Why Upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S3?

Why am I very likely to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S3, rather than the HTC One X? Why do I need to upgrade at all?

To be honest, I do not really need to upgrade – but – I have two contracts expiring soon, so I may as well take advantage. I also like to get new gadgets.

I’ve looked closely at the One X & S3 reviews and I’m 100% sure I will go for the S3 for these 3 reasons:

1. Better battery – it’s going to have 2100MAh, so should last a bit longer than the HTC which I can hardly do anything with during the day for fear of the battery running down. What’s the point in having a SmartPhone if you can’t use it properly?

2. Performance on the S3 looks very promising with that quad-core processor – sooooo tempting.

3. Storage – no need to worry about running out of space as the S3 takes a micro SD card – the HTC has no facility to add any more memory (a bit short-sighted IMHO; I’m already running 145 extra apps on my phone and it’s struggling. I NEED SPACE).

So, for just those 3 reasons the Samsung Galaxy S3 looks as if it’s coming into my hands very soon. I’ll go for the white I think. Now I just need to talk to my friendly Vodafone consultant and wait for the car kit to come out and I’ll be well away.

(Might let my SO have my HTC Sensation – good enough for what he will do with it.)


Android Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade – HTC Sensation

Android Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade – HTC Sensation

Just this minute found out that Vodafone has made available the Android Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for my mobile. As they are rolling it out to their own schedule, I have grabbed the upgrade myself and it is installing as I write.

It’s a mega- download of over 300MB!

To see if your phone can get it yet, see if what I did for my HTC Sensation will work for you:

1. Settings

2. About phone

3. Software

4. Check for updates – use Wi-Fi if you can.

The first time I did this it said there wasn’t an update, but I tried about 2 minutes later and it was there – Android version 4.

Needless to say I have noidea how my apps will work on the new software, but what the heck.

I will let you know how I get on.

Amazon Kindle Touch In UK

Amazon Kindle Touch In UK

At last – Amazon’s Kindle Touch is now available in the UK. This has headphone socket and speakers (see my earlier review post), Would I have bought it if it had been available before?

Maybe. Even though the keypad is awful, it’s better than not having one at all. But having said that, the touchscreen is tempting as we are all so used to using them now. Have to go and try one in the shop. The X-Ray facility looks interesting too.

The one thing I don’t like about the older Kindles is that the buttons on the side are a bit too low to make for easy reading. Minor niggle.

How to recognise the Touch – it has that little square speaker centre bottom.

BTW – at time of writing, Amazon have a sale of Kindle ebooks – 99p for lots which I have been putting off buying until now. I’m off to spend some money!

Siri for Android – I don’t think so!

Siri for Android – I don’t think so!

My daughter has just bought herself an iPhone which has the Siri voice service app. It’s a neat little program, so thinking I might like it for my Android phone I ran a Google search. Lo and behold – we already have similar built-in on our Android mobiles! It may not be as amusing, but don’t pay out for something which is just a knock-off.

Here’s just one of the hundreds of articles/blogposts about this scam.


Kindle Keyboard Personal Review

Why, when the Kindle (Kindle Touch is it’s US name) has only just been brought out, did I decide on the Kindle Keyboard (or Wi-Fi non 3G)? It wasn’t price – £20 isn’t worth compromising on features. If some of my Top Five are important to you too, you need to check if the Kindle you want to get does them. I have not considered the Kindle Wi-Fi as I don’t see the point in paying nearly £50 more to do something I can do for free at home.

There is one more point I would like to make. The Kindle Keyboard is only available as a refurbished item on Amazon (co.uk) – only the new Kindle and Kindle Wi-Fi 3G are sold new. I bought mine through Tesco Direct and had it delivered to my nearest store. Prices seem to be the same wherever you go.

Just to summarise: here in the UK we have the Kindle, Kindle Wi-Fi and Kindle 3G. In the USA they have the Kindle Touch, Kindle 3G and Kindle Fire as well. In the USA some of these are sold with advertising to keep the prices down – but I understand these cannot be used in the UK. Please be careful and check before you buy from abroad, wherever you may live.

No, definitely features not price were more important to me, so here are my top five for my Kindle Keyboard personal review.

1. Having a keyboard. 2. Audio playback. 3. Size. 4. Better battery life. 5. Greater storage capacity.

1. Having a keyboard was of utmost importance as I have dislike of virtual keypads. My phone lets me slide words, the Kindle can’t to do that, so a proper keyboard/pad, poor as it may be, is infinitely better for me than the Kindle option. Nevertheless, even the keyboard has its drawbacks. The buttons are very clunky and the menu options don’t let you hit a letter to get to them, nor does it cycle round: you must use the ‘5-way controller’ to navigate the menus. Perhaps future software updates will be able to address this (currently on version 3.3).

