Android Explosion

So I’ve had an Android device for around 18 months now.  Starting with a HTC Hero, moving on to the Nexus One, dabbling with the HTC Desire and Dell Streak before moving on to the Samsung Galaxy S and no on to the HTC Desire HD.  I’ve been very happy with each one and the Android OS is moving from strength to strength. In that time the OS was on 1.5 and it’s moved to 1.6, briefly 2.0 then 2.1 and now FroYo 2.2, with Gingerbread 2.3 on the horizon.

Two weeks ago, my Orange contract finally came to and end.  I had already bought my Desire HD SIM free, but I was able to upgrade to another free DHD and lower my monthly payments!  This extra DHD was then sold covering all by £30 of my costs.  It was funny to think Orange thought I was still on a HTC Touch HD, an old Windows 6.1 device…

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Snowdonia Sequel

It was only 5 months ago since we last went to Snowdonia, but we liked it so much, we thought we’d go back!

This time myself, Lee, Mike and Steve set out from the Little Chef in Burford, following Steve’s well planned route through Wales to our hotel in North Wales.  The weather was pretty good as we set out, but it was almost exactly as we passed into Wales that the clouds appeared and it wasn’t long before the rain was falling.  A little drizzle at first, we didn’t let it slow us, but it soon picked up, so we pulled over and donned our waterproofs.

As with the first trip I was using an app on my phone called Trip Journal to log our route.  This time I was using my Samsung Galaxy S, which has a bit of a better camera and I was better prepared with a spare battery and a cigarette charging point on my bike!  This meant I could leave GPS on the whole time to track more accurately where we rode.  (Apart from the one stage it turned itself off!)

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HTC London

As part of my duties for hemorrdroids.net, I went along with some collegues to the HTC London event being held in Farringdon last night.  Partly encouraged by the promise of some free phones, partly just really looking forward to playing with the new HTC Desire HD and Zed, we got their nice and early at 3pm.  Not surprisingly, we weren’t the first there…

The Facebook event had around 1,000 confirmed attendees, so we half expected there to be 100 there already but in fact there were only 4 or 5 people there before us though. Luckily there were two seats, of which I took one of so no knee and back aches for me!

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2010 World Cup

The 2010 World Cup ended this weekend just gone.  The England team are back home and the newspapers are telling us all where they went wrong.

For me, it wasn’t as bad as everyone says.  Game one had us against the US, who really aren’t that bad a team.  Only a year ago they beat Spain in the Confederations Cup, that’s no mean feat!  All started well, Gerrard put us ahead after only 4 minutes and we were generally playing better than them.  Unfortunately, Rob Green’s blunder in the 40th minute put the US level, which we then just couldn’t overcome.

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Back In The Gym

It must be two or three years since I’ve regularly been working out in the gym.  I used to go quite often to Fitness First near Oxford Circus before work, but then things changed and we tended to start at 7am rather than 8am and there just wasn’t enough time to train any more.

Since then, my weight has gone up and up until recently I’ve peaked over 21st for the first time. Some of my belts are on their last whole!  It hasn’t helped that I’ve been limited in physical activity by my knee and back problems. Recently a colleague at work started going to a new Fitness First that opened on Baker Street, literally 5 minutes walk from work. As well as being so close, they also open at 6am, which would mean I could get to work for 7:30am if I had an early morning training session.

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HTC Desire vs Nexus One

Earlier this year I upgraded my phone to a Nexus One.  Not my first Android device, but my first on a big screen.  I took the plunge as I was fairly confident there wouldn’t be any better hardware released in the next 6 to 10 months.  It wasn’t long until the HTC Desire was then released here in the UK.  The Desire is pretty much HTC’s version of the same devise that I have, but with a couple of changes.  They use their own Sense UI interface that I loved on the Hero and it has physical keys. Losing Sense UI was something that kept me with the Hero for a month after the Nexus One was released…

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Knee Operation

I think the problem with my knee started back when I was 20, playing for the Leicester Lemmings, I intercepted a ball and was running it back when I was tackled by someone swiping my foot, twisting it behind the other foot and I fell on my knee.  I played on at Quarterback, literally limping or hopping to play.  It swelled up like a football so I went to the doctor the next day.  They booked me in with a specialist who then booked me in for an MRI scan.  It was 9 months later that I had the scan and they then booked me back in to see the specialists.  In my stupidity, everything felt good by then and I was busy with work, so I cancelled. Continue reading Knee Operation

Snowdonia Trip

IMG_0266.JPGI just got back from another great trip on my bike with friends Lee Baker, Marie and Steve Page, Andy Chamberlain and Mike Simpson.  Steve planned the route, we were to spend most of Saturday making our way to the hotel, riding through a fair bit of South Wales.  The weather was amazing as we rode up, stopping every hour or so to stretch our legs or have a coffee or meal.  The scenery matched the weather with some amazing views and some fantastic roads for us to enjoy.

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Great Multi-player Gaming

In the past half year, we’ve possibly been graced with two of the greatest multi-player games ever.  Both are sequels to previously great games, but both take things to a whole new level.

Modern Warfare 2Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released back in November and broke records as the fastest selling game of all time.  Popular on both consoles and PC’s it became an instant hit. PC gamers moaned as it came without dedicated servers, using gamers themselves to host as listen servers sometimes causing laggy matches. Luckily it was a good enough game to overcome such negatives, with many great game types, my favourites being demolition, domination and the more objective based games.   Continue reading Great Multi-player Gaming

JLP Bonus

One of the many reasons I’m glad to be a ‘Partner’ (I work for the John Lewis Partnership) is the bonus that is given every year in March.  As all employees are partners, we get to share in the company profits each year.

2010 Bonus Announcement in JL Oxford Street

This year operating profits are up 20% despite the credit crunch which means 70,000 partners get to share £151m between them.  This is worked out as a percentage figure of each partners wage for the year.  Last year it had dropped to 13% but this year it rose back up to 15% (which I predicted some months ago!)  So, 15% of every partners earned wage of last year, overtime and all, is paid to them in March.

For me, for the forth year I’ve put another £3,000 into Bonus save.  This is an incentive that allows me to buy ‘shares’ at a fixed rate of £1 each, which after 5 years can be taken back out, tax free. I also get dividends on these each year, making it a great investment, returning around 60% over 5 years. With the bonus being 15%, I should have a fair bit to pay of some credit cards too!