Friday, May 27, 2011

1967 lines ? some home truths

1. UN general assembly votes have no force of law.
2. Resolution 242 clearly states that part of the west bank & gaza strip should be for the palestinians but does not mention, even negates, the 1949 cease fire line (which some people mistakenly quote as the 1967 lines)
3. The 1949 ceasefire line has no ethical, legal, historical or ethnic relevance.
4. The west bank and gaza were not independent high-contracting counterparties (HCP) under international law (i.e. not sovereign), therefore the geneva convention does not apply
5. British mandate law has never been rescinded by the UN. This encouraged Jewish immigrant to settle the remains of the palestine mandate after trans-Jordan was split off and closed to Jewish land ownership (although actively thwarted on the ground by the British occupying administration).
6. The west bank and gaza were won in a defensive war, therefore under international law they now belong to Israel.
7. 90% of the non-Jewish population of Israel is decended from illegal economic migrants from the 1940s (as put beyond any doubt by the UNWRA founding charter). The fact they were prevented from re-obtaining citizenship in their countries of original does not negate their ineligibility to ownership of Jewish native land.

For example, Jerusalem was majority Jewish in 1900, is majority Jewish today, and the "so-called" east is also majority Jewish. Therefore any request to cleanse Jews from beyond the 1949 lines could be considered rascist and invokes ethnic cleansing of the natives (the Jews).

Ultimately the UN is still largely governed by rascist fascist dicatorships, so even if law was passed directly against Israel, it could be comfortably ignored by Israel, which should withdraw from the UN in any event (this benefited the Swiss economy no end).

So why did Obama suggest the 1967 lines (enthusiastically backed by Hague) ? He is too intelligent to have blundered. We all know that the 1967 lines (aka 1949 ceasefire lines) are code words for no-peace, based on the idea that prolonged conflict will bring about the end of Israel. They are also completely impossible. Ethnically cleanse Jews from their native Jerusalem and give ownership to people who migrated relatively recently from north africa and saudi arabia ?

Obama obviously believes strategically that permanent friction with Israel will raise his status in the Muslim world, for which he has an outreach program.
The only thing that could thwart his plan is some crazy left-wing government in Israel actually giving in to one of the invented "blocking demands".
This would require another blocking condition to be created (e.g. (i) Arafat agreed with Rabin he would settle on 90% of the west bank with Ramalla as the capital. Then, after Rabin's death, during camp david, as Barak had agreed to all his previous demands he had to invent a new one, the idea that the whole of Jerusalem should belong to him. (ii) The right-of-return demand came even later, and was adopted to thwart Olmert's plan to give into all previous demands)

Yitchak Shamir, we need you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughts on the Samsung Jet (U8000)


truely excellent. probably the best touch non-smartphone out there. now if Samsung release a SDK for TouchWiz and get some more widgets out, then it'll become a smartphone. It takes guts to release a phone with this power and not use WM, s60 or android. Good on yer Samsung!

Comparison with the iphone:

In terms of comparison with the iphone, this is less then half the price, has a higher resolution screen, a better camera and a faster CPU. I think the OS (on the latest firmware) is pretty amazing. Good browser if slow (not as good as android or iphone but still fine to use), reliable (I mean toshiba takes bog std WM 6.1 and mucks that up), easy to use. For sending emails, sms, music, browsing, and yes, normal telephone calls, the jet is a really solid phone. nice to use. and comes with a case! which you don't even have to take off to answer, nice!. I think this is a great package. I hope Samsung stick with TouchWiz. I love competition

Final musings:

Just to answer a whole load of questions:
1. Yes a 800x480 is far superior to a 320x240 screen. And OLED is noticeably better then LCD. However you are limited by how much the manufacturer uses it in their software. SAMSUNG use it in the browser and home screen, but not much in the rest of their apps.
2. This is not a SMART phone. Therefore you are limited to the inbuilt software and extra JAVA apps you can install. Saying that the inbuilt software is comprehensive and covers: facebook (link), youtube, email (pop & imap), browser, weather (accu), google mail, google search, CNN mobile, kelkoo search, myspace (link), notepad and a bunch of other widgets that can be shown at will.
3. There is no MS office capability.

