Monthly Archives: September 2012

E-reader battery life.

Form over function; E-reader battery life.

I have a Kindle 3 e-reader, it’s a bit over 18 months old, mono screen, and as an ‘electronic book’ I think it’s great – far better than I was anticipating and a real pleasure to use. I’m not really too sure how long its battery life is between needing a recharge, but we are talking into the weeks (rather than days). A device that’s just designed to do one thing, and it does that really well.

Since the first Kindle came out and showed there was a potentially large market for this sort of thing there’s been a whole range of alternatives appearing, though recently they seem to be turning themselves into full colour, multi-function, touch screen devices. Some have been based on the manufacturers own proprietary operating system, but more and more appear based around a bastardised Android set-up. However regardless of the behind the scenes system, the manufacturers have still been pushing them principally as e-readers.

This I have no problem with whatsoever, but, and this is a big ‘but’ for me, my Kindle 3 lasts for ages off a full battery charge, I can quite happily take it away with me on holiday or long week-ends without having to worry about chargers and mains sockets and all that sort of stuff.

These new devices only give me a relatively few reading-hours before it’s go hunt the charger time, and depending where you are, go hunt a very illusive mains socket.

I do appreciate that active touch colour screen multi-function device will consume a greater amount of power compared to something more basic, however there’s also this great push to make these new devices thinner and lighter than ever before. That I also have no problem with whatsoever, but it would be so nice if there could be one model in any given range that could be that little bit thicker, just a mm or so, and fill that extra space with additional battery capacity.

That small extra thickness and weight should make no real difference to the handling and portability of the device, but having that extra usage, of having a device that I could confidently take away for a long week-end and not have to even think about cables and sockets and chargers and all that sort of crap would be ever so nice.

iPhone 5

A few thoughts on the iPhone 5 (& what I would have liked).

So the iPhone 5 is out and clocked up record sales. Not surprised, quite a few people I know have been delaying their phone replacement, living with old, even faulty phones waiting for the new device to come to market.
It’s quits some phone (even allowing for the farce over the map function and some wi-fi problems) however the trouble is that there’s nothing there that really makes it stand out from the opposition.
The first iPhone had its touch screen interface which was far better than anything else then around. The 3G / GS gave us high speed Internet. The jump up to 4 gave the Retina screen, the best of its type at the time, but with this jump up to 5 – there’s nothing really special that stands out. A slightly larger screen, but still just ‘average size’. 4G, but many others have that. Maps that don’t work too well… and so on.
Here’s something that would have got my attention (not my idea but I can’t remember where I first read it), and that would be to take the baby watch size iPod Nano and integrate its functions in with the iPhone 5.

Wear the Nano as a watch (as many people do) but whenever a text or email arrived on the phone it would be displayed on the Nano. The phone rings, caller information displayed on the Nano. No more having to go digging your iPhone out from your pocket or bag only to find it’s someone you don’t want to talk to. Pictures or music on your iPhone, route them through the Nano.

Within the limits of its small screen have it as an iPhone remote controller. Now that would have got my attention.

Heathrow Gatwick link

What about a Heathrow Gatwick link.

There’s been lots of discussion recently about the expansion of air transport capacity in Britain, and whether or not Heathrow should have a third runway or perhaps build a new airport somewhere in the Thames estuary. Gatwick only has one runway, however there appears some legal restriction stopping any development of a second runway there till 2019.

However there’s one thing that has been discussed a little bit in the past but seems to have fallen by the way-side and that’s sorting out a fast rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick.

At the moment Heathrow has a fast rail link into Paddington and Gatwick has its train service into Victoria. Both have coach operators doing shuttles into central London and Heathrow is also on the Piccadilly line of the London underground system.

http://youtu.be/T0N3csrpXUo

However, though these two airports are only about 23 miles apart (line of sight) there’s no good quality connection between the two. Going by road involves about 40 miles of travel, this includes part of the M25 and generally over some of the most congested roads you’ll find anywhere. (It would not take much to turn this 40 mile journey into a 2 hour drive.) Going by rail involves heading into central London, changing, going around London, then to change again for the final leg out to the other airport.

Getting a fast rail link between the two could cut journey times down to about 15 or 20 minutes so enabling you to treat the two airports as one. (It can take this length of time to get from one Heathrow terminal to another, so to have your ‘other terminal’ at Gatwick would not slow things down very much.) Facilities could be shared such as checking into one airport covers both locations, and could allow for more efficient use of the existing runway resources.

It would not solve the long term problem of lack of runway capacity, but a Heathrow Gatwick link could certainly provide that bit more flexibility in the operation of two of the world’s busiest airports.