iPhone or Android in as few words as possible

It’s a dilemma? Which to choose?  How does one decide without a few days of hands on experience with both?

I’ve been an iPhone user since the 3G, and have been very happy, but recently Apple has been trying harder than ever to drive me away. Their customer service offers tons but delivers little.  More on this another day when I’m not trying to keep it short.

So in a fit of pique I purchased a Nexus 5.  It’s a sensible price, it has a five inch hi-res screen and it is a wonderful phone.  I spent the weekend or a good chunk of it setting up gmail, exchange email, and all the things I thought were essential.

It’s a truly delightful phone to use and to own – I had the red one – but, and this is only relevant if you are deeply embedded into the Apple ecosystem, it’s not a iPhone.  There are so many apps that I take for granted on my iPhone I would have to buy again from the Play Store.

If I used a Windows PC, I’d probably still use an iPad but I definitely would switch to an Android phone – probably the Nexus 5 and I’d immerse myself in the Google ecosystem.  However, I use a MacBook Air; the link between computer, tablet and phone is just too strong to ignore.  The Nexus is going back.

I felt guilty talking to the very pleasant Play Store chap and found myself saying over and over again I liked the Nexus 5 phone. If the phone itself ran iOS8 I’d have it, no question.

The Nexus 5 is more similar in size to the iPhone 6 Plus so I know which one I’m choosing.

As a simple summary, my suggestion: If you use Windows go for an Android, if you use a Mac pay the price penalty and go with the iPhone, and hope the customer service improves – or you never need it.


Are your LEDs too bright?

A recent product received for review made my listening room at night look as if it was flooded by daylight.  The designer had chosen LEDs that were far too bright, I guess, to make the DAC concerned jump off the shelf in a retail environment.

A quick Google search found Lightdims the answer to problems I didn’t even know I had.

Not expensive and easy to purchase, a quick bit of dual factor authentication with PayPal later and I’d received confirmation that they had been shipped.

Have a look at this TV ad.  Subtle it isn’t, but it does explain the product well.

They have arrived and they do the job well.  My room is now lit by a subtle blue glow at night. They are a bit fiddly to fit as they don’t come off the backing sheet that easily, but ultimately they are in place and reducing the glare.

Here’s the video I should have watched after they arrived, it does help.

Strongly recommended



Naim Introduces mu-so™

London 24th April 2014. The wireless music system to bring Naim musical enjoyment to every home. Naim today announced their long expected and awaited home music system, mu-so. Mu-so is a wireless music system designed to transform your music into incredible sonic experiences. Naim streaming, amplification and speaker technology combined to deliver the best music the world has to offer.

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The best travel accessory ever

Flying for me is quite a painful experience. I struggle to get into a position where my neck doesn’t hurt after a very short period of time.

Yesterday I flew for 11 hours with only minor pain and managed to get some sleep – a real result.

The massive improvement is from a £10.99 neck pillow from Amazon

This memory foam neck pillow deforms to the shape you need it to be and offers support at the back and sides so wherever my head was positioned it was supported.

The best tenner I’ve ever spent.

Beware QNAP NAS Firmware upgrades

I’ve been a huge supporter of QNAP Network Attached Storage drive for years and they have been solid, reliable and quiet. What more can one ask?

However I’ve recently had problems with two of my NAS drives.  My backup music drive, a TS-212P with two 3TB Western Digital Red Hard drives failed to connect to any windows computer or a smb share from my mac  This after a firmware upgrade to Version 4.02.

A half hour or so on the phone to tech support fixed the problem with a reinstall of the same firmware.

Far more significantly, I recently upgraded my TS-469 Pro – including four 3TB Western Digital Red Hard Drives – to firmware version 4.05 and immediately could not connect to the two USB3 external drives I have connected to my NAS. Again a quick call to support confirmed the problem and enabled me to downgrade the firmware to 4.02 where everything worked again.

The strong recommendation is: Do not upgrade the firmware on a QNAP NAS drive until it has been available for a good long time and all checks on websites and forums indicate it’s safe.


Logitech Squeezebox Touch with M2tech hiface Two

Having successfully ‘hacked’ my Squeezebox Touch to add the linux drivers necessary to enable the hiface One it seemed only logical to try using the new M2tech hiface Two.  The hiface Two is USB 2.0 audio compatible – it uses a XMOS solution – so does not require drivers for OS X or Linux.

Comparing the original hiface to the new version Two was just a matter of plugging in the hiface and selecting it in the Advanced/Digital Output menu options (assuming Triode’s excellent Enhanced Digital Output App is enabled). Each change of convertor requires a SBT reboot, but it happens automatically and takes very little time.

The sound quality differences between the hiface and its newer sibling were not as great as the difference between using the SBT from its S/PDIF output and using a hiface – that’s a complete no brainer imho – but they were obvious and the hiface two was the clear winner.

The original hiface in comparison was a little more raw, a little rougher round the edges, a little less ‘relax back into the chair’. To put it into some sort of perspective, if I owned a original hiface I wouldn’t upgrade unless I also owned a SBT and couldn’t face the ‘hacking’

If I owned a SBT was using the S/PDIF output and didn’t try the hiface Two I’d potentially be missing a huge chunk of performance.


Keith Monks launches discOveryOne

discOveryOne from Keith Monks. Inventor of the original electric Record Cleaning Machine, brings the record cleaning quality so prized by the BBC, the US Library of Congress and the British Library National Sound Archive among others, in an easier and more affordable package.

Keith Monks today announced that the new discOveryOne Record Cleaner had started production in the UK. It will shortly be available worldwide.

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