Monday, 21 December 2009
Register Hardware reports: [edited]
Vodafone will begin selling the iPhone on 14 January 2010
The 3G will cost you nothing, provided you sign up for a two-year, £35-a-month contract, or you can have it for £59 if you're only willing to pay £30 a month.
The 16GB iPhone 3GS is free on a £45-a-month package, rising to £59 (£40 a month), £89 (£35 a month) and £149 (£30 a month).
The 32GB version is free at £75 a month, £89 at £45 a month, £149 at £40 a month, £179 at £35 a month and £239 at £30 a month.
Orange will do you a 3G for free for just under £30 a month, and, like O2, offers the iPhones on 18-month terms too, though at a reduced subsidy of course. But then you have to pay Orange £44-odd quid a month to get the 16GB 3GS for free - O2 is the same.
Note that current Orange and O2 prices include VAT at 15 per cent, which will rise to 17.5 per cent on 1 January 2010. Vodafone's figures include VAT at 17.5 per cent.
Both Orange and O2 offer the iPhone on pay-as-you-go packages, which Vodafone is not doing.
Friday, 18 December 2009
Give Me Back My Google reports: [edited]
Searching for products on Google can be annoying: nothing but Kelkoo, Pricerunner et al clogging up your search results. Now don't get me wrong, these sites have their uses, but sometimes you really don't want them in your search results.
So I wrote GiveMeBackMyGoogle.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
SeriousCompacts.com has published an excellent comparison of images from these three cameras. The differences in image quality are significant, but may also convince you that they're not significant enough to lug a 'Slightly-Smaller-Than-A-SLR' (SSTASLR™) camera around with you.
Monday, 7 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Google reports: [edited]
Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: I watched the 80-minute introductory video a few weeks ago, and was curious enough to search out an invite to try it out (thanks Jason Clark, via Philip Schonken). My first impressions are that it is a bit of a mess, combining most of the disadvantages of email and instant messaging.
Paul Bucheit (one of the creators of Gmail) seems to agree with me. His blog article is available here.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
The iPhone comes with a simple note-taking App which works well and allows you to sync notes with a Mac's Mail application.
Personally, I find it too simple, with the lack of ability to change the order of notes being particularly frustrating.
There are a number of capable alternatives to the Notes App, but my favourite is the £2.39 Awesome Note.
The interface is friendly without being too 'cutesy', and you can organise things in folders, or in 'all-notes-at-a-glance' panels. Notes can be displayed with different folder icons, colors, fonts and paper backgrounds.
You can password protect notes, and import/export into Google Docs.
For more information, and a link to the App Store, visit Bridworks.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
ComputerWorld has reviewed Apple's fastest iMac yet, excerpts follow:
"...finally, the the Core i5 and Core i7 27-inch iMacs have arrived - and let me tell you, it was worth the wait."
"With the new 2.66GHz Core i5 iMac and the 2.8GHz Core i7 iMac, Apple has not only blurred the line between consumer and professional systems, it's darn near erased it."
"The 2.66GHz Core i5 iMac offers faster performance at most tasks than the 2.66GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro. The Core i5 iMac also has more memory and more storage space than the 2.66GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro, while being $500 less (plus you get a 27-inch screen with the iMac)."
"Unless you absolutely require additional PCI cards, multiple internal hard drives, or a lot of RAM, the Core i5 iMac makes a strong case for the being the go-to system for most Mac professionals."
Monday, 23 November 2009
The League of Movable Type reports: [edited]
League Gothic is a revival of an old classic, and one of our favorite typefaces, Alternate Gothic No.1. It was originally designed by Morris Fuller Benton for the American Type Founders Company (ATF) in 1903. The company went bankrupt in 1993. And since the original typeface was created before 1923, the typeface is in the public domain.
We decided to make our own version, and contribute it to the Open Source Type Movement. It’s free, not only in price, but in freedom.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
LogMeIn reports: [edited]
LogMeIn Free gives you remote control of your PC or Mac from any other computer with an internet connection.
