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!

http://www.top10-broadband.co.uk/speedtest/

speedcheck

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.)

results

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

streetresults

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.

streetresultsdetail

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.

bbspeeds

3gspeeds

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.

DigitalOutbox Episode 21

DigitalOutbox Episode 21
In this episode the team discuss Windows 7 and new Apple hardware. Game on.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:20 – Google Audio
– announcement next Wednesday 28th
– downloads? streaming? subscription? – unknown
– partnered with iLike, LaLa
– iLike = social music discovery service, available on Facebook, helps people share music recommendations, playlists
-LaLa = music streamed from browser (US only service)
– service to be integrated into Google Search
– US only (initially?)
3:11 – Twitter real time search deals
– Bing integration
– http://www.bing.com/twitter/
– Microsoft’s new integration with Twitter is essentially integrating Twitter search within Bing. It updates in real-time. Here’s the kicker though: you can search tweets by not only recency, but by relevancy.
– Microsoft is using information such as the number of retweets, captions, the quality of tweets, and keywords in order to sort tweets by relevancy.
– Bing will display the “hottest” (trending) topics on Twitter in the form of a tag cloud
– Google announcement – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/rt-google-tweets-and-updates-and-search.html
– Google also announced Social Search
– Coming in labs soon
– The bottom of search results will soon have social networking information from your friends, like their Flickr photos or their status updates. It’s a blended search integration, similar to seeing news or image results.
– These are pulled from social networks connected to your Google Profile. The more that are connected, the more social information that will appear in search results.
– They have also improved searching for images using social networks. Images become more relevant using social networking data.
– Bing also announce Facebook data in search results coming soon
6:02 – Flickr introduces people tagging
– Allows you to tag people in photo’s
– people can be flickr members or non members
– lot’s of control around who can tag, whether you can be tagged etc.
– profile page updated to support this feature
7:48 – Windows 7
– breaks Amazon pre-order volume record
– more sales in first 8 hours of pre-order availability than total Vista was able to do
– The launch of Windows 7 has superseded everyone’s expectations, storming ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the biggest grossing pre-order product of all-time at Amazon.co.uk, and demand is still going strong.
– Launch – http://gizmodo.com/5387614/live-from-the-windows-7-launch
– Amazon multi-touch Kindle app for Windows 7—full color photos, pinch zooming to enlarge text, looks awesome. Could be a much-needed killer app for Windows 7 tablets. Maybe. Sign up here – http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311
– Streaming to 16 different screens from one Windows 7 PC using Play-To feature is actually kind of impressive.
– Noteworthy Features
– Taskbar – more intuitive, can pin to taskbar, reorder app’s you have open, no more quicklaunch (quick launch still in – but hidden away.)
– Aero – hover over taskbar icon and window appears with content – aero peek, drag window to top – maximise – drag left or right to snap to half the screen – aero snap, throw cursor to bottom right – show desktop – just like expose
– Well done to MS on the interface – makes windows much better to use, focus on tasks, easier to use – a great upgrade to the interface which is welcome and puts it on a par with mac – needs an expose rip-off and it would be better than mac interface for usability
– libraries – virtual grouping of files and folders, folder can be on any computer or drive on home network – very powerful
– media sharing – stream to other computers on home network (or external network if credentials applied both ends)
– better search (5 seconds to index new files)
– quicker is debatable looking at many of the reviews – boot time’s on par with vista or worse
– ie8, media player, control panel aren’t really that good and haven’t changed much – probably use alternative browser and media player
– feels like a service pack with a new theme and a new app controlling desktop
– UAC can be customised. Default setting down one step on Vista (only asks for confirmation when app wants to make a change to computer, not when you make changes). Possible to step it down a couple more steps, firstly doesn’t dim (i.e. lock out) the computer awaiting confirmation and final step turns it off, not recommended by MS.
– Microsoft store
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9Hk0ZCqRxg&feature=player_embedded
– It’s an Apple store…selling windows
– Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
– New Mac ads
– http://www.apple.com/getamac/ads/#
– Broken Promises is actually pretty funny
– It’s boring, arrogant, twatty and flies in the face of tech buzz, therefore sounds out of touch. It was funny 3 years ago when MacOS was a huge step above – it is no longer funny or true… – Chris
26:59 – New Apple hardware
– Clearly waited until resident fanboi Shak was well enough to return to Digitaloutbox before releasing New Hardware.
– New Hardware – shak
– Mac Mini
– http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/mac_mini
– Speed bump
– Double the RAM
– £499, 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB memory, 160GB hard drive
– £649, 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB memory, 320GB hard drive
– £799, 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB memory, Dual 500GB hard drives, Snow Leopard Server
– Macbook
– http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook?mco=MTA4MTY5NzU
– 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3 memory, 250GB hard drive
– 7 hour battery (built in)
– 13inch LED screen
– Glass multitouch
– £799
– iMac
– http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/imac?mco=MTA4MTU3NzI
– Bigger screens, true HD 16*9 ratio’s, backlit LED
– Can also act as a screen for other devices – consoles, blu-ray players etc. A first for the iMac
– SD card slot below superdrive
– First quad core option for an iMac
– Magic mouse
– Speed bump, higher disks, higher ram, lower price, new remote
– £949, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 resolution, 4GB, 500GB
– £1,199, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 resolution, 4GB, 1TB
– £1,349, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo , 27″ 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4GB, 1TB
– £1,599, 2.66GHz Intel Core i5, 27″ 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4GB, 1TB

