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Showing posts from October, 2009

Best iPhone Apps for Londoners

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Londoners have a tough time getting around the capital, with 7.5 million people moving around during the day there are bound to be some problems with public transport, on the roads and in emergencies. Luckily, to soothe your day a tiny bit below are some of the best Applications for Londoners with iPhones.

This article is from 2009, an updated article from 2013 is available here.

TubeDeluxe  (£0.59) - This application is the best transport app around for any city in the world. It gives you live status updates (including via Push Notifications if you enable the feature), station closures and service messages, a tube map (in both landscape and portrait), journey planning (works perfectly when offline), live departure boards so can check how long it is until the next few trains from pretty much every station, Timetables (first trains, now, and last trains) and weekend line closures. What more could you need?

London Bus, Tube and Rail Journey Planner (£0.59) - This fantastic application int…

Creative Commons looking for $500,000 - help!

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Creative Commons, the creators of licenses that allow content-creators to share their work while being properly attributed, are seeking $500,000 to keep the service going.
At the time of writing Creative Commons is only $42,000 towards its goal and only has until December 31st 2009 to gain the remaining $450,000+. In early 2009, Wikimedia (the owners of Wikipedia) got to $6million in donations within days of asking for donations with many private individuals giving more than $100.

If you want to continue seeing free software, podcasts and more (that are currently licensed under Creative Commons) then please do donate! You can donate any amount you wish with the box part-way down the page. If you donate $75 or more you get some stickers, buttons and T-shirts shipped to you as well as some one-site features including Open-ID integration.

 If you wish to maximise your donation then you can opt-out of these gifts. Donate more than $300 and you can become part of the CC Conference Calls an…

Steam on Windows 7

With Left 4 Dead 2 being released in just under 3 weeks and Windows 7 out for four days now, it is reasonable to take a look at how Steam runs on Windows 7. Thankfully there seems to be no major problems and the games appear to run just fine. However, if you have a small bandwidth cap and are waiting for the release of Left 4 Dead to switch the Windows 7, this may not be such a good idea.

There are three main ways to get your games from your current Windows version into Win 7.

1. Format your drive, install 7, download Steam and ALL of your games one again and all your games will be there on your PC, this is clearly the most bandwidth intensive option.

2. Move all your games to an external hard drive and point to this location in Steam, install Windows 7, and Steam, then point Steam on Windows 7 to the same location. Done. No downloading of games.

3. Use the backup to disk feature then install 7 and restore from the backup. No downloading of games.

The 3 above ways are the quickest wa…

iPhone coming to Orange UK on November 10th

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The details of the release date of the iPhone on the Orange network have reportedly been released to the UK newspaper 'The Times' and the release date is poised to be November 10th, just one day after O2s exclusivity ends and just the right time for hundreds of thousands of consumers to switch to the orange network.

After having poked around the Orange site for a few minutes, it is clear that Orange does not sell many smartphones on it's website (except 3 blackberrys) on Pay As You Go, so will this be left to Apple's Online Store?

The Pay Monthly plans on Orange are currently better value than O2, for £14.68 a month (on Dolphin 15) you can get 100 minutes and unlimited texts whereas on O2 you'll need to spend £35 for 75 minutes and 125 texts on the basic iPhone contract.

Whether these plans will be available with the iPhone it yet to be seen as it is unlikely that Orange will want to lock people in for less than £25 a month.

Also interesting is the fact that Orang…

World of Goo just 24 hours to get it for cheap!

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The fantastic cross-platform game World Of Goo (PC CD) has a fantastic promotion campaign that allows you to pay whatever you want for the game. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X and runs great on Snow Leopard.


The objective of the game is to use blobs of goo to get from one end of the screen to the other while using triangulation to achieve a structure which doesn't fall. New elements and types of goo are added in every level, sometimes a freak weather-storm will happen, other times you will have different kinds of goo and need to use balloons to open the path ahead.


IGN called it "brilliant, stunning, and ridiculously fun ... World of Goo is so good that it oftentimes feels like a title developed internally at Nintendo,"


It usually costs $20 but you can donate as much as you like but you can't get it for free. You have just over 24 hours as it apparently end October 25th and I am going to guess that it will be at the end of the day rather than at the beg…

Chrome for Mac closer to beta release, causes more problems for users

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Google Chrome for Mac has reached version 4.0.223.11 and with that it now has several very important features added but with it a slew of problems have emerged. Two major new features now available on Chrome for Mac are Printing and QuickTime; yes Printing still wasn't there for the Mac 13 months after the original Windows release.