Install LogMeIn on the computer you want to access, log into your account from another computer and click the computer you want to control. You'll see its desktop and be able to use all the applications on your remote computer as if you were sitting in front of it.
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: I've been using it for a while, and it works as advertised. I've also bought the iPhone App, which works just fine. If you want file transfer, remote sound, printing etc, LogMeIn Pro² is available for a free 30 day trial.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
On a cold and drizzly Tuesday morning, a group of invited participants gathered in the warmth of a premium suite overlooking Ascot Racecourse to learn how to market their companies in the 21st Century.
Following coffee and danish, Tim Lance introduced Germàn Sacristàn, Kodak's Business Development Manager for Europe, Africa and Middle East, who entertained and informed us on the theme of 'Do good products sell themselves? Effective methods to differentiate yourself in the way you promote and sell your products'.
After a coffee break, Peter Lancaster, director of W2P, took us on a whistle-stop tour of how communications have changed over the past 30 years, along with ways in which we can harness this to develop and improve our marketing strategies.
Judging by both the lively discussions during lunch, and the positive response from the feedback forms, the attendees were given plenty to think about.
X1 plan to host an all-day seminar on 'Keeping Your Marketing Brilliant' early in 2010. If you are interested in registering, please contact Tim or George on 01753 215300, or email@example.com
Monday, 9 November 2009
blogs.intel.com reports: [edited]
A new technology was announced at Intel Developer Forum which provides initial data rates of 10 Gigabits and potential scalability to 100 Gigabits and beyond; something copper won’t be able to achieve.
Light Peak also supports multiple simultaneous protocols which will allow bandwidth aggregation of the various interconnects used in systems today onto a single high speed, thin, flexible, and long cable and small connector. Imagine being able to connect to your camera, display, docking station, or external hard drive through a single, thin connector.
Light Peak is in the developmental stages, but Intel Executive Vice President General Manager, Intel Architecture Group Dadi Perlmutter showed a demonstration of real silicon transmitting storage, LAN data and display (1080p) data across a 30m fiber optic cable.
The end goal is to make Light Peak a complement to existing I/O technologies by enabling them to run together on a single cable and at higher, and more scalable speeds.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
If you've got an iPhone, use Adobe's Creative Suite, and have a quid spare,do yourself a favour and download the snappily titled 'Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White' iPhone app. It gives you access to a large number of concise tutorials to expand your CS4 skillset.
For more information click here.
Monday, 2 November 2009
Wired reports: [edited]
The Droid is Motorola's second attempt at an Android phone but the first one they've actually gotten right. More importantly, it's one of the first phones that can legitimately stand head-to-head with the iPhone - and come out ahead in some significant respects.
Physically the Droid is not much to look at because of its boxy, angular frame. Its hefty 170g weight doesn't make it especially pocket-friendly either. The touchscreen display is a shade bigger than the iPhone 3GS, but it has much higher resolution, with 854 x 440 pixels compared to the iPhone's 480 x 320. The virtual keyboard is fantastically responsive with very little input error.
The slide-out physical keyboard is one of the few disappointments of the Droid. The small, flat buttons make it difficult to crank out text.
The Droid runs Android 2.0 as its OS. It feels more refined than the first version of Android on T-Mobile's G1 and it's certainly better than the muddled interface on Motorola's Cliq.
The Droid's 5-megapixel camera produces photos that aren't too noisy and it does well even in low light, thanks to the built-in LED flash.
The most exciting feature of the phone, though, is the Google maps app - with built-in turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation. With text-to-speech features, the maps are layered with traffic data and a satellite view. But here's the best part. It's free! You don't have to pay a $10 per month subscription or purchase a TomTom app
The browser is excellent and displays web pages quickly (though Flash websites are still out of bounds). You can toggle through multiple windows and scan them in an easy list view. You double-tap the screen to zoom in and out - which works, but we miss the 'pinch to zoom' gesture found on the Palm Pre and iPhone. There's no native multi-touch support in the Droid.