In summary, this is a very well designed touch screen phone which is a pleasure to use and does most of what folk want it to do. I especially like the leather case included which allows you to answer the phone without taking it out of the case! However it is not a smart phone and is not a natural competitor for an HTC Hero,

Magic, Diamond 2 or a Nokia N97 say. That does have advantages, as the Jet does what is says on the Tin reliably, and doesn't get over complicaterd fiddly or crash all the time (at least mine never crashes with the latest firmware).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Apple iPhone vs HTC Diamond 2 vs HTC Magic

This is my comparison review of three phones, the iphone 3g, HTC Magic (Sapphire), HTC Diamond 2. These are considered by most to be the leading touch screen phones at the moment.

There is another similar contest that could be had for keyboarded phones, but this is a slightly different market.

Firstly, I have used all these phones in real life. Some may point out many of the other touch screen phones, but many of them are just out and I haven't had a chance to look at. Two obvious rivals are the Blackberry Storm and the Nokia 5800. Nokia has obviously decided to target the mid-market. While the 5800 is a good phone for its position, and well specified, the build quality and user experience don't quite make it to the top tier yet. The Blackberry Storm is another contender. I have not used this in real life but reviews and others experience leads me to believe that Blackberry has someway to go in the consumer, hacker or interface aspects of this phone.

Style and look and feel
All three phones are very stylish and well built. Its really personal taste. The iphone is beautiful and in my opinion trumps the others with its glass screen, which just makes one more at ease when using it. However since Apple ditched the metal back, which had real character whilst it scratched :), the latest plastic back does not have the edge any more. The Apple packaging is also not as high rent as it used to be.
The first thing that struck me is that the HTC Magic doesn't have a stylus. For an HTC devotee this comes across as a bit of a shock. The Magic looks better in the flesh then in pictures, and is very compact. The white is nice and gives it a fun feel and its surprisingly compact. I very much applaud the inclusion of a track ball. I always like alternative means of input, and its much easier to scroll with a ball. Continually swipping fingers to scroll across these large screens to is tiring and ensures that long finger grease marks are maintained on the device.
The packaging of the Magic is also minimal. In fact it seems that manufacturers have given up on good packaging across the board - probably good for the environment. The last shock with the Magic is that it comes with no cd/dvd. This fortells the unique aspect of its philosophy which I will come to later.
Last but not least, the Diamond 2. HTC have been conservative with styling and it has paid off. It is very compact despite the super crisp 800x480 display. It also has real metal at the bottom for the main keys. Its a strong contender for the most stylish with an understated appeal. There is no d-pad or scroll wheel/ball. Disappointingly HTC have dropped the stylish metal stylus of the diamond with its cool magnetic holder and we are left with frankly a cheapo plastic one.

Features and specifications.
The Apple and Magic have 480x360 screens. It would be nice with current devices to have at least vga. However in use you hardly notice the difference. The Safari browser on the iphone fools you into thinking the resolution is much higher. The large 800x480 resolution of the Diamond 2 wins out here.
The Apple and Magic also have capacitance screens rather then the resistive of the Diamond 2. Capacitance screens are said to be less accurate but more sensitive. In actual usage the new sensitive screen of the Diamond 2 does not appear to be different from the others in real life usage.

All the phones are decked out with all the specs you need. The magic and diamond 2 have 528 cpus, the iphone 3g has 428 and the 3g s has 624. Ultimately the Diamond 2 pips the others in sheer power, including a whopping 288mb of ram and 5mp cameria. For me the pictures from the magic seem to be the clearest, with the diamond 2 next and the iphone good but trailing. I have not tested the iphone 3g s but it is an upgrade.
It is fair to say that all these three phones are very slick and no real performance limitations come to mind.
The iphone 3g s and Magic have one extra feature in the form of a digital compass (thanks jriihi ).

