The DigitalOutbox Comic #01


One of the picks from episode 21 was the online comic creator from The Super Hero Squad Show, by Marvel.

The online comic creator is Flash based and allows the user to create either a quick 1-3 panel digital comic strip or a 1-22 page digital comic. The comic creator is fairly simple to use, you have page of cells to which you can drag and drop assets to. The assets are categorised into a number of categories, such as: backgrounds, characters, objects, dialogues and sound effects.


Once you have created your masterpiece, you can either print it out or save it as a PDF.

We tried it out and created our very own comic book. It took a lot longer than expected, mainly due to the browser crashing during the first attempt. However we finally got there and now without further ado, we present to you, the DigitalOutbox Comic #01.

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Amazon Mobile UK

It’s been out in the US for some time but finally the Amazon app is available on the iPhone. This app makes it easy to browse up to a million items on your iPhone and make that purchase a dangerously easy one click purchase away. The search and browse works as expected and once you’ve found the product your looking for you can purchase it or add it to your wish list. Your wish list can also be accessed via the app – I find it easier to modify it on the iphone than on the Amazon web site which is surprising. Reviews and comments can be viewed for each product which makes for good background to a product and of course it’s handy when out and about to compare prices and get product reviews.

One feature that’s exclusive to the iPhone is Amazon Remembers.


Take a photo of a product you like and Amazon will not only keep the photo and make it available on the Amazon website but via a combination of automation and people power, they will mail you back an Amazon link so you can purchase the product. Tried it on a couple of products and it’s been accurate so far.

The app let’s you track any deliveries and overall it’s fast and responsive. I love this app although it is pretty dangerous. Think of how easy an appstore purchase is then apply that to the Amazon store. Oh dear. It’s app’s like this that make it essential to have a keypad lock on your phone.

StreetStats – Broadband speed checker +

For my pick this week, I’m choosing a broadband speed checker. This doesn’t exactly sound that interesting – but this speed checker comes with a twist – and a good one at that!


The pretense being that you carry out your speed test as normal (you know the drill – watch a rev counter representation of your download and upload speed and get a result that your mildly disappointed with.)


But there’s an additional step with this checker, that being you can geotag your result with your postcode it is added to an ever growing map of all users speed results.

Been fobbed off about your download speed based on distance to the exchange? Well now you’ve got the tools to confirm this or repute it. If you’re only getting 2Mbs download but your neighbors ares getting 8Mbs then you know somethings amiss.

The information is all integrated into a Google Maps application on the website


You can move around, zoom in and out, look at different areas. Each result is presented with the provider and you can chose to display upload or download speeds. Perhaps a great tool if you’re looking to move into an area? If you want more information on a result, this is also possible by just clicking the result.


With all this data, they have also put together some nice graphs of provider speed trends over time. Not just for standard Broadband but also mobile/3g broadband as well.



Nothing revolutionary about these graphs or speed tests but the website presents the information well and the geo-tagging of data and the fantastic mapping tools offered by Google have produced another great mashup.


My pick from this weeks show was for the fabulously named app “SpaceSniffer”. Not only is it well named, offering a great way to search out where large files and folders are taking up valuable disc space, but it’s also very hypnotic to watch it do it’s thing! Have a look at this screencast to give you a brief overview.

Made by Uderzo Software and based on a concept by Prof. Ben Shneiderman, SpaceSniffer is available as Freeware from their website, if you use it and like it, then support the developer and donate!


TVCatchup is a website that allows you to watch around 30 UK TV channels from your browser, for free. While this is all well and good it was their one year anniversary last week and to celebrate they announced an iPhone version of their website


This is a beta service that allows you to pick up 11 UK channels over wi-fi or 3G. The channels available at the moment are BB1, BBC2, ITV1, Ch4, Ch5, ITV2, BBC Three, Film 4, E4, More 4 and finally 4 Music. To view a channel click on it’s logo, wait for it to buffer and then sit back and relax. The buffer time depends on your 3G/wi-fi speed. In and around Glasgow the wait time on 3G wasn’t too bad. In Portsmouth it was a lot slower so your mileage may vary.