If it were 2 ounces lighter and had a better keyboard (or no keyboard at all), it would be hands-down the best smartphone on the market today. As it is, it's a solid contender in a market that has too long been dominated by just one top-quality handset.
- - - - -
For a more extensive review, and lots of images, visit Engadget
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
"was formed with the goal to provide quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. For free. We feel that free stock photos can be good photos."
"Freerange is an advertising revenue supported photographic community - photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions."
Monday, 26 October 2009
LIFE Magazine began in 1936, chronicling history using the medium of photography.
Google Books has now made every copy from its first issue to 1972 available online in browseable & searchable format. And the images are free to share, print and post for personal use.
Warning: browsing this stuff can absorb HOURS of your time!
Friday, 23 October 2009
Register Hardware reports: [edited]
First seen late last month, the Windows 7-based device is available to buy now in the UK for £450. The PC tablet can be bought from PC resellers and direct from Archos, although the manufacturer hasn’t yet updated its website to include the model.
The Archos 9 has an 8.9in, 1024 x 600 touchscreen and is powered by Intel’s 1.2GHz Atom Z515 processor. It has 1GB of DDR 2 memory, a 60GB HDD and access to 25GB of online storage.
The Archos 9 supports 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connections – but not 3G – and data can be transferred over Bluetooth 2.1 or USB 2.0.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
One of the least explored mysteries of modern life is why a £30 digital picture frame comes complete with a multi-featured remote control while a digital camera costing thousands of pounds doesn't.
Most of the time you can use the self-timer to fire the shutter remotely, but this limits you to one shot at a time and the focus is locked once you start the timer, so if the subject moves, the shot can be ruined.
Most camera manufacturers offer a 'wired' remote control as an optional extra. For my Panasonic G1, this will cost me £60, and means I can't move more than 2.5 metres from the camera.
For $40 you can purchase wireless controllers from eBay that allows you to operate the shutter up to 100 metres from the camera. The one I ordered arrived within a week, came complete with batteries and works just fine.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Compfight is a search engine for Flickr which allows you to type in a keyword or several keywords after which it will display a thumbnail page of relevant images.
For images with a blue bar at the bottom of an image, hovering your mouse over the image reveals the dimensions.
You can restrict search results to Creative Common licenses, commercial images and/or original images.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Register Hardware reports: [edited]
The PC-compatible My Book Elite and Mac-compatible My Book Studio drives have both been kitted out with high-contrast displays. The display information remains visible when the drive is unplugged.
Users can customise the display to show the storage-related information they're concerned about, whether that be the drive’s security status, remaining capacity or number of pictures on the drive.
Studio has Fire Wire 800 and USB 2.0. The Elite is USB 2.0 only.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Crucial has released a fast, 256GB SSD for £435. With conventional 250GB hard drives retailing at £60 it is not going to be an 'impulse purchase', but it does indicate how SSD prices are plummeting. Just a few months ago a similarly specced 250GB SSD would have set you back over £1,000.
For a full review click here
Friday, 2 October 2009
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Some people adore physical activity. Give them the slightest chance to go for a long walk, or a cycle ride, or a trip to the local swimmerama and they jump at the chance.
These people make up about 1% of the population.
Most of us would much rather slump.
The problem is that the long-term effects of slumping include:
- lower energy levels
- lower abilities to cope with stress
- lower appetite for 'healthy' foods
- higher appetite for 'unhealthy' foods
99% of us never 'feel' like exercising. The list of excuses I find myself making for skipping my gym sessions are endless.
Nearly everyone feels better AFTER exercising. And it only needs to take 20 minutes to provide tangible benefits.
So whether it be a brisk walk, run, a cycle-ride, or a session at your local gym, plan some kind of physical activity into your day. It will make your day more enjoyable and (if you care about such things) more productive.