Operating systems and usage
HTCs touch flow system in the diamond 2 is excellent, with the base of windows mobile giving access to perhaps the biggest software library of all these devices. However apples and androids app delivery system is more advanced. Microsoft will launch a new app delivery system with windows mobile 6.5 which will be free for diamond 2 owners. Windows mobile 6.5 will give a much needed boost to the native UI and shows that Microsoft is standardising its mobile devices around the look and feel of the excellent zune interface - not a bad thing at all.
Both android in the magic and osxlite in the iphone however take usability to the next level. Whilst the iphone has the magic beaten in terms of out and out newbie learning curve, as a technical user I just enjoy the magic more. Both the magic and iphone are disappointing in the amount of settings users can change
Android on the Magic has a different philosophy from the other systems and is worth spending a paragraph on. Basically it syncs over the air with google servers and has no software for your local PC. When connected to the PC you just see the drive space which you can copy photos, music and videos to. , so a data tariff is perhaps even more important then with the other two. I had no trouble connecting with my Yahoo mail, but if you have gmail there is a separate focused application to deal with it.
I need to sync with Microsoft Outlook, so it is necessary to buy a third party package, Companion Link, which is $30 and works well. On one hand outlook users might fairly regard this as an unfair tax, on the other hand, you have full access to your contact list and address book on the web, which is constantly synced with the phone. As well as providing immediate backup this allows access from any web portal. For a similar service on Apple you would need to pay annually for mobile me and for Windows Mobile you need a service like web2mail, which is free if you use their email domain, or you need to pay a subscription to use the email address you want to.

Briefly I will mention software for purchase or download. Although Android and Apple deliver a single point source for apps, many of them are 1 minute gimmicks. There is plenty of good software out there, but its probably fair to say that the vast free and commercial library of Windows Mobile applications tend to be more useful and sophisticated in general. One area where Apple is showing the way is in quality action games for download. But Windows Mobile is the place to be for adventure and strategy. This will no doubt change over time. The annoying thing about the Apple apps is that officially they can only be delivered through Apple. This means that Apple vetoes things it doesn’t like, for example it won’t allow any mp3 player software as it doesn’t want to be overshadowed in what it regards as its “financial control point” to want a better term. I really feel that the Apple apps store is a kind of gilded cage and it is the least attractive to me. Couple that with Apple’s inability to run apps in the background and no external storage makes it somewhat lacking.

Browsing and messaging
Opera is provided with the Diamond 2, as well as the native internet Explorer (IE). IE is faster but basic and fails to render some simple button formations. Opera is comprehensive but slow compared to the Android and iphone browsers. Where the iphone really falls behind is the inability to support resident programs. Which means that whilst, for example, it supports Skype, tru-phone, facebook, etc. they can not be running all the time and informing the user of messages. Not to mention MSN messenger and the others. Android provides google talk as standard, and as this is based on the jabber open source protocol, can be designed to switch in other systems, for example I have my yahoo and MSN contacts on google talk. Windows Mobile provides MSN messenger as standard. Instant messaging is the one area where, for free, Blackberry has everyone else beat!

Hacking and customisation
Close to heart, where are these phones ? Well the Diamond 2 is Windows Mobile and is supported by the big brains on xda-developers. It is quite simply the most hacked and customisable. No one in the know runs “basic firmware” and many users are already running Windows Mobile 6.5. Unofficially I understand that both HTC and Microsoft are happy with this and it stimulates and supports a vast fan base which spills into the wider commercial arena as well as giving them free beta testing resources 
Android on the Magic is second and is also supported by xda-developers. Google provide the excellent Android SDK which integrates with Ecplise for a superb developer environment. “Root” hacking is available and looks bright for the future.
Apple also provides a good SDK and support for application development, however it is the most difficult to hack and most religiously defended, including closing loopholes on each release. It is also the most unrewarding to play around with once you have finally hacked it.

Firstly all these three phones are powerful and great to use and really its not fair to pick a winner, as its all down to personal taste.
The HTC diamond 2 pips the others in terms of raw power and its screen.
I can’t help feeling that as a PDA, the iphone really lags the other two. I would summarise the iphone as a great device for the “normal” call and text mobile phone user who wants email and browsing with qudos, but will fail to satisfy more technical or demanding “PDA” type users. For me, the iphone is a great phone, and there are many people I would recommend it to, but comes last in this grouping.
For the Diamond and the Magic, it comes down to what you want. For me, ultimately, the Magic comes first, as its better and fresher user interface combined with some good hackability make it just that more fun. But really, the Diamond 2 is an awesome phone as well.
With such strong competition, and such excellent devices, its never been a better time to be a power phone consumer!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nokia 5800 Thoughts

