Sunday, 29 September 2013

Quick Review: Nexus 7 (2013)

I got this device shortly after it first came out, around mid-August. Having had over a month to get used to it, here are my opinions on it.

I, personally, love this thing. It's really light, the battery life's amazing, and the screen and performance are mind-blowing.

I mostly use it for reading, and the screen size and aspect ratio are perfectly suited for it. I also have a few games on it, although I don't play them too often. I've generally found the device gets a little hot while playing more graphics-intensive games like Real Racing 3. On the other hand, you can turn all the graphics settings up to 11, and it'll still play smooth as silk.

I'm not going to use benchmarks for these kinds of reviews, I've always found that they have very little in common with real-world performance. I've yet to find any situation where the tablet gets bogged down in processes, although I have had a few "deadlocks". These are where the tablet completely stops responding for a few seconds. This, unfortunately, is an issue with the Android firmware on the device, and we'll have to wait for Google to get around to fixing it.

Speaking of the firmware, the Nexus 7 comes with the latest version of Android (4.3), pushed directly by Google. This device being a Nexus means that you're guaranteed to be on the latest firmware within a month of it being released. While this does mean that you lose out on a lot of the gimmicks and features pushed by other manufacturers, the overall experience on the device is way smoother and faster because of the lightweight firmware. Additionally, because this device is a Nexus, there's a huge amount of aftermarket firmware you can download onto it, giving you loads of features, if you want them. Thanks to this, your device will be supported for a very long time, even after Google drops support.

My only issue, and it's a really small one, is that the bezel on the sides of the device when you hold it in portrait are very small. There's nowhere to put your thumb if you hold it by the side in one hand. You get used to it though.

Right, that's my (not so) quick review of the Nexus 7 (2013). I completely recommend it to anyone in the market for a small tablet.

Final score: 4.5/5

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

A Quiet Man's Take on Things

The quiet man is the one you won't see. He's the guy who gets more of the work done in a group. He's also typically the guy who can't see the point of all the talking people do, all the time.

But the quiet man sees more than you'd give him credit for, and knows more than he should, maybe.

Many of the most successful businessmen and leaders, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, J. Robert Oppenheimer, were all quiet men. That's because they weren't so preoccupied with their own egos that they couldn't see that other people were better suited to jobs or tasks. Plus, quiet men will listen to every side of a story or plan, and then decide what to do.

Quiet men work alone maybe a bit more than they should. That's probably because the people around them will either rely too much on them, or not pay them the slightest heed. In those situations, you're better off working on your own.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Regarding New Posts

Apologies for the lack of posts. Due to school taking up virtually all my time, I'll be limiting all further posts to weekends, so as to allow me to focus entirely on school.

Stay tuned, an expect an new post sometime over the weekend

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Robots and Fruit

Right, I suppose I'll live up to the name I've given this thing and talk about tech.

In the last week or so, Apple released their new iPhones, the 5C and the 5S.

What I don't like about Apple is that they release these new versions of products, which are only iterative releases, but make them sound super brilliant compared to the last one. Both the new iPhones run iOS 7, which, as far as I can tell, is a childish version of iOS, and, in some ways and places, a blatant copy of Android. There have been enough comparisons done on that last point, so I won't do another one. This is a good example of why Apple bothers me, claiming they are innovating, when they are just repackaging Android.

I'm perfectly happy to admit that I might be missing the point with the iPhone. I want a phone (or tablet) that I have the freedom to do whatever the hell I like to, as regards customisation. Part of the beauty of Android is that whole thing of, if you don't like something, change it. You want to use more of your screen space, or want a whole new look for your phone, install a new Launcher. Want to change icons? Download an icon pack. Want a new update months before your carrier or manufacturer wants you to get it? Install a custom ROM. Android is all about choice, and that's why I've bought into that ecosystem.

Don't forget finance either. Unlocked, the iPhone 5S will cost at least €700 here in Ireland, once it launches. You can buy an unlocked 16GB Nexus 4, and a new 32GB Nexus 7, from the UK, Google Play Store and get it posted to your door, for £460. That's, at today's rates, about €550. And you've gotten two devices for less than one comparable iPhone.

Then again, Samsung do the same thing. They hype their products up so much, but then forget to tell you that all the software makes your phone slower and full of junk you'll only ever use once. Some of their features are good, Multi-Window springs to mind, where you can have two windows side by side. On the other hand, a custom ROM called Paranoid Android made a feature called HALO, which is more versatile, and allows you to do something similar. And they open-sourced it, unlike Samsung, so anyone can use it, free of charge.

What do you guys think? Which side do you vote for? Feel free to comment :-)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Life On Mars (or in the sticks)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I live in the West of Ireland. More specifically, I live in Connemara, in a place called Carna. It's really just a place on a map, there aren't really many landmarks or unifying features to turn it into anything more than that. Still, it's home.

I grew up with my parents in an Irish speaking household. Similarly, both the primary and secondary schools I attend(ed) are all-Irish schools. Well, they are in theory, but in my secondary school, the principal is always complaining that we don't speak enough Irish amongst ourselves. He has a very good point. Teenagers around here all speak English far more than Irish. In a school of over a hundred students, a lot less than that will reply in Irish, if you speak to them in Irish.

If I'm honest though, I can't complain about the education I've received here. True, there was a lack of subjects when I was choosing my final 7 Leaving Cert subjects, but overall, anything I've wanted to do has been accommodated. I'm the only one in my year studying Honours Maths, but I've never been pressured to drop to Ordinary just because I was the only one, either by students or teachers.

The people are nice too. No one has ever given me grief about my hand, or, really, about anything. Back here it's a really close-knit community, you know that everyone really will work together if something really important comes up. But you do have that old thing of everyone knowing everyone else. There are no secrets here, anything that happens is known by the whole village within hours. There's a great Irish expression, "dúirt bean liom gur dhúirt bean léi", which means, literally, "a woman told me that a woman told her". That's really how it is back here.

Naturally, there is, of course, good WiFi. The coverage is good too, provided you're willing to put up with 2G, and the occasional Vodafone fail.

 Right, that's life back here covered. Till the next post :-)


Right, I've decided to try and keep a blog. Bear with me for a while, I'm not used to these things really!

I'm a Leaving Certificate student in the West of Ireland. When I say West, I mean West, it's pretty much "Next stop America" from my front door!

I've called this blog "Single-Handed Techie" because that's more or less what I am. I have an upper limb deficiency, which, in plain English, means a short weird looking right hand. I'm OK with saying it like that, because I've had all my life to get used to it, but I'd never describe anyone else that way.

Right, if I'm a techie, I might as well give you guys a rough idea of what I've got, tech-wise. I've got a Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 (2013), and an Asus Transformer Pad. Yep, I'm a proper Android fan! That said, I've got an iPod (4th Gen) and a 6-year-old Dell Inspiron laptop. Yeah, I should probably think about upgrading that one!

Well, that's as good an introduction as I can think of, I might post again later today. Feel free to comment, if you want.

Till the next time :-)