iain-simpson.org

Listing posts published under ‘Toys’
Saturday, 29 March 2008

This should require no introduction:

 
Monday, 11 June 2007

Yay! I was reading BBC News, and saw that Apple have released a beta of Safari 3 for Mac OS and Windows.

Naturally, I hopped over to the Apple site to download it, and was bleeding from the eyes within minutes.

One thing that I've noticed about Macs, is that whenever I'm using one I feel as though my eyes are about to explode from the pressure of attempting to focus on the seemingly intentional blur effect applied to text. This is probably a personal thing, but I don't want to go back to the bad old days of dodgy CRT monitors that required manual focusing to avoid brain haemorrhage after prolonged exposure. I don't like the default softening effect that Macs apply to everything. Annoyingly, Safari on Windows applies it to all text rendered. Perhaps more annoyingly, there is no way to turn it off, meaning that I'm stuck with a multicoloured haze around characters, and the feeling that everything is in bold type.

Another problem I have is that Safari on Windows looks virtually identical to Safari on a Mac. Might be nice if you spend all day masturbating over Apple's latest product line, but very annoying if you like your UIs to be vaguely consistent. If you really want a Mac, you'll probably buy one anyway. Mac software should look like Mac software, Windows software should look like Windows software, and Linux software should look like whichever of the 101 or so widget sets that the developers decided to use.

Apple aren't the only offender here, but they're more relevant than Sony and the shitty custom apps they bundle with their PCs, or Nero with their increasingly shit "Media Center Solution" or whatever - what happened to Nero Burning Rom? - I couldn't find it on their site a few weeks back, and it looks like they only offer bundles of software that happen to have the ability to burn optical media.

I imagine that Apple try so hard to keep their Windows software looking like Mac software, is to get people used to the look and feel, and convert them to the way of the Mac. I still think that it's bad manners to ignore the look and feel of the system that your software is running on.

Unfortunately, I think Safari for Windows will be relegated to a place alongside Quicktime and iTunes, as software that I'll probably not use unless I have a file or site that won't work in anything else.

 
Monday, 26 February 2007

It had been threatening to pack in for a while, but one of my treasured 17" DELL CRTs finally decided that enough was enough, and went off to silicon heaven. It had a good run, considering that it cost me £20 from eBay at least 2 and a half years ago - though the P&P wouldn't have been much less than that again.

So finally (probably to much jubilation and mockery of my insistence on using CRTs for so long), I've finally purchased a TFT monitor, and will soon have more permanent desk space available for coffee cups and assorted clutter. The unit in question is an Iiyama 17" LCD 1280 X 1024 Black 2ms. It looks rather nice, and I'm hoping that the 2ms response time will go some way towards changing my opinions on cheap TFT screens. I've always said that I couldn't afford to replace my CRTs with a TFT that could match the image quality and response time. I hope I was wrong. I'm used to the 20.1" Sony TFTs we use at work, and I'm probably spoiled slightly - those things go for around £500 these days, whereas the Iiyama above is less than £150.

Incidentally, I was reminded of some discount vouchers that Dabs emailed a while back, offering £10 off an order over £100 placed by 28/2/07. A fortunate discovery indeed, I thought. Perhaps my late display unit remembered that email, and chose its time to go accordingly. Or perhaps it was just 10 years old.

The identical unit that I'm using at the moment was manufactured at the same time, but seems to have seen less use, and is still very bright without cranking the brightness beyond 60%. Hopeully I'll manage to preserve this piece of computing history until it's 20 - by that point it'll probably be illegal to own, and impossible to dispose of.

 
Saturday, 6 August 2005

It's 11am on Saturday morning, I can feel a hangover setting in, and I'm off out again in a couple of hours to drink more.

Last night was an unofficial work night out, organised to recitfy the fact that we'd not been on a night out for a while, and perhaps a little because we've just moved office - which wasn't too painful.. I still have my evil genius chair, and dual 20.1" TFTs, so all is well. The new building is good - although there seem to be more stairs to climb :/

Cat and I got the keys to our flat on the 27th. Cat moves in properly next week, with me following when I get my finger out and shift some stuff across, and sort out internet. A good start would be to phone BT and have them turn the phone line on - something with I was planning to do by now. Yay for procrastination - which many would probably say is how I spend most of my time..

This morning I did something that I've been itching to do for months now. I ordered a phone upgrade from T-Mobile. Woo hoo. A sparkly new Nokia 6230i will be arriving shortly, and the postman will (without attempting to knock) take it back to the Royal Mail sorting office, where I'll have to get up early to go and get it. I don't mind though - my thirst for new gadgets will be partially quenched.

I've been invited through to Edinburgh, for a couple of what might perhaps be alcoholic beverages of some kind, by my flatmate from a few years ago (3!?) - Colin. I'm expecting anything, and leaving my Visa card in Glasgow. If I still have the ability to type when I return, I'll maybe share the experience.

 
Monday, 16 May 2005

Prompted by a post by Iain about his new machine, I finally got round to buying a new graphics card to go along with mine. After roughly 5 mins looking at Overclockers.co.uk (which Iain pointed me to when I asked him about his card), I had my Switch card out, and was reducing my bank balance. On Friday afternoon, my shiny new MSI Geforce NX6800GT (256M, AGP) arrived.

Having never owned a high end card before, I've still not quite come to terms with the situation. I can run new games at 1280x1024 with all the eye candy turned on! I may even get round to reinstalling Doom 3, which may run slightly better than 5 fps at 800x600 with the lowest settings.

The obligatory run of 3D Mark 2005 gives a very respectable score of 4783, which although nice, doesn't really mean anything in the real world. Needless to say though, Far Cry, Half Life 2, etc. run significantly more smoothly. Undoubtedly I'll be installing quite a few older games, just so that I can crank up the settings and resolution. A productive use of my time, I reckon...