Tag Archive | technology

New Car or New Computer?

A Freeland 2 SatNav and Music Centre - Image from dieselstation.com

My Dad and I spent much of today looking at new  cars. One of the things that struck me was that the main differences between a brand new “13 reg” car, and the same model from 6 years before is that the main differences weren’t automotive, but were instead technological.

In fact the main features of a new car were better Sounds Systems, Connectionless Keys, Digital Handbrakes, Digital Radio and a better SatNav.

I wonder if Henry Ford ever imagined people would upgrade their car, at least partially, based on its computing ability.



The University of Hull Microsoft User Group

The University of Hull Microsoft User Group

Part of my job as a Microsoft Student Partner is to inspire people to use, love and develop technology. I, for one, am absolutely passionate about what I do, and love every second of development and learning that comes along with my degree. I know many other people at my University are the same — you have to be to do well, in my opinion. I wanted there to be a place for people like this to come together and collaborate, particularly if they’re interested in Microsoft technologies — So I made one.

Technology Enthusiasts, welcome to The University of Hull Microsoft User Group.

The user group, which you can find on Facebook here, is a place for people to come together and talk about Microsoft Technologies, ask for help with using them or developing for them and to make friends with similar interests. Just ‘Like’ the page to get started.

As the Admin of the group I will provide you with information I think might be useful, make you aware of events all over the country that would be useful for you and help you find any information, contacts or resources you might need.

Outside of the Facebook page I will be giving lectures on how to get started developing for Microsoft Products, particularly Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 — as these are the technologies peoples are most interested in according to a poll I made. The first lecture will be dealing with how to implement Windows 8 Features including the search charm, live tiles and split view. Keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook group and this blog for more information about dates and times.

That’s all for now. Get signed up to the Facebook page and hopefully together we can make a community


UX not Specs!

So, I’ve been back in Hull for a few days now, only to discover my friend Nick has betrayed the good ship Windows Phone and moved to the dark side of Android. 😛 Whilst we were discussing his new phone, a Samsung Galaxy Nexus,  we got talking about HTC’s latest Android offering — the One X.

What sets the One X apart from the rest of the crowd is the fact that it has a quad core processor. Quad core processors aren’t actually the norm in desktop PC’s yet, most people still have dual core chips, so to have one in a phone is an interesting development. Interesting, I would say, but not entirely useful — in fact, quite the opposite.

In my day-to-day life, my one concern about my phone is how long it will last. It’s always a pain when your phone runs out of juice just as you’re expecting a text, call or email. Smartphones at the moment typically have a battery life of around 20 hours, with light to moderate use of more advanced features like Wi-Fi and high screen brightness. This will last you a day at University or work, but god help you if you forget to charge it up at night and want to make a phone call the next day.

An issue I don’t encounter on a day-to-day basis is lack of computing power on my phone. Whilst I frequently think “I wish this had a bit more oomph sometimes” on my i3 powered Dell Inspiron 15R Laptop I can honestly say the thought has never occurred to me about my Samsung Focus Flash Windows Phone, everything seems seamless and frankly im not doing anything taxing like editing and converting video on my phone… I make phone calls, text people, read my emails, browse the web, listen to music and play the occasional game — none of this requires the power of a quad core.

Quad core processors sip more battery than a single core would. Simple fact, so for my experience at least it would actually enhance an issue I have and ‘solve’ an issue I don’t. Of course, everyone uses their devices differently, so your experience may indeed be improved by a bit more power but I think most people want to get the essentials done, with a tad of gaming but be able to do all that for a longer period of time.

Going back to the seamlessness of my phone experience, during our conversation about processing power in phones I coined the term “UX not specs”, which is now the title of this blog post. UX stands for User Experience, the way in which users experience your hardware and software, this includes the “person’s perceptions of the practical aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency of the system” according to Wikipedia. What is important here is the word perception, a quad core is usually going to be quicker than a single core clocked at the same speed, but this increase in speed might be so small that it not be noticeable by the user, in which case its almost a waste.

Specs stands for Specifications and rhymes nicely with UX. 😉 Specifications are the list of details about a piece of  hardware’s innards, including its CPU Core count, amount of RAM, measurement of storage space etc.

Windows Phone is very cleverly designed so that smooth animations cover the loading time, so even if something takes a while because everything is moving you deem it to be efficient, fast, and working instantly on command. The user experience is good, I’ve never been irritated by a slowdown in Windows Phone so I personally wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice any battery life for more cores. The user experience is great, even without the specs which you think it would demand, so windows Phone has got the UX, but not the (battery draining) specs of some high-end Android phones.

Until we invent a technology capable of holding many days’ worth of battery life on a smartphone device I for one will yearn for more battery life over computational power.