GEEK! has been placed on an indefinite hold for the foreseeable future as I've ran out of time to keep it up to date. For the mean time it will remain alive at this address in archive form. You can reach me via @geekonthepc. Thanks to everyone who read and got involved with the site! Who knows - when I get the chance I might start posting again! Wish me luck at Oxford Brookes University studying Mobile Computing! :)
HTC have just released a software update for the Sensation and Sensation XE. The update, which is described as an “enhancement” update is around 60MB in size and takes around 5 minutes to install. It is listed as version number 3.33.401.6 for the Sensation and 3.33.401.106 for the Sensation XE.
HTC have been rather vague in any improvements/updates that have been implemented. As far as I can see, these are the changes:
The “Android is upgrading” phase that occurs when rebooting the phone from ‘cold’ has been removed. The phone no longer attempts to optimize apps when starting up. This appears to have drastically improved boot time – now around 20 seconds from power on.
The autocorrect keyboard has had fixes implemented now meaning it works properly again with apps such as Twitter (it stopped working after the initial release of ICS for the devices).
Spelling corrections in the UI – e.g. “develop option” now rewritten as “developer options” in the Settings menu.
The device now responds much faster from sleep – the initial release of ICS left the device taking 2-3 seconds to respond to a wake-from-sleep request in some instances.
Bluetooth streaming appears to have improved on my initial tests – the bitrate of Bluetooth streams was dreadful with the initial release of ICS but now seems to be better, although only time will tell if this is actually the case.
ADDED: My phone no longer spontaneously reminds me every so often that it is up to date and that no updates are available.
However, some users are already reporting major issues with Wi-Fi on some devices since the update. According to some users, Wi-Fi will no longer connect properly (especially over longer ranges). I’m not personally experiencing the issue but will report back if I start to run into issues.
Most stock Sensation/XE users should be able to update OTA now. If you’re using a network supplied phone, it may be a little while longer before you receive the update.
Quick note: Really sorry I haven’t blogged for a while – been busy with other things! Will try and keep a vague schedule for posts going.
I read in the news recently that Microsoft are stripping back some of the built in features that will be included in Windows 8. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s new flagship operating system that is expected to reach computer screens in the last quarter of 2012.
Two things came to my attention as I read these two (one & two) blog posts by Microsoft.
First of all, Windows Media Center is going to be an extra add-on to Windows 8. This means, unlike Windows 7, you’ll have to pay for it on top of the price of the core OS if you want – no matter whether you have the home or pro version of Windows 8. Whilst this won’t bother most people, for anyone using TV tuners on their computer (ie me), this could be a huge downfall. Media Center has a fantastic interface for TV and the EPG is great too – so I’ll be rather peeved if I have to pay for Media Center.
Secondly, Windows 8 will not be able to natively play DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. Why, you ask? Well, I’m not sure, but it does make some kind of sense to an extent. The key idea of Windows 8 is that it will be usable on tablets – which, in most (if not all) cases, won’t have a DVD or Blu-Ray drive – so Microsoft are probably thinking they don’t need to waste money on licensing codecs to decode the discs. However, this is no good for anybody who is planning to use Windows 8 on a laptop or a desktop.
I fear that Microsoft are going to fall into the same trap with Windows 8 as they did with Windows Vista/7. Windows 8 will be fantastic on new devices that have it preinstalled, but Microsoft will face the backlog of people using their existing machines with Windows 7. Then, years after Windows 8 has launched, there will still be a vast majority of people on older operating systems that are still supported.
At the moment, I can’t see any huge reason to upgrade to Windows 8. There’s nothing in it for me that stands out and makes me think “I really want that”.
Ah well, Windows 7 is going to be supported until 2020, so I think I’ll stick with that for now.
HTC have launched a price-crash rental weekend for lucky Brits. With a selection of 50 films (many of which being new releases), anyone with a recent HTC device can grab a lovely selection of films to watch for just 5p each.
I’ve never used the service before, so I was keen to get started. You simply open an account with them (it doesn’t use your Google account or any other account you have with HTC) and then browse through the store. It’s marked “Easter special” on the opening page. Then, make your selection and enter your card details.
As soon as your card payment is accepted, the film will start downloading. You get 30 days to start watching the film and then 48 hours to finish once you’ve started – just like iTunes.
If you’re travelling in the car over Easter or just need a film fest, give it a try!
Ok, so I’ve only had ICS on my phone for around a day – so it’s hardly the time to be too judgmental about it, but I thought while I have half an hour spare I’d share my thoughts so-far.
Overall, I love it – it is so much faster than Gingerbread was. It really is like getting a brand new phone six months after buying it. The interface is faster than ever, memory management is decent, apps load quickly and power consumption isn’t too bad either. The actual interface design hasn’t actually changed hugely – you get a new homescreen, new menu and new settings interface – but most other things are reasonably similar. The lock screen has barely changed at all – but for the fact that notifications now show a contact image and you can use face unlock, it’s all the same.
In terms of functionality, I’ve found a couple of minor niggles but otherwise it’s pretty decent. My first problem is that I’ve lost HTC’s autocorrect functionality on the keyboard in many third party apps such as Twitter – this is a nightmare and causes a lot of problems when writing half-hearted tweets. There are also a couple of spelling mistakes within the software – and whilst this really isn’t a problem it is something I’m very OCD about. This, for example. Somebody at HTC must have forgotten how to spell.
Put the minor niggles aside and there’s nothing you won’t like about Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s always been a question to me whether the new update would mean better battery life, and whilst I haven’t had the chance to test that out many people are reporting much better standby time. I’ll see how it goes – I’m too much into the habit of leaving the phone on charge for half the day so I’ll need to creep out of that habit a bit.
The update is available now for all unlocked, unbranded HTC Sensation and Sensation XE phones in the UK so grab yourself the download if you’re ready to upgrade. It’s around 300MB and you’ll need to do it OTA so make sure you’re connected to a wi-fi network if you haven’t got unlimited data. The upgrade took me around 20 minutes, but I ended up doing a factory reset after I’d upgraded. I sort-of wish I hadn’t really reset it – many people recommended that you do but after doing so I don’t think it’s actually made much of a difference. Other than the fact I’ve wasted hours of my life putting it all back together, it hasn’t really done me or the phone much good!
Still, go get it if you’re phone can. You won’t regret it – just make sure you do a backup of your phone just incase anything goes wrong.