Lovefilm, an ‘on again, off again’ relationship

So after getting a voucher for 6 months of Lovefilm for £10, I hooked up with lovefilm again, even though it’s not the best set-up for our household – ie, we can’t watch it on the family big tv. But it’s an up and down relationship.

Constantly seeing the buffering video is not what you want when you’re sat down trying to watch a film on a saturday night, so much so that sometimes we have given up. One title we wanted to watch took nearly three hours, that’s okay if the film is three hours, but it only had a running time of one hour forty!

The TV title selection is quite good, whole series are on there, I’ve started watching Life on Mars and am thoroughly enjoying it, probably wouldn’t have got to see it otherwise.

Another TV series that really caught my eye though was, Red Dwarf, I practically spent all of my twenties watching Listy Rimsey and Kryten and the Cat on their travels with the mad sex change Holly computer misguiding them all the way. So I was delighted to find all 8 series included in the package I was on. (Lovefilm Instant)

I couldn’t wait to get started and like any faithful follower started at the very beginning. Stoppping and starting when watching on my laptop was a lovely experience, as titles recently watched just sit in the top right hand and you click to get going in the same place you left off. Trying to replicate this on the iPad
was much trickier, for a start typing red dwarf into the search area brings back no results… With no recently watched area to go into the only consistent way of finding the series was to type in Chris Barrie into the search and then clicking on the watch now tab from the actors homepage. At least when I found the episode I wanted if I had started watching it elsewhere I could continue.

Being off my feet for a while enabled me to get up to series 6, and then when I try to continue from half way through Gunmen of the Apocalypse – a true classic – I get an error message ‘this content is no longer available’. Odd. I think must be a server problem, I’ll try again another day, but no, not there, so I click on the feedback button to contact them about the problem and get a email back requesting that I follow the link to see the episode I’m looking for….

Unfortunately the link is a just a general search term for red dwarf and at this point I realise that there are only 30 episodes available… that’s only 5 series of 6 episodes. What happened to series 6, 7 and 8?
This time when I contact them about the missing episode they say
” The agreements we have in place with our supplier’s means that our licence only allows us to show certain TV series for a fixed period of time.
This period can vary from title to title, and we try to make it as clear as possible on each TV series webpage how many days there are left to view before that series expires”

OK I says in my emailed reply, where is this information on the page, because I have looked on at least a dozen pages of TV or film, and can see no end date for this title…

Next reply from Lovefilm,
“Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
I would like to inform you that the title following Series 6 in (sic) now available for our LOVEFiLM Instant service.”

…..stunned….

Well after all that I thoroughly enjoyed finishing watching my episode, but what a total palaver.
If Lovefilm have only a limited time to show titles, they need to tell us about it!
Lovefilm have a quite a lot of stuff to sort out before we can all be converted to streaming movies like this at home.

On the iPad the buffering is a constant source of irritation, and unlike Youtube where you can just wait until the whole video has loaded, the streaming service just stops and starts constantly, I would never have the patience to try and watch a film on the iPad.

This is the biggest down for lovefilm, and although occasionally Netflix would stop I never had the constant appearance of the rotating buffer logo…

When will the facility to predownload a whole film come into play, I would much rather guarantee to be able to watch a film, because at the minute it’s a switch-off.

First impressions of the new iPad 3

I only picked up my new iPad this morning, but already I am impressed with the new screen. On reading a blog from last year when I picked up the iPad 2…

I sincerely wish they had upped the resolution because as a designer, I notice the slightly pixelly edges where it hasn’t got the quality to cope.

even then I knew that the screen should be better.
The resolution was one of the driving factors to the upgrade because I was always aware of the deficiency in what was a lovely device.
So the screen really is the bees knees, it’s such a small thing for some, but such an important thing for me.
Another improvement I was keen to acquire was the upgraded camera, apple have been able to have good cameras in their smaller devices for ages, so it’s about bloomin’ time it appeared in the iPad.
Just a couple of shots taken with it so far, but I can see the improved clarity, plus the lovely way you can touch to focus both on still or even during taking video, meaning you can pull focus to a different area live.
Ok so it’s not the most comprehensive of tests or reviews but all the things I hoped for are here in the upgrade, next year I have absolute certainty that they will upgrade the front facing camera and add a small flash, but apart from processor speed, I don’t know what else they can do.
And it may surprise you to know that it’s the only thing ‘apple’ in my house…

Good tech

When it all works it’s great, but when it doesn’t it drives you crazy! For once, it was all good, my new Nikon did the time lapse of my bread dough rising like a dream. Movie maker made an easy meal of splicing all the images together, and my website was still active through dream weaver – no messy having to remember passwords. It’s just a shame my bread making skills didn’t do the tech justice, but, hey ho.

