All posts in “Internet”

Tweetbot for Mac

It’s been available on iPhone since April 2011 and more recently iPad, but today my favourite Twitter client, Tweetbot, was released for Mac OS X. It’s public alpha so there are bugs, crashes and incomplete features, but if you’re brave and you want to help Tapbots shape Tweetbot into the finest Twitter client for the Mac then have at it and go download it now!

Faster than the speed of light

Three weeks ago I had 10MB Virgin Media broadband installed and have been enjoying a super fast connection. Since the service has been so good I’d been considering upgrading to their 30MB package but had to take into consideration the cost of their Super Hub which is required for 30MB and beyond speeds, costing £75.

Last Wednesday I received a call from Virgin Media with a broadband deal for me: 30MB broadband, free for the first 3 months and free Super Hub. I simply couldn’t resist this offer and the hub was delivered to me on Friday.

I just had to swap my hub over, call their activation line and then wait 15 minutes before trying to connect to the internet. This was probably the most pain-free installation process ever.

I checked my speeds via Speedtest.net and it was coming in at 29.35Mb/s down, 3.07Mb/s up. I was very impressed. A quick check of my speed today and it’s showing as…

1479009962

I’m really thrilled with 30MB broadband and am looking forward to downloading some movies from iTunes to put it through it’s paces.

FutureYear

My friend Nick recently launched FutureYear, a new social network where you share with friends what you are doing in the future. Here’s the press release…

Where FutureYear ?ts in…

Your future! You have Facebook for catching up with past friends made and viewing past photos etc. Twitter is all about the present, what is happening right now around the world. FutureYear looks beyond your past and present and asks what are you and your friends doing in the future.

FutureYear is all about your next 12 months…

Broadcast what you have planned, where you’ll be around the world, and what your ambitions are for the next year. Share with friends, even if they’re just ideas at the moment!

It all starts with your profile page. Here you can post what you have planned into an organised timeline so that friends and contacts can discover what you have in store for your next week, next month and even next year.

On creation of a FutureYear profile, you can begin to track other profiles. Whether you track friends or business profiles, all upcoming events posted to these profiles you track will appear in your home page. Here you can stay up to date with whats coming up in the lives of friends, businesses, or groups.

Bored next weekend? Use the Explore feature. Search for events by date, topic or location to find stuff to do locally in your area or even further afield.

FutureYear is perfectly suited towards businesses and groups too who wish to promote their exciting dates or promotions coming up. As a brief example of how we see this being great for business we have a outlined a few potential uses:

-A clothing store may want to inform its customers of sales it has on, or when a new range is in
-A coffee shop may want to promote special offers on particular days to drive sales
-A nightclub may want to share its diary of nights and DJs coming up
-A scout leader can post activity days and provide the link to its scouts
-An event organiser may want an open and public centralised profile to show upcoming events
-A local football team may want to post a season’s fixtures and the locations of away fixtures

For businesses and groups, the great benefit with FutureYear is that its open. Users don’t have to be registered to view a profile. Businesses and groups sharing the link to their FutureYear profile is the first and only step needed to promote their future events, activities, fixtures, offers and more.

Currently in beta

We’ve just launched to the world and anyone can now join. We have many features and improvements coming soon, stay tuned!

Exciting times!

The team behind FutureYear are really excited about the coming months and the features we have lined up. We hope you’re just as excited as we are about FutureYear. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Broadcast your future today…www.futureyear.com

Dinkybox

As anyone who has seen the many photos of my workspace will know, I’m rather fond of my office toys. Not just my Apple ones, but the colourful designer vinyl toys that add charm and personality to my surroundings, making it what it is. Whenever anyone walks into my office you can guarantee that one of the things that gets people talking is my little collection of cool toys.

I first started collecting Droplets by JamFactory around two and a half years ago. This kickstarted my little vinyl toy collection and I’ve gone on to purchase toys by James Jarvis, Kidrobot and Spider Baby Boom. One of the vinyl toy stores I have discovered in the past 12 months is Dinkybox. I’m a bit like an overgrown kid in a sweet shop, mesmerised by the colours and the wonder of it all, overwhelmed by what to choose but knowing that either way I’m going to leave with a big smile on my face. It’s a treasure trove for designer vinyl collectables as well as books, comics and art supplies.

My first ever purchase from Dinkybox came last October. It was the Kidrobot Ninjatown Business Ninja complete with neck tie, coffee mug and mobile phone, for Tom at digital introvert as a mascot to help celebrate his new business venture.

Business Ninja...

