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All posts by Roger Hislop

Roger Hislop
Roger started life as an electrical engineer, then became a journalist. He then spent the next twelve years his work life being terribly nice to people as he was paid to. That stopped. Now he's paid to be unrelentingly honest. Luckily, all those years in PR taught him how to spot weasely product descriptions at 1,000 yards. He still builds electronics stuff, because it's fun.
  • Help me decide: Windows Phone, BlackBerry or Android?

    So you're due for a contract renewal. You need a new handset. But you're confused. Android. BlackBerry. Windows Phone. They're all good. Right? Or not? Aargh! Decisions, decisions. After several months knocking back and forth between the major platforms as they’ve matured, we dig deep into the real world of being a smartphone owner to help the non-technut make up their mind. Gearburn brings you the what's-it-like-in-daily-use-but-be-practical-man-just-the-stuff-that-matters guide (WILIDUBBPMJTSTM Guide 9™) for choosing between the many smartphone flavours. Read more on Gearburn. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Sony Xperia Z: still a really great phone

    The Sony Xperia Z. It’s a really good phone. And there is no higher praise that a smartphone can get. It does what a smartphone should do, at the most basic level, well. It makes calls. It takes calls. You can clearly hear the caller. It sends messages. Browses the internet. Takes pictures. AND DOESN'T NEED TO BE RECHARGED TWICE A DAY! AND DOESN'T NEED TO BE COSTED LIKE A PRECIOUS PIECE OF SPUN GLASS! AND IT DOESN'T TRY GUESS WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO! OK, settle down, settle down. Breathe, Roger, breathe. Read more on Gearburn. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Beige boxes: cheap, cheerful and changing the face of smartphones

    Beggars can’t be choosers. Sometimes, you have to make do with what you can afford. And if what you can afford is not an iPhone, or the new BlackBerry, or a Galaxy, it may be a Beige Box phone. “A beige box phone?”, you ask, “I’ve never heard of that brand.” Yep, you haven’t. Cast your mind back 20 years (if you can). For a very long time in the 90s, only the affluent, the snotty and the pecuniously profligate banks used branded PCs. IBMs and Compaqs were not for the great unwashed. No, for them were the ‘beige box’...

  • Shox Spin review: budget Bluetooth speakers

    You know the Shox mini speaker. A golfball-sized speaker that pops open to make sweet ball-shaped music. You’d not use it at as a ball, but it lets you get a bit more volume from your mp3 player or phone when out. It's so small you can carry it anywhere. It's the road warrior's best musical friend. So now there's a new twist on the idea... the Shox Twist. It's a foot long rectanguloid with a half twist in it. Twisted. Spin. See what they did there? Oh, it was obvious? Okay. Read more on Gearburn. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Bowers & Wilkins C5: best in-ear phones for gym ever?

    This is the one article you can safely ignore Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. The answer in this case is, yes. Or mostly yes. But first I have to come clean. I have a shameful secret. I have a kink. It’s not just a kink, it’s an aural kink. I’m not proud of it, that’s just how I'm made. I don’t judge other’s kinks, I’d ask you’re GGG in turn. Since I was a baby I've had this kink, and it’s not going away. Read more on Gearburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • 6 Reasons your PC is not going anywhere

    Memeburn recently featured a story explaining why your PC is dead. It made some interesting points. It made some valid points. Cloud. Virtualisation. Abstraction of application and data from device. But it missed the point. Sure, smartphones and tablets will take over from PCs for many. The PC will return to its place as a powerful tool for those that know how to use it. Those that used it at the start: the geeks, the nerds, the hobbyists, the musicians, the architects, the gamers, the engineers, the designers, the layout artists. The people who need to get real work done....

  • Not free, not open: The Memeburn interview with WhatsApp’s Brian Acton

    In one of only a handful of public interviews ever given by WhatsApp, co-founder Brian Acton talks exclusively to Memeburn about simplicity, speed and simplicity, and what it takes to make some cash. The fact that WhatsApp is so popular is no surprise, and yet to become the number one smartphone messaging app in a sea of same-same services is mysterious. Sure, people like to communicate, and will latch onto a service...

  • Not a Review: Verbatim Netbook USB drive so small it’s almost not even there

    Not a cricket chirped. Not a tumbleweed rustled in the chill wind. I sat contemplating the tiny little Verbatim Netbook USB solid state drive squatting on the mound of the fleshy part of my thumb. It sure is tiny — imagine you take the metal bit of a USB plug in hand, and with a sharp lightsaber cut off everything but a little plastic nubbin to grab hold of, and you would...

  • Hi-Tech personalities: The winners and losers of 2011

    We’ve reached the end of 2011 – and it’s time to look back on the winners and losers of the year. Those who made our gadget life more awesome, and those that ruined it for everyone. Those that rock, and those that suck. So, without further ado, Gearburn’s Geared and Burned personalities of 2011. Burned Leo Apotheker of HP He was bounced out of HP in disgrace, consoled only by the $25-million payout he trousered...

  • Gearburn Award: Best Innovation in Hardware 2011

    Being a gadget site we’re not looking at core hardware innovations that shake the world, we’re looking at the awesome innovations that knocked our socks off – or will soon. 2011 was largely a year of incremental improvements – but often the impact of radical innovations don’t become apparent for a few years. Accurate, reliable capacitive touch-screens, for example. So we’re reaching a bit, but these are the innovations we think you’ll...

  • Review: Gobii HD Action Cam – at least it’s not expensive

    When we first pulled the Gobii HD Action Camera from its box, there was a lot of mirth in the Gearburn office. Mocking, unfriendly derision. And then we played with it for a while, and even the flinty hearts of Gearburn melted a little. It’s a weird shape, and the plastic feels cracktastic, but it is quite functional and IP68 sealed: no dust, complete, immersion in water. How deep? No idea, they...

  • Witchdoctors go online and get Social Media-tastic

    If there's one thing scamsters love, it's a new way to hawk their tawdry wares. While it’s not nearly as ancient and powerful as black magic and voodoo, the internet has a powerful juju. And Google AdWords. Welcome to online witchdocters. If you live in a developing country (and who knows, maybe even in some neighbourhoods in the developed world) you occasionally find flyers stuffed under your windscreen wipers offering the services of "traditional healers", witchdoctors and suchlike. They’re normally cheesy design-wise, but promise an astonishing range of cures: for marital problems, HIV and cancer, erectile dysfunction and a host...

  • Eight household items your smartphone’s made redundant

    There are items common only a few decades ago we'd simply not recognise if they were put in front of us. A fleem. A wringer. A carpet beater. A warming pan. Our kids are going to look the same way at these eight devices – all replaced by the smartphone. 1. Remote control - Have media centre, have smartphone? Then download something like Gmote (Android) or Air Mouse (iPhone). Sit on your...

  • Nine major changes in Ice Cream Sandwich

    Version 4 of Google’s industry-shaking mobile operating system has hit the streets in the form of the Galaxy Nexus, just shipping now in the US. This has given us the first good looksee at Ice Cream Sandwich in its finished form. Gearburn pulls out the nine biggest user interface changes in ICS that’ll have you begging your handset manufacturer for the upgrade for your handset. Your 24 month contract up yet? var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Not so secure PlayBook say crackers

    Three security researchers have created a tool called DingleBerry that lets users get root access on their BlackBerry PlayBooks. The exploit is not yet public, but the three promised to reveal the technique via the rooting tool within a week or so. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is talking to the trio, and feverishly working on a fix. This is a major issue for RIM, as "jailbreaking" the PlayBook would threaten the firm's...