Category: shopping

Doubting my voice


One the literal side effects of the stroke is that I speak with a different voice. I know what I am trying to say, I almost hear myself in my brain say it, but I go to speak it out loud and the voice I say it in is not one I automatically recognise. I prepare by thinking what I am going to say in my normal voice, I have conversations in my brain which are normal, but when I open my mouth it isn’t the voice I imagine.

This has several effects like I cannot phone in a foreign food takeaway as I sound as if I am not taking the take away staff seriously. Do I doubt myself? Yes. I often try to put something over as best I can put it verbally. But afterwards I find doubt creeping in. I do not know if the children do not understand what I am saying or whether they are being children and listening “creatively”, (was it the stroke or my children just being that age?)

I was in a situation today where I had cause to phone an ambulance. I dialled 999 without thinking. The operator put me through, I gave the details as clearly as I could. The wind was pretty bad, I took shelter behind a parked minibus and the signal dropped. It came back and I continued to talk to the dispatcher. Soon the call was over and the ambulance was on its way. I waited at the bottom of an adjoining street in order to guide the ambulance the right way, also as not to crowd the person on the ground. As I stood there I doubted myself.

Had I made myself clear? Yes, they had said an ambulance was on the way.
Had I remembered the address of the street properly? Yes, I think so. I checked the address on my phone and I had addressed it properly.
Had they taken me seriously? I didn’t know.

I was suddenly very conscious of not being able to speak in my own voice. I thought back over the conversations where people had heard me, then my mind turned to the conversations where people hadn’t heard me, the times when I had said something and not got the responses I expected or perhaps, any responses at all. I thought of times where I was quiet. Was this being quiet a sign that I was comfortable, conscious of how when I am nervous I fill silences, or was this quiet because I didn’t know what to say or how to say it because I was scared of using my current voice and looking like a fool.

Perhaps this was summed up by two men as I waited for the ambulance. One man asked what had happened. I told him that a man was on the ground and they were looking after him. He said “What?’ meaning can you repeat it again please? I did and he said “Right” and walked off. Later a man walked passed me and said “Hello”, I said “Hello” back and he made a comment about the weather before continuing on. They’re understanding was deeper than my ability to communicate.

The speech therapist has said there is nothing medically wrong with my talking, I can make all the sounds necessary, that meeting and having conversation will help bring back my own voice. When I am not thinking about the voice or what I am going to say the old voice can come back for a few minutes. Perhaps I am too nervous around what I have to say and how I will say it. The last few years of my doctorate have been about developing my voice. It looked at how I use my voice to say something distinctive and interesting. The critique I bring is dependant on me, the stuff which makes me whoever I am. I didn’t particularly like my old voice, it was to middle-y, but it was mine. And something in my brain hears it and connects with it. I wonder what I have said distinctively in my old voice. I wonder what I can say in this current voice which is new and distinctive. I didn’t take much notice of my old voice, but now when I think of saying something I doubt myself, I think again. I need to risk to find my old voice again. I doubted myself at the best of times, but now I need to chat. I was proud I had called 999 and had a discussion conveying important information while my current voice is different. All this doubt was internal and I need to try using my voice again. Hopefully next weeks activities will take another step towards having my old voice back.

A story for the #courgettecrisis. “What They Sell In The Shops These Days” by Daniil Kharms

This is not a picture of the shops yesterday. #Fakenews

Yesterday I was involved in a discussion about the lack of courgettes in the shops, #courgettecrisis. I was urged to shop locally and eat seasonally; i was encouraged to note the advice from a mitchelin starred celebrity chef.

I dont live in a globalised, commodified, consumerist society to shop local and seasonally, I want everything cheap and available now. As for taking vegetable selection advice from a chef who is backed by the big potato lobby…

Anyway, this put me in mind of one of Daniil Kharms stories from “Incidences”.

