Posting Source Code

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Random Thoughts

I’m playing with various options for blogging about programming, and a big part of that is posting source code easily, in a way that looks good.

Let’s see how WordPress fares:

        private List<string> EmptyListWithSize(int size)
        {
            List<string> list = new List<string>();

            for (int i=0; i < size; i++ )
                list.Add("");

            return list;
        }

        private List<string> FilledListWithSize(int size, string value)
        {
            List<string> list = new List<string>();

            for (int i=0; i < size; i++ )
                list.Add(value);

            return list;
        }

OK, I’m pretty pleased with that. This uses Alex Gorbatchev’s excellent SyntaxHighlighter. WordPress has build in support for it.

For good measure, here’s some VB.Net code:

Public Class Temperature
    Public Value As Double
    Public Scale As TemperatureScale
    Public Sub New(ByVal newValue As Double, ByVal newScale As TemperatureScale)
        Value = newValue
        Scale = newScale
    End Sub
End Class
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Mac vs PC

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Random Thoughts

This is the oldest debate in desktop computing, and trying to figure out the “right” answer is like trying to get an atheist and a priest to agree on whether or not God exists.

Let’s start by saying there is no right answer, only opinion. If you are trying to figure out what kind of computer to buy, then the best you can do is find someone who’s opinion you trust, and listen to them.

I’ll get to my opinion shortly, but first I’ll give you a little background to help you decide whether my opinion is worth a damn.

As I mentioned in my previous Post (MacBook Pro First Impressions) I’m a software developer and a long time Windows User. I am also a long time Mac Skeptic. I am most definitely not a Mac Fanboi (or whatever the term is). I don’t revere the mighty Steve, but as a fan of computers in general I have a huge amount of respect for what he has done both for Apple and for Technology in general.

I am a software developer so regardless of whether I could survive without Windows for day to day computing I absolutely have to be able to run Windows for work.

I run some heavy duty apps by comparison with the average user. Apps like Visual Studio and SQL Server. I also use VM Ware regularly and even on a Windows PC I’m likely to be running further instances of Windows in virtual machines.

I also use my machine for fun stuff. I like Photography to I like to keep photos organized and I like to be able to Edit and Share photos, videos and Audio Files.

I occasionally write Articles, create Presentations, write blog posts, work with spread sheets and do all the other stuff that people do with computers.

I don’t play games as much as I used to. If I do buy a game today it’s more likely to be for the Wii than for my computer.

So, to sum up, I pretty much use my machine for the kinds of things most people use it for, and then a few other things besides.

Now…My Opinion.

My MacBook Pro is the best computer I’ve ever owned.
Over the years I’ve lost count of the number of computers I’ve owned, in recent years I have primarily been using Laptops and I’ve generally gone with a not quite top of the range Compaq or HP.

The MacBook Pro that I bought is roughly equivalent in terms of spec to my last computer, but it is substantially more expensive. The point has been debated many times as to whether Macs are actually more expensive, or whether they are actually cheaper because you get more machine.

I won’t come down one way or the other, what I will say is that whatever the difference is that makes my Mac run faster and longer than my old HP, it’s worth every penny.

In terms of simple build quality and performance the Mac beats anything I’ve seen from other manufacturers. If this changes I’ll let you know, and yes, this is subjective, please no comments saying I’m wrong about this, it’s opinion only.

As an example of why I’m happy, my MBP was sat on and stood on in two separate incidents on the same day (don’t ask). There isn’t a mark on it, it’s no worse for it’s misadventures.

In terms of the OSX vs Win comparison an important thing to remember is that a Mac will easily run both Mac OSX and Windows, but your average windows machine will not easily run Mac OSX (although with the right hardware it can be done).

To my mind OSX is the better OS experience. Windows now feels somewhat clunky and cartoonish with I use it. I won’t talk down Windows, it’s a fine OS and I earn my living with it every day, but I won’t lie to you, I use it less and less in the evenings. Given a choice I would rather live in OSX.

In terms of things that I NEED windows for, it’s all work stuff. Visual Studio, SQL Server and so on. My day to day computing needs transferred seamlessly to OSX and I haven’t really had to look back.

