Web Warp Blog has been retired. For new posts please head to dmather.com.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Bear Grylls: The Bear Essentials iPhone App

Bear Grylls is the star of extreme survival program Born Survivor and Man vs Wild. This evening Bear Grylls unveiled his iPhone App at the Apple store in Regent Street, London. The app contains information on survival techniques such as building a fire and building a shelter. It also includes a variety of games to test you on your survival knowledge.

There is also a special section of the app for the Scouts. Bear Grylls is the Chief Scout in the UK. Bear described how his time in the Scouts put him in good stead to move on to the military and his career in survival.

The iPhone app aims to provide practical advice through text, pictures and videos. The app is coming soon to the iTunes store. You can follow Bear Grylls on Twitter here.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Testing Chromium OS

Google's Operating System is highly anticipated by the computing industry. The integration with your Google Account, 'instant on' internet access and 'no-fuss' computing promises a new age for netbooks. The OS is actually a product of the Chromium Project, the open source project behind Google's web browser Google Chrome. Once complete Google reckon boot time will be around 7 seconds. Chromium OS is completely different to the existing main stream operating systems, it stores no information locally and is entirely based on a webbrowser (Google Chrome to be precise).

Although it isn't officially out yet as a completed operating system it's source code is available (for free) to download. To then create a working distribution requires skill, time and effort. Fortunately there are several ways to download distributions of Chrome in it's current state of development. The easiest (and the method I used) is to run Parallels on an Intel powered Mac. From the File menu choose 'Download Chome OS' and your ready to start using it! I was very impressed with the automatic download and installation.

You can also download a build of Chrome OS called Flow from Hexxeh. You can install it using Parallels or VM Ware Fusion 3 on a Mac or with VirtualBox on Windows, Mac or Linux. I would imagine that you could also install this using Microsoft Virtual PC, but I've not tried it out.

Let me know your experiences testing Chromium OS using virtual machines on Twitter: @webwarpblog.

Friday, 3 December 2010

iOS 4.2 on the iPhone 3G

Apple have updated their iPhone operating system, iOS, to 4.2. This latest version advertising many new and exciting features. However, not all the new features work on all devices but Apple don't make it very clear which features work with which device. On their webpage: http://www.apple.com/ios/ they state: "Not all features are compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking, AirPrint, and VoiceOver are available on iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch (3rd generation and later). AirPlay and Game Center are available on iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch (2nd generation and later)."

This blog post aims to clarify the available features for everyone. The table below shows the features and their compatibility. As you can see the iPhone 3G doesn't really benefit with any new features although the iPhone 3G does get a speed boost with the new update.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Xbox 360 Facelift

It's a couple of months now since the launch of the new xbox 360 hardware featuring a shiny slimline body and Kinect ready port. Now they have updated the on-screen look too. The new system is a compulsory download from the 1st November 2010 and brings the required settings and compatibility for the new Kinect system which will be in stores before Christmas.

The new look is based on the NXE which replaced the old Dashboard system in November 2008. The xbox website has also undergone a refresh, and is much quicker too. Check it out at www.xbox.com.

Kinect, xbox's controller free gaming experience hits the shops in the USA on 4/11/2010. For more details: Xbox 360 Kinect

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The ebook Revolution

Ebook readers, tablet devices and smart phones are becoming more and more popular ways to digest written content such as news, books and magazines. Are the days of the printed press numbered? The range of devices that can gather content is increasing daily with manufacturers scrambling to compete with the market leaders in smart phones, tablets and ebook readers. Apple's iPad has revolutionised the market by bringing hardware to the forefront of people minds.

With the Apple iPad and the iBook store Apple hope to capture the technology keen with an ebook reader by selling them what they really want: a shiny new gadget with a bright colour screen, touch screen and motion controls. Other manufacturers have a more "book" focused strategy. Sony, Amazon and many others have released ebook readers which feature "e-ink". The e-ink screen looks like the printed text you might find in a book. It behaves just like a printed page, reflecting sunlight. In comparison tablet computing devices such as the new Samsung Galaxy tab or the Apple iPad fail miserably to remain readable in bright sunshine.

With technologies developing for both decent reading screens and multifuntion devices full of music and video content, the number of books and magazines which are downloaded and read on digital devices will enevitably increase. One day reading may undergo a similar revolution to music where it will not be uncommon to have your entire bookshelf in you pocket or on your computer.

As proof of this the Metro have an iPhone app so you can recieve their free newspaper on an iPhone without having to get to the train station and pick one up. The Times have an iPad app which, controversially, requires a monthly subscription. It will be a toe in the water for the newspaper industry looking into new technology.

Interesting the Independant newspaper will soon be launching a smaller version of their broadsheet called "i" which will cost only 20p.

Amazon are really leading the way with ebook readers by providing both great value hardware (with free 3G coverage) and an online bookstore which is competitivly priced. You can even keep multiple ebook readers or Kindle apps in sync with their whispersync service.

These new techologies also allow access to far more material than the newsagents, for example you won't find Web Warp Blog for sale there!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Orange and T-Mobile Sharing Network Coverage

Following the merger of the managment of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, Everything Everywhere has kept a low profile. They are going to continue to operate the two brands independently. However this week see's the launch of an advertising campaign in both Orange and T-Mobile brand colours showing off that Orange customers can now use the T-Mobile signal and visa-versa.

The advert features the Everything Everywhere logo in the top left corner with the slogan "Inspired by Everything Everywhere".