(22) What They Sell in the Shops These Days

Koratygin came to see Tikakeyev but didn’t find him in.
At that time Tikakeyev was at the shop buying sugar, meat and cucumbers.
Koratygin hung about by Tikakeyev’s door and was just thinking of scribbling a note when he suddenly looked up to see Tikakeyev himself coming, carrying in his arms an oilskin bag.
Koratygin spotted Tikakeyev and shouted: — I’ve been waiting for you a whole hour!
— That’s not true — said Tikakeyev — I’ve only been out of the house twenty-five minutes.
— Well, I don’t know about that — said Koratygin — except that I’ve already been here a whole hour.
— Don’t tell lies — said Tikakeyev — you should be ashamed to lie.
— My dear fellow! — said Koratygin — Be so good as to be a little more particular with your expressions.
— I consider … — began Tikakeyev, but Koratygin interrupted him:
— If you consider . . . — he said, but at this point Tikakeyev interrupted Koratygin and said:
— A fine one you are!
These words put Koratygin into such a frenzy that he pressed a finger against one of his nostrils and through his other nostril blew snot at Tikakeyev.
Then Tikakeyev pulled the biggest cucumber out of his bag and hit Koratygin across the head with it.
Koratygin clutched at his head with his hands, fell down and died.
That’s the size of the cucumbers sold in the shops these days!

Thinking about mobile phones – a small test of android.

ios-vs-androidMy phone is dying, I have used iPhones since the iPhone 3gs, I loved the 4s and I still use the 5s, (yes my phone is 3 years old). I had wanted to wait to see if the iPhone7 was the stunning leap forward is design and shape and deliciousness for mobile phone design. Perhaps it would be slither of glass resplendent with all the advanced tech for futuristic pop culture. Alas we got an iPhone6s-s, a refinement and incremental change on the 6s which was a refinement and incremental change on the 6. Given this I wonder about changing off apple for a year. My wife is very happy on android and her phones are good quality, shiny and attractive. So borrowed one to see how it compares.

Apple or Android.
It should be noted Apple aren’t really that innovative. (OK, the invention of the mouse was pretty revolutionary if they did invent it!), but since then they are not noted for inventions. The iPad was inspired by Steve Jobs watching people use a stylus on Microsoft tablets at a social event; Apples iPhone was definitely not the first smart phone; the watch and TV were both late arrivals to the smart watch and TV box market respectively. What Apple does have is control of the devices manufacture, software and cloud backend. This means that Apple can ensure that all software works on all forms of its hardware, also that all apps will run to a certain standard on all devices. For Android, Google controls the software and the cloud backend, but manufacture of the devices is in the main not controlled by them. This can be advantageous for google, allowing them to concentrate on their strengths, but it can also lead to a second layer of software engineering by companies such as Samsung, who include wrapper software to go between the Android software and the Samsung device. The effect of this is that android updates may need adjusted by the Hardware company for your particular phone before you can update.

Why not consider microsoft?
Microsoft devices are good generally, with Apple and Google both taking inspiration (while being legally different) by Microsoft design. For this test I do not have a Microsoft device to test so I cannot include it.

The test subjects,
Samsung galaxy IV running android 5.0.1
iPhone 5s running iOS 9.3.5
the reason for picking these older phones are
1- that iPhone is what I currently use.
2- that Samsung is what I have available to test and they are both about 3 years old.
3- all the hardware and software should work at the best it has ever been, right? (after three years testing, development and refinement.)

Initial impressions
The Samsung is big. much bigger that the 4.7inch iPhone, it is also lighter, much lighter, the iPhone feels like it has some heft to it. The iPhone feels better out of the case, while the Samsung feels plastic-y out of the case. When in the case they both feel like cases. The Samsung has a bright screen, due to a water incident a year or so ago the iPhone screen is permanently darkened.

