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Why I Don't Like Touchscreen Phones

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Touch screen phones are all the rage these days. Everywhere you look, there's some new phone out that offers a 3.5" touch display (usually with no keyboard).

Having owned an iPhone 3G, I am of the firm belief that full touch phones are just a gimmick - their original "wow" factor tends to ware off, and the user is usually left with a user experience that's anything but amazing.

For instance, one major gripe that I have about these types of phones is the inability to "feel" the keyboard, thus allowing you to type without looking at the screen (something I tend to do a little too often). Besides, being able to "feel" a keyboard ensures that you feel "secure" in what you've pressed - you can be sure that that key is what the corresponding writing on-screen will be.

Furthermore, touch screen phones pose the problem of being very delicate devices. A cracked touch screen can run the repair bill up to quite an extraordinary figure - and manufacturers usually don't include the screen as part of the warranty.

While I am an opponent of the advent of touch screen phones, I'm not ruling them out. Touch is the future, we all know that. But what I think is cool is the "hybrid" phones, like most HTC mobiles and Nokia's new N97. These phones offer a ful touch screen for easy, quick access to things like reading new texts, or pulling up contact information. But they also include a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard so that you can compose text in an easier manner.

What's your take on touch screen phones? Drop a line in the comments, I look forward to your unique opinions.

Windows 7 May Be Cool, But It'll Still Suck

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Windows 7 looks all fine and dandy right now. It looks good - brilliant, even. Its design is probably the first in Microsoft Windows history to actually be able to rival that of the great Mac OS X... but it's still going to suck. Let me tell you why:

All versions of Redmond's Windows operating system have been plagued by a technology that underpins the operating of the system - the Windows Registry. This piece of software manages the existance and execution of applications on the system - by storing special "Registry Keys" that contain information pertaining to application settings, as well as special keys designated to the installation of files on the system. It's basically the backbone of Windows, and it's also very much prone to getting corrupted very quickly.

It is, nine out of ten times, the cause of messing up your Windows experience and resulting in a re-install of the system. It gets corrupted mainly because when you install and uninstall software, the registry manages all the application's keys in a very complex manner. So uninstalling software can result in the system not removing certain keys (usually because it deems them necessary for other applications). This corrupts the integral part of the Windows system.

Now this type of technology is kind of "obsolete" in today's modern world. Modern operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux (because Windows is not, contrary to popular belief, modern - its core, NT, is over twenty years old!) have more intuitive ways of managing applications on the system. Microsoft has yet to jump on the bandwagon and develop a more stable way of managing their applications, and thus making the OS more reliable.

So that's why Windows 7, with its corrupt-prone Registry, will still suck in the long-run.

BOLT Browser Finally Out of Beta

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BOLT Browser, the mobile Internet browser that we ran a review of earlier this year, is finally out of its beta stage, and is into mainstream release today, according to an email sent to beta testers.

The browser in its beta form was fairly competent at browsing the web on a phone, although some features, such as the "mobile" view and "cut-down" rendering, which subsequently saves costs, found in competing browsers like Opera Mini, were notably absent from BOLT.

On the plus side, though, version 1.5, which is the official "final" release of BOLT, and its first version out of the beta phase, supports video streaming of any length (think YouTube on your phone!), up to an apparent 1.5% speed increase in browsing, and a new download manager to facilitate downloading files from the net.

This new browser will be competing with the formidable Opera Mini 5 browser, which, although currently in beta phase, is looking extremely promising with a slick new interface and some snazzy new features. However, Opera Mini does lack the video capabilities of BOLT, and this may just lend the upper hand to the newer browser.

BOLT Browser is available to download from this site.

What Is Google Wave?

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The tech scene is abuzz with talks about a new Google service in the making, called Google Wave. But what exactly is it?

Web 2.0, the social revolution, has spawned a new type of technology called "cloud computing", which enables a user's information to be stored "in the cloud" - literally, on servers owned by the service that the user signed up for (e.g. Facebook).

Now, Google Wave is basically a type of cloud-based service that will allow users to collaborate in real-time on projects using digital media like photos, text, videos, maps and sound. Its an enhanced communication method that will allow people working on projects to collaborate with each other via the power of the Internet. It sounds cool, especially since it has that "Google Factor" to it, which means we can expect an innovative approach to this type of service.

This type of service has been done by Microsoft already, with their "Groove" product which integrates with Microsoft Office, so it will be interesting to see what Google has to offer.

Is Apple Going To Be The Next Google?

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Apple has changed its stance significantly over the past ten years. Once exclusively a "computer" company (with the word part of their name) the Cupertino-based company is now focussed on the consumer electronics scene - a market that is very widespread and at times can be a bit ambiguous.

But a latest string of events has much cause for concern regarding Apple and Google's relationship. Once "BFFs", a rift has slowly formed between the two, with its highest point being the departure of Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) from Apple's Board.

What's even more interesting is Apple's sneaky intrusion into business areas currently dominated by the search giant Google - things like Apple's acquisition of maps developer PolicyMap in July and their increasing interest in web-based services makes us wonder whether Apple is trying to "pull a Microsoft" and go head-to-head with the formiddable search giant.

We've seen what that can entail - Microsoft's constant duel with Google has resulted in the Redmond company developing some strange services (Bing, anyone?) that tries very hard, but never quite makes the cut, of usurping the search throne. Let's just hope that if they do go this route, Apple will do it with their unique style and innovative flair - thus they wouldn't lose face as quick as Microsoft did.

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