2009: The Year In Reviews

So, I’m sitting here as 2009 draws to a close, and thinking on the year past, as is often traditional for folks at this time of the year. 2009’s been a tough year, financially, personally and from a work perspective, but the one constant thing is that it’s been constant. Even allowing for the fact that I didn’t write a whole lot in July owing to severe health issues, I kept on working all year long.

But how many articles can one journalist pen in a year? Well, purely speaking online, a lot. I’ve collected them all up after the page break (warning; it’s kind of long, but you probably guessed that anyway) along with some observations right down at the end. Keep scrolling.. you’ll get there. Eventually.

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The Walrus Was Paul…

Well, I’m glad that’s cleared up.

I’ve been taking a brief break, which frankly wasn’t in my game plan for the festive season, but needs otherwise dictated that it should be so. It’s done me some good, frankly speaking.

While I was unwrapping presents and nibbling at fine cheeses, a few articles with my byline appeared anyway. Firstly, at MacTheBlog:

Here there be Dragons: “It’s no secret that Apple puts a lot of work into user interfaces, and trying very hard to get it just right. It doesn’t always succeed…”

And then at CNET.com.au:

Dvico TViX HD M-6600N: “The M-6600N is a feature-rich PVR let down badly by stability issues.”

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh…

This is what happens when I get a digital radio in and decide to only listen to Elf Radio for the day.

It’s doing wonderful things for my productivity, though. Not because I’m filled with cheesy Christmas spirit, but simply because I rather desperately want to get out of this office, and I can only do that once the day’s work is done!

With that in mind, I’m cracking on with work, as evidenced from yet more reviews surfacing at CNET.com.au:

Canon Pixma MP560: “As a mid-priced multifunction the MP560 performs well, and we appreciate the inclusion of realistic claimed print speeds.”

Littlest Pet Shop: Beach Friends: “A very light game of interest only to Littlest Pet Shop fanatics, but they’ll most likely love it to bits.”

One interesting aside: Very few games aimed at younger players get reviews in major publications. There are specialist sites, such as Gameparents or GamerDad, but they’re playing in a specific niche. As such, I often end up being one of the few reviews online for titles for the younger audience. I’m starting to understand how they think…

I scare myself to death… that’s why I keep on running…

OK, now iTunes is getting very random. Think I’ll adopt a new post naming scheme in the new year. But what should it be?

In the meantime, the run towards Christmas sees a lot of articles being written at a frantic pace, which inevitably leads to them being published. My long running series of iPhone App articles continues at PC Authority:

Amazing Apps for your iPhone: Find Food Fast: “Whether it’s advisable to let drunk people imbibe lots of grease is left as an exercise to the App user, of course…”

Meanwhile, at CNET.com.au, I’ve been listening carefully. Mostly for wild animals who might otherwise eat me, that is:

Asus HP-100U Dolby Headphone Set: “Gamers with a penchant for very loud explosions will like the HP-100U, but those who want distinct audio levels will want to listen elsewhere.”

World of Zoo: “Animal-obsessed kids will be in seventh heaven with World Of Zoo — and they might even learn a little along the way.”

Well, I had two weeks of vacation time coming…

No. No I didn’t. I’ll be more or less working through the festive season, with only a couple of significant days off. Such is the life of a busy freelancer. Sure beats being an unemployed freelancer, though.

The subject line’s original song is brought up in one of my articles currently live, though, at MacTheBlog:

MacTheBlog: Chrome: Not So Shiny? “How many large balls of twine are there out there, anyway?”

And, reliable as always, I’ve got new reviews up at CNET.com.au. Today, it’s printer day! (Also Monkey Day, but that’s not strictly relevant to the subject of these reviews)

HP Photosmart Plus B209: “The Photosmart Plus has a great touchscreen interface, but average printing quality at best.”

Lexmark Platinum Pro905: “Lexmark’s latest printer comes with a platinum card style price point, but it’s too slow for all but the most patient print users.”