Not only was the delivery of the item(s) prompt but I was struck by the friendliness of Sue, one of the brainchild’s behind Dinkybox, who added her own personal note in the dispatch email to thank me for my purchase. From that moment on I knew I would be using Dinkybox again. There’s just something lovely and warm about receiving an email from the founder who seems as excited about your purchase arriving as you are. It’s no surprise that they are fellow collectors, so are just as passionate about the toys they sell as the ones who come to buy them. That will always ensure they have my custom – it’s more than simply just a transaction to them.

One of the things I love about Dinkybox in particular is you don’t have to go the blind box route [hoorah!] which sadly is the condition that some sites have when purchasing their toys. I dread to think of the money I have spent trying to complete my Droplets Series 1 and 2 collection by buying blind box, only to open it up and find it’s the design I already have. As fun as that box opening is for the first thirty-seconds, you soon realise that the odds of getting the colour you want is stacked against you and I am now resigned to the fact that both my Series 1 and 2 collections of JamFactory Droplets will never be complete. That’s where blind box loses its charm.

My latest purchases from Dinkybox have come this week, first off in the form of Kidrobot Ninjatown White Ninja…

Kidrobot White Ninja

I think you’ll agree he is super cute and is a perfect match with my white iPad 2 [and doesn't Dinkybox look amazing on there too?]

My second purchase is Kidrobot Dunny 2011 Mr Frames…

Dunny Mr Frames

I’ve become a big fan of the Kidrobot Dunny range which has some truly unique designs and I expect I will be building that particular collection up next.

If you want to have an office as cool as mine [check out my collection] with charming characters that make you smile, then head over to Dinkybox and pop something into your box!

Like a virgin, for the very second time!

Last year you may remember I tried and tested Virgin Media Broadband after experiencing problems with my o2 Home Phone and Broadband. Sadly I ran into frustrating issues getting websites to fully load on Virgin, if it all, and cancelled within the 30 day cooling off period. I had little choice but to stick with o2 who I was still having many problems with, but several perplexed engineers later it seemed to magically resolve itself.

One week ago my o2 broadband was once again disconnecting at an alarming rate. After calling them and getting the usual “plug into the test socket and we’ll check for faults” I couldn’t help thinking last year was going to repeat itself all over again. One engineer after another scratching their head trying to work out why my service was flakier than a flaky thing, all coming to the conclusion that everything was fine and that I should take it up with o2 again.

Because I didn’t relish the thought of having no reliable service for the foreseeable future, I took the opportunity to call Virgin Media to enquire about their broadband once again in the hope that any problems that did exist in my area were fully fixed 12 months on. Friends and family have been switching to Virgin within this time and have had a superb service with them. Because I have their Large TV package with Sports collection, I can get 10MB fibre optic broadband for around £15 per month. I was able to choose self-install as I have all the cables at the back of my TV which the hub simply needs to be plugged into. This saved me £40 on an engineer.

I then received a phone call on Wednesday from an “o2 Guru” who said a fault had been discovered at my local exchange which would be fixed within 24 hours. It was 4 hours later after I arrived home after taking that call and noticed my connection had been down but was also running faster, at around 3.5meg. This, for me, is fast. So, just two days before I was due to have my 10mb fibre optic activated I found myself with a fully working o2 connection – typical. However my delight was short-lived as come Friday not only was my broadband down but also my home phone! I didn’t care too much as I’d just taken delivery of my Virgin Media Hub and my connection was up and running.

My experience second time around with Virgin Media has been wonderful. I visited all the websites I had problems with last year and there they all were, downloading in a snap. I ran a speed check and was getting 9.85meg. Fantastic. My contract with o2 Home Phone and Broadband ended in May, so I’m now fully free to move all my services to Virgin Media and will be doing so when I choose the right telephone package for me. I’ll also be upgrading to their 30MB broadband because of the bundle discount. I would be signing up as soon as possible, but the telephone installation will cost £40 plus another £30 for the Super Hub to support 30MB broadband. That can wait until my next big bill or two is safely out of the way.

Damn You, Autocorrect!

If you’ve got an iPhone, I’d be willing to bet that you have sent a text more than once before realising that it’s autocorrected a word that you didn’t mean it to. Either horror or hilarity will follow upon realisation. Luckily you and I aren’t the only ones.

I bought the hilarious book Damn You, Autocorrect a few days ago. I did so after discovering their hilarious website. One night recently I sat with my MacBook Air on my lap and just couldn’t move for being creased up in silent-stomach-cramping laughter, complete with tears streaming down my face.

I wish I’d saved and shared some of my funniest autocorrects, although I’m pleased to report that I haven’t had too many embarrassing moments – luckily any risque word autocorrects were headed for friends who could take it and get great enjoyment from, not family ;) However, I do remember a recent text from a good friend which casually autocorrected “I’m spreading Nutella on toast” to “I’m spreading Nigella on toast”. iPhone has a seriously wicked sense of humour!!

