Posts tagged smart
That’s it. The Christmas and New Year break is over. I’ve had a really lovely couple of weeks off. But now it’s back to work. I can’t complain really, the day job is fine, but that still doesn’t stop *that* feeling in my stomach on a Sunday evening – the Sunday night blues plague me once again…
Shoes might help! New shoes always help. Actually I really need to sort out my work wardrobe - one pair of trousers and a couple of ok dresses are not going to see me through to Spring. As always I will start with my feet.
I fancy a pair of brogues. You already know I am totally comfortable in Dr Martens (and I wear those to work as much as possible), but I fancy some shoes. Here are my top three from the Spartoo website:
Here’s a traditional looking brogue by Costa Costa in a fantastically feminine bright patent red. I love them, so shiny, they’d certainly add a pop to any office based outfit.
Still patent (I so love patent shoes at the moment – that’s ok isn’t it?!), these Stéphane Gontard brogues have a softer shape and ribbon laces that make them positively girly. And being black they will go with everything.
But I think these are my favourites:
The slightly higher heel means these chunky western-style brogues by Bronx will just elongate my legs just a teeny bit. I love the detailing on the toes and sides. Yes?
I spotted this in a tweet today and wow, I want one.
Pebble is a watch that you can customise by installing your choice of apps, and that connects to your smartphone (iOS or Android) using bluetooth.
With a high resolution e-paper display (like you get on Kindle) it promises to be sharp and very easy to read, even in bright sunshine.
Apart from looking great, the main feature of Pebble is that you can install and run apps on it much like you do on your smartphone. These then connect to your phone which you can have safely in your pocket or bag when out and about or in your music dock at home. At the basic level that means you can choose what sort of watch face to have on it – analogue or digital – I love the centre display on in the photo above. It also means you can use it with the GPS on your phone as a cycle computer or to track your running. You can use the buttons on the side to control your music, quickly read your text messages and see who is calling you.
And it’ll go seven days on one charge.
Take a look:
Only problem with all this? It’s not actually available yet. I don’t totally get the Kickstarter project idea but I think it’s about you pledging money to help get this product made, but you don’t actually pay anything unless the project actually gets off the ground. I really hope it does, I think what they’ve got here is an awesome idea. I’ll let you know when it’s in the shops.
Find out more about Pebble on the Kickstarter website, and let me know if you’ll be backing it.
I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of these very special Valentine’s cards floating around various newspaper and social media websites.
Apparently they’ve been around for years but this is the first time I’ve seen the 7p Valentine’s cards branded as Tesco Value and Asda Smart Price. There may be others too, I’m not sure.
Actually I’m not even sure if they’re real – I’ve only seen the photos, I’ve not seen either one in real life.
But assuming they are real, I’ve been trying to work out why on earth Tesco and Asda would produce these cards. I mean, they’re jokes right? No one actually buys them and gives them to a loved one? No one even buys them as a joke to give to a mate do they? What would you do if you received one – even as a joke? It would hurt just a teeny bit wouldn’t it?
I asked twitter, because twitter knows everything, and @Piperty came up with a fabulous idea… to buy a load and give them to everyone in the street. I think I need to start a campaign – each of us should go and buy 10 of these 7p cards and post them through the letterboxes of our 10 nearest neighbours. It could cause chaos!
Ok maybe not.
I reckon if you choose to do the whole St Valentine’s Day thing then you should do it with a bit more thought than a 7p card from a supermarket. You don’t even have to spend very much – a bunch of daffodils is a quid and much prettier. Or do something completely different – go for a walk along the beach or in the hills and just be together. Even if these aren’t real the joke kind of illustrates the whole “money doesn’t buy love” ideal.
And if I’ve failed to get the point of these cards, please feel free to point it out to me…
The Vodafone 858 Smart is a Vodafone branded smart phone running Android 2.2.
When you think smart phone you may well think iPhone – and if you were to compare those to this you would be very disappointed. But of course this phone is not designed to be anything like the market leaders. This is an entry level smart phone, a basic one, aimed at the pay as you go market where price is important. But it appears to offer all the functionality you would expect from a smart phone including GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
First impressions for me were that this phone is small and light, and is a nice shape to hold. The 2.8 inch capacitive touch screen fills most of the front, but there are fixed navigation buttons at the bottom which are useful (and vibrate slightly when activated which is a nice touch). I had the white version although you can buy customised covers for it from Vodafone – they replace the back of the phone much like you used to do with the old Nokias and mean you can have a phone that is obviously yours.
The display is very low resolution (just 240×320) which makes text hard to read unless you zoom in a long way – the edges of letters and images are not sharp. Oh and you can’t pinch to zoom, you have to use the fixed button at the bottom, which is a bit more clunky than I’d like. The whole display feels quite cramped, there just doesn’t seem to be enough space on the screen for everything, especially when you’ve got the keyboard open because it takes up at least the bottom half.
The controls and menus are intuitive and easy to use. You can’t go wrong finding your way around. But the phone is slow. One particularly frustrating thing was that it took 2.5 seconds to change the orientation of the screen when going from landscape to portrait. Far too slow to be useful. I also found that typing was hugely delayed in some apps – such as in messaging – it seems to take an age for the phone to catch up with the letters you are tapping. But in notepad there is no delay, much better.
