Jan 13, 2010 in hardware, reviews
My last TV (32″ HD-ready and made by Hannspree) made me realise what a step up from CRT to LCD meant. For around £300 (AUD$600) it didn’t fill half the living room, had good sound, a pretty good picture, viewing angle, a few latency issues and problems with dynamic range (dark colours dropped off to black too quickly, meaning moody films featured actors with black empty eye sockets) but nothing compared to the muddy, blurry mess we’d had with our old similarly-priced CRT.
Moving to Australia was my chance (read: excuse) to make another step up, this time in price range and feature set. This gorgeous Samsung was retailing for up to AUD$2,200 when I bought it, and I negotiated down quite a bit from that in Bing Lee, an Aussie store whose differentiator is that “everything’s negotiable” – it is until you reach their “floor price” of course, which is quite easy to work out. Some of their stores even mark price tags to show if they’re already at their floor price… but I digress. I’d venture that it’s worth every single penny. Continue reading…
Jul 10, 2009 in General
JoliCloud is an alternative operating system (OS) for netbook PCs like Asus’ Eee PC, which are small in every way – small processors, small bodies, small memory… and as a result are the perfect thing to throw into a bag and have with you at all times. In the past they’ve struggled with Windows (small screen size, small storage, particularly in the earlier models) and also with Linux (not enough focus on making the installation and maintenance seamless and simple for the average user), but a new wave of OS’ are on the horizon which will make them a lot more practical to use. Continue reading…
Jun 05, 2009 in reviews
We, like many ex-pats moving to Sydney without the support of an employer’s relocation package, presumed that a couple of weeks would suffice to find the area we wanted to live, and find a flat which ticked most of the boxes.
What we found was not the dog-eat-dog competitive housing market we expected (at least not at the prices we were prepared to pay) but instead a bewilderingly inefficient and downright unprofessional industry. There were a few good eggs out there, but some really rotten ones too, and I run through the headlines in this article.
May 30, 2009 in reviews
One thing many people don’t realise before moving to Australia is just how hard it is to get hold of certain basic things – bank accounts, mortgages are some of the more obvious ones, but mobile phones are among the surprises waiting for any ex-pat with an expiry date on their visa.
So, what to do? We managed to get pay as you go mobiles without even having addresses, but as soon as you want the better value offered by a monthly contract (especially for mobile internet junkies like myself) the shop assistants start throwing the rulebook at you. Apparently, the standard credit checks for all the major networks (Three, Optus, Vodafone, Telstra) require a visa with an expiry date far in excess of the end of the contract, and for those on a 12 month working holiday visa, that counts out most options.
Except… TPG. TPG, for the uninitiated, provide cheap broadband and telephony for the more courageous consumer – their customer service is limited, but their product hugely better value than all their competition. And… They offer 1 month rolling contracts! Their ingenious approach sees them take 20 dollars’ at the time of sign up, which covers any time you incur charges outside your basic plan.
For us, it is perfect, and I was surprised firstly by the speed of delivery (2 days from online order to receipt) then by the quality and speed of my 2gb mobile internet connection. They repackage ‘Yes’ Optus airline, so you get the same coverage and speed for less money and less commitment. Genius! Confusingly the SIM card is branded ‘SOUL’ but it turns out that TPG own SOUL.
As a sideline, 2gb is far too much for a mobile deal – my usage counter tells me that with push email running, plus downloads and extensive web browsing I’m scraping 10 megabytes per day… Or 0.3 gb per month. Oops!
May 02, 2009 in hardware, reviews
The TomTom One XL is an TomTom One with a widescreen and $100 bigger price tag. Software, hardware, user interface, windscreen mount, speaker etc etc all the same, just a bigger screen. So, why? And why wouldn’t you buy one of those sleek, black, high-resolutuon, Bluetooth, iPod-interfaced Navmans (Navmen?) for the same price or less?