This should be a huge advantage to Orange and T-Mobile customers who enevitably should benefit from increased signal coverage and a more reliable service.

Today also see's the launch of 6 new handsets which carry the Windows Phone 7 Operating System. So new Windows Phone owners on Orange or T-Mobile will be very pleased to hear the news that they will have more signal coverage for their social network updates, Outlook access for emails and social gaming via Xbox Live.

UPDATE: Both Orange and T-Mobile customers are experiencing increased network coverage following the above announcement.

FaceTime comes to the Mac

Apple introduced us to FaceTime with the arrival of the iPhone 4. Then the latest iPod Touch received front and rear facing camera's and added FaceTime capability between iPod's and iPhones. Now the webcam, Wi-Fi powered, conversations come to the Mac. From today you can download the Beta version of the FaceTime software and start calling iPhone and iPod Touch users as long as you are connected to the internet and they are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi.

Check out the Apple webpage here.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Working on the Go

As a an experiment this blog post is being typed using an iPhone on the go. A previous blog post on Web Warp Blog hinted towards using an iPhone (or similar smart phone) as a netbook replacement. In fact it's a netbook that lives in your pocket and not your breifcase.

To maximise the productivity of working on the go it is wise to look into QuickOffice for the iPhone. The premium version of the app allows integration with several online cloud storage services including Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net and Apple's MobileMe iDisk. This app allows editing for Word and Excel files on the go. Some features aren't available such as graphs in the spreadsheet editor. As a basic editting tool for word documents the app performs seamlessly.

To make typing easier the iOS 4 software for the iPhone and iPod Touch allows you to use a bluetooth keyboard (excludes iPhone 3G).

The only issue is getting a decent 3G signal, but that really depends to where you are.

Happy Mobile Computing!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Twitter's New Interface

Twitter has updated their web interface to include integration for pictures and video's. They have split the page in to two panes. The new website has a lot more screen space and has feature's that Twitter client users (such as Twitter for iPhone, formerly Tweetie, and TweetDeck) have been familiar for a while. The new interface can bring images from TwitPic and yfrog directly into your twitter page without opening a new page/tab. The Twitter interface also allows you to view a users profile without navigating away from your twitter stream. It's currently an opt in/opt out option but soon it will be compulsory for all Twitter users.

Twitter have rolled out their new interface to everyone, thoughts please!Sat Oct 09 12:59:01 via TweetDeck

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Importance of Connectivity

In today's increasingly online world the quality (or existence) of your connectivity options are an amenity as important to you as... a.) nearby bus stops/tube stations? b.) local shops? With a high speed internet connection and excellent 3G mobile phone reception would you mind walking further to get a paper in the morning (no wait, don't you get your news online?!). So your Internet connectivity hunger might lead you into cafe's with wi-fi or to choose a home with fibre optic broadband available. The question is, where does this stop? It's been reported today that the London Cycle Hire Docking Stations are increasing the acceptable rent payments in the surrounding areas as they are being considered by estate agents as a local amenity like tube stations or bus stops.

Would someone base their choice of home on mobile reception? Are areas of strong reception going to cost more to buy or rent?  I'm sure that connectivity will continue to have an increasing effect on our decisions. It wouldn't be possible for a shop to open up without a phone line for card payments or an office to not have an email system. The era of digital connectivity being a commodity, like electricity and water, is upon us.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Google Instant Search

As widely rumoured and, almost, suggested by the latest Google Doodle with a colour as you type interactivity, Google have announced Google Instant. The Google Instant service will be coming this autumn. To access Google Instant you will need to be signed into google.com with a Google Account. This picture sums up Google's anticipated results, and highlights the excitement and hype caused about the Google Doodle's in the past few days.

The best description of this service is taken straight from the Google press release and their YouTube video:
Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you're headed, every step of the way.

Google Doodle Mystery Continues

After yesterday's interactive Google logo the mystery continues with today's logo. Today the Google logo starts greyed out and then gets coloured in as you type. There is some speculation online that this hints towards a search as you type feature coming soon.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Interactive Google Doodle

Visitors to Google's homepage are today faced with an unusual, and seemingly without reason (EDIT: For Google's 12th birthday?), interactive Google doodle. The logo is made up of coloured circles which move away from your cursor and respond to the movement of the browser window.

After a quick movement from the mouse...

The Guardian has a more in depth feature: Click Here.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Microsoft Announce Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft have announced the release date of Internet Explorer 9: 15th September 2010. Internet Explorer 8 continues to hold a large market share of users (who on the whole care little about web browsers and tend to stick to the Windows default) and Microsoft want to build on this with the release of IE9. They claim it will bring a richer and more immersive webbrowsing experience on their countdown page Beauty of the Web. IE9 will include support for HTML 5, although it would appear that Internet Explorer is playing catchup compared to the other major web browsers.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Apple unleash new iPods

Apple announced a new range of iPod's in their recent iPod event. The new iPods include:
  • iPod Touch with Facetime and Retina display (like the iPhone 4)
  • iPod Nano with multitouch interface (similar to the iPhone)
  • iPod Shuffle with buttons again (much better for control)
  • And the iPod Classic with a huge 160GB storage capacity
Courtesy of Apple Inc.

They have also released iTunes 10.  This includes a new social networking element called Ping. It allows you to follow your friends and musicians and see what other people are listening to, rating or reviewing. The new version of iTunes also supports third party hardware that will be compatible with their remote speaker system currently only used by the Airport Express. It will be inbuilt in some forthcoming stereo's from Denon and JBL. Click Here for more information. The iTunes 10 logo moves away from the classic iTunes symbol of a musical note in front of a CD, we really have left the age of the CD.

