I’ve been trying to work as much as possible coming up to the start of my exams this Thursday. There’s so much stuff! And it really hasn’t been helped by my excessive spending recently. I was in Scalini’s on Wednesday with the sci-fi society which was pretty good, though not quite up to the standard I would have expected. It really is hard to beat your own cooking most of the time, or any home cooking at that. We did get some rather smashing champagne though. I never, ever, buy champagne as a rule, but recently I’ve just felt like changing things and trying to be more spontaneous so I went for it. When the cooler comes out on the table things just seem to get a lot more sophisticated. Day in, day out doing the same things and walking the same routes just gets so repetitive, and I’m trying to mix things up a bit.
The biggest purchase as of late has been my new phone. I’ve spent pretty much the entirety of today messing about with it, and very quickly I’m beginning to love the Motorola Atrix. A huge step up from my last phone, which had a 600Mhz processor and 256Mb RAM – the Atrix has a dual core 1Ghz processor with a massive 1Gb RAM. It does help a lot, and everything is smoother with the extra power. I’m normally a great advocate of the stock Android experience, as it was great with the San Francisco, and prior to getting the phone I had planned to install a custom rom. I have to say after reading reviews and hearing from other people I thought Moto Blur would be terrible, I’ve actually found it very usable so far though I have largely avoided the social network integration aspects. Facebook needs to be removed as far as I’m concerned, and I know that I do use it, and part of that use is publishing this very blog to my account, but I don’t like any company possessing so much information and having such a hold over us. I would never recommend Facebook to anyone, and actively tell them to avoid it if at all possible. It is good for keeping in touch with people, and with groups, but usability stops there and pretty much everything else is a waste of time.
But I digress. Yes, I didn’t avail of the social network integration which is touted as a big selling point of Blur, but it hasn’t bothered me really. Everything I need to use is there, and all fairly well laid out. The big selling point of the Atrix is the availability of various docking accessories to extend the functionality of the device. On that note, it was really the Brydge iPad case (turns iPad into a netbook) that got me interested in the Atrix concept. I had thought about it before, and remember reading about it pre-release, but after all the hype and excitement it seemed to be a bit of a non-starter. The most functional of the docks as far as I am concerned is the lapdock – a dock converting the phone into a netbook for easy web browsing and word processing. It’s essentially a battery with a keyboard and an 11.5″ screen (which looks fantastic), with a dock for the Atrix in the back. Aesthetically, the lapdock is very pleasing. Very thin, but still built well enough and not at all flimsy, it certainly looks the part. It also has an 8 hour battery life, and can charge the phone whilst it is docked, which is a very handy feature. My use has been limited to basic web browsing and watching some videos so far, but with some tweaking it can run full linux applications.
I forgot to mention that when docked, the Atrix launches WebTop, a cut-down version of Ubuntu (a popular linux variant) with Mozilla Firefox baked-in as the browser of choice. This actually works really well, though I can see why some reviewers despaired. You’re Google! And you didn’t put in your own browser, Google Chrome, with your operating system which would have worked perfectly, and had better native support for web applications. When you think about it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but Firefox works well enough and I haven’t really got the time to change anything at this stage. The overall WebTop experience is nippy, but starts to lag after a few tabs, making it feel more akin to a netbook as far as speed goes. Well; that makes sense when you think about it because it is supposed to be a netbook replacement and it would have to have similar performance (it corresponds fairly well with what you would expect from a dual core 1Ghz processor, basically) . Another cool feature is that you still have access to the phone within a smaller window whilst using the lapdock, and all of the normal features are available. I found this really good for texting, as I could reply to messages a lot more quickly whilst browsing the web at the same time.
I’m running out of time before I fall completely unconscious, but I want to mention another gadget that has just come into my life. Dad bought a Canon 5D MkII! It’s an amazing camera, and I can’t wait to get using it after the exams. The image and video quality is outstanding, and it dwarfs the 550d, dad’s previous main camera. That’s all I can muster for now, but I’ll try and write some more fairly soon. Depending on how these exams go…