Friday, 25 September 2009
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
The Week reports:
"Few of us have time to read one newspaper from cover to cover, let alone the hundreds of newspapers and magazines published in the UK and overseas every week. Britain's daily and Sunday newspapers amounts to around 5,800 pages. Almost ten million words. Every week.
"So, keeping up to date with what's happening - and understanding all the issues behind the headlines - is difficult, if not impossible."
"The Week distils the best of the British and foreign press into 35 pages."
I find it an excellent way to keep up-to-date with a wide spread of world issues. There is a 6-issue free trial on the web site, and various subscription offers.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
My favourite writing implement is a battered old Sheaffer fountain pen. I've got other more expensive fountain pens, but none of them have the correct 'balance', write as smoothly or deposit such a heavy density of ink.
The problem with the Sheaffer is that (like most fountain pens) it requires regular refilling and cleaning. And it doesn't enjoy travelling. It can also be temperamental in its ink delivery. And even when working 'properly' it usually leaves ink stains on my fingers.
A few years ago a friend gave me a 0.7mm Zebra Sarasa gel pen he bought while shopping in London. He was impressed with the ink colour (as I remember, a rich yellow), but what I liked best was the way it wrote. I now keep stocks of them in blue, red and black. My only reservation is that the line thickness is a little too thin for my writing style.
While shopping in Staples last week, I came across 1.0mm versions of the Zebra Sarasa, and it is now my 'new favourite pen'.
The Zebra Sarasa 1.0mm pens are available in blue or black, for around £1.25p each.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
If you want an 'old-school' hand-lettered look as used on film credits for 1950s films, Sinzano allows you to do it without a lot of work.
It has over 400 OpenType interlocks which iintelligently' replace the letter combinations you type. It works very well, and at just $8.95 from My Fonts it won't bankrupt you either.
Monday, 7 September 2009
The Guardian reports: [edited]
The Daily Express had a prime example over the weekend of what can happen when you fiddle around with a headline.
The first edition of Saturday's paper carried the headline "Can Dec finally match Ant?" on a two-page feature about the ITV presenters, with the word "finally" cut between two pages.
Apparently, there were too many headlines with "finally" in, so it was changed to "Can Dec at last match Ant?" But along the way, someone forgot to change both sides of the spread, leaving the "a" of "at" on one page and "nally" of "finally" on the other, creating the memorable headline "Can Dec anally match Ant?" in some later editions.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
The Wall Street Journal reports: [edited]
Mr. Connare has looked on, alternately amused and mortified, as Comic Sans has spread from a software project at Microsoft Corp. 15 years ago to grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer.
The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web. The mission: "to eradicate this font" and the "evil of typographical ignorance."
"If you love it, you don't know much about typography," Mr. Connare says. But, he adds, "if you hate it, you really don't know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby."
Mr. Connare, 48 years old, now works at Dalton Maag, a typography studio in London, and finds his favorite creation - Magpie - eclipsed by Comic Sans. He cringes at the most improbable manifestations of his Frankenstein's font and rarely uses it himself.
The proliferation of Comic Sans is something of a fluke. In 1994, Mr. Connare was working on a team at Microsoft creating software that consumers eventually would use on home PCs. His designer sensibilities were shocked, he says, when, one afternoon, he opened a test version of a program called Microsoft Bob for children and new computer users. The welcome screen showed a cartoon dog named Rover speaking in a text bubble. The message appeared in the Times New Roman font.
Mr. Connare says he pulled out the two comic books he had in his office, 'The Dark Knight Returns' and 'Watchmen', and got to work, inspired by the lettering and using his mouse to draw on a computer screen. Within a week, he had designed his legacy.
A product manager recognised the font's appeal and included it as a standard typeface in the operating system for Microsoft Windows.
Thanks to Conrad for the link
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
'People Who Know A Lot About How To Sell Things' (PWKALAHTST) have come to the conclusion that 'people' (that's you and me) think that 6 weeks is a 'bearable and believable' amount of time to follow a programme for and expect results.
