Thursday, 13 May 2010


    A day or two ago I was looking at a new mobile phone. I made my choice, the Motorola DEXT, ordered it, and received it yesterday afternoon. This isn't a phone review site so beyond saying it's the closest I've yet been to having a useful computer in the palm of my hand and so far I'm very pleased with it I'm not going to list its features in tedious detail.
    Being at home today, I took the opportunity to go for Chinese food with a friend this lunchtime. On my way back I used my new toy to check my email. One of those "Because I could" things. Now my constant connectivity extends its reach to almost anywhere within the radius of a cell tower. I realised I'd walked over half the way home with only the barest glance at my surroundings which was a crying shame because it''s been a beautiful day. By way of atonement I stopped by the river for a few minutes and took a picture of a pair of hopeful ducks in the shade. No food for them, they soon lost interest in me.
    A few things recently have made me realise how much what we do has been changed by requiring a constant connection to the rest of the world. First, my office being disconnected from the world. Bang! four days of work made very difficult. At least we can do something at home, another company in the building has a phone-based business model and has had to shut up shop for the duration. It's not impossible that our inept JCB operator could have cost a few people their jobs by the time all this is over.
     Then there's the TV. My wife is away for a few days so I have to tell our PVR what to record in her absence. When I turned it on, nothing save a "No signal" message. A quick status check on the BBC Engineering web site finds our transmitter is undergoing maintenance today. A service one takes for granted having disappeared, several hundred pounds worth of TV and video kit suddenly stands completely useless.
      Working in a tech based industry I guess I'm slightly ahead of the curve on some technologies. I've been an enthusiastic adopter of the cloud, I have a very quick PC yet nearly all of the services I use it for are online, hosted somewhere in California rather than on my hard disk. These aren't just entertainment or social networking services, I think it's safe to say that my ability to earn a living depends on cloud-hosted services, not least our company email server. Being abruptly disconnected from them is a reminder of the fragility of the personal infrastructure with which we've surrounded ourselves and I have to admit it's left me sitting a little less easily as I continue working.
    Somehow I can't imagine the three inch screen of the DEXT will be quite enough for me to do my job.


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  2. Is it the three inch screen, or the lack of resolution and the size of the keyboard?

    I have two laptops at home. 1 17" DTR with 1920*1200. The one I am using now. This is my main development and photo edting machine - where processor power and resolution are my main wants.

    The other is a Sony TT. The size of a netbook, but with a 1366*768 screen and a 'chicklet' type keyboard it's head and shoulders above the netbook it replaced in terms of usability. I use this for development work when commuting - a bit of power (enough for Visual Studio, TFS Server and SQL 2008) but also thin and light.

    I don't think my iPhone will ever replace either of my laptops in terms of acutally producing anything, but for checking mail or websites whilst on the move it's great.


  3. I think the resolution would do it, something like 480x300ish. I can't imagine coding effectively on that.

    Being a Linux distro, what Android should really have is an option to boot into a Bash prompt. Then using the phone would be easy, do everything at the command line :)