Archive for February, 2009

Review: BodyGuardz iPhone protector

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

When I bought my iPhone last year I also bought a simple pouch-type leather case to go with it. I’m generally careful with gadgets so I didn’t bother with any sort of screen protector – after all, the screen is made of tough glass, right? I never put my iPhone in my pocket with keys or anything like that.

So I was somewhat bemused last month to discover an ugly scratch on the screen:

[click image to enlarge]

Luckily the scratch is only on the edge of the screen, and it’s not that big, but it’s pretty deep and noticeable (especially in sunlight) and just impinges on the first few pixels on the left side of the display.

I knew that the iPhone hadn’t had any rough treatment, or been dropped. It’s still a mystery to this day. I can only think that a grain of sand or something got stuck between the screen and the pouch case. Whatever – if you think the iPhone’s screen is unscratchable let this be a warning! It isn’t – it can get scratched easily, even if you look after your phone.

The scratch prompted me to look into those plastic film screen protectors that stick onto the phone. My hopes were:

  1. The protector might somehow disguise/cover up the existing scratch. (I read this on a forum somewhere.)
  2. It would prevent the screen getting scratched any further.

After reading various reviews, the two front runners seem to be the ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD and the BodyGuardz.

I went with the BodyGuardz on the basis that it seems to get slightly better ratings (many say the overall finish is smoother) and because you get two sets of protectors in the pack, in case you mess up. You also get an instruction card with minuscule writing (you’ll need a good pair of eyes or a magnifying glass), a bottle of solution (basically water and baby shampoo) and a squeegee:

[click image to enlarge] (more…)

Make sure your Time Machine is actually on!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

For the last 2 months I assumed my Mac’s Time Machine was merrily backing up my hard disk every hour. The little Time Machine icon was sitting there in the menu bar, as it always does:

Today I happened to click the icon by accident and noticed the following dreaded words in the pop-up menu:

Latest Backup: 23 Dec 2008

What’s been happening? Why hasn’t Time Machine been warning me that it couldn’t do backups? I opened the Time Machine preferences and found that Time Machine was, in fact, turned off. Which is odd, as I never turn it off. (Maybe a system update did it?)

But why doesn’t the Time Machine menu bar icon show that TM has been turned off? Surely this is fairly critical information that would be useful to know? Since the icon doesn’t change, I had no idea that TM had been turned off for the past 2 months. Bad UI design, surely, unless I’m missing something obvious?

An additional warning: Even choosing the Back Up Now option doesn’t turn Time Machine back on. It does the backup, but then remains in the “Off” state afterwards. It’s almost like it doesn’t want to stay on!

Definitely something to watch out for…

Free iPhone ebook readers head-to-head

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

With its crystal-clear screen and touch-screen interface, the iPhone (and iPod touch) can serve as a very capable ebook reader. In fact some say it’s currently the most popular ebook reader device out there.

This post compares 4 free iPhone ebook readers: Stanza, eReader, dBelement Reader, and Clickwheel Comic Reader.


Stanza ebook reader: online catalogLexcycle’s Stanza lets you read DRM-free ebooks and other documents in a variety of formats, including eReader, Open eBook, Kindle, PalmDoc, HTML, PDF, and plain text. You can also purchase commercial ebooks from the Fictionwise book store right from within the app. In addition, Stanza provides access to a wide variety of paid and free ebook archives, such as Feedbooks, SmashWords, Project Gutenberg and various newspaper and magazine feeds.

You can also use the Stanza desktop app to convert various ebook formats so they work on the iPhone app. The app allows you to share opened ebooks with the iPhone via wi-fi, which means you can load any existing ebooks you own onto the iPhone.

Reading ebooks with Stanza is a pleasure. The text looks crisp and is easy on the eye (even after reading 115 chapters of Moby Dick!). You get a lot of control over text appearance, including text and background colours, font size, text alignment, line spacing and margin width. You can also choose from over 20 font faces. (more…)

5 fun Dashboard widgets to fill a lunch break

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

It’s lunch time. You’ve eaten, read the usual news sites, and even scoured I Am Bored, and you’re still twiddling your thumbs. What to do?

Time to fire up some pointless-yet-fun Dashboard widgets! Here are 5 entertaining widgets to keep you amused for at least half an hour:

Paradise Paintball

(click image to enlarge)

Really quite impressive for a widget, Paradise Paintball is a simple, intuitive FPS (first-person shooter) that lets you play paintball on a tropical island, either against dummy targets or against other people currently online. Great fun. (Actually this one could fill several lunch breaks on its own.) Also available on Facebook (where you may well have heard of it already). (more…)