However, I and many other users are experiencing more problems than before. With the introduction of Quicktime, my Flash videos sometimes now appear extremely choppy even when playing in HQ or SD on YouTube whereas as they play perfectly fine in other browsers. Also, I am now unable to Shut Down my Mac when Chrome is running, instead it refuses to close requiring a Forced Quit. Links now decide to have a rectangle drawn around them them when I click them.

On the other hand, a fix that I have noticed, although unreported, is that if I now click on the  "Leave this page" button on a pop-up it actually leave the page when I press it. Also Chrome…

Windows 7 Launches! Microsoft retail store opens and Microsoft Cafe!

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As you undoubtedly know today is the much anticipated launch of Windows 7 and Amazon UK already has some good news: the pre-orders of Windows 7 beat the previous record holder for pre-orders Harry Potter -when that happens you know something Microsoft has done is seriously right. The visuals are stunning - almost, but not quite, on par with Apple; the stability is much improved and best of all for consumers it's not called Vista. In fact Amazon UK has no versions run out of their allocation of all full Windows 7 versions and are now offering upgrade versions only but even these are now pre-orders.

The price of £80 has definitely lead consumers into making this purchase, although some may argue it should be free after the blunder of Vista. Meanwhile, Microsoft has also opened it's first retail store today in  Scottsdale, Arizona and yes - there was a line outside of people waiting to get inside. The employees clapped, cheered and high-fived- as the first guests came in and chee…

Apple releases new mouse, iMacs, MacBook and more

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Today, Tuesday 20th October 2009 Apple released a range of new products on it's website. The products are all beautiful as ever, it is interesting to see that the long awaiting Apple TV has had no upgrade as of yet. This is expected to be the last release before the major upcoming holiday season. Interestingly there were no price drops but merely better value for money which may not have been the right decision for the competitive christmas season.
The Magic Mouse - "suddenly, everything clicks. and swipes. and scrolls." The new Magic Mouse is the world's first multi-touch mouse and is now included with every iMac and starts at just $69 (£55).

The MacBook - completely redisgned and now with a durable unibody enclosure and a $999 (£799) price tag. It has a brilliant LED-Backlit display, 7 hours of battery life, a glass multi-touch trackpad, Advanced NVidia graphics, a fast processor and up to 500GB of hard drive space, Magsafe power port, built in iSight camera and it …

Apple posts amazing growth of 46% - over 7 million iPhones sold and 3 million Macs

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Live-stream ended.
Last updated: 22:56, London


Apple posts amazing growth of 46% - over 7 million iPhones sold and 3 million Macs. During the 'Apple Financial Results' conference call the following was revealed by Apple:
Over 3.05 million Macs sold - 1 Mac sold every 3 seconds worldwide during the past 3 months.Over 7.4 million iPhones sold - one iPhone was sold per second worldwide during the past 3 months.Quarterly net profit of $1.14 billionSales of $9.87 billion50% of all Macs bought were by people who have never bought a Mac before208,000 memberships of the One-to-one program were soldStore to open in the Louvre in FranceCash Flow 3.1 billion in the quarter$11.3 billion to 11.6 billion in December quarter expectedAll in "extraordinary challenging times"New products coming in the next quarter will be better value with lower prices and lower gross marginsApple's tax rate is 30%.Apple does not change the price it charges carriers for the iPhone when moving from ex…

UK iPhone 3GS calling plans on Orange and Vodafone

With both Orange and Vodafone getting the iPhone 3GS within the next three months, I've been researching into what plans these operators are likely to offer in terms of texts, minutes and more importantly web and wifi.


Pay as you go customers on o2 can currently purchase their phone for £440.40 for the 16GB iPhone 3GS model. They then get "unlimited" web and wifi for 12 months (worth £120) - that is "unlimited" wifi at Cloud hotspots and "unlimited" 3G usage but apparently you aren't allowed "continuous streaming of audio/video content" according to O2 themselves. They have also in the past implemented a measly 200MB per month cap on their "unlimited" plan. After the 12 months it is £10 per month for Web and Wifi or just £7.50 for just the Web portion. If you top up £15 you can also be on a plan where you get 100 minutes and texts. So for £15 a month you get "unlimited" web and wifi + 100 texts + 100 minutes + £15 cred…

6 Life saving freeware utilities for Mac OS X

After having moved from a PC over to a Mac, it can be difficult deciding what programs you need to get. Surprisingly, many of the programs you would have to pay for on Windows have superior free alternatives on a Mac so the initial outlay may save you money in the long run. I do ask that you donate to the developers for their hard work if you can, please remember they developed this for free and used their own time, so please show some appreciation. Let's get straight into the list:

1. TimeOut - This utility sits quietly for 30 minutes (or whatever you configure) then as the time approaches it begins to fade out your screen - allowing you time to save what you are doing. Your screen will then be completely covered and it will display a countdown timer telling you to have a break. You can configure all lengths of time and add sounds and micro-breaks more often in addition to your longer breaks. Your eyes will thank you and so will your wrists - no more eye strain or RSI. This is d…

5 ways to make a living off the internet

If you've always dreamed of staying at home and being paid for doing nothing then this is your lucky day, I have five proven ways to make money online although some effort will be required on your part.