As for the quality itself, I was impressed considering the amount of data to send and it made for a good viewing experience on the iPhone. Click on the stream to cancel back to the webpage and select another channel. That’s it. In fact the quality was far better than the poor quality signal on my hotel’s TV last week.


Channels are streamed around 20 seconds behind the live channels which isn’t an issue for me, especially as the service is free. While this is currently in beta the forums promise more channels to be added and also mention an actual app rather than the web site to access the channels. One wonders if this would be approved due to the streaming requirements on 3G and whether it would be limited to wi-fi only. Maybe the web site is in response to delays in app approvals. Only time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy TV from anywhere you can get a 3G signal. To help, a MovieWedge is worth grabbing too.

Tweetie 2

Tweetie has been my favourite Twitter app since it launched many months ago. Quick, good to look at and with a ton of features I had no hesitation in buying it at the time. Roll forward to now and Tweetie 2 has been launched, not without some controversy. The developer, Loren Brichter, is charging £1.79 for the new version. In my view this is more than reasonable as it is a complete re-write of the application and comes with so many new features. However there is a noisy community out there that thinks this is robbery and once you’ve paid for an app you should get updates forever for free. Crazy. If that model continued, developers would have no incentive to continue development of app’s and ultimately the platform would become a waste ground of app’s released that are buggy and never improve. If only Apple provided a way of allowing dev’s to charge for upgrades. Anyway, Tweetie 2 – what’s new?

Tweetie 2

A new look and feel and a faster interface again. Mention’s and DM’s are now highlighted by a blue globe underneath the icon on the main screen. This is much improved on Tweetie where mentions and DM’s could be lost as you had to go and check to see if there was a DM rather than being notified. From this screen it’s easy to delve into a twitter users details – how many followers, their recent tweets, theirs favourites and so on. You can also follow/unfollow from the app and tweetie allows you to link a twitter user to a contact on your iPhone. A really neat navigation feature is if you swipe left to right on the application title bar you jump back to the timeline – very handy for when you’ve drilled down into a users followers or tweets.

SearchA feature I haven’t seen in any of the other twitter app’s is what the developer calls Persistence. No matter what screen you leave from when Tweetie is closed, when you fire it back up it will continue from that screen. Really nice and makes it feel like your switching out of Tweetie and then back unlike most of the other iPhone app’s which feel like you are closing down and restarting again. It also does this very quickly – hopefully more app developers will add similar functionality. Tweetie 2 also add’s full support for landscape mode which is great for typing tweets but not so great for reading – I far prefer the landscape mode.

Local SearchSearching is also strong within Tweetie. You can search the timeline, search for any term, view trending topics, save searches and also get a pretty fast local view that draws tweets on a map. Tweetie will sync your saved searches with which is handy. What would be really nice is synchronisation with Tweetie on the Mac – the last tweet read on the iPhone is where tweetie on the Mac would refresh from, same accounts on each app. Probably a step too far as not every iPhone owner is a Mac user but it would be nice.


Final new additions worth mentioning can be found in the compose screen. You can now query for twitter usernames (at last – I can never remember some people’s twitter names) and also for hashtags so you can add the most relevant one to your tweet. You can also attach photo’s and video’s and geotag your tweet. Tweetie 2 comes with support for the new geotag features that Twitter are to roll out plus support for the new retweet functionality that is to come soon.

Other app’s have some if not all of the features in Tweetie 2 but none of them pull it together in a package that looks so good and works so well. the interface is well thought out and shows some real innovation. Oop’s, almost forgot another nice swipe feature – drag to refresh. Get to the top of the timeline, pull down and release to refresh. Fantastic and surely a feature that will be copied by many other app’s in the future. If you buy one twitter app for the iPhone it really has to be Tweetie 2.