Evaluating new software

When trying out the latest beta (or general pre-release) version of a software build, what is your gut reaction when something doesn’t work? Are you inclined to rant and rave and post flaming Twitter posts or do you accept that you are testing pre-release software, anticipate that there will be bugs and helpfully feed back to the developers to help them rectify the issues when you come across them?

Behaviour towards software bugs fascinates me. When testing pre-release software you have to understand that it’s not a finished product. The purpose of opening up access to pre-release software is always done with a disclaimer. It is always done on the (published) understanding that there may be bugs, it may not work exactly as it should.

Cut the developers some slack. Accept that you are fortunate enough to be helping to test software before the majority of people get to try it and assist the developer(s) by giving them constructive feedback. Tell them what you were doing when a bug occurred, what steps you carried out in the lead-up to the fault and be clear about what version of the software you are using, what version of operating system you are using and on what hardware you are using it.

Help them to make the product that you want use. Be constructive, be helpful.

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on chime.in here.

The PlayBase Android Tablet

On 2 November 2011, Singapore-based consumer product developer and manufacturer, Karuma, officially announced the launch of their upcoming Android Tablet, the PlayBase.

Karuma market the PlayBase as a sleek, durable and tough tablet for adults, built with kids in mind. It weighs in at 325grams and is just 9.7mm thick. It features a 7” capacitive multi-touch display, formed metal rear cover and interfaces for micro USB and headphones, all housed in a sleek, kid-friendly and lightweight design.

Hardware is specified as a 1.2GHz processor running Android 2.3 at launch (with promised upgrades in the new year to both 3.0 and 4.0), Wi-Fi, 8GB of NAND Flash, up to 32GB Micro SD card, 1GB RAM (to support those future OS upgrades), front facing camera and accelerometer.

So, overall, a decent specification that should ensure the PlayBase can cope with the demands of today’s apps.

Though writing this without having had a hands-on with the device, it’s fair to say the PlayBase looks the part. The rear metal housing looks uncluttered and well formed and the overall build quality looks good. At just 9.7mm thick and 325 grams in weight, the PlayBase should feel comfortable in the hand.

I, for one, am looking forward to being able to get hands-on with the PlayBase. The specification suggests that the PlayBase should measure up and cope well with the demands of the mainstream user.

The best part, however, has to be the price. The PlayBase comes in at a very competitive £169.

Tablets are relatively new and, as such, still demand a premium price. Of course prices will (should) come down over time….. as the devices gain more traction and more people decide they need one, sales should increase which will ultimately drive down both production and retail prices.  The fact that the PlayBase can enter the market at just £169 really sets a precedent though.  At this price more consumers have to be tempted.  I know I am.

The PlayBase hits the market today (go check out the website…. there are zero days until launch) and already has a range of stylish and practical covers available to accompany it.

You can read more about the PlayBase here and more about the company behind it, Karuma, here.

According to the PlayBase Twitter feed the first 500 PlayBase customers get a free gift with their purchase.  Check out the tweet here.

I can’t wait to get a hands-on with the PlayBase!

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on chime.in here.

Goodbye iOS Notes app

Back in October I wrote a post stating how I was using the iOS Notes app again, following the introduction of iCloud.  I mentioned how I had started to use it quite a lot.

Well, now I’m not.  On Monday I was preparing some important notes that I had created on the native Notes app only to find that one had disappeared and two were present on the iPad but not on the iPhone.  The missing note has gone.   It’s not on either device or on iCloud.com.

The two notes that were on the iPad but not on the iPhone are safe.  I disabled all connectivity on the iPad and copied the notes to another app.  Interestingly, when I turned WiFi back on the two notes did not appear on the iPhone.  Similarly, they didn’t disappear from the iPad.  Only when I edited the notes on the iPad did they then sync across to the iPhone.  Strange.

Anyway, the result is that I can’t rely on the app and have, therefore, banished it to the darkest corner of a rarely used folder.

So, what am I using instead?  I’m using the excellent PlainText by Hog Bay Software which syncs over Dropbox, perfectly, without error and has a great user interface.  Look out for a forthcoming review!

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on chime.in here.

chime.in for iPhone updated

Version 1.1 of the chime.in iPhone app has just landed and it brings with it some much anticipated new features.

For me the most significant updates are Notifications and the addition of an online browser.

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If you haven’t tried chime.in yet I urge you to give it a go. It’s such a well designed and feature rich social networking service that has some great content being shared.

If you want in give me a shout for an invite.

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on chime.in here.