Test task one – perform a factory reset.
iPhone – plug it in to computer, iTunes launches. On the iTunes page for your iPhone, you have the option to restore iPhone, click the button and a couple of confirmation boxes and it resets the phone.
Google doesn’t have the same software interface for the phone, so reseting the phone was trickier. I looked under settings in the phone menu with no success. A google search revealed the reset is achieved by booting into the equivalent of safe mode on your phone,
(Turn off phone. Press select button, volume up and power button at the same time and hold until after the Samsung logo appears, then let go of the power button while holding the other two.)
The problem with this is the screen is massive but the text on the screen in this new menu is tiny. I struggled to read what the options were. In this mode you use the volume up/down buttons to navigate and the power button to confirm. As a user experience, it is hostile and it clearly places the android phone as a computer in your pocket.  After performing this reset I then had to update the Android software on the phone. While iTunes handles this as one process with the factory reset if you wish, the android has a separate download and then update time. I took a good 30min to download and install all the updates on the phone.

task two – add apps to the phone
Both iOS and Android start you with a number of default apps on the phone with varying degrees of usefulness. iOS has considerably less of these default apps than Android. Both software platforms have shops where you can buy or download new apps. You do this by making an account, storing credit card details and a password, and then downloading apps. Both have search facilities and google play store search is better than the apple store search.

On the google play store I downloaded some of the key apps I use on iOS currently:
Lastpass – password vault
Runkeeper – exercise tracking
Spotify – music streaming
Podcast addict – podcast downloading and management
Hootsuite – twitter client
Dropbox – document cloud storage
Dropbox paper – note taking app (in beta, so trialing to see if it will take the place of Evernote long term.)
Evernote – notetaking app

On iOS the apps all run, but last pass does not offer to fill in the passwords within other apps login screens. You have to cut and paste which isn’t a very joined up experience. On Android the experience was generally good, with the exception of the Dropbox app, which stopped working and crashed on opening over a 24hr period, until I ran a software update. Secondly Spotify refuses to accept my password of let me log in (seven days now). I struggle to remember when a big high profile app that I use regularly behaved like this iOS over the last 6-7 years for me.

task three – add music to the phone
The iPhone plugs into your computer directly. As I have iTunes installed, it launches asking what you want to do with the phone, using tick boxes you select which music you wish to load and click the sync button, loading music is through the iTunes user interface. This requires a wire, a computer and your phone. With the advent of streaming services (including the purchase of the beats streaming service a year or two ago, Apple has introduced Apple Music, a subscription service where for a £9.99 monthly fee you can stream all the music you could want over the internet, including every piece of music in your iTunes library..
Googles preferred method of putting music on your phone is to upload all your music to their Google music service in the cloud. Then stream the songs from the cloud as you want or need them. This is great if you live with a reliable fast internet connection. (I don’t so this option is less great for me). The free layer of Google Play Music gives you streaming and 50000 song uploads, but song downloads for offline playback are only available as part of the £9.99 monthly membership.

So how do you get the music onto the android phone using a cable rather than the cloud. Google guides you to download a programme called “Android File Transfer”. On opening this I was slightly shocked at how paired back it was. I dislike iTunes, but its graphical user interface is a graphical user interface. The AFT programme is a barebones file transfer manager. It felt like a computer thing which required a repertoire of computer knowledge to use. (I didn’t find a How to guide, and the lack of a empty music folder into which to insert files was disconcerting.) Having used file transfer programmes before I had an idea what i was doing and managed to get the stuff on the phone. But is was not intuitive to navigate a hierarchy of files to find where the files are and then create new folders within the phone or SD Card to place these files in. (and how do you handle playlists?)

Task four – general life.
in general life the battery lasts about the same for both of phones, the back button on the android phone is kinda handy and the screen is big and shiny. The iPhone does well and survives most things I put it through. In comparison the android feels slightly slower and less responsive than the iPhone. The only major black mark against the android was its refusal to connect with the Bluetooth in the car. this is unfortunate as I use this Bluetooth connection to listen to music and podcasts when I drive. The phone reception is significantly better on the iPhone. Phone call sound is clear and the microphone seems to be of comparable quality.