This is my considered opinion, and it broadly confirms the positive things I felt when I wrote the “First Impressions” post.

Mac’s can be expensive, and if you are not going to be putting the power to good use, it may be hard to justify the extra spend. You can get an excellent Windows Laptop for about €600 to €700, Macs will start you off at or above €1000, and the price rises rapidly if you increase the spec.

If you can afford it I would have no hesitation in saying that Macs are not overpriced or bad value for money. You really are buying more than a badge.

MacBook Pro First Impressions

Posted: December 17, 2010 in Random Thoughts

I’ve recently become the owner of my first Mac, a MacBook Pro 15″ with i7 2.66GHz, 4GB of RAM (this took so long to write that my 8GB upgrade has arrived an been installed) and a 500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive.

I’ve been a Windows user since Windows 3.1, prior to that my previous computer was a Sinclair Spectrum, so we’re going back a bit.

Why have I changed? In short, I was seduced. When Mrs Dalton needed a new laptop I half jokingly steered her away from the Toshiba she was looking at to check out the MacBook Pro. At first she resisted the notion with the same logic I’ve always used….”too expensive, you’re buying the badge, I need to be able to run Windows so why bother?”

Over the next few days she looked into it a bit more and finally decided to pull the trigger and go Mac.

When her 13″ MBP arrived I installed Windows under VMWare Fusion and found that it ran it comfortably. I installed Visual Studio 2010 which is a bit of a dog on my own PC and it too ran quite nicely (much, much faster than on my PC). Considering it was running natively on my machine and in a VM on her Mac this was quite a surprise. Maybe you are buying more than just the badge.

So, I bit the bullet. I plonked down almost twice as much cash as she did and sprung for the higher spec machine that I’m using right now to type this.

In keeping with my first impressions review of the HTC Desire a few months back, here are my first impressions of my new Mac.

Out of the Box (10/10)
If you’ve never seen or touched the Unibody MacBook Pro before let me tell you it is a thing of beauty. It simply redefines the concept of a laptop. What in the name of Jimminy have I been doing lugging giant “laptops” around for the last few years. The HP I bought a year ago might as well have been built in 1992 it’s so big, bulky, heavy and relatively under powered.

The MPB is a higher spec but it looks and feels like a completely different product. It’s almost like comparing a Plasma screen with a CRT TV.

Something I noticed immediately is that there are no stickers proclaiming the type of processor, graphics card, etc, etc. Windows Laptops are covered in logos. Perhaps these ‘ads’ help keep the prices down, I don’t know, but out of the box the Mac just looks classy by comparison.

The packaging is simple, even elegant. There are two disks, one for the OS and one for Apps. Providing actual disks seems to be a think of the past in the price conscious world of Windows PCs, so this was a nice discovery.

First Start Up (10/10)
I can’t fault the initial experience of setting up the Mac. Start up time is very quick, configuration is about as simple as it could possibly be. On first glance I like Mac OS.

Getting Online (8/10)
The MacBook Pro found my Wireless connection immediately and I was online without a hitch in a few seconds. Mrs Dalton has complained that her connection drops from time to time. I’m taking away 2 points here even though I’m not 100% sure that it’s the Macs fault. I’ve been watching and sure enough she loses connection while mine keeps going, so the router itself isn’t dropping.

The Keyboard and TouchPad (10/10)
The MBP keyboard is a little different to traditional laptops. The keys are separated from each other. This gives the machine a different look and even feels different when you type. I like it a lot. I also like the backlit keys, why don’t more laptops do this? Again, the answer probably has something to do with keeping costs down.

The TrackPad is huge, it’s also glass as opposed to plastic or metal. I don’t know if that makes a huge difference. What does make a difference is the ability of the Mac to recognize “gestures”. Those familiar with pinching and swiping their way around an iPhone will feel right at home. Gestures go much further than that. Swipe up and down with two fingers to scroll a document. Swipe left and write to turn pages in a document. There are more gestures that I haven’t even gotten around to figuring out yet. In short the Mac unleashes potential in the trackpad that other laptops have ignored.