– Has Ian ordered one yet?
– Price is amazing for what you get – http://www.marco.org/222434049
– Magic Mouse
– http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MB829?mco=Nzc1MjM2OQ
– £55
– It loses the scroll ball found on the Mighty Mouse, but adds support for scrolling gestures. This mouse is also wireless, using Bluetooth, and has a four month battery life.
– no buttons at all and sports a “seamless multi-touch surface.” which roughly translates to “awkward in the extreme”.
– Remain unconvinced of it’s usefulness compared to my logitech revolution
– New remote (fugly?), airport extreme and time capsule now 802.11n, not draft n, 50% better performance, 25% better range
46:43 – Psystar
– sells Rebel EFI software on website allowing intel based PC’s to run OS X – Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, i7 or Xeon Nehalem
– 8MB download – $89.99 but currently listed with $40 discount
– requires 38 steps for installation
– Free to try with limited hardware functionality and 2 hours run-time
49:26 – Piracy and the App Store
– %age of pirated scores submitted in first week 80-90%
– Now most pirates will tell you that they just like to try before they buy. If it’s a good game, then they’ll buy it. Well, from this data we can conclude that 0% of pirates think the game is worth buying
– Apple not doing much
54:03 – Apple Slate?
– Off the record comment:
– If you look at the transcript of his chat, or the 8:20 mark in the video, you’ll see him refer to delivery of journalism to mobile platforms, and then he mentions the “impending Apple slate.
– Now on video
55:32 – Motorola Droid
– Android 2.0, same processor as iPhone, physical keyboard
– Advert takes it to Apple – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPYM-XTqcec
– First proper competition to iPhone?
1:00:43 – Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm on the 360
– Preview program – dash update then download individual packages
– Work like separate app’s n the 360
– Last.fm – nice, visuals alongside music – scrobbles tracks, can’t play in background
– Twitter – simple interface, can tweet, see trends, see recent tweets from friends, can’t click on links or view pics
– facebook – clunky at first but it’s ok – nice way of browsing friends pictures
– Add’s functionality but not wow

Picks
Shakeel
Superhero Squad
– Free online comic creator
– create a quick 3 panel comic strip or a multi-page comic book
– use predefined assets to create your design: backgrounds, characters, objects, sound f/x, speech bubbles
– good fun

Ian
Amazon on the iPhone
– allowing users to shop using their phone
– Among the features of the application, which is free from the Apple Store, is the ‘Amazon Remembers’ service. Users can take a photo of an item using the iPhone and email it to Amazon. The retailer will try and find an item like the one in the photo and email a list of suggestions to the user.
– Customers can also access more than one million Amazon.co.uk products using the phone. They are also able to access wishlists, payment details and use One Click ordering for products.

Chris
Broadband Speed Checker
– Broadband speed checker that places your result plus provider on map and lets you look around. Are you getting a good service in your area?

SpaceSniffer

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

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 http://iphone.tvcatchup.com.

menu

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.

4music

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.

itv

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 twitter.com 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.

