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

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

iTunes 12 Days of Christmas

Apple's iTunes Store is running a feature called "12 Days of Christmas" where they are giving away a featured item every day. The items free will include music, TV shows, books etc, so if an iPod, iPhone or iPad found it's way to you this Christmas, what better way to fill it with content?

Today's item in the UK is a Top Gear episode: "The Trip".

Top Gear and The Trip - 12 Days of Christmas

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Let it Snow with Google

Google are getting you into the festive mood with their latest Easter Egg (or Christmas Treat!). Type "let it snow" into Google and snow will start falling across the page. The screen will also mist up and you can use your mouse curser to wipe it clean or it "Defrost" which replaces "Search". See the video below or visit www.google.com to try it yourself!


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Let's Fly - Twitter Update

Twitter are updating their UI (user interface) across the board and a preview is available now at fly.twitter.com. Twitter's blogpost has all the detailed information but essentially the new experience is broken down into 4 sections: Home, Connect, Discover and Me. These are the new symbols for these areas:

The mobile website is up and running and the main site will following in a couple of weeks. The new experience is also filtering down onto smart phone apps and is available as an update on iOS devices now (Twitter v. 4.0).

Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

 Video Preview:

Image from blog.twitter.com

My Xbox Live App

Microsoft have launched a mobile app as a companion to the latest Xbox live software update which launched yesterday. The new app, called "My Xbox Live", features social contacts, achievements and your avatar. The app is free and available for iOS and Windows Phone 7 users. The app is optimised for the iPad too. Details from Microsoft.

My Xbox LIVE - Microsoft Corporation

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

O2 Trial 4G in London

O2 have been trialling a 4G data connection system in London. The trial is estimated to be capable of download speeds on 50Mb/s. More information from BBC News.

Rory Cellan-Jones is one of the lucky few and has posted this video showing the results - over 30Mb/s download from a USB dongle!

Windows Store Preview

Microsoft have demonstrated their new Windows Store which will be included in Windows 8 Beta which is due for release next February. They claim it will have a greater reach than iOS and Android devices put together. The Windows Store follows features the Metro stlye which is finding it's way into all Microsoft's products. For more information about developing for Microsoft's Windows Store see the below video.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Nokia's Deadmau5 Live Event

Nokia's Lumia 800 launch party on the 28/11/11 featured Deadmau5 playing at Millbank tower in central London. They lit up the whole of the 118 metre tower in a spectacular light show that could be the future of extravagant live show productions. From Nokia's YouTube page:

"Each of the 120 metre high building's 800 windows were covered with vinyl as 16 powerful projectors, stationed 300 metres away on the other side of the river, beamed 3D images onto the structure. Huge butterflies flew across the London skyline and the tower was twisted, pulsated and even fell down. Billed as the "future of live events" the spectacular show was accompanied by music from super producer deadmau5, who created exclusive remixes for the performance -- adding the 4th dimension."

Many people on Facebook and Twitter (including this @webwarpblog tweet) complained of laggy HD video during the event live, an experience which I shared too. If you missed any if the action you can replay it till your hearts content embedded from YouTube below.


The Nokia Lumia 800 is Nokia's new flagship handset and features the Windows Phone operating system in an attempt to rival Apple and Android's market dominance.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Nokia Lumia Deadmau5 Event Tonight

Tonight Nokia and Deadmau5 will light up London's Millbank Tower on the banks of the river Thames in a spectacular 4D Audio Visual Display! This free event will also be streamed live on the internet at Nokia's website.

From Nokia's website:

To celebrate the launch of the Nokia Lumia 800 we’re hosting a multimedia extravaganza on 28 November. Join us as deadmau5 rocks the London skyline in 4D.
Joel Zimmerman (AKA deadmau5) will be performing two new tracks created especially to accompany a stunning 4D projection display against the backdrop of the 120-metre Millbank Tower on the banks of the River Thames. This amazing, one-off gig is not to be missed, so if you're anywhere near London, be sure to come along to see it live, or visit our Facebook page to watch the live stream. It’s happening in London, but everyone is invited to take in the sights and sounds of this spectacular event live from the north side of the River Thames.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sky's New Formula 1 Channel

Sky have announced that Formula 1 will be shown on a dedicated new channel: Sky Sports F1 HD.

They have also launched a new webpage on their Sky Sports webiste to include news, opinion and reaction to on and off track action. And keeping up to date with Sky's F1 coverage can be achieved through their new Twitter account: @SkySportsF1.

Sky's deal is to show all of the 2012 Formula 1 races and qualifying live, whereas the BBC will be reduced to showing a selected number of races (these include Silverstone, Monaco & Brazil) next year. Sky Sports currently consists of 4 channels (imaginatively named 1,2,3 and 4). There is also a Sky Sports News channel to show the latest sports news. It is great news for Formula 1 fans that the F1 will not be squeezed into one of the existing 4 Sky Sports channels as these are largely concerned with Football, Rugby, Tennis, Golf, the list goes on. This is also a huge positive for the fans as the pricing structure is different to Sky Sports 1,2,3 and 4.

Sky Sports F1 HD will be available to all HD Sky customers and a SD version will be available to non-HD customers who have Sky Sports 1 and 2 in their subscription pack. - although their appears to be much confusion at the moment and lots of questions on Twitter be directed at @SkySportsF1

Sky confim that the races will be shown uninterrupted, unlike when F1 was shown on ITV, much to the fans continued disgust.