Applications (8/10)
One of the big reasons why it has taken me this long to go Mac is the fact that I need Windows. I earn my living developing software and both the software that I develop and the tools I use require Windows. That’s just a fact and it ain’t gonna to change any time soon.

I’ve found quite a bit of Useful software since I started playing with the Mac. The fact still remains however that there is a much broader selection of software for Windows.

I am nowhere near the point where I could adopt a Mac and not have Windows installed on it. As long as that’s the case I need to dock a few marks here. I’m not dropping very many however because the Mac really does do Windows rather well when it needs to.

Running Windows (11/10)
My first attempt at running Windows on Mrs Dalton’s Mac is really what convinced me that a Mac could make sense for me. I ran it using VMWare Fusion and it ran beautifully.

When my own mac arrived I tried the alternative approach which is to install Windows to it’s own Partition so that I can boot into it using Bootcamp. This means Mac OS isn’t running in the background and Windows has full use of the hardware.

Then came the surprise. I installed Fusion and discovered that I could start the version of Windows I had already installed as a virtual machine. The best of both worlds. When I need to quickly run Windows I can boot it using Fusion without leaving Mac OS. When I need to do some heavy lifting I can boot into Windows and run it natively.

You have to like that.

Networking (9/10)
It took me a little while to figure out how to connect to my Network Printer but in the end it worked fine. My issues were down to my own inexperience with Mac OS.

In fairness my early opinions of networking with Macs is that it “seems” to be easier and more reliable than Windows. I’ll be honest I’ve been using Windows for long enough now that I should know how to network the hell out of it, but I don’t. I have never grasped Networking in Windows. There are workgroups…shares…Windows 7 adds yet another set of ideas. I’ve given up.

Backups (6/10)
I’m giving Backups it’s own section in this review because Apple TimeMachine is just such a cool piece of software and deserves a bit of attention. But why the low score you ask?

Here’s why. I have an IOMEGA Home Network Media Drive. A 1tb Network Drive. Neither Mac could see it when I tried configuring Time Machine.

I had visions of having to buy one of Apple’s over priced Time Capsules. I could plug an external drive into the Mac and Time Machine would pick it up no problem, but connecting over the air to my NAS was a non starter.

Then I downloaded some software from Iomega. Success, Time Machine could see my disk. Failure…It still couldn’t back up to it.

A bit of messing later I could get the backup to start, but it failed within few minutes. Repeated tries just led to repeated fails.

I finally figured out how to manually create a necessary file, copy it to my NAS and essentially “trick” Time Machine into playing ball.

It seems to have worked, but backup is a pretty serious business and the effort and trickery involved into getting it to work doesn’t fill me with confidence about the day when I need to recover.

The Screen (7/10)
I went for the High Resolution screen. Why oh why doesn’t the resolution go up to 1080p. In this day and age 1080 should be standard shouldn’t it? Or am I crazy?

Sound Quality (7/10)
Sound on the MacBookPro seems ok, nothing special. I suspect that if I was going to use the machine for watching Movies or listening to any serious amount of music I might stump for a set of external speakers.

Battery Life (9/10)
Compared to other laptops that I’ve had the battery life on the MBP is great. I turned it on when I arrived at work recently, and left it on all day. I wasn’t using it full time, just dipping in and out, but by going home time it still had plenty of life in it.

Ports and Connections.(7/10)
Two USB ports seems a tad stingy, but that’s what USB hubs were designed for. No HDMI also seems strange, but there are adaptors that get around that issue.

I would gladly have given up the built in SD card reader in return for a few other more useful ports. Why does everything need an SD card reader these days? I rarely take the cards out of the devices. I use USB cables, bluetooth or Wifi for getting data to where it needs to go.

MAC OS X (6/10)
This is what it’s all about isn’t it? When you get past the beautiful hardware ultimately it’s all about OS X vs Windows.

Early impressions are that I’m happy with OS X. It looks and feels better, more polished than Windows 7. In fact wen I go back to Windows 7 It feels ugly and cartoonish. It never did when I used it exclusively, but I think Windows stands up poorly under comparison.

That said, I had a major Mac Fail moment this evening. I’m not the first to have it and won’t be the last.