It seemed like rainbows would appear…

iTunes, you’re serving up the oddities today. Although perhaps just telling it to randomly play everything I own is to fault. Lucky it’s not The Wiggles, a totally random Dr Who or Goons quote really…

Meanwhile, my ongoing column series on iPhone Apps for PC Authority  dips, as it inevitably had to, into games territory, covering off PC/Console titles that have made the transition to the iPhone. And I realise looking at it that I’ve missed the rather expensive but exceptionally well done Call Of Duty: World At War: Zombies. It’s not cheap, and it’s not for the younglings.. but blimey, it’s good! As are most of the following:

Amazing Apps for your iPhone: Cramming a games PC into your iPhone: “Five games that shouldn’t work on the iPhone — but do.”

Solitary sister, is there still a part of you that wants to give?

Astonishing what iTunes throws up on random some days to make up my subject lines. Hadn’t thought about that song in years. I’m willing to bet you haven’t either…

And that’s as good a random segue as any into today’s articles. Firstly, online. At CNET.com.au I dip into notebook territory:

Asus UL50Vt: “The UL50Vt’s black style almost makes it look like an evil, but considerably cheaper MacBook Pro model…”

(nb: Those who prefer a more business-style spin (and advertising) with their notebook reviews can read the same thing here at ZDNet)

At PC Authority I’ve been doing some cooking with iPhones. Not that they get quite that hot, but anyway:

Amazing Apps for your iPhone: 6 apps to turn your iPhone into a recipe book: “No recipes that use Alcohol, Anchovies and Baking Powder? Fail.”

Then in the print world, there’s the January 2010 issue of Australian PC User.

PC User January 2010
Please don’t ask me to explain magazine cover dates; we’ll be here all day and everyone will still be confused. Anyway, this issue chalks up an impressive twenty years of PC User, and means that in my own case, I’ve had articles published in the 20 year anniversary issues of both PC User and Australian Personal Computer. Although APC’s 20th was quite some time ago — I was still on staff there in that case.

I wonder how many of the gold boxes there are still around?

Anyway, my contributions to this month’s issue encompass reviews of Amazon’s Kindle, Virgin Mobile’s WiFi Modem, Uniden’s TRAX 5000 GPS, Toshiba’s 22DV615Y DVD/TV Combo, Flip’s MinoHD Camcorder, Jabra’s HALO Bluetooth headset and finally EA’s Beatles Rock Band. Phew. That should keep them busy for, say.. 20 years?


Oh well. Back to the word mill then.

Fame… makes a man take things over..

Thankfully, while the thin white duke is pretty famous, I’m not. Or at least not to the best of my knowledge. If there’s any paparazzi out there stalking me, they’re doing a very stealthy job of it.

There’s a lot of my work out there that I haven’t particularly plugged as yet. I’m blaming the 3,000km I drove over the weekend, including 1,500km in a single stint. Ow. My everything either hurts or feels like it’s dropped off. I’ll check which is which while you get on with reading it all.

Firstly, CNET.com.au has three reviews of mine:

Dell Latitude XT2 Tablet: “Dell’s tablet isn’t cheap, but it’ll appeal to the business crowd who desire a solidly built system.”

Asus O!Play HDP-R1 Media Player: “We can’t help it. We’ve tried long and hard, but every time we even think about mentioning the name of Asus’ HD Media streaming box, we have to suppress a childish giggle, simply because, by calling it the O!Play, we’re instantly reminded of a certain yoghurt brand…”

Jawbone Prime: “The Jawbone Prime’s ability to filter out nearby sounds is astonishingly good. We suspect black magic is at work here.”

And then at MacTheBlog, I’ve pondered Apple’s rather interesting attitude to how much memory should cost:

MacTheBlog: Memories: A Pricing Game: “There’s a certain small argument there, in that memory sticks put together by a guy in a shed in Dubbo probably aren’t quite as good as Apple’s, even if you do get a slab of beer with every order. But not all memory is sourced from Dubbo.”