Gizmo Gadgetry of the Future, Now!

Posted by jonathan on Friday Aug 12, 2011

…well, almost.

Today I will be mostly venting my spleen, and here’s why:

I have now had two iPhones from work – a 3G and my current 4:

My iPhone 4

My iPhone 4

iPhone 3G

iPhone 3G

 

To jailbreak them I would have to go to a hacking community and find out that Cydia is probably the best way forward. This, understand, is not because I’m a vandal or want to run illegal code. Far from it, I just want to have basic functionality on the iPhone 3G that I already get in the iPhone 4 – a task manager, some fancy backgrounds, folders, maybe a command line… But no, the Apple software mill has decided it knows better than I do what I want and so give me functionality they deem acceptable in a seemingly random manner. Thanks for making an operating system that gets in my way guys. and the mud in my eye? well that’s because I void the relevant warranties when I fix the broken software ;)

 

I had a Nokia N95 8GB previously (best phone ever, by the way!)

Nokia N95 8GB

Nokia N95 8GB

I went to some fora to get the correct region code and the”vanilla” firmware and install it – risking yet again the full wrath of not being able to get my phone repaired because I broke it with a software update. Sigh. It works now though, so I have skype and spotify and command lines and my own theme and most importantly, an Operating System that doesn’t get in my way. Whoop!

 

I am  currently using a MacBook Pro (late 2010) laptop:

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

On this I have installed various software to optimise and make it work the way I like. It involves getting the right codecs for quicktime to play nice (better interface than VLC, but I’m seriously considering replacing ease of use with functionality…) and for various other functions to be enabled (or not) – for instance, most software is installed on macs using all possible languages just in case you change your mind about the language you use on your computer. Genius, but also expands most software to several times the required size. As I don’t change full system language very often, I choose to occasionally have an automated system trawl through my applications and strip them down to the parts that I use – making my laptop faster and lighter in the process.

 

My Windows 7/Ubuntu/Hackintosh desktop, well that’s another matter altogether:

the insides of the beast

the insides of the beast

See, I built this myself. Every single component here, including the case, was hand-picked by me, put together by me and is maintained by me. The system installation was also done by me. It is my pride and joy and it does nearly everything I want it to do. Efficiently. When I tell it to.

 

My Archos 5 Android Internet Tablet:

Archos 5 Internet Tablet

Archos 5 Internet Tablet

My Archos 5 is currently awaiting a hacked “rooted” firmware so I can finally install Android Market – Archos in their infinite stupidity wisdom decided to lock down my supposed open device so now I have to break it to make it work like I want it to. (ok, that link actually has a working Android FroYo 2.2 beta release, but I fear for my life at the moment…)

 

and here you have a home-automation style Debian sheevaplug:

Sheeva Goodness

Sheeva Goodness

Yet again I’ve had to modify this with a new power supply and operating system because of heating problems so severe it could actually catch fire! Read the internet if you don’t believe me! (FWIW, I don’t actually agree with Willy and I’m pretty happy with what I have, but it does involve some large amount of work on my part.

I am also using a Windows 7 $employer laptop for work, but that’s a lot less interesting as I’m not allowed to play with it :(
(Of course, every part of it that I can customise… ;)

So anyway, what’s my point?
My point is that after all this, I find that I never get anything technological, without feeling utterly restricted by the firmware, by what the manufacturers thought I would want. That’s not the part I take issue with – fair enough, they accommodate the lowest common denominator who is all too often too busy with their life to know that there is a better way of doing things, if only that checkbox was there, giving me root access because I’m a big boy now, with a steady job that allows me to buy new toys. Please treat me as such, give me the warning, and then let me go play in the minefield. Make your hardware so people can do cool stuff with it.

This, is an ax. It works. Good night.

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