I need a coffee…

So while I’m downstairs making a cuppa*, why not pop down to your local newsagents and buy yourself a magazine?

I know, I know — Newsagents are full of all sorts of magazines, and in today’s confusing world, you need some guidance as to what to buy. That’s exactly what I’m here for!**

For a start, pick up issue 10 of Home Entertainment: Australia’s Complete Digital Lifestyle Companion. Inside, you’ll find reviews of mine of the Creative Zen V Plus and Apple iPod 80GB, as well as the not entirely mis-named “Red Hot Routes” feature. Stop sniggering in the back there. It’s a GPS feature, you sicko!

While you’re there, you should also spot issue #1 (possibly a collector’s item, probably not though) of Windows Vista Magazine. Inside, you’ll find my reviews of the Altech NRG MIST QUATTRO Windows Vista Ultimate System, as well as the NEC Powermate V6102 Windows Home Basic system. Why anyone would buy Windows Home Basic is still, sadly, a mystery.Netguide Magazine. Now with added Omega-4 Nutrients.

Last, but by no means least, the March issue of Netguide Magazine Australia should be within your reach. Inside you’ll find (as usual) a whole bunch of my scribings, including reviews of (customary deep breath): Sony VAIO VGNC15GPB , Lenovo N100, Fujitsu Lifebook A3110, Acer Aspire 5630WLMi, Dell Inspiron 640m, HP Compaq Presario B1900, Asus F3JP, Apple Macbook, Toshiba Satellite A100, Palm Treo 680, Logitech Quickcam Ultra Vision, FaceFilter Studio 2, Microsoft Office 2007, Quicken Personal Plus 2007, Sony DVD Architect Studio, Nintendo Wii, Compro Videomate U500, HP Photosmart D7160 Photo Printer, Jaws Unleashed (PC), Gears Of War (Xbox 360), Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 (PS2,PSP, Xbox 360) and The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, Gamecube).

That lot ought to keep you busy while I finish my coffee off..

*No, sadly, I can’t get you one.

** Actually, it’s not what I’m here for. Just to clarify.

Hi. My name is Alex, and I’m an email addict…

Well, apparently.

The thing that gets me about this story — and I’ll freely admit I’ve been known to jab at the “send/recieve” button in my email client of choice (Thunderbird, if you really care) — is the following quote:

“On average, workers who receive an email take four minutes to read it and recover from the interruption before they can resume working productively, Ms Egan said.”

Four minutes? FOUR MINUTES!! I take about thirty seconds to read an email, tops. And that’s if it’s long, complex and directly related to what I’m working on right now. Heck, I’ve just spent the last half hour teaching four year olds to read, and the contents of their early readers — probably on par with most of the email I get — didn’t take them four minutes each to plough through. Or am I overestimating the intelligence of the average office worker?

Mamma Mio, here I go again…

Nothing like a bad tech pun to start the day. Or end the day, for that matter. Heck, you can engage in a bad tech pun at any time of the day. Try one today!

In the meantime, CNET.com.au has another review of mine live today:

Mio Digiwalker P350: “Can we move away from devices that look like iPods, please? Mio’s P350 — one part GPS, one part PDA — has that same white casing that we’ve been seeing on everything from laptops to personal grooming accessories ever since the iPod popularity explosion began. When even Apple has branched out into black, red and even orange, it’s probably time to move on, designer-type dudes…”

Bloody Nintendo…

Bugger, bugger and blast. And stronger words, possibly pertaining to fornication…
I rather like the Nintendo Wii. Review of it and the games in a forthcoming issue of Netguide, by the way. There’s only one thing I don’t much care for, and that’s the fact that the Virtual Console system doesn’t support TurboGrafx-16 games — they’re on offer in the PAL market including the UK, but not here, which is a huge pity if you’re at all interested in classic games systems. There is a “fix” however…

I’ve been happily downloading TG-16 games on my Australian Wii, by the simple dint of telling it I was in the UK. The points are genuine, there’s no content that would embarrass anyone or break any OFLC guidelines for games, and while it’s fiddly, it worked.

Until today. Seems like the most recent update made it a bit trickier to change countries. And by “a bit trickier”, I mean “it wiped out my remaining 400 VC points” as a CHARGE for changing countries. Without telling me. Went in to check what was new, and discovered them gone. Check my account balance, and next to “change country” is a charge of 400 points. And these things aren’t free; 400 points is about six bucks of mine. And Nintendo PR never seem to answer the bloody phone. Or email.

I’m not a happy Leopard.

Heavy rain, when I’m with you…

Sadly, I wish I was just quoting that Hall & Oates lyric for the fun of it.

On the one hand, rain is good. It helps the newly planted garden grow, and makes the newly laid turf prosper. It even washes the car for me (because I’m lazy). And there’s something hypnotic about rain hitting a gum tree so hard that the sap makes froth…

On the other hand, rain coming into my dining room and my infant son’s nursery isn’t so pleasant.

I think I’m going to go somewhere and scream now.

So rough, but we’re gonna make it…

A rare bit of Hall & Oates inspired subject line malarkey, just for a change.

The fine folks (and folkettes, and beavers) at CNET.com.au have two reviews and a feature of mine up for your delectation.

