Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 Review

At the tail end of 2010 I picked up a webcam for use in daily video conferencing via skype. It would most likely have been sensible to plump for a cheap and cheerful option but somehow, as with all my buying decisions, I get like a kid in a sweet shop and can’t resist the big shiny option.

So, after some digging around and reading I plumped for the newly released Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910. A mouthful I think you’ll agree – so I’ll just call it the C910 from now on.

So why this buying decision? Well, I liked the top notch specs of this little camera. It’s got Carl Zeiss® optics, offers up full HD video recording, 10MP camera stills and has the capability to conference in 720P as well (although it requires a hefty internet connection to use this feature in reality.)

The head unit is long and oblong – about 3.5″ x 1.5″ – and has a flexible monitor support attached. I had no problem using the support to attach the cam to my 24″ Dell Flatscreen or my MacBook Pro Laptop. Obviously, being a fairly sizeable camera and the nature of a portable laptop, you’ll be wanting to have the laptop on a desk to make sure that you don’t catch the cable or otherwise yank the thing off the screen.

In operation, the camera is very capable. The optics are clear and the refresh rate is very good. The C910 offers auto focus that is quick and precise. I didn’t really notice it in operation, which is a good sign.

When in use, the camera has two led strips that light up blue. It’s a nice touch and looks sleek.

The software is relatively painless in use. Drivers are available for PC and Mac support was added recently. As far as I can tell, Mac is just drivers + the Logitech Vid HD software at the moment, whereas PC comes with some extras like options to install Skype, Vid HD as well as Magix photo and video editing software.

Also, it doesn’t appear at this stage that the Mac drivers come with the same filters and effects tools as the PC. Whether this is an additional download coming soon or whether this is a PC only feature, I don’t know at this stage.

I have to say that the facial recognition and tracking of the camera on the PC is impressive. A simple calibration tool sets things up and then you’re off. You can change yourself into an Avatar if you want and the facial tracking then transplants your mouth, eye and face movements onto another character. Just as impressive is the ability for the software to add 3D “features” to your face. Ever wanted to know what you’d look like with an arrow through your head? Well, now you can find out. As you move your head, the arrow moves in 3D space as well. Freaky voodoo fun!

In addition to these fun features, it’s possible to use the PC software as a motion tracker. Set things up and you can have your camera record snippets whenever it notices something moving in its sight line. You get to define the sensitivity of this feature and what it should do when it detects motion (record, alert you etc).

The basic system requirements are not onerous. 1GHz, XP and up or OSX 10.5, 512Mb Ram. However, things step up a notch when it comes to full HD conferencing. You’ll need a dual core processor, 2Gig Ram and at least a 1Meg upload connection. Most modern computers will meet the specs – but in the UK it’s really only the lucky few who have the luxury of 1Meg upload.

You’ll also need to download the latest version of Skype to make use of the HD capabilities of this camera fully (because who is really going to use Logitech’s own Vid HD in reality?). However, even if you’re not stretching this camera to its limits, the higher quality optics and hardware as compared to basic offerings mean that your video comes through bright, clear and updates quickly – well beyond other offerings I’ve seen in practice.

It copes well with light changes and differing light conditions and the stereo sound won’t win any awards but is plenty capable for Skype. It picks up the sound well and since moving to this as my main Skype Mic, I’ve had only positive response. If you let Skype auto change the gain, it can even pick up sounds downstairs when I go and make a cup of tea!

It’s biggest downfall is its price of course. Not because I think it’s over priced for what it is, just because it’s steep for a webcam. However, with it’s full HD recording ability, single click upload to facebook/youtube and 10MP still capability, it’s a whole lot more than just a webcam. I picked mine up for around £80. I’ve seen them since at around £70 and I’ve also seen a page on Amazon that looks as though it may get down to £60 in the next few months.

iOS 4.3 Preview

A quick post with some news on iOS 4.3, recently released to developers and coming soon for all iOS users which came out while we were recording our latest podcast. Usually the NDA’s surrounding these releases mean information is thin on the ground but more and more we are seeing the details posted within hours of the developer releases. Looking at this Ars Technica post, the main new features are:

  • Airplay API – devlopers can now utilise API instead of the few Apple app’s that feature AirPlay support
  • Personal Hotspot – Launching with the Verizon iphone but coming soon to an iPhone near you turn your iPhone into a wifi hotspot, supporting up to five devices for 30 minutes tops unless there’s a power supply near you as well. Big question – will your telco support it and if so how much?
  • Choice. Honest. You too will be able to specify what your iPad’s hardware button can do. Prior to 4.2 it was an much loved by many orientation lock. 4.2 swapped it to a mute button and hid the orientation lock in with the multi tasking/playback controls. Many hated this and 4.3 allows the user to choose which of these two options are controlled via the hardware button. I am amazed – just not like Apple.
  • New gestures which look very handy. *groan* Four and five finger gestures, specifically pinch to return to the home screen and swipe to move between app’s. This is the biggest change for me and I’m surprised we’re seeing this in an OS point update rather than with iOS 5 or new hardware. Many are saying that this is the end of the home button but I can’t see it myself. The home button is important for one handed operation and a few other system related features which I don’t think will be replaced by gestures. The few saying this is really Boy Genius Report. The same people that have predicted Blu-Ray on the Mac. Video embed below shows the gestures in action. Nice.

Of course, I say all iOS users will be enjoying these features but this release drops support for iPhone 3G users and iPod Touch 2nd Gen. Performance of the hardware just not up to the latest features or Apple applying chinese burns to users to encourage hardware upgrades? Despite that negative, this update has some welcome new features. I just hope they are still featured when the final release is made available.

DigitalOutbox Episode 73

DigitalOutbox Episode 73
In this episode the team discuss CES, App Stores and T-Mobile fail.

