In which Alex makes a Marti Pellow reference for some reason…

Lots of irons in the fire at the moment, even though it might seem rather quiet on the publishing front. My regular blog/column at Geeks2U continues on, however, this week looking at waterproof technology and ’80s Scottish Pop bands. Mostly the former.

Geekspeak: Technology and water don’t mix: “Or do they?”

The inevitable one where I talk about iOS4

Which was bound to happen sooner or later. Sooner rather than later, as a matter of fact, with a somewhat stream of consciousness/first impressions blog on what installing and running it was like on the first day over at MacTheBlog:

MacTheBlog: iOS 4: What is it good for? “As it turns out, not absolutely nothing.”

The joys of freelancing, part one: Be your own boss! (but not)

One of the benefits of freelancing, so they say, is that you become your own boss. Nobody peeking over your shoulder, and endless days of getting up late, working in pyjamas and being hand-fed peeled grapes by dusky island maidens.

The reality, naturally enough, is slightly different. Grapes go substantially up in price. The dusky island maidens complain that it’s been rather cold of late. You have to twist your neck into impossible positions in order to peek over your own shoulder. You get up even earlier, because although the commute is awesome, the pressure to produce work can actually be  a lot higher, what with the lack of holidays, sick pay and the simple fact that you’ve swapped one boss for many, many bosses.

I’ve been busy today keeping my many, many bosses happy with plenty of content.

First up, at CNET, a Tablet PC review:

HP TouchSmart tm2: “As an upgrade option for existing tablet users, the tm2 shines. As an entirely new proposition, however, we’re not quite as convinced.”

Then at PC Authority, this week’s handheld Vintage tech column:

Vintage Tech: Looking back at the Palm Pilot: “Palm Pilot PDAs pretty much defined the PDA and set the scene for the smartphones we use today.”

Then at Geekspeak, musings on the joys of networking. There aren’t many.

Geekspeak: Can Networking be made easy? “Most routers can be utter torture just to get up and running.”

And finally at MacTheBlog, a musings on the state of iPad eBooks. iebooks? No, that’d be Microsoft, surely?

MacTheBlog: A Little Light Reading: “Apparently — if Apple is to be believed — “Reading is a joy on iPad”.

I’d love to say after all that lot that I’m taking time off tomorrow to feel old and worn out. Those who know why, know why. But I’m not, what with having all these bosses to keep happy all at once. Back to the treadmill I go!

It’s all about the accessories…

Isn’t that standard fashion advice? I technically shouldn’t know, having the apparent fashion sense of a three weak dead weasel.

Unless decaying weasel corpses are “in” right now. It’s so hard to tell, really. While I ponder whether I should invest in a new wardrobe* you could check out my rather exhaustive (and exhausting) roundup of 18 different iPad accessories at

Best iPad Accessories:So, you’ve just dropped north of 600 bucks on a shiny new iPad. You’ve taken it out of its case and admired just how shiny it is. Keeping it shiny isn’t going to be an easy matter, and there’s no end of vendors offering up all kinds of accessories to improve your iPad experience. How good are they? We grabbed as many as we could and put them through iPad boot camp to separate the loser products from the heroes.”

*Never! Muppet T-Shirts always were, and always will be, cool. Although I could probably use some new ones…

Can you point your fingers and do the twist?

I certainly can. It’s all glamour in this job, especially when you get to hob-nob with multi-million selling recording artists… or at least sing with them.

That’s a passable enough description of one of the two reviews of mine live at today:

SingStar The Wiggles: “Little Wiggles fans will love SingStar The Wiggles, but they’ll need mum or dad pretty much permanently on hand when they play.”

Kogan Wi-Fi Digital Radio DAB with iPhone Docking Station Deluxe: “Kogan’s second-generation DAB+ digital radio and iPod dock combination hits all the right notes.”

Elites, Gadgets and the desire to do terrible things to couriers…

My, but I’ve been busy. So busy, in fact that the only mention I made of a column that went up yesterday was via my Twitter account. For those of you not following (why?), here it is:

Vintage Tech: Looking Back At Elite: “Some games are good. Very few are great. Even fewer are fantastic. But only one game is undeniably Elite.”

