They picked the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota…

For whatever reason, I cannot get that darned song out of my skull. Even good old standby songs, like Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler” can’t throw it out of my head.

While I hum along to Weird Al (and curse the fact that for whatever reason, “Internet Leaks” isn’t available on the Australian iTunes store yet), amuse yourselves with yet more reviews. It’s been a busy week, and nowhere have I been busier than at

LogMeIn Pro and LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone: “Remote access doesn’t get much simpler than LogMeIn, but don’t expect it to do absolutely everything for you.”

Jabra M5390 USB: “Jabra’s business-centric Bluetooth headset might be pitched at the boardroom, but it made us feel like we were stuck in a call centre.”


Just imagine how cathartic it would be to shout that out loud, right now, no matter what you’re doing.

Actually, don’t imagine it. Do it. Holding a large sword up and being struck by lightning is entirely optional.

There. Doesn’t that feel better?

Now, onto today’s work, which not coincidentally revolves around power gadgets at

Powertraveller powergorilla/Powertraveller solargorilla: “Outdoor types and those who want fuzzy warm green feelings will love the powergorilla and solargorilla, as long as they can bear the price.”

I sometimes feel like a pelican – whichever way I turn, I’ve still got an enormous bill in front of me…

And bills must be paid. So it’s back to work I go. Firstly, PC Authority’s published some tips on getting the most out of the iPhone’s GPS:

Amazing apps for your phone: How to make the most out of your iPhone’s GPS: “Still relying on Google Maps to get around? Here’s a quick summary of how to kit out your iPhone for GPS, including which apps you should try.”

And then at, I got all storage-minded:

HP SimpleSave Portable 320GB: “HP’s SimpleSave portable drive does make backups simple, as long as your file names aren’t too long.”

The old man said to me, said don’t always take life so seriously…

So, a new sparkly look for the ol’ blog. I spent hours on Sunday mucking around with various themes and bits of style sheet hackery, most of which plain didn’t work. Then found this theme, which I mostly like. Still need to get something to replace the default clouds, though.

I’ve also been busy writing things, as is my usual profession. Firstly, an oft-delayed review of a photo frame that hit a rather unusual and unique… snag.

Kogan Wi-Fi Digital Photo Frame: “We also hit a rather unique snag with the photo frame when it came time to return it…”

And then back into the rather familiar world of Apple, and a welcome return to me writing about one of my cats. So far, they’ve appeared in PC Authority, Australian Macworld and Atomic, and now I can add MacTheMag to that esteemed list:

MacTheBlog: Is a new cat the answer?I have a terrible track record with operating systems. Or really bad impulses. Quite possibly both, now that I come to think of it…”

Woah, Black Betty…

Wow. Quite a busy week. Exceptionally so, but this is a good thing, with many projects lining up nicely in my sights. Makes a nice change, actually.

While I’m trying to slow down for the weekend (they have these things called weekends now. You totally should try them. They’d look good on you.), you can ponder on my ponderings at MacTheBlog:

MacTheBlog: Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine: “Apple will, on the ninth of September, announce something groundbreaking. Revolutionary, with a new paradigm that shakes the market and enables the loyal Apple customer to interact with their systems in ways previously thought impossible, while new functionality due to the licensing agreement with leading bodies leads us into a new era of …”

We sweat and laugh and scream here, ’cause life is just a dream here…

Random ranting from a weekend away on the coast. Make of them what you will.

To salespeople in electrical stores: Don’t be so scared of customers who know what they want, and why. If I say I want to buy an SD Set Top Box, sell me one. Don’t argue with me, don’t try to tell me I’m wrong when I’m utterly not (and especially when what you’re saying is aberrant nonsense), and above all, don’t wander away to deal with other customers instead of actually, you know, selling me the product THAT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. Sheesh..

To people who design the layout of aforementioned electrical stores: Would it be so hard to stack all the products of a similar type together? You know, to make it easier for your customers? Those people bringing money — their own money, sometimes — into your store? No? Well, then, you probably designed the WoW store in Coffs Harbour….

To the guy who complimented my wife’s chest as we walked down the street: Yes, they are rather pretty. I couldn’t help but notice that you were by yourself in your car while making crude comments. It’s a long shot, but maybe.. just maybe… there’s a reason why you’re by yourself. Just saying…

To the weather: Thanks. I’d almost forgotten what “warm sunshine” was like…

To the Kebab Store at Park Beach Plaza: Nice kebab. I still maintain that Cabanossi has no place on a crepe, however. Just…. don’t. OK?

