Planet Anarky – George's blog

George Rosier's portfolio & blog site

Thoughts joggers have whilst running

April 4, 2014GeorgeAll posts0

So Buzzfeed did a list of thoughts joggers have. http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/thoughts-every-jogger-has-while-out-for-a-running

It’s good, but…I think I have the definitive list. NOT in order.

  1. This is ok
  2. This is really not ok
  3. An incline. Oh shit, an incline
  4. Breathe. Remember to breathe
  5. I hate this bit
  6. I like this bit (usually downhill)
  7. I need to cross the road without getting mown down. Look left & right whilst still moving forward, and try not to tangle feet together
  8. Is that lace loose? I can feel something flapping
  9. That lace is definitely loose
  10. Now I need to stop, pause any run tracker apps, tie the lace as quickly as possible without my head feeling like it’s going to pop off
  11. Another runner: nod/wave/smile?
  12. Got nothing in return
  13. I GOT A SMILE IN RETURN!
  14. When did I put THIS track on my mp3 player?! It’s way too slow/quiet/shit
  15. Need to fumble with mp3 player and try not to tangle feet
  16. Indigestion. I hate you.
  17. OMG I just got overtaken. I’m so shit at this.
  18. Sod you: I’ve been going 5+ miles…bet you’ve only been out for 1
  19. I just overtook that sucker. YEAH THAT’S HOW REAL ATHLETES DO IT. Witness my calf muscles twinkling in your face as I pass
  20. BOWL KNOTTING TERROR MISJUDGING WHEN THE LIGHTS TURN GREEN AND CARS START MOVING AND NOW NEED TO RUN TO AVOID GETTING SQUASHED AND THEY HONKED AT ME OH GODDAMIT SCREW YOU CAR DRIVER FUCKWIT God I’m out of breath even thinking this…?!

AT&T to launch ‘Sponsored data’ – the beginning of the end?

January 6, 2014GeorgeAll posts

I’ll make this brief:

AT&T have announced today that they’ll be offering a service called ‘Sponsored data‘.

In a nutshell, this means that content providers can offer to pick up the data bill if you consume their content.

What does this mean? Well, if Spotify struck a deal with AT&T, you wouldn’t have to pay to stream Spotify data. It’d be included with your AT&T service package.

Nice, right?

Not necessarily.

The above example is great if you use Spotify. But what if you use iTunes? Or Pandora? Or Google Music? You’ll have to pay to stream them.

What if CNN paid your data bill for consuming their news stories? You’d perhaps be more inclined to read that rather than, say, the BBC. Or Al Jazeera.

And therein lies the problem. This, to me, heralds a potentially-awful turning point in net neutrality terms. We could theoretically see ourselves being penalised (at best) or even charged extra (at worst) to consume the content WE want. We could see the political party with the deepest pockets having an easier ride into people’s consciousness because it’s ‘free’.

This is a potential problem not only for net neutrality, but also for consumer choice.

I feel there are better ways of doing more for the customer. Vodafone UK, for example, have offered to double your data now that 4G is being rolled out across the country. That’s useful. They also give you the option of signing up to Spotify or Sky Mobile with your 4G plan (not such a great example since one could argue that any Murdoch-shaped is bad) – but the principle is correct. Offer customers something that they’ll find useful: since you’ve just launched 4G, a super-fast mobile network that offers upwards of 80mb/sec download, people will burn through data quicker.

Review: HTC One leather wallet case

October 31, 2013GeorgeAll posts, review0

I’m on an international adventure that has involved a ton of flying – and to celebrate, I’m reviewing a leather wallet case for the HTC One. Is it any good? Is it a worthy travel companion, or is it a pain-in-arse fatty that takes up 2 seats? Read on!

First impressions

On first glance, this looks pretty good: the leather feels nice, and the finish & stitching is high quality. The phone fits in well and all the controls are accessible…off to a good start.

The detail

First, the bad bits: the plastic shell is cracking in a few places.

photo2 photo3 photo1

However, it’s worth noting that I’ve been travelling with this case: it’s come with me to Auckland, endured 26+ hours of flights and transit through airports. It’s been in my pocket whilst I walk, sit, drive…everything. Therefore, this cracking isn’t a deal-breaker.

The good bits: everything else! It’s well-finished, and the leather is robust – and the spaces for credit cards work well. This has basically made my wallet redundant.

