Robert Hampton

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13th October 2011

iOS, I like the way you dress

Last night I got home, plugged my iPhone into my computer, and got this message:

"A new iPhone software version (5.0) is available for the iPhone 'Robert's iPhone'. Would you like to download it and update your iPhone now?"

Yes, after a summer of feverish anticipation, iOS 5 has finally made it out of Apple HQ and onto the flash drives of eager users everywhere.

Well, almost. The first time I tried to download it, the download aborted after about 50 megabytes (although I think that might have been my dodgy wi-fi). It worked the second time, but that proved to be the easy step, as every attempt to install it was met with this message:

"The iPhone 'Robert's iPhone' could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3200)."

I wasn’t the only one. Error 3200 was trending on Twitter for much of Wednesday evening. It didn’t help that the “More Information” button linked to an Apple support page which didn’t even mention error 3200 (although it has now been belatedly added).

Read the rest of this post »

6th October 2011

Chimes of Death

Screenshot of web page showing "Steve Jobs 1955-2011"Oddly enough, I heard the news of the death of technology giant Steve Jobs this morning not through a computer or iAnything, but via that most old-fashioned of sources – the 7am news on BBC Radio 4. However, I immediately fired up the Twitter app on my iPhone, where everyone from Barack Obama to Wil Wheaton was weighing in with a tribute.

It’s impossible to overstate Jobs’ contribution to the world of technology, but his finest hour must surely be his masterminding of the turnaround in Apple’s fortunes. When Jobs returned to the company in 1996, it was near bankruptcy, seemingly defenceless against the rise of PCs and Windows. Many analysts believed that a return to profitability was impossible, and with a lesser person at the helm, they would probably have been correct. Without Jobs, Apple would have gone the way of Acorn, Commodore, Atari and countless other names from the early years of home computing.

With Apple’s co-founder back in charge, the company not only came back from the brink, but went on to incredible success with a new line of products. It’s true the iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player and the iPhone wasn’t the first mobile phone, but Apple’s take on the concepts (with the influence of Jobs tangible in every detail of the designs) resulted in products that were genuine game-changers.

And now he’s gone, leaving some enormous shoes to fill. Apple, and the world in general will feel his loss for a very, very long time.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

3rd October 2011


There are all sorts of rumours swirling around about the new product to be unveiled by Apple tomorrow. It’s an iPhone 4S! It’s an iPhone 5! It’ll have a super-HD camera! Maybe it won’t! It’ll make you cups of tea! It’ll provide better sex than your partner!

I am refusing to get swept up in the excitement. I’m just enjoying my final days of having the latest and best model, before I am rendered hopelessly out of date by whatever is announced tomorrow.

10th July 2011

You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
Posted by at 7.30pm | It's My Life | 1 response

When I got my iPhone back in May, I jokingly Tweeted that I was now a much more tempting mugging target.

That joke has unfortunately come back to bite me on the bum somewhat. I was not mugged, but I did have my pocket expertly picked in Liverpool city centre in the early hours of this morning. Thankfully my wallet and house keys were safe, but my iPhone and Trio ticket were both removed. A quick trip to Queen Square Bus Station this afternoon sorted out the latter, the former is not so easily remedied.

Insurance should cover most of the replacement cost, but that’s not the point. In the few weeks that I had the phone, a great chunk of my life ended up on there: phone numbers, calendars, notes, photos, Grindr (ahem). Hopefully it is all backed up, but until I can get up and running on a new phone, I’m slightly bereft without access to them.

Luckily I don’t use the phone for things like holding travel e-tickets, or making credit/debit card payments – if I had, I really would be screwed.

It’s left me a bit shaken up, to be honest.

21st May 2011

Posted by at 1.37pm | It's My Life | No responses

I was in a mobile phone shop yesterday with a salesman, sorting out the details of my new iPhone contract, when an irritable older gentleman marched in off the street and interrupted us.

“What’s your name?” he barked at the salesman, “I need it for Trading Standards.”
“It’s Chris,” came the reply. The expression on Chris’s face suggested that he had seen it all before.
“Chris WHAT?”
“I’m the only Chris in this store so it makes no difference.”

I feel sorry for the 3 Store staff on Church Street. Not only do they have people like that barging in, but three days a week a group of Christian fundamentalists set up shop outside, complete with a fire and brimstone preacher who yells continuously from 10am until 4pm about how we’re all going to hell. It’s not an environment that’s conducive for selling Blackberries.

I will point out that I have no beef with Chris – he was very polite and helpful. Although, after the aforementioned encounter, he did seem extra keen to make sure I understood how many inclusive minutes I was getting.

25th April 2011

You (and they) know where you are with a smartphone

Interesting news emerged over the past few days that many smartphones collect data on the user’s location and store it in a hidden file, with the data being used to improve geographic targeting of adverts. The first revelations involved the iPhone, but Google’s Android software also does something similar.

The Register explained why such tracking could be harmful. Outside of technology circles, however, there has been a distinct lack of outrage. In a world where everyone (except me, apparently) is checking in on Foursquare or Facebook Places every two minutes, I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me.

Judging by the number of Tweets in my feed from mobile phones, which display completely inaccurate locations, the technology is far from perfect in any case.