Samsung Galaxy S4 – same old rubbish, slightly better build quality

Friday 17 May 2013 @ 9:46 pm

Another year, another pointless handset release by Samsung who are hell bent on hogging the entire Android market with an endless stream of tiresome Galaxy handsets, each slightly different from the last but with the same tired look and creaky build quality. Hats off to Samsung though, at least they’ve tried to make an effort with the S4, albeit a half assed one; instead of the usual tactic of making their flagship handset look like it’s been covered with glue and then dipped into a bucket of the cheapest plastic available without causing offence, the S4 actually has a sliver of metal around the edge that makes it as nice as a Samsung can be. Sure, it’s no oil painting and the metal isn’t real, and both the iPhone and HTC One beat it to a pulp in the quality stakes, but it’s a start.

Dimensions are still ludicrous but in a good way; it’s the same size as last years rubbish S3 but has a larger screen. Does make you wonder though, why didn’t they just do that with the S3 last year. All these touchscreen handsets are way too big anyway but if you’re determined to get a moby the size of a jumbo pitta bread, might as well get something that maximises the space.

The accompanying software additions are the usual lame gimmicks. This time round we have air gestures and a smart view. Neither will save you any time, neither is a must-have feature and neither will be the reason you buy an S4.

The handset is 4G enabled for anyone stupid enough to fall for this overpriced scam. Here in the UK you can’t even get a reliable 3G signal let alone 4G. Worst of all though, Samsung has removed the FM radio from the S4 citing that most users listen to streaming radio now over the Internet so there’s no need for an FM hardware solution. Of course, this is utter bullshit and whoever made that call at Samsung deserves a right royal slap because streaming radio is as rubbish as it sounds.

So the Galaxy S4 then; overpriced, oversized and overrated, basically the same crap as the S3. Roll on the next pointless update to this inbred collection of monotonous malingering mobiles.

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Rubbish Ribbon in Office 2007 (and later) makes a chore of simple work

Sunday 12 May 2013 @ 10:29 pm

Long before Windows 7 came along to bog down everyone’s working day with stupid changes that made no sense, Microsoft had already cornered the market in dumb-ass interfaces by releasing the frankly quite dreadful Office 2007.

God, I hate this piece of shit software, an object lesson if every there was in churning out a package for no discernable reason other than to alienate existing users in a pathetic attempt to justify yet another pointless upgrade with “new” features nobody asked for. The Ribbon takes everything that was intuitive, familiar and easy to use from the Office suite, stretching as far back as 1991 during the days of Word 2.0, and throws it all away in the name of “progress” to replace it with an obscure and counter intutive mess of an interface.

There is absolutely nothing, repeat nothing, of genuine usefulness in the new versions of Office. The Ribbon ensures that anything you frequently use now takes twice as many clicks to achieve whilst hiding away the more common tasks into stupidly categorised menu’s so you spend more time buggering around trying to find a particular function than you do actually being productive.

Then there’s the size of the Ribbon; take your pick from Ludicrously Expanded which resembles an oversized supermarket shelf packed with end-of-life rubbish nobody buys or Contracted Hairline with nothing to show that makes it about as appropriate as a flame retardant bonfire.

Did I mention the default font has also changed so any doc you open in an older version of Office now looks complete cack? That is if you actually manage to save the doc in the first place to open in a friendlier package, the default format has now changed from the universally used .doc to the new .docx which is a pain in the ass since it requires older versions of Office to download a convertor just to open the document.

If you’re in the unfortunate position of having to use Office 2007 or later, do yourself a favour and grab an old copy of Office 2003 if you want to retain your sanity. Office 2003 is the last decent version of Office and will do everything you need quickly, simply and without any fuss.

However, if you’re forced to use the later versions of Office, a passable workaround is to switch off the damn Ribbon crap and customise the top toolbar with all the icons from your favourite Office version. Sure, it might take a good 10 minutes putting on there but at least you’ll have all your functions exactly where they belong and in the order you want them.