I could live with android and be mostly happy. I am sure the Bluetooth issue and the Spotify issue would resolve themselves over time. These problems are problems I have never had with iOS.  The difference between Google as a cloud services company and Apple as a hardware company comes through in this small test, Google want everything in the cloud, (although, I object to the idea of upload all your music to the cloud and we will charge you to download it to your phone as I have already bought it once), as Google have a clear advantage in search and cloud services. Searching the Google Play Store gets you the right result. Uploading your documents to google drive is smooth, with a nice 15gb to fill, and the reports of google photos are very good.

I am reasonably clears I am not buying a new phone for its cloud services. This is perhaps because I am too aware of Apple, as a company’s failings in this area. I don’t trust the cloud of one company for too much, I tend not to use googles cloud services, I don’t use the Facebook app or any of its associated suite of apps as I am wary of using too much from one company especially when that companies main income sources is analysing my data to provide me with tailored advertising. I use different companies for specific cloud based services like, Lastpass for a password vault, Backblaze for hard drive back ups, Evernote for notes, Dropbox for files and sharing.Perhaps it is also a result of living in a borderline rural life where the idea of cloud computing is laughable when it rains.

So to buy the samsung s7 edge would cost an extra £475. the iPhone 7, an extra £600. At the moment the iPhone has clear advantages for me but £125 is a significant figure.

I don’t understand wheels #needhelp #brokenwheels #bicycle



I have been cycling recently. It was hard to fit in during the school holidays but I have been back to it over the previous few days, setting my fastest time ever for the Lanark route, (fastest measured in minutes per km). It has been good to get out and I have been concerted in my plan to ride every weekday. I want to cycle as I enjoy it not particularly on the hills, but hey i over took another cyclist while going uphill for the first time on Monday. Also socially several people I know cycle as a past time. My neighbour David can do one of the 22km routes I do around 14 minutes faster than I can flat-out out, my friend Rich is also around that time frame from the times I see on social media. If I want to ride with these guys then I need to speed up and train more. (also the benefits of losing weight are not lost on me…)

The problem

This morning I dressed, got the children ready for school and went to do some basic maintenance on my bicycle chain (cleaning with the new chain cleaner I got last night), to my horror three of the spokes in the rear wheel had snapped, must have happened on the ride yesterday. I am not risking riding in the rain with a compromised back tyre.

The help

The wheels are the standard wheels on the bike when i bought it 3 years ago.
The bike is the standard bike I bought off the shelf 3 years ago.
I was thinking of upgrading some components from solid to decent.

So what wheels should I buy?
not a large budget but enough to cover new wheels and a set of winter road tyres (around £200 hopefully).
Why are some wheel sets different sizes? – what is the advantage? (currently both of mine are the same size)
What is a decent winter road tyre for Scotland?

That’s Me, the guy with a pure heart and gunpowder in his moustache.

xtenson-alwyn-jacket-funktionsparka-navy-blau-6a0.jpg.pagespeed.ic.skS6DOBdw0Last winter I bought a winter jacket out of TK Maxx. The joy of shopping at TK Maxx is you never know exactly what you’re going to find. It was a nice jacket from a company I had never heard of … Tenson.

The other day I conducted a quick web search and hit upon their website. Tenson are a Norwegian brand who sponsor the Norwegian ski team. Nice. In the about us section I found this gem of a quote envisioning the type of man the company founder, Paul, hoped would wear the jacket.

Paul described his intended ’Nature Man’ like this: ”Tenson-Man – skis, hunts and fishes, wanders in the forest with his pipe in his mouth. Smells good, little kid, a little tuna fish, a little gunpowder. Can’t live without his jacket. Sleeps in it if he can. One of those half-tall things with a thousand pockets to keep stuff in. That’s what Tenson-Man likes, the guy with a pure heart and gunpowder in his moustache. The kind of guy every girl wants to roll meatballs and fold the bedclothes for.”

Currently I am considering using this as the personal statement on my CV as it so perfectly nails the type of person and lifestyle I currently abide in. If the next time you see myself Adorned in this jacket and do not automatically want to roll meatballs or fold bedclothes, I will consider it a failing on your behalf.

Consumption – Death on the Instalment plan.