 

Sponsored review disclaimer
This item was supplied by www.mytrendyphone.co.uk. They specialise in cases and accessories for mobile devices, such as accessories for the HTC One and HTC One cases.

Emigrating from UK to New Zealand

October 24, 2013GeorgeAll posts0

I am moving from the UK to New Zealand, and wanted to share a few learnings, tips and – most importantly – a clear view of cost to emigrate to New Zealand. I’ll also give you an estimate of how long it takes to process visas. One thing to note: the following info is more relevant if you’ve already got a job offer from an NZ company. Don’t worry if you don’t already have an offer – I’ll highlight any points that rely on this.

Costs:

First things first: nowhere online seemed to offer a decent estimate of cost to move to New Zealand…so here goes. If you need to pay for -

  1. 1-way flights for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children)
  2. Freight – putting all your stuff in a 20-foot container and shipping it
  3. Sending your car over there too
  4. Visas – cost of using an emigration consultant and all the associated checks/medicals etc

…then you’ll need to put aside AT LEAST £16,000. Sounds like a lot, so here’s the breakdown -

  1. 1-way Air New Zealand flights – for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children)
    £2,700 depending how far in advance you book
  2. Freight – putting all your stuff in a 20-foot container and shipping it
    £5,000
  3. Sending your car over there too
    £2,200
  4. Visas – cost of using an emigration consultant and all the associated checks/medicals etc
    £4,500
  5. Plus £500/£1000-ish for any unexpected visa charges, customs inspections, car steam cleaning, insurance…because if this exercise has taught me ANYTHING, it’s that this will cost more than you expect

It’s good to note that the above does not cover costs of accommodation at the other end.

Time:

How long will it take to process your visa? It depends on the type of visa you’re applying for.

  • A Work To Residency visa can be as quick as 5 – 10 working days (ONCE YOU HAVE ALL THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION – see further down this article for what kind of info you’ll need)
  • A full residency visa will most likely take 4 – 6 months

Tips:

  • Use a visa consultant
    You can, of course, fill in all the forms yourself – but it is a veritable minefield. I thoroughly recommend OE Visa consultants – they handled my emigration and were very knowledgeable and helpful.
  • Before you start, make sure you can lay your hands on original documents
    Depending on the type of visa you go for, you’ll need original copies of education history, all your old job references, bank statements that span a year or so, and birth certificates
  • Quidco
    Before you buy ANYTHING, sign up to Quidco. Get a cashback credit card, sorting your hotel bookings, car rentals – everything
  • Moneycorp
    Use Moneycorp to buy your New Zealand dollars. If you contact me, I can refer you to Moneycorp – and we both get £25 Amazon vouchers
  • Try not to fly near Christmas
    The closer you book to Christmas, the more expensive it is
  • Book in advance
    Further to the above, make sure you book as far in advance as possible
  • Take your car
    Ship your car over there. They drive on the same side, and if you own a European marque like VW, BMW, Merc or Audi, it’s worth more over there than it is here
  • Take as much of your stuff as you can
    As an extension to the above: don’t sell your furniture here and expect to pick up equally good stuff over there – you are better off shipping it all over
  • Skype
    Get Skype, and put some prepaid credit on it. It is way cheaper than messing about with landlines and wondering how much you’ve just spent on that call to the shipping agent/NZ estate agent/whoever.
  • AirBnb
    Instead of booking expensive hotels when you get there, book a bed & breakfast. You’ll benefit from a more personal service, real home-cooked food and some great local knowledge.

This is a living blog article, so I’ll update it more when I get more info!

Review: iGadgitz sports armband for HTC One

September 3, 2013GeorgeAll posts, review0

Since I’ve been running a fair bit this year (Back2TheTrenches, The General and The Kamikaze run to name but a few), I’ve also been trying out the iGadgitz sports armband holder for the HTC One.

To date, I’d  been using a cheap £3.95 thing from Tesco – which, although ill-fitting – did the job. So how did the more expensive product get on? Read on…

First impressions

At first glance, the iGadgitz armband looks great: well-made, good stitching, large clear panel to see the screen and so on. So far, so good.

The detail

When I come to use the armband in anger, however, it’s a slightly less-than-good experience.

