On October 27th Apple held one of their new product unveiling conferences & I was instantly disappointed. I was sat in a coffee shop in central Manchester watching the stream & almost shouting at Apple in public. Apple hardware has been iOS focused for a long while now & any real innovation in the computing hardware side of things has been seriously lacking. I bought a 24″ top of the line iMac back in 2009 & I’ve used it daily ever since. The new hardware just doesn’t warrant the outlay & the performance gains are negligible in my opinion for the price.
I love my old school technology. While I love all the new developments in tech, I’m still one of these people who wont replace something which is perfectly good just to upgrade to the latest model. My 5th Generation iPod is no exception. I bought this iPod in 2006 from the Apple store in San Francisco. It was my first new Apple device & I opted for the special U2 edition, not because I particularly like U2, but because I loved the black with red click wheel.
This iPod has seen heavy usage since the day I bought it. It has traveled with me around the world, still in its original Belkin hard case & it has never EVER failed me.
If any of you guys follow me on social media you will be aware that a few weeks back we had a disaster in our household. I brought a cup of tea to my wife while she was working in bed, and as I handed it to her I dripped a few drops on her Apple Macbook pro. We quickly dried it off and thought no more of it. It worked all morning & she closed the Macbook when we went out for lunch.
On our return the Macbook refused to startup. On pressing the power button it would make the startup chime, the grey apple screen would appear with the apple logo and then with a click of the hard drive the machine would shut down. This happened every time we tried to boot the laptop. The liquid had done damage. I inspected the Macbook where the drops had landed, mainly around the top right of the keyboard & the power button. I couldn’t see any signs of moisture at all. I suspected a fried logic board but refused to give up on the machine & testing.
I bought my iPad 2 back when it was first released. I bought it on release date back in March 2011. I remember driving a 150 mile round trip from my new home in Cornwall to Exeter to visit the apple store and pick one up. On arrival, the only iPad 2 left in stock was the most expensive 64GB version with GSM cellular built-in. I really wanted a 3G version so I could use it anywhere so I jumped at the chance and paid the hefty £659 price tag. I loved the iPad 2 when it came out. I loved reading books on it, working & writing on the go. Browsing the net on a big screen anywhere & watching media on it. I really did fall in love with this device. Over the years as it has become older & with each iOS update the iPad 2 has gone from being a speedy device for all of my mobile computing to a sluggish and painful device to use. In my opinion, Apple should have stopped supporting the iPad 2 at iOS 7. They need to make better efforts for apps to support older version of iOS. But they won’t. This is perfectly useable tech & it seems so wasteful that software can make useful hardware obsolete.
I’ve been considering this for a long time but over recent weeks the ability to repair my own technology has become far more important to me. Only a few weeks back, I was unfortunate enough to splash a few drops of coffee onto the keyboard of our Macbook Pro. We cleaned it off & thought nothing more of it until later in the day, when the machine failed to switch on. This was such a stressful thing to happen. The Macbook is 4 years old but is still in great condition & used constantly. It doesn’t warrant an upgrade.
Long time readers of my blog will know that I’ve been on a mission to save money & generally live a more frugal life. For a while life became very extravagant & very expensive. I’ve only just managed to correct a lot of the financial mistakes made during a foolish & stressful part of my life & I’m always looking at ways to save money.
A little over 3 years ago my beloved Land Rover developed a gearbox fault. It cost a lot of money to have repaired & the repair failed, so I ended up selling it for next to nothing. I then bought a sporty Mini Cooper S which cost me a fortune & after 6 months I sold it to buy a Mercedes estate. This cost even more money to run & maintain and after less than 18 months of owning 3 separate cars I was at a point that I could no longer afford to run a car (silly financial decisions & lots of expensive repairs). It was at this point we sold the Mercedes & used the money to start paying off debt. This would be the beginning of paying off almost £20k in unsecured debts.
It’s been a while since I last did a downsizing post. I think it could be as long as a year since I did any kind of update. So here is a little recap. A little over a year ago I was living with my wife in a 4 bedroom town house with a garage and all the trimmings. I was driving around in a lovely Mercedes-Benz C230 estate. We had more space than we could ever use & a car which felt far too flashy. The events that lead to this point essentially boil down to a major family trauma & long recovery (which is still ongoing). It was a very stressful time & made us both act out of character.
