I’m ready to be fired from the Cannon… or is it Canon?

One of the more common spelling mistakes you’ll find, along with “Phillips” for the consumer tech company.

Late last week I travelled up to Byron Bay with Canon (disclaimer: They paid for my transport and accommodation. Make of that what you will) to field test a number of Canon products; most prominently cameras, both DSLR and compact digital. That led to the Balloon Flight I posted a couple of days ago, and it’s also led to a couple of camera-centric opinion columns. First up, at Geekspeak, a column pondering whether it’s time for ordinary consumers to “step up” to a DSLR:

Is it time to step up to a DSLR? “Happy snappers could get adequate pictures from point and shoot models, while those who yearned for more control or specific types of photography would make the costly trip into DSLRs.”

Then at Hydrapinion, I’ve taken that argument in the opposite direction, pitting Compact Point & Shoot cameras up against Smartphone cameras:

Have smartphone cameras killed the compact digital? “It’s not that the average DSLR weighs ninety kilograms, or is the size of the Partridge Family bus, or anything.”

Moving completely away from cameras, I’ve also cranked out another 30 Seconds Of Tech, this time shot at a rather awkward angle. I blame my head cold.

Balls, Phones and Games

Another busy day sees yet more content going live. First up, at CNET.com.au, a review of a very nice trackball. I’m going to be sad to see this one go back, frankly:

Kensington Orbit Trackball with Scroll Ring: “The design of the Orbit ball makes it stand out from the trackball crowd, which traditionally goes for a bright red design that usually ends up giving off a distinct Hal 9000 vibe.”

Then in the 30 Seconds Of Tech field, business is picking up. Firstly, yet another S-themed 30 Seconds:

And then an entry brought to you by the letter ‘N”

(and yeah, I know, the music’s the same in both of them. You weren’t here for the disco, were you?)

Finalist time and floating away…

I nearly — but not quite — forgot to blog the fact that, once again, I’ve made the finalist cut for the IT Journalist Awards (informally known as the “Lizzies” for reasons that I won’t go into here. I miss the bronze lizard statues, though). This year, they’re being sponsored by Microsoft, which formally makes them the Microsoft IT Journalism Awards For 2010.

Anyway, I’m in the finalist categories for Best Reviewer and Best Consumer Journalist.

My competition? Well, for Best Reviewer, that’d be Adam Turner, Angus Kidman, Campbell Simpson, Craig Simms, David Braue, Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson and Ty Pendlebury. For Best Consumer Journalist, I’m up against Adam Turner, Andrew Ramadge, Angus Kidman, Asher Moses, Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson and Nick Broughall.

Wow. That’s an insanely talented bunch of folks to even be considered in the company of. It all happens next Friday night, which leaves me pondering; should I once again live tweet the event?

While I ponder on that one, a quick video that came out of a trip I went on with Canon last week. Not so much 30 Seconds Of Tech, more 30 Seconds Of Floating Around.

Power: How to conserve it, and how to abuse it

A running theme through the articles that went up in the latter half of last week. First up, at Geekspeak, a review of Belkin’s Conserve Insight:

How much power does your IT equipment use? “Plugging in a PC, however, saw the figure jump very quickly up to $295, and a second PC saw that hop up to a scary $610 per annum.”

Then at MacTheMag, a look at Apple’s rather cynical methodology for generating additional iPad 2 hype, by way of 1am-product-launches-that-aren’t-actually-launches:

What’s Apple’s iPad 2 game? “Fashionable headwear aside, why would Apple do that kind of scheduling?”

Shiny phones, shiny drives and… Weird Al?

An opinion column, a review and a quick video. Or, in other words, I’m rather busy.

First up, at Hydrapinion, I’ve mused on the ethics of recording acts in concert, by way of Harvey The Wonder Hamster:

Weird Al, Copyright and Camera Confusion: “Have I missed a common consensus about what’s acceptable with portable gadgets and concert going?”

Then at CNET, I’ve reviewed a drive that doesn’t much sound like a drive. Every time I say its name out loud, it sounds to my ear like the attack cry of an Anime character:

Kingston HyperX Max 3.0: “So you feel the need for speed? Kingston’s HyperX Max 3.0 USB will deliver it, but you’ll pay a premium for all that velocity.”

And finally, courtesy of the launch today, a quick look at Telstra’s latest addition to its smartphone range, and another addition to the growing stockpile of 30 Seconds Of Tech pieces.

Smartphones, Smartphones and Mac Security

Another week winds its way down; one that’s been somewhat quiet on the publishing front.

At Hydrapinion, I opined about smartphone pricing:

How cheap can smartphones get? “Clearly someone in Telstra’s marketing department has a thing for the word “Touch”.

and at Geekspeak, I ran down the operating system factors to consider when buying a smartphone:

Smartphones Head To Head: “The problem is, most smartphone contracts cost pretty much the same irrespective of the model of phone you choose…”

switching away from smartphones for a second, I pondered on the tricky subject of Mac security for MacTheBlog:

Is your Mac really secure? “Are criminals located somewhere in a shady Eastern European country going to coat their Ferraris in finest Beluga Caviar, all paid for with your credit cards?”

Boxee, Tablets, and is it Friday yet?

