simon-may.com

July 8, 2009

Art

Filed under: Uncategorized — Simon May @ 4:02 pm

One of my favourite artists is cartoonist Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid), he’s got a great sense of humour and I reckon he’d be good value at a dinner party.  I discovered him through @stevecla and he’s the genius behind Microsoft’s Blue Monster.  I thought I’d post my current iPhone wallpaper, taken from his blog where he’s been churning out some classics, such as the one on the left rescently, for some reason this resonated with me.

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July 7, 2009

Streaming in Windows 7 – PlayTo with play lists

Filed under: Windows 7 — Simon May @ 2:27 pm

It’s not just individual media files that can be played over the network with PlayTo, whole playlists can be sent to other machines too.  There are a couple of things you need to do, first make sure you have a machine running as a Digital Media Server (have a look here to find out how to set that up in Windows 7).  Second there needs to be a Digital Media Receiver on the network (have a look here to find out how to make Windows 7 into a DMR).

Play to playlistBuild a play list

The first thing you need to do is build a playlist in Windows Media Player, so drag the files into the right hand pane of WMP after making sure the Play tab is active.  If you really like it then enter a name, it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to save it, you don’t have to.

PlayTo the play list

Next just go the top of the pane and click the PlayTo drop down, it’s highlighted in the picture to the left of this text, and select the device you want to play it to.  If your devices have names that mean nothing you can change them easily by following the instructions in the Beyond the basics post.  That’s it your play list should start to play on the target device and a window should pop up for you to control the playback.

Posted by Simon May, follow me on Twitter or if you like email me
Simon's Blog @ thedigitallifestyle.com

clubhouse Tags: clubhouse, windows7, how-to, PlayTo, media player, challenge-windows 7

Companies and brands I think are worth my time and money

Filed under: How I Use...,list — Simon May @ 12:00 pm

There are some companies and brands out there doing some really great stuff right now, and I thought I’d post up a list of why I like them and who they are.  All of these brands I feel some kind of affiliation to, in some way, I like what they do, their ethos, or their products.  I tend to talk about them quite a bit anyway to people, I wanted to get them back into my Windows Live Writer link glossary and hopefully introduce more people to them….I should probably have used affiliate links…I’ve not.

  • Glasses Direct – Their face furniture adorns my visage every single day, I’m currently up to 3 pairs.  I love their approach to revolutionising their industry, the people are friendly and they are genuinely engaged in social media.  They’ve picked up on my blog before and offered my readers a discount.
  • Fav.or.it – This is the company behind tweetmeme, twit or fit (gone) and obviously fav.or.it and they’re a great bunch, I feel like I follow half their office on Twitter and they’re based in Reading.  I love their approach.
  • Microsoft – I have a lot of love for them, I think they’ve come through a crisis, they are turning their ship and they’ve really learnt along the way.  Everyone I know there loves what they do, and are the best ambassadors for any company that I’ve ever come across.  They continue to ship (especially this summer) some of the best, most usable software and in a way that I like.
  • Amazon – They sell my book, they sell everything.  It’s almost a way of life to buy their stuff.
  • Play.com – The best competition to the above, but they actually do lots of things better, free shipping on everything is one thing.  I found some invoices from almost 8 years ago recently.  As with Amazon, I like them because they sell stuff I buy.
  • Spotify– Free streaming music, like radio, but better, even the ad-supported version is great.  The ability to share playlists easily, especially on Twitter is superb.  Innovative product, well delivered.
  • Tweetdeck – Not my twitter client “du jour” but my twitter client of choice, on both Windows and iPhone.  It’s a UK company, and the synchronisation features set the thinking of the company apart from the competition for me.
  • Kikkerland –Design shop of choice, D obtained a brilliant doormat in the shape of an enter key for me from them…they are simply a stunning shop with great taste.
  • Case-Mate – Great iPhone case, I’ve reviewed it here, it’s innovative and again they’ve got their use of social media right on the money, with great responses via twitter and customer involved YouTube vids.
  • Moo – We’re using these guys to create our wedding invites, they’re superb.  Like every single one of the above, customer service is fantastic in some or all ways.

iPhone App news

Filed under: iPhone — Simon May @ 7:42 am

I’ve already said that one of the big reasons I moved to iPhone was for the innovate apps, well how’s this.  The people who make the excellent TVGuide.co.uk application have created this for Londoners, an “augmented reality” application that shows you where your nearest tube station is.  It’s 3GS only, because it uses video and looks amazing.

[Via @jamestenniswood and Gizmodo]

Also leaking out today is news of the TomTom application, which is what pushed me over the edge when it was announced that my favourite navigation application was on it’s way.  There’s some very promising information in this and I must say I’m looking forward to it….it’s one app I know I’ll buy.

[via @jangles and macworld]

IPhone 3GS battery life

Filed under: iPhone — Simon May @ 6:51 am
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The battery life on my iPhone 3GS is really starting to impress me. I cannot remember the last time I got more than a full day out of a phone, with pretty average usage and email on a 15 minute pull schedule.