More info from Sky's announcement

Image from Sky's webpage.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Gmails Updated Design

Google have recently been rolling out a new look for all their webapps. The latest webapp to the get the make over is Google Mail (Gmail). The new look gives a clean interface with bolder buttons. The new user interface also includes some options to control the number of emails shown per page. To see the new look and the options see this Google video. And it will find its way to your Gmail automatically soon!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Google Easter Eggs

Some Google Easter Eggs for you:

Search www.google.com for "z or r twice" and see the whole page barrell roll, click here for quick link to the barrel roll. This is a homage to Nintendo 64's Lylat Wars video game, which interestingly enought was marketed as Star Fox 64 outside of Europe. More info here wikipedia page Star Fox 64.

If you liked that then you'll enjoy typing "tilt" into www.google.com, here is a link to that page too: click here. Here's a screen captured video of both easter eggs.


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tips for iOS 5 Location Services

Lockergnome reports on the iOS 5 Location Services use and its effect on battery life. A very useful video with a great set of tips! Here is a link to the original story on Lockergnome's website: Click Here.

f.lux - Mac, Windows and Linux

f.lux is a small utility program that changes the colour temperature of your monitor to suit the lighting conditions in your room. You will notice less eye-strain when using your monitor at night as the screen is tinted a light orange. This helps your body keep it's natural rhythm by not exposing your eyes to bright white/blue light in the evening.

What is colour temperature?
Colour temperature is expressed in Kelvin and if something is orangey red looking than it has a lower value and if it's broad daylight, with a bright white light, it has a higher value (approx 6500K). 

So how does flux work?
Fluorescent lighting is around 4100K so it has a slight orangey look, this was often highlighted on early digital cameras. Your eye does a great job of compensating for colours and you barely notice it after a while. Until, that is, you put your computer on with it's bright screen. This is why people using a PC at night often have a blueish glow on them, because these colours are not provided by the surrounding lights. With f.lux installed you can compensate for these lighting environments and the program is customisable to your lighting colour temperature. And to make life easier, f.lux knows when sunrise and sunset occur and automatically adjust the screen colours for you.

This is a really small app and it does exactly what it says on the tin, check it out today!

Rating 4/5
Price - Free
Developer - http://stereopsis.com/flux

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

App of the Day - Facebook Messenger - iOS, Android and Blackberry

Facebook Messenger is a new app for smartphones from Facebook. It's basically an exert from the main Facebook app which still includes messaging as a feature. The new app is purely for messaging and opens very quickly on iOS4 compared to the Facebook app.

Facebook messenger features more control over messaging alerts, it allows you to hide notifications for 1 hour or until 8am.

The new app looks to be aiming to compete with over online messaging service apps such as:
Microsoft Live Messenger
Twitter (to some extent)
BBM (on Blackberry)
What's App (which is a paid download)
iMessage (iOS 5 - due 12/10/11)

So with all these options, and many being cross platform, will operators loose out on revenue from SMS and MMS? More than likely.

Facebook - Facebook, Inc.

Rating 3/5
Price - Free
Developer - Facebook

Image: Facebook

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thoughts on Google+ embedded

Do you remember Google Wave (it was a bit like a social email collaboration tool, before buzz and Google+ came along)? Oh yeah and it was promoted and discussed right here on Web Warp Blog. Well Google said at the time that they were looking to introduce embedded waves. Unfortunately developers were the only people to try them out during the Google Wave beta period.

Basically the idea was that a collaborative wave could exist embedded within a website. This could have many applications but in particular it would of suited Web Warp Blog. A wave would be to used as a forum for comments. If a user comments on a blogpost or would like to keep up to date with other people's reaction they could of 'followed' the wave and add it to their wave inbox page.

My question to Google is: Will you build on this idea and create Google+ embedded? It would be ideal for website comment areas and even for Wave style collaboration. There are some webpages already using an embedded Facebook comment structure, so hopefully this is in the pipeline for Google+, probably after the creation on brand pages.

Remembering Steve Jobs

As you have probably heard the co-founder of Apple Inc, Steve Jobs, has passed away. He was only 56 and died from pancreatic cancer. He influence of the technology world is phenomenal.

Apple's Mac computers are extremely popular and have an almost cult status online. Apple's operating systems are renowned for be stable and secure. Apple is responsible some of the greatest innovations in digital age. It's impact on the music and mobile phone markets in unrivalled.

In 2001 Apple launched the iPod. A small portable device that could hold 5 GB's of mp3's when the world was used to listening to CD's. A couple of years later they opened the iTunes Music Store with 200,000 songs that could be downloaded. No need to go to the record shop anymore, and finally there was a legal download service which could rival the peer to peer music downloads. Today the iTunes Music Store is the #1 music store in the world.

In recent years they released the iPhone which changed the mobile phone industry completely. All mobile phone manufacturers have copied the touch screen concept and mobile operating system. The iPhone continues to be the industry standard with the iPhone 4S being announced on the 4/10/11. The iPhone paved the way for Apple's App Store, another innovation which has lead to numerous imitations. The App Stores success was built on it's simplicity, download and open apps right on the device. The devices which can access the App Store increased when Apple announced their tablet device, the iPad. This made tablets mainstream.

Many of these product announcements have been covered on Web Warp Blog and we can only be thankful for Steve Job's drive for innovation and quality computing products. Apple itself has a statement on their webpage: Remembering Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Samsung Google Teaser Video

Samsung's smartphone handsets have been using Google's Android system for a while now and are seen as a contender in the smartphone market. This teaser video builds tension for a forthcoming announcement: "Unpacked" on 11/10/11 in San Diego, USA.


Monday, 3 October 2011

BT Broadband Service Problems

BT have suffered a power failure leading to a disrupted BT Broadband service today. BT are aware of the problem and are working to fix it to minimise disruption to their customers.
More info on BBC News.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Angry Birds Infographic

Angry Birds can cause addiction, and for Rovio, huge profits! This info graphic explores the Angry Birds stats!