1. Start a website - whether it is a social network, blog or any other type of website, find some sponsors and build a fan base and after a few years the money will start trickling in.

2. Podcasting - If you can get sponsors you can make a killing with this, Leo Laporte recently announced that he makes over $1million profit every year from his "This Week in Tech" series of podcasts.

3. Free money - websites such as http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ give you cash-back on every purchase you make which you can then put towards something like a holiday fund.

4. Get paid to click ads - Try a website like neobux.com and invest in referrals, some people make thousands per year by clicking a few adverts a day.

5. Free stuff for visiting a website - go to www.swagbucks.com/refer/giov…

Mac OS 11 - features? release date?

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With Mac OS X reaching the end of it's product cycle, we take a look at what may be coming in the next operating system and how this could be a really big game-changer for Apple and increase it's market share.
The 'classic' Mac OS ran for 16 years and in 2001, Apple announced the   launch of Mac OS X. Throughout the same number of years Microsoft has released Windows XP, Vista and now Windows 7. As the current operating system is now 8 years old a refresh is needed. What is likely to change?
1. The Dock - Although the dock looks very nice and is easy to use (and much better than the Windows  start button), a refresh is needed.
2. Speech recognition - This is one area where Macs could do extremely well, you can already do some limited speech recognition on a mac but this would be great for people with disabilities and if it were good enough, it could possibly change the way we interact with computers forever.
3. Free Cloud-Based Features - whatever these could be, bein…

Google Wave invites

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Today I received my official invitation from Google and I now have a few to give out, eight in fact. If you'd like to receive one, click the "contact this" link at the top-left of the page and then email me on the address there with "Google Wave" in the subject line. I only have 8 invites so get in quick! Also if you provide me with a reason why you should be chosen over the others that would be nice. Have fun waving!  N.B. Google says that they make take some time to come through - whether that's hours, days, weeks or months - I don't know.
UPDATE: Down to just 1 invite!

UK Kindle users spend £5260 on books to break even

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The Amazon Kindle will be released on October 19th to international users and for the first time users outside the US will be able to buy books and have them delivered instantly wirelessly to their device. The device itself costs $279 (£176.18) + import fees - an outlay that is not small and comes with no books included at that price. US users are able to get New York Times bestsellers for only $9.99 (£6.31). In order to make the decision whether the kindle is for me, I set out on a bit of researching by checking how much I could save by buying this magnificent device assuming I just just bought it and got it delivered for £200 - more than an 8GB iPod Touch and £40 worth of songs/apps.

The first book I checked was Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" which for some strange reason isn't available to me in the UK on the Kindle. Fine, let's try a different book. I also found that none of the Harry Potter books are available to me. I searched for several other titles - non…

The iPhone gets wireless charging

Powermat - a device which allows you to wirelessly charge up to 5 device at once - is being launched aggressively in the UK this month (October 2009). The claim is that you will be able to pop your cell phone down on a mat and pick it up again later on and your phone will be charged. However this isn't truly wireless or without it's faults. You will need to connect that mat itself to a mains socket or USB port on your computer, you will need to buy an adapter for each of your devices and phones and you'll need to spend a whole load of cash. All to save you a mere 5 seconds each time you charge a device. You see, the simple alternative is to plug the charger in and hey presto!

Plus, this doesn't come cheap the mat itself retails at £70 with the price of around £35 adapter for each device. Very few devices are supported: only the iphone, ipod touch, nintendo ds lite and dsi and blackberrys and currently supported and just to start charging one device "wirelessly&qu…

Steam - the future of gaming? (Left 4 Dead 2)

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With titles such as Left 4 Dead 2, Bioshock and Half Life 2 being released on the PC exclusively on the Steam platform from Valve, it's interesting to take a look at how these delivery systems have evolved over the past few years and how they may evolve in the future.

The advantages of using a download system such as Valve's Steam are very clear: fast delivery of games (usually quicker than going out to buy the game in the shop), immediate availability, quick payment, downloads over multiple computers, automatic patches, etc.