New Apple iTunes 10 logo ditches classic CD symbol, the age a... on Twitpic

They also announced a new Apple TV model. The new model moves away from the Mac Mini looks with a small sleek black glossy case. It features HDMI output and the ability to rent HD films from iTunes via the inbuilt Wi-Fi and your existing home Wi-Fi network.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Gmail Priority Inbox Beta

Google have added a new beta feature to their web mail system - Priority Inbox. It sorts out the important emails from the endless adverts and updates from companies. Gmail users can try it out now as it's being rolled out this week. Look to the top right of the page for a link to activate it. The system gets better with time and use so it's probably worth trying out for a few weeks before commenting on how good it is. This Google video explains all...

Let us know what you think by commenting below or on Twitter.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

AR Drone - Ultimate Gadget

As seen on BBC Click and Five's Gadget Show the AR Drone is the ultimate gadget. The AR Drone is a remote controled helicopter with four turbines. It's referred to by it's makers, Parrot, as a quadricopter with iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch control via Wi-Fi. It features two cameras - front facing and vertical. These broadcast video straight to your handheld controller (iPhone).

The system is very advanced and features ultra-sound sensors and a self level auto-pilot. The AR Drone can be piloted using the accelerometer within an iPhone. It can be safely flown indoors with a cover surrounding the blades.

The best way to check it out is with this video!

For more information and videos check out AR Drone's website.

For purchase information check out HMV: Click Here

Sky Sports News HD

Sky Sports News HD has launched on Sky Channel 455 (Standard Definition Channel 405). There are lots of changes to the Sky Sports News channel apart from the change to high definition. It is no longer on Freeview. It is now on any Sky package but only until February 23rd 2011. After then it will only be available to subscribers to either the News & Events package or a Sports package.

Full Details: Click Here

Monday, 23 August 2010

Reading Festival Weather Outlook

What will the weather be like to this weekend's Reading Festival?

BBC Weather 3 Day Forecast:

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Facebook Places

Facebook have launched a new version of their iPhone app, version 3.2. This add's Place's to their service in the US. The service is similar to Foursquare but (and Facebook stresses) the Facebook service is limited to your Facebook friends. In fact you have strict control over which friends or lists can see your location. Despite Facebook's tight privacy controls privacy groups are concerned that geotagging your location onto the internet is a step too far.

Version 3.2 also brings Twitter for iPhone (formerly Tweetie 2) style "Pull Down to Update", which is a neat improvement.

For more information about Places check out this article from Mashable.

EDIT: Facebook for iPhone is now version 3.2.1 following bug fixes.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Environmental Packaging Future

Image: NASA
In a future where we drive around in alternative fuel cars and generate all our electricity from renewable sources we need to make everything in our lives more energy efficient. So making, transporting, and disposing of unnecessary packaging needs to be reconsidered. Many products now come to the UK from abroad and so this packaging travels even further across the world.

There is an industry which has been minimising packaging for years, the space industry. NASA have been sending astronauts into space using the minimum weight possible. At lot of their food comes in very little packaging. Liquids come in pouches as shown in this NASA picture.
This pouch takes up very little space and weight compared to the normal packaging that we're used to, and it allows astronauts to drink in space through the in built straw.

Original Source create shower gels from natural ingredients. As an environmentally conscious company they have created packaging, similar to the liquid pouch above, for their shower gel. They claim it's made with 75% less plastic. It's an innovation that paves to way forward and will make a huge difference to the environmental cost of transportation. It also takes less natural resources to make and with oil prices increasing and oil potentially running out, minimising this has to be a good thing.

There are many companies trying to reduce their carbon footprint in this way, from beer bottles made with less glass to supermarket lorries with a more aerodynamic shape. It will be very in common in the next few years to see companies move away from spending money on token windmills and move to spending money on alternative fuel lorries, more efficient packaging and of course advertising their green image! Most supermarkets already offer degradable carrier bags and a range of renewable bags. It's a future where maybe a simple jar of Marmite doesn't have to be presented in a box, just because it's extra old!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Unshrink URL's

It is very popular to shorten links for twitter/facebook/email so that people so don't have to copy and paste long web addresses. But this leads to a problem, where to these shortened links go?! Typically you have no way of knowing that http://bit.ly/dBMqnl in fact takes you to Web Warp Blog. You do have to be careful online not to follow unknown links that could lead to spyware/adware/viruses. But there is another way. If you use either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your web browser and by utilising add-ons & extensions. Then when you are browsing these links are automatically detected and converted to show where they really go.

For Firefox try 'Long URL Please' as advertised on BBC Click's Webscape. It supports lengthening the hyperlink of 80 shortening services including the most popular bit.ly, tinyurl.com & goo.gl.

For Google Chrome try ChromeMUSE. It also allows you to create your own short URL's as well as expanding them when they appear online.

