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! :)
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.
This week has brought a whole load of important Ice Cream Sandwich news. The Samsung Galaxy S II has apparently started getting updates today, and earlier this week brought ICS to the Sensation XE is some European countries such as Germany.
HTC has said that they’re expecting the roll out to spread to the rest of Europe in the coming weeks – and we sure hope it does as they promised it would arrive on our phones before the end of March.
I’m frequently checking my phone for updates and also regularly keeping up with the news online to make sure I’m one of the first in line!
All I can say is that if it is set to arrive with us before the end of March, HTC should issue it within the next two weeks. We’ll update you as soon as we have more news!
I know this card has been out for some time now – but I don’t really ever need state-of-the-art graphics cards for my gaming needs. To be honest, most of the games I play are at least a year old and aren’t stupidly power hungry. However, my ATI Radeon HD4550 was really starting to show its age a bit, so I decided to fork out a bit and move up the scale.
So I found this card. It looked good to me – it’s the Asus model which has a 900Mhz processor clock with 1GB GDDR5 memory, which seemed like a huge step up from my previous card. I found it for around £85 from the good people at CCL (I’ve used these guys frequently before – very good company), so I went for it!
I’m pretty impressed with it, to be honest. It’s no rocket launcher, but it can do ~30fps in GTA IV on full settings at 1440×900, which is plenty for my needs. It also seems to be quite happy with Test Drive Unlimited 2 at full settings – which is another game I do play when I get the chance.
Generally, I’d say it’s a mid range card – it’s not capable of today’s games at full settings but it’ll certainly achieve good mid-range settings and it does have good specs to play with. If you’re looking to build a mid-range machine that needs to play high quality, full HD video then this won’t bat an eyelid. My only real issue with it is space consumption – my micro ATX case is now full to the brim, and the card has also covered one of my PCI-E x1 slots up, which is a nuisance. Think I’m going to find myself buying a new computer case soon!
Well, HTC have told us recently that we should expect Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the HTC Sensation XE (as well as many other HTC phones) by the end of this month. This is great news for me as I’ve been looking forward to it since I got my phone back in November last year. But what are you to expect? Here’s a round up.
New(ish) home screen - HTC haven’t really changed it massively themselves, but with ICS some changes have been brought in. The famous rounded bar that shows at the bottom of the screen in Gingerbread (with the big phone button) has been replaced with the ICS equivalent. You can now set four shortcuts on the bottom bar. You can also specifically set how many home screens you want (up to 7), rather than being stuck with empty home screens.
Face unlock - the new software brings in face unlock – so you can use your camera to unlock the phone. Handy, I guess.
Updated web browser - the web browser has got a couple of minor new features – like being able to force websites to load desktop pages.
Other new stock ICS features - Whilst some ICS features aren’t added in (probably for compatibility reasons), there are some new things like data cap settings which could come in handy. You can tell the phone how much data you get per month, and the phone will moderate itself accordingly.
Better app organisation – you now get app folders (finally). In addition, the recent apps feature has been overhauled to give you a much better preview of what is going on in the background.
Access to notifications from the lock screen - pretty self explanatory, but this will be useful.
Updated Google apps - some Google apps like Gmail and Google Maps have been updated somewhat.
Sense 3.6 - An update to HTC’s Sense software.
That’s the main key feature update. I’m looking forward to it – but I would have liked to have seen HTC working on some of their own apps – such as the Music app which, I feel, needs some fixes and updates!
For many months now I’ve been looking for some good value tracking software to install on my netbook and (potentially) my portable devices. As much as I hope my netbook never gets stolen – you can never be sure what might happen and it’s better to be prepared.
It was only today that I’ve finally found the answer. It’s called Prey. It’s an open-source piece of kit that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, that’s the last you’ll see of it. Make sure when you install it to select the option not to install start menu shorcuts as it will make the software harder to find by an thief.
From here onwards, all of your settings for the program will be managed online. Log onto your account at the program’s website, and you’ll be presented with a handful of useful properties.
For example, you can get the program to take logs of any wi-fi networks it’s connected to, together with pictures from any connected webcam and screenshots of your display. These are then summarised in reports that are emailed direct to your inbox for your viewing pleasure. Believe me – you’ll be astonished at what it’ll pick up.
I happen to think this is an essential for anybody with a laptop that they care about – the software is totally FREE and could help you (and the police) in what would otherwise be a relatively hopeless situation. The program won’t hamper your computer’s performance at all (using just 5MB of RAM in Windows) and you’ll forget you’ve even installed it.