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Showing posts from November, 2009

Banned Xbox 360 consoles for sale - beware

Microsoft recently revealed that it will now ban users of modified xbox consoles from their online XBox Live service. The only way to regain service is to buy a new console. This has created a new problem. After some of my own research it became appparent to me that the listings of "used" consoles on auction websites such as eBay had more than doubled. This clearly means that buyers must be aware of this and be very careful when buying consoles marked as "used". There is actually no way for a consumer to tell if the XBox they are buying has been kicked off the online gaming service. This can only be found out once the console is in their own hands. Luckily, buyers in the UK do have a case for a refund under the Sales of Goods Act and Distance Selling Regulations. They can also use PayPal buyer protection and dispute the item as "not as described." This can also be done in all the other countries covered by PayPal. Yard sales and car boot sales are al

What will be in iLife 2010 and iWork 2010?

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UPDATE: Looking for a guide to iWork for the iPad? Click here. If you are thinking of buying a Mac for Christmas you might want to wait out for another month as January is the typical release month of the updates to the iLife and iWork suite 2010 and you don't get a free upgrade even if you've just bought a Mac the day before the release. iWork This is Apple's in-house equivalent to Microsoft Office with apps that, frankly, still aren't up to scratch when compared to Office. Pages 2010 - Increased compatibility, maybe to work with Office 2010. Keynote 2010 - More templates are likely to be added and maybe new transitions Numbers 2010 - Sample templates are also likely to be added here and more chart types. What is really needed is a Publisher replacement on a MaC. This could be done really well by Apple and could actually be a better product than Publisher itself. In 2008 Numbers was added to iWork, so a new program may be added to the suite later - and 201

Everyone uses DRM-free MP3s right? Not 7Digital.com

Today I encountered a song which I wanted to purchase, I clicked through to 7digital.com and saw that that it was available at the reasonable price of 79p. I went through checkout and paid the price of 79p as agreed. Only to then be told that the file was not an MP3 file but in fact WMA 192kbps file - making it 100% unplayable in iTunes and un-sync-able to my iPod. How can a major MP3 store have a file that is not in MP3 format and not warn me that it will not play on an iPod or Mac? This is absolutely unacceptable  in a time where music is meant to be compatible cross-platform and I have contacted 7digital's customer service requesting a refund or an account credit. If this does not happen 7digital will have lost 1 more customer who will now be buying the same song on Amazon MP3 at 69p and in the MP3 format. This post will be updated with their reply. Update (7/12/2009 - 2 weeks later): Refund of £0.79 received

Heathrow gets driverless cars

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Heathrow, the world's busiest airport in terms of international traffic, is getting ready to test what may potentially be the innovation of the century - driverless cars or Personal Rapid Transport (PRT). Users of Heathrow's business car park at Terminal 5, who leave their car at the car park at a cost of £21 per day or £294 per month will be able to use the PRT system free of charge. Users simply summon a PRT vehicle, which can carry up to five passengers, and select their destination; they will then be taken from the car park to the terminal (or vice-versa) in just three to four minutes. The system does not use any rails and uses laser guidance to reach its destination quickly and safely. A central computer ensures that the pods travel at sustained speeds and manages the traffic on the network. The pods are able to travel at a top speed of 25mph (40kmph) which is just as fast a bus but with the luxury of a taxi. Professor Martin Lowson, invenntor of the PRT system, said

The Coolest Tech Christmas Gifts of 2009

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Here we are with this year's coolest tech xmas gifts for 2009, making it easier than ever for you to decide what to buy this christmas and what is really worth your hard earned cash. 1. Self Stirring Mug - this handy mug has a small propeller at the bottom which mixes your teas, coffees, drinks perfectly with no effort required by you. It also comes with a lid to keep your drink warm when going out. The  Self Stirring Mug  is available at Amazon  RRP - £14.99 2. The Sound Asleep Pillow - ever wanted to listen to your music while going to sleep without disturbing others - now you can. This is a pillow with a built in speaker meaning only you will hear what's going on! There are two versions of this pillow. The standard  Sound Asleep Pillow   with the speaker built in costs £12.78 delivered, and at £29.99 the pillow will also be made of memory foam making your sleep even more comfortable. 3. i iPhone Battery Charger - this a essentially a backup battery pack which c

Earphones: Sennheiser CX 300-II Review

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After having used the standard iPod earphones that come with all of Apple's iPods I quickly realised that they needed to be upgraded for the sake of my ears and for the RRP of £39.99 the rather long-named "Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision Noise-Isolation Ear-Canal Phones" these buds are a steal! First of all, let me state that the street price of these buds has declined sharply making them our best buy for Christmas 2009 in terms of earphones. The  Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision Noise-Isolating Ear-Canal Phones  are actually available on Amazon for a bargain price of £33.90 (or less, check the link out now) which is a much more reasonable figure for people who aren't necessarily audiophiles. The packaging of this product has to be among the worst I have ever experienced as the sides of the package are glued together extremely strongly making it incredibly difficult to pry open, but once you have doing this the earphones really make it worth the effort. Inside you&

Premium content now live on YouTube from Channel 4, BBC and ITV.