2. Audio playback (please see Steve’s comment and my reply on the right – I have been into shops to closely examine the Kindle Touch: no speakers and no headphone socket!) is something I wanted to have available, even if I may not use it very much and I cannot see that the Kindle Touch has a headphone socket nor does it have speakers. It’s one of the experimental options called Text-To-SPeech. The male and female voices are quite robotic, but they are bearable and can be slowed down. It’s quite interesting how they interpret full stops and commas, and of course their inflections may be somewhat out of place, but not bad considering. [Update March 2012: The Kindle Touch is he US-only version and does indeed have speakers and a headphone socket. Here in the UK we have what is now called the Kindle (no speakers etc), and Kindle 3G. Some shops still sell the Kindle Keyboard WiFi, which is the one I have.]

It is also possible to listen to music MP3s, and audio books which I already have can be installed into the audio folder, music  files to the music folder. All quite obvious once the Kindle Keyboard is connected to my pc. Music playback is only experimental at the moment, but serves a great purpose for me as I can surf on my laptop where I don’t want sound and listen to music from the Kindle with headphones or it’s in-built speakers (yes, 2 of them!).  You cannot use the text-to-speech option with PDFs, but it’s OK with most books.

So far I have discovered that you cannot send MP3s to your Kindle via email, you need to connect it to your computer and transfer them that way. Quality of sound from the built-in speakers is not bad considering, and of course headphones can be used instead.

Useful tip

When you register your Kindle with Amazon (if you bought it from somewhere else) then you will be given an email address which is the before the @ part of the email address you use with Amazon email @kindle.com. So for example, myname@gmail.com. This will result in myname@kindle.com and you can send documents etc to your Kindle via email. The email address you send from must be the same as your full Amazon email. The system is clever enough to let you know if you get it wrong!

3. Size is important. When I saw the Kindle side-by-side with the Kindle Keyboard, I actually felt that it was a bit too small to hold comfortably. Then when trying to navigate the menus, it was fiddlier. (I wasn’t checking for a headphone socket at the time, by the way.) To be honest, I do find that the page forward and back buttons on the Keyboard aren’t ideally placed for my thumbs – I’d like to see them higher up, nearer the top – but they are on both sides, which is good for lefties. It looks to me as if the buttons are in the middle on both, so as the Touch is a bit smaller, they might be even worse for me.

4. Battery life is twice as much on the Keyboard as it is for the Touch. Not quite sure why that should be, but that’s what the specs imply. Not too big a deal to be honest, but added to the others it’s relevant.

5. Greater storage capacity is only going to be relevant if I collect thousands of ebooks, but if I’m adding audio files then it becomes more important. Of course, I can archive all the books I have read by removing them from my Kindle Keyboard, and retrieve them in future as they will be quite safe on Amazon’s Kindle servers.

And the niggles?

1. Having to work up and down menus, ie not being able to cycle from bottom to top.

2. Clunky buttons – surely the action could be improved.

3. PDFs are a bit of a nightmare to read, they are almost too small in normal mode, but when rotating the screen to landscape then lots of scrolling from side-to-side. However, all these formats can be used properly on the Kindle:

Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
Rich Text Format (.rtf)
HTML (.htm, .html)
Text (.txt) documents
Archived documents (zip , x-zip) and compressed archived documents
Mobi book (so if I can find them, I can send my MobiPocket books over to it)

Images that are of type JPEGs (.jpg), GIFs (.gif), Bitmaps (.bmp), and PNG images (.png).

Adobe PDF (.pdf) documents are delivered without conversion to Kindle DX, Second Generation and Latest Generation Kindles.
Adobe PDF (.pdf) can be converted to Kindle format and delivered on an experimental basis.

Well, I hope that you have found my Kindle Keyboard personal review useful. I’m really pleased with it and have gone back to reading more books – many are free ones too. It’s great being able to nip among them – a chapter here, another chapter there – and all from one device. Quality of the screen is excellent, but it does need a light on it when the room is dark. I have also bought a colourful Gelaskin to brighten it up.

Do leave me a comment or question and I will endeavour to reply as quickly as possible.



Ten Tips For Setting Up Your Android Mobile

Android mobiles are very easy to use, have a wealth of features – some of which you will find you can NEVER live without – and thousands and thousands of apps (applications) you can try and/or buy. But there are a few things you need to get right to start with. Here’s my top ten:

1. Be careful which Googlemail (gmail) account you set up for your Android account. I’ve put this in bold because it’s one that really bugs me! As an early adopter, this was something which never occurred to me. In short, you need to link a credit card to your Google account so that you can buy apps instantaneously, but as you can also link emails and contacts, you need to consider which account to use. I set up my main, busiest, account and now regret the thousands of contacts which are synchronised with my phone. It’s going to take me ages to sort this out, so I advise you to set it up properly in the first place to save yourself aggravation long-term.

2. Emails are great when they come through all the time, especially if you need to watch out for those important ones and on more than one account. You can set up different ringtones for each email account if you want to, as well as choose whether to synchronise your calendars and contacts.

3. There are some great ways to write using your Android phone. I prefer ‘sliding’ and purchased Slide-It. after trying it out. This allows me to slide between letters and can be very fast. There are different versions of the same thing, so you can easily check them out before you buy them. Lots of different settings you can adjust to suit how you like to use the program.