Compose

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.

DigitalOutbox Episode 20

DigitalOutbox Episode 20
In this episode the team discuss Windows 7, people power on Twitter, Apple bugs and some great picks.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:20 – Windows 7 Review
– The conclusion? First all of all, you’ll get much better battery life running OS X on Mac laptops than running Windows.
– Secondly, performance-wise, Windows 7 is probably a better choice if you are a gamer (there are more games developed for Windows, anyway), even on Mac hardware.
– Third, if you can get by with just software designed by Apple and if money is not a big issue, you will be happy with a Mac. Examples of these software choices are iTunes, iLife, QuickTime, Safari, iChat, and so on (and you probably won’t need much more than those for daily entertainment and communication needs).
– Finally, if money is not an issue–and it definitely is for most of us–you should get a Mac anyway. It’s the only platform, for now, that can run both Windows and OS X.
5:03 – Family Guy to Promote Windows 7
– Full half-hour show of Family Guy related content with Seth MacFarlane and crew. No ads – other than the huge one of the show itself!
– Is this really a match? Can it work? It will be watched for sure but who’s going to gain? Family Guy probably isn’t.
6:33 – Sidekick Data Found
– Last week we reported about the cloud computing loss of data.
– Statement released by t-mobile/MS warning users not to turn off/hard reset their device otherwise all data would be lost.
– Appears that the data has now been recovered and they are more confident that nobody should lose out.
– Vulnerability of cloud data – out of our control. Hopefully will focus cloud services to ensure redundancy as well as consumers to their responsibility.
8:12 – Guardian Gagged
– Guardian gagged from reporting parliamentary proceedings
– Twitter, blogs go wild
– Most of the info is online anyway
– Trafigura employed legal firm Carter-Ruck, known for it’s media gagging expertese to enforce the ban which stopped the Guardian speaking about this : “To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.”
– Parliament order book lists the question – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmordbk2/91014o01.htm – blogs started to piece the story together, spreading the news on twitter
– http://order-order.com/2009/10/12/guardian-gagged-from-reporting-parliament/
– Later, gag is lifted – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/oct/13/guardian-gagged-parliamentary-question – The existence of a previously secret injunction against the media by oil traders Trafigura can now be revealed.
– Wikileaks has the report – http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Minton_report:_Trafigura_Toxic_dumping_along_the_Ivory_Coast_broke_EU_regulations,_14_Sep_2006
– Does this highlight the futility of media gag’s?
– To many people can publish, too much information distributed, too easy to spread word quickly and effectively on twitter
12:09 – Jan Moir and Daily Mail
– Links death to unnatural causes and links gay marriage and death
– Spouts shite basically
– Twitter outrage, quite rightly so
– Response from Charlie Brooker
– http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/16/stephen-gately-jan-moir
– Daily Mail – orchestrated internet campaign
– PCC (Press Complaints Commission) under severe load – http://www.pcc.org.uk/
– Right wingers bemoan the lack of free speech
– So why did Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand get targeted by the Mail over Sachs comments and where was the freedom of speech there?
– Power of the mob, power of free speech on twitter, mass spread of information
– telegraph’s 50 things killed by the internet – 2) Fear that you are the only person unmoved by a celebrity’s death
– Digital pulse, soapbox for todays generation
– No where to hide for journalists and large corperations when power of the public can be harnessed in this way
– http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/oct/16/jan-moir-stephen-gately-response
15:40 – Sir Tim Berners-Lee apologises to your fingers
– Sir Tim, inventor of the WWW was asked if there was one thing he would change about the net if he had his time again. He said the “//” after the “http:” are completely unnecessary!
– Bastard!
16:55 – Spotify moving ever closer to iTunes
– You can now buy DRM-free 320Kbs MP3’s direct from within the Spotify app.
– It’s like iTunes with full song/album preview against everything. If you want a track to keep, no problem. If you want to remove adverts and listen on the move, no problem.
18:24 – Sky Songs
– Launches Oct 19th, Can’t buy tracks, subscribe per month
– For £6.49 a month, users can download one “£6.49 album” or ten individual songs and stream as much music as they want for one month.