In copying some files in a particular directory structure over a similar directory, I expected the two directories and their sub directories to Merge as they would in Windows.

What happened is that the one I copied REPLACED completely the existing directory. In other words I lost all of the data that was in the target directory.

That’s over 600gb of data gone in a puff. Luckily I had backups but I’m now looking at 4-5 hours to recover files that should never have been lost.

It’s bad that OS X defaults to this behaviur, it’s stupid that it doesn’t provide any way of actually doing the merge that you want (you have to poke around at the command line). What’s really screwed up is that the ‘Undo’ command, doesn’t undo. The files are gone, they don’t go to the Trash Can, they can’t be retrieved using ‘Undo’. And this has been like this for Years!

What’s more galling is the Mac cult followers who defend this on forums, as if someone wanting to merge two folders is the one at fault, or heaven forbid one might expect the ‘Undo’ command to actually..you know…Undo.

This is a serious fail as far as I’m concerned and now leaves me constantly worried that something I might do could wipe out valuable data that can’t be recovered.

Keep your flashy UI, your first job as an OS is to allow me to manipulate applications and data in a safe and intuitive way. When intuitive behavior leads to the destruction of data, and the Undo command fails in that specific instance, you’ve failed in your job.

Overall (8/10)
I am officially a Mac fan. It boots fast and shuts down like it’s in a rush to be somewhere else.

The old arguments for avoiding Macs have been partially put to rest. It’s still an expensive option, there’s no question about that. The question is whether the extra spend now will be worthwhile in the long run. If I can get 4-5 years use out of it instead of the 2 years on average that I’ve been getting until now then I will have been worth the money.

I do have some reservations about the behavior of the Finder in OS X. To put it bluntly it has broken my trust in it and It could take a long time to get that back.

I’ve been watching the TV Show White Collar, now in it’s second season, although I’m making my way through Season 1. I don’t know if I’ll make it.

The Pilot was promising-ish, and that was as good as it got. I’m midway through Season 1 and thinking of calling time on it.

It’s by no means the worst TV show I’ve seen recently, that honor goes to FlashForward (now mercifully put to sleep).

The problem with White Collar is that I don’t know what I’m watching. It’s not Action, It’s relatively undramatic, the comedy is pretty subdued. It seems to be a show that wants us to sit there and be constantly impressed by Neal Caffrey (Matthew Bomer).

We get it, the girls can’t resist him and he can smooth talk himself into or out of any situation.
But that all get’s old kind of fast if it’s all the show has to offer.

There’s an attempt to create a story arc about Neal searching for his ex girlfriend (Kate) but I was bored of that by the end of the pilot and it has rapidly gotten annoying. The simple fact is that I don’t care AT ALL whether Neal gets his girlfriend back. This isn’t Adrian Monk trying to solve the murder of his Wife. Every episode beats us over the head with the notion that Neal can have any woman that he wants, so it’s kind of hard to get engaged with a ridiculous story line about Morse Code, Treasure maps and X marks the spot leading back to the woman of his dreams.

White Collar also has Tiffani Thiessen, never a good thing for a TV show to have. I just don’t understand why she’s in the show. Virtually every scene she’s in feels like it was written as a favour to her. She ads nothing at all to the show.

Her husband, Peter Burke (Tom DeKay) is the FBI Agent that into whose custody Caffrey has been released. The whole point of the show is the contrast between the freewheeling Caffrey and the straight laced Burke. Caffrey is a ladies man and Burke …. isn’t.

But Burke is married to Tiffany Thiessen, who is clearly supposed to be hot. I don’t know. It all feels like Tiffany helped out a casting agent at some point, perhaps changed a tyre, perhaps administered a well timed Heimlich Maneuver in an LA restaurant, and this roll is her payback. She ads nothing to the show.

Again we pointless story lines about these two. From trying to find gifts for each other, to pretending they like the gifts, it’s all very unnecessary and boring.

Having watched one episode this evening I then watched an episode of Dexter and the shift in quality was frightening. Yes, White Collar is light weight pop tv. Yes, it’s not supposed to be competing with Dexter. Yes it’s an unfair comparison.