  Angry Birds Addiction Infographic | AYTM
Infographic by: AYTM Market Research

You can now even play Angry Birds within Google+!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Amazon's New Kindle Range

Amazon have held a press conference to announce their new Kindle product line up. The existing 3rd generation Kindle came in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi +3G and feature a hardware keyboard, physical page turning and an incredible "just like paper" E Ink display. Amazons USP (unique selling point) in the e-reader market is that they provide the complete package: Great hardware coupled with free access (even over 3G) to their ebook store. There is no need to own a computer, making this the e-reader of choice for a lot of 'non computer' people as previously discussed in "The eBook Revolution". You can even download the Kindle app for your iPhone, iPad, Android device, Mac or PC. All of these devices can then access your library and you can carry on reading where you left off using their free 'Whispersync' service. Amazon's system is 'purchase once, read anywhere'.

So todays announcement comes with some anticipation. What could Amazon do to improve their offering to the e-book market? They have previously made their Kindle Reader smaller, lighter and cheaper and improved the screen quality on the 2 previous revisions. Todays product announcement separates the Kindle into four models to reflect the various requirements of different customers.

Kindle ($79)
This new revision of the kindle features a much lower price and an improved E Ink display. The hardware keyboard is dropped from the this Kindle product. As a result it's smaller and lighter than the previous model.

Kindle Touch ($99)
Featuring the same advanced E Ink as the new Kindle the Kindle Touch includes a touch screen for using the on screen keyboard and page turning. A new 'X-Ray' feature allows you to get more information about your book's content from Wikipedia.

Kindle Touch 3G ($149)
As above but with unlimited 3G internet access across 100 countries with no subscription, thats right, no subscription. Feel free to go on holiday and purchase your holiday reading when you are already by the pool.

Kindle Fire ($199)
The Kindle Fire is unlike any previous Kindle model, its a full on tablet device to rival the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy tab and Blackberry Playbook. It features Amazons new web browser: Amazon Silk.

So as you can see Amazon's range is greatly improved and these devices will become available in the next few months. More info at www.amazon.com.

Image: www.amazon.com

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Google Chrome: Jamal Edwards

This is a Google Chrome advert featured on UK television, inspirational!

Image: Google

App of the Day - Facebook - iOS and Android

Facebook is 2nd most popular site in the world (Alexa rating page) and it has over 500 million active users. A lot of these users have smart phones and if you have an Android device or iPhone, iPod Touch etc. then the Facebook app is a must for you! Keep up to date with your friends latest statuses/photos/event invitations, all on the go. The Facebook app runs through a web fetching system so essentially all of the content within the app is actually online. This means that it is updated and improved all the time without the need to constantly download updates to the app itself. Facebook's mobile app incorporates all of the recent changes to Facebook's News Feed and privacy enhancements such as post approvals to add tagged items to your own wall.

The Facebook app also features Check In which uses your smartphones GPS to quickly determine your location, and also alerts you if a friend checks in nearby. You can look at pages on the go and read and respond to private messages. If it wasn't so buggy and often unreliable then it would get 5/5 but sadly it is so it's getting a 3/5 rating. It's also spookily similar to the Google+ app following recent changes...

Facebook - Facebook, Inc.

Rating 3/5
Price - Free
Developer - Facebook

Image: Facebook

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Facebook's New Features

Facebook's under going a self titled "launch season" with site changes in terms of features and content delivery happening all the time. Last week their popular smart phone app was updated to include the new version of the News Feed. Facebook's privacy settings also enjoyed a refresh, prompting the inevitable backlash as they always seems to be too disjointed and complicated for most users.

Interestingly one of the new improvements comes from a combination of privacy settings and content delivery. Many Facebook users have hundreds of friends and many of these peoples "I've had a bad day" status aren't really worth your time. Their new lists include a Close Friends list, so if one of your best mates posts, "I'm off to the pub tonight, if you fancy it, join me!" Facebook will bring this right to the top of your news feed (add a small blue triangle), so you will never miss a trick in your close circle of friends. Wait, did I just say close 'circle' of friends? Well yes... and now that I mention it it sounds exactly like Google+'s Circles feature. As imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, Google+'s engineers should be very flattered!! In addition to receiving statuses from your close friends first the activity feed will be live, just like Twitter, so you won't be waiting for updates or refreshing your profile page to check for new content.

Other new features include more integration with third party companies, such as Spotify, to put Facebook at the centre of your online social life, as if it isn't already! To compete with Twitter and Google+ all the tagging and location tagging features of these other services have been recreated too (they are spookily similar).

In a few weeks users will get a whole new profile experience: Timeline. Facebook explains all on their blog: Timeline on Facebook's Blog.

Image: Facebook

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Speedtest.net - iOS and Android

Ever want to know what your Internet connection speed is on your smartphone? Sometimes a strong 3G connection is faster than a cafe's free Wi-Fi once lots of people are sharing it. What about your internet speed when you are pushing the range of your home Wi-Fi? Now there's an app for that. You can take www.speedtest.net with you with the smartphone app. Available for iOS and Android mobile operating systems. It's a very slick app that does exactly what it says on the tin. It's also free as it's supported by unobtrusive ads. On the iPhone this are Apples iAds.

Speedtest.net - Ookla

Rating 5/5
Price - Free
Developer - Ookla

Sunday, 11 September 2011

App of the Day - Bungie Mobile - iOS

Bungie are the video game developers responsible for bringing the epic Halo franchise to the Xbox and Xbox 360. Their latest offering, Halo Reach, is arguably one of the games on the Xbox 360.

Bungie's website Bungie.net offers players a huge amount of extra data about game, all the stats you could ever want to know. Now you can access some of these stats on the go, along with Halo Reach challenges, Bungie news and even a free all star nameplate. Sign in required on Bungie's site, you can use your Xbox live windows live passport for instant access to your stats and player info.This app is free but available for iOS only at the moment. A quick loading, well-made app.

