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January 28, 2010

iPad: genius?

BBC Breakfast hosted by Sian and Bill (my favourites) showed us the scruffily dressed but extremely rich and successful Steve Jobs launching Apple's iPad apparently the next monster to follow in the slipstream of iPod and iPhone.

Spencer Kelly (presenter of the BBC's gadget gorge Click) told us that the weighty iPad has a stand so you can use it sitting at a desk and comes with a QWERTY keyboard, which he described as "genius". Playing with too many toys has impaired your judgement, Spencer.

See previous discussion on FHIT about data entry and QWERTY keyboards.

January 17, 2010

iPhone not the One

Use IT now to help the people of Haiti.

I dismissed suggestions that I would become one. One of the spiral-eyed ring wraiths from Morden (and everywhere else) who ride the London Underground white stoppers in their ears and 6 inch square screens before their eyes through which they experience reality while reality passes by.

I was excited. My telecoms provider had called me to tell me that I could renew my contract and become a proud user of iPhone. I called a friend who enthused about its apps and gave me the impression it was the coolest thing since a morning dip in the Ford of Bruinen.

Almost convinced, I was passing a retail outlet and couldn’t resist taking a peek. What a shocker: the touch screen text entry system is one of the worst I have experienced. Even after a bit of practice my typing speed would have fallen by 25 percent at least.

One ring to rule them all? I’ll stick to my Blackberry. When it comes to a method of entering text which is quick, portable and unobtrusive we are still bound in darkness.

"One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings.

January 10, 2010


The Woman in Black playing at the Fortune Theatre in London is a classic gothic horror story.

Adapted from the book by Susan Hill, it invokes a spooky atmosphere with only two main characters and one other (guess). But you are led to believe the cast is augmented by a small dog, a horse, a cart and supporting cast using acting skill, a good sound system and a minimal but ingenious set. Despite having played for 21 years, the small theatre was full (I spotted Neil Tennant from Pet Shop Boys) adding the force of intimacy to the plot's crescendo.

For a millisecond I glimpsed the small dog out of the corner of my eye: suspension of disbelief or the power of imagination? Amazing what you can conceive when you release your mind from the chains of reality. Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."