible, I guess, that in the next few days @conorfromorange might announce that the new version of the Android software, Froyo, is coming out to Orange users, and without is the removable of all the frustrating apps and shite that annoys me so.

But that won't help the crap 3G and GPS signal that thwarted my FourSquare dreams and subsequent moaning, but would that be enough to keep me as an Orange customer?

I don't like having my emotions toyed with like this. I've dumped beautiful women for less.

I fear maybe I'm being stupid and ungrateful here, that the HTC Desire from Orange is a great phone, loved by thousands, why don't I love it? Why must I make a fuss, why can't I just accept it the way it is, embrace it tightly and love it like I've loved others before?

I handed over fifty quid for it, when other upgrade phones would have been free. I paid for it, and all I got was heartache, a big load of heartache.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Knitting project #15 - Cluster puff hat

When I was in Finland recently I was taught how to crochet. Whenever I'd tried it in the past I'd gotten stuck at the end of the first row, no idea how to double back to do subsequent rows.

But now I have the power, the mad leet crochet skillz.

So I made a Cluster puff hat.

I guess it looks a little bit gay, but I was kinda going for the twenty-something stoner look.

Here's a wee vieo that shows you how to make it.

Whilst it may look like there's a ghostly figure of an elderly person praying on a chair behind me, I took this photo when I was on my own in my flat in an former old-people's home. Its probably just the way my laundry's heaped up on the chair, rather than an actual ghost caught on camera.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Orange Desires

Its phone upgrade time with my Orange account, I've been packing a Blackberry Curve for the best part of two years, its served me well, all those gig reviews written and posted from the back of the room, Twitter and Facebook.

But technology has moved on and the 'berry Curve is an anachronism. I need GPS, I need real-time positioning and navigation for FourSquare. I need 3G for YouTube video streaming, I need a full size browser.

All these things are almost my reach with the HTC Desire, the Orange website says I can get it, but alas they're out of stock.

Moan moan bloody moan, its all I ever do.

I've been checking the Orange website regularly, every day for about two months now, and the HTC Desire is always out of stock.

Jesus Christ, I've worked in electronics manufacturing, things can't be out of stock for that long. These things take five minutes to assembly, if its out of stock, they can make new one's in the time it takes me to write this blogpost.

If there's a parts shortage you can modify the design and retest the product in a week, in a day even for minor changes and the get stock levels back up again.

What's the problem here? Is Orange about to go bust cos they and HTC can't manage their supply chain? The Desire has been out for months and months, any supply problems should have been resolved months ago. Bah!

Tom off of the internet tells me that HTC are launching a new product tomorrow, possibly the HTC Desire HD (with LED flash) so perhaps Orange and other retailers are running their stocks down.

That's no good for me though, I just want a regular HTC Desire, nothing new or fancy, not High Definition or any fancy pants, just the same Desire as everyone else.

So do I wait and see if the new HTC Desire HD is one of my free upgrade options, do I change providers to Vodaphone or T-Mobile and get one of their Desires or do I stick with Orange and upgrade to some other phone which isn't the one I want?
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Left-Behinds - Greedy

I could have sworn I'd bought a Hefner single back in '97, but when I checked the other day it was actually by Gretschen Hofner, who are quite different.

So the first time I ever saw Darren Haymen play live was in 2007

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Plan - The continuing journey

Its been about a fortnight since I set off on my latest music career. You'll have read the first blogpost about it here, and undoubtedly will have watched some of the videos.

Here's the viewing stats
  • Wake Up Boo - 61 views
  • Keep the circle around - 21 views
  • 100,000 Fireflies - 24 views
  • Tiny Tears - 15 views
  • If you don't Pull - 8
Its the law of the jungle round here, survival of the fittest, and so the weakest video gets eliminated from my setlist.

I've finally gotten myself a power supply for my wee Marshall amp, so I've plugged in my guitar, turned up the tone, and rerecorded the set, and added two new songs.

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Until next time, enjoy!
The Greedy Ugly People
Dear Stephen Hawking
Tiny Tears
100,000 Fireflies
Keep the circle around
Wake Up Boo