Sunday, June 22, 2008

iPhone 2.0 on the way...

I have posted a review of the first iPhone when it was released last year. This review comprised a very long list of things the iPhone 1.0 could not do. I dismissed it as an extremely expensive device (including the 24 month contract) that was very lacking in some modern functionality most others phones already had.

A couple of months after the launch O2 revised their tariffs - giving more minutes for your money, and allowing an 18 month rather than 24 month agreement.

Back to the new model that launches July 11th, there is a new £30 a month tariff on the way for light users, and a pay-as-you-go option has also been promised at some point.

The best news is the price of the handset has been significantly reduced. The 8Gb version starts at £99 and the 16Gb version starts at £159. On the more expensive tariffs the iPhone will be available free of charge.

The iPhone itself has had a limited amount of hardware changes. Most important it is now compatible with the faster 3G networks. It now includes a GPS radio receiver for accurately pinpointing your location. The camera and headphone socket are now flush which means at last you can use any set of headphones you choose.

There are numerous software changes, which can also be installed on the old iPhone if you havn't illegally unlocked it. There is support for third party applications, a new application store, better Microsoft exchange integration and 'hopefully' the addition of picture messages and video capture.

I will be very tempted to get one when they are launched. I would recommend buying on the £45 a month contract to get a discount of £100 on the device. After 9 months you can call O2 and ask to downgrade to a cheaper tariff! My only remaining mini-gripe is that 16Gb is a bit small for music - and no where near enough to carry round a selection of videos as well. Hopefully a 32Gb version will be along soon.


Update: Still no picture messaging or video, unless you can find an email gateway.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Europe - the Irish have saved the day!

Today the results of a referendum on the EU 'treaty' in Ireland have been announced. The 'treaty' must be ratified by all 27 member states to succeed. In 2005 the French and Dutch voted the 'constitution' down. It has since been reformated and called a treaty. Every review body (including the government's own) who has studied the treaty has concluded it is the same as the constitution, but renamed and reformated to be un-intelligible. The 'constitution' would have thrown away the existing European constitution and replaced it with a brand new constitution. The 'treaty' achieves the same end by taking the existing constitution and amending any lines that are different between the old and new constitution. All governments have tried to force it through without a vote, except for the Irish.

There was a very high turnout and the result was a very strong 'No'. Respect to the Irish!!

One: to the government for fulfulling their promise to hold a referendum before handing over control of the country to Brussels.

And two: for the electrorate "not following the wishes of their leaders" as the Financial Times put it.

Maybe I misunderstand the world, but I always thought in a democracy the leaders ask the electorate and follow their collective instruction. If the leaders issue orders and force the population to follow them regardless of their opinion I would call it a dictatorship.

Can someone please explain this to Gordon Brown, or his successor who takes over in a couple of months!

Labour were elected on the basis of a referendum. Apparently 80% of the population wants a referendum, but we are not given one because the government expects it is unlikely to win. That is a very seriously worrying reason for refusing a vote in a democratic country.

To make my position clear on Europe I do not believe a one-size-fits-all European government would benefit our country. We are one of the most technologically advanced nations in Europe which requires a very different way of government to a developing country like most of the rest of Europe. Financially we are already getting a bad deal from Europe. (See my blog post from November 2007 for more)

At past summits the demands of our country have been badly received by a lot of our peers. Our demands have appeared as a nuisance and not been given proper consideration.

I was reading the sport supplement of the Times a couple of weeks ago. There was an article about Britain's bid to host the 2018 football world cup. A senior international figure Jack Warner is quoted as saying "Nobody in Europe likes England.", "For Europe, England is an irritant"

Then take a look at the results from the 2008 Eurovision song contest where voting was clearly political and nothing to do with the actual songs and we received zero votes.

These may be about football and the Eurovision, but I think it would be foolish to dismiss the comments completely.

I am seriously concerned that without a veto we will get a seriously bad deal by joining Europe. We will also loose our seat on the UN Security Council. If we cannot get a majority vote in the proposed new Europe we will have absolutely no say in domestic or international matters any more. The red lines we apparently had put in to safeguard our national interests can legally be overruled at a later date on the whim of Brussels due to a 'ratchet clause'. Additionally our government who we elected will be stripped of all powers to govern our country. Instead we will be at the mercy of European MPs over whom we have no electoral power.

I will be raising a glass in thanks to the Irish for halting the devious and underhand attempts of European leaders to force the abandoned constitution through the back door! That's shut too now guys!