Logitech Alto:Logitech’s Alto offers an easy way to add a full-sized keyboard to your laptop while bringing the screen up to a more comfortable and ergonomic position…”

Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless Router WNR834B: “Netgear’s RangeMax Next Wireless Router edges ever closer to the promise of 802.11n, but it still doesn’t quite live up to the hype…”

Draft N wireless routers: get ready for 802.11n: “Home networking has always been confusing for most people. Draft N (of the upcoming 802.11n standard) is the latest in wireless home networking, and while 802.11n is not finally ratified, it does promise better speed, throughput, range and dependability. Is it worth its current premium price?”

You’d better wake up and release it…

GadgetGuy.com.au has five — count ’em, five — of my reviews live today for your reading/research pleasure.

I’m just nervously waiting for the Apple aficionados to descend on me en masse for having the temerity to say that there’s something out there in the ultraportable space better than the Shuffle. Awaiting immolation in 5, 4, 3, 2, IT BURNS! IT BURNS!!!!

Apple iPod Shuffle: “There’s an easy way to describe Apple’s second crack at a tiny portable music player – it’s really tiny…”

iRiver S10: “iRiver’s S10 might superficially resemble the iPod Shuffle, but superficiality is where the comparison ends; in almost every single respect the S10 is a more capable player than the Shuffle…”

Apple iPod 80GB: “It’s a bit disappointing that Apple still hasn’t worked out how to cram a radio or voice recorder directly into the iPod’s not exactly sleek body, but the iPod 80GB is still an excellent music and video player…”

Samsung YP-T9B: “Samsung’s YP-T9B strongly resembles a mobile phone in design terms, and offers a similar sleek and enjoyable audio and viewing experience, especially through a pair of Bluetooth headphones, although you do pay a premium price for the experience…”

Toshiba Gigabeat S60: “If you’re an aficionado of Microsoft’s Media Center PC concept – either in the older Windows XP or new Vista variants – then the Gigabeat S is undeniably the portable media player for you…”

That lives up to all your funkspectations, no matter how high or low…

After far, far too long, I’ve updated and reformatted my “About Me” page, including the answers to the not-terribly-frequently-asked questions I get. Yes, even that one about Nicole, and why I often have seemingly spurious subject lines — see above for a prime example.

In other adminstrivia, I also noticed that Rah has once again set up a new blog, and some time ago, and she’s been nice enough to link me, so back into ye Blog Roll she goes. Warning. Pinkness ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

All your lovers, they look just like you…

I write stuff. You may have gathered this, if you’ve read this blog before. If you’re a total newcomer, then, welcome, come in, please take your shoes off and find a comfy bean-bag. Coffee is optional, and smoking is strictly prohibited. Offenders will be fed to the Snilth Wimbat.
Having established that I scribe, you may well ask — what do I scribe? Why do I scribe? Why is Alex waffling on and on and on and on and on about writing when he’s clearly just about to plug some more of his recently published works?

Hey, they’re all great questions. Thanks for asking.*

In the print world, the March issue of PC User Magazine — Australia’s Top-Selling Technology Magazine — features a bunch of my so-called “stuff”. No cover image, sadly, as they don’t seem to have updated their covers on their site for some time, but if you head to the newsagents and look for the magazine with “PC User” written large on the cover, you can’t go too far wrong. Failing that, just stand outside the newsagent, jumping up and down and screaming “PC USER! PC USER!”. That should work. Or they’ll take you away in a tiny green van. Either solution is good.

Anyway, the March issue features my roundup of USB portable Flash drives, and why you might want one for Windows Vista — covering the Corsair Flash Voyager 8GB, Lexar Jumpdrive Lightning 4GB, Sandisk Cruzer Titanium 2GB, Legend Swivel Thumb Drive 4GB, Sandisk Cruzer Profile 1GB, Olin USB 2.0 Flash Drive 1GB, Sony Micro Vault Tiny 2GB, Verbatim Store ‘N’ Go Smart Drive 1GB, A-Data My Flash Fingerprint Disk 1GB, Rundisk UR25 1GB and Lexar Jumpdrive Mercury 1GB. Phew! Not merely content wiith USB drives, the issue also features my review of the Road Angel Navigator 7000, complete with creepy Peter Brock voiceover.

On the pixellated side of the publishing fence, GadgetGuy.com.au has also just published a small swag of my reviews:

Multifunction printers: One-trick ponies… not! “What should you be aware of before you plunge into buying your first MFC?
Canon PIXMA MP510: “Canon’s PIXMA MP510 is an all-in-one printer with an almost perfect marriage of speed, print quality and features at an enticing price point.”
Epson CX5900: Defining the CX5900 is pretty easy; it’s really a photo printer that’s had multifunction bobbins added on…”
HP Photosmart C4180: “You’re clearly not meant to peer ’round the back of the C4180, as it almost looks like there’s a missing bit…”

And finally, from the “I-can-add-this-to-my-publications-resume-category” the Bangkok Post has published my review of the Dopod P800W:“We still couldn’t think of any description to put on it that was better than describing it as the Frankenstein’s Monster of smart phones…”

*See, I can pick up the PR delaying-the-question-for-time-or-so-I-can-rephrase-the-question tools of the trade, given enough exposure