Moving to Apple – A 5 month review

Five months ago, when my mobile kit was due for renewal, I looked at all the options. The new Samsung Edge Phone was not going to last very long in my hands and there new tablet devices were “not doing it for me”. So I ended up opting for an iPhone 6s. I was previously using a Samsung Galaxy S4 and a Samsung Galaxy S3 Tab. I once swore blind I would never have an iPad but prefering to have my tablet and phone from the same vendoe meant that an iPad Air would be forthcoming. I had visions of this switch over being an unmitigated disater, how wrong I was. It took 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon, to get everything configured just the way I like it. So has the new kit performed so far? Well pretty well to be fair. I apreaciate the iPad’s screen size and it feels much better as a day to day companion than the Galaxy. Microsoft have even got the Office apps for the iPad spot on and the spreadsheets I have that use lots of macro’s work fautlessly. So what is wrong with this kit? Only one thing! An over optimistic Siri! The other week I had to take an Uber to central London because I was having a lot of trouble walking. Home wise I am based 13 miles from this office. At 8 am onn this particular morning, Siri informed me that it would take 21 minutes to get there in the car! Try an hour and a quarter stuck in South West London’s finest traffic! In all I am quite happy with the new kit and Apple seem to have sorted out battery life issues as well!  

Microsoft Surface Review

About a month ago it became apparent that some of my kit may need to be redeployed at short notice for a very important need. This would mean that I would need to acquire a new small laptop fairly sharpish. Taking a walk around PC World (Yes, I know with my background in the IT trade I should know of better places top go! I was however in a hurry and the original plan was to buy a Lenovo netbook) I spotted a Microsoft Surface 2 tablet for only £249.99. I played with it and thought that for the discount it was going to be a good deal. I bought the keyboard case for it as well. I did this on the basis that if I did not get on with it, it would be sold on eBay sharpish.

Three days later saw me heading off to Spain for a holiday. I brought this device along and I am glad I did. I have some fairly hefty spreadsheets I use from work and these could be a pain on my Samsung Galaxy Tab because of a lack of macro support. Any way I got a call from London regarding work that required me to get some figures checked, so I grabbed the Surface 2 and headed for a bar that had wi-fi. I logged in and retrieved the spreadsheet expecting a little aggro, but no it performed flawlessly, a quick phone call to London and 10 minutes later the issue had been resolved.  Thanks to the surface I was enjoying a beer and catching some sunshine.

As I have for the most part left the IT trade (I still do a little IT consultancy) I no longer need some of the software and tools I have on the laptops and as I now have desktops with large screens I have little need for a full blown laptop and the Surface is proving ideal. The only thing that is letting it down at the moment is a lack of Microsoft Publisher. I use Publisher a lot these days for creating prospectuses and this is a little drawback for me.

So the verdict? The Surface has proved itself after a month of ownership and shown that it is more than capable of earning its keep. It won’t be going on eBay anytime soon!

Top Android Apps

Following from my “What does the tech expert do?” post the other day. I thought I would post some insights into what I run on my indispensable Android Tablet. Firstly to make life easy I ditched the standard operating System and replaced it with CyanogenMod. Its great and much better than the stock Samsung Android operating system. Performance and battery life are both very much enhanced. So what apps are indispensable on this device. Well for a start the standard Google stack is a great baseline. After that these are the pick of the bunch from those that I have installed:

  • Office 365 – Great for complex Microsoft Office documents!
  • Office Suite Pro 7 – A great office suite.
  • DriveDroid – Boot computers from your Android device! Great tool has helped me out a number of times.
  • National Rail – I am especially fond of the “get me home” – has saved my bacon on a number of occasions!
  • Piwik – Website monitoring on the move!
  • Whatsapp – Essential messaging app, probably needs very little introduction.
  • WordPress – Website management and blogging on the move. An essential app for me.
  • Twitter – Needs little introduction, but I do like the ability to manage multiple twitter accounts.
  • Facebook – This one definitely needs no introduction!
  • Link2SD – Excellent app for managing applications on an SD card.
  • Owncloud – I love owncloud! Its so much more secure than Dropbox and the addons extend its usage so well. I say this eats Dropbox for breakfast! I’m a little peeved that they have started charging for the Android App though.
  • Momento Database – Great tool for customised databases on the move great for capturing leads and much more!
  • Photoshop Express – Excellent photo editing.
  • Meta Trader 5 – Excellent trading app!
  • Bloomberg – Best market news ever!
  • Entrepreneur – Investment and private equity news – quality!
  • MD Scan – Mobile document scanning, brilliant tool!