Bungie Mobile

Rating 4/5
Price - Free
Developer - Bungie

Saturday, 10 September 2011

App of the Day - Blogger - iOS & Android

Many internet blogs (including Web Warp Blog) are created using Google's free Blogger service. The new Blogger mobile app allows you to create and publish posts on the go. It was released on the 8/9/11 but as been long awaited by Blogger users. In addition to the mobile apps Blogger web pages now have the option for mobile formatting (example). This app is simple and straight forward to use and free too! Available for iOS and Android mobile operating systems.

Blogger - Google

Rating 4/5
Price - Free
Developer - Google

Convertbot - iOS

Convertbot is a great app for anyone working with conversions. Available for the iPhone and iPod Touch for only £1.49 it's a really well made app. After extensive use I have never come across any bugs or freezes. It has a vast array of conversions, everything from length and area to live updated currency and very industry specific conversions such as data rates and volumetric flow. There are a total of 500 units across 21 categories. Also features a clever user interface with makes novel use of the iPhone's multitouch screen. To change conversions you roll symbols around a wheel and tap of the figures to change the input. Input and output can easily be switched at the tap of a button too.

Convertbot — The Amazing Unit Converter - Tapbots

Rating 5/5
Price - £1.49 - US$1.99
Developer - Tapbots
Image: tapbots.com

Saturday, 3 September 2011

New Porsche 911

Porsche have shown off their new 911 Carrera at the Frankfurt motorshow. The new 911 has the same stable design as the previous models. Flat 6 rear mounted engine, sweeping lines etc. The refinements have come under the skin. The new 911 has a significantly lighter construction. This, coupled with the more efficient engines, has lead to a range of 911's with the best fuel consumption figures to date. The engines are also more powerful, the Carrera S has a 400 bhp.

Visually the most significant change is a new rear end and sharp LED rear lights. It looks very dramatic, particularly at night. On the previous 911 Carrera the rear insignia was limited to "Carrera" where as the new model gives you "PORSCHE" in the same font as seen on the Cayenne and Panamera as well as "911 Carrera".

For more information and a good look around the new models click here.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Using Skitch with Evernote

Evernote have recently acquired a programme called Skitch, which is a bit like Microsoft Paint, but for Mac's. It has a few more functions such as screenshot capture and generally more preset tools. Check out www.skitch.com for details. It can be used in conjunction with Evernote's text recognition software to customise pictures with your own notes. This Evernote video demonstrates the workflow.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

2012 F1 Calendar

The 2012 Formula 1 Calendar has been announced by the sports governing body, the FIA. There are going to be 20 races in all, and as expected Turkey as been dropped from the calendar. This is a shame as it always provides a good race. This year, notably, the DRS activation zone was acredited with a large number of 'easy' overtakes and attendance of the grand prix has generally been poor, the BBC reports.

Here's out it lines up.

18 March - Australia
25 March - Malaysia
15 April - China
22 April - Bahrain
13 May - Spain
27 May - Monaco
10 June - Canada
24 June - Europe
8 July - Britain
22 July - Germany
29 July - Hungary
2 September - Belgium
9 September - Italy
23 September - Singapore
7 October - Japan
14 October - Korea
28 October - India
4 November - Abu Dhabi
18 November - United States
25 November - Brazil

Full story via F1.com and BBC Sport

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Competition 1

This is the first Web Warp Blog Competition!

To win this Bear Gryll's Gelaskins iPhone cover suitable for iPhone 3GS, 3G and Original, just send us a tweet with a specific hashtag.

Send a tweet mentioning @webwarpblog and featuring the hashtag #webwarpblogcomp1to enter!

The prize will be posted to a UK address only and entries must be received by 31st August 2011 at 7pm, click here for full terms and conditions. The winner is chosen at random from all qualifying entries.

Twitter vs. Earthquake: Twitter Wins

Twitter has released a promotional video claiming to be faster than the recent earthquake which hit America's East Coast. It only takes seconds to send warning messages across the country on Twitter. Original story on Mashable.

Hurricane Irene APOD

NASA's APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) has featured a video showing the development of hurricane Irene. Original post: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110827.html

Thursday, 25 August 2011

It's time to join Google+

Google have recently created their own social network: Google+. Google+ is similar to Facebook but with an emphasis on control. You assign contacts into circles and you can post items specific to circles. For example, "I'm off to the pub, anyone fancy joining me?" Could be posted for your friends circle and not your colleagues. People can appear in multiple circles too. When it's time to chat to a couple of people you can use huddle to create an instant messaging group which works across platforms, so your friends might be using an iPhone, iPad, Android mobile or Android tablet, it really doesn't matter.

If you fancy joining Google+ plus there are plenty of invites out there and if you already have a Gmail account you have already registered!

There's apps too:

Google+ - Google

Android app

Saturday, 20 August 2011


AutoCAD WS is a FREE online CAD editing tool from Autodesk - and it's received an exciting set of updates. There are limitations though, but that is to be expected from a free web based app. This really shows the power of web 2.0. You can modify and amend your drawings almost anywhere, which is a new and novel idea in the CAD industry. The main feature lacking is full support for 3D across all the various AutoCAD WS platforms. For more casual users Google SketchUp's free version is the way to go, it's support for 3D drawing and quick textures is ideal for home use.

