My life, it is being consumed

Jun 7, 2010 | Personal

What they don’t tell you when you decide to start writing a book is that your life will be swiftly devoured, cast into the literary pit of doom that is your manuscript, and you will be bereft of blogging, tweeting, and all the other sundry diversions that usually fill your life in between working, eating and sleeping.

I’m reaching for the end of the second draft of the Novel. It’s like having the end of a race in sight; you push yourself just that little bit harder to get there and get it over with. Am I getting burnt out? Oh yes, but I’ve long since accepted that that’s the way it rolls when you’re an author-in-training.

Anyway. To maintain my current sanity level, I’ve finally decided to do a review of the HTC Desire I bought a few weeks ago.

There it is. I haven’t bothered changing the background, so mine looks much the same.

The Desire is a nerd’s phone. It’s made for tinkering and breaking and fixing, despite all that HTC have done to make its interface all nice and shiny. And oh, how shiny it is – the screen is a bright AMOLED thing that could blind the unwary.

The good: the Sense UI is elegant and usable, and the whole thing is so snappy fast it makes the iPhone look like a turtle on tranquilisers. It comes with a 4GB micro-SD card, which I will upgrade as soon as I can be bothered and provides enough space for a chunk of music. It has one standard micro-USB port, through which you can do ANYTHING to the phone – up to and including turning it into a fancy paperweight.

The bad: HTC are very, very fond of their UI. I can’t uninstall certain bits of it without rooting the phone, such as Peep (their Twitter thingy) or their Facebook widget, or – good grief – their Stocks app. Multitasking will eat the battery like nothing else, so you need to be careful what you do with it – a solid task manager app is a must.

The other downside is the same for all Android phones – Ireland has no access to Android paid apps, because of some crazy shennanigans that Google are not talking about.

I had to consider for a long time as to whether I would actually get an iPhone, instead of waiting for a decent Android phone to be released here in the land of lepreachauns. In the end, I had to choose an Android because for all the advantages of the iPhone, I wanted a device over which I had 100% control – and Apple don’t allow that with their shiny toys. There’s a few things that annoy me about the Desire, but there’s far more that would drive me completely batty if I had an iPhone. Music, for example – there is no version of iTunes for Linux, and trying to make it run through Wine is slow torture. I did manage to get an iPod Touch hooked up through a few packages written expressly for the purpose of bypassing Apple’s inane restrictions, but I had to keep asking myself why I should have to do it at all; this is my device, and I will use it however I bloody well want!

The Desire plays nice with Ubuntu, in case you’re wondering. I plug it in, fire up Banshee, and it automatically syncs to a playlist I’ve designated for it. Contacts and email sync up through Gmail, plus the other contacts from my SIM card; half of them linked together straight away, so now I have one coherent contacts list. The phone itself can be mounted as an external drive, so I can copy just about anything off it or onto it.

It is absolute control. I can do anything to my phone, even fill it full of porn apps, and Google just don’t care. It is 100% mine, to use, abuse, break, and customise as I see fit. Such power is not for the faint of heart or those who are not tech savvy, but that is the power and promise of open source and I love it so.

Anyway. Back to the Novel with me…