I have one (blue from nokia shop) its excellent.
Decide what you want before you buy.
If you like the idea of a powerful s60 phone that can do anything, is super-light, has had its user interface updated for touch but still retains the classic s60 look, easy to use and has an amazing screen, then you will like this

if you want the following do not buy:
1. A metal/heavier type of look
2. A keyboard
3. An iphone

other people will be ecstatic

Bad point. Nokia, please don't say an app is free in the download centre if its not!

sry, forgot to mention the accessories. Nokia is really loading this one up:
1. Headphones (of course)
2. Adaptor for normal headphones with volume control, lock, fwd, back, etc.
3. Case
4. Small stand for watching video that is light enough to be permanently attached to case
5. Spare stylus (of course)
6. 8gb memory card (hot swapple in side socket)
7. Mini-usb cable (of course) - can charge through
8. Slider lock switch on side (worth mentioning)

for the green amongst you, the amp draw of the adaptor has gone down to 110 Ma (from 150 MA in previous nokia chargers) - although it still can use all previous nokia chargers

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jan 2009 - Options for Keyboarded PDA Phones

Based on a criteria of alpha keyboarded PDA
You requirement not to have a brick, but to have a decent screen size, is however contradictory, so you will ultimately have to decide the trade-off

There are five OSes to consider:
Android (google)
Symbian/s60 (Nokia)
Windows Mobile (Microsoft)
Blackberry OS (RIM)
WebOS (Palm)


There is only one phone at present. My advice is to wait for the second generation, unless you are ok with the design.


This is a new OS being lauched by Palm. The only device announced with this, is a device called the Palm Pre. It will be available later this year.
It looks pretty nice and has good reviews, however will no doubt suffer from early adopter issues:


A great os. Lots of software for most versions and very smoothly implemented.
Reviewers complain about it being fiddly to use. It is compared to conventional phones (e..g nokia s40), however I think you need to be a moron not to get to know it. I find it easy to use.
It also tends to be a bit more sluggish then WM or BB, as Nokia is concerned about battery life, so tends to employ slower cpus then WM or BB devices.

Windows Mobile (WM)

Windows Mobile comes in two editions, standard and pro. The basic difference is that pro is for touch-screen devices and standard is for non-touch screen devices.
WM is more of a framework, as Microsoft leaves it up to individual manufactures to put their own skins on it. Therefore one can not assume that all WM devices have the same usability as it is very variable between makes and indeed models.
WM is also criticised for being fiddly to use. Again I think it is very easy to use. It is slightly more fiddly then Symbian but there nothing really in it.
WM has a huge software library and loads of freeware. Also, it is by far the most supported/hacked OS in terms of the online community. Particularly HTC devices (which are rebadged by most carriers). The advantange of this is you can get OS upgrades from hacked firmware, or firmware thats much faster then the original one, from sites such as

Blackberry OS

Very slick, with good integration of resident programs (e.g. windows messenger, facebook, etc.).
Limited software library and probably the poorest browser. WM browser is pretty poor as well, but most folk use opera on WM which is very good.
Also tied into carriers providing BB service. Other Oses can get email with any data connection.

Devices to look at

good retailers sites are places like,,, and
also vodafone, tmobile, O2 and orange have good selection as well.
note that: vodafone sell all their phones without contract for a price. O2 will now sell all its phones with a 30 day simply contract.

Palm Treo 500 - WM Std - (not beautiful but cheap - only £150 at expansys)
HTC S740 - WM std - probably the king of non-touch screen WM phones at the moment
motorola q11 - WM std - new BB like

Nokia N97 - s60 - Super premium everything model. not out yet
Nokia E71 - s60 - super stylish BB competitor
Nokia E63 - s60 - cheap version of E71 without 3G

BB 9000/Bold - BB - Slick and good for email, no wifi
BB 8900 - BB - Smaller version of Bold without 3G but with wifi

Samsung i780 - WM pro - Well made, thin
HTC Touch Pro - WM pro - the king of the mini-sliding keyboard WM bunch (also called XDA Serra in O2 and Vario-something in tmobile)
HTC Tytn II - WM Pro - Brick like but well rated
HP 914 - WM Pro - Dull and business like BB copy but functional and discounts available though HP offers
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 - WM Pro - slick and powerful but ultra-fiddly interface
Palm Tro Pro - WM Pro - Dull and overpriced, but solid, powerful and reasonably compact

Good review site:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Latest crop of Micro Laptops

I have been an enthusiastic buyer of micro laptops for years. To me they represent something small and light I can carry around and have a full internet surfing experience on the go, as well as loads of fun.