I’ll stick with White Collar for a few more episodes but I suspect that will only make things worse.

Ireland is out of Recession

Posted: July 4, 2010 in Finance, politics

Soooo. Ireland has emerged from Reccession. Fan bloody tastic. The FF’ers must be pissing themselves with excitement.

Of course if you are stupid enough to believe that the collapse of the Irish economy was just something that “happened”. If you are stupid enough to believe that mad FF policies had nothing to do with it, then you might just be stupid enough to believe that FF have solved our economic woes and everything is going to be grand from now on.

But wait. Hang on. Why are there more people unemployed now then there were last month, you know…back in the days of the recession?

Could it be there’s more to this story than the FF’ers would have you believe?

If FF threw you from the roof of the Dail, would you be happy when they walked over to your bloodied body lying in the car park proclaiming “See, you’ve stopped falling, you’ve turned a corner.”

Of course FF wouldn’t leave it there. They’d dwell on the fact that they built the car park that halted your decline, and gloss over the fact that car park or not you were eventually going to stop falling.

Recovery is not about halting a decline. The all too resistible force force called gravity, and the immovable object called ground will always conspire to halt a fall. Recovery is about getting back to healthy.

To labour the falling man analogy a little more, when the ground stops you falling it doesn’t stop your health declining. If your injuries aren’t treated properly and if you don’t do the right things you can actually find yourself injured beyond repair and living out a miserable existence.

Ireland’s Unemployement continues to grow despite the fact that thousands have left the country. Less people working supporting more and more people not working.

The full and final scale of losses from Anglo, Nama and the rest has not been totaled up and added to our national debt yet.

The full and final scale of losses from running a massive deficit has not been totaled up and added to our national debt yet.

It’s great news that some multinationals are growing their profits and that statistically Ireland is out of recession. But if anyone tells you that we’ve turned a corner they are lying.

I’ve had the HTC Desire for a few days now, long enough to feel like I understand it, perhaps not long enough to fully grasp the things I love and hate about it. The following are general first impressions. In time I’ll come back in the future and see if my opinions have changed.

Out of the Box (8/10)
The first thing I noticed about the Desire is that it comes in a fairly small box. There’s no CD containing PC software that must be installed. No 500 page manual in 18 different languages, the charger cleverly doubles as a USB cable further reducing the clutter.

The phone itself is very nice. I’ll admit it, I think the iPhone is more “beautiful”. There’s nothing about the HTC’s look or feel that I dislike but there’s also nothing about it that makes me stop and catch my breath. It’s a perfectly nice design, it has nice touches that give it a feel of quality, but that’s as far as I’d go. Apple do “iconic” better than most, perhaps they focus a little too much on the image. The antenna problem with the iPhone 4 is not the first time that people have raised questions about whether Apple beauty is more than skin deep.

So, the Desire looks and feels nice on the outside, how about the inside?

First Start Up (9/10)
The HTC Desire looks a whole lot more beautiful when it’s turned on. The screen seems to me to be as good or better than anything I’ve seen in my limited use of the iPhone (very limited). Initial set up couldn’t be simpler, in fact It didn’t seem like I had anything to set up. There’s a little tutorial on how to use the on-screen keyboard, more on that later.

One nice bit of flashiness is the Live (animated) Wallpaper. Completely impractical, probably uses a bit of extra battery power, but totally worth it, although many of the included wallpapers are pretty poor, there are one or two that I like.

Getting Online (9/10)
The Desire picked up my WiFi with no trouble, and as I’ve taken it out and about It has picked up public hotspots with equal aplomb. I had a little research to do to set up my 3G internet connection (I’m with Three Ireland), but again setting it up was simplicity itself and it works fine. The phone toggles seamlessly between WiFi and 3G and back again.

It’s also simple to tell the phone to rely only on WiFi. There’s really little point in having the phone going to the internet over 3G syncing your Facebook or Twitter accounts while it’s in your pocket.

