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

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.