dalliard.net

Mince Pi

Tenuously-titled? Surely not. Read More...
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Velcro

As November comes to an end, I shall be running for the razor blades. No, I've not turned emo, but as a participant in Movember, I've realised that facial hair of any sort really isn't me. My mo' looks like velcro, works like velcro and even sounds like velcro. I have no doubt that Mrs Dalliard shall be pleased to see it go.

However, as it’s the only time in my life that I’m ever actually going to have any facial hair, I thought I’d make the most of the situation and take a picture or two. You may have seen this in my photo gallery:

IMG_5118

This is my dad and me in the good ‘ol seventies, a time when a moustache was a mandatory requirement for a man. I’m about four in this picture.

Here’s the “modern day” version with me and my son:

IMG_5119

I participated as part of a team of fifteen people and we’ve raised nearly £600. If you sponsored me, thank you. I think that’s enough facial hair, though. I can’t see me taking part in Decembeard, worthy cause that it may be.

And if you have a moustache or beard during the other eleven months of the year, credit to you. You’re more of a man than I am.

Contributions are still welcome. You can donate a nugget or two
here.
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Thomas

I share a major birthday with an inanimate object... Read More...
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Grimrock

Do I have a new all-time favourite game? Read More...
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Freetards

You can get always get something for nothing - but should you? Read More...
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Flogging a dead horse

Retail chains come and go. This one should go - and go now. I’m looking at you, PC World... Read More...
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Frankenputer

Retro-computing is nothing to be ashamed of... Read More...
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Cornwall

I’ve lived in this part of the world for about thirty years now, so I thought it was about time to put a gallery together using some of my favourite shots.

You can see the gallery here.

I really ought to do this stuff in HTML5. Flash is a pain in the butt nowadays, not to mention the fact that it doesn’t display on iOS devices. One day I’ll get around to it…. *

*You’ve probably heard this before.
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Fondleslabs

Is the “New iPad” worth an upgrade? I’ve had one for a week now, so here’s my thoughts… Read More...
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Algorithms

It’s Valentine’s Day. There isn’t a grand unifying theory on what defines love. Chances are there won’t be, either... Read More...
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MiFi 2

A couple days before Christmas, I did something that I’ve never done before - I lost a mobile device.

The victim was my poor MiFi (previously reviewed here), which I’ve had for nearly two years. It’s a wonderful device and has provided me with cheap and reasonable internet access on the move. I don’t quite know what happened, but on my usual train, the 7.49 to Cardiff, I must have left it on the seat. On realisation, I went through the seven stages of grief and accepted that I probably wouldn’t see it again. If a commuter hasn’t got themselves an early Christmas present, I’ve pretty much lost it to First Great Western’s overly bureaucratic lost-property office.

Luckily, I had a pleasant surprise when I called my network provider to report the loss. The blocked the device and said they’d send me a new “up to date” version, as long as I carried on the contract.

…and so, twenty-four hours later, I had a shiny new MiFi in my hands. Huzzah!

edge

There are a few things that strike you when you first have a peek. Firstly, it’s been given a makeover. It’s like a little black pebble now, with a rather handy status screen to let you know what’s going on. Someone has also rather sensibly put a thingummybob to allow you to physically secure it to whatever you want to - which should prevent idiots like me from losing the damn things.

Perhaps the best improvements, though, are the web-based configuration interface (which means that anything that has a browser can set up the device) and the automatic connection that takes place as soon as you switch it on. Once on, it connects and fires up the WiFi within about five seconds. Simplicity is the best bit of it - It has even less buttons than its predecessor. The only other button is the one that displays the network ID and password. As before, you can connect up to five devices to it, but how much bandwidth everyone gets will depend on how good your coverage is. It seems that they’ve even thought about how to improve coverage too. Included in the box is a proper docking station which also charges the device and angles things for the best reception. Huawei seem to have considered everything.

In terms of performance, it’s said that with the addition of HSDPA, bandwidth is supposed to have massively improved over the previous iteration. Whilst it’s hard to give absolute values for this (because your coverage, network and computer might have some bearing on the performance), I averaged at least 3MB/s in good coverage 3G and city areas, and about 800KB/s in my “not to good” home area, which impresses me. There are still rural areas that don’t even get 512K lines with conventional wired broadband, let alone mobile versions. In most cases, the upload speed wasn’t too far off the download speed (tested with speedtest.net). It’s hard to say if the speed improvements are due to improved network coverage, a better antenna, or simply the HSPDA bit, but my hunch leads to me to think it’s a combination of all three. I used TuneIn Radio through my iPhone and car stereo as the test (6Music, I do wish you’d broadcast on FM!) and dropouts were very short and rare. The quality of connection seems to have improved.

If you’re using the device without its charger, then battery life will depend upon how much you hammer it. From full-battery to empty, you should get 6+ hours of continuous use. However, I’m just charging mine up again after a few weeks of slightly more intermittent use (about 20 mins/day). It’s got a standard USB connector if you want to charge it up on the go.

Do I recommend getting one of these? Of course I do. It’s damn good way of having mobile data, miles better than those awful USB stick affairs - and you can share it, too. Lots of small improvements have been made in every area, showing that a lot of thought has gone into the revamp. Setup is simpler, connection is simpler and the speed is better. I have to say that it’s seriously impressed me. If you’ve got an iPad, laptop or equivalent, you could do a lot worse than buy one.

Now I just need to make sure that I don’t lose this one.
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