I have my main uber-pc at home (quad core, 8gb memory, stripped down, no anti-virus, no msn messenger, etc.) for playing games and video decoding, so with my trusty micro-laptops I can be more casual with software, particularly communication and news software.

My first micro laptop, technically, was the Atari portfolio many, many years ago :) . This was hardly powerful enough to do anything, but was exciting in the potential it represented to have fun on the go.

My first real UMPC was the Samsung Q1, over 2 years ago. This had a 900 celeron and optimistically, Windows Vista. It was great for its time, giving me full internet surfing everywhere and a useful compact flash socket to backup my DSLR pictures. The drawbacks were the 800x480 screen (which I swore I would never get again, which is why I skipped the Asus eee 701) and no keyboard.

My second UMPC was a Vye S37. In hindsight I would not have purchased it (at £650) if I knew that the new wave of £300 UMPCs would be round the corner. But hindsight is a wonderful thing :(

The Vys S37 is an extremely well built, quality micro-laptop. It has a tiny 7" 1024x768 screen and is under 1kg. The cpu was a 600Mhz Intel pentium, but surprisingly ran Vista adequately and XP better. It has a compact flash and SD card socket for those precious photo backups. I stopped using this as I lost the mains cable on holiday, and the new UMPCs cost only twice as much as a new mains cable, so an opportunity to spend :)

My next UMPC purchase was an impulse buy, and therefore a mistake, as most of my impulse buys are. it was the eee PC900. I jumped on this due to weight, size and the new 8.9" 1024x600 screen. Its a lovely device and useful for kids and as a internet carry around. However my disappointments were as follows:
1. Good, but tricky keyboard to write long documents (I guess I didn't expect anything else)
2. Reducement of enjoyment due to SSD. Unless there is a big technology breakthrough, I will not be buying a SSD device again. Your enjoyment of the device is considerably reduced due to worry about installing and re-installing things, in terms of longivity. In addition, a C drive of 4gb is limiting.
3. No way of upgrading to HDD.
4. Battery life is terrible (whatever the reviews say). I usually get only 2 hours.

I'd just like to say the screen is nice, the size and weight of the device is great and Xandros linux works very well. Vodafone make linux drivers for their 3G sticks, and there is even a special Xandros eee one. The other good thing about the eee is the sheer internet support for it.

On to my latest purchase, an Advent 4211, which is a rebadged version of the MSI Wind.

I really feel that the MSI Wind is the first maturity of the micro laptop device. its excellent and I strongly recommend it. Firstly, to get the bad things out of the way, the battery is the main blot on the landscape. Its only 2200 MAh. Surprisingly it lasts for 2 hours, the same as the eee pc 900 on a 4400 MAh battery - weird !
So my next purchase will be a 6 cell battery when they come out.
Other downside is MSI obsession with not providing a neat cover to upgrade the memory. Although its not too difficult, you still have to take the whole back off to do it!
However, the good things about the MSI Wind are as follows;
1. Fantastic keyboard. I have not typed so well on a full size keyboard, let alone a micro-one like this.
2. super bright 10" screen. nicer then a 8.9" and light years away from a 7" one.
3. Bluetooth - yes, finally, an optional connection with my mobile phone.
4. Lightweight, seems to be same as eee PC900
5. Atom 1.6mhz cpu is super fast. I didn't realise before its hyperthreaded (2 pseudo cpus). Whilst this does not help with games, it does help with running multiple applications and certain other applications that are multithreaded.
6. XP. Yes I know, Linux is cooler and runs fine. But its so good being able to install all the programs, messengers, news, utilities and other programs I use. And whatever the Linux afficienados say, its tricky in linux to add hardware and you are constantly mucking around with .conf files and other text definition files.
7. 80gb hard disk. Hooray - no SSD

All-in-all the Wind is the best of the current crop and comes highly recommend. Especially in the Medion E1210 and Advent 4211 rebadged form, as they are cheaper (although you don't get the "pouch").

The other UMPC to recommend is the Acer Aspire One. slight more expensive and only 8.9" screen, but smaller and 120gb hard disk. Also the HP 2113 (slow via c7 cpu though!), slower, heavier but better made and also 1280x768 screen.