Having said that, other things are surprisingly responsive such as Androids normal menus and the notifications screen. Vodafone have not customised the operating system much so you are getting Android “proper”, which is good, and there are a number of apps ready-installed on the phone such as Twitter and Facebook. You also have access to Android Market of course where there are many (many many) downloadable apps, but you are quite limited on storage because despite the expandable memory via a Micro SD card slot apps need to put some information directly on the phone, which soon fills up.
I downloaded a few games and decided time would be well spent trying to play Angry Birds. I admit I was expecting the Vodafone Smart to fail miserably at running the game, but actually it didn’t do a bad job. Not being able to pinch to zoom was a pain, but the phone managed to let me get through a good number of levels before I got bored. The issue the phone did have was playing the music – it was the thing the phone dropped when it was using all its processing power to make the graphics work. So not totally successful but ok.
I took a few photos with the build in camera which like the other built in apps is easy and intuitive to use. It has a miniscule 2 megapixel camera which really is an apology for quality – I’m sure Vodafone could have done better even with the low price point aim. Getting the pictures onto my computer was easy using the included USB cable (which also connects the phone to the mains charger) and equally as easy to email by using the share button within the camera app. The photos I took weren’t totally rubbish (the two above haven’t been edited in any way), but not focussed well and very noisy. I definitely wouldn’t bother in low light as the noise takes over the shot. They are probably ok to share on twitter or Facebook, but they’re not good enough for a photo book.
When I used the phone on and off the battery seemed to last a few days, and when I used it for a full day instead of my own phone I found it just about made it to bed time. I think that’s pretty standard these days – we expect a lot from our batteries – and I would be happy to charge it each night.
Unfortunately I can’t comment on the phone’s 3G capability because it wasn’t working on the loan model I had, but it was easy to connect to Wi-Fi and happily remembered passwords and connected automatically whenever I was in range. Signing in (and out of) my Gmail account (which is needed for some apps and to use the Market) was really easy, likewise with Facebook and twitter and other accounts.
And because it’s a phone I should mention voice calls… Clear and easy to make, but I had to unlock the phone to hang up – a bit silly.
Splodz Blogz Verdict
The Vodafone 858 Smart is a nicely designed entry level smart phone, ideal for those who haven’t had a smart phone before or those who are looking for something at a low price point (just £65 on pay as you go). But it is slow, lacks storage, and don’t bother using the camera if you want decent photos. The covers mean you can have a truly personalised handset on the outside, and the Android operating system and apps mean you can do just about everything you want on the inside. It’s a basic smart phone that does the job it sets out to do with no bells and whistles. This is not going to help anyone wanting a phone for work or heavy use, but would be ideal for teenagers wanting a first smart phone without spending a fortune.
It’s getting to that point in the year when you don’t want to be out without gloves on. If you’re a runner you will want a pair of light weight gloves that keep your fingers warm but also wick the moisture away. The same applies for other sports – you want something thin, light, warm, oh and stylish.
And if you use your iPod or other gadget with a capacitive touch screen for company when running, you don’t want to have to take your gloves off to control it – you need gloves that have special material on the finger tips.
These eGloves have been designed for running but are also at home for use for many other sports – walking, cycling, horse riding and as inner ski/snowboard gloves. They have conduction metallic fabric on the forefinger and thumb which enables you to operate touch screen devices such as an iPhone without removing your gloves. Perfect for cold days!
Wearing the gloves is easy (is that a word you can use to describe wearing gloves?!). I mean – they’re a nice jersey/lyca material which is comfortable, soft even. One of the panels is a slightly different texture and ideal for wiping your face when working out. They are tight fitting, as running gloves should be, but stretchy and so not constricting. They kept my fingers warm without that cold-sweaty-dampness that would have made them uncomfortable for doing sports in. eGloves are machine washable (cool wash) which is an absolute must for anything you use while exercising! They also look great on – just right.
With regards to using my iPhone these are great. The little silver pads on the finger and thumb make using the apps and keyboard very easy, and it’s a doddle to control the iPod elements. Wearing the gloves isn’t as accurate as using a stylus (which is the other option on cold days!) but it’s fine for typing short bursts of text like text messages and updating RunKeeper, for example. The gloves have been well designed and well made for this purpose.
The best bit about these gloves (apart from the fact I can use my iPhone on the move in the winter)… the little patches on the fingers and palm – they make a real difference to grip! I mean, holding a shiny gadget whilst wearing gloves can be a bit slippery, but those little pads make holding on very easy. I would never use my phone whilst actually running (just in case!) but do want to be able to use it when walking or straight after a work out when I’m tired. A very nice design touch because they look great, but very functional too.
I have a pair of North Face E-Tip Gloves which are slightly thicker and warmer than these, but I wouldn’t want to go running in those and they are a little too thick to use as inner gloves. So while I will still be using those for every day wear, these eGloves are absolutely brilliant for use when doing sport outside. Mine are the small size and they fit absolutely perfectly.
The gloves are available from the eGlove website priced at £24.99 and in small, medium and large sizes.
[Edited to update links - these are now called eGlove Sport - and price]