I may be a workaholic, but an intervention would send me broke…

Such is the way of the Freelance Journo.

First up, at PC & Tech Authority, the closest I’m EVER likely to come to writing sports journalism:

Opinion: Should you be worried by Facebook’s facial tagging? “Photos published of several St Kilda footballers this week has brought Facebook privacy back into the spotlight. So imagine this – what if Facebook was able to recognise and tag faces in photos uploaded by you or your friends?”

Then at CNET.com.au, a trio of reviews:

Acer Aspire Z3750: “Acer’s stuffed decent hardware into an all-in-one (AIO) that only really suffers from having a small display screen.”

MSI Wind Top AE2400: “The Wind Top AE2400 is an all-in-one (AIO) PC that tries its hands at many fields but succeeds in few of them.”

SingStar The Wiggles PS3: “The Wiggles’ Singstar title makes its PS3 debut and apart from a lick of high definition paint, it’s still much the same game. Little Wiggles fans will love it, but they’ll probably need mum or dad on hand when they play.”

And that brings the online yearly total up to… 341. And counting.

A Printer That Looks Like A Trouser Press, Bored Games And More…

Somehow, I knew that the year wouldn’t finish on 335 online reviews. At CNET.com.au, I’ve got this pair of reviews. First up, a printer that, when the time came to name it on the network simply had to be called “Genesis Of The Daleks”, although I did toy with Star Trek and Phil Collins puns as well:

Lexmark Genesis: “In the interests of science, we also tested how well the Genesis worked as a trouser press. Aside from offering to scan our slacks, it performed poorly.”

And then something that I should love: A collection of classic board games. Except that… I didn’t.

Hasbro Family Game Night Vol 3: “Your host through all the games is Hasbro’s own Mr Potato Head. And he’s easily the best thing about the title, hands down. Anyone who doesn’t like Mr Potato Head, frankly, has no soul.
The problem is the rest of the games on offer largely don’t have any soul either.”

Meanwhile, in the print world, I’ve been busy too. The January issue of Australian PC User features a whole range of my reviews. For the second month in a row there’s a smorgasbord of smartphone reviews — the HTC Desire HD, Blackberry Torch 9800, LG Optimus 7, Motorola Milestone 2, HTC 7 Mozart, Samsung Galaxy 5, Millennius Apanda A60 and Nokia N8 to be specific. Joining them in standalone reviews are the Telstra T-Touch Tab, JVC Picsio GC-WP10, Flip UltraHD, PADACS Ultracharge, Franklin Roadie, Western Digital MyPassport Essential USB 3.0 500GB, Buffalo Ministation Lite USB 3.0 500GB, Buffalo Drivestation USB 3.0 1TB, NBA 2K11 and WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2011.

Maybe I should revise that 2010 figure to closer to 600 reviews…

2010: The Year In Reviews

It’s time, once again, to take stock of the year that’s just been.

Heck of a year in many respects, including winning a journalism award that I’m still quite proud of. And having no office for nearly three months due to flooding. And (all up) spending nearly a month away from my office, including two overseas stints.

Given all that, how much work did I do?

(too much)

Probably. But how much is too much?

The answer, at least in online terms, is after the jump. Otherwise this page would be very long and unwieldy, to put it mildly.
Continue reading “2010: The Year In Reviews”

NBN Pricing And Augmented Applications

First up today (at least chronologically), a look at the very clever Word Lens over at Geekspeak:

Augmented Reality Makes Reality Easier To Understand: “Where Augmented Reality applications like Word Lens or Google Goggles get it right is by reducing the need to interface with the application down to a few seconds, rather than a constant connection…”

And then at PC & Tech Authority, my take on what the announced NBN pricing will really mean for consumers:

Opinion: Will NBN pricing lead to better Aussie broadband deals? “Do the prices announced today for the National Broadband Network (NBN) mean you should be excited about having fibre connected to your home?”

Browser Wars, MVNOs And The Curse Of The USB Key…

Where the heck did the year go?

Oh. That’s right. Working. Slaving away at the nouns and the verbs, twisting them to my will. For example, at CNET, I’ve just given the major browsers a good old fashioned going-over.

Browser battles: IE vs. Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Safari “We’ve taken a look at the latest and greatest from Microsoft, Apple, Opera, Google and Mozilla to sort out where each browser scores well or offers something unique that makes them a must-use proposition.”