Will Self is a great writer, and his attitude, accent and physicality make him a compelling personality. This i have gathered through watching the TV stuff I have seen him on. Quite often i find the way he phrases things as quite precise and generally hilarious.

maybe its the delivery,
maybe its the writing,

either way this 10 minute essay is class and should be heard.

the text is a good read but is divided up with images and links to other similar articles which breaks the flow.

anyway worth having a look at

Solas Festival 2014 – Creative Commons.


The small and beautiful arts festival, which inclusive enough to allow me to help put it together has launched it’s new programme together with its now annual fund raising auction.

So what you waiting for visit us at Solas Festival website to get tickets now! Our first deadline closes soon.

(I have the joy of having suggested creative commons for this years festival theme. If its not a good year i am in trouble!)

My phone is dead.

So my phone died. You can read all about how it gave its life to support me running to get fitter. check the gory details of its noble end / beginning of life as a paper weight here. #runninginglasses – week 4 run 2 – death of a phone.

So tomorrow i have to go to the fruit shop and try and get a new one. The genius bar have a policy of exchanging iPhones which cannot be repaired, sometimes at their digression for free, other times for around 80-100 poinds. (although I did hear somewhere that the power to do this had been taken from the genii). The routine is pretty simple, tell the person what happened and ask if there is a way the genius can solve the sleek, black paperweight problem for me.

On a wider note, I am pleased to see how i have handled not having a phone. I have been quite happy not to have it. I have been ok without another smart device in my life. I am aware i don’t phone many people or text people, but i am pretty sure people can reach me wherever I am if it is urgent. I know that it is the weekend and the difference between being with my family and travelling together, and tomorrow when we all go our separate ways and I am on the train, being out all day. Tomorrow might be a very different thing. I am carrying a phone, but not the main number for emergencies.

So what am i carrying? Well my options are the iphone 4, 20140202-231838.jpgthe motorola v80 20140202-231850.jpgthe nokia e65 20140202-231857.jpgthe samsung galaxy sIII20140202-231904.jpg

Not sure yet, but it is a nice choice to have to make!

Tax dodgers yes, but on the plus side ruthless efficiency does have its benefits.


Amazon. They make lots of profits in the uk but don’t pay UK tax. That’s bad.

(Although I think if you are associated/employed by an organisation which takes advantage of the gift aid scheme you can’t really criticise as gift aid is also taking advantage of the tax laws for financial benefit..)

But they are very good on delivery times and price.
I recently lost the wee ear bit on my head phones. Buying online in the uk was around £30. Buying from the company direct was are £35 plus p&p.
Buying from (the US site), the price was $17.50, inc p&p, plus due to the price of item no tax or import duty. Was told it would take around 14-21 days for delivery. The actual delivery time was 4days from the US.

Tax dodgers yes, but ruthlessly efficent.

Categories: shopping webstuff

Get saving – 2014 Christmas guide #xboxone vs #playstation4 #longblogpost

PS4 vs Xbox One compositeSo its June and the race for your christmas spending has started. Last week saw the E3 games conference in Los Angeles, USA. The two largest news making press conferences were held by two giants of the games world. Sony & Microsoft, who have offered new shiny boxes of tricks suitable for the worlds living rooms. (Well half shiny, half matte in Sony’s case). Given the state of the market, (see the sad story of the WiiU below), it appears to be a relatively straight shoot out for that games playing space under the TV this christmas.

These video games things are popular. Microsoft revealed they have sold 70million xbox 360’s by last september. the cheapest version of the console in argos today is £169, multiply that by 70million and thats alot of money from one box. Sony given a similarity in prices, have sold a console for one year longer, they have sold around 75million consoles.

An industry of highs and lows.
Launching a new product to replace a popular on is not an easy task. Nintendo are masters at dominating this market. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was the market leader for the early years of video games. Their crown slipped with the gamecube, during the original playstation 2 / Xbox battle. With the playstation 2 becoming dominant. Their response was to innovate with a new system, a new way to interact, to make a development on how to play. They created the Wii console. It was popular, fun, easy to pick up and due it being based on current technology, (not high tech specs), it was cheap in comparision. This made it sell, alot.
Nintendo world wide have sold 99.84 million Wii consoles outselling playstation3 and xbox by around 20million units.

