Monday, 12 March 2012

Come on Apple, get your Googles on and see the need for widgets!

I am tired of Android.

I find it to have generally poor implementation in a lot of apps, poor usability and half-hearted attempts to Apple-ify the user experience. There have been vast improvements in the past few months, but it's still lacking.

After I'd had my iPhone 3GS for 18 months I genuinely wanted to give Android a chance, not only because I was tired of the locked-down iOS ecosystem, but because I thought maybe it was a viable alternative for the fairly serious phone user.

Having owned an Android phone in the form of an HTC Desire HD for over a year, I am on the verge of returning to Apple via iPhone, iPad and my next computer will be a MacBook.

In my opinion, Android is the PC of phones and tablets. It's just not quite there. There's no 'ooh-ahh', in the experience - just mediocrity. I want a tablet for home and travel, but I wouldn't consider an Android tablet for a minute - not even with the knocked down prices we're seeing at the moment. I'm intrigued by Windows 8, but it's too long away.

Now to the point - my only sticking point with my return to iOS is homescreen widgets.

The best thing about Android is the great widgets you can add to your homescreen. Instantly accessible and useful information, quick shortcuts to the information you need, and general interest. Every section of my homescreen is rammed full of something I find useful.

Compare that to iOS' sweety box of colourful icons which mean virtually nothing. You can see which apps you have to launch as well as a few basic pieces of information, but nothing particularly useful to you at a glance. I really wish Apple would realise that they need to add user widgets to the iOS homescreen - the lack of widgets was one of the reasons I plumped for Android 12 months ago and it's the only thing which somewhat puts me off buying Apple iOS devices.

If I think that, then I very much doubt I'm alone.

Sort it out Apple - you may have queues out the door and up to the distant horizon when you launch a new product, but that queue could be a few people longer if you do the right thing and add widgets to iOS.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Dell laptop: HDMI output has black border

When I upgraded to WIndows 7, my Dell Studio 17 suddenly lost the ability to display 1920x1200 (1080p) in full screen mode, either on the laptop display or my Philips 24 inch monitor.

I couldn't find any answer to it within the Windows display settings or control panel, and after a long time rooting around on Google and trying various things, I discovered I needed to:

a) Download the latest Catalyst drivers and control suite.
b) Once installed, use the 'scaling options' to adjust the size of the output display to 'match my flat panel'.

Finally! Back to a usable full screen without having to compromise on resolution.