Then at PC & Tech Authority, iiNet’s announcement that it was entering into the MVNO space led to a comparison column:

Does iiNet’s mobile leap make sense? “iiNet’s the latest operator to jump on the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) bandwagon with the announcement of residential and business mobile phone plans.”

Finally, this week’s Hydrapinion covers the things that cover my desk, making it messy: USB Flash Drives:

Hydrapinion: What do you do with fifty USB keys? “My desk is a mess of portable Flash drives — easily more than fifty of the suckers.”

Best Value 3G WiFi Modems and The Future Of The Tablet

The week kicks off with a couple of columns. First up, at PC Authority, I look at the pricing and plans for 3G “MiFi” style Modem/Routers:

Best Value Pre-Paid Portable 3G Wi-Fi Modems: “Whether you call them MiFis, Portable Routers, Battery Routers, Portable Hotspots or merely “that thing that I use to connect my stuff when I’m out”, portable battery powered Wi-Fi 3G routers are hot right now. “

Meanwhile, at Geekspeak, I look to the future of tablets:

Geekspeak: What does 2011 hold for the Tablet? “2010 was, if anything, the year of the Tablet…”

Useless USB drives, Terrifying Terabytes, Killer Couch Potatoes And… Lapdances?

It’s all in a day’s work for an in-demand technology journalist, really. You should see what it’s like around here when I get really busy.*

First up, CNET.com.au has a review of a nice product that doesn’t seem to have a particular niche in mind.

Hitachi LifeStudio Mobile Plus: “Hitachi’s Mobile LifeStudio has an interesting design, but we can’t work out who would actually find it useful and valuable.”

Then over at PC Authority, alliteration meets the world of ISPs by way of broadband plans with scads of data attached:

Should you be terrified of terabyte plans? “Still, at least a 1TB plan should be easy to decipher. Just take the cost of the plan and divide it by 1TB (remembering that ISPs tend to count 1TB=1000GB, for the mathematically pedantic) and you’ve got a good measuring stick, right? Not so fast!”

Then at Geekspeak, I ponder on whether ABC’s iView app will spell the death of the couch potato, and try to resurrect a ’70s National icon at the same time:

Geekspeak: ABC’s iView app spells the death of the couch potato: “If you’re of a certain age, you’ll recall the mascot of the ‘Life Be In It’ campaign: Norm.”

Before finally finishing up at Hydrapinion with lapdancing. No, not that sort of lapdancing.

Hydrapinion: The Lapdance Problem: “For all that we’d opted for slightly different methods of note taking, we were all struck with the same basic problem.”

*Which is pretty much all the time at the moment. Anyone tells you Freelancers have it easy, send them my way for ‘re-education’. With a brick.

I should get around to writing up my NaNoWriMo thoughts…

But I’ve been rather busy. It’ll happen when I’ve got time to go back to my novel, I suspect. One of the perils, however, of knowing some truly wonderful and talented people, is that often they say what I thought at times… and this is one of those times. A good friend of mine wrote up her NaNoWriMo experience, and I’m honestly going to struggle to say anything better than this.

In the meantime, I’ve also been attending to the ol’ day job, writing reviews for CNET.com.au:

WD Elements Play: “WD’s Elements drive wants to play in both the storage and AV playgrounds. It’s not entirely comfortable in either arena, however.”

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk (1TB): “Seagate’s innovative multi-interface approach saves the GoFlex from being just another USB 2.0 external hard drive, but you’ll pay handsomely for the flexibility of choice.”

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV: “After a media streaming box that’s largely identical to every other media streaming box? Say hello to the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV.”

Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus 2TB: “Slick included software and an expensive novelty USB flash drive aren’t enough to make the DeskLife Studio plus a must-buy storage option.”

This Is Your Product. This Is Your Product Under The Reviews Hammer.

Musings on good and bad products permeate today’s offerings. First of all, there’s my contribution to a group article over at PC Authority on the worst products ever:

The worst products we’ve ever reviewed… “You’ve probably never heard of the Fish PC. There’s good reason for that.”

Then at Hydrapinion, the bad product matrix spins around the question of gadget robustness:

Hydrapinion: How tough should your gadgets be? “Real build quality’s a tough thing to assess in the limited time for a product review, especially for a portable gadget that’s likely to see more than a few knocks and bumps along the way.”