Playback
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Shownotes
1:28 – Microsoft CES
– Underwhelming
– Kinect selling 8 million devices in 60 days – beats 5 million prediction – big news
– Kinect avatars coming later this year
– Their best product in 10 years?
– Windows 7 Phone – doing great – if it was, why not release sales figures? Microsoft has sold 1.5m Windows Phone 7 handsets in 6 weeks
– They have got some good idea’s in that O/S – I like tiles, snap tiles form other app’s to front page
– 5500 app’s though is a worry – Flickr and Kindle coming though
– Windows 7 – doing great
– IE9 looks a great upgrade
– Hardware
– Acer – 2 14” touchscreens – touch keyboard appears
– Samsung slider – slide screen over keyboard – very nice
– Asus tablet – touch and stylus, wireless keyboard, i5 chip, coming March – http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/asus-eee-slate-ep121-officially-unveiled-ips-display-core-i5-a/
– Surface – now 4 inches…thin :-)
– Every pixel is an infra red camera – no big camera’s anymore

– Next Windows – support Intel, AMD and ARM
– Two big deals however:
– The abandonment of Windows exclusivity by practically all of Microsoft’s OEM customers.
– The abandonment of Intel exclusivity by Microsoft for the next generation of Windows.
– End of PC era – John Gruber?
– No breakdown of markets – netbook, tablets, desktops – basically if it’s a market, it will have Windows is the take away?
8:22 – CES
– Android 3 – Honeycomb looks very different – http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/01/sneak-peak-of-android-30-honeycomb.html
– GHz dual-core Tegra 2 will power this 10.1-incher, while 4G connectivity will be made available as an update in Q2 following a Q1 launch. Other specs include a 1280 x 800 resolution, 5 megapixel camera, 720p video recording and 1080p video playback, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and finally, a healthy 32GB of onboard storage. The battery is rated to be capable of supporting 10 hours of video.
– HP – No tablet – Feb 9th for launch
– Asus Eee Pad MeMO – http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/asus-eee-pad-memo-tablet-takes-a-pen-out-of-the-couriers-book/
– Blackberry Playbook – http://gizmodo.com/5726902/money-shot-the-blackberry-playbook-tablet
– Needs Blackberry phone – You have to tether to your BlackBerry to get your calendar or email.
– Performance though is very very good
– 3d cameras – 3D TV’s haven’t sold, now 3D cameras?
– Star Wars on BluRay this September with 30 hours of extras
– Super fast phones – dual core chips – 1ghz coming soon
– Motorola Atrix 4G
– Tegra 2-powered handset the best phone at the show, it’s hands-down one of craziest products we’ve seen in quite a while. The handset itself is glorious with its 4-inch QHD display, front-facing cam, and fingerprint reader, but its 11.6-inch Laptop Dock and its Webtop operating system turn it into one unique beast
– Anything else?
– Apple dominate CES again without being there
– Mac App Store
– iPad 2 Rumours
– iPhone comes to Verizon…allegedly (confirmed…)
19:26 – BT Eroding Net Neutrality
– The telecoms company’s wholesale arm is starting to sell a new service that allows broadband providers – such as Virgin Media and Sky – to put video from paying clients, like the BBC’s iPlayer or Google’s YouTube, in an internet fast lane.
– BT’s new service, dubbed Content Connect, has provoked accusations of breaching the broad principles of “net neutrality”, whereby all content is delivered equally to internet users.
– Content Connect enables ISPs to store video within their own networks, closer to the user, as opposed to third-party companies – such as Akamai, which delivers the BBC’s iPlayer – caching popular content around the globe. By paying the ISP, rather than the third-party company, users could get a guaranteed delivery of service even at peak times.
– But it would also create a situation where companies that are unwilling – or unable – to pay would have their content delivered less efficiently to the end user.
– But BT today denied claims the new service will create a two-tier internet, saying that it “supports the concept” of net neutrality but believes that ISPs should be free to charge content owners for a “higher quality” delivery service.
– TalkTalk has also openly expressed a willingness to charge content companies for better delivery of their video to the nation’s homes, while Virgin Media manages time-sensitive traffic at peak times but does not prioritise one company’s content explicitly over another.
23:25 – Government announce plans to block pornography in the UK
– The government plans to change the way broadband providers filter Internet access to help stop access to pornography. The step follows existing plans that ISPs have used to help block inadvertent access of child pornography websites. The government want providers to use the same technology to block pornography unless adults have opted in to viewing it. This should help stop children from gaining access to inappropriate material that is currently freely available on the web. TalkTalk are already in the process of implementing a system which scans websites for malware and will introduce parental controls that can be configured for all users of the connection.
– BT said it would be happy to discuss the implementation of such a system but there are many ‘legal, consumer rights and technical issues’ that need to be evaluated before it could go live. Trefor Davies of Timico was less keen on the idea and questioned how well a system like this could work. There are millions of sites that would need to be blocked and these are changing all the time.
– This would obviously please some industries who could piggyback on the system and use it to help stop access to illegally downloaded music and films for example.
26:45 – T-Mobile Cuts
– T-Mobile UK is cutting “fair use” data limits on Feb 1 from up to 3GB to 500MB and has sparked furious complaints from customers, who were told by text today of the move.
– T-Mobile customers on “unlimited” Android monthly data contracts who contacted The Reg were particularly aggrieved. Most were aware that the fair use policy was 3GB per month, but all felt this was sufficient for their smartphone use.
– But today T-Mobile invoked “subject to change” rights, outlined in the contract small-print, to reduce fair usage down to 500MB. – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jan/12/t-mobile-data-limit
– The amendments, state that customers who exceed the 500MB cap can no longer download files or watch videos. Browsing sites such as Facebook, Gmail and BBC News will not be affected, though.

