On Monday the 11th Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts which initially in the UK will find it’s way onto a range of six handsets from four different manufacturers. I spend sometime with the new OS and it’s frankly brilliant and deliberate step away from the usual ‘device as app launcher’ UI and includes ‘hubs’ for Exchange, SharePoint, Xbox Live, Zune and Facebook amongst other things; and this time around Microsoft have retained control of the hardware specification allowing for easier updating and a more predictable experience across the range.
|HTC 7 Mozart||HTC 7 Trophy||HTC HD7||Samsung Omnia 7||LG Optimus 7||Dell Venue Pro|
Even Stephen Fry, well know for his love of all things Cupertino, is a fan and as he says in this video he wasn’t paid. It seems Techcrunch and Wired are impressed too. I talk some more about Windows Phone 7 when I get one of my own which should be about….now.
The tablet market is beginning to heat up as the tech vendors offer alternatives to the iPad and I was lucky enough today to spend sometime with a pre production Samsung Galaxy Tab. At first it seems that someone has simply shrunk an iPad and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I’ve always been impressed with how the iPad looks and feels. The Android 2.2 (Froyo) UI also highlights that imitation is the the sincerest form of flattery but the hardware adds things the iPad misses including front and rear facing cameras and a MicroSD storage.
All things being equal the key question is whether the seven inch screen is big enough. For some it will, for others it won’t and this for me underlines what we always knew. Choosing personal devices is just that…personal. The only slightly worrying thing might be the price, I understand that it’ll weight in at a little over the £500 mark and that might be bit rich for some.
Often when a franchise runs out of ideas rather than look forward it’s creators look backwards, not always with great results. I’m looking at you Mr Lucas. Bungie however I’m happy to say haven’t fallen into the vanity trap that snared the aforementioned George and have created a masterpiece as a final hurrah as they pass the Halo mantle to 343 Industries.
I’m not going to give the plot away as you can find the details on lots of other websites and as you might suspect the usual sci-fi clichés are all here but without the clumsiest you often see in this genre. It looks beautiful and I kept having mini flashbacks recalling how it felt the first when I played the original Halo: Combat Evolved, I even paused almost every time Noble 6 went outside just to take in the view. There’s just enough new stuff to keep you interested and of course all the familiar Halo stuff to make you feel at home, although I did miss dual weld (unless of course I missed it).
It’s enough to say I have a severe case of Attention Deficient Disorder when it comes to games and unless compelled I rarely finish them, the Halo series is the exception. Thank you Bungie!
For someone who may not have even existed Robin Hood has remained a popular subject for Hollywood and with the success of Gladiator behind them surely Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe should nail it? Not quite. It’s a shame really as the premise they use is rather good but as we all know the story and the script are very different things, so whilst the story is actually not bad the script seems to have had far too many cooks resulting in a bit of cinematic mess, not helped by Mr Crowe who seems a bit confused as to what part of England Robin comes from. Why he didn’t just stick with his Jack Aubrey or Maximus is a mystery.
Historically it’s not too far off the mark, often Richard I is shown returning to England but here he dies in France after being stuck by a crossbow bolt so in one sense it was off to a good start and the fictitious Robin is portrayed as a rather more ambiguous character than the traditional ‘rob from the rich to give to the poor’ archetype. What’s apparent almost straight away is that they filmed a significantly longer movie which they then hoped to edit into a something the multiplexes would be happy with…however far to much was lost in the cut. A good example is the Sherriff of Nottingham who is nothing more than a shabby cameo, however it’s obvious that originally Matthew MacFadyen had a much bigger role which thanks to some over zealous editing ended up not making a sense at all. You can all see the joins where successive script writers, there had to be more that those credited, tried to bolt each others sections together making a part Gladiator, part Lord of the Rings, part Knights Tale chimera that hints at what a great movie it could have been had the term ‘production hell’ not been muttered.
The charisma Crowe has shown in other outings was missing too and Robin comes across as miserable so and so, but then maybe being on the crusades for ten years would make someone slightly grouchy, in essence though I think the Antipodean was just wrong for the part; Sean Bean kept springing to mind and he’d have not struggled with the accent.
As a long time user and fan of Office Communications Server, although I might be biased as it’s my day job, it’s great to see that we can now use the new name. Here’s the new naming convention which is very straightforward…just say Lync!
|Family||Microsoft Office Communications||Microsoft Lync|
|The server||Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2||Microsoft Lync Server 2010|
|The client||Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2||Microsoft Lync 2010|
|The service||Microsoft Office Communications Online||Microsoft Lync Online|
|The web client||Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access||Microsoft Lync Web App|
They product team have also made available the Release Candidate so you can try it out. Just click the banner.
After Eric Schmidt told us a little while ago, and I’ll quote as it’s a dozy, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place." He now thinks the young should be able to change their identity to hide the things they shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.
If you take an interest in web based goings on then you’ve probably been following the often heated debate over the question of Net Neutrality; if you haven’t then please take this as an opportunity to start. It turns out to be a more complex issue than you might imagine as those for and against don’t even seem, on occasion, to agree what they’re arguing about. Wikipedia makes a fair stab at it however.
At the centre of the argument is should Governments regulate and all that implies or should Corporates be able to freely do whatever they like and all that implies. In other words who controls your choice. What makes this even more interesting is that Google have waded into the debate and teamed up with Verizon to offer US legislators a few ideas, as you can imagine this has kicked off a fierce debate as to whether Google are in favour or not of net neutrality. They claim they are, others disagree. Although Google CEO Eric Schmidt doesn’t make it clearer after claiming in a press conference that Google and Verizon have been talking “for a long time about trying to get an agreement on what the definition of Net neutrality is. What we mean is that if you have one data type, like video, you don’t discriminate against one person’s video in favour of another. It’s ok to discriminate across different types…” Let me see if I can put the lid back on that can of worms…no sorry I can’t.
Maybe in these circumstances we should always ask, “What does Tim think?”
Me and hats don’t normally work but finding myself in the wonderful establishment Swaine Adeney & Briggs in St James’s Street, thank you Russ, I tried on ‘The Poet’. I’m now a member of the hat wearing classes. No pun intended but hats off to the the staff at SA&D, if every retail experience was like the one I had the world would be a better place.
Twelve months on and Google has given Wave the chop. Whilst not the prettiest thing I’ve seen it was interesting idea as it tried to mash together a number of web based communication technologies but alas suffered from the usual Google problem. It was an engineering idea looking for a market. Now more often than not this is exactly the way new technology and ideas are born but 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway have a particular track record in trying to find an alternative revenue stream to search. Hard to believe people were selling Wave invites on eBay not so long ago.
Hat doff to Tara.