In my opinion the better of the two services by far is Long URL Please which works really fast and is reliable and dependable. It does exactly what it says on the tin! A great Firefox Add-on.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Magic Trackpad

The latest Apple accessory is the Magic Trackpad. Apple are always pushing the limits of innovation and with this product they have created a piece of art that is functional and stylish. Coupled with the Apple Wireless Keyboard your desktop will look very futuristic. The Magic Trackpad is a laptop style trackpad (in fact it's lifted from the MacBook Pro) and mounted on a sleek frame for use with your desktop Mac. It supports multitouch just like on a MacBook Pro too. It connects via bluetooth for a wire free desk.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

iPhone 3G & iOS4 Problems

Any iPhone 3G user who has updated to iOS4 has had to spend ages waiting for their phone to update it's firmware and in many cases leaving the user without app data such as contacts or Angry Birds levels. Thankfully these are retrieved with restore from latest backup. For iPhone 3GS users the process was fast, painless and made an improvement to their phones. With iOS 4 the 3GS is more snappy than before, although more susceptible to minor freezes. The extra functionality is great and brings the iPhone 3GS up to date with multitasking.

It seems now that Apple are aware of the problems on the iPhone 3G and iOS4. They are working to improve this in the next update. Until then 3G users will have to struggle with lagging text entry and painfully slow app opening when their phones worked perfectly before! Many websites advise that iPhone 3G users stick with iOS 3.

It's widely rumoured that iOS 4.1 will address these issues on the iPhone 3G so lets hope it's out soon. Many iPhone 3G users feel like they have been forced to upgrade to the 3GS or iPhone 4 from this operating software update.

First Web Warp Blog Twitpic

Web Warp Blog now has a Twitpic account, here's a quick one to start it off. Check it out:
Web Warp Blog on 3 iPhones at once, not to mention the fact t... on Twitpic

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Firefox Home iPhone App Review

Mozilla have released an iPhone app to accompany their popular web browser Firefox. Firefox is so popular in fact that it is fast becoming the default browser for websites minimum requirements, and many companies are encouraging their employees to use Firefox. Due to Apple's App store approval requirements (or so it is cited)...
... Firefox Home is Not a Web Browser.
This leads on to the question, what is Firefox Home?

Firefox Home is an iPhone app that allows you to view the contents of Firefox Sync. Firefox Sync is an Add-on for Firefox which allows you synchronise your bookmarks and open tabs across multiple computers. On your iPhone you can view these bookmarks and open tabs and open them in the in built browser (where they don't seem to open particularly quickly or accurately, but hey it's not a web browser!) or open them in Mobile Safari (which really is the only option).

So this app is for people who are in love with Firefox and would like the ability to see their bookmarks whilst out and about (but not add to them!). For those serious about syncing bookmarks to between their computer(s) and iPhone over the air MobileMe is a better (and more expensive) option.

For those who want this ability between two or more computers Google Chrome offers a far better option. The set up process on Google Chrome is just your Google account details. For Firefox you need to download the Firefox Sync Add-on to each PC and go through a lengthy set up wizard with username, password and a secret phrase. Firefox Sync does allow you to store your bookmarks on your server though, but is this really a worthwhile feature?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Twitter's Evolution

Twitter asks the question: "What are you doing?". And so the age of microblogging and oversharers tweeting about cups of tea etc began. But in my experience Twitter has evolved. There are still users who post messages about themselves to update people who follow there account that they are enjoying the sunshine or sitting on the bus but there are several different types of accounts that have sprung up. There are RSS bots that tweet directly from RSS Feeds (such as Twittefeed). There are integrated services that allow updates to be posted to Twitter from other programs/websites/services. Services like mflow, linkedin and most websites that promote sharing.

So now on Twitter you can follow accounts or lists to bring you news, views and links. Twitter is now a way of absorbing information from the internet. Following different twitter feeds you can keep yourself up to date with news and sporting events. Twitter has moved beyond the brief of "What are you doing?". You can even follow Web Warp Blog on Twitter @webwarpblog.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Online Sync Options Overview

Backing up is VERY important. If your computer broke right now - completely - where would it leave you? Some users would have lost every file they have ever created. They would no longer have their email contacts, documents, photos and music. Just think of all those holiday snaps and memories gone because you failed to backup. Well I don't think this should ever be an issue for webusers again because there are loads of services out there that allow you to store you personal files on the internet in a safe password protected area of a server.

Unfortunately for users these services are a little complicated to compare. They typically provide multiple services which make each seem unique, however they are all essentially the same. They are online storage for you to store information. The main differences are:

  • The applications/methods used to move your data to and from these services.
  • The encouraged use of the storage in terms of data type (i.e. photos / contacts etc).
  • Collaboration and sharing options.
  • Price.
Well Web Warp Blog is here to help enlighten you as to whats available out there and few pros and cons for your consideration. There are so many services that this post is limited to only a few examples as I would probably online trust well establishes companies to look after my data which I share with their servers. And after all, I'm trying to be concise!

In previous analysis of these services Web Warp Blog looked at them for their life organising skills which synchronising web bookmarks (favorites to IE users), contacts, calendars etc. To have a quick read: Google Sync vs Apple's MobileMe.

So a quick summary of the services of note are:
  • Windows Live Sync - Allows syncing of files across computers on the same network.
  • MobileMe - Focused on syncing personal data such as contacts & calendars.
  • Google - Focuses on online editing of office type documents.
  • Flickr - Purely based on Photo uploads and public sharing.
  • Dropbox - Allows syncing of files and version backup.
  • Box - Focused on business customers and large storage amounts.
  • Humyo - Emphasises trust. 
So Web Warp Blog will look some of these services in more detail in a series of blog posts.

News Websites Redesigned

The BBC News website and Microsoft's MSN homepage have both recently been redesigned. Both websites have moved to a cleaner looking page with larger text and multimedia content. The BBC News website in particular pushes video content utilising higher quality video using it's iPlayer technology. Another similarity is the menu system. Both websites use a clean horizontal menu system to help users navigate their sites. MSN have moved to a default white background which users of Microsoft's Hotmail and Windows Live services will be very familiar with.