To the people who feel it’s my fault I’ve got to do 80kph in an 80kph road works zone: Look, if you want to pick up lots of traffic fines, go right ahead. I don’t like being slowed any more than you do, but nearly hitting me from behind won’t solve any of your problems, just make them a whole lot worse…

It’s time to start the countdown…

While I was off enjoying the fine sights of Toormina (population 6,511, and yet somehow it supports a massive shopping centre with two games stores in it…), some of my hard yakka was paying off. Well, in publication terms anyway. I’m sure a requisite amount of Zlotys will be making their way into my bank account any day now.

Anyway, both are interesting for different reasons. Firstly, there’s this at

Belkin Switch-To-Mac cable: “Belkin’s Switch-To-Mac package performs adequately, but at a high price for what’s likely to be a single use cable.”

Which is notable in that there’s about five words per centimetre of cable in this review. Not sure what that means, but anyway…

And then for those who think I never actually shut up, there’s the latest edition of MacThePodcast:

Episode 14 — Syncode: “MJCP and Alex Kidman chew the fat with Matthew Lesh and Matt Roberts from iPhone app developer Syncode (whille Syncode’s designer, Tom Ricciardello, listens in from an undisclosed location). Topics covered include Syncode’s flagship app iTweetReply, dealing with the App Store approval process, interacting with Twitter the company as well as twitter the service, and what the future may hold for push. Also: iTunes Blu-ray rumours, HD downloads, the high cost of GPS and the “banning” of Microsoft Word.”

A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…

That subject line’s basically just there to get stuck in my wife’s head.

An odd week in Alex publishing, that’s for sure. Where should I start?

Oh, yes. Copyright. A kind poster pointed out to me that a somewhat inconsequential games review that I wrote for this blog (and only for this blog) was being ripped off without any kind of attribution. That stuff happens online, but it’s annoying, especially when you consider that creating content is what I do for a living. The weird thing here was that the text was grabbed.. for a YouTube video review.

That I did not expect. It did make it a lot easier, however, to put in a copyright complaint. Sometimes these things can take ages, but with due credit to YouTube, when you head to the page that had the “review” on it, you now get this:


I wonder if it’s possible to get a copyright claim quote popular enough to be on the YouTube homepage? Probably not…

Next up, the world of print publishing. While I was off being very ill indeed, the Australian version of Netguide magazine folded. Bummer. The New Zealand operation (run by a different company) is still out there, but I won’t be contributing reviews to that edition. Especially in light of this (with credit to MediaConnect, where I just read about it, but can’t link to) rather interesting “reviews scheme”. I strongly suspect the readers won’t be told about that little wrinkle in the “reviews” process.

Netguide as a distinct Australian publication in the meanwhile has become its own section in Australian PC User magazine. Just to confuse you, though, I’m not currently writing for Netguide-The-Section, but I am all over this month’s PC User itself. First up with a comprehensive (and somewhat deafening) review of 20 different iPod speaker docks. Then with standalone reviews of the Netcomm NP201AV 200MBps AV Homeplugs, Ricoh CX1 Digital Camera, HTC Magic Smartphone, Acer DX900 DualSIM phone and Sony Bravia KDL22S5700S TV. It’s on sale now. You know what to do.

Morbo can’t understand his teleprompter because he forgot how you say that letter that’s shaped like a man wearing a hat.

On the plus side of bad back pain: More time to watch old episodes of Futurama. I’m trying to be positive, you see.

Actually, things are slowly looking up, and I’m slowly getting back into work, which is good. Somebody’s got to earn a living, and the children keep complaining about “needing to eat” and such fripperies. I’m sure I wasn’t like that when I was younger.*

For MacTheBlog, I wrote the following commentary:

Apple’s tablet plans — they’re fully sick: “By this time next week, you’ll be holding a shiny new iTablet with enhanced multimedia functionality and a special attachment for removing stones from horses’ hooves.”

And for — who celebrated their fifth birthday this week — I wrote the following review:

Dvico TViX HD R-3300 HD Digital Jukebox + Ultimate PVR: “TViX’s supposedly HD PVR promises to be the “ultimate” PVR. We can’t help thinking that “basic” would have been a better appellation.”

Five years ago this week, I wrote this. Well, I published it, technically speaking — it was written a week or two before, for the soft launch of the site.

*This is of course a lie. I was never younger.