4. If you do a lot of texting or writing when you are sitting at your computer, you can set up your phone with a wireless keyboard app which will let you write these messages from your computer. Wifi Keyboard is one to look at.

5. Battery life can be poor if you have a lot running, so only have wireless on when you need it, ie at home in the evening.There are battery monitor apps you can get which may be more accurate than the one on your phone.

6. Likewise, only run updates and big downloads when you can use the wifi. You will eat into your data allowance if you do these when you are out and about.

7. ‘Profile’ is another word for how your phone is set up at any given time. For example, at home you may want wi-fi, but not bluetooth. You may want to turn off all sound and vibrate at 10pm and restart it all at 7am. A profile app such as PhoneWeaver (the one I use) can change the settings on your phone according to lots of different ‘triggers’ ie time, place, connection. There are lots you can try for free in the Android market, so try before you buy.

8. Backup your files, data, contacts – in fact anything important – from time to time. If you use Gmail, then your contacts and calendar will be safe enough, but it’s all the other stuff you have. There are lots of apps, but the one I decided to stick with is My Backup Pro. Incidentally, it was this app which alerted me to the email problem in item #1. Try a few and see how you get on. Don;t wait until after you have a problem to realise you didn’t backup!

9. If you want apps like task reminders, or notepads, you need to be sure they don’t disappear when you change phones or have a problem. Some automatically save to the SD card, but if you change to a different brand phone, it may not read the card. Go for apps which use universal formats and you should be all right, but you may need to test a few first.

10. Finally, check how other uses have rated the app before you consider using it. 4 or 5 stars is good, but any less and I’d look for a different version.

That’s all for now. This is not by any means an exhaustive list as 10 ideas is just the tip of the very big android iceberg. Why not add your experiences and ideas too?


How To Publish On Kindle

How to devise, write, edit, publish and promote your own e-book on the Kindle platform – and make a lot of money from it too – using the Kindle Kash course.

This is the first decent course I have come across about getting into the potentially very lucrative Kindle ebook market as a publisher. Kindle Kash is a 10-Part course covering both fiction and non-fiction writing. But it isn’t limited to Kindle – it tells you how to publish to other platforms too, eg Nook and Apple iPad.

Publishing for the Kindle is easy and profitable. You get paid 70% in royalties, listed in the Amazon catalogue and can even set your own prices.

Kindle Kash

However, be warned!

I have bought a few books for my Kindle reader. At the moment I use Kindle on three devices – my laptop, mobile (cell) phone and android tablet. Very soon I will be buying myself a Kindle as I have difficulty holding books these days – I just need to decide which model to go for.

My warning in this – be sure to give true value to your ebook. Value = quality content + provides what it says on the tin + plenty of pages + grammatically correct. Kindle Kash will help you with all this – and more.

Here are two examples from my own experience. Both ebooks were absolutely dreadful and Amazon were very fast to give me full refunds.

No 1.

I wanted to find out more about book-keeping as my daughter asked me to help set up her new business accounts. So, I had a look through the Amazon site and came across a title which looked as if it would give me the advice I needed: A Guide To Bookkeeping. I read the blurb and bought it for the princely sum of £2.21 (approx US$3.50). Frankly, it was beyond awful.

Far from being a guide to book-keeping, it was a spiel about why you needed to do it. Very few pages as well. I read it all in about 5 minutes – and immediately contacted Amazon for a refund. I don’t see it on Amazon any more.

No 2.

How To Shoot a Bow – Your Step-By-Step Guide To Instinctive Archery. Sounds good, and when I checked the content it showed over 350 indexed items, so I thought that for the princely sum of £7.15 (US$11.26) it would be a good read. How disappointed I was! All of 40 pages – I mean screens – and barely 10 minutes to read. Along came another refund and I bought a real book on archery instead. The content was rubbish and it purported to have been written by an expert archer. The grammar was awful, there were loads of typos and content was – well – not anything worth having. I could have done better myself  and I’ve doing been in the sport for just over a year. Even my archery blog has more useful information.

The upshot of all this is that if you want to self-publish an ebook, you really must do it to the same standard as a hard copy book. As well as ‘killer’ content (quality) you must, must, must be sure to have it proofread by someone who knows a bit about grammar and can recognise poor spelling. It’s not enough to use a spell-checker. Make sure you have 3 or 4 times as many screens as a normal book would have pages. You won’t have the benefit of a professional publishing company to advise and fine-tune your literary masterpiece, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing a really good job. Only by this stringent attention to detail will you avoid the dreaded clawback of refunds.

Give, give, give of yourself, your ideas, your expertise and you will have a really good book which will sell time and time again at no further expense from yourself.

So, while you may be able to work everything out for yourself, why not give yourself a headstart and get a copy of Kindle Kash so you make sure you don’t miss anything. Lots of ideas as well as tips to help you develop your ideas and even promote your work of art, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.

To find out more about what this program has to offer go to KINDLE KASH by clicking here: KINDLE KASH

I really don’t think you will be disappointed.

Until next time.