  • The holder is indeed big and you can see the screen easily…but you can’t use the touch screen through the plastic.
  • The flap that opens to put the phone in is actually quite tricky to open – particularly if you use your phone to track your runs with GPS (using Endomondo or Runkeeper)…so when you finish your session, you might find you struggle to open the armband to hit ‘Stop’ – losing you valuable seconds. It took me 20 seconds or so to get the phone into / out of the holder to use the screen.
  • In this case, the HTC One feels big and flat – almost like it stands out from your arm like a strange slab of armour plating. It’s not completely comfortable.
  • The strap, whilst tight and secure, is covered in non-slip rubber beads. After a while, they tend to stick to your sweaty body…eurgh.

Conclusion

If you don’t need any access to the phone whilst it’s on your arm, this is a reasonable armband. It gets a little uncomfortable if in contact with your skin, but on clothes it’s fine. Overall, not bad…but could be better.

Sponsored review disclaimer
This item was supplied by www.mytrendyphone.co.uk. They specialise in cases and accessories for mobile devices, such as accessories for the HTC One and HTC One cases.

More scams and misleading sites…

August 4, 2013GeorgeAll posts0

Just a short post today. You may have read my previous blog entry about Derma-Juvenate and their flagrant attempts to misguide users…well, it seems that whoever designed those sites is still at it.

Check this page out:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Looks legit, right? In fact, so legit that it took me a few moments to realise it was a scam based solely on the URL - http://droz.bbc.com-571.net … ‘droz.bbc’ is actually a subdomain of ‘com-571.net’. Urgh.

It’s intentionally set up to look like a BBC news article about how these Snozberries are a miracle cure for someshit. All the links surrounding the main article are genuine BBC links, to help encourage the user to believe they’re reading an actual BBC article.

It leads to this:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Looks awful similar to this layout. What flagrant piss-takers…it really gets my goat that people can be so callous.

Lots of things that suck about Taleo

July 30, 2013GeorgeAll posts, review0

Taleo, you and I are going to fall out.

As a digital design professional, UX afficiondo and general online dogsbody, I’d like to state something for the record: for an online career/recruitment portal outfit, you have some work to do.

Here’s my 6 key things about Taleo portals that are in dire need of help, starting at the very beginning. Apologies in advance FOR THE SHOUTING.

For the record, I’m not looking for a new job – we use Taleo at work to manage our vacancies – but in order to illustrate my frustrations, I’ve used HSBC’s Taleo implementation as an example journey for a potential candidate.

Privacy agreement page:

Privacy Agreement

Firstly, the link opens a new page, taking you away from the journey. This is admittedly a minor point, since if you press ‘I decline’, it makes no difference. You can still register as a new user.

Secondly, the button ‘weights’ (i.e the hierarchy – “Which one should I press?”) are identical. Too easy to hit the wrong one, but more importantly it makes the user squint and forces them to think.

Login/New user screen:

Login

Oh look! A new button style; and look, these are ALSO the same weight as each other. Which do I press?

New user registration:

Registration

Let’s get something straight. Telling someone who wants to apply for a new job – a process that is already the most insanely laborious ball-ache of a task – the following WILL NOT MAKE THEM WANT TO CONTINUE:

“Please take a few moments to register. You will need this information to access your account in the future.” Oh good. A few moments. This’ll be easy.

“- The user name must contain at least 4 characters and may not contain spaces.” Easy. Go on.

“- Please note that the password must meet the following criteria: Passwords must be at least seven characters and you cannot reuse previous passwords. It must contain at least 1 English uppercase letter (A, B, C..Z), 1 English lower-case letter (a, b, c..z), 1 Westernized Arabic numeral (0, 1, 2..9), and 1 Nonalphanumeric special character (@, #, %, &, *).” Errrr I stopped reading at ‘seven’ …

“- Passwords should not contain more than 2 identical consecutive characters, your Username, your first and/or last name or your email address”  Um…you want an executive practical username or your last email address…something?

Let’s break this down. Make things easy. Make them intuitive. Make them seamless. This doesn’t mean you need to be lax on security – just make it EASIER.

Oh and your button styles are the same weight. Again. So it’s easy to ‘Cancel’ what you’ve just painstakingly been ’round the houses 18 times with to comply with your stupid registration rules. Let’s be clear: THERE IS NO NEED FOR A CANCEL BUTTON.