1. The North Face e-tip lightweight gloves
2. 2000mAh Battery Bank
3. Mulberry Wallet
4. Oyster Card & Amsterdam OV-Chipkaart
5. Compact umbrella
6. Oakley (4+1)2 Polarized sunglasses
7. Notebook & Parker Jotter pen
8. Nixon – The Sentry watch
10. Huawei E160 3G dongle
11. Sandisk 16GB Flash Drive
12. Apple iPhone 6
13. Apple iPod classic 5th Generation U2 Special Edition Black/Red (30 GB)
14. Keys on Element Lanyard
15. Apple EarBuds
16. Retractable iPod cable
17. Micro USB short lead
18. Apple lighting cable & power adaptor
19. Spare GiffGaff sims
20. Integral SD card reader
I’m a big gadget lover but I need to balance my love of tech with my environmental conscience. I’ve got a massive issue with replacing items which are still perfectly usable items. It seems so wasteful to replace a phone or a tablet simply because a newer version has been released. The new models may have a slightly better spec but often they carry a huge price tag. To me, the gain is minimal but the outlay is maximum.
This standpoint is reflected in my current lineup of tech. My one & only phone is an iPhone 4. Not a 4S, a humble 4. It’s jailbroken & locked down to ios 7 as apple no longer allow it to be upgraded. With the jailbreak tweaks its perfectly fine speed wise, I actually prefer the smaller form factor and the battery life hasn’t really degraded from the day I bought it.
Well we have now moved out of our massive house. We are looking for a much smaller place so in the mean time we are staying with family & the few belongings we decided to keep are now packed neatly away in storage. We did so many trips to the charity shop in a van, not to mention all the things we sold on eBay including furniture and clothing.
The aim was to get all of our belongings into one short wheelbase transit. We managed to get it down to two loads in said transit but we still have some things to sell so the goal in achievable.
Well things are starting to move quite quickly. We have been without a car now for almost a month and we have got on just fine. We are renting a car this weekend to do some days out & visit Manchester to get some business done. We ended up getting a really good deal and it was £60 for 4 days for a super economical small car.
The biggest thing is the house listing. After a month of waiting we finally got the house on the market & a sign up outside. Less than 24 hours later we have viewings lined up & hopefully things will move quickly. I’m excited to move on & start the next chapter of life. I know that won’t be in St Helens anymore & I’ve made my peace with that. The fact is apart from my good friends & a few family members I have very little tying me to this place now & it’s time to get back out there and start living again. Paying for this quasi-mansion has almost killed us. We have all this space & it’s lucky because once it’s all paid for each month there is very little money left over so we are trapped in it.
It’s been a long time since we last had a decent battery charger & batteries. In fact it was october 2007. I remember it because we took them away with us to NYC for a trip and they never came home with us. Since then, many of our gadgets come with good quality built in lithium ion batteries, so there has been little need for a battery charger. Regular visits to the pound shop or ikea have been perfect for cheap batteries, but far from froogle or Eco.
So we invested in an energizer accu recharge. It came bundled with a set of 1300mah batteries and cost £5.99 from asda on offer. We also opted for some heavy duty 2300mah batteries to power things such as our digital camera. The 4 2300mah where more expensive at £10 but they are well worth it for high drain devices. Now here is the fun part. We spent £16 in total. We have been buying disposable batteries in packs of 4 for £1 each and buying maybe 8 packs a month. So in two months this will have paid for itself, and these are guaranteed for 100’s of charges so they will essentially save us hundreds of pounds over the coming years. The Eco benefits & the cost benefits make this purchase a no brainier and I really hope all my readers will switch to this much greener & cheaper way of powering gadgets.
Well like I say, it’s been 10 whole days since my last post on here. I’ve had loads of stuff to do over the past few weeks which has included saving heavily for our Landrover (we got rid of our spanking new car at the beginning of the year in favour of getting a quality used car). This was for two reasons, firstly the new car thing just wasn’t us, whilst we had no trouble with it, and it was great to drive, it just didn’t suit us, and the depreciation was becoming sickening. Secondly, we are planning on travelling around Scotland this summer, and we need something a little more rugged than a VW, so the Land Rover it is. The not spending has allowed us to put a lot of money aside for the Land Rover and it will be great to buy it eventually (note at the start of this thing I Stated that we would buy a car this year, and it was exempt from the experiment).
Thursday saw us taking a train to Liverpool to see some ‘capital of culture’ culture. When we lived in St Helens when I was younger and more handsome we would take the train to Liverpool all the time, but since moving to Scotland & Manchester for the better part of 7 years Liverpool fell out of favour with our more ‘Cosmopolitan’ tastes in cities. Vicki & I both remarked on the train that it must be 6 years since we took the train to liverpool, which is a long time for someone who used to spend every day in the city.