Finished Black Powder War by Naomi Novik. Third in the Temeraire series: Napoleonic War with dragons.
Liked this one. Has a lot more action than the last one: this time Lawrence and the crew journey overland from China to Istanbul, and after some adventures keep going to fight with the Prussians against the Corsican Monster. Pretty light stuff but highly entertaining.
What I'm Watching
Saw W at the cinema. Fairly sympathetic comedy-drama about the life of the noted president.
Impersonations are a bit variable, though Brolin seems uncannily accurate as Dubya. Pretty good for a politics junkie, as you get to see the soundbites and evens of the last few years recapitulated on screen.
Not hilariously funny, though there are a few good moments and good lines.
Overall, fairly interesting, but if you can't stand the man or aren't interested in the subject, would probably be a bit boring.
Bought the G1 Googlephone. Mixed feelings about it.
Positive: The capacitive touchscreen and the Android UI are very nice: extremely easy to use, especially by the generally crappy standards of smartphones. There's even a separate click-drag-knob-thing you can use if you don't like getting fingerprints on the screen. Web-browsing is very good as you'd expect. Has built-in interfaces to Google Maps and YouTube: the mapping is very slick. Works as a USB storage device, you can just plug it in and drag and drop stuff. To load music you just copy the MP3s there. Haven't tried it with any non-ID3-tagged stuff yet though.
Negative: battery life seems pretty poor if you're doing anything much with it. Especially if you switch on GPS: that seems to suck the battery dry in no time. Was pretty nifty to see my location ping up on Google Maps though. However when I tried it in on the South Bank in London, it suddenly decided I was somewhere near Marseilles in France. It wouldn't connect to my Bluetooth folding keyboard, which was a bit of drag, as I'd hoped that would be an advantage over the Iphone. Camera is terrible: no flash, some pictures come out dark, and you have to hold it painfully still.
Mixed. The slide-out QWERTY keyboard seems a bit flimsy, and while it's fine for texting, wouldn't like to do much serious blogging on it. There's a Market button that lets you download apps from the Google-approved list. It's a very slick install: tells you what permissions the app has, and if you install it downloads in the background and is instantly available. However, the apps available are pretty crude an amateurish so far: disappointed by the lack of a decent e-book reader.
The notorious Shell bug is still there, though they're apparently rolling out fixes.
Overall, probably a bit early for mainstream use: you'd be better off waiting for more apps, accessories and bug-fixes. If you want a web-phone right now and have an Apple allergy, maybe worth a look.
Not sure if I should have got the Iphone instead. It's probably a more rational decision in terms of technology since it's more mature, but the wankery attitude and artificial attempts to make it difficult to buy put me off.
Update [2008-11-12 14:12:54 by TheophileEscargot]:Just checked and it does indeed play Oggs! OK, that's worth it then.
|< le sigh | I fail it. >|