Surfers in the UK are the first to see the development of YouTube into a premium content portal today. Broadcaster Channel 4 has joined forces with YouTube to make full length versions of its shows available on the popular video sharing website. By visiting YouTube.com/shows  viewers can see many of their favourite shows. However, it is not just Channel 4 that is in on the act, broadcaster ITV has also made available segments of it's popular shows such as X Factor online and it is now even possible to view these legally on YouTube. Not to be left out, BBC's international branch, BBC Worldwide has made many of its programs available too. Disappointingly Five seems to have yet again not come on board with the idea and is restricting its content to Demand Five online. The YouTube shows page is very well organised and is now one of tabs at the top of the YouTube navigation as can be seen below: Once on the shows page you can search by genre on the left, look at the shows

Mac OS X Chrome beta within 2 weeks + new updates

Several very important updates have been made to Google Chrome for Mac over the past few days - extensions are now available (meaning addons will be able to be used) and even more importantly Bookmark Syncing. This is a feature that no other major browser comes with "out of the box" and will be an exclusive feature to Chrome setting it apart from competitors. This appears as a message on the "New Tab" page on Chrome but it is slightly misleading as the Bookmark Syncing function is actually only available to Windows users who are funning the beta (not stable) version of the browser. The message on Macs does seem slightly misleading. At the same time rumours have been flying aorund the blogosphere that Chrome will be reaching the beta stage within the next two weeks meaning that Google thinks the browser is stable enough for some of the public to try out. This also means that in early to mid-2010 Mac users should have yet another fully supported browser to use.

Mac OS X 10.6.2 Released

The 10.6.2 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes for:   an issue that might cause your system to logout unexpectedly a graphics distortion in Safari Top Sites Spotlight search results not showing Exchange contacts a problem that prevented authenticating as an administrative user issues when using NTFS and WebDAV file servers the reliability of menu extras an issue with the 4-finger swipe gesture an issue that causes Mail to quit unexpectedly when setting up an Exchange server Address Book becoming unresponsive when editing a problem adding images to contacts in Address Book an issue that prevented opening files downloaded from the Internet Safari plug-in reliability general reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, and iDisk an issue that caused data to be deleted when using a

TalkTalk offers Fibre Optic speeds

TalkTalk has introduced a new TalkTalk Pro package on it's website which costs £15 a month (+ TalkTalk line rental) and it gives you speeds of up to 24Mb. To make full use of all the bandwidth you will also get an unlimited download allowance (instead of 40GB or 80GB in it's usual packages). Also included is a free wireless N-router which is the fastest and widest spec of Wifi so far, as well as unlimited calls to 01, 02 and 03 landline numbers. TalkTalk claims to be once again be " providing unbeatable value by offering a premium broadband product at a much lower price than its competitors' packages." £26.24 is the total monthly price if you only make calls to landlines - whether you'll be getting that speed remains to be seen.

Orange UK iPhone calling plans announced!

It is now official Orange has confirmed that the iPhone will be coming to its network on November 10 and they are now also allowing pre-orders of the phone. Shops will be open from 7am to handle the high demand and they will even ship the phone to you, arriving November 11th or later, free of charge (unless you want deliver on a Saturday and have to pay a hefty £10.99 charge). The calling plans are disappointing to say the least. The phone will cost the same on PAYG on Orange and on O2 but the plans you get a frankly rubbbish on Orange. Firstly there is a tiny limit of just 250MB per month (12MB per day) for PAYG users which is no where compared to 02's "unlimited" policy. So let's say you top up £20 on Orange you can get the following perks: 600 free texts and free music or 200 evening and weekend minutes or 15p per minute calls and texts or call abroad from 5p. With o2 for a £15 top up you can get unlimited texts and web, 1000 minutes to any UK landline or O2 mo

YouTube pre-rolls have arrived!

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Today I was shocked to be greeted by a 15-second ad spot pre-roll before a YouTube video from college humor. The video I was looking at was  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgls9IwWUyU&feature=fvw in case you wish to try this. This was surprising for me as I expect to see text ads on YouTube but it does make absolute, perfect sense that this is happening. YouTube was spending $1million a day on bandwidth in March 2008 and now has more than 20 hours of content uploaded every 60 seconds. YouTube has to pay for it's colossal bandwidth bill and now is the right time to do this. The 15-second ad from Sony was actually not that bad as 15 second really is not that long though this may prove troublesome for users who already have limited bandwidth and download limits. After some additional views on CollegeHumor's channel I managed to get some screenshots of a longer 20-second pre-roll for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Towards the bottom of the player there is a m

Unlimited iPhone usage on Orange UK? No. Limited data plans.

Orange has released details in it's terms and conditions stating that the iPhone on it's network will have a 750MB cap as part of it's 'unlimited' offering. Orange claims that it will not put in place any restrictions that would limit what applications you would use but acknoledges that 750MB may not be enough for data-heavy users. Those who like to access YouTube would be better on O2 as would those who wants to stream more than 13 hours a day of music from Spotify. This will no-doubt come as a blow to Orange the iPhone especially as Orange claims to have the best data network in the UK and proudly boasts this fact on its own website. There may be one positive side-effect to this though, whereas many users are facing severe problems transferring data on the O2 network in big cities such as London this may be the way to keep users under control and make sure that they do not send the whole network crashing down. Will this bold move work out for Orange? Only ti

NiNite downloads all your programs, installs them automatically

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Ninite is my new favourite program that will make your life much easier when upgrading from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7, or when you just need to install a bunch of programs at once on multiple PCs. Essentially it is an auto-installer and auto-downloader for Windows! Very simply, you visit www.ninite.com  and pick the apps that you want to install. Theres everything from Microsoft Office 2007 (trial version - just enter your key), Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Skype, all the messaging clients, your favourite video players incl. VLC, Spotify, iTunes, image editing programs such as GIMP, OpenOffice, Foxit Reader, Adobe Reader, Flash, Silverlight, Java, AVG, Avast, uTorrent, Steam, Dropbox, CCleaner, 7Zip, Notepad++ and loads more! After checking the boxes click "Get Installer" and a small custom installer will be downloaded (less than a megabyte). Now run the installer and all the apps will be installed, one after another and it will say 'no' to all the toolbars a