Miro Video Converter strips it down to the basics

Converting video files from one format to another has always been a pain. You’re dealing with large files, tons of different formats and software that offers more settings than mere mortals can possibly comprehend. Programs like Handbrake work well and offer useful presets, but Miro Video Converter goes one step futher. It offers the simplest possible user interface, making transcoding as easy as it possible can.
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A dystopian future of the mobile internet

A couple of days ago, I had an interesting dicussion on Twitter with Dutch media guru @erwblo. He noticed a trend at SxSW, where all exciting new developments seemed to be centered around apps. I tried to argue that apps are “evil”, but found that I needed a lot more than 140 characters to explain myself. Hence this post.

Right now, there’s a war raging. Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft and others are caught up in a bitter fight over supremacy on the mobile internet. And the stakes are high. The web is about to go mobile. Smartphone sales are up, and dumbphones are getting smarter. Tablets are replacing part of the laptop market, and will soon represent a big slice of overall internet consumption.
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HTC’s Desire car upgrade kit sucks (really well)

Not all HTC Desire car holders are created equal it seems. I’d been using a cheap generic solution for little over half a year when it broke. First, the tightening clip failed, and later that week the bundled power adapter stopped charging. Time for a more reliable solution. I use Google Maps navigation all the time, so I decided to try HTC’s own, rather expensive, Car Upgrade Kit.

HTC’s kit consists of the holder itself, a USB cord, a power adaper and a suction plate. That last item is a plastic disk that you can stick on your car’s dashboard. The holder’s suction cup then attaches to the plate’s smooth plastic surface. Unfortunately, Ford used so many unnecessary curves and bends my older model Focus’s ugly-ass dashboard that there’s no place left to stick the plate.
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Roy | February 13, 2011 | English,Gadgets | Comments (1)
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My thoughts on the Nokia Microsoft deal

Over the last couple of days, rumours that Nokia would adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform started gaining momentum. I wasn’t suprised when they turned out to be true today. The leaked internal memo by Stephen Elop had made it very clear that drastic measures were in order, and this seemed like the most likely scenario.

Ever since the news was announced, I’ve been reading bitter tweets and blog posts in which Nokia developers and fans detail why they think this deal is a bad move for Nokia. But as understandable as their frustrations are, almost all of those messages are based on a single assumption. That Nokia would be able to maintain market share in the smartphone market with Symbian and/or MeeGo.
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Roy | February 11, 2011 | English,Gadgets | Comments Off
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CompuLab’s Trim Slice puts ARM on the desktop

In 2009, I posted a review of the Fit-PC2, the smallest desktop computer available at the time. Since then, CompuLab has released an updated “i” version, and recently the Fit-PC3. That new version is based on a faster AMD chipset, but it’s still an evolutionary update to earlier models. Their latest product however, is something entirely new. An ARM-based desktop computer.
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Promising new tablets!

I’ve been a tablet-fan since the now-infamous CrunchPad was announced, long before the iPad. As much as I love my iPod Touch, it’s small screen makes it less than ideal for casual surfing on the couch. In my opinion, five or seven inch tablets make little sense if portability is not a requirement, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for nine or ten inch tablets, preferably with Android.

Let me be very clear about this. I think the iPad is a very well-designed and made product. If anyone but Apple had made it I’d already have one. But I don’t want to be tied to iTunes, and I certainly don’t want the manufacturer controlling what I can and can’t do with it. That’s why I’m glad that a couple of interesting competitors were just revealed at CES.
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Is anyone actually using an Android tablet yet?

Even before Apple’s iPad came out, there was talk of “a tsunami of cheap, Chinese Adroid tablets”. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to actually see one in real life. Or even in stores. The only real reviews I’ve seen are of Samsung’s ludicrously expensive Galaxy Tab, which with it’s small screen I’m not at all interested in. Meanwhile, Google has announced that it considered Froyo (Android 2.2) “not ready” for tablet use. All this makes me wonder. Has anyone out there actually used an Android tablet? What’s it like? How does it compare to Apple’s offering?

If you’ve got a tablet that uses Google’s OS, and would like to do a guest post/review type of thing, please contact me.

How to get the most out of your Android phone

I’ve been using an Android phone since April, and it took me a while to get used to Google’s OS. I’d had two Symbian devices before getting the HTC Desire, and as it turns out, I made a few mistakes in getting used to my new phone that ended up keeping me from fully enjoying my new phone. I found myself needing to unlearn old habits in order to use Android as it was intended. Here’s what I learned.
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The end of the Atomic Age?

When Intel first introduced their Atom line of processors, they told us it was aimed at smaller, so-called MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). Soon after that, Asus released the first netbook, and a new category of computers was born. But they weren’t really MIDs. In fact, the term MID hasn’t really caught on, and there are very few devices that are generally considered to be MIDs. Nokia’s internet tablet series for and Sony’s Mylo come to mind. But both predate the Atom processor.

Atom’s major advantage over other small, power-sipping CPUs is that it uses the same x86 instruction set as desktop CPUs. This means that Atom-based devices, if powerful enough, can run Windows. Intel probably thought this would be essential for MID adoption. But then Apple released what would prove to be a game-changing device.
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Roy | September 5, 2010 | English,Gadgets | Comments Off
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HTC Desire desktop cradle needs better headline

I’ve been trying to come up with a clever title for this post for over half an hour. There has to be some brilliant pun with words like “desire” and “erect”. It just seems to elude me. Oh well. What really matters is that this little piece of plastic makes sure my Desire is always ready to go.

Modern smartphones run out of steam so quickly you need a quick way to charge them. This particular desktop charging cradle was sent to me by Mobilefun.co.uk, and it offers great value for money. The base has rubber feet that give it plenty of grip, and on the back there are two micro-USB connectors. One is used for power only, whereas the other offers full data sync capabilities. A data cable and a small power brick are supplied with the cradle.
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