Tech Reviews University

Spiders, Sunday & Windows Phone 7.5 Mango Review


Last night as I mentioned in my previous post I went to spiders with the Rock Society of the Hull University Union and Jess. It was totally different to any club or venue I’ve been to before. Its essentially a big house and garden in the middle of an industrial estate with 3 rooms, each dedicated to a different genre of rock, our favourite of which was the 60’s-80’s room which played classic bands such as Madness, The Selecter and The Ramones. We were also happy with the great variety of cheap drinks available — notably a special called The JUGular — a 6 drink jug containing two shots of your choice, two liquors and loads of soft drink — in our case Coke! It was so tasty, but also incredibly alcoholic! Yum.


Today I spent most of my time in Cottingham and Hull City Centre — with Jess — finding a reasonably priced place we could both eat which with her being vegetarian that was somewhat difficult. Eventually we settled on a small pub which offered a Sunday Roast Carvery for me and a Veggie burger for her. After that we spent a lot of time enjoying the compact, yet full city centre in hull which offers many shops, resturants and facilities. After only being here a week I can safely say Hull doesn’t deserve the reputation it gets, its an enjoyable place to live with great night life, friendly locals and a buzzing atmosphere. Unfortunately Jess also left tonight at 6:30 after a fun filled weekend of clubbing and student life! Fortunately ill be able to see her soon when she comes back to see the amazing Specials in just under two weeks!

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango running on the HTC 7 Mozart

As I posted yesterday I bought a HTC 7 Mozart, originally running Windows Phone 7, on O2 as part of a 24 month contract. Since then I have upgraded the phone to Windows Phone 7.5 using the slightly hacky method documented on WinRumours. The update has bought a lot of functionality that was missing from the original 7.0 release of the OS. Most notably custom ringtone support and multi-tasking, all of which are very well explained and reviewed on Ars Technica, so I wont delve into those so much — however I would like to bring to peoples attention some of the lesser of the 500 updates which I feel have a great impact!

Messaging Improvements

The first thing I noticed when changing from 7.0 to 7.5 was perhaps one of the smallest changes to the OS — Emotions in text messages, whereas before the operating literally showed a string of symbols such as “:-)” if you selected a smiley face from the emotions keyboard it now shows some cool, single colour mango styled faces or icons depending on what you typed. Here is a collation of all the emotions produced by 1800PocketPC;

Windows Phone 7 Mango Text Emotions
Windows Phone 7 Mango Text Emotions

Another small but notable improvement was the fact that the phone now uses two different tones of your accent colour to differentiate between incoming and outgoing messages, rather than just using left and right. This is excellent UI design and makes reading texts a much more enjoyable experiance.

Other Aesthetic Changes

Another small aesthetic change is the improvement of the XBOX Live logo, which is now a lot more suited to the Metro Design the OS uses, before it felt ugly and out of place, but now it feels like a 1st rate application on the device. Yet another UI design change I like is the fact that Internet Explorers UI is now all at the bottom of the screen, rather than the top — this allows for a larger viewing area and in my opinion looks better. (IE also went from being based off of IE6/7 to IE9, a massive HTML5 powered difference 😉

Overall Feeling

Windows Phone 7.5 feels complete. In a nutshell it is what 7.0 should have been and is easily my favourite Phone OS due to its simple yet pretty look, mass of features and future potential (due to hopefully an influx of customers when Nokia release their device, and therefore an Influx of money hungry developers). I would definately recommend this OS to anyone — from tech savvy to totally technophobic — because it is simple enough for normal use (internet browsing, sending texts, making calls) but also extremely flexible for those who want a little more from their mobile device.

Thanks for Reading


First Practical Session, Surprise Girlfriend Visit & Asylum

So yesterday I had my first practical session in the Fenner Building labs. This was an enjoyable session that included navigating around the internet systems, registering for several external sites related to our course — including one which automatically recognises plagerism in text and code — and writing a few simple programs, including the obligatory “Hello World”. Unfortunately this also included an A-Level/Level 4 level maths test, having only taking GCSE maths this proved to be difficult and i scored a poor score of only 29%, so now I know I need to really work on my maths.

The session lasted for around 2 hours and then I was free to leave and collect my new HTC 7  Mozart — a Windows Phone 7 device. I spent much of the rest of the day updating it to mango, adding my email accounts and music and generally fiddling with it. I also had the experience of bringing my huge Antec 500 case desktop on a bus to get the networking issue I have had for the past week fixed, it was embarrassing having so many people look at me as if to say “That’s not a laptop”.

Later that evening Jess’ mum offered to pay for her train faire to get to Hull to visit me, and within hours of finding out she was coming I was at Hull interchange station to greet her! It was great to see her 🙂 We went home, had a few drinks and then went to see Sarah Cox at the Asylum night club at the Students Union. It was great fun and included drinking more than a few snakebites (and Malibu for Jess)!

Today we went to the Student Union for food and then on into Hull to go to the shopping centre and generally hang around. It was good fun and it included seeing the piano man shown in the video above! Hulls regeneration including the building of that shopping centre is really good and it is actually a great place to visit for the day, especially if you like fish!

For now however I’m off out to a HUU Rock Society meeting at the Spider rock club in Hull City Centre, followed by a trip to the Students Unions (in)famaous Brassik night!

Thanks for Reading,