MSN have toned down their use of advertising too, which was used far too much screen space before.

For more information on the redesign from the BBC, click here.
Check out the news designs for yourself:
BBC News

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

TV's World Cup Final: BBC vs ITV

With the FIFA World Cup Final in South Africa the world was watching, but the question is how? In the UK viewers could choose from two terrestrial channels, two HD channels and several online streaming services. Both the BBC and ITV showed the World Cup Final on their flagship and HD channels: BBC One, BBC HD, ITV1 & ITV1HD respectively.
Both offered live streaming online through BBC iPlayer and ITV Player services. Other streaming sites such as Catchup TV also played out the final live.

The BBC reports that the BBC One coverage was the most popular from the viewing figures. The BBC attracted 17.9 million viewers compared to ITV's peak of 3.8 million. The BBC showed that throughout the tournament that viewers wanted analysis at half time, not endless adverts. And they certainly didn't want to risk another mishap on ITV1HD which lead to many viewers missing a crucial moment of the first England match.

It is also wide spread opinion that the commentary was of a better quality on the BBC; again throughout the tournament.

With this world cup being broadcast for the first time in HD for every match, what can we expect in four years time? The rate of the development of technology is so fast that it is likely that the young market of 3D TV will be widespread by the 2014 World Cup. Although many people will resist the change to 3D because you have to where 3D glasses.

Online streams will also improve in quality and by 2014 it is likely that matches will be broadcast online in high quality over fast fibre optic networks to homes in cities and large towns in very high (if not HD) quality.

RT @punctualwaffle Proof that nobody likes watching live sport on #ITV http://bit.ly/a8kLJu #itvfailless than a minute ago via web

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Future Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular web browsers out there. It is highly customizable and feature packed. In fact a quarter of all visits to Web Warp Blog come through Firefox. Now you can test the latest Beta release, version 4 Beta 1. To download it click here.

But please note that by default it will overwrite your existing Firefox 3 install and you will be unable to use the majority of your add-ons. It is not advisable for individuals who rely on Firefox as there may (probably will) be bugs in the Beta version. If you select Advanced Options in the set up process you can install it in a separate location on your hard drive. This allows you to run both versions on your system.

Data collected through the Mozilla test pilot program helps Firefox improve the software so that the finished product is as good as it can be and free of bugs and problems.

@webwarpblog Firefox 4.0 beta 1 can in fact be installed and used alongside Firefox 3.6. So no need to ditch add-ons to test the beta. :)less than a minute ago via web

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

mflow Adding More Tracks

The music "reflowultion" mflow which was featured previously on this blog here has been hit by criticism from early adopters. We must remember, and stress, that the service is still in 'Beta' and is always being improved. Since the initial Web Warp Blog post mflow has added support for Twitter and Facebook, as well as a profile page for each mflow user. The program itself has been updated several times and a lot of tweaks and features have been added. You can now send your downloaded (or library) tracks to iTunes with one click.

Their music library may be relatively small, and can often frustrate users, but good news! The world from one of the founders, Oleg Fomenko is: mflow are working hard to add tracks:

@webwarp @punctualwaffle working overtime on the catalogue ... growing it every day ... still have more than 2M tracks awaiting ingestless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

So if you haven't joined mflow yet I recommend it. You will receive all sorts of tracks in your inbox and earn 20% back off purchases made through your recommendations! And with the library growing all the time one day you may receive flows of Muse in your inbox!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Muse at Glastonbury 2010

MUSE headlined the Saturday line up of the 2010 Glastonbury Festival with an immense set featuring a wide range of their tracks. It was broadcast on the BBC and is available to watch again on BBC iPlayer until 1:59am Sun, 4 Jul 2010. Click Here or on the iPlayer logo for Muse at Glastonbury. It is highly recommended!

Set List
Supermassive Black Hole
New Born
Map of the Problematique
Guiding Light
Citizen Erased
United States Of Eurasia
Feeling Good
Undisclosed Desires
Time Is Running Out
Stockholm Syndrome

Where The Streets Have No Name (U2 cover with The Edge)
Plug In Baby
Knights of Cydonia (With Chris' extended harmonica intro)

Muse are currently on tour playing to stadiums across Europe. See www.muse.mu for more details!

The setlist can be found at www.setlist.fm.
Image: http://backstage.bbc.co.uk/

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Mac Mini gets miniaturised

Apple have done it again and made another product unbelievably small. The iPod/iPhone charger has got smaller and smaller from hand size to just a plug head for the iPhone 3GS charger. The Apple Mac Mini has had the same treatment.

The new Mac Mini is a single unibody construction. It looks about 50% smaller than the outgoing model. It is 2x faster so that makes it 4x more powerful per tonne to use some TopGear logic. It also features an HDMI socket so you can set up your Mac Mini on your HD TV. This save you having to buy an Apple TV (perhaps?). It's also the most energy efficient Mac to date.

Apple are selling the Mac Mini in two variants. One is a standard computer and the other is a Mac Mini with Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server installed. This server version doesn't have an optical drive. It would make an ideal home server or small business server.

Apple Mac Mini starts at £649 with a 320GB hard drive from www.apple.com/uk.

