Saturday, August 20, 2011

HP Touchpad Hands On

Ok, so I literally spent about two minutes with HPs ill fated Touchpad down at my local PC world.

First impressions - yup, it's a little bulky and carries a real heft... but I think that was more down to the security device and umbilical attached to the back of the unit.

Honestly, other than the smooth plastic casing that makes up the rear, it didn't feel much different from my iPad. But my iPad is a first generation product, and next to iPad 2, the Touchpad faces stiff competition.

Anyway, I was keen to try WebOS, the operating system under which the Touchpad runs.

Initially, the experience is very pleasing - smooth transitions and animations greet you as you prod and swipe your way through the user interface. The photo viewer worked as expected but the pinch to zoom gesture suffered by being a bit laggy but not by much. But, it has to be said, laggier than our old iPod Touch which operates on much inferior hardware.

How about the web browser? Well, the pulsing 'opening app' icon is certainly reassuring - it tells me that the machine hasn't hung and is in fact doing something.

Not quite sure what it was doing, because it took at least 10-15 seconds to show the browser window. To be honest I wasn't counting because I didn't expect it to take so long. 10-15 seconds? Really? For the browser?

At this point I got caught up the the stores' wifi encryption and couldn't proceed any further without the assistance of a purpleshirt.

But anyway. 10-15 seconds to open the browser?

Now, to be fair, this is mitigated by the fact that the calendar and photo apps opened much quicker and it's easy to swipe between them. So you could endure the wait for the browser once per session and just jump between the stuff you have open. It's much better than Apple's home button double-click approach, as it actually looks like a multitasking UI.

As I said, this was just a few minutes of hands on with an eagerly anticipated device.

It's a real shame HP have decided to ditch the Touchpad so soon after launch. WebOS holds much promise and is sufficiently fresh and different from iOS that those seeking non Apple or non Android options for tablet computing would be more than satisfied with this offering.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

iPad App of the Week - NodeBeat HD

I discovered NodeBeat [iTunes link] by accident after seeing it demoed on Youtube.
Based on the idea of note generators and receptors, the app offers a quick and easy way to make pleasing sounding ambient audio on the iPad.
My video below gives you an idea what it's about.

Actually, it was while playing around with this app I was reminded of an old Jean Michel Jarre track, Arpegiator, from the Concerts in China album. See what you think [iTunes link].

Friday, August 05, 2011

Perfect Storm

When nice weather arrives, you just can't resist the allure of running around the garden with a water pistol. Ok, there are plenty of other ways of enjoying the sun, but bear with me here.

Now, this isn't any old water pistol. The Nerf Tornado Strike takes its style cues from something you might find in or around
District 9, the white, blue, and day-glo orange aqua armament being as satisfying to brandish as it is to look at. Sporting a detachable shoulder stock, the Super Soaker feels reassuringly sturdy as you run around the garden SWAT style.

Unlike most fill-at-the-tap water pistols, the Tornado Strike utilises a interchangeable water clip system so you can truly lock and load - carry several for extended soaking sessions.

The weapon is primed with a chunky forward grip with which a single pump will unleash a spinning torrent of the wet stuff. It's range is satisfying at several metres and woe betide anyone caught up close.

But as much as I like the water clip system, it's capacity is limited, only offering 5 or so full blasts before a refill is required. Which kind of defeats the purpose. All Hasbro had to do was throw in a spare clip. Admittedly, it wouldn't make that much of a difference, just that the action of swapping an empty clip for a full one during the heat of battle would double the fun instantly.

Luckily, spare clips are available on Amazon, so I may pop over there before the sun shows it's face again.

And alas, as I write, dark clouds are forming on the horizon. Typical.