Vodafone push Android Donut to my HTC Magic

I first saw it was heading my way last week and, sure enough, last night, Vodafone pushed Android Donut onto my HTC Magic.

I knew pretty much what to expect in terms of headline features, thanks to this video:

but there's a couple of other things that have changed that I really like.

First off, it seems that screen orientation changes are now much faster. Before, when I changed the orientation of the phone from portrait to landscape (or back) it would take a couple of seconds to sort itself now, now it seems to be a fraction of a second — almost to the point of feeling like an instant change.

Another change, again a speed thing, is that the camera feels much more responsive, and quicker to start up too (although I think the startup time as something to do with the above change). This is a good thing from my point of view given that I use the phone as the camera that populates my photoblog.

The new search facility is really nice in that, now, I don't need to bother with the search gadget on the home screen any more. Until now I had it on the middle part of the home screen taking up a fair amount of space (see right) but, with 1.6, the search tool comes up when you press the hardware search button so there's no need to use the gadget any more. That means I get four "cells" back on home. That's come in very handy.

So far I've only run into one problem after the 1.6 install. It seems that Google Search by Voice is now broken. Any time I try and run it I get a "force close" dialog (I know I'm not the only one too because there are plenty of comments in the Android Market reporting the same problem). That's kind of a shame because the new search facility searches contacts, amongst other things, so it would seem like the two together will work as a voice dial (in fact the video above suggests this too). Doubtless a new version of Search by Voice will turn up in the Android Market real soon.

First Google Wave Gadget: 5x5

Last week I was lucky enough to get an invite to Google Wave (having signed up for an invite back in May when I first saw the Google I/O presentation video). Like most people, I imagine, I spent a couple of days getting to know it, finding contacts I know, waiting for the people I invited to turn up, and also playing around with some of the robots and gadgets that are currently available. By the weekend I was itching to do something about gadget development so I had a quick read of the development tutorial and started to play.

The first couple of gadgets were simply throw-away tests but I finally decided on something a little more "meaty" to try (still rather simple, but something more than just pure "Hello, World!" type testing). I decided to to a Wave-enabled version of my 5x5 puzzle.

The very first version was up and running in no time, but it wasn't terribly use as it didn't save and share state. Not to long later, however, I'd got my head around Wave's shared state system and I had a Wave Gadget version of 5x5 that multiple people could view and interact with.

Here's how it looks inside a Wave:

Nothing too clever, but one step along learning how to code for Wave.

If you're on Wave, and you fancy having a play, just use the add-gadget button and paste this URL into the dialog that pops up:


There's also a version hosted over on GitHub.

Note that I'm still tinkering with it and it could go wrong at any moment. If it does, don't worry, I'll be sure to fix it right away. And, if you want to ask me something about it, I'm davep.org over on Google Wave — feel free to Wave me.


New Toy: Lomography Diana+

I tried to resist. Really, I did. But ever since I got my Holga 120GN there's been a part of me that's kept nagging the rest of me about looking at the Diana+. Just for kicks. Just for extra toy-camera fun.

Last week I cracked:

Lomography Diana+

I just got a new delivery of Fuji Provia 400X so hopefully, in the next week or two, I'll get some time to take it out for a spin and shoot a test roll (sadly this generally means needing to wait for weekends now because weekdays are dark before I finish work).

I'll blog the results when I get them.


New site: www.seen-by.me.uk

Back in May this year I finally cracked and joined the ranks of people who use "smart phones". For a while I was seriously thinking about going for an Apple iPhone (especially after seeing Elizabeth Gordon's early shots with CameraBag) but, in the end, I was tempted by Android and got myself a HTC Magic.

One of the first things I did after I got it, following the lead of Elizabeth Gordon and James Beston, was to get a posterous account. At first I used it as a place to post ad-hoc photos but, pretty soon, I started to treat it as a more (insert hand-waving here) "serious" photoblog.

It's been running for a few months now and I'm rather happy with the content. So much so that I've decided to let it have its own domain: www.seen-by.me.uk.

Also, recently, I finally cracked and won an ongoing battle I've been having with Blurb's Booksmart (the battle is all my own making — I just don't "get" that software) and made a book of the blog: seen by davep v1.1:

A geek and his mob...
By Dave Pearson

The content of the book starts a couple or so months into the blog (hence v1.1 rather than v1.0, there's technical reasons why v1.0 didn't get created first) and ends a couple of weeks ago. At some point I imagine I'll make v1.2. I currently have a copy of the book on order (I only really made it for myself anyway) and will post about it here when it finally turns up.