Image: Apple Inc.

iPhone 4 Available

Apple's iPhone 4 is out today. It was welcomed in with queues of expectant customers at Apple's Regent Street store in London. The demand is so high that Carphone Warehouse are unable to take orders online or on the phone:
"Due to unprecedented demand for the new Apple iPhone 4 we have extremely limited stock. We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause."
Its certainly a very impressive product and demand will be high for a few weeks yet if it follows the same pattern as the release of the iPhone 3G.

Image: Apple Inc.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

iOS 4 Available

Apple iOS 4 is now available to download from iTunes. It updates the Operating system on iPhones, iPod Touches and the iPad. The Apple website will take you through which features suit your device. As a quick review all I can say is "wow!".

I love the new features. Apple have added functionality where required, it is just a little better everywhere. It's the little things which make the difference everytime you pick up your phone. For example there is now a spellchecker inbuilt into the keyboard. And speaking of keyboards... my favourite feature has to be the support for Bluetooth keyboards!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Hands on with an Apple iPad

So I finally got a chance to have a go on an iPad. The Apple display had it's own small crowd all gathered round to catch their first glimse of the much-hyped iPad. The 4 iPad's were showcasing games with iPad specific versions and all the standard apps. I took the iPad specific London Underground app for a whirl:

The multitouch display is incredible on the larger device. All of the UI is so obvious and familar. The speed of responses was spot on, although I hardly put the iPad through it's paces. The device seemed well made and strong. The iBooks app was impresive. The Amazon Kindle is very clever at replicating ink on a page but you can't show off photos on it with a high resolution full depth colour screen, or browse the web with such ease.

Also I've just seen an iPad in 'the wild' - very swish. All the promise of a portable computing device with glorious multitouch display all on hand at a moments notice. The lucky owner was able to use the display only seconds after removing it from their bag. They made good use of the Apple case and were happilly typing away on at a slight angle, similar to a standard keyboard.

I wonder how a netbook running Google Chrome OS will fare in a test of portable computing? Google's boot time of 7 seconds is extremely fast for a netbook, but can it compete with the 'standby' nature of the iPad (and iPhone)? With the powerful A4 chip and plently of apps for any concievable task could the iPad attack the netbook market? Unless you are doing a serious amount of typing do you really need a hardware keyboard? This blog post is being typed on an iPhone using the landscape virtual keyboard and plenty of autocorrection!

The display is plenty big enough and it's so convienienty to just pocket your computer. With iOS 4 coming soon Bluetooth keyboards will be supported by the iPhone. Any iPhone or iPad owner will soon run out of reasons to buy a netbook for mobile computing.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Apple iPhone 4

Apple have announced iPhone 4 and iOS4 at Apple's WWDC event. The iPhone 4 looks incredible. It has so many feature improvements. The screen is 4x clearer than the 3G and is capable of displaying 720p HD content. The best thing to do is to check out the Apple summary Click Here for Apple.com/iPhone.

Here is a video of the new iPhone 4 case it looks incredible.

Engadget live coverage of WWDC 2010.

So Apple have done it again, the iPhone4 has blown every other phone out of the water!less than a minute ago via web

The iOS 4 software will be available to update iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G (no multitasking on the 3G) as previously reported on www.webwarpblog.co.uk: Click Here. Here is the complete list on Apple's website.

One of the new features is connecting your iPhone to a Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard such as this Apple one. The iPhone would start to rival netbooks for emailing on the go!

Friday, 4 June 2010

V8 Benchmark Suite Results

Testing web browser performance with the Google Code V8 Benchmark Suite you can compare browsers and platforms.
The results are clear, Google Chrome is by far the fastest web browser (using the benchmark in question). Recent results are highlighted yellow.

Feel free to send us your browser scores using the V8 Benchmark to @webwarpblog on Follow webwarpblog on Twitter and the results will be updated.

Original tweet:

Please check your browser score: V8 benchmark http://bit.ly/clWbRX & @webwarpblog resultsless than a minute ago via web

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Everything Everywhere

Everything Everywhere Ltd is a new company formed by the joining of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK. Everything Everywhere will continue to run both brands. They have approximately 30 million customers. From the press release:
"To customers, Orange and T-Mobile will continue to compete as distinct
brands in the market, each having its own shops, campaigns, propositions
and service centres."

Monday, 31 May 2010

Updates to Google Search

Google have updated their search to include a side bar in the results page with more detailed information. This side bar gives access to features such as 'Updates' which allows you to see historical tweets from twitter.com.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Google Chrome leaves Beta behind

Google have released Google Chrome and left it's beta status behind. The Google Blog details that releases for Windows, Apple Mac and Linux are all now stable versions without the Beta label. They also claim that the latest version is even faster. On Windows in particular Google Chrome is lightning fast. This should spell an end to websites not always loading properly in Google Chrome. It should rival Mozilla Firefox for compatibility.

To test the speed of Google Chrome or other web browsers on your computer check out the V8 Benchmark Suite. Feel free to send us your browsers scores to @webwarpblog on twitter.

So open Google Chrome now and the latest version will automatically update itself, without requiring as much as a browser restart, let alone a computer restart! Google Chrome's innovative updating sequence is the most hassle free I have ever encountered.

Thanks to @punctualwaffle on twitter for this story.

#google #chrome is out of beta for Mac/Linux users: http://bit.ly/cQN8tuless than a minute ago via web

Friday, 21 May 2010

Google Pacman

Edit: Updated to include the Permanent Google Pacman Link: http://www.google.com/pacman/ 
For 48 hours only the Google doodle is... Google Pacman!
You can actually play it too! Click Here Just click on the insert coin button and enjoy! For more information check out Google's official blog post.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Should I refrigerate my PC?

