Goodbye Blackberry, Hello iPhone: First Thoughts, Feelings & Gripes

Ok so the long anticipated wait is over. Last week we got the phone call that offered us an upgrade on our old phones (Blackberry Bold 9000), so we opted to get the shiny Apple iPhone 4.

iphone4-250As you can imagine, going from the Blackberry, which is very straight forward, almost business like to the iPhone, which can best be described as “ooohhh it’s shiny and does fancy stuff” was quite the learning curve. But learn we did, as learn we must… and for the most part, I am very pleased.

But as with everything, there are a few gripes.

Custom Text Tones

For a start, why the hell can’t I add a custom ring tone for my text and / or sms messages? This is a stock standard feature on almost every single phone out there, including $30 cheapie phones from the servo, so i am confused why Apple don’t offer this? It is annoying, especially as my wife and I both had custom text alerts on our old phones. Bad form Apple, very bad form.

Better Push Mail Service

Ok, so I was spoiled on the Blackberry, who have the best email system of any Smart Phone availble, but i just wish the iPhone email program would allow me to auto-check for new mail a lot more often than 15 minutes. I can do it manually, of course, and do so, but the auto every 5 minutes like I had on the Bold was very efficient and handy to have. Just saying.

Viewing Photos Then Sending To FB, Twitter etc.

Not sure if this is a gripe, or if we were just lucky on the old phones, but is there a way to view a photo you’ve taken and from that photo screen send direct to Facebook, Twitter etc? Or do we have to add the photos from inside the other apps themselves?

iTunes

Yes, I know, you get an iPhone you get stuck with iTunes. I knew that before I got it, and I know that now. Not griping, just saying what you all expected me to say.

Now, on to the GOOD parts!

This phone is so slick to use. Super fast interface, killer apps store and the most intuitive touch keyboard I have ever used. I have heard horror stories about Auto correct issues (take a look at http://damnyouautocorrect.com for some great laughs) but so far have found the touch keyboard to be incredibly accurate.

I used to think the Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare apps on the Blackberry were great, but on the iPhone they are a whole new level. More features, more speed and much more usable, it makes the entire “using” aspect of the phone simply better.

The camera is spectacular, and the video camera is outstanding. High Def video, tap to auto-focus, the whole package is great quality.

Angry Birds. You know, I had to mention this. I’ve played this game on friends iPhones and iPads lately and really do see why it gets all the mentions it does. So, consider this another mention out there in cyberspace.

I guess all-in-all, I am very pleased with the switch. It’s all a learning curve, and eventually things like the email, tones etc simply wont bother me anymore. So kudos Apple, the phone is great and so far, I am very pleased.

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New To PPM Football? An Introduction To Soccer Formations

Soccer is among the worlds most played sports. As you can imagine, there are a great number of managers on PPM who actively play the soccer manager game. There are however, also a great number of hockey people who are getting involved in the soccer game who naturally have loads of questions. One of the more common questions has to do with formations.

So, what exactly “are” formations?

The term formation refers to how your players are positioned on the playing field. A field is divided into 3 primary zones; Offensive, Midfield and defensive. Each of those zones is then divided into 3 areas, 2 wings (left and right) and a center. When describing a formation, the order is Defensive-Midfield-Offensive, and represented by numbers defining how many players in each zone. For example if you had 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 attackers, you would describe that as 4-4-2.

Soccer Formations

Common Formations

The most basic of combinations is the 4-4-2 formation where you have 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 attackers. This gives you a well balanced game.

Another common formation is 4-3-3. This one gives you strong defense and a powerful attack but does leave you very weak in the midfield. This formation is popular if you have a few very strong midfield players.

A less popular formation is to run with 3 defenders, which gives you an offensively minded playing style. 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 are the 2 best options if you opt to go with this formation, however make sure you have good quality defenders if you’re going against a stronger team.

Advanced Formations

Once you get more comfortable with the idea of formations you can start to play with the more advanced formations. these often require training your players a certain way.

The most common style of advanced formation is to split the center midfiend zone into 2, where you have midfield defense and midfield attack. Quite often managers will train midfielders with high shooting and technique and use them as an attacking midfielder. The same goes if you train defense in midfielders, and put them into the center midfield defense position. This gives you more options in the midfield as you can have your midfield staggered to cover more of the field. When you do this, you end up with a 5 positioned formation such as 4-1-2-1-2 (4 defense, 1 midfield defense, 2 side midfield, 1 midfield attack and 2 attackers).

My Soccer Formation using multi-midfield positions
This is a 4-1-2-1-2 formation using midfield attack and midfield defensive positions

You can also stagger your attack and defensive players so your wing defenders are positioned slightly closer to the midfield zone, or have your wingers back on the end-line and your center defenders up a bit. As you may have guessed, you can essentially use any formation that you so wish.

At PPM the field positions you have available are varied, as you can see from the image of my current football formation above. This is the 4-1-2-1-2 formation that I previously mentioned.

Winning games is about having good players and playing good formations. If you have a team with weak midfielders, play a formation that puts more strength in the midfield (ie. more players). If you have incredibly strong midfielders but weak defenderrs, look to play 4 or even 5 defenders and only 3 midfielders.

As with everything PPM related, trial and error is the best way to play the game. You might be surprised just how much better your team can be if you find the perfect formation for your players.

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Sony S1, S2 Hit Android Tablet Market & Hope To Grab #2 Spot

First there was the iPad, then there was Android; a LOT of Android.

It seems that every new product to hit the smartphone or tablet market these days is using the Android Operating System, all of them vying for the coveted #2 spot on the Tablet market. Presently, that spot seems to be taken by the Samsung Tablets, or, if you think of the iPad and iPad2 as being separate products, the original Apple tablet.

Sony hope to change that with there first offereing in the Tablet market, the incredible S1 and S2 Android Tablets. Both will be WiFi and 3G/4G compatible, both have a comfortable curved design to ensure easier use for longer periods of time and both will feature the Android 3.0 Operating System. The S1 has a large 9.4 inch display while the S2 features a clamshell shell that features 2 5.5 inch displays.

Sony S1 and S2 Android Tablets

But if you think that this is just another Tablet to launch with the Android system, think again.

According to the deputy president of the Consumer Products and Services Group, Kunimasa Suzuki, “Sony’s black, glossy devices, code-named S1 and S2, will be the first tablets to enable the use of PlayStation games”. (source)

According to a recent article on 234next.com, Sony is banking on the unusual, off-center design of the S1 and access to first generation PlayStation games and its other networked content to differentiate the products from the flood of tablets in the market.

The PlayStation gaming feature will no doubt make this a hot favorite with the gamers out there, but the big question is whether it has enough to knock the likes of Samsung out of the game. Only time will tell.

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