Category Archives: commentary

A leg to stand on…

This website became very quiet a few years ago, something I can only attribute to an accident sustained whilst forgetting how stairs work. However, being a geek/tech website, I have to give belated credit to the device that kept me mobile and able to work during a 9 month initial recovery.

The support, referred to by the inventors as a “hands-free crutch” and not offered (or widely known about) by the UK’s excellent NHS, is ideal for lower leg injuries. Their website is at http://www.iwalk-free.com – I had the original version, which was rather cruder than the current model but still very effective, and I sourced it from a UK reseller at the aptly titled http://www.peglegs.co.uk

My injury was a complex fracture (shattering, in fact) of the lower part of the tibia and fibula, which had been reset in Tunisia with plate, wires and screws. From February 2012 to November 2012, weight bearing was a bad idea, and for the first six months, impossible – even by November, the tibia had a substantial gap without bone! However, as the upper part – the shin below the knee – was fine I could use the iWalk to keep belting about. This also helped keep strength up, as otherwise recovering muscle in my legs would have taken much longer. From the end of February to July, and sporadically after that depending on pain and strength levels, the iWalk WAS my leg, and the moment I was able to get off the sofa, make a cup of tea, and bring it back to my laptop without help was amazing.

Your mileage may vary and your injuries may be different, of course, but this is a fantastic invention for solving the problem. The new model, well, I wish I’d broken my leg a year later! In case of future operations to reset the mess, I’ve retained mine, but the UK importer does rent them out for short-term injuries like ankle sprains.

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iPad – the reporter’s friend

Everyone and their dog is a reporter these days. The wonderful world of the “blog” seems to have empowered everyone with an opinion, and whoever has the best net connection, the fastest fingers and ultimately the best tech wins. Kinda. At least until you realise that you don’t make any money out of it. Regardless, with print media in my invoice book, I still want the most efficient tools. Apple’s iPad definitely makes a difference to how I can work, and here’s how it can genuinely be the ideal companion for any reporter.
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Sigma’s SD1 – Sigma’s Secret Weapon

Admit it. You’ve been looking at those Foveon cameras coming from Sigma with a growing sense that whilst the 3-layer process has benefits, and delivers real differences in image quality, the 4.5Mp output file is somewhat lacking. As consumer and prosumer DSLRs head ever higher, with a typical sample of products currently on the market under £1500 ranging from 12.1 to 21Mp; cameras like Canon’s excellent 550D and the bargain Nikon D3100 are so highly specified and versatile that the unique Foveon image quality really has to mean a lot to you to make sense. Well… Sigma’s taking the professionals’ needs more seriously, and here’s how they’re going to answer the question – “How are you going to compete?”.

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Why you shouldn’t buy an iPhone 4…

…unless it’s from Apple!

I admit, I’ve got no patience; it’s why I write about technology. I’m invariably bored with it after a few weeks and itching for the new thing to arrive. Having said that, I’m also really quite tired of the cycle of phone upgrades – so when my 3GS got broken, I hoped that the new iPhone 4 would do everything I needed. This premium-priced gadget is stacked high in shops everywhere, so why was buying it so hard…
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Nokia 9000 to E90 – RIP Communicator, Hello Smartphone

I blame Douglas Adams, pretty much. Impressionable young minds were bound to lap up the concept of “information everywhere”, and ever since I first laid my hands on a “slightly smarter than a calculator” portable computer, I’ve wanted my very own ‘Guide’. My brain parsed the Guide as looking a lot like a graphing calculator, so Psion’s Organiser seemed logical enough – but it did so little… 30 years after Adams first popularised the concept, numerous machines now offer that sort of device, albeit with varying degrees of success. Nokia’s E90 is just one of many, but with Nokia’s 13-year track record in the emerging “Smartphone” device class, have they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by abandoning the Communicator paradigm?
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Apple’s iPad – not first, but third generation.

Apple’s iPad is hailed as a new device, bringing the iPhone’s success to the tablet market. You couldn’t be more wrong; iPad is a device which has somehow escaped or evolved to become part of Steve Jobs’ world vision – a true follow up to John Sculley’s “Knowledge Navigator” in a way that Newton could never be, but always promised. Sharing the same relationship to the Macintosh that Newton did within the context of available technology the iPad clearly demonstrates that just as consumer tastes and desires have become more sophisticated, so has Apple’s design process. So where will iPad go next?
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MBT footwear – Masai Barefoot Technology

Swiss Masai Sport BlackIt’s probably something that most “geeks” will be aware of – working with computers will trash your back, make you feel unfit and is otherwise Not Very Good For You. It’s okay. Just as I’m happy to admit I can be a bit of a geek, I’m also happy to admit that I’m not in perfect shape. In fact, I’ve had some continued issues with posture and back/leg pain, similar to sciatic pain, for a few years.

A gentleman never discusses his ailments, but a blogger won’t shut up about solutions! With that precognition…

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