– U-turn… now appears that this new cap will only be for new customers.
30:22 – Android in Space
– Google sends up payload of an Android mascot and a Nexus S into near space
– The video looks amazing
– Google still = fun for me
31:52 – Google Goggles Update
– Update will now solve Sudoku puzzles
– Also has faster barcode scanning and recognizes print ad’s
32:44 – Google TV Failing
– Google TV is second worst reviewed product according to Walt Mossberg
– Reports that Logitech are displeased with Google TV
– Reports that Google have asked manufacturers not to demo Google TV during CES
– Apple TV ships 1 million in three months
– Still no silver bullet in this market
34:11 – Skype Updated on iOS
– Video calling enabled on iOS devices
– Works over wifi and 3G
– Free
– Betters facetime which is wifi only
35:09 – 3D Game Warning
– The eyesight of children under six could be harmed by 3D games played on Nintendo’s forthcoming handheld console, the company has warned.
– The games giant posted the health warning on the website devoted to the 3DS handheld. It said specialists had warned of possible damage that could be caused by 3D games which present different images to the right and left eye.
– Younger children should only play 2D versions of 3DS games, said Nintendo.
– In issuing the warning, Nintendo joins Sony and Toshiba in alerting people to the ill effects that can attend watching 3D movies or playing 3D games.
– Sony has already said that parents should get medical advice before letting children watch 3D content on the PlayStation. Toshiba has said parents should keep an eye on children watching its TVs that can display 3D images without needing glasses.
– The companies have also warned that watching too much 3D content can cause adults discomfort.
– Price announced for 3DS – 300 Yen, £200 at least in UK
– Games – £30-£50
– Region locked
– Feb Japan, March in UK
38:21 – Open Source Kinect Drivers
– PrimeSense, the company responsible for the technology behind Microsoft’s Kinect camera system, has, in conjunction with Willow Garage and Side-Kick, released official Windows and Linux (Ubuntu version 10.10 and later) open source drivers for Kinect
– The drivers allow access to the Kinect’s audio, video and depth sensors and include a complete API known as OpenNI (open natural interaction).
39:51 – Canabalt goes Open Source
– Dev taking part in Indie Game Sale
– Has decided to open source Canabalt
– Newest version of game, high score and twitter back end support stripped as they didn’t want to risk someone hacking user data
– you can use it for anything you want, even for commercial stuff but it’s not our fault if it doesn’t work.” However, the Canabalt-specific game code, game art, animation, music and sound effects are all proprietary, and protected by our copyrights and trademarks.
– Download from GitHub – happy learning
41:52 – Kindle 3 is Amazons bestselling product ever
– Beats Harry Potter 7 as biggest selling product Amazon has ever stocked
– No idea on figures – guesstimate is 8 million this year
43:15 – Amazon App Store
– Amazon.com launched the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. You can find the Portal at developer.amazon.com. It is a new self-service tool that allows mobile application developers—Android developers in particular—to join our Appstore Developer Program and submit apps for the upcoming launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android.
– Why should you submit your apps for inclusion in the Amazon Appstore for Android?
– For the first time, you will have access to tens of millions of active Amazon customers.
– Amazon’s proven marketing and merchandizing features will help you get your apps discovered and in front of the right customers.
– The convenience of using an existing Amazon.com account will make it simple and easy for customers to purchase your apps – both online and on their mobile devices.
– The Appstore Developer Portal is your one-stop location to manage account details, manage marketing materials, and track sales and projected earnings using self-service and customizable reports.
– Could they launch a Mac, Windows app store?
45:42 – Mac App Store Launched
– Mac app store launches – 1000 apps, not clear how many are new
– Can buy individual iLife and iWork apps
– Aperture – £173 boxed, £44.99 in the App Store or $199 and $79
(Why is Apple TV $99 in US and £101 in UK?)
– Some other bargains there too
– Many prices the same as there web store counterparts though – no race to the bottom
– Twitter for Mac also launched via app store (Tweetie 2)
– Streams enabled – feels like IM if you tweet back and forward
– Addicting, distracting
– Apple and Panic app’s already bought are identified as installed by App Store even though installed outside of the store
– Evernote – Rate of new users on Mac is 1800% higher than normal – http://blog.evernote.com/2011/01/07/mac-app-store-more-than-doubles-new-users/
– So far, 166,789 new users have started using Evernote in the first few days of 2011. Since the launch of the Mac App Store, more than half of them are coming from the Mac. About 40,000 new users have signed up from the Mac so far. Note that this is new users only! It’s not the same as the total number of downloads from the Mac App Store (we had 90,000 of those, from store launch till midnight last night), because a large number of people downloading us from the Mac App Store are already registered Evernote users from a different platform.
– http://www.macstories.net/news/developer-goes-from-7-sales-a-day-to-1500-with-mac-app-store/
– LittleFin was selling between 6 – 10 copies of Compartments, a simple home inventory app for the Mac we reviewed here, a day through their website. The day before the Mac App Store launch, they sold only 7 copies. But as soon as the Store launched on January 6 and Ap8.ple featured the app in the Mac App Store homepage and its “Great Mac Apps” webpage, LittleFin saw a terrific increase in sales. In fact, they sold 1,547 copies in the first 24 hours of the Mac App Store. The app, now featured under “Staff Favorites”, is available at $9.99. Before the Mac App Store the app was sold at $24.95; the developers decided to lower the price as an experiment. Since January 6, the app has been selling 1,000 copies a day on average.
– Confusion over App Store finding already bought app’s. I still think it’s confusing to end users who have already purchased app’s that the App Store doesn’t recognise these app’s. To get app store updates, buy them again. No easy way for dev’s to swap licence over.
– Macworlds Mac App Store faq – http://www.macworld.com/article/156962/2011/01/mac_app_store_faq.html
– No beta’s, demo’s or trials – that sucks
– Some piracy fears – but not if app is coded properly
– Developer should check for digital signature that matches their app’s sig. Angry birds checks for existance of signature…any signature so you can download a free app, copy that signature to angry birds and your good to go.
– You have to delve into the Package Contents of the app’s dmg file, navigate to a particular folder and delete specific files. You then copy and paste those same files from the free app’s folder to the paid one. In other words, you would need to know these specific instructions before doing this – it’s not a matter of simply copying-and-pasting a receipt number, like you would have on some brick-and-mortar retail store’s receipt, into a field or pop-up notification within the paid app.
– 1 million downloads in 24 hours….970,000 were Twitter for Mac
– Couple of funnies
– http://readthefuckinghig.tumblr.com/ – Read the Fucking HIG (human interface guidelines)
– http://ifiboughtyourappalreadycaniupdateitthroughthemacappstore.com/
54:05 – Verizon iPhone
– Moves to new network in America
– Nothing new…apart from Personal Hotspots
– Verizon iPhone will let you create a personal hotspot and share your data connection via WiFi with up to five other devices, such as laptops or other cell phones.
– Verizon only or coming to an iPhone near you soon
– Verizon iPhones running 4.2.5 – launch at start of Feb?
– Not 4G as was hoped by our American friends – also, not exclusive. iPhone perhaps making it finally onto all other US networks…
– Now looks like personal hotspots coming to all iPhones running 4.2.5 (although likely needs to be carrier supported) – March according to Boy Genius Report
– Phone has altered antena…
56:15 – Google Drops support for H.264 Video in Chrome
– Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.
– So why is Flash plugin supported in Chrome?
– From DF – As it stands now, Chrome not only supports Flash, it ships with its own embedded copy of Flash. I don’t see how Google keeps Flash but drops H.264 in the name of “openness” without being seen as utter hypocrites.
– This is more Google vs Apple
1:01:26 – Microsoft object to App Store trademark
– Why Apple shouldn’t be allowed to trademark App Store – by the folk who trademarked Windows
– “Microsoft opposes Apple’s Application Serial No. 77/525433 for APP STORE on the grounds that ‘app store’ is generic for retail store services featuring apps and unregistrable for ancillary services such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores”.