However, the disadvantages of download systems are also clear: you need an internet connection and the prices are not always the best. For example for £26.99 I can either order Left 4 Dead 2 from Amazon and I'll receive in on release date or a couple of days later and I have a physical copy of the CD, or for the same price, I can order it from Steam - here I can download it the second it's released (albeit very slowly as hundreds of thousands of …

How 2010 will be Apple's most profitable year ever.

With cheaper iMacs, Mac Minis, MacBooks and AppleTVs rumoured to be coming soon and a cheap Apple Tablet in 2010 it seems that next year could be very successful. In fact, over the past few weeks it has been revealed that Apple was the fourth biggest selling PC maker in the US. How will their sales increase? Read on:

1. Cheaper Macs - the white plastic MacBook currently retails $999 (£749) for a similar price you can get two netbooks or a Dell Studio Laptop with a 15" screen for around $700, compared to the MacBook 13" screen and with 4GB of RAM and 250GB hard drive, compared with the 2GB and 160GB of the MacBook. At it's current price point the MacBook is ridiculously expensive. The MacBook should soon get a price cut to $799 or $849 and get better specs and then MacBooks will sell out fast. The iMacs and the Mac Mini are also expected to get a price cut and raised specs meaning buying a Mac will become even more accessible to all.

2. New Products - The tablet, rumoured …

Mint for UK users and it's free! (Mint.com)

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If you've been annoyed that we can't use Mint.com - a financial service website - in the UK then fear no more. I have been testing a site which I found months ago and trust it so much that I am going to share it with you.

Mint.com allows you to aggregate your different bank accounts into one neat dashboard. It automatically categorises all your spending and you can set budget so that you don't forget that you can only spend £30 a month on clothes and it will give you alerts when you go over your budget. It also generates graphs which show you where your spending and income and going. If you want all this in the UK visit Kublax.co.uk - they have agremeents with loads of major banks allowing you to importing all the data into one account.

Better still, you are completely safe - if someone were to hack into your Kublax account, the most the could do is see how much money you have. You cant transfer any more or even touch the money - only view statistics. It's free and no…

Confirmed: New iMacs, Mac Mini and MacBooks coming this week

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I have just received confirmation from several of my sources that there will indeed be a refreshed model of the white-plastic MacBook with a faster processor and a slightly more affordable price. I also have confirmation that a 2GB RAM Mac Mini will be available for either £399 or £429 starting next week and that a new model of the iMac will be released. The iMac will ship with a new touch-sensitive mouse and the same keyboard as before. It is also going to be thinner and may be sold at a reduced price point though the lower price point has not yet been confirmed.

My source tells me that this will not be a big announcement and should occur within the next week and at the latest by the 19th October. Stocks are being shipped to distributers during this week with stocks at Apple Stores being replenished first.

I have also been told that the Apple TV will be upgraded in the future - definitely by the end of January.




Monetising your content and whether it's ethical

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We're all used to seeing ads on TV but why do we get so annoyed when we see them online? We turn the page of a newspaper and see a massive advert, yet an interstitial advert is completely unacceptable for many people. We walk around constantly being exposed to brand and yet we are unhappy to see a small advert on a website. So, is it right to monetise content and should you as a consumer accept it?

Every website online costs money to run - from the $8 fee for the domain to getting your website hosted which can run into tens of thousands of dollars for some of the bigger website - it all adds up. If content providers are posting content on their website, is it not right that they get paid for it? After all you wouldn't expect to see a TV channel without adverts or a free newspaper without adverts - someone needs to pay for the content writers to earn.

There are threee main ways of monetising a website:

Text Ads/banner ads - these can either be product placement, blog posts, pai…

Spotify offering downloads soon?

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Spotify has recently announced that you can now store over 3,000 tracks on your hard drive offline for just £9.99 a month. That may seem like a good deal but ,in reality, is it a false economy? Under £10 a month may sound like a fantastic deal for the ability to listen to millions of tracks to your hear's content without adverts and the ability to save 3000 of them temporarily offline and a similar ability on the iPhone/iPod Touch. All for under £10 or £99 for a full year!

The reality is that essentially all this music is heavily DRMed because you cannot transfer it to any player and you can't even copy the files. With the ZunePass service available at an equivalent price of $15 per month, you also have unlimited streaming but in addition you get 10 free downloads that are DRM free and that you can keep - forever.

With Spotify you are essentially renting music - if they do go out of business all the previously paid months of music will essentially have been for the ability to…