Playbook OS2.0 review

Ok, here is a mini review of the Blackberry Playbook with the new OS 2.0 installed.

First with the old version 1.0 operating system it was a nice piece of hardware and basically a paperweight.

With the new OS however, we have a different creature altogether. The hardware is brilliant, very nice fit and finish, up to Apple quality. But the new OS is great for the following reasons.

1. Can side-load android apps, not many at present, best go to and follow the instructions. You need to use a separate application to load pre-built Bar files but even I could manage it.

2. Not many android apps available as yet but Kindle is and it works fine on the Playbook.

3. We are promised Zinio will arrive in late March as a native app, cool.

4. The new message and calendar apps are very nice and synch well with most email services.

5. Nice new contacts app that can grab your gmail, facebook stuff etc.

6. Video on the device is slick, the screen quality is great, as its an IPS screen. Resolution not that high but perfectly fine on a 7 inch display.

7. Audio quality is excellent, tested on my Denon earphones, as good or better than ipod touch. Would like a choice of music apps as on android with equalizer control, but nothing decent yet. Still the built in music app is good and has album art etc.

8. Works great with my Creative D200 bluetooth speakers.

9. Battery life, not fully tested but just browsing on wifi and playing music, getting 10 hours use. Will test on a video loop later this week. Ok done that, and very impressed, playing 720 video with 70% screen brightness I got over 8 hours of battery life.

10. Blackberry app store. Ok to be honest this is disappointing,  I was hoping  more android apps would have migrated across with the new OS release, as its easy for a developer to do so. You can get the basics like angry birds, but not something like a good Internet radio app. (If anyone has found one please let me know.)

Will post more later.



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Race Against the Machine

An excellent book I came across is this text by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

Highly recommended, they  correctly identify the ills of the modern economic age.


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Persian slides


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Currently working from a coffee shop at the annual Baha’i Summer school. Taking advantage of the free child care.

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Life etc

Here are some of my interests.

My favourite car at present is the new Alpha Romeo 159, gorgeous. Alternatively the Merc CLS is nice.

I am addicted to the BBC show Top Gear, as I enjoy the rambling babble by Clarkson and co. I also think Clarkson’s commentary on most matters is excellent and demonstrates an honesty lacking in today’s politically correct society. But then I am also from Yorkshire. 

  • Travel – I now try to avoid traveling and if I must prefer to do so business class. First class on the Eurostar is nice. If you must fly economy go BA. Places to goGreat wall of china, obvious really. Nanjing especially the Black cat cafe. Santa Fe. New York for a week not more. Boston USA. Shetland Islands, yes really. Prague. Krackow in Poland. Paris but learn a little French first. Cancun in Mexico. Seattle. Places not to go.

    Boston in the UK. South Wales. Brussels. Chicago. Warsaw.  Salford.

Bobs Tips

This is a compendium of the useful knowledge I have acquired over 40 years and would like to share with everyone reading this page. It’s a reflection of the only exam question used in ancient China to test prospective Mandarins, i.e. write down everything you know.


Mobile Computing

The best laptops I would recommend are:

  1. Apple MacBook Pro – Great style, power, design. A little heavy to carry but built like a battleship so what do you expect?
  2. Apple Mac Air 11 or 13 inch. Very light and beautiful, and expensive. That’s life.
  3. IBM X or T series, best PC laptops, nice design, very robust. See new review on X121e post.
  4. Sony Z series, very light, lots of features, cool design. Really, really eye watering expensive.


  1. Anything by Apple or Sony, might not be the fastest but will look nice on your desk.
  2. Nothing by Dell or HP. Unreliable and designed by Soviet plumbing engineers.

Mobile/Smart phones

iPhone. Android is still flakey.


Politicians lie. No seriously, if they are moving their lips, its a bad sign.

Women can multi-task, but not if it involves a steering wheel and a gear stick. 

Food and Drink

Well I have very simple tastes in food so this will be short.

    1. Starbucks, good coffee, nice environment, expensive.
    2. Neros, very good coffee, nice place, harder to find.
    3. Costa, ok coffee, good ham toastees.
    4. Best café, the sandwich bar in the new British Library, where you can sit in quiet surroundings and look at the giant glass wall of books next to the place.
    5. Best restaurant, Pasquals in Santa Fe. Not cheap and you must reserve a place to have any chance of getting in. Have the Mocha chocolate pot desert and float away.


I like to avoid this whenever possible. If you have to get a job find a large corporation where you can just disappear into the background and no one knows or cares what your role is. Failing this become a teacher, so you can be paid to complain about your 2 month summer holidays.


Something else to be avoided. I have 2 daughters I adore, which is quite enough.

Tips for children.

1. Before they arrive insist on Consultant led care as midwives are to be avoided like bird flu. A consultant arrives in the delivery room thinking “If I get this wrong, they will sue”, the midwife arrives thinking, “If I get this wrong, I can go home early!”. They are nurses with a bad attitude problem.

2. After they arrive, they need milk, hugs, and nappies. Easy.

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HP Mini 5101

Review of HP Mini 5101

Well had the new HP mini 5101 netbook for about a week now, so here are some thoughts.

First did a hard drive upgrade, which is a story in itself, more on that later.

Added 2Gb ram, easy, pop the battery out, slide the battery catch and the ram cover comes off.

Overall feel and quality of build is excellent, as good as any top business notebook. Why I got one in the first place. I like the cost and form factor of the netbook concept but the plastic build of most is awful.

So 10/10 for build and design.

Battery life is hitting 3 hours with the standard 4 cell unit. May upgrade to the six cell when I have time.

Screen is a matt finish and very good, audio quality good.

With XP pro installed its just possible to watch standard quality divx avi movies. But only just. I am hoping they will bring an ION version out soon.

Hard Disk upgrade Story

Ok if you need to upgrade the drive, read the user guide carefully. Basically the keyboard has to be removed with 3 screws in the battery compartment. However it is damn hard to get the keyboard to lift up. You need to use a small sharp flat blade to prise the keyboard up at the edges. Once the keyboard is up its is easy to change the drive. I added a 500 gb sata drive no problem. Once reason is the original 160GB drive is a fast 7200 rpm model and the vibration from it was terrible.

Overall a great little machine for web surfing on the train. Just wish the video capabilities were better.

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Boring Computer stuff

Links to my previous book and robot simulation code.

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