Picks
Ian
MyFitnessPal
– Track food, excercise, weight
– Social networking part
– Free iPhone app – excellent app
– Easy to add in food intake from extensive database of foods
– Very impressed

Chris
Logitech HD Pro C910 Webcam
– Capable of capturing HD video / 10MP stills
– Stereo Sound… (good quality)
– Supports SkypeHD if your connection can…(1meg upload)
– Also supports Logitechs Cid HD service (but who uses that??)
– Built in upload to YouTube/Facebook if you want
– Comes with Magix vid/photo editing software
– Has silly options to add effects and avatars (very impressive facial tracking on show)
– Also, excellent motion detection so it can even act as a security cam should you wish!
– Downsides – expensive. Cheapest I’ve seen it is around £70… likely cheaper soon.
– Unless you have great connection and latest software – chances are you won’t really be sending over HD vid via skype but the high quality optics mean that your standard def vids are much improved.

DigitalOutbox Episode 72

DigitalOutbox Episode 72
In this episode the team discuss Gawker, Delicious and review 2010.

Playback
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Shownotes
1:54 – Gawker Hacked
– http://lifehacker.com/5712785/faq-compromised-commenting-accounts-on-gawker-media
– Gawker has released Gawker Media is under siege at the moment, fighting off attacks from a group of attackers that have been able to compromise the entire database of Gawker Media’s web properties.
– Sensitive information has been exposed, including staff conversations, their private passwords used within the network and passwords also used by people who have registered to comment.
– All of the above information has been outputted by Gnosis, a group who wanted to seemingly put Gawker back in its place, creating a 500MB torrent file, currently residing on the popular torrent tracker ThePirateBay.
– Inside the torrent file lies a file entitled Readme.txt. This file is potentially the most sensitive of them all, for it holds the usernames and passwords used by the entire Gawker staff, focusing particularly on Gawker’s founder Nick Denton.
– Gawker says it is working on an ‘Account Delete’ tool, which will be available soon. The only exception to all this is if you logged in via Facebook Connect, in which case you’ll be safe
– Worried that Gawker wasn’t quick enough to warn its users of the data breach by email, members of the popular Hacker News website have combined to draft an email warning 200,000 Gawker users about the data breach. If you receive this email, it is one off email that is purely designed to warn you about the breach and get you to change your password.
– Gawkercheck was also setup by Jed Smith – http://gawkercheck.com/
– Acai berry twitter attack related to Gawker hack – http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2010/12/13/twitter-acai-berry-worm-linked-to-gawker-hack/
– Make your password stronger – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/13/how-to-tighten-up-passwords
– First, make it secure: two random words, preceded or separated by a number, make a memorable, hard-to-crack password (most people add a number at the end, making it much easier to hack). An alternative is to use the initial letters of the words that make up a favourite saying or song lyric – again, preceded or separated by a number.
– Second, don’t have a multipurpose password. On the grounds that no one could remember an entirely different password for every site, you could try having three basic passwords – one for things financial, one for things professional, one for things social. Then you could drop in two letters from the name of the specific site: if, say, your basic social media password was shock7asset, your Facebook password might be fshock7basset. Or your Twitter one might be tshock6assetr.
10:44 – Trouble for Delicious
– http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/now_yahoo_says_delicious_will_live_onsomewhere_els.php
– http://blog.delicious.com/blog/2010/12/whats-next-for-delicious.html
– Former Yahoo employee and Upcoming founder Andy Baio has tweeted out the Yahoo! product team meeting slide that seems to show that Yahoo! is either closing or merging the social bookmarking service as well as Upcoming, Fire Eagle, MyBlogLog and others.
– AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes is reporting that the Yahoo products will be in fact shut down and that the slide does in fact originate from an all hands meeting at Yahoo, following yesterday’s layoffs.Yahoo Product Manager Blake Irving has threatened to fire whomever leaked the slide.
– Then official post on their blog – No, we are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive.
– So looking for new home for service…
– I’ve found a new home – Pinboard – http://pinboard.in/
– Not big on social but fast, secure, integrates with twitter and instapaper well – uniquely funded – as users increase, so does cost of signup for new users
– Want to follow me – http://pinboard.in/u:iandick
15:45 – Film industry wants BT to block Newzbin2
– The Motion Picture Association, the trade body representing Hollywood studios outside the US, is attempting to force BT to block access to Newzbin2, an offshore website that allows users to access pirated content via its Usenet indexing service. Newzbin2 does not host the illegal content itself, but links to sites that do.
– The move represents a new legal avenue being used by copyright owners’ in their battle to force UK ISPs to co-operate in cracking down on internet piracy. ISPs such as BT and TalkTalk are opposed to parts of the Digital Economy Act, which could force them to hand over the IP addresses of suspected illegal filesharers to rights holders, once they obtain a court order.
– In March the MPA won a high court copyright infringement case against Newzbin, a UK-based Usenet indexing website that was ordered to pay damages and to filter out all links to pirated movies and TV shows owned by the companies represented by the MPA.