Autodesk are market leaders in Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software and their flagship product, AutoCAD, is probably the standard for engineering, architecture and manufacturing. AutoCAD typically runs on a specific computer and any work that needed doing to a specific drawing would have to take place on that computer. For those that aren't aware of AutoCAD you could draw parallels from Adobe's Photoshop suite:

So AutoCAD WS is a web based product that allows you to view and edit your drawing files online and on the go. Just like Adobe's Photoshop Express iPhone app there is an AutoCAD WS smart phone / tablet app for iPhone, iPad  and Android devices. The latest features include the ability to manipulate layers within a drawing. You can also enter lines at a specific length which was a particularly big downfall of the original 2010 release of AutoCAD WS. Another new feature of AutoCAD WS is that you can connect it to your existing online storage solutions such as box.net. Here's a short video showing off these new features:

There is also now a Mac App which works with the online service and also provides support for offline editing. The AutoCAD WS Mac App can be downloaded for free from here.

AutoCAD WS is also fully integrated into the latest version of AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2012.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Air Guitar Move for iPhone

Love playing air guitar? Love your iPhone? Love Guitar Hero?!?!? Then this product is for you: Air Guitar Move for iPhone. It's currently not for sale but is up for investing in on Kickstarter.com. Kickstarter is a funding platform for new creative projects. It allows you to donate towards projects that you want to see get off the ground. This project got enough funding on July 10th so hopefully we can see it available to buy soon!

More info at Kickstarter.com: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iphoneairguitar/air-guitar-move-for-iphone

Friday, 5 August 2011


Enjoy listening to BBC Radio? Hate not knowing what song's it is they play? Then here is a solution for you! Britify works with Spotify (hence the 'ify' in the name) to bring you playlists of recent shows on BBC Radio stations. You can even download the latest 100 tracks played on a particular radio show. The website includes Radio 1, 1Xtra, 2, 3, 4 and 6 Music.

Here's a link: www.britify.com

Formally known as bbcify and featured on BBC Click's Webscape.

The Internet and the Browser

Google's App Store has loads of apps to choose from but this one caught my eye and deserves a few minutes of your attention. This app is actually just a link to a website, a particularly well made website. It's a virtual book with a history of the internet and web browsers. It's written by the team behind Google Chrome, but it applies to all web browsers.

The book goes through 20 things that everyone might want to know about how web browsers and the internet works, and the best thing is that it's free. It covers all the big questions and covers the big topics such as "What is the Internet?".

The book is at www.20thingsilearned.com and on the Chrome Web Store.

Happy reading.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


Thunderbolt is a new I/O connection found on the latest generation Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and their new large monitor (thunderbolt display). It replaces the display port on these models and allows for two way 10Gb/s data transfer over two channels, compared with USB 2.0's 480Mb/s over one channel. It has the speed to utilise, from one MacBook Pro, two 27 inch thunder bolt monitors and daisy chain external hard drives from the USB interfaces on the displays. Thats over a million pixels on screen real estate from one machine.

Image from Apple.com

Thunderbolt has been developed by Intel and it's integration into Apple products is only the first step. Thunderbolt is compatible with Intel chipsets and so should become widely available in the PC market. The uptake of USB 3.0 (5 Gb/s) may have to move over to allow manufacturers to make thunderbolt connections a widespread industry standard.

Image from Intel.com

For more information on Thunderbolt check out this page from Intel click here.
For more information on Thunderbolt in Apple's products click here.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mac OS X Lion hands on

Apple released Mac OS X Lion yesterday to thousands of fans eagerly queuing outside their... well, own Mac's! Unlike previous operating system updates from Apple, Lion is a download from the (relatively) new Mac App Store.

Initial thoughts:
Great new log in screen, which also connects to known wifi networks immediately.
Lion feels like a new product, it has a very slick GUI (graphical user interface). Many design queues come from iOS on the iPhone and iPad as well as previous OS X advancements. All the dialogue windows have followed iTunes and iLife '11 in losing colour icons within the app. This means that your content (files, music, photos) become the visual focus.
New features work well and no major problems installing. One hiccup was that my two fingered scroll setting was inverted, but it is easily resolved in the System Prefences menu.

Let us know your thoughts on Mac OS X Lion below.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


You have probably seen press coverage of Google+, articles such as "Google+ challenges Facebook in social network battle" (BBC News) and "Google's Facebook rival takes off" (Sydney Morning Herald). But it's difficult to try it yourself as it limited to invited beta testers, although it's expanding every day. It's up to 10 million members!

The first thing you notice is the seamless integration into your Google account. +(Your Name) appears in the top left of the toolbar in Google.com when you are signed in, just like Google Mail, Maps etc. The interface is similar to Facebook, but it's a lot easier to choose who you share information with. It encourages you to put you 'firends' or 'connections' into Circles. A word of caution, by default anyone can see you you are friends with and which circles they are in.

Google suggest Circles called: Friends, Family etc. but you can create any that you like. When you create a post you can share it with the world, any of all of your circles or any of your individual contacts. At the moment you can share and access Google+ through your web browser on a PC, Mac or smart phone. The iPhone has a great mobile site, formatted for touch screen use. Android users have access to a native app which integrates into the Android system like the Gmail app.

The similarity to Facebook continues with an equivalent service to the "like" button, on Google+ it's called "+1". One thing that is very different is the lack of third party apps, spam and advertising. But then it's only a trial at the moment!! It will be interesting to see if Google+ fully replaces the Google Buzz service which is sort of like twitter, it certainly becomes irrelevant when Google+ allows public posts. Google+ does try to share you location too, but you can customise the piracy settings in a similar way to Facebook.

Share your thoughts on Google+ by commenting below, and remember to "+1" this post!