Given this dominance, hopes were high for the next creation. The first of the next generation of games machines. Its main innovation is a dual screen system. His meant your controller in your hands has a screen on it for playing or completeing tasks as part of the game. this mean the WiiU would lose its low cost entry point. It also has the ability to play wii games and use wii remotes. It couldn’t go wrong. The system launched in november 2012 and has sold 3.45 million consoles, (based on the document linked too above.)
Nintendo initially suggested they were aiming for sales of 5.5million, and then reduced this to sales of 4million.

My guess is the WiiU doesn’t have the novelty/fun factor of the Wii, and it seems expensive compared with the price of the Wii. It doesn’t have the elusive ‘impulse buy’ factor, and crucially it doesn’t have the games to support the more dedicated gamer market. The news that third party games makers, (companies that aren’t nintendo), are not developing any new games for the WiiU have really damaged the consoles prospects long term. So no FIFA 2014 then. Hmmm. The long term gamer market is also compromised by nintendo’s reliance on developing very edgy new games, yet relying on Mario to sell the game.

In a tought economic marketplace, 7 months after launch, the question is who will by one now? The importance of getting this right for Sony and Microsoft cannot be understated.

The other indication of how important launch is to the companies, was the strange decision to launch both consoles twice. Sony intially took 3 hours to not show the box. Microsoft took 1 hour to not talk about games. Last monday saw part 2 of these double headers with Microsoft taking an 1hour to talk just about games, release date and price, and Sony taking an hour to respond to microsoft’s double launch.

How they compare part one – philosophy.

They are very different beasts philosophically, and the companies behind them are selling them as different beasts. Microsoft is a software company, but with the xbox and the current tie up with nokia for phones they are branching into hardware. Given this, it makes sense that Microsoft is selling the xbox one as a multimedia box under the TV. It is a computer which responds to voice commands and is the one box to control everything. It brings the internet, tv, games, a media centre all in one box under the TV. It needs the kinnect system to do the voice control, and will not work without this. It also needs an active internet connection to allow you to play games.

Sony is selling the playstation4 as a games machine, but one that can also do TV & media centre stuff. (No word on the voice control yet.) Its launch event and e3 conference yesterday focused on games and its games abilitiies, making a huge play of its openness of the system to independant games makers to publish new games for the system.

Both new consoles will not allow you to play games from earlier versions of Xbox or Playstation due to different operating systems. Both consoles have added interesting add ons to the games side of the consoles. Social interateion. With the Xbox the opportunity to use of skype snapped onto the side of the screen allows for xbox live and the multiplayer experience to become both more scary and brilliant. Scary as do you know what you look like when you play a game? The playstation has a share button.
It records what you have done in game, and on pressing the share button your can watch yourself playing the game, upload it to youtube or facebook, easily.

The questions becomes how much does sharing allow for the development of community within the game playing community, or does opening that knowlegde wider meaken the game community, as interacting with the community becomes watching a youtube video, and stealing their knowledge?

How they compare part 2 – technical specification.

Both boxs are broadly similar. The selling points of which has the best processor/ graphics rendering/ etc are quite close to each other. Certainly it is close enough at launch not to make this difference the primary buying reason.
If you want a more in depth tech spec analysis it’s here

(Basically the sony bas better ram, the xbox has a hdmi input)

So that means…
The Microsoft Xbox One is trying to get out of the games market, to become in the same class of consumer gadgets as tablet computers or laptops. Things like its requirement to have constant access to the internet, (Minimum of once every 24hrs), is bizarre for a games machine but for a computer like a laptop or a smart phone or a tablet its normal.mIt has an necessary input source using the kinnect add on. The kinnect is a camera and microphone which goes on top of your Tv or similar. It allows for voice commands, and movements to be integrated into games and controls for the system. A logical development of a camera and microphone on a computer.