– Newzbin went bust however Newzbin2 launched, a site that appears to be a copy or clone of the original, but is now based overseas with anonymous operators and is charging for premium subscriptions. The new site is hosted in Sweden and apparently registered in the US.
17:56 – Vodafone mademesmile
– the mobile phone operator would give away free handsets to lucky Twitter users who used the tag #mademesmile to tell the company what made them beam.
– Thousands used the tag to express their displeasure at the company’s alleged accounting procedures, egged on by the the anti-cuts group UK Uncut, which has triggered dozens of protests outside Vodafone stores over the last two months.
– In addition to appearing on Twitter, all tweets containing the hashtag were posted, unmoderated, on to Vodafone’s website, compounding the negative publicity and showing campaigners’ sentiments to people who might otherwise have been unaware of the controversy.
– Social media fail
20:30 – Online Deliveries Halted in Scotland
– Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Amazon, Boots and Parcelforce have all suspended deliveries to Scottish customers using their online services. In some cases, customers have been warned that orders may not be ready in time for Christmas.
– Impact of bad weather – pretty big backlog of mail and parcels
– Disappointing but not a surprise with more cold weather forecast
– Yet I get 2 posters shipped from Texas to Glasgow. Ordered on Monday 13th – delivered by FedEx before lunchtime on Wednesday 15th
25:23 – Mac App Store to Launch Jan 6
– Apple® today announced that the Mac® App Store℠ will open for business on Thursday, January 6. By bringing the revolutionary App Store experience to Mac OS® X, the Mac App Store makes discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever. The Mac App Store will be available in 90 countries at launch and will feature paid and free apps in categories like Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities.
– “The App Store revolutionized mobile apps,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We hope to do the same for PC apps with the Mac App Store by making finding and buying PC apps easy and fun. We can’t wait to get started on January 6.”
– I like this idea. I think it’s a logical step from mobile based stores… But surely if an app is available on the app store, and Apple is getting its cut, then it will be cheaper to buy direct from the developer? Use the app store as a search/popularity facility, then go to the biggest app store there is (the internet) and google the app direct. I’m also not sure that the concept of pileit high/sell it cheap that works on mobiles will work on desktop. You don’t really want to clog up you computer.
29:58 – Gorillaz Free iPad Album
– Damon Albarn has recorded and produced a new Gorillaz album entirely on the ipad
– It will be released, for free, on Christmas day
– No studio equipment has been used…
30:49 – Word Lens
– Augmented reality – translates in real time
– Video says it all
– Free app but you then buy the translation you want
– £2.99 for each translation – 50% off until end of december on spanish to english and vice versa
– Doesn’t do hand written text
– That’s voodoo. Someone sold their sole to make that happen!
33:09 – PS3 Adds more on-demand content
– New tie with ITV and Channel 4
– Joins iPlayer which is already available via PS3
– MS falling behind…
– Sarah Rose, director of commercial business development at Channel 4, said Channel 4 was “not saying no” to a tie-up with Microsoft’s Xbox, which only carries TV shows from BSkyB’s SkyPlayer on its subscription package. But she said Microsoft was “not coming to our door” actively looking for deals with other TV companies. And the other main games console player, Nintendo Wii, which only has the BBC iPlayer, is unlikely to be a partner any time soon because it does not have the facility to carry advertising, she said.
35:39 – Spike VGAs
– New games for next year announced
– Forza 4 – Fall 2011
– Uncharted 3 – 11/1/11
– Mass Effect 3 – Holiday 201
– Batman: Arkham City – Fall 2011
– Resistance 3 – September 6, 2011
– Red Dead Redemption won game of the year

– Looking around (very non-scientifically) – game of year across most sites between Mass effect 2 and Red Dead Redeption
– And Mass Effect seems to edge it (although if it were my decision, RDR would win. My favourite ever game)
40:29 – Year in Review
– Apple Top Apps – http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/09/apple-top-apps-2010/
– Hipstamatic, Plants vs Zombies, Flipboard, Osmos
– Apple Top iPhone and iPad Apps – http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/09/top-iphone-ipad-apps-2010/
– Twitter Year in Review – http://yearinreview.twitter.com/
– Facebooks 2010 Memology – http://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=466369142130
Chris
Looking forward to in 2011
– LA Noire Game… Looking freekin awsome.
– Portal 2… Bring it.
– Chrome OS (You can now apply in UK BTW) – different address for uk or same? Looking on forums it says google isn’t distributing to anywhere outside US at this time but hopes to in near future? Meh. It was showing up on my chrome homepage so i clicked it!
Likely purchase 2011…
– Nexus S – very likely at the moment
– Wouldn’t mind a macro lens
Bet 2010 Purchase?
– Hmmmm Have to think on that one.
– Xara Designer Pro 6
– Mac Book Pro
– Camtasia Studio
– Kindle 3G
– Logitech C930 HD Webcam
– PS3
– SuperTooth Buddy Handsfree Visor Car-Kit
– Kinect
– Apple TV (Although I didn’t buy that)
Ian
Looking forward to in 2011
– LA Noire
– Portal 2
– Uncharted 3
– Lion
– iPad 2/iPhone 5
Likely purchase 2011…
– New iMac
– iPad? try to resist iPhone
– New lens
Best 2010 Purchase
Options
– iPad
– iPhone 4
– Canon 550d
– Mac Mini
– Drobo
– Withings
– Sony Bravia
– Rode podcaster