For more information: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/ or check out this video from Google+:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Google Updates

Google have updated their webpage with a new black navigation bar. The last refresh was only in April, as reported by Web Warp Blog (click here). The latest update comes with functionality improvements too. Google is even quicker at finding webpages than before. It is easily the market leader in internet searching. In the latest canary release of Google Chrome (the beta testing stream) Google even preloads the top webpage in search results so that when you hit the result it appears instantly for you to look at. Google continually pushes technology forward to save you another few seconds each time you search.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Wimbledon Finals in 3D

Introducing Web Warp Blog's first guest blogpost by PunctualWaffle
This weekend saw the first free-to-air Television broadcast in 3D, as the BBC showed the Ladies’ and Men’s finals of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships live from the All England Club. The matches were freely available in 3D to anyone with access to the BBC HD Channel and a 3D compatible TV. (And of course those magical 3D glasses, without which 3D viewing would be rather unfulfilling).

Sport in 3D on UK television is not a particularly new development, with Sky launching it’s dedicated 3D channel in October 2010. But this weekend’s showing was the first time that 3D viewing was available without subscription.

Wimbledon has a history of technological experimentation and advancement with regards to television, being one of the first events to be broadcast in colour, and then in HD a few decades later. This could yet prove to be an important historical event in the technological development of Television, although ultimately only time will tell.

Currently a technology available in very few homes, an event like this broadcast in 3D could be exactly what the technology needs, to capture the public’s imagination and gain popularity. Maybe the draw of one of the world’s great sporting events will result in 3D television becoming a slightly more familiar sight in the average living room.

Perhaps the relatively slow uptake of 3D television (apart from the obvious cost factor and the current scarcity of 3D content,) is due to the mixed opinion on the quality of 3D viewing in general. 3D does not appear to be universally loved by all those to have sampled it. 3D TV and indeed 3D films in cinemas appear to have split opinion amongst the public, and there are certainly differing views on which sports are best suited to 3D.

Many feel that Tennis in particular may lend itself to especially engaging 3D viewing, with it’s simple camera angles and the relatively confined environment of the court; perhaps more so than football or rugby, for example.

I for one am not a fan of the oversized glasses and am yet to be convinced of the true merits of 3D viewing, especially in the cinema. But I would love to know if seeing Tennis in 3D has converted any viewers, who until now had made a similar, sceptical judgment.

Did you watch the Wimbledon finals in 3D? Is this the kick-start of 3D TV? Or will it be just another passing fad? Let Web Warp Blog know what you think with a comment below.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Mac OS X Update 10.6.8

Apple have updated their Operating System, Mac OS X Snow Leopard to 10.6.8. This update is a requirement for updating to OS X Lion. Here is the briefing from Apple:
"The 10.6.8 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 that:
• Enhance the Mac App Store to get your Mac ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion
• Resolve an issue that may cause Preview to unexpectedly quit
• Improve support for IPv6
• Improve VPN reliability
• Identify and remove known variants of Mac Defender

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4561.
For information on the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222."

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Why I Returned My Apple TV

Regular readers of Web Warp Blog are probably aware that Apple are often shown in an extremely positive light on this website, this is because their products are simply amazing. However I have just returned a second generation Apple TV, after a prolonged period of desiring both the 1st and 2nd generations. Why? I hear you ask. Here's why:

The Apple TV, for those of you who aren't familiar, pushes iTunes content, video, movies & music onto your HD TV. It can also show photos and be used for AirPlay. All good things then.

Problem 1. Connectivity.
The 2nd Gen unit has 5 physical connections and Wi-Fi:
1. Power
2. HDMI (includes 5.1 digital passthrough)
3. Digital Optical audio
4. MicroUSB - diagnostic use only, cable sold separately.
5. LAN Network Socket
6. Wi-Fi B, G & N

In my current set up with TV, set top box, surround sound & games console I have actually used up all my HD ports on my TV (2 HDMI & 1 HD Component). I could use an HDMI switch to get over this though, but its far from ideal.

Connecting the 5.1 digital surround sound is also an issue has my audio system only has one Digital Optical port which is already connected to my set top box and occasionally connected to my games console. I would have to keep disconnecting and reconnecting the audio too, again far from ideal.

So I don't really have space to connect an Apple TV to my system permanently.

Problem 2. HD Support.
The Apple TV 2nd generation supports HD video - at 720p. I can understand rented films to be 720p but where's the full HD 1080p support for content on your computer? When I tried to play through a 1080i video the Apple TV was unable to play the clip without significant video pauses and then audio/video sync had problems. A MacBook plays the clip with relative ease...

Problem 3. Audio AirPlay.
Apples AirPlay system is fantastic. The AirPort Express works great pushing music either from iTunes or an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad running iOS 4.3.3 directly to the surround system over the air, no fuss. However the Apple TV can provide the same service with it's software, it can handle video too (obviously). This leads  to a problem. There is no dedicated 3.5mm jack audio out as per the AirPort Express. It would be fine is there where enough digital optical inputs on the surround sound, but I have only one already occupied port as mentioned above.

Problem 4. iTunes Store
You can access film rentals via the iTunes Store. The Apple TV is linked to one Apple ID account. No verification is required for purchases by default and they all run through one account. It would be far better if this was a flexible system and that individual household members could sign in and choose to rent content on their own accounts. Maybe a short Apple TV passcode could be created using the up, down, left and right keys for each linked account. This would also enable various iTunes HomeSharing too.

While all connected up the Apple TV proved the best way to get your digital pictures onto the big screen. It recreated them better than any DVD player can.

If you have plenty of spare connections, a good Internet connection, and a desktop Mac or PC switched on (to provide content), then this product is for you. Be wary of cheap HDMI cables and TV's. Apple TV requires HDCP compatible TV's and cabling.

Courtesy of Apple

Friday, 24 June 2011

iPhone Caps Lock

The iOS operating system for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch features a great touch keyboard. It predicts what you are typing on the fly, enabling quick auto-completion with the space bar, auto-capitalisation of the first word and built in spell checker. However, entering in capitals has always been a bit of a hassle. "Shift" "E" "Shift" "X" etc just to type EXAMPLE.