As temperatures in the UK begin to rise for summer (BBC Weather), the silly question is: Should I refrigerate my PC?

Your PC contains several components that get hot when used, particularly the processor (CPU) and the graphics card/chip set (GPU). Anyone who uses a laptop for more than half an hour will begin to see the effects of modern design. That is to say that more powerful chip sets = more heat, and that, modern design = minimal provision for cooling. So laptops without a hard surface to sit their 2mm feet on soon overheat. It does make you consider chucking it in the fridge to cool it down! Unfortunately this is not a solution. If you put your laptop in the fridge you are likely to get condensation forming INSIDE your laptop. This would not be very helpful as electricity and water really don't mix. You could in fact wreck your laptop.

To prevent your laptop from overheating you should properly ventilate the area around it. Always use it on a hard surface. If it runs really hot (like when playing games/DVD's) you can cool it with a fan. Overheating components are more likely to fail or even catch light. So happy hot weather weather computing from www.webwarpblog.co.uk just in time for the British summer.

Google Chrome OS Video

Just a quick video for you to share with your friends and family about Google Chrome OS. It's coming, and when it gets here it will be a big player in the computer market. Netbooks with Google Chrome OS will be able to get you online as quickly as your smart phone does today. With Google Chrome OS ALL your information is web based, so anything you do on Google Chrome OS can be retrieved, edited and added to from any other computer connected to the internet.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Google Chrome is Very Fast

Google have produced a little video, just to show off how fast Google Chrome can be. It's very well produced and worth a quick watch.

How to Embed Tweets into Blogs

Step by step guide to embedding tweets into your blog.

1.) When you find a tweet that you want embed (instead of quoting or copying and pasting) click on the time associated with that tweet as described on this blog post: Click Here

2.) Then copy the unique tweet URL from the address bar and past it into the main bar on this website: Click Here. Click ‘Bake it’ and it will generate the html code that you need to copy.

3.) Paste this html code into your blog and there you have an embedded tweet, just like this:

Spotify goes social with Facebook integration http://bit.ly/9K1B3tless than a minute ago via web

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Embed Twitter into Blogs

You can now embed twitter into blogs such as...

Test tweet for embedding...less than a minute ago via web

To help you achieve this yourself (assuming it works for me) I will post a guide later.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Opera Mini for iPhone

Opera Mini for iPhone has been approved by Apple and is now in the app store. Here is a direct link to the iTunes Store. It promises to bring faster page downloads by using Opera has proxy server. One review on Apple's app store warns of potential dangers when using Opera with sensitive websites:

Do not use for banking and sensitive data

I don't like that every page you visit and all data you submit is going through Opera's servers, even encrypted pages. So if you go to your bank's web site and login; your login information, password and any other data you submit or view is potentially viewable by Opera employees. What safe guards are in place to protect users from a dishonest or rouge Opera employee from logging or capturing this data?

Also what procedures are in place to protect the user data from malware and other security threats to Opera's network?

Let us know what you think through our twitter account @webwarpblog.
Here is a video demonstrating the speed comparison:

Previously on www.webwarp.co.uk we speculated about whether or not Apple would approve Opera Mini for iPhone. Here is a link to that post: Click Here.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Twitter Official Mobile Apps

Edit: The Twitter app for iPhone is now available, click here. Here is the Twitter announcement and more information/screen shots, click here. The Twitter for iPhone app is one of the best iPhone applications out there, very well made.

Twitter is accessed through computers, smart phones and via text messaging, but all the smart phones applications have been made by 3rd Party Companies - until now. Twitter have acquired Tweetie, which is one of the most popular Twitter apps for the iPhone. Here is the Twitter Announcement. Tweetie 2 will be renamed 'Twitter for iPhone' and made FREE, where as it is £1.79 at the moment. They have also launched an official Twitter app for Blackberry's. Here is the info from Twitter. Both apps are really good and include all the latest Twitter features such as new style retweets.

So happy official mobile app tweeting! Feel free to follow www.webwarp.co.uk on Twitter at @webwarpblog.

Follow webwarpblog on Twitter

Friday, 9 April 2010

iPhone OS 4

Apple iPhone OS 4 has been announced in Apples headquarters in California. Currently iPhone users are running OS 3 which included enhancements such as multimedia messaging (MMS) and cut, copy, paste facilities. The new software will bring over 100 new features. Some small changes which will only affect certain types of users, such as multiple Microsoft Exchange Account support and other features will affect all users. The OS 4 upgrade will be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3rdGen. For iPhone 3G users the upgrade is available but will not include multitasking.

The main features are going to be:
Folder’s for Apps
Bluetooth Keyboard support
iBooks app
Gaming Centre (Xbox Live style multiplayer)

The update will be available in Summer 2010 for the iPhone and Autumn 2010 for iPad. 

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Opera Mini awaiting Apple approval

Opera claim to code the 'Fastest Browser on Earth' and their mobile versions really improve web browsing on mobile phones. They have now submitted to Apple a version of their mobile web browser, Opera Mini, for the iPhone. They are keen to show off there submission with a counter (here) showing how long they have waited for Apples decision. They have also released a video showing off the speed of Opera Mini for iPhone compared to Apple's Safari web browser which comes as standard with the iPhone OS. The video shows a vastly improved speed over 2G connections. I assume that the difference is less noticeable over Wi-Fi or good 3G connections.

