Who moved my ship

Two weeks before the date was set to move the large new ship from the dry dock into the sea, the master shipmover was approached by the young apprentice. Even though the apprentice was young, he had been put in charge of designing the new rollers connected to the bottom of the ship that allowed it to be moved to the sea.

“I have come to show you how to move the new type of ship from the dock into the sea”, the young apprentice said. “This type of ship is new, so moving it is a bit different than what you are used to. That’s why I am here today – well in advance so that I can help you!”

The master shipmover shrugged and let the young apprentice show him the new way of moving the ship, but the master paid little attention. “Yes, I know I know”, the master said. “I can do that, now go away and leave me to be master”. The young apprentice agreed and told the master shipmover that he just needed to ask and the apprentice would gladly answer any questions. But the master shipmover just shook his head.

The young apprentice left and didn’t hear anything back from the master. 

So on the day the ship was ready to sail, the young apprentice went to see the ship but was surprised to find it still in dry dock. Even worse – the master shipmover had gathered all the other masters around him and was moaning.

“This is a new ship and I have no idea how to move it”, the master was shouting, “and the young apprentice wasn’t here this morning to show me!”

All the masters turned on the young apprentice and yelled at him for not being supportive of the master shipmover on this important day.

The young apprentice tried to explain what he had done two weeks previously, but the masters didn’t listen to him. All they cared about was the fact that the ship was still on dry ground – today. It was obviously the fault of the young apprentice for not showing up.

And the moral of this (BigCo) story: Some people are not interested in how you may have helped them in the past. If they can lay the blame on you for something that they think you should have done for them, they will. They will always wait until the date of the ship launch before yelling for the apprentice.

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A weekend with the Samsung Ativ S

After pondering a switch from iOS to either Android or Windows Phone 8 for a while I finally gave in last week and got myself a Samsung Ativ S.

Basically, the screen of my iPhone 4S is now too small for my aging eyes and I find myself “bored” with iOS. One of the advantages of my current work is that I get to play with different phones and operating systems. Most of the work is currently focussed on Android phones, so it would have made sense to switch to that operating system. But again, I find Android “boring” and the different UI flavours from the various vendors just leave me confused.

We’re also currently working on WP8 projects and I recently got to play with the HTC 8X. I really liked the look and feel of the Windows 8 operating system (and the device is nice and thin) – but what about actually using one?

I chose the Samsung Ativ S based on reading some reviews and on the fact that it was the only Windows Phone I hadn’t yet actually played with. No risk no gain – right?


Setting the phone up was easy enough. I registered a “live.com” account and then proceeded to add my existing Google and work email accounts. I also added my Twitter and Facebook accounts. What I really liked was being able to link people’s accounts – so I could link my daughter’s Facebook account with her contacts account, giving me an easy to access view on all her contact details.

I’m not too fond of reading posts via the people hub and so installed the official Twitter app. When it comes to Facebook, the app of choice seems to be “The Facebook” and it works well.

In all I found WP 8 apps for most of the things I do on a phone – your mileage will vary. I can read and send email, keep up with BBC news, read my Google Reader news using RSS Times, there’s DB Bahn app for my train journeys, gMaps for using Google Maps, WPArea for following news from the WP8 world – and more.

Unfortunately, there’s no Instagram app yet on WP8. While I used it briefly on my iPhone and later deleted it – my family have now started using Instagram on their iPhones – and of course I can’t participate. I also miss the Flipboard app which would really go well with the large screen on the Ativ S. As far as I could see, Google+ is another service that isn’t supported on WP8 – you have to use the browser version. Speaking of services, the main drawback to switching from iOS to WP8 is that you may be used to certain Apple specific services that just aren’t there on WP8 (Find my friends and Photo Stream to name 2 that we use quite regularly). If you are used to flipping on the Apple TV and seeing new photos that were automatically uploaded via Photo Stream – then of course you are going to miss that. You are in for a couple of “oh right, that won’t work any more” if you switch.

Also, the HTC 8X is nicer looking than the Ativ. If you’re looking for a business-style phone then the Ativ is fine. If you want something a bit more “colourful” then check out the Lumia 920 or HTC 8X.

After a weekend of using the Ativ S, I find myself missing the iPhone less and less. The screen on the Ativ is nice and bright and large enough for me to read – even without glasses. I have all the apps I need – yes a few more would be cool. The operating system is slick and small things like linking accounts of live-tiles just make it that slightly more attractive to me at the moment. 

I haven’t really tested the Ativ properly in day-2-day usage yet, so an update to this article will  follow.

And of course, if Apple does eventually bring out that larger iPhone – well then … who knows….

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Not your mother’s TV

By paying 100 million dollars and using its collected viewing information, Netflix is showing us what TV will look in a few years. The “produced for Netflix” series House of Cards shows what companies like Netflix are now capable of. They can give the classical broadcasters a run for their money.

But Netflix isn’t the only company that can do this -

In the same way that Netflix can collect information on viewers favorite actors, filmmakers and scenes – so could Apple – using the Apple TV. Apple can see which films are being rented and if they are streamed – where the viewer pauses or rewinds. So what is to stop them taking the same path as Netflix? Apple would also have the cash and the ties into the studios to be able to acquire the necessary “resources”. Apple already broadcasts its own “global” content – once a year they broadcast the iTunes Festival – a month long series of live concerts. The next logical step would be to start adding their own additional – and exclusive – content.

This space is about to get very interesting.

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64K elephants

My Mum just sent me this and it made me smile.

In 1985 I wrote a letter to the popular UK computing magazine “Your Computer” on the passing of the VIC-20 – my first computer.



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Starting again

After several failed attempts to start blogging again, this is the next.

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