There is another way! The little known feature that you can enable a "Caps lock" option from the Keyboards settings. When typing you just double tap shift, it glows blue, and all your text IS TYPED IN CAPITALS.

To enable caps lock go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Enable Caps Lock.

Enable Caps Lock Option

Shift highlighted blue to show caps lock 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Mozilla Firefox 5

Mozilla have released a new version of their popular web browser, Firefox 5. Firefox 5 looks almost identical to Firefox 4 but it loads much faster and feels snappy when loading new pages. It's main improvements are behind the scenes but it's still worth a download. Although there is the inevitable wait for third party add-ons to be updated and become compatible with the latest version.

Firefox Download Button

The Web Browser scores have been updated, shockingly Firefox 5 didn't get a better score than Firefox 4, but it still feels much quicker when browsing. Google's Chrome browser version 12 has the best score by far...

Original post (Web Warp Blog V8 Benchmark Suite Results)

Formula1.com 2011 App

The ultimate companion to the Formula 1 TV coverage is the live timing screens available online at www.formula1.com*. Now you can get the timings on your smartphone too with the Formula1.com 2011 App. The app is free and available for iOS, Android and Blackberry.

During the current session (free practice, qualifying or a race) you can get live timings of the on track action, weather data and a live commentary. During the race you can also get chart showing the changes in positions, which is rather a lot this year! The app also includes all the results from the previous races.

Links to get the app (you will need to register at www.formular1.com in order to sign in to the app):

Image: www.f1.com

*Free via registration at www.formula1.com   

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Chrome Web Store Apps

Web Warp Blog is now on the Chrome Web Store! The Chrome Web Store is part of the Google Chrome web browser and Chrome OS operating system running on the new Chromebooks. It allows web developers to create rich content for their websites. These can include large app style icons as bookmarks for their sites or even entire games. Check out Angry Birds, the popular smartphone app is now a free game available through Google Chrome Web Store!

For Web Warp Blog's Chrome Web Store App click here: http://bit.ly/webwarpchromeapp

For Angry Birds click here: http://chrome.angrybirds.com/

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


WhatsApp is one of several cross-platform smartphone applications which provides text and multimedia messaging. The difference between your 'normal' SMS and MMS system is two fold. Firstly WhatsApp, and the like, use your smartphones data connection to send and receive messages at no cost other than your data tariff. Secondly, there are several functionality improvements over traditional messaging.

WhatsApp includes group messaging, delivery reports, photo and video messages, all for nothing and extremely quickly. Whatsapp can also be used on tablets running Android or the iPad which can't recieve SMS messages.

The catch is that you need a data connection, something that you may struggle with in some areas. Another catch is that after spending the one off download cost (for the iOS devices the UK price is 59p, US ¢99) you may only have a few contacts to use the service with. WhatsApp uses the mobile numbers of your contacts, which is a great time saver. And auto-adds new users to your 'favourites' tab.

In the next release of iOS, iOS 5, Apple will be including a new App called iMessage. It appears to be largely based on these instant messaging stlye apps, but with the restriction that it will only allow communication between Apple mobile devices running iOS 5. It may be too late by Autumn to get users onboard for iMessage, particularly with WhatsApp gaining users all the time and Facebook's latest 'Message Centre'. Facebook Messages cater's for group conversation over your data contract. Facebook's advantage is not only that it is crossplatform on smartphones like WhatsApp is, but accessible from any desktop or laptop PC as well, allowing the most flexible form of digital contact. Laptop to smartphone - desktop to desktop - smartphone to multiple devices. The icing on the cake for Facebook is that they have over 500 million active users.

For more information on WhatsApp, check out www.whatsapp.com, for iMessage try http://www.apple.com/ios/ios5/features.html and everyone knows where Facebook.com is!

Public Wi-Fi Data Security Issues

Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC technology correspondent, investigates security issues with public Wi-Fi networks. If you use internet cafe's with your laptop or smartphone this video is of interest to you!

Here is the link: bbc.in/mfMDkH

The main issue highlighted by this video is cookie theft when logging on to popular sites like Facebook and Hotmail. This can be done by anyone using Firefox and a free add-on: Firesheep.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Halo 4

Halo 4 - enough said!

Check out the trailer from E3!

Thanks to my mate @Alec87 for sending me the link to this :-) This is going to be epic!!!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Apple News Roundup

Ok, today is very exciting as their are 3 (yes 3!) big Apple announcements! This blogpost gives you a brief overview and points you in the right direction for more info. In the next few days a more detailed analysis and opinion will be posted.

1. iOS 5
iOS is Apple's mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. iOS 4 is the current version for the latest devices. iOS 5 will bring over 200 new features including an upgraded camera control, better management of notifications and even sync over Wi-Fi. With Wi-Fi Sync you never have to plug your iPhone in to sync with iTunes again.

Courtesy of Apple
2. iCloud
iCloud replaces MobileMe for mail, contacts and calendars (you keep the same email address) but it brings with it so much more. With iCloud you can store all your documents, photos and music online and then access them from any of your iDevices or computer.

3. Mac OS X Lion
Lion will be the next version of Mac OS X and you will need the App Store (included in Snow Leopard) to download it. In the US it will cost $29.99 - which is a bargain. The new OS will include support for full screen apps (it's about time) and an Auto save function which is similar to Time Machine.

More details and analysis coming soon! For more information on any of these announcements, check out www.apple.com.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

iWork for iOS vs QuickOffice

iWork from Apple is a suite of office applications for the Mac, Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (presenations). It's also available for iOS devices, now including the iPhone. The concept looks extremely impressive and promises complete integration with the desktop version of iWork application and even Microsoft Office applications. In practice I would be surprised if the compatibility was smooth as formatting and fonts often prove a challenge in these situations.