Picks
Ian
Flipboard update – awesome – free
– World of Goo – £5.99
– Amazon Windowshop – free
– Vevo HD – free – american only

Chris
Cortex
– Chrome extension. Share what your looking at across different online services (social/blogging etc). Click and hold mouse over item on the page and a wheel appears. Slide the mouse over the provider you want to share the item to and let go… A whoosh sound means that the content has posted sucessfuly. Simple. Effective. Clever.
Only gripe being that sometimes the wheel appears when you don’t want it.

DigitalOutbox Episode 71

DigitalOutbox Episode 71
In this episode the team discuss Google, Google, Google and that man Jeremy Hunt.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
3:21 – Google Ebooks
– Google eBooks will be available in the U.S. from a new Google eBookstore on 6th Dec. You can browse and search through the largest ebooks collection in the world with more than three million titles including hundreds of thousands for sale
– the Google eBook store there will be 2.8 million books available to download free of charge, since they are in the public domain, and the rest will have a “buy” button next to them that takes readers directly to the eBook store.
– Many devices are compatible with Google eBooks—everything from laptops to netbooks to tablets to smartphones to e-readers. With the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud.
– In addition to a full-featured web reader, free apps for Android and Apple devices will make it possible to shop and read on the go. For many books you can select which font, font size, day/night reading mode and line spacing suits you—and pick up on the page where you left off when switching devices.
– Google lets consumers buy books either from its store or any other online vendor that sells books in EPUB and PDF formats. You can choose where to buy your ebooks like you choose where to buy your print books, and keep them all on the same bookshelf regardless of where you got them.
– So same as Kindle – software everywhere except they’ve provided a web front end as well
– UK launch not mentioned but eBook service is expected to launch in Europe in 2011.
7:13 – Google Nexus S and Gingerbread
– Nexus S is the lead device for the Gingerbread/Android 2.3 release; it’s the first Android device to ship with the new version of the Android platform. We co-developed this product with Samsung—ensuring tight integration of hardware and software to highlight the latest advancements of the Android platform. As part of the Nexus brand, Nexus S delivers what we call a “pure Google” experience: unlocked, unfiltered access to the best Google mobile services and the latest and greatest Android releases and updates.
– Nexus S is the first smartphone to feature a 4” Contour Display designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and along the side of your face. It also features a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, front and rear facing cameras, 16GB of internal memory, and NFC (near field communication) hardware that lets you read information from NFC tags. NFC is a fast, versatile short-range wireless technology that can be embedded in all kinds of everyday objects like movie posters, stickers and t-shirts.
– The 4 inch Super AMOLED 480×800 touchscreen has very deep blacks and viewing angles and is, as we said above, second only to the slightly smaller but higher resolution iPhone 4 display.
– Techcrunch – The bottom line is this. If you are an iPhone user this isn’t going to make you switch. If you’re an Android user you will want this phone more than any other. If you’re currently neither, we recommend that you go with the Nexus S.
– Things Android has that iOS needs – http://brooksreview.net/2010/12/android-helping-ios/?isalt=0
– Mobile hotspot, home screen customisation, keyboard apps, notifications, multi tasking
– Gingerbread – Android 2.3 – support for NFC, refinements to GUI (but not a re-write which is Honeycomb), imporved keyboard and cut/copy/paste and gyroscope sensor support, improved power and task/app management,
– Will launch in December for £550 unlocked or £35 per month
– Carphone Warehouse is taking orders for the phone from today, but could not be definite about when it will be able to sell it – although it hopes to be able to begin deliveries before Christmas.
– The phone will be available unlocked for £550 (compared to £500 for Apple’s iPhone 4) or for free from £35 per month, according to Graham Stapleton, CPW’s chief commercial director, who says that the retailer is talking to networks in the UK to set up deals.
14:13 – Android Tablet Prototype
– On stage at D: Dive Into Mobile, Google’s Andy Rubin has brought with him a prototype Android tablet from Motorola.
– Video chat
– New version on Google Maps – vector based, infinite loading, offer offline caching, and use the compass to orient the map.
– no more tiles, building outlines, shadows and 3d via touch – very impressive – android only at the moment – other devices in the future
16:56 – Apache Wave
– Google Wave now Apache Wave
– Wave now handed to Apache, codebase to be migrated to Apache control
– Hope to kickstart development as there’s still some big active users
18:38 – Google Chrome Event
– Chrome Browser
– 70m active users (6 months ago) – now 120m active users (active means they use it often as primary browser)
– Adding Google Instant to omnibox
– Added PDF reader for speed
– Hardware acceleration via GPU
– Chrome Web Store
– Rich, visual and interactive
– Installed NPR
– Interactive app, different from web page, but viewed and ran within the browser
– Sports Illustrated
– Visual gallery running in tab
– Rich interactive app, not what your used to on web
– Games
– Purchase easily, hooked to google account, downloads in seconds
– Has monthly subscription options and also demo’s
– NYTimes for Chrome
– HTML5, CSS3 etc
– Skin your news, headlines, print view, photo view etc
– Works offline as well
– Nice
– EA
– Converted PoppIt to HTML5 in 48 hours
– Performance is great
– This game will be embedded in new Chrome 9
– Also available today on Google Chrome Web store
– Amazon
– WindowShop
– Now available on store
– Fluid interface to Amazon
– Needs Flash…fail
– Kindle