I wrote the other day about how my freelancing work seems to come in waves of products. One thing I’ve seen no shortage of recently is media streaming boxes. Loads of them, all largely doing the same thing. After a while, it becomes hard to muster up enthusiasm unless they do something either a little different or considerably better than the opposition.

At CNET.com.au, I’ve taken a look at D-Link’s Boxee Box in one of the longest reviews I’ve written for any online publication for a long while.

(Quick ethical disclaimer: The review unit tested was (effectively) a door prize won at the Kickstart conference. That doesn’t change its features or flaws, but people get antsy about failure to disclose this kind of thing.)

D-Link Boxee Box: “The Boxee Box is a premium-priced proposition best suited for those who want an easy out-of-the-box Boxee experience.”

Then at Hydrapinion, it’s back to the wonderful world of tablets. Specifically, that tablet. You know the one. Don’t make me name it.

Yes, it’s about that Tablet (again): “By now, more words have been expended on Apple’s launch last week of the iPad 2 than are contained within the entirety of War & Peace*.”

It’s Friday, right? I can take it easy?

Takes a quick look at the calendar for the rest of March.

Gulp. Guess not.

Doods, MacBook Pros and a whole lot of video

It’s been an astonishingly productive week. Possibly because my brain is gearing up for the second half of March, where I’ll be even busier but significantly less productive (if you know why, you know why. If you don’t, you probably don’t need to know).

Over at CNET.com.au, another uDraw title got a going over:

uDraw Dood’s Big Adventure: “With 60 levels, Dood’s Adventure certainly is big. It’s a crying shame, though, that it’s not very good.”

At MacTheReviews, I’ve tested the new, shiny, Thunderbolt-Underpants-Wearing 2011 MacBook Pro:

MacBook Pro (early 2011): “For lo, through its magical and revolutionary technology, Apple has summoned the god of thunder and lightning, Zeus himself, within your MacBook Pro.”

And all of this while I was actually out of my office all day, attending product launches and events. Which led to a bit of video work. But instead of just one 30 Seconds Of Tech, you get a hefty three to pick from. What’s more, in startling news, and contrary to all we’ve seen go on before, one of them doesn’t even start with the letter S… although most of them do.

iPads, uDraw, Broadband and VoIP

The big news story of last week was clearly all the hype surrounding Apple’s iPad 2 tablet. I’ve discussed its ups and downs at MacTheBlog:

Five reasons to get excited about the iPad (and five reasons not to): “OK, so the owl was a bit off base. Bloody owl.”

and then examined it in the wider context of the emerging Tablet market at Geekspeak:

Apple unveils iPad 2. Should you care? “For the capability you get, last year’s iPad at this year’s fire sale prices might just be the tablet bargain of the year.”

It’s not all iPad, though. Another Tablet… of a sort… if I stretch the definition a little.. goes under my review microscope at CNET.com.au:

uDraw GameTablet: “It’s doubtful that the uDraw will provide an entirely new platform for Wii games, but it’s a nice accompaniment to the Wii that focuses more on creativity than games.”

uDraw Pictionary: “We’ll pause briefly here to note that the game understands that the singular form of “dice” is “die”. Call us pedantic, but we like that kind of thing.”

It’d stretch the truth a little bit too much to describe Toshiba’s nice little laptop as a Tablet, though:

Toshiba NB550D:“Toshiba’s AMD Fusion-powered netbook delivers performance you wouldn’t normally associate with netbooks, but struggles due to low memory allocation.”


I’m also all over the April 2011 edition of Australian PC User magazine. Within its pages you’ll find my exhaustive (and let me tell you, bloody exhausting) analysis of the best broadband and VoIP plans across this wide brown land. You haven’t lived until you’ve read the terms and conditions of more than sixty ISPs. Or perhaps I have no life. No matter!

Within the issue, you’ll also find standalone reviews of the Lexmark Genesis, Viewsonic Viewpad 7, Plantronics M100, Jawbone Jambox and Grundig Replay. Given my contributor copy turned up today, it should be on sale in all good newsagents (and several chaotic neutral ones) today.

It’s all gone a bit Tablet-centric

As a multi-purpose freelancer*, I often find that my writing duties revolve around certain themes. One day it’s all Apple, the next it’s all printers, then AV suites, then… well, you get the idea.

Today’s theme would appear to be Tablets. First up, at CNET.com.au, a review of an iPhone/iPod speaker dock… that also takes iPads. Really.

Philips Fidelio DS8550: “Philips’ excellent iPad-compatible dock comes with good sound and plenty of features that put it a step above the average music-centric speaker dock.”

Then at Hydrapinion, I ponder on whether, despite having touch built in from day one, Windows 7 has missed the entire Tablet phenomenon:

Has Windows 7 missed the Tablet Tsunami? “I’m rather reminded of the old Infocom Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy game that tasked you with having tea and no tea simultaneously…”

Keeping with the Windows 7 tablet idea, another entry in the 30 Seconds Of Tech series, this time looking at the Samsung 7 Series tablet. For those keeping score, I’m aware that the series to date has been a little Samsung-heavy, but that’s to do entirely with exposure. Any vendors willing to show me their shiny new gear are entirely and absolutely welcome to do so. It’s more of an oddity that every single vendor so far has started with the letter “S”. Must do something about that.




*Rumours that I have an optional attachment for removing stones from horse’s hooves are as yet, unsubstantiated.