iPhone X Review

I’ve had it for a week now, the phone that was anticipated to be the greatest smartphone yet designed, and have to say that I am extremely impressed. It really does match the expectations. FaceID is wonderful, and works so much better than I ever thought it would. It just seamlessly unlocks, even at night time, where it uses the limited screen brightness to unlock the phone. (It really surprises anyone who sees you use it with Apple Pay), the screen is incredible and the overall build quality is outstanding.

The main highlights for me in terms of day-to-day use are definitely the camera, which is without doubt the best I have ever used, and gives others the impression that I am a much better photographer than I really am. Photo file sizes are extremely large (one portrait photo can be almost 100Mb).

A low-res version of a portrait photo of our cat taken with the iPhone X

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the battery life,  now I understand that it is still brand new, but it is so lovely to have a phone that I don’t have to charge every night! After moving from the iPhone 6S running iOS 11 where I was lucky to get to mid-afternoon with any battery left to now getting to the end of the day and still having 70+ % remaining is wonderful. I’ve been only charging it every other day. Finally not having to worry about if there is enough battery left to display boarding passes to get on flights at the end of a work day is fantastic.

Another favourite feature I’ve found so far – Bluetooth. I’m not sure how Apple has achieved it, or if it is just a side-effect of the faster processor in the new phone, but Bluetooth pairing seems to take a fraction of the time that it used to. The Bluetooth sound quality seems slightly improved too, the only minor down-side of the speed increase appears to be that the range is slightly decreased from the older devices.

As a test I tried going back to the iPhone 6S for a few hours, and having to have a physical button to press feels positively clunky, as does the iOS 11 experience after seeing how fluid and vivid it is on the new phone.

In summary, it is insanely expensive, but this is the Concorde, the CD in the world of cassettes, sliced bread, the revolutionary iPod, and like me, I suspect that once you have used one, you won’t ever be persuaded to go back to a lesser phone.

New server

After several years of a slow blog site, and consistently running out of space on the old VPS server that was hosted by Webfusion UK, I have finally taken the plunge and have moved my site to a new AWS instance meaning that for the first time ever it is not on a physical managed server but is now on a virtual cloud server.

The new AWS cloud instance is running Ubuntu Linux, has 1Gb RAM and a 16Gb Hard Disk. Its more than enough to host the site, but means that (hopefully) the 500-600 daily visitors will find it a bit faster to load!

Feedback on your thoughts about the loading times appreciated – please do leave a comment!

Homemade fruit cordial (Fruit Acid Royal)

For: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Elderberries, Blackcurrants etc.

This recipe makes a minimum of 6 pints (usually more depending on how juicy the fruit is) of fruit cordial / concentrate / squash.

Day One:

  • Place 5lbs of fruit (with stalks on, or off, it doesn’t matter) into a large plastic container
  • Dissolve 2 1/2oz (70g) of tartaric acid in 2 pints of cold water
  • Pour water (& tartaric acid) over fruit
  • Seal container with an air-tight lid
  • Stand for 24 hours and then strain through a fine-mesh sieve (with muslin on top if you want to ensure zero small parts of fruit get through)
  • Place juice in mixer bowl, and with mixer on slowest speed setting, add 3lbs of sugar and continue stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Bottle in glass bottles (a funnel helps a lot!) and then store in a cool place (or fridge).

Day Two

  • Repeat the same as day One using the fruit left over, but only use 2oz (55g) of tartaric acid and only 2 1/2 lbs of sugar.

Day Three

  • Repeat the same as day One using the fruit left over, but only use 1oz (30g) of tartaric acid and with only 2 1/2 lbs of sugar.