August 11, 2009

I hate mornings!

Filed under: Geek cool — Simon May @ 6:03 pm

Philips HF3490 Wake-up Light with Dock for iPodWell actually that’s not true, I just have lots of trouble waking up and it’s far worse in the winter.  I’ve been talking about getting an alarm clock that simulates daylight to wake you up gradually for a while, but I’d abandoned the idea in favor of an iPod dock to have an elegant charging solution by the bed.  It looks like I needn’t abandoned hope as Philips, who actually make all the most attractive daylight simulators have come out with all I want in one package.  This thing might actually wake me up.

It’s on the US Amazon site, but doesn’t seem to be available in the UK just yet, oh well.


August 10, 2009

Possibly the best geeky t-shirt ever!

Filed under: Geek cool — Simon May @ 5:48 pm

Chewbika T-Shirt

I have a thing for geeky t-shirts, and this is a super example…might have to get my hands on it.  If you don’t know what it is it’s Chewbacca on a bicycle, Genius.

It’s available just here and I found out about it via the fabulous Uncrate

August 6, 2009

Which version of Windows 7 do you need

Filed under: Windows 7 — Simon May @ 5:35 pm

There are lots of Windows 7 versions available, they’ve just gone live for download for the IT Pro’s and Developers who subscribe to Technet and MSDN, but which version do you need?  This is the simple guide:

Home Premium: Most home users will want this, you get all the media features (like Media Center).  It’s the sweet spot, most consumers will want this.

Professional:  Most small businesses will be going for this option, it’s also good for home users who fall into the “enthusiast” category – that is if you like to play.  You can join a business network (a Domain or Active Directory) with this.

Ultimate: If you want EVERYTHING including the ability to encrypt USB drives to keep them secure.

Enterprise: If you’re a big business you’ll want this.

Home Basic: This version is lower priced, but misses out on most of the media features and other cooler stuff.

Starter: You might get this if you buy a net book, otherwise you won’t be likely to come across it.  It’s the most basic version suitable for low powered PCs.

How to tell if your new hardware is Windows 7 compatible

Filed under: Windows 7 — Simon May @ 5:05 pm

Compatible with Windows 7 The Windows Blog has some interesting information about the Windows 7 logo scheme.  For those who don’t know about it, which is probably most people, the logo scheme helps to clearly identify devices that give the best experience with Windows 7.  The networking changes in Windows 7 are superb and it’s even easier to set stuff up quickly and most importantly securely with Windows 7.  The logo scheme gives you the guarantee that everything will work perfectly, including things that have traditionally gone a bit awry such as UPnP or discovering other devices on your network.

Also worth noting is that any network device that support media playback, like TVs and network speakers with the logo will be fully DLNA compliant too so there’s a good chance they’ll work with other components of your DLNA setup.  Logoed devices will also appear in Device Stage so you’ll only have to go to one place to configure your devices.

August 5, 2009

Almost time for proper satnav on the iPhone

Filed under: iPhone — Simon May @ 8:36 pm
Tags: ,

The clincher for me moving to iPhone from Windows Mobile was that TomTom is coming and not only that it looked like an excellent implementation as this teaser video shows.  That was a couple of months ago at WWDC (Apple’s big conference).

Today it appears that the first pre-orders are available from UK site Handtec for the special mount that provides “enhanced GPS performance, clear voice instructions, hands-free calling and in-car charging.” I have to say though that I’m totally shocked at the price, £113.85!! 

For that princely sum you get the special car cradle and the software, although it’s not quite clear yet how you go about getting the software from iTunes as this is the first peripheral hardware for iPhone that needs software and will work happily without the hardware.


Also launched today is iGo My Way 2009 which doesn’t have any external hardware and is available with Western Europe maps for £52.99 or £44.99 for the US maps.  Navigon MobileNavigator is also available at £52.99 for Europe and £39.99 for the US maps.

Where next

I’ve been waiting for the TomTom solution for a while, so I’m personally going to wait for the reviews.  I want to see what the verdict is about the car cradle, and if it really does add much to the navigation experience (it’s supposed to make it more accurate) if it doesn’t add much it’ll be a strait choice between 3 products all competing on almost the same features.  I’ll let everyone know how I get on.

[via iPhone Alley – RSS]

Make your PC reflect your personality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Simon May @ 6:14 pm

United States Microsoft have made loads of freebies available on their Windows 7 download site that can really help you make you Windows 7 PC your own.  Here you’ll find:

  • themes that let you customize your desktop wallpaper and your color scheme
  • wallpapers so you can choose just to change the picture on your desktop
  • gadgets that sit on your desktop and give you fast access to tons of information from your PC and the internet
  • and finally sideshow gadgets which you can use if you have a side show device, like a special screen on the outside of your laptop or on your Windows phone.
  • clubhouse Tags: Windows 7

August 2, 2009

How to Save $200 and get your whole family on Windows 7

Filed under: Uncategorized — Simon May @ 5:19 pm

Family Pack of Windows 7 Home PremiumMicrosoft have announced that they are going to be producing a “Family Pack” of Windows 7 Home Premium (which is the version most people are going to want, and has all the media features you’ll need) and the pricing has been confirmed at $149 US.  Unfortunately it’s only going to be available in “select markets” but it’s a great start.  For your $149 you’ll get 3 licenses for Windows 7 so it can be installed on 3 PCs, (wow that’s just $50 per PC!!!)

Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU) pricing has also been confirmed, WAU is a built in way to move up the tree in terms of Windows versions.  For example a user of Windows 7 Starter Edition (the version that will ship with netbooks) can upgrade to Home Premium and all it’s features for $79.99 or if the same person needed to be able to join that netbook to a business network (a “Domain) they could get Windows 7 Professional for $114.99. 

Here’s the full pricing (would have been nice to see equal pricing but I guess it’s due to tax rates):

  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium:£69.99 / $79.99
  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Professional: £119.99 / $114.99
  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Ultimate: £139.99 / $164.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional: £119.99 / $89.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate: £124.99  / $139.99
  • Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Ultimate: £84.99 / $129.99

The sweet spot for almost everyone is going to be Windows 7 Home Premium so that Family Pack looks like a bargin!

[via The Windows Blog and MyDigitalLife]

July 28, 2009

Recycling your mobile for profit

Filed under: How I Use...,iPhone,Windows Mobile — Simon May @ 9:04 am

I’ve just moved over to iPhone, as you’ll see if you browse about abit, but obviously I had a great phone before that, a Samsung i780 and before that a t-mobile touch plus (aka HTC Touch Dual) and before that an m3100 from orange (HTC Hermes) and before that an Orange c550 and before that … you get the drift.

And I still have all those phones, or at least I did until we decided we needed to declutter, we’ve been selling stuff for months on eBay! Checking out the prices for all those mobiles on eBay and it seemed a bit hit or miss so I decided to look at the mobile recycling companies. Just as an aside here worth noting it’s taken me a while to come to terms with actually getting rid of gadgets (I kept the i780), I say this only in case some thinks I’ve lost the plot, or a portion of my mind a least. The final decider, apart from the clutter was the cash.

I opted to use Mazuma mobile. The reasons behind this choice were many but mainly based on a first hand endorsment from a colleague and my being overly inflenced by the TV! So how was it?

On their website you fill details in about the phone and you don’t really even need to know much about it since they have a huge catalogue to choose from. Next you enter the IMEI number of the phone and they go off and check that the phones not been stolen (or at least not stolen and put on the register). Finally they give you a valuation. The touch dual and Hermes fetched £45 a piece and the older phones abou £15 each. The price is based on the condition of the phone; either working or not working. The definition is happily very loose too. “Working” basically means it turns on and you can, therefore, guess what the “not working” deffinition is too. The m3100 I sent had a button missing, but I still got full price and none of the Windows Mobile devices had propper firmware on, but that was no problem either. Anyway back to the process because I didn’t have money in my pocket at this point.

Having submitted the “order” through the web site I got a little pack in the post a couple of days later that contained instructions, a plastic ( and unpadded) postage paid returns bag and a certificate of postage for the post office clerk to sign. All I had to do was pop the phones in the bag and put it in the post box at the post office. A day or two later I recieved an email to tell me the phones had been recieved, then hours later I was told that a check was in the post. Full price for each!

And so a day or two later I have a cheque waiting for me to make it to the bank and I’m writing a review of a company that is actually more based on low tech postage methods than a digital lifestyle. It’s a superb service though, worthy of recommendation and in my oppinion it could be improved only by allowing an option like me getting my cash though paypal. If you don’t fancy using Mazuma then there are some alternatives listed below.

July 24, 2009

What I’m reading right now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Simon May @ 1:18 pm

If all goes well, and I don’t see why it won’t, this post should come out whilst I’m off on vacation having just been to an old friends wedding.  Obviously I’ve taken some holiday reading, an iPhone on the beach just doesn’t cut it for me.  Reviews when I get back.

The 4-hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New RichFirst up is the 4 hour work week, by @timferris (a.k.a) Tim Ferris.  If you’ve not heard of it then you’ve missed something, it’s about how to better manage your life, have more fun, automate your income and other interesting stuff.  I’m hoping it’s going to give me some ideas.

Brilliant NLP: What the Most Successful People Know, Say and DoBrilliant NLP is next up, it’ll be my second attempt at reading this having not managed it last time I went away.  NLP is a system for “programming” yourself to get more out of your interactions with others, it’s a system that’s always interested me and lots of what’s involved I do naturally.

The Gum ThiefThe Gum Thief, by Douglas Coupland is the first of the fiction I’ll be digging into.  I really enjoyed JPod , and I’m currently watching the TV series.  Coupland has razor sharp wit and I hope this lives up to his previous works.

The BombmakerThe HijackThe last two novels are, The Bombmaker by Stephen Leather, and The Hijack by Duncan Falconer, which should be satisfying my need for reading about explosions and manly stuff.  I actually seriously doubt I’m going to get this far, I don’t read fast enough.

July 10, 2009

Best value charging cable ever

Filed under: iPhone — Simon May @ 6:09 pm

I’ve just been to one of my favorite gadget shops again, Poundland.  I’ve written about them before when I’ve hit upon a bargin and I’m really motivated to do it again so that everyone can benefit.   The image with this post is their retractable USB iPod charging cable and they sell it for just £1 like everything else in store. Here’s a similar item available online. These should be available UK wide right now and they’re the perfect, compact cable for your gadget bag. Quality is ok, not Apple standard but then I could buy one of these a month for the price of the Apple sync cable.   Bargin.

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