That's why our newsstands are stuffed with magazines promising 'A flatter stomach in 6 weeks', 'Bigger biceps in 6 weeks' and 'Build your own space shuttle in 6 weeks'.
However, while the claims aren't technically false (they don't specify HOW much flatter, HOW much bigger or... OK, I made up the last claim), they are misleading.
If you are planning on making life-changes, whether it be increasing your personal fitness levels, learning a new skill or improving your sleep patterns, make it a year plan. A year goes by plenty fast anyway (we're into the last third of 2009, so where did the first two go?) but 12 months gives you some room for 'lapses', and the ability to fine-tune your programme based on assessing your results (or lack of them) at monthly intervals.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Monday, 24 August 2009
A good friend of mine once gave me this piece of advice:
"When in doubt about what someone thinks about you, think the best".
On first hearing, I didn't think it made much sense, but as I've thought about it, and put it into practice, the wisdom of its message has emerged.
1. It stands as a good hedge against paranoia.
2. Most people aren't against you. In fact, most people are so obsessed with their own lives that they're not thinking about you at all.
3. Trying to second-guess whether people like or hate you is a time-consuming, emotionally draining and usually negative activity.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Monday, 10 August 2009
New York Times has a long, but excellent article about Justice Stevens, the oldest member of the U.S. Supreme Court. If you want to be encouraged that life doesn't have to 'end' at 60, 70, or 80, it is worth a read.
Some excerpts follow:
Justice Stevens, the oldest and arguably most liberal justice, now finds himself the leader of the opposition. Vigorous and sharp at 87, he has served on the court for 32 years, approaching the record set by his predecessor, William O. Douglas, who served for 36.
In criminal-law and death-penalty cases, Stevens has voted against the government and in favor of the individual more frequently than any other sitting justice. He files more dissents and separate opinions than any of his colleagues.
He is the court’s most outspoken defender of the need for judicial oversight of executive power. And in recent years, he has written majority opinions in two of the most important cases ruling against the Bush administration’s treatment of suspected enemy combatants in the war on terror — an issue the court will revisit this term, which begins Oct. 1, when it hears appeals by Guantánamo detainees challenging their lack of access to federal courts.
He considers himself a “judicial conservative,” he said, and only appears liberal today because he has been surrounded by increasingly conservative colleagues.
“Including myself,” he said, “every judge who’s been appointed to the court since Lewis Powell” — nominated by Richard Nixon in 1971 — “has been more conservative than his or her predecessor. Except maybe Justice Ginsburg. That’s bound to have an effect on the court.”
Stevens was born on April 20, 1920, the youngest of four boys. His paternal grandfather, James W. Stevens, made a fortune as the founder of the Illinois Life Insurance company, and in 1927, his father, Ernest J. Stevens, built the Stevens Hotel in Chicago, now the Hilton Chicago, which he called “the largest and finest hotel in the world.”
“I had a very happy childhood,” Stevens told me with a faraway look in his eyes. But events took a darker turn in 1934, when the Stevens Hotel went bankrupt in the Great Depression, and Stevens’s father, grandfather and uncle were [unfairly] indicted for diverting money from the Illinois Life Insurance company to make interest payments on bonds for the hotel.
Stevens’s uncle committed suicide, and his father was convicted in 1934 of embezzling $1.3 million.
I asked Stevens whether seeing his father unjustly convicted influenced his views on the Supreme Court. “I’m sure it did,” he replied. “You can’t forget about that.” Stevens said the experience had taught him a “very important lesson”: namely, “that the criminal justice system can misfire sometimes” because “it seriously misfired in that case.”
Since Stevens joined the court, he has been the only justice routinely to write the first drafts of his own opinions — the other justices have generally relied on clerks to write their first drafts and then rewritten (or at least edited) the drafts to various degrees.
“Sometimes the draft is pretty short,” Stevens told me, “but at least I write enough so that I’ve had a chance to think it through.” Stevens said writing a first draft was “terribly important” because “you often don’t understand a case until you’ve tried to write it out.”