Living with the iPad2

So, it’s been a week since I picked up my shiny new iPad, so what’s it like?
It is noticeably lighter, thinner and therefore easier to hold in just one hand. The cameras are functional, not fantastic – but if I want a great shot I’ll use my DSLR. I love the new smart cover, but it’s not perfect…
Overall I am enjoying my iPad2 and all the silly games, I don’t mind being tied into apple apps etc, I have a laptop and an android phone so I can choose how and where I consume content, and if one thing doesn’t work, then you can bet that the other pieces of hardware will do it.
It’s going to really prove it’s worth when I’m away next week, without a laptop I will see if the iPad can do as my one piece of tech. No problems keeping me entertained, but will I come up against the lack of flash, USB port, DVD drive, or will I just find alternative ways of doing things, that’s my guess as to what will happen.
I sincerely wish they had upped the resolution because as a designer, I notice the slightly pixelly edges where it hasn’t got the quality to cope.
Although the smart cover is lovely and does a great job of supporting the iPad in it’s various variants of triangular angles, it leaves lines on my screen, and the lovely inner surface attracts dust and dirt a little too much for my liking. I noticed one flaw before I even bought it… If I roll the smart cover up, it exposes the inner lining, which then gets put down on… You guessed it, the mucky surface… Which then gets rolled back onto…my iPads beautiful glossy screen Eek!
Overall it’s lovely, but there’s plenty of room for improvement!

Photography

I’ve just been using the canon 5d to photograph some entrepreneurial students down at City College Norwich’s St Andrews house and it reminds me just how good a camera can be.
The images are all sharp and show so well on the crisp preview screen on the back.
The camera I normally use is not a rubbish camera, it’s a nikon D90, but it’s not in the same league as the canon.
The iso control is superb and performs so well in the same situations that the nikon can fall down in or disappoint.
I have promised myself an upgrade to the nikon 7000 but I have to sell the D90 first. Please will someone buy it!
Downsides of the canon are the weight, but I think that is is only a small problem on a machine that performs so well in the situations I have to photograph.
I don’t think I could fully migrate to canon, I find the wheels awkward to change whereas on the nikon the layout of the f stop and shutter speed are right at your fingertips.
But I am desperate to upgrade!

Exciting day yesterday

So yesterday was a really exciting day for me, I queued up to be one of the few to get an iPad 2 on the day of release. I’ve never done anything like that before. I was nervy before I arrived I felt so silly to be queueing for some daft Apple toy, but I really really wanted to get one, so I had to make the choice to go and stand in a queue for something I wasn’t guaranteed to get for an unknown period of many hours!
Once in the queue I then got to now my new ‘neighbours’ for the next few hours and although they were a real cross section of the public, a matriarch, a grandma, techy dad and camp geek, I discovered that we were all pretty similar for our reasons to do this mad thing! None of us had ever queued up before, even though we all liked apple stuff, we all had or had had an iPad one – even if I did return within the no quibble return period – and although we knew that the cameras weren’t great, we knew it was enough of an upgrade to be so keen as to make sure we got one on the day. After hearing about the delivery times yo-yoing from 2-3, then to 4-5 weeks in the US, we all knew it was today or never!
The staff at the Apple shop were great fun, yes it was all americanised and whoop whoop and Mexican wave and YEAH’s but hey we were stood in a queue for this goddam piece of tech, just go with it!
But, I am now the proud owner of a White iPad and thoroughly enjoying it. Now I have wordpress set-up I should be able to keep up on my blog a bit easier too, but I don’t know if everything will be as exciting an entry as this one!