If you love laughing at others genuine mistakes then aside from bookmarking the DYAC website immediately, you can purchase the book from the following online retailers…

UK

Amazon.co.uk
The Book Depository

USA & Canada

Amazon.com

More buying options here!

It’s one of the funniest books I’ve read – and anyone who knows me knows that I just don’t do books! It’s just page after 279 pages of laughter. I reached Chapter 4 last night, so have the Freudian Slips autocorrects to look forward to.

[rating: 5/5] – without a shadow of doubt!

Simplenote for iPhone and iPad

For about 18 months now I’ve been using an app which I would be pretty lost without, it has to be said. There are times when I need to take a note of something, make a list or I’m lying in bed late at night and a great idea comes to me that I want to remember in the morning. That’s when I whip out my iPhone and open Simplenote.

Simplenote is very unique compared to the standard official Apple application, Notes, in that it syncs wirelessly between your iPhone, web app or any supported desktop app on your computer. No having to connect to iTunes to sync up notes taken in Notes.app. More than that, you can share notes between family and friends, restore backups of notes, apply tags, etc.

I’ve been using Simplenote in conjunction with JustNotes on both of my Macs, meaning I have my notes wherever I am and they sit neatly and quietly in my menubar, not asking for any space in my dock. There are several desktop applications which support Simplenote syncing, for Mac, Windows and aswell as extensions, scripts and plugins.

Simplenote for iPhone and iPad is free on the App Store [iTunes link]. You can also upgrade to a Simplenote Premium account which removes ads and gives you more added benefits including Dropbox sync, ability to edit notes in list view (iOS) and RSS feed. I’m currently subscribed as as Premium user, costing $19.99 per year.

[rating:5/5]

Like a Virgin….

On Saturday 11th September, a Virgin Media engineer came to my house to install 10MB fibre optic broadband and TV. The installation took approximately 20 minutes, not the estimated 2 hours. I was given a booklet on how to set up the Virgin Wireless Hub and I was online extremely quickly once I’d gone through the setup.

The first thing I did was head over to speedtest.net to check the speed. My speed registered as 9.75meg. I was perfectly happy with this. However, one of the first things I noticed was many websites taking a long time to load. Sites that weren’t particularly graphically heavy. Fruit Bytes also wasn’t loading as quickly as usual. A few times I’d get a message in Safari similar to those when my internet has disconnected.

After mentioning the issues I was experiencing on Twitter, some suggested it may just need time to settle or perhaps it was DNS related given that some sites loaded but others didn’t. Over 24 hours later things still weren’t improving and I had to reconnect my o2 Wireless router to hop back onto o2 for simple web browsing as Virgin was taking a frustratingly long time.

On Monday I called Virgin tech support to explain the symptoms and the chap I spoke to seemed to immediately understand what the problem was. He was broad Scottish so I found some of what he said difficult to understand but too much power and signal was mentioned. He said he would get a technician out to me and seemed fairly positive that he would be able to sort the problem out.

The technician arrived yesterday afternoon. I took him into the office to show him some of the sites that were lagging. He tried to log into the root of the hub but couldn’t remember the password. He gave up on that and took a look at my TV signal via my VirginHD box. He didn’t explain much (or anything) to me, other than muttering “that’s too low” as he went outside to the box. When he came back he said he’d changed levels and that should sort out my internet, but we came back upstairs to test it. Once again sites were lagging. He said he would “get onto the network” and said that I might see engineers going up and down the street as they work on it. But I was still slightly confused – would they contact me to tell me it’s fixed? Did I need to do anything? I just didn’t know.

So, a couple of hours later I telephoned tech support again and spoke to a pleasant chap who ran a test on the router and seemed to understand what the problem was. He put me on hold while he investigated and came back to say that there was indeed a fault in my area that would be fixed in 24 hours. He gave me the specific house number of a neighbour a few doors away from me who had also reported the issue. I felt satisfied that it was going to be repaired and I could enjoy speedy internet.

This morning I checked the service status page for my area and all services were marked red and showing as disrupted: Broadband, TV and Telephone. The work started just after 10.30am and was estimated to end at 2.30pm. At around 3pm I checked the service status again and it was all green and showing as ‘good’. I tried connecting and then viewing webpages. The lag was still there, often worse. Another phonecall to tech with the Indian call centre telling me a signal had been sent to my router and I was instructed to switch the hub off for 2 minutes while also shutting down my computer for 5 minutes. I carried this out and then after re-connecting nothing changed. I asked to be put through to customer care to find out which date my cooling off period ends as I wasn’t satisfied with the broadband service. I have until 9th October to change my mind.

