Foursquare

Foursquare is a bit like Gowalla was. it basically allows you to check in at different places as you visit them, and you get points if you visit them several times. The interesting spin though is that in some places you can get free things for checking in – for example theres a macdonalds near me that will give you a free ice-cream sundae if you check in there and spend a certain amount of cash. Because its giving away freebies, I’m interested! I don’t know how popular it is in other countries but i was surprised to see freebies on offer in Stockholm.

Its not much, and not many places that have adopted this but its worth looking at, i mean after all, a free ice-cream is a free ice-cream!

It also allows you to find places near you – restaurants, cafe’s etc.. and people can post tips, so its actually quite cool.

Unusually and rather surprisingly the windows phone 7 foursquare app is better than the one for the iPhone. I’ve only got two friends on Foursquare and apparently i am the mayor of Stockholm – its not quite overlord of the universe but it will do for starters.

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Headphones from hell

A couple of weekends back I brought a new pair of headphones as my old pair wore out – now anything that’s tech related I have a tendency to look after really well – I don’t abuse technology. I brought these headphones for around 700kr in the Telenor store in Kista – and I wish I had kept the receipt. I wanted a firmly durable set of headphones and the guy assured me that these would fit the bill – they are a-JAYS Four.

From day 2 without any abuse already there is inconsistent sound – you can change the audio level just by moving the cable, I’m really annoyed by this becuase I don’t like paying that amount for something like this. So if anyone out there is thinking of buying a pair of these – don’t!

The New iPad

So Apple have announced the new iPad before its official release. I think they’ve forgotten poor Steve Jobs who would probably be turning in his grave right now. a sneak preview kind of dispels the mysticism surrounding apples products and they’ve lost something in that – in the old days of apple techs would speculate about what could be coming with the next release.

Top that and they forgot the basics – they haven’t even given it a name – the new iPad is all very well – but what will they call the next one? its not going to stick in peoples minds  – they killed the speculation and now can’t name it. Wow Apple, I am impressed. From what i have seen of whats known – the new iPad may as well be named the iPad 2S. Sure its faster, better graphics etc, but will that really capture people? i mean it doesn’t exactly give them the edge, and the current iPad 2 is great.

“We are taking it to a whole new level and are redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad,” said Tim Cook… which really annoys me because from what I’ve seen thats total bollocks.the category is just the same, the technology is just the same – it doesn’t project holograms, or have 3d multitouch, or do anything thats really unseen. ok its faster, its better but is that worth an upgrade? no.

Tim Cook kind of seems to have missed the point. When Jobs said something was magical, he really at least could partially justify such a claim. Ho hum, i wonder what they are doing with android these days….

 

Talented People.

The world is full of talented people – its sometimes easy to forget – I think I am going to try and post once a week on little known talented people I come across, because some people in life just don’t get the credit they deserve. The first is Zac Cranko – a name I never heard of until last night. I was watching a double episode of Silent Witness on TV – (Bloodlines) – it was really awesome and towards the end I was listening to the music there and thought  “thats a nice piece of music”. So I rewound the TV and ran the music through sound hound, which failed to identify it. Ten minutes of searching through IMDB took me to the cast and crew list, and the name responsible for musical arrangements was – you guessed it Zac Cranko.

So then there was a little google action and i came across he’s sound cloud entry, so i took out the iPad and started to go through his music (i have a sound cloud account and the iPad app). Some of his stuff i didn’t really like – but some of it was awesome – even the stuff that doesn’t really fit in with my own taste i have to admit was really well done. An example of his work is here. I don’t think he’s ever going to be my favorite but i have to admit i was really impressed and bow down to such talent.

This was also a reminder to me how awesome SoundCloud is – jumping from profile to profile listening to peoples music – and able to comment it – I like the fact I can comment music at a specific music position – so you can post “yeah I like this bit….” or hopefully something more creative. In many cases I like music because of just a part of it – which is more often then not under 20 seconds in length.

I also came across this  while I was hopping through SoundCloud – by bubbaproducer which I think is awesome as well.  I was a bit slow in comprehending how good SoundCloud actually is, because the first time I saw it I was just looking at sounds random people had posted rather that pieces of music – put into the context of music its really cool, and if you have time to kill is worth exploring.

