When I was 7 my family went on a driving holiday to Sydney. When we got to Albury the lines on the road were yellow and not white like in Victoria. For me travelling is about finding out how things there are different to things here. It seems like a kind of reductionist way of thinking about things, but whatever. I still really enjoy it. Heading back to Victoria, HOJU tomorrow for a few weeks and I’ll be getting my kick vicariously because J-e is coming—the first time she’s visited a western country.
Here is a tip for those days when the max temp is -10 celcius and the wind chill makes it more like -22. The fishtank section of the local large supermarket is a free alternatve to visiting the aquarium. Seoul has no aquarium.
This is another review. It’s a new phone! that I’ve been using 6 weeks or so and now have enough of a feel for to talk a bit about. I have this theory that the more flashy and new the phone is, the less personality the owner has. That would make me one bland laddy because the iPhone 4 is pretty flashy—like welcome to the near-future flashy. And in the 6 years I’ve been in Korea, this is my 4th phone, which smacks of conspicuous consumption, even for a guiltless wonder like me. The real folly too has been that phones 1 to 3 were like a gradual slide into worseness. The buttons got smaller, the sound quality got worse and the ice-picking of my brain became a bit more pronounced. I don’t really know if the radio-waves caused by mobile phones affect the brain. I remember reading stuff about that ten years ago but so far I haven’t heard of any brain-phone cancer epidemic. What I do know is that I would get an uncomfortable heating sensation from using a phone for more than 10 mins.
Incidentally, all those phones 1 – 3 were Korean ones. I know samsung and whatever are quite popular overseas, but as with cars etc. the stuff on the domestic market is made to different standards.
Anyway I’m going to try to get to the point. I’m not as technical as I used to be but I know what I’ve been after in a phone and this one is doing surprisingly well.
– The sound quality when talking to someone is surprisingly good. Especially when talking to someone else who has the iphone 4 (like the g/f). Notice how devilishly ingenious this is. There seems to be a little more bass to the mini-speaker that emits the person’s voice. Being able to hear and understand easily without going, ‘Whut… whut? continually is a definite improvement in quality of life for me.
– Less radiophonebrainwavecancer ice-picking sensation. I wouldn’t say it’s gone completely, but again, it’s a noticably big improvement. I can be more relaxed when conversing and spend less time distracted by the thought of dying a horrible death.
– In S.Korea at least, the internet connectivity is really pretty good. Many small businesses have wifi that’s provided by the phone company I pay bills to. Being able to check email on the phone is something I’ve wanted to do for years and while the other phones kind of said they could do that, they couldn’t. Browsing the internet is still a bit of a pain in the arse. Most web pages don’t resize right and I have to do a lot of zooming in to actually read what’s on there, to zooming out so I can scroll down. It’s possible, but not comfortable for extended periods.
– The screen resolution is really pretty good. Again, a big improvement on say, the older ipod touch I have. I would try to read things on that, like news articles or ebooks, and after ten minutes I’d look up and out the window and my eyes would be so screwed up that it was like Monet. I’m really conscious of how much of the day I spend staring at screens and how it’s affecting my eyesight. I don’t wear glasses and I don’t want to start. Reading things on mobile devices is very tempting but I know it’s bad. So, the iPhone 4’s resolution is a big step up, but it’d be good if there was a way to set the standard font sizes to larger right across the thing.
– The little keys on the touchscreen touchpad (for texting etc) aren’t necessarily bigger, but the whole keyboard is there so I don’t have to press one key four times just to get an “s”. Interestingly, I notice I write the whole word much more often than settling with abbreviations now.
That’s the hardware stuff. I might write about apps another time.