At the moment it’s looking increasingly unlikely that I will be staying with Virgin Media for my broadband unless they can get an engineer to thoroughly test things at my property. I have been connected to o2 broadband at just over 1.5meg and webpages have downloaded in the blink of an eye. Compare this to consistent 9.5meg Virgin connectivity and webpages will barely load at all. It doesn’t make sense. I can download a track in iTunes very quickly with Virgin, but for browsing the internet you can absolutely forget it.

I would be willing to allow an engineer to call out to me one more time to see if this can be resolved. I would hope that the next engineer would have the sufficient login details for the hub so that this can be investigated fully rather than just checking my TV signal which wasn’t the issue. Right now I’m very disappointed in Virgin Media and can’t quite believe I’ve been hit by such problems from day one.

If anyone can offer any advice on this, perhaps if you’ve suffered similarly with Virgin and more importantly how it was resolved I’d very much appreciate it.

From o2 to Virgin

For three years I’ve written about my experience with o2 Broadband. All sickeningly positive, praising the reliability of service, speed and customer support. Because of this experience I switched my home telephone provider from BT to o2 when their home phone service began in the Spring. It was this move that heralded the beginning of the end of my love for o2. It’s a long story, one I shall attempt to condense into a few short paragraphs.

Since switching to o2 Home Phone and Broadband my connection has been terrible. Really terrible. It began almost immediately from my switch-on date of May 20th. It came in the form of many disconnections initially, to much slower speeds, dropping from 3.5mbps with reliability to 1.5mbps with disconnections as often as every 30 minutes.

Many telephone conversations have taken place between myself and o2 Broadband in the last 3 months and sadly the relationship has continued to deteriorate. Within 6 weeks they send me 2 brand new routers (o2 Wireless Box II), sent me new filters, changed the noise margin on my line to see if that would provide stability and I have had no less than 3 BT telephone engineers to my home to check and repair faults. All these engineers left my property satisfied that the issue was resolved. Only it never was.

o2 Broadband told me that once they’ve run all the tests they can on my line, they will send out a Broadband Engineer, not a telephone engineer. Last week we reached the point where the tests were completed, but the last conversation I had with them was the final straw. I was told, by a lady at o2, that I would need to have 30 disconnections an HOUR before they would send an engineer to me. Yes, 30. It was clear that with my current rate of re-syncs that they just were absolutely unwilling to do anything more than fiddle with noise margins and repeatedly talk to me like an idiot, asking “are your filters plugged into your sockets?”.

So, despite still being in contract with o2 Home Phone and Broadband until May 2011, I have signed up to Virgin Media to receive their 10MB Fibre Optic cable broadband (and TV package). I will get 3 months for £15 per month for my broadband then £20 per month thereafter. This means I’ll still be paying for an o2 Broadband service that I won’t be using, from o2. It’s not ideal since I should be receiving a service that I’m paying for, but o2 have let me down really badly and have had little choice but to seek an alternative.

As many longterm readers know, I’ve been a huge advocate of o2 Broadband the entire time I’ve been writing here. I have converted many friends, online and offline, to o2. Now I am advising to avoid like the plague. When it really matters and you have a problem, their support just aren’t prepared to send the necessary engineer to resolve the issue. Their advert about nobbling broadband niggles is now laughable. And their telephone message when calling for technical support is equally so…

Did you know that many o2 broadband connection problems can be fixed by switching your broadband box on and off?

Ah if only, o2, if only.

So, after 3 years I am finally waving goodbye to DSL with o2 Broadband and when my contract expires in May I shall also be taking my home phone needs to Virgin Media. I hope that I have a better experience with Virgin Media and that support will acknowledge and deal with problems should they occur. From what I’ve been told by friends who are already with Virgin, it seems that they do technical support very well. My installation date is Saturday 11th September.

My o2 Broadband [rating:0.5/5] AVOID AVOID AVOID

Osfoora HD for iPad

Weeks before my iPad arrived I downloaded several apps to get me up and running, one of which was Twitterrific for iPad. I really wanted to love the app, but there were so many features absent that I simply wasn’t enjoying the tweeting experience from my new gadget. I checked the app store daily for a replacement and on Saturday I found it in the form of Osfoora HD.

osfoora.jpg

This is the Twitter app that the iPad has been waiting for. Elegantly designed and tons of features which now makes tweeting from the iPad a pleasure rather than a chore. Check out the mammoth list of Osfoora HD’s features and screenshots from the app. As you can see it’s pretty impressive. Aside from all of it’s bells and whistles, Osfoora HD is FAST, really fast.

There isn’t a huge selection of Twitter apps for the iPad in the app store at present and with no word on when we can expect the official Twitter for iPad , Osfoora HD is the nicest and most elegant way to experience Twitter on the iPad.

Osfoora HD costs £2.39 in the iTunes App Store.

[rating:5/5]