– Kindle for the web (early next year)
– HTML5
– Access books via browser
– Link to books from own site
– Web store – chrome.google.com/webstore
– 500 apps as they are partners
– Now open – expect a large growth in apps
– From q1 rolling out around world
– Chrome OS
– Nothing but the web
– Simpler, safer, secure experience
– Chrome OS looks like iOS
– Login, take a pic, check for updates, then desktop
– 0-60secs for above and all your apps and links are available
– Resume is very fast
– Laptop in standby
– Instant resume – milliseconds – very impressive
– Changes on OS propagate across machines in seconds – looks good
– Sharing – pick up notebook, and login with your credentials
– Sharing with friend – guest mode – full incognito session for friend
– Everything he does in this mode is private and removed on exit
– Google Docs bringing an offline mode
– Lots of apps will work offline – game cached locally
– If no wifi, enable cellular connectivity – every chrome netbook will have a cellular option
– Google cloud print – print on any device connected on network without drivers
– In beta, rolling out shortly
– Partnered with Verizon in US
– 100mb free data every month for 2 years
– No contracts – pay for what you need
– Plans for $9.99
– Security – auto updates, sandboxed, data encrypted, verified boot – most secure consumer O/S
– Citrix receiver demo’d
– Cloud print, USB support and speed need working on
– Acer, Samsung Chrome notebooks powered by Intel – mid 2011
– Other OEM’s will follow
– Chrome OS Pilot Program
– Beta
– Reference hardware – CR48 device – 12.1” display, Oversized touchpad + full keyboard, 3g built in, 8+ hours active use, 8+ days of standby, web cam
– No caps lock, no function keys, no hard drives, jailbreaking mode built in
– Businesses part of pilot program
– Consumers – new tab page of chrome – offer to users
– Quiz a few days ago for a sticker – sticker ships with notebook
– Youtube comp
– Everyone at demo
– google.com/chromenotebook – fill in the form
– Still not answered – why choose this over a netbook, ipad or laptop
– Think the pilot program is a really good move
38:22 – Google Earth 6
– Integrated street view
– 3D trees
– Easier to discover historical imagery in new version
39:23 – Watch That Twitter Name
– User @theashes went from 300 to 6100 followers in a couple of days
– She finally complained by tweeting that she was “not a freaking cricket match”.
– Ashley Kerekes, from Massachusetts, tweeted that “this is not the account of the cricket match. Check profiles before you send mentions, it’s incredibly annoying and rude”.
– In spite of her initial anger over the cricket tweets, she told the Brisbane Times that becoming an overnight Twitter celebrity was “amazing”.
– She has also started to sell T-shirts with the slogan: “I am not a freaking cricket match.”
– Same for users @justin and @gordon – lot of justin bieber tweets and gordon brown hate last year
41:59 – Wikileaks under attack
– Releases biggest leaks so far – American diplomatic papers
– Leaked by American soldier who also leaked the Apache helicopter attack
– Embarrassing for America and many of its allies
– As the site is being hammered they move to partial hosting with Amazon – a day later and Amazon removes them from their hosting due to the content they host
– EveryDNS, wikileaks DNS provider, cuts off it’s main domain, wikileaks.org – wikileaks.ch is still running
– Paypal blocks Wikileaks funding via it’s services – State department said wikileaks was illegal
– They have now moved away from any American infrastructure so that America cannot easily tamper with the service
– So, are the leaks correct? Is this freedom of speech? Future of journalism?
– Universities advising students not to link to Wikileaks articles – http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/201048/6509/Talking-about-WikiLeaks-cablegate-can-hinder-job-placements – wow. Just wow. So much for freedom of speech.
– Swiss post office has now frozen Julian Assange accounts – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11929034
– Extradition paper served and now in custody until Dec 14th in UK – refused bail
– Hackers linked to 4chan DOS Paypal, Postfinance and Mastercard
49:37 – UK to get super fast broadband everywhere by 2015
– Extra 50m to take total to £830 available for firms to help roll out ‘super fast’ network
– Some of that (£300 million) comes from BBC
– Ministers say they aim for the UK to have Europe’s best broadband network.
– Mr Hunt said the strategy would give the country Europe’s best broadband network by 2015 and will be central to economic growth and the delivery of future public services, dependent on quick, reliable access to the internet.
– Really.
– Really?
– What the heck is super fast? the government does not define the minimum speed it hopes super-fast services will achieve.
– If it was at the centre of those plans it would be afforded more money even in these times of austerity
– Every community is to get a digital hub – a green cabinet? WTF is a community?
– Of course, Jeremy Hunt was called something else on Radio 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JpNravrwZc
54:52 – About that subsidised iPad
– Orange selling 16gb 3G ipad for £199 assuming you sign u for monthly contract for two years
– £27 a month for 1Gb of data – thats £848
– Buy an iPad for £529 and pay O2 or Vodafone £10 a month and you pay £769
– And you can get 3GB 90 day Three sims off ebay for £9, so bringing cost down even more
– Three offering same price and £25 a month
57:21 – Windows Phone 7 Not a hit
– Belfiore refused to talk sales numbers when interviewed by Walt Mossberg of the WSJ. And when asked if WP7 might be a ‘real’ rival to Google’s and Apple’s mobile platforms in a ‘couple of years,’ Belfiore reportedly answered ‘Maybe’.
59:28 – Lastpass acquires XMarks
– Xmarks has been acquired by LastPass, makers of a leading cross-platform password manager
– Free option remains
– Users can opt to purchase Xmarks Premium for $12 per year, which includes new enhanced features like Android and iPhone mobile phone apps, priority support, and more.
– The Xmarks and LastPass Premium offerings are also available bundled together at a reduced subscription rate of $20 per year.