There is a secret to this, I’m actually using 2g most of the time and am using WiFi in most locations turning on 3g when I need fast data on the move…which isn’t that often right now as most places seem to have WiFi. Incidentally this works well because connecting to Wifi is so easy on this thing. This is my “Usage” screen a few moments ago on 10% battery.

July 5, 2009

How much are your memories worth?

Filed under: Technology — Simon May @ 7:25 pm

This is a little off topic for Media Center but you’ll see the link in a little while.  One of my contacts on Twitter got in touch about the latest first Panasonic Blu-Ray recorder available in the UK and it looks like a very cool unit, in fact it’s not far off got most MCE features built in, which is an interesting move.  What this really shows is that there’s a very genuine consumer desire for the features we take for granted with Media Center and competition is good for spurring innovation – the compression that this box can do around HD content’s really interesting.

What got me interested though is that they’ve worked out just how much our digital memories are worth to us, using a very clever mathematical formula…in the UK 4 in 10 would sell their Christmas for less than £500 but a wedding would go for £3,000,000…I’ve already asked “D” if she’s willing to sell ours next year and she said  “yes, as long as we spend the money on another one!” any offers?

You can work out the value of your memories just here using the spreadsheet, and check out Panasonic’s Blu-Ray Media Centre worrier just here.  Take this into the context of how you can backup and archive those memories and suddenly you’ve got a business case built to use to sell it to the holder of your purse strings.

So folks, I’m guessing I know the answer, but would a box like this make you move away?  I know it wouldn’t make me move but it’s an interesting question for Sunday evening.

July 2, 2009

I have in my hand….

Filed under: Book — Simon May @ 6:28 pm
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…the very first copy of my new book, and that makes me very happy indeed.

June 29, 2009

The Daily Burn

Filed under: How I Use... — Simon May @ 9:39 pm

image My current obsession, apart from the iPhone, is with loosing some weight (and gaining muscle) in time for our wedding next year and a great web service is helping me do it.  DailyBurn.com is a fantastic (and mainly free) site for tracking your weight and other body measurements, your food intake and how much exercise you do to burn it all off.  It’s amazing how focused tracking  everything makes me and it’s such great motivation.  Explore the site for yourself, sign up and it’ll help you with your goals.

I found the Daily Burn from the author Tim Ferris and it has an iGoogle gadget and an iPhone app that make it really easy to keep it up to date.

iPhone armour

Filed under: iPhone — Simon May @ 4:48 pm
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These little iPhones  look beautiful and no one wants to have a device that’s covered in scuffs and scrapes, me included. So as soon as I got it…no wait before it arrived, I started doing research into screen protection for it and it wasn’t long before I realised back protection was also a must. The research led me to the products of Case-Mate, a great company that specialise in phone protection. At the time I was looking for a silicone skin to sit around the device but I soon came across the Stealth, an adhesive protection for both front and rear that doesn’t increase the size of the device, nice I thought. Case-Mate iPhone 3G / 3GS Clear Armor

I didn’t go for it though. One of the super-cool features of the Case-Mate site is their extensive use of their own, and customer created, YouTube videos. For lots of the products they have instructional videos for applying the product. Wait. How good is that? Half the time that’s the big problem with installing these things, and these guys have cracked it! It was on examination of these that I found ClearArmour. What makes Clear Armour stand out is that it’s applied “wet” just like you put wallpaper on the wall. The video showed just how easy the spray on formula was to apply and how good the results are and it showes the magick tip to get the corners to stick. I bought one immediatley.

When it arrived the postman had crushed it to get it into the letterbox, but I opened it up and got the video playing for a refresher. The installation experience was absutley as advertised, it applied perfectly.   Spray the films, spray your hands, put it in place (moving it easily if necessary) then use the supplied bit of board to remove any bubbles and leave to dry.   Overnight it dried and looked great, but with two bubbles on the back, 24 more hours later and they’d gone too.   Superb my iPhone was now protected. That’s how it’s stayed too, but there is one issue.  A couple of the corners have stared to pick up a little dust, but that will probably stop as soon as those ares loose some stick. However there are actually two comple armours supplied so I might use the other to get a better application, I could use some more spray though.

I’ve been mega impressed by Case-Mate and they answered my Twitter questions quickly. Put simply their customer service rocks so much that I want to try more of their stuff. I’m gonna get a silicone case from then still as I want some impact protection.

Geeky T-shirts

Filed under: Geek cool — Simon May @ 4:16 pm
Tags: ,

I do like geeky things and that extends as far as my attire under some circumstances, especially so in summer. So it was with sheer glee that I purchased this t-shirt from play.com last week as it matches my other number one criteria…bargins! The geekyness is doubled by its inclusion of not only Starwars but also of Lego, and all for just £4.99 delivered. It’s a Fruit of the loom tee too so the quality is good, in fact I remember printing the same in my fathers factory as a nipper.

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