The first press conference majored on Tv and using the XBox as a way to get your TV signal into your TV. It has an HDMi in port to allow for this to happen. The flaws in the system though are you will still require your sky or bt or cable box in the UK. So why would you plug it into another box to watch the TV. The Xbox is focused on The North American market, historically Xbox has been dominant there, so all the TV media deals they have done with netflix or the NBA or NFl are availble in north america, but are not available globally.

The issue for Microsoft is to be judged against its most logical rival the Sony box. Suddenly a games machine that needs always on internet connection to work seems strange. The kinnect which is watching us at all times when the system is on seems weird. It allows for fears and concerns to be raised with this change in philosphy.

Microsoft have filed lots of patents over the last few years. So imagine using the Xbox One to watch a film on Netflix. The kinnect camera will be on, watching you in the room watching TV. This seems innocent enough, yet when added to microsofts patent for a technology last year it gives cause for concern. One of the patents was for a technology which would watch the people watching a film on a film subscription system, it would record how many people were in the room watching the film, check the licence agreement for how many people were allowed to watch the film, acting if too many people are in the room. The technology would stop you watching the film, it would ask you to pay for a new licence or in a move inspired by the Tv theme tune off the 80’s programme “why don’t you”, prevent you from continuing watching the film. Microsoft have made a big play of the kinnect being sensative enough to read your heart beat. Yes,i did just say your heart beat.

Microsoft is also challenging the way computer games are sold. Moving to a system of software licence purchasing. You don’t buy the game as a physical entity. You buy a licence to use software. If this move was coupled to an iTunes download only style model, this would make sense. But by continuing to have a physical box, as games buyers and shops demand, this model seems counter intuitive and a halfway house which will please no one.

Sonys reaction is to get lots of plaudits for not changing the system. In comparison Sony are saying we have a great games machine, you don’t need to connect it to the internet ever, you dont need to connect it to a camera or microphone for it to work, you buy a box in the shop, take ithome and play it straightaway. Later, if you want, you can trade it in or sell it. Plus we do all the tv and media hub stuff, and our console is cheaper by £80.

The money

The Microsoft Xbox One checks in at £425. The Sony Playstation4 at £340. (The wiiU is £219-300 on amazon now.) both will be out for christmas. This is a large amount of money, but to be the one child in a class at christmas who gets one well its a small price to pay. (Feel free to note the build up of advertising from november onwards towards christmas.) With Microsoft intent on moving out of the games console market into the home media centre sector, Nintendo’s WiiU seemingly stuck in ‘great if you want to play mario but pants for everything else’ purgatory,then playstation4 has an open goal to rule the TV games market right?

The third way

But hold on there is a third gaming way. A rival is on the rise, and it looking interesting possibly very good. The valve “steam box” is a mini computer which links into the TV. It is wireless, linking into your wifi and the internet. The key selling point is the steam network. A fully fledged game download system for PC and Mac with thousands of games already supported and ready to play. The system is unknown currently does not have a release date. But it is attractive. The ability to play the games from your PC/mac on your TV at home, share save points is great.

Philosophically it is computer which plays games on your tv, it is expected several companies will build versions with the price reflection the tech spec of what goes in liek, like computer pricing. I like this idea alot. It is a download only model, with your login to the steam system being key to playing the games.

The real downside is that there isn’t a launch date or price yet. But when it launches I suspect it will sell hunners, it may go on to dominate the market.

Christmas 2014.

If all you want is the occasional fun game buy the WiiU
If all you want a cool games machine that does the tv stuff as well buy the playstation4
I love the bravery of change being embraced by microsoft. Recent reviews of the new apple ios7 have commented how it it moving in the direction shown in the design style of microsoft phones. I think it is risky, and I am not happy about the always on kinnect thing. Plus its £80 more expensive. It could be brilliant. But if you asked me today, I think for christmas 2014 I would leave the Xbox and give it a year or so to sort itself out, develop integrated services for the TV in the uk, sort out the second hand games issue, and the issues about privacy, then think about buying it.