Online Accounts (9/10)
The Desire is all about the internet. Flickr, Twitter, GMail and so on. Pointing it at these various sites is simplicity itself. More interestingly, when you’ve set up links to online accounts you start to see info from those sites popping up in unexpected places. For example the phone numbers of my facebook friends appeared in the contacts list on the phone dialer. Mrs Dalton hates that feature, but I’m ok with it.

The ability to link together the various “identities” for your friends is nice. For example you can link the Name, Phone Numbers, Email addresses, Flickr account, Facebook account, Twitter account for a friend all under one contact. Very nice.

Linking up to the IMAP mailboxes on my own domains also worked fine. Nice.

The FriendStream feature is quite nice, and works well, although when I first fired it up I was getting tweets from Twitter. Not the phones fault, it probably assumed that’s what I’d want. As it happens on Twitter I don’t follow any friends, I follow people like Stephen Fry. It took a little poking around to figure out how to exclude Twitter from my friend stream but keep the phone linked to my twitter account. Once I did that all was well.

The Keyboard and TouchScreen (6/10)
My previous phone was the Nokia E71 and I must admit I liked the keyboard. My biggest worry about moving to the Desire was the all glass face. Virtual keyboards are not my favourite thing. I understand that if we’re ever going to emulate Star Trek then we need to get used to typing directly on glass, so on with the show.

First impressions are that it’s fine. The predictive text feature means that you don’t generally have to hit the keys spot on. Hit a nearby key and the Desire will usually know what you mean. One problem with this feature is that it’s not always available. I haven’t figured out why some apps have this feature and other’s don’t but it’s REALLY annoying when you don’t have it to fall back on.

Scenes, Widgets and Programs (8/10)
A Scene on the Desire consists of seven pages of icons, shortcuts and widgets. This is where you really have to spend a bit of time setting things up the way you like. It can be a challenge.

There are plenty of apps pre-installed on the Desire and you can of course download more. Icons that launch programs are all very well, but to really feel like you’ve got a special phone you need Widgets. Widgets are more than icons, they actually provide information. A good example would be a clock on the main screen that shows Date, Time and possibly even weather.

Sadly there isn’t a huge selection of quality widgets. Even if you search the market place you’ll find that most programs don’t include widgets. Hopefully this will change.

You can create as many Scenes as you like, so you might have a Work related setup, a Social Networking setup etc. To be honest I had trouble finding seven pages worth of content to create even one Scene. So far I haven’t bothered to set up multiple Scenes.

The Desire comes with a number of pre-configured Scene’s which for the most part are fairly lousy.

The Market Place (5/10)
Perhaps the biggest reason why I abandoned Nokia was their Ovi Store, so the Android Marketplace was always going to be an important factor for me. I’m a little bit underwhelmed. The experience is a lot better than using Nokia’s Store (how could it be any worse), but you need to wade through lot of really really bad stuff in order to find decent apps.

Even software from fairly reputable sources can be a challenge. Listen from Google Labs is a good example. It’s a pretty good podcast manager/player. I found it to be incredibly buggy and judging by the comments many other people hit the same issues.

If you stick with it and search search search there are a few gems in there. Here are a couple of apps that I’m liking:

3G Watchdog
Cabbage
DoubleTwist
FxCamera
Google Earth
Google Sky Map
gStrings
NetCounter
Retro Camera
Scanner Radio
Shazam

I installed DoubleTwist primarily for it’s podcast playing ability, but it was a handy replacement for the Standard Music player that comes preinstalled on the Desire. The Music Player on the Desire isn’t good. DoubleTwist isn’t anything special either but it’s an improvement.

PC Connectivity (10/10)
I’ve had very little need to connect the Desire to a PC. Another thing that drove me away from Nokia was the amount of software they seemed to want me to install on my PC. Similarly my iPod sits in a drawer because I got sick of iTunes. My bad experience of the iPod is a big reason why I never bought an iPhone.

The HTC Desire works very well with the PC. Connecting via USB cable gives you 4 options (Charge Only, HTC Sync, Disk Drive and Internet Sharing). So far I’ve used Charge Only, and Disk Drive. I haven’t had any issues. I’ve dragged and dropped my music files and they’ve worked fine.

