24 Jan 2009

Rubbish TomTom maps

Among the gadgets I have, one of the most useful is undoubtedly the TomTom One sat nav. However, both the maps I have were way outdated. I realised the need for updating my map after driving in London a couple of time. The TomTom would tell me to drive into one way streets, lead me into dead end roads and tell me I was speeding when I was only doing 45mph on 50 mph roads.

So I finally downloaded the latest version of the Map of Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland v_8.15 for £29.95. Was quite happy until I discovered that a number of post codes were missing. I normally use post codes to get to a destination and on 3 separate occasions, including our recent shopping trip to Stoke-on-Trent, the post codes were missing from the map.

This really pisses me off. Updated maps are supposed to have more information, not remove them. Day before yesterday, it happened again. We had to go to Birmingham to collect some stuff but the TomTom didn't recognise the post code of the location. Fortunately, I was able to find it on my old Europe map after switching maps.

That's totally rubbish.

17 Jan 2009

Review of the HP Photosmart C4480

I was in Tesco a couple of days ago and noticed a number of electronic gadgets with massive discounts. We have been looking for a good photo printer and I noticed this HP Photosmart C4480 all in one printer which was on sale for only £48.91. The original price was £99.97.

The C4480 is an all-in-one printer, meaning that I can copy, scan and of course print as well. It uses HP Thermal Inkjet technology. The printer came with two free cartridges - a black HP 350 and a HP 351 colour cartridge.

Features includes borderless printing, built in card reader and colour LCD Screen. As for the scanning, it has a resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi. The copy resolution is up to 600 dpi for black text and up to 4800 x 1200 optimised dpi for colour text and graphics.

It took about a minute to print a photograph on the HP Premium Plus photo paper (provided free with the printer) and I was really happy with the results. I wasn't expecting the quality to be that good on such an affordable printer.

Tried scanning a few pictures and again was happy with the results. Though I haven't tried it out as yet but according to info on the HP site, the OCR software provided can be used to convert a full page of text into Microsoft Word document in less than 22 sec.

On the negative side, printing a one page document in black and white was slower as compared to my old Xerox Phaser 3121. It also doesn't print in duplex. I was also annoyed that they didn't include a USB cable. Fortunately I had an extra one at home.

Not sure how long the ink will last and I better go to Tesco again and stock some up while the sale is still on.

I also took advantage of their offer and signed up with Snapfish, their online printing service and got 20 phtographs free for only 99p. The photographs were delivered today.

12 Jan 2009

Disney Star Guitarist

Something I had been looking forward to for a long time is finally here. The Disney Star Guitarist is like Guitar Hero but instead of a fake guitar with plastic buttons, it uses a real guitar as the controller.

Disney developed the game in association with Washburn guitars.

Got to know about this from Wired.

9 Jan 2009

Laptops vs Desktop PCs

A recent Reuters' article asks: "Is it the end of the desktop PC?". I guess it's partly true because almost everyone I know uses a laptop instead of a proper desktop PC. I guess the main reason is that they are so handy - they take up little space and are portable.

However, many are not aware of the health hazards that using a laptop presents. Due to it's portability, a lot of people work with a laptop in awkward positions - lying on the bed, hunched over it on a park bench and so on. The small screens (in majority) and tiny closely set keyboards are not exactly ergonomic either.

In fact it would be wrong to refer to some of them as "laptops" - a few of my friends have ones with massive 17" screens and weigh over 9 lbs. Using them placed on your lap for even half an hour would fry your private parts and might stop the blood circulation on your legs as well.

Personally I prefer my my extremely fast desktop pc, with the ergonomic Microsoft keyboard and wide 22" flat screen monitor. I guess the only disadvantage is that I cannot lug it around with me all the time but then neither do most of my friends using a laptop. Most of them use it as a desktop PC replacement. However, I might go for one of those mini laptops. Right now I have my eye on the Dell Inspiron Mini 9.

What about you? Do you prefer a laptop or a desktop PC?

7 Jan 2009

Entrecard - another way to increase traffic to your blog

Traffic to my site has increased by several times ever since I joined up with Entrecard some time back. This "socio-economic network", was conceived by netpreneur Graham Langdon and you earn virtual currency (ec) whenever you visit other member blogs, leave comments, receive visitors or whenever you update your blog.

You can then spend your currency to advertise on other blogs. I usually buy as many ad spaces as possible by going for newer and cheaper blogs. Not really sure whether this is a good idea. I plan to put up ads on costlier (and more popular) blogs and compare the effect on traffic. It's definitely cheaper than other advertising services around on the web.

Check out the Entrecard blog for the latest tips.

The most interesting thing about Entrecard is that it has given rise to a totally new term called 'Entrecard dropping'. For your information, I do try to reciprocate all drops on my blog.

Let's go Entrecard Dropping.