– For £7.99, users can download a “£7.99” album or 15 songs and have the same access to streamed music.
– All four major music labels on board
– PC only at the moment?
20:01 – 4OD Moves to Youtube
– Channel 4 has come to a deal with YouTube to hold all Channel 4’s back catalogue and stream in High Quality.
– Google and Channel 4 will split the revenue generated from ads on the Channel 4 content.
– 3 year deal, with all content expected available by early 2010.
– Channel 4 have the option to opt out of iPhone streaming but no decision has been made yet.
22:35 – Google Making Money
– $1.6bn profit off a total $6bn revenue for 3rd quater of year. 7% up on 2008.
24:41 – Snow Leopard Deletes All Your data
– Difficult to reproduce but seems linked to upgrade from Leopard and use of the Guest account.
– What happens, according to numerous reports, is that after logging in and out of a Guest account (which, upon logout, wipes out any data stored within the Guest account’s home folder), and then logging in to a regular account, people are finding that their regular account has been wiped too.
– Looks to occur only if you had guest account enabled prior to Snowy upgrade
– Apple, which is notorious for not commenting on these things, made the unusual step of acknowledging the problem to CNET.
– This is serious. It should never happen. Even Vista doesn’t do that!
– To prevent, if the Guest Account was enabled before you upgraded to Snow Leopard, pop in to your System Preferences and disable it. Close System Preferences and restart your computer. When you next log in, you can choose whether or not you want to re-enable the Guest Account. Doing so after following these steps ought to be safe, since the Guest Account will be recreated with all-new Snow Leopard settings which, it’s assumed, won’t delete all your valuable personal data. Note – community fix and not an official Apple policy. You could also just disable guest accounts if you never use them.
27:57 – Time Capsule Memorial Web Site
– Average lifetime of Time Capsule – 17months, 4 days – 212 people registered
– They get hot and capacitors look to be frying
– Not good for a device that’s to be used for backing up your data too
– Apple not acknowledging issue – surprise surprise
31:05 – Jailbreak for 3.1.2
– For Mac and Windows
– Let’s you install Cydia, etc
– Anyone tried it?
– iPhone 3GS now shipping with new bootrom, resistant to current jailbreaking techniques
33:45 – Layar for iPhone
– Augmented reality
– Lot’s of layars
– Works well and is free – 3GS only
40:10 – Radio App from Apple
– Tipped rumour that the FM chip in iPhone/iPod touch will be used for a new Radio app to be developed by Apple.
– Possible “Buy this song” functionality against currently playing track. Perhaps working in background just like iPod app.
43:58 – Dyson Bladeless fan
– uber-cool, uber-efficient but uber-expensive -£199 from Argos.
47:00 – Sky on the 360
– Channels
– G.O.L.D, Sky Real Lives, Sky Arts 1, Sky Movies 1 & 2, Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra, Sky Sports News, British Eurosport, ESPN
ESPN Classic, Sky News, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, History, Eden, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Disney Channel
– Oct 27th
– SD only
– Even if you are not a Sky digital customer, you can now subscribe to Sky Player TV from £15/€18 a month for the Entertainment Pack. This includes the live broadcast of over 20 channels including National Geographic, ESPN Classic, G.O.L.D. and Disney Channel. You are also entitled to the free content available from these channels. You can also choose to upgrade this package to include Sky’s premium channels Sky Movies and Sky Sports, making a total of 21 live channels for your delectation. If you subscribe to Sky Multiroom account then you can watch all the live channels in your pack on your Xbox 360, at no extra cost! Sky Multiroom or Sky Broadband Unlimited customers can also watch Live TV on their Xbox 360’s at no extra charge. All other Sky TV customers can subscribe to watch Live TV on Sky Player for £9.75/€14.75 a month.

Picks
Ian
TVCatchup
– Watch 11 channels live on the iphone
– Works well over 3G
– Happy, happy days
– Free

Chris
SpaceSniffer
– A visual representation of space taken up on a disk. Files and folders all represented by blocks on the screen relative to their filesize. Folder blocks contain their constituent files as smaller blocks.
– Hypnotic to watch a scan taking place. Slick ability to zoon in on areas.
– And is very useful in idenfying where you lose all those Gb’s on your once empty HardDrive.
– Going to be useful for clean install of Windows 7.

Henry
Caffeine
– tiny Mac OS X program that sits on the menu bar and stops your mac going to sleep