I’ve also installed DoubleTwist on both the PC and the Desire allowing me to manage PodCasts on the PC and then Sync them with the phone. I’d like to be able to search for and download podcasts directly on the Desire which Google Listen allowed but sadly Google Listen was too buggy, and for now DoubleTwist is a decent compromise.

Reliability (10/10)
I’ve had no problems at all with the Desire. It has been rock solid so far. It has appeared to hang for a few seconds now and again but has always recovered very quickly. Occasionally apps throw errors and have to be shut down, but given that most of these apps are freeware from amateur developers that’s no reflection on the phone. In fact the phone’s ability to keep functioning with such a petri-dish of crap third party code running on it is quite impressive.

Sound Quality (5/10)
At the end of the day this is still a phone, so how does it hold up on that front? I haven’t done a direct side by side comparison between the Desire and my old Nokia but my sense is that the Nokia offers better sound quality on calls. Without prompting I’ve also heard the same opinion from other Desire users. Interestingly I’ve noticed the worst quality occurs when I talk to another Desire user.

That said I can’t complain too much about the Desire, I’ve made and received calls and although I can hear a difference in quality I haven’t dropped any calls or had difficulty understanding the conversation.

The built in speaker is another story. It’s rubbish, total rubbish. I didn’t think the speaker on the Nokia E71 was anything special but compared to the Desire it was superb.

Battery Life (3/10)
BAD, BAD, BAD.
Battery life is the Achilles heel of the HTC Desire (and smart phones in general). Bigger screens, more connectivity and more uses beyond simply making calls all mean that the battery gets clobbered on Smart Phones.

Now, I’d expect that in the first few days the novelty factor would mean that I’d be using the Desire A LOT so perhaps I need to consider battery life over a longer period to get a better feel for it. Also I’m told that after a few charges the battery life will improve. Here’s hoping. My initial experience is that I’m getting about 8-9 hours of use before I need to recharge.

Those figures are based on doing little or nothing to conserve the batter. I have WiFi on all day, I have GPS on all day. Bluetooth is off, screen is on medium brightness. I’ll keep an eye on it but for now poor battery life is an expected weakness that I can deal with.

Overall (7/10)
Overall I like the HTC Desire. I don’t LOVE it. It’s not a life changing phone, but I’m happy with it. I’m looking forward to future versions of Android and the emergence of more and better apps and widgets.

I’ll rethink these scores in a few months time when the Desire and I have spent a bit more time together.

My first mobile phone was a Nokia 1610. A Brick by today’s standards, but it worked and it never gave me any trouble.

I briefly switched to a Panasonic and then a Siemens phone. The Panasonic was ok (very slim by the standards of the day), the Siemens was a piece of crap that ended up in a rubbish bin after one bad call too many.

I swore after the Siemens debacle that I’d go back to Nokia and never stray again. And since that day almost a decade ago, I’ve stuck to my word and been through a range of Nokia’s from the frankly brilliant 6310 up to the fairly ok E71.

But times have changed and a mobile phone is no longer a phone with some software built in, it’s a computer with a phone built in and Nokia are no longer cutting the mustard.

One of the reasons I loved the early Nokia’s is that the intuitiveness and usability of the software was superb. Everything worked like you thought it should, and the phones were rock solid.

As the world has moved on to ever more elaborate devices (smartphones) Nokia have handed control over to rivals like Apple and HTC. They may try to wrestle back some of that control in the near future with their new N8 smartphone, but I think they might be doomed to fail.

It’s not that they make bad phones, they don’t. But they just don’t get that phones aren’t phones any more, they are computers. Computers need software. Apple has it’s AppStore, Android has it’s MarketPlace and Nokia? Nokia have a pile of festering puss that they call Ovi Store.

To understand how bad Ovi Store is, try and imagine you’re in college, studying computer science, and there are a gang of guys in your class who never attend lectures, spend the whole year getting drunk and partying, and then at the end of the year realize they have 24 hours to complete and submit an end of year project. Ovi Store is the kind of think they’d produce. It has been around long enough now for “kinks” to be worked out so I can only assume that Nokia intend it to be as bad as it is.

So, I’ve given up on Nokia and bought myself an Android phone (a HTC Desire to be exact).