Speaking of Twitter, and keeping things online, I’ve been venting my frustration at couriers on Twitter for some time now via the use of the #punchcourierinface hashtag. Before anyone gets out the restraining orders, I’m not a physically violent man in any genuine way — it’s just a tool for expressing annoyance. Anyway, today, I jokingly commented that I use the tag enough that I should start selling T-Shirts. A certain other journalist (the guilty parties know who they are) said they’d buy one. One thing leads to another, and that leads to the…

PunchCourierInFace Cafe Press Store

As noted, I’m not doing this as a genuine revenue raiser for myself, and if anyone does buy anything, all the proceeds will head directly to BeyondBlue. If there are any graphic designers or similar who can come up with a better design they’d be willing to donate, drop me a line.

Back in the more solid, actual world, I’m also heavily within this month’s issue of PC User magazine. Astonishingly, for a magazine with such a strong cover focus on the iPad, I’ve not contributed a single iPad-centric word within. Hmm. Something might have to be done about that. Instead, what you’ll find within with my byline on it includes reviews of the Belkin F6D6230AU4 (who thinks up these names?), JVC BoomBlaster RV-NB50, Motorola DEXT, Kogan 26″ LED TV, Jabra Stone, Powermat Wireless Charging Pad, Modu Phone, Olin iPhone Wireless Charger and Flip MinoHD.

Astonishingly, if you so chose, you could buy a #punchcourierinface branded Flip Mino HD. I’m not expecting that to be a huge seller, however.

The good, the bad and the Hippo.

Baby Hippo. Too cute for wordsMore Hippo news than I would have thought possible. Although half of it is due to Kate (tip o’ the hat) and the excellent Zooborns Web site:

Baby Hippo Hits the Pool: This little hippo, pictured at just one week old, was born at Zoo Antwerp in Belgium on May 22nd.

That’s just too cute for words. Although the scale should give you some idea as to Hippo weights. As the article notes, a baby Hippo can weigh up to 45kgs. At birth.

Ladies (especially those who have given birth) you can breathe in now, and try not to think about delivering that.

That’s the good part. Then the bad part, although at least it’s not actual Hippos. Wandering through a Big W recently, I spotted the king of all Hippo related amusements. The one. The only.

Hungry Hungry Hippos.

But this didn’t look like any Hungry Hippos I’d seen before. They’d… gasp!… redone the box artwork. I’m still kind of split. My first reaction was to try to set fire to the store for housing such an abomination, but luckily I was fresh out of matches. It’s slowly growing on me… a bit. But I’d still prefer the classic box artwork. Maybe you’ve got to be young to appreciate it?

Five reasons to buy iPhone 4 (and five reasons not to)

Well, that didn’t take long. The first of what I suspect might just be a few iPhone 4 articles I’ll pen over the coming weeks, live now for your perusal at PC Authority. It should be noted that I might just annoy 70 million people with this one:

iPhone 4: The top 5 reasons to buy (or not to buy): “We reveal the key reason Australians should be excited about the iPhone 4. And it’s not video calling…”

Macbook or iPad?

Sure, I could be writing about that new shiny Apple gadget. Undoubtedly, very shortly, I will be.

But yesterday, when my latest article went up, I was still busy writing about Apple’s other shiny gadget, and the comparison against its shiny laptop line:

MacTheBlog: MacBook vs iPad: Let Battle Commence: “I didn’t actually climb Mount Everest. But I suspect you knew that.”

Desktop storage and online privacy

Monday kicks off with a review at and this week’s Geekspeak column at Geeks2U.

Firstly, a quick guide to online privacy at Geeks2U:

Geekspeak:Privacy online: A quick primer: “One of the ongoing themes of the Internet age has been the question of privacy,and how to maintain it in an increasingly online world.”

And then at, Hitachi’s rather noisy external storage solution:

Hitachi XL2000 2TB Hard Drive: “External hard drives aren’t normally the most visually stunning of creatures, although there are some exceptions.

The XL2000 isn’t one of those exceptions.”