Picks
Ian
Printopia
– App for your mac that enables AirPrinting
– Can also print to PDF…and send to Dropbox or Evernote

DigitalOutbox Episode 70

DigitalOutbox Episode 70
In this episode the team discuss iOS 4.2, Cheaper iPads, Amazon Woes and the Jolibook.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
5:29 – iOS 4.2 Released
– Released on Monday 2nd November
– Finally brings unified inbox, multitasking and folder support to iPad
– Also brings AirPrint
– And AirPlay – send movies from iPad, iPhone to Apple TV
– Find my iPhone/iPad now free for devices that support iOS 4.2
– Start of the move to making MobileMe a freemium product?
9:58 – Apples Embedded SIM Plan
– Major European operators will refuse to subsidize Apple’s iPhone if the handset firm launches devices with an embedded SIM.
– Vodafone, France Telecom and Telefonica have privately expressed concerns over Apple’s rumored efforts to develop an integrated smart SIM for iPhone, which would allow buyers to choose a carrier when activating the device, FT.com reported.
– One senior executive said Apple risked a “war” in Europe over the new activation model, which analysts estimate could cut global iPhone sales by 12%, the news site said.
– Operators fear the move would prompt a spike in customer churn as it eases the process of migration, and would lead to a decline in the duration of telecom contracts.
– Such a model would even allow Apple to enter markets as a connection services reseller with an inbuilt competitive advantage, the sources said.
– This comes on the back of rumours that Apple and Gemalto (sim card maker) are building an embedded sim – http://www.telecomasia.net/content/apple-bypass-carriers-iphone-sim
– A real threat? Where Apple went with the iPhone design others have followed…pretty closely
– Telegraph – Apple ditch plans due to threats – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/8148898/Apples-iPhone-SIM-card-plan-thwarted.html
– But will allegedly include it in iPads…soon
12:03 – The Daily
– Rupert Murdoch, head of the media giant News Corp, and Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, are preparing to unveil a new digital “newspaper” called the Daily at the end of this month, according to reports in the US media.
– According to reports, there will be no “print edition” or “web edition”; the central innovation, developed with assistance from Apple engineers, will be to dispatch the publication automatically to an iPad or any of the growing number of similar devices.
– With no printing or distribution costs, the US-focused Daily will cost 99 cents (62p) a week.
– iOS 4.3 update in December for this
– Richard Branson to unveil iPad magazine next week too
15:50 – Subsidised iPads coming to the UK
– Three too
– Will soon launch a subsidised iPad
– 18 to 24 month contracts
– Rumours of price dropping by £200
– Will it entice others to sign up?
17:53 – MS Trivia
– 25 years since the first version of Windows was released
– 5 years since the Xbox 360 was released
20:12 – 20 Things I Learned
– Web based book from Google Chrome team that tells you everything you need to know about browsres, cookies etc
– 20 things, 60 odd pages
– Lovely animations and illustrations
– Some clever behind the scenes javascript to mask loading
– Built using HTML5 only
– Thanks Google
21:35 – Spotify Woes
– Revenue of £11.32 million
– Costs of sales and distribution and expenses led to a net loss of 16.66 million
– Surely not sustainable…or means even more advertising on the way
– American launch even more crucial
– Reading complaints from users of how certain tracks are removed from albums after release – almost deliberate spoiling from music firms?
24:09 – Amazon Woes
– Amazons black friday deals look great on paper
– In practice, you’ve got about a second to buy the deal, if your lucky, before they are sold out
– Some look genuinely great – others are ok reductions on items that are maybe not top of your wishlist
– Very clever – create a competitive element, spread the deals via Facebook and twitter and whip up the crowd
– Some people very unhappy – claiming they are being misled and are taking their business elsewhere – get a grip. it’s a sale, some prices are great
– As a test I tried to buy a casserole dish…and did so at a £60 saving. Also tried a set of books – failed miserably :-)
28:35 – Google Cloud Connect
– A new plugin for Microsoft Office called Cloud Connect, which will tie Google Docs directly into the ubiquitous productivity suite, free of charge. Editing a document in Word? It’ll automatically sync to your Google Docs account each time you hit ‘Save’. Want to share a preview of your document without worrying about what file format your coworkers can open? Just send them a link to the Google Docs file. The plugin supports Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
– Multiple people can edit the same document and have their changes synced with each save (hooray for the cloud). But because these changes aren’t reflected in real-time, there’s the potential for conflicts — I could edit a PowerPoint slide to say one thing, and my coworker could put something else on the same slide. Google deals with these conflicts by presenting users with an alert prompting them to choose which version they’d like to save; if they want to go back and switch again later, they can using the document’s version history.
– Going live for apps and business users via preview program – others soon
– Windows only, 2003, 2007 and 2010
31:38 – Jolibook
– Now on sale in the Uk for £279
– Specs – Intel Atom N550 processor (1.5 GHz, dual-core), 250GB hard drive, 10.1″ screen, Memory: 1GB, Three USB 2.0 ports, Jacks for mic, headphones, LAN and an external monitor, 3-in-1 card reader
– But it’s Jolicloud 1.1, the cloud based OS thats more interesting
– Based on Ubunto, Chromium and utilising a lot of cloud based services
– Fast and OS is available for downloading and using on any hardware
– Why do you need 250Gb hard drive for cloud based OS?
– Great price compared to a Macbook Air but it has a 1-3 month shipping window!

Picks
Chris
SugarSync
– Dropbox – but with the added bonus of ability to store files and folder outside of the main “magic briefcase”.

Ian
Notifo
– Far more reliable notifications – better than boxcar which doesn’t always work