File transfers are via MobileMe's iDisk (subscription required) or iTunes file sharing (connection required). In order to make the best use of the app, integration with online services is a must, and for Apple to only offer their own premium service is a disappointment. An alternative is QuickOffice. It's a similar price to Pages or Keynote or Numbers but can work with the same Microsoft Office file types for each of the equivalent programs (Word, Excel & Powerpoint). QuickOffice has issues with fonts and formatting but only because it doesn't have the vast number of files that Word, for example, as behind it. For creating documents on the go and working on them later it's great. Particularly as it integrates with cloud storage services such as Google Doc's, Dropbox and Box.net. You can even manage the files on the device via your web browser if you are on the same Wi-Fi network. This flexibility is a preview of the Post-PC era.

More information from Apple about Pages
More information from QuickOffice for iPhone

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Web Warp Blog Mobile Version

From today if you access Web Warp Blog via your smart phone you will automatically be redirected to the new mobile version of Web Warp Blog! Here's a link to manually try it today: Click here for Mobile Web Warp Blog.

Facebook Email

Facebook now offer their 600 million users a new unified message service - Facebook messages, Facebook chats and even a Facebook email address all find their way into a single inbox. In order to get this service you will need to upgrade to the Facebook Messages service. Invitations will appear when you log into Facebook.com but until you receive yours you can find out more from Facebook New Messages.

Once upgraded you can claim your @facebook.com email address. Here's how: Click Here. by default your @facebook.com email address will be your vanity URL which you may have chosen in 2009. Here's a quick reminder of the username/vanity URL feature.

It will be interesting to see if the addition of a facebook email service will have any impact of the existing web based email dominance of Microsofts Hotmail, Google's GMail and Yahoo's YMail. The Facebook email experience isn't as fully featured as GMail, for example. Facebook Messages seems to focus on continual conversations with friends, in a similar mannor to the old facebook messaging service. The ability to start these conversations from an external email service would appear to be the only real benefit.

The iPhone app highlights the change:

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

White iPhone 4

Apple's iPhone 4 was originally advertised as being available in Black or White. However it has been almost a year and only now is the iPhone finally available in white, both front and back. This is different to the iPhone 3G in white which sported the same black front as the black one.

The new iPhone 4 in white has a small black strip above the speaker for the proximity and ambient light sensors. And it's release follows the recently released iPad 2 which is also available in white and black. The images show the iPhone press release image and the real world look.

Image: Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Google announced Chromium OS, an open source operating system, based on the idea that the internet (via Google Chrome) was all you needed. Then Google ran the CR-48 beta project where Google Chromium OS was the only installed operating system loaded onto a dedicated laptop given to participants in the trial. The information collected and extensive research conducted by Google has lead to their recent announcement of fully fledged Chromium OS laptops called Chromebooks.

The new Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung will be available in the US on the 15th June 2011. To explain the difference between a regular PC and a Chromebook check out this video from Google.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Firefox Add-ons Collection

Web Warp Blog now has a Firefox Add-on Collection to help you find useful and interesting Firefox Add-ons.

To access the collection just follow this link: Click Here for Web Warp Blog Firefox Add-ons Collections

For the latest recommended add-ons please follow this collection. Feel free to recommend add-ons that you have found useful by tweeting @webwarpblog.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Note taking moves online with Evernote

Web Warp Blog has been following several services that offer "cloud computing". These internet connected services come in various forms, web email, online file storage and now Evernote. All of these technologies are supposed to make our lives easier, and sometimes they really do!

We've spoken before on Web Warp Blog about how storing your files in a folder that automatically uploads to Dropbox can be really useful. The web and mobile access are great and file sharing between Dropbox users is fantastic - no more emailing 50 photos in small groups! And imagine this level on connectivity with things that aren't Word documents or albums of photos. Imagine if you could capture the ideas, thoughts and notes that you happily scribble on a Post-it note to get buried under you paperwork on your desk

There are always snippets of information that you need to make a note of. A phone number, an address, the list goes on. And you've got a smartphone and PC... la de da de da. Now you need Evernote! Evernote is a place to keep notes on anything and everything

Evernote works in a similar way to Dropbox, you have an account (free or premium) and all of your data is stored online on their secure website. You can log in through any web browser and retrieve your notes. The beauty of Evernote is that, just like Dropbox, there are a series of applications specific to the various operating systems and devices you own. These take full advantage of your smartphones GPS or laptops webcam to create a rich and varied array of note taking.
There are currently app's for the following:
Desktops / Laptops: Windows xp, Vista, 7 and Mac OS X
Mobiles: iPhone / iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm, Windows Mobile 5 and 6
Browser webclippers are available for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

You can be as organised as you like with Evernote by storing your notes in difference Notebooks and giving each note several tags. Evernote is fully searchable and even uses OCR (optical character recognition) to make your photos of text, even handwriting, searchable. In our test's Evernote hasn't failed to impress. The range of note taking, from text, photos, sound and entire webpages is extremely useful.

The potential for Evernote to be used for collaboration is huge. You can share particular Notebooks with colleagues or family members and even collaborate by editing the same note if you both have premium accounts.
For more information or to try it yourself go to www.evernote.com.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Get your questions answered with Replyz

Replyz.com is a new twist on crowd sourcing information from the internet. It takes questions asked on Twitter and pushes them onto the Replyz website in categories. Members of the Replyz community then answer your questions. To make sure you get your tweet added to the Replyz website just add #replyz hashtag to your question!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Google.com Refresh

Google has a new look, and it covers all Google sites with the classic naviagation bar.

Old Look:

New Look: