Gadgets, Home Improvement, Woodworking

New toys, and a new project

Today has been a good day for both my geek side and my DIY side. First the DIY side today took delivery of lots of wood, more specifically decking planks and joists. So I now have a garage full of the materials I require to build a deck in my garden next week (which I have off), so that was cool.

Secondly I also received a new Bluetooth keyboard for use with my Nokia 770. It's an iGo stowaway Bluetooth keyboard, which I got for about £20 delivered from Amazon, or rather a shop that trades via Amazon.

In the true tradition of such things I'm writing this post using it and my 770 whilst sat in my garden (currently sans decking) making the most of the sunshine.

I've read a few other peoples reviews, and I'm not sure I have much to add... but I'm not going to let that stop me, else I'd never blog about anything :-)

Consumability has been on my mind recently, specifically what it takes to be consumable and what it takes to test for it. My first impression of this product was that no one at iGo has even heard of consumability testing.... So in a roughly chronological order his is an account of my first few minutes with this new device.

First annoyance was the packaging, I'm sure there is some really good reason for using heat sealed plastic casings, I suspect it's cheap. But please stop... I hate having to find a knife to cut into the packaging just to get at my new toy. OK, so box opened I get out the keyboard and notice a helpful little sticker on the front that shows some pictures about how to open the keyboard. Someone probably thought this was a good consumability type thing to do. Cleverly the sticker wrapped over one side of the keyboard and into the inside, where it showed pictures of how to close it again. Very nice... until you come to remove the sticker, foolishly expecting it to be one of those easy peel things... but no, it is stuck hard. I then spent the next 5 minutes trying to get enough of it off to actually use the keyboard. This did not leave me with a good first impression. Clearly no one at iGo actually tried the finished 'out of box' experience because I can't imagine they would of allowed the sticker to remain on the finished item.... Incidentally before starting to write this I spent another 5 minutes with damp sponge trying to get more off of the front casing, whilst for the moment accepting that some of the keys are left with sticky residue...hmmm.

So having opened it I looked for how to turn it on. I saw no indicator lights and no obvious 'On' buttons. A quick scan of the keyboard revealed that Fn-Backspace would do Off... so I figured somewhere there must be an 'On' but apparently not. I returned to look at the packaging to find mention of a 'quick start guide', which I realised must be hidden between two layers of cardboard at the back of the horrible packaging. I hadn't noticed this because of the way I had to cut around the package to get the device out had left the cardboard backing held in place.

The quick start guide revealed I needed to put the device in to discoverable mode, with the obvious combination of Ctrl-FnL-FnR (it has a left and right function button of different colours to extend the uses of the keys).

To be fair that was the last usability issue I had that was the fault of the device. I'd already installed the right software on the 770 and it paired easily and works great. I do still need to figure out how to map certain functions, and in fact if there even is a way to get certain things, such as alt-tab between open applications. But that is just configuring the 770.

All in all having just typed quite a bit I think it's pretty good. It definitely extends the use of my 770 to allow me to do serious note taking, and proper console work, which was not really possible with just the stylus. I'm still getting used to the layout, I keep missing shift, and hitting up, then starting to type in the middle of the line above. However, I'm sure I'll get used to it in time.

Despite its niggles, which are really only one-time problems, I'm very happy. And for 20 quid (haven't figured out the pound sign yet) I really can't complain. If anything my biggest problem is that I might be further convinced that if I just upgrade to an N810......