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


Archery and Societies

(Unfortunately it was somewhat difficult to take a picture of me holding a bow and arrow, so here’s one of other people ;))

An integral part of University life is learning to do new things — its the entire reason I and everyone else is here, but this doesn’t stop at the subject you take or even academia entirely. This is where the Athletic Union and Societies step in and provide extra-curricular activies, trips and a great way to meet new people.

The AU had an event yesterday where all the different sporting teams showed up and tried to woo some new members into joining. As more of a geek than a sportsmen I wasn’t too interested, however I did pick up a free archery taster session leaflet which I used later today. Today was the turn of the societies, there was a good turn out with societies ranging from course specific — such as the Law Society and the Business Society — to political societies — such as Labour and Conservative — to religious societies such as The Islamic Society and the Christian Society. As you would expect there we’re also some random Societies such as HUGS (The Hull Union Go-Karting Society). Only two of those available really interested me, these were ComSoc, the computer society, and the Hull Rock Soc who organise nights out to local rock gigs and meet up to talk about rock music, fashion and news.

Today I decided it would be fun to give the free taster session of Archery a go as I had a day totally free of lectures. I met with the people who run the society at 1:45 outside HUU and we were lead to a large field on the other side of the campus which had 4 targets set up on it as you can see in the above picture. We waited for around half an hour for more people to turn up and then we were given the all important safety talk. Essentially do as you’re told and don’t hit anyone. After this we queued in front of one of the ranges, dependent on sex and height and then had to wait to take out thee shots. I missed the target with my first (I was holding the bow in a slightly cack handed fashion) and hit the outside blue and inside white with my other two arrows. It’s definitely a society I’m going to consider joining, I really enjoyed it.

After the archery I was starving so I went and had lunch and a pint of coke at the Sanctuary bar in the Student union, a hickory chicken and chips, a great choice! Whilst in the union I saw the O2 people, who are offering student deals all this week in the union on new contracts and PAYG phones. Being in desperate need of a new phone and coming to the end of my contract with the diabolical Orange I decided to opt for a 24 month contract (at £24 a month after haggling with the salesman — down from £27) with the HTC 7 Mozart Windows Phone 7 device. It looks like a beautiful phone and I shall review it once I receive it tomorrow!

Since then I’ve had a phone call with Jess and a Skype video chat with my family, both of which were very enjoyable. Tonight I plan to stay in and get on with some web design work I’ve been putting off for a while.

Thanks for reading,