Apple do not approve applications that duplicate the core functionality of the iPhone, despite this applications such as Skype for iPhone have been approved along with other 3rd party web browsers for the iPhone. So they may approve Opera and unleash Opera Mini into the iPhone app store. There is no word from Opera on potential pricing assuming approval.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

mflow: A music reflowlution?

A new music service is coming in April, but where are we coming from? The internet has changed the way we consume media, particularly music, beyond expectations. The main evidence for this is your local high street, I bet it's not bursting with Record shops any more as iTunes is the world's largest record shop. The tie in with the iPod and now the iPhone has lead to massive change in the way we get new music.

But what about artists trying to break into the industry? That's were social networking comes in. Myspace has proven massively popular with new and existing artists. The rise of social networking (as recently reported on webwarp.co.uk) has lead to a new generation of web users who see the internet not as a library (like iTunes) but as a way of connecting with like minded people: mflow.

mflow is a new way of discovering music. It works like a cross between the library format of iTunes and the social networking format of Twitter. So you have a large number of songs available to purchase in high quality with no DRM (digital rights management) and a social network where any user can follow the 'flow' of any other user. The advantage is that if you discover a great song you can add it to your flow, sharing your opinion with your followers. They can then listen to a full length preview (something you cannot do just by searching for a track) and if they decide to buy the track you receive 20% of the money in mflow credit, to help you buy your next musical discovery.

mflow is not available until 15/04/2010 unless you have a preview invitation which you can request from www.mflow.com.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Facebook More Popular Than Google, the Webs Changing.

Figures show that last week Facebook was the most visited page in the US, stealing thunder from usual suspect GoogleChannel 4 reports. This is a significant change in our internet browsing habits. We are not purely using the internet to search for information (that was so last decade), we are now more interested in our social group and the latest news in our friends lives. With the improvement of connection speeds and websites the internet has become a hugely popular place to find current news, whether national, local or social. The internet is no longer about googling for facts, and large corporations websites. It's a live and ever changing scene with content being added from an ever increasing number of its users. Facebook is most successful example of this trend and it's therefore no surprise that it's pipped Google to the No.1 spot in America.

Monday, 1 March 2010

European Windows Web Browser Choice Update

From 1/3/10 your Windows PC will get a Windows Update prompting you to look at alternative browsers. This will only happen within Europe. The web browsers up for grabs on the first page are Google Chrome, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and of course Microsoft Internet Explorer 8. This update was detailed in a recent Microsoft blog post: Click Here

As you can probably see there is a sideways scrollbar at the bottom of the window. There are more browsers to choose from. Many of these are much smaller and less popular browsers that have many different takes on web browsing. The BBC News page highlights the issue of the poor advertising of the smaller browsers here.

The full list is:

  • Avant
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Flock
  • Green Browser
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8
  • K-meleon
  • Maxthon
  • Opera
  • Apple Safari
  • Sleipnir
  • Slim

Goodbye IE6

Microsoft will no longer be supporting their 9 year old web browser, Internet Explorer 6, from the 4th March 2010.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Google Sync vs MobileMe

Google are really treading on Apple's toes with some of their latest features - it's making MobileMe look very expensive! A year ago Apple's MobileMe service was fairly good value, keeping all your personal information in sync across multiple devices with over the air updates to/from your iPhone & Mac & PC & iPod Touch, it was great for £59 a year. Calendars, contacts and emails all synced with a single point, www.me.com, which works really well. Also you get web space for an iDisk which saves you carrying around a USB Flash drive. Unfortunately for Apple though, Google now offer many equivalent services. Google Sync is the main equivalent product, it uses Microsoft Exchange Server to push email, contacts and calendars.

I never really used my MobileMe email address because I didn't want to be tied into a contract to keep my email address. Google's GMail service is free for personal users and funded by advertising. A point to make about GMail's advert's is that although they are text based and discreet (unlike Windows Live Mail), Google's server reads your email in order to show you adverts that you may be interested in due to the content of the email. With MobileMe emails are pushed to your iPhone, but with Google Sync you can get your emails from any device that works with Microsoft Exchange Server. So push emails arrive on your Windows Phone or iPhone.

Verdict: Google

MobileMe syncs contacts seamlessly over the air, perfectly. Google Sync only allow a limited number of fields per contact, but it is free! Contacts work with Blackberry, Nokia S60, Windows and iPhone using Google sync. Apple's service is limited to the iPhone.

Verdict: Apple

The MobileMe calendar is really good but I wish you could edit which calender an event sits in on an iPhone. Google calender doesn't look half as slick as MobileMe, but it costs way less than half as much! As with the Contacts above Google Sync supports many more devices.

Verdict: Google

Bookmarks (Favourites in Internet Explorer)
Google Chrome offers a Bookmark Sync service with their super fast web browser. You can sync Safari bookmarks over MobileMe. The system works well - but the Google version is free!

Verdict: Google

The MobileMe web galleries are really slick and sync fast with iPhoto. They don't always work in Internet Explorer though, which is a shame. Picasa web albums are uploaded via Picasa 3, which isn't available for Mac.

Verdict: Apple

The iDisk is the best MobileMe feature and has no direct competition from Google. The much rumoured GDisk is almost inevitable one day with web storage already available through Google Docs and the much anticipated of web based storage for the Google Chrome OS netbooks.

So the choice is yours! Most likely a mixture of services from different websites/companies will give the best end user experience. For example flickr is probably the industry standard photo sharing site, but it won't push emails to your smart phone!