Giving Google AdSense a go…

Ok, I’ve been thinking of this for a while, looking at the web as an opportunity to generate some extra beer money (or more realistically to attempt to claw back some of my costs for the servers I have to pay for to provide some of the services that I offer).

I must make it clear, I know nothing about this, will I expect to make my million in the first week? I suspect not. What I need to know is for the inconvenience of having to host adverts, what revenue will it actually generate? If the answer is going to be precious little, then I’ll be turning them off pretty quickly. There are all sorts of claims out there, most of which I’ll take with a pinch of salt. By I pay out around £100 a month on servers, if I can begin to claim at least some of that back, I’ll be fairly happy.

So, apologies to all who are wondering what the hell’s going on, treat it as an experiment 🙂



Latest mobile phone ramblings….

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to have a play with some new phones. An HTC Desire running the latest Froyo 2.2 Android software, a BlackBerry Storm 2, a Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro and the ubiquitous iPhone.

So, what’s my thoughts? Phone reviews are very subjective, it all depends on what the user is looking for: ease of use, available apps, size, battery life etc. The mobile phone landscape has moved on at a pace of recent years, sure, “basic” phones exist that just do phone and text, but they now do so much more. In my view these smart phones shouldn’t be called phones, but mini computers. Based on my statement above, what are my requirements for a phone then? Well, ideally it should be able to do everything I need on the move, and that will include personal email, Company email, GPS sat nav, web browsing and a few of the usual apps that are available for most phones. Most important though, I expect it to last at least a day with normal use. I’m not going to be browsing the internet all day on it, listening to music or other things that necessitates it being “on” all the time. I’ll start using it around 6am and expect it to still be available for service until around midnight before it goes on charge.

Taking the last point first all phones except the BlackBerry fail this test miserably. Sure the others will get through if I make the effort not to use them as much, but it seems no matter how much I use the BlackBerry, it keeps on going. It’s clearly the Duracel of the phone world, the Hobnob in biscuit dunking terminology. Since the battery of the X10 mini pro is so small, I can (and do) carry a charged spare so I can see the day out, it has the advantage that changing the battery is pretty easy and quick, unlike the Desire which is very cumbersome and the iPhone where you can’t get at the battery at all (bloody stupid in my view).

One thing I forgot to mention, is that I travel abroad a fair bit, and don’t like to feel restricted on the use of the phone just because of data roaming charges. Here again, the BlackBerry is streets ahead of the competion. On a “normal” day’s use (assuming you don’t do anything stupid like stream video), I can get by with less than 2MB of total data. That goes up to over 10MB with the others, the iPhone even more (it just consumes data like it’s going out of fashion). I’ve a rough idea how BlackBerry achieve this, for example it doesn’t bulk download all your email, it sucks data as and when you decide to read the email. In additon, I’m pretty sure the data is compressed too. It all helps keep the data comsumption down, which obviously extends battery life too. Nice one RIM.

So far then, two nil up to the BlackBerry.

And now to the more subjective stuff, what are they like to use? Everyone has preferences, and I’m no different. If you’re looking for something that just works out of the box, requires very little technical savvy to to both up an running quickly and doesn’t need “tweaking” every now and again, then the iPhone is for you. Downside to that, is the moment you want to expand the envelope (technically) with it, you’re stuffed. The X10 mini pro has Android 2.1 on it, and to give it credit, it’s pretty straight forward to use. The 2.2 on the Desire is better, but those not looking hard, it’d be difficult to tell the difference. The most important bit of usability for me, is how easy is it to type on the device? The BlackBerry Storm is touch screen, and being honest, it’s not a patch on the normal BB keyboards, my old 8310 Curve is so much easier to use. The X10 mini pro has a slide out keyboard, but for an average bloke’s fingers, it’s too small. Kids or ladies maybe. The touch screen on the iPhone and Desire, once you’re used to them, are pretty easy to use, but not (in my view) anywhere as near as good as a standard BlackBerry.

The Desire is a cracking phone, excellent screen, from an techie’s point of view, so more “open” to be able to experiment with. Android seems to be all the rage, and rightly so. It’s fast, flexible and very easy to personalise to your own requirements. Judging by it’s popularity, it’s clear other people think so too. The camera on it is the best of the one of the bunch. All round top phone.

A big issue for me is Company email. Our Company uses Exchange, but will not support BlackBerry connections, a huge disappointment (and error of judgement) in my view. Instead, we have to use DME by Excitor. Sure, it works pretty well, has clients for most phones, except for, you guessed it, BlackBerry. Coming soon I’m told (having written to them), but I may be waiting a while. In my quest for carrying just one phone, this rules out the BlackBerry (for now at least).

If I stick to my original mandate, the only answer then as to what I should use, is the Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro, assuming I carry the spare battery, which is really cheating.

If I *had* to carry just one phone, it would be a BlackBerry, but that’s unlikely, since I normally carry at least three phones, one of which is always a BlackBerry. -)


I’m not Swedish…

Working for a large Swedish company, and having their standard IT offering (laptop / phone etc), in many respects could be regarded as a good thing. No, change that, it is good, I’m employed and payed a reasonable (but never enough) recompense for my efforts. But being large, they have the ubiquitous IT policy, which means every time you connect to the internet on their equipment, it’s through a proxy in Sweden. Which wouldn’t be a problem if some websites didn’t try to be so bloody smart and guess where you’re coming in from and change the language of the page that’s served up to you! Google, please note, I don’t *do* Swedish, and to all other web site developers, if you’re going to do it, make it obvious at the top of the page where you can change language. Rant over.


And that reminds me…

Well maybe there are a few things worthy of note since my last blog. I’ll endeavour to keep it brief.

Daughter Clare has settled extremely well at University in York (St. John). We all miss her, but so far she’s managed a couple of trips home this term, and is also due back this weekend.

Mikey and I attended Top Gear Live at the NEC. See my facebook pages for pictures. A fabulous event which I can thoroughly recommend!

Liverpool’s take over has been completed 🙂 Liverpool’s performances are woeful 😦 A season of consolidation at best, so long as we don’t get relegated I’ll be happy. Would guess we’ll finish the season with a different manager to that which we started the season with.

Currently using / playing with three phones, a BlackBerry Storm 2, an HTC Desire and a Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro. All have the plus and minus points. But if I could ever get my Company email to work on the BlackBerry, it’d be a no-brainer for me. Hell is likely to freeze over before that happens though, or, I change jobs.

Oh, and Winter has arrived, it’s damned cold today!


The Ashes, bring it on….

Well, it’s been a while since my last update, a lot has happened, most of which will be of no interest to those who find themselves browsing these pages.

What is of interest is the start (tonight) of the Ashes down in Australia where England look to retain the bragging rights to the little urn. All the omens are good, in fact have never been better, but what I say is never underestimate the Aussies, especially on their own turf. I think this series is going to be a lot closer than folk make out. I just hope that come January, England can be proud of its cricketers, whatever the result.