BBC iPlayer

 I really like many of the series that are available on the iPlayer, but really annoyingly sometimes things are incomplete – Judge John Deed only has 4 episodes, Redcap only has one episode. I know of course this is to do with specific regions, I am in Sweden and what you see in the uk may be very different – but still it’s annoying.

I actually mailed the BBC about it – And they said not everything was available in every region – it would make sense but there’s no consistency – why could they give you only 1 episode in a series? (redcap has 12 episodes and ended years back). I expected more from them, the response I got was most dissapointing. I’ve waited a few months before posting this in the hope they would fix some of these issues. No joy there! Ho hum!

The Death Of Zombie Cafe

Image

Today I am uninstalling zombie cafe on the iPad – for a little while there it was a fairly fun game but now its just got a bit boring.

The aim of the game is to built a cafe with the best equipment, to run through the 30 odd levels and occasionally raid your friends cafe. It has lots of different things you can cook each taking different amounts of time and earning you different amounts of XP. I got into a bit of a routine where i would cook thing in the evening so that they were ready at the point i was getting on the train to work but progression is slow – my cafe is level 16+ and although i am definitely making progress not fast enough.

If i was to look at it sensibly i could actually grind, and level fairly quickly by a making some fairly quick dishes but that would mean i would have to be playing it a little bit all day – and thats just not my play style, my days get busy.

Of course the company that produces the game of course want you to buy the in app purchases, to make the grind a little more bearable you can buy toxin which enables to get you things like a gravestone which gives your little fellas energy back quicker. I refuse to spend any money doing this – in general i really hate games that have in app purchases to progress and never use them. Ive got no problem with spending the money, i just prefer to know when i have brought a game its mine.

OneNote for the iPad

So they released OneNote for the iPad – for those of you that don’t know it’s a Microsoft office app, for managing information in a scrapbook like style- it has lots of other benefits too.  I am sure most probably knows about office online – office.live.com – where you can use the web versions of Word, Excel and OneNote – all tied I to your live account and skydive, making it fairly easy to share documents – its a free service worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.
 

To run OneNote for the iPad you need a live account (hotmail account is a live account). It’s a fairly cool app but doesn’t allow you to create notebooks or sections that I can see – which is a bit of a letdown – you can of course log into the web interface to do that but what is the point !
 
 Dispite its shortcomings I like the app – I’m not quite sure how it compares to Evernote – standing alone Evernote seems slightly better to me, but in an integrated office environment OneNote wins for me – although Evernote is available on many platforms

Flipboard now available for iPhone

Flipboard is an awesome newsreader app for the iPad which has now been made available on the iPhone, I haven’t tried it yet but it’s bound to be cool – it takes a number of different feeds and turns it into newspaper style, including rss, Facebook, twitter, and other feeds. It’s free and is on the essentials list for most iPad owners. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m sure it will be good. It’s so cool I thought its worth a mention. 

Blogsy and other blog editors

Blogsy - Pheonix

I really liked this app a lot and the last version was really cool, but now I am not so sure. You can’t drag images directly into paragraphs any more, you have to drop them beneath then format themh. It’s a little thing but it sucks. Theres an video on this app which is a tutorial and it mentions a few things your not supposed to do – any app that requires that isnt so good in my book. There are lots of things in this pheonix version that just don’t work for me – including some of the things they mention in the training video. What makes it worse is the guy in the video really does treat the user as an idiot – I’ve never seen anyone get so excited over an undo facility.

The trouble is, there really aren’t many WordPress blog editors out there for the iPad, Blogsy is still probably the best even though it’s now got annoyances. There are only two other options:

Blogspot
A pretty cool app but very limited in terms of formatting; it works with not only WordPress but others too.

WordPress
It has basic functionality I will sometimes use this for just approving comments. It’s free and you get what you pay for.

As testimony to how much screwing about is now involved with images, i did actually give up trying to get the image where it is now. i loaded up the wordpress site and used its own editor on my mac to finally get the formatting right. I could have fixed this in blogsy by going into HTML mode but that really defeats the point.

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