Samsung Ring, Groot Lego, Mac icon, Digitiser

Published stuff

Given the kerfuffle over Apple and app stores this week, I for TapSmart appropriately wrote 10 apps we’ll never see on the App Store. That’s me off Apple’s Christmas card list.

I also wrote up a relaxation toolkit (apps to help you unwind and destress) and a guide to bucket list apps.

My column for Stuff this week is:
Samsung Galaxy Ring looks to ring in wearable changes – how will Apple and others respond? Which may or may not be an ENTIRELY SERIOUS look at how the competition might respond to Samsung’s one ring to rule them all.

I also updated best upcoming Lego sets and browser games to kill your productivity.

Upcoming stuff

The big thing on my plate right now is Mac apps. I’m delving into the best of them, to rework an article in time for the Mac’s upcoming 40th. If you’ve any thoughts on apps to include (big or small), holler!

Other stuff

We’ve started to wind down telly subs, because we’re not using them. Disney+ and Amazon Prime have been paused. We’ll see how that goes. Ideally, Netflix would go too, but we have a 9yo glued to that service. Oh well. I can’t say I’ve missed Prime. Not having it has stopped me wasting yet more time trudging through Fear the Walking Dead.

Elections are bubbling into people’s consciousness. I therefore took a proper look at our seat. It’s one of the safest in the UK, but reportedly in play, according to pollsters. Although the results of the boundary review have skewed it in favour of the Conservative incumbent.

What irked most was the commission arguing it bolted on villages in the south-west to ensure the community was cohesive, and yet carved an entire town in half in the north-east. So people who live across the road from each other may be served by MPs from different parties and with starkly different ideologies. Unsurprisingly, the bits carved off are strongly Lib Dem in nature, and therefore more likely to vote against the current government and incumbent. Hmmm.

In tech, I saw Plants vs Zombies 3 was on the way, and promised a return to the gameplay of old. Natch, it’s not returning to the pricing of old. It has IAPs up the wazoo. One is a £74.99 consumable. Bollocks to that. I’ll stick to the original, which I sideloaded on to my original iPad Air.

Speaking of, Apple looks like it’ll carve up the App Store on a regional basis rather than allow global sideloading or the removal of anti-steering. I like my Apple kit, but come on. We know where things are heading, and right now Apple is seriously annoying developers of all stripes, right when it could do with them supporting its new platform. Bonkers.

Finally, some good news. In the UK, a video games magazine called Digitiser used to be broadcast on Teletext. It was a daily blast of games coverage and absurdist humour, which was hugely popular and with a unique writing style that influenced countless young minds.

I found it akin to an evolution of the Newsfield magazines I’d grown up with, combining their smart writing with silly humour. The lights finally went out in 2003, when Teletext succeeded in ousting the folks behind Digitiser, whereupon it was replaced by the staid GameCentral, at which point a lot of people lost interest.

The spirit of Digitiser lived on in various forms online, driven by co-creator Paul ‘Mr Biffo’ Rose. But a few years ago, a successful Kickstarter led to the hugely ambitious YouTube Digitiser The Show. It was a lot of fun, mixing retrogaming with a chaotic vibe that reminded me of anarchic children’s TV shows of old.

This weekend, Digitiser Level 2 debuts. The format has changed – for the better. It’s faster and with a smaller presenting team. The show is peppered with weird animations that look like they’ve escaped from Teletext pages. But mostly I love it because everyone involved looks like they’re having a blast. We need more of that kind of thing.