Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stephen Fry Is An Actor

Stephen Fry is as about as likely to be writing a blog about consumerist technology as I am about Opera. Which is pretty unlikely, but one of us is going against presumed character (and it isn't an act and it isn't me).

Stephen Fry has started writing a blog for the Guardian newspaper and the posts are very entertaining. Apparently, it didn't start that way. He initially launched the blog by himself with a 6,000 word (I think) post about his love of all things digital. The Guardian came calling and by the third post he was writing for them as well under the title "Welcome to Dork Talk." How's that for the power of digital media! At times his proselytising for Apple may come across as a cry for help; but, I suspect once the excitement over the launch in Europe of the IPhone dies off he will move on to other matters. (I wonder what he would think of Tivo?)

Here is how he described his viewpoint:

Digital devices rock my world. This might be looked on by some as a tragic admission. Not ballet, opera, the natural world, Stephen? Not literature, theatre or global politics? Even sport would be less mournfully inward and dismally unsociable. Well, people can be dippy about all things digital and still read books, they can go to the opera and watch a cricket match and apply for Led Zeppelin tickets without splitting themselves asunder.

My sentiments exactly. And he is certainly not without an opinion. Here he is reviewing a new mp3 player from Philips:

But that’s of no importance compared with the cheap, clumsy and dreadful nature of the device itself. I wanted to throw it in the ocean after five minutes (I am in America right now), but instead gave it to a friend who threw it away after 10. One knows the instant one plays the bundled video content, a truly pathetic and dated home movie of some dudes skiing, that we are dealing with a dog. The blocky, pixelated images are so poor as to beggar belief (220 x 176 pixels) - and this is the footage that’s meant to show it off!

It gets worse. It has touch controls, but not touch screen. In the desire to jump on Apple’s multitouch bandwagon, Philips have come up with something worse than an old-fashioned knob. The Streamium offers fiddly controls with terrible delay, so you’re always pressing them too often and reversing their function. The sound level is poor and the phones inadequate. The whole thing’s a gift to Apple.

It should prove entertaining reading from a very unlikely source.

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