Career history:

CV upload

Your CV analysis algorithms need work. It managed to understand my 2 most recent roles, but then – inexplicably, since they’re all laid out in the same way – it couldn’t understand ANY of my roles prior to Vodafone.

Equal ops

 

This is the ‘Equal opportunities’ section that is apparently optional – see the last paragraph. So why do they all have the mandatory * next to all the fields?! BECAUSE THEY ARE MANDATORY.

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 21.25.47

 

So, if these are ‘optional’ – how confusing is this lot? Not Specified? Other? Prefer Not to Say? Undisclosed? All in one dropdown menu of Hell. Great work.

Your Information

 

By the way, it’s pretty easy to do some geographic auto-detection to make this Country Of Residence field already completed. Make a guess, at least.

Preferred contact number

None of these phone number fields are ‘required’ apparently. But the preferred contact field IS. So…which is it?!

Work Experience & Education - errors

 

With no warning, there are character limits to job titles. Thanks for the warning. I now have to go back and edit ALL OF MY ENTRIES.

 

eSignature:

Asks for my name and my email address. Except it doesn’t matter what email address I put in there – it certainly wasn’t the one I registered with. Therefore I’m not sure what this is meant to prove.

Emails:

I ‘successfully’ applied for a role. But the email I got from the portal was UTTERLY AWFUL. It looks like a spam message:

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 22.03.47

 

Look at that domain name! Phishing much? So what happens if I click that link… -

HSBC Careers - new message

 

Right.

Oh and none of it is responsive. You can’t use it on a mobile.

The all-new Google Maps

July 3, 2013GeorgeAll posts0

I’ve been lucky enough to beta test the new Google Maps. It’s pretty awesome, and I’d like to share a few bits of it with you.

Old Google Maps

The old Google Maps…

NEW Google Maps

The new Google Maps

Old directions

Old directions

southampton newbury directions

New directions

Key changes:

  • More space: the persistent top bar has gone, and the UI elements are hovering over the map
  • Different colours: the A-roads, motorways and side roads are all different colours now
    closeup
  • The directions: there’re much easier access to alternative routes in the top left
  • Extras: there’s a feed in the bottom right of the map that pulls in thumbnails of publicly-available photos of that area
    extras

    Click to enlarge

  • Context: if you click a road, it’ll show you a Streetview thumbnail in the top left (if available). If you click a restaurant, it’ll hide non-restaurant-related landmarks and show more of the same

Overall, I think the new directions functions are great, but I must admit the recolouring of the roads is slightly jarring at first. In the UK, motorways have been blue on printed maps for years…this is a pretty ingrained pattern.

Review: Incipio Feathershine case

A quick-fire review for you today: the Incipio Feathershine case for a BlackBerry Z10.

I’ve recently managed to acquire a BlackBerry Z10 as a work phone – and it’s pretty good! Of course, since it’s not technically mine, I wanted a case that’d keep it looking shiny…so I thought I’d give the Incipio a go.

So how does it fare?

Very well, actually. It’s a doddle to fit, and the Z10 fits snugly in there with no room for movement. The corners are protected well, and although the screen is exposed, the case has a tiny lip around the edge that should protect in most falls.

I’ll be honest, the ‘feathery’ finish isn’t quite to my taste – but it’s a minor issue.

Overall, not a bad case. Bit pricey though @ £21…

Sponsored review disclaimer
This item was supplied by www.mytrendyphone.co.uk. They specialise in cases and accessories for mobile devices, such as the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.

Spotify discover

July 1, 2013GeorgeAll posts0

As of late May 2013, Spotify’s “Discover” feature is live to all users.

Spotify 'Discover' homescreen

Spotify ‘Discover’ homescreen

It’s a genuinely great bit of functionality, basing recommendations on what you’ve listened to previously.
As you can see, it’s dominated by a main banner shout at the top, and then features a persistent left column of stacked modules:

Spotify 'Discover' module 1

Spotify ‘Discover’ module 1

The centre alternates between 1/3 and 2/3 module(s):

Spotify 'Discover' module 2

Spotify ‘Discover’ module 2

All of these callouts give really easy access to reading about an artist, listening to a taster track (the ‘play’ icon overlaid on the artist image). I’ve already discovered some ace stuff like this, including Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin’ … get an earful here, and start your Spotify experience too!