During his early years on the court, Stevens was known as “the FedEx justice” because he would hand-write his drafts on a yellow pad, dictate them for his secretary, FedEx them to Washington so she could type them up and then FedEx back and forth with his law clerks for editing. “That was cumbersome,” he recalled. But he switched to computers about 20 years ago and, with a secure Internet connection and phone line, he has become the first telecommuting justice.
He swims every day in the ocean, plays tennis at least three times a week and plays golf two or three times a week. “I get a lot of exercise down there, and my wife feeds me very well, so it works out very well,” Stevens said happily. He tries to maintain this vigorous exercise schedule when he is in Washington, playing tennis two or three times a week, often with one of his three daughters. (His son died in 1996 of cancer.)
He is in such good physical shape that, in 2005, at age 85, he threw the first pitch at a Cubs-Reds game at Wrigley Field and got it right over the plate.
Friday, 7 August 2009
Imaging expert and author Deke McClelland is presenting his list of what he considers the top 40 features in Photoshop.
If you use Photoshop CS3 or CS4 and you can cope with Deke's bombastic presentation style, this page is worth bookmarking.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Monday, 3 August 2009
1. It gets it out of the way. This is the single most important reason for exercising in the morning. Even if you schedule exercise during the day, it will usually be the item that gets dropped as the day becomes busier.
2. It raises your metabolic rate, making you feel more ready for the day ahead.
3. It helps regulates your appetite for the rest of the day.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
The Fell Types take their name from John Fell, a Bishop of Oxford in the seventeenth-century. During his life he collected an exquisite selection of printing types from all over Europe for use on his printing presses.
Visit Igino Marini's website for "a non-exhaustive history and a modern digitalization of some of them".
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Register Hardware reports: [edited]
Western Digital has announced the world's first 1TB 2.5-inch drive, a 3-platter Scorpio Blue. It is priced at €205, with a 3Gbit/s SATA interface and have various WD technologies to run quietly, park heads when not in use and withstand shocks.
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: It is a 12.5mm unit, which means it won't fit into most Apple laptops, although some sites report that they can be squeezed into the latest 17" models.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
The human brain is a strange thing. You'd think that something with over a 100 billion neurons would be capable of remembering a few important items that you are meant to take with you on your journey. Or even one.
And, of course, it can. And it does. However, my brain (and I suspect I'm not alone here) tends to wait until I have not only embarked on a journey, but have travelled a significant distance before moving it from the 'stored' to the '!!@£*?!' area of my consciousness.
I'm sure there are all sorts of very clever ways of becoming more conscious of the 'stored' area. However, the lazy way is to put the thing you need to take with you somewhere where you can't avoid noticing it before leaving your house.
Alternatively, put it in the bag you will take with you, or the vehicle that you're going to use.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Adobe reports: [edited]
Any projection of a 3D scene into a wide-angle image results in distortion. Current projection methods either bend straight lines in the scene, or locally distort the shapes of scene objects.
We present a method that minimizes this distortion by adapting the projection to content in the scene, such as salient scene regions and lines, in order to preserve their shape.
Our optimization technique computes a spatially-varying projection that respects user-specified constraints while minimizing a set of energy terms that measure wide-angle image distortion.
View a demo movie here.
via John Nack
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
This one's so basic that you probably know it already. However, it is one of those things that I find myself having to learn, and re-learn, then re-re-learn again.
You need to talk to someone about something. You've spent time thinking about it. You're sure you need to talk with them. But it's not something you're looking forward to saying to them.
If possible, find an opportunity to talk to them one-to-one, face-to-face. Firstly, this is the best way. Secondly, you're going to make sure that this is something you really need to tell them!
Second-best, 'phone them.
Third-best, a hand-written note, requesting a one-to-one meet.
Don't email, memo or fax them.
And definitely, DEFINITELY, never, ever, EVER tell someone else about it so that the person gets to hear about what you think second- or third-hand. Trust me, it will end in tears.