Using Twitter in online dating….

I was reading about Loveflutter Relaunches With A Surprising New Way To Meet Your Match: Twitter.

Once upon a time, the world’s great lovers wooed with songs and sonnets. Today, we express our deepest feelings in 140 characters or less.

Or at least you do if you’re on Loveflutter, a dating service that has partnered with Twitter to prove social media feeds are the new windows to the soul.

Originally founded in 2013, London-based Loveflutter relaunched this May with an updated approach to modern matchmaking. Like other popular dating apps, users swipe left or right on candidates in hopes of scoring a mutual match. But unlike the competition, where singles pay attention to little more than looks, Loveflutter takes appearance out of the equation.

Images on Loveflutter are blurred until you click on them. Instead, users are invited to swipe left or right based on each other’s 10 latest tweets.

Its a interesting idea and similar to some of my thoughts way back when… Soon as heard this I thought about Tweetfoxxy, which is the thing I was trying to find on the tram wifi last week.

Why VPNs are essential regardless what others say

I tweeted during a ride on the Manchester Metrolink tram but things didn’t seem to come across as I was hoping.

My main point is the image from the mainstream media is VPNs is for pirates and the darkweb. But in actual fact its part of modern day web usage.

I was trying to tweet something but needed to look for a slide presentation which I thought I had on slideshare.net. When looking at slideshare on the metrolink wifi I got a Cisco page about content filtering.

I thought this was just because some of my slides might trigger something but nope its the whole of slideshare.net.

I was pretty annoyed about the whole thing and fired up my home VPN.

Done…

Only took my journey from MediaCityUK to St Peters Square to do all this, hence the confused tweeting. Plus I couldn’t work out where the new Google assistant saves the screenshots.

Didn’t find what I thought I had on my slideshare but I did find it elsewhere, I’ll go into details in my next blog post.

 

Wall mounted Calendar/Picture Frame

The Hudl arrives! There goes the afternoon...

I like Google Calendar a lot, specially because all my calendars are now inside of Google Calendar. Even my work calendar is inside of Google Calendar because I can’t stand to have multiple calendars again. So it would be great to have access to Google Calendar when I’m wondering around the flat without having to switching on a device and load up the calendar app.

The closes I’ve gotten to this to date is my Archos 70 tablet which sits on my coffee table as a XBMC remote. I’ve loaded a couple more things on to it including a Transmission remote, Yaste, Audio monitor, Plex, XBMC remote and Calender. Because its running Android 2.2 (Froyo) theres no Google now or Daydream support which is a shame because this is where I would use it.

So a wall mounted Google Calendar certainly rings bells, however with the price of Tablets now a day, I just don’t see the point. They all pretty much come with a Wide-SVGA or higher resolution and Wifi/Bluetooth. It would be easy to turn one of these into a wall mounted calendar with the right software (Any Cal?).

The massive price drop of tablets has also prompted me to reconsider the wireless picture frame. A tablet running the right software and a well setup daydream mode would make a great self updating picture frame. Specially if the Plex UPnP thing works as it should. Heck because your using a tablet, you could use RSS feeds with enclosures to get pictures on to the device. Or some other type solution.

What ever, now is a great time buy those cheap tablets… I’m certainly keeping eye out for the sub £50 ones in the New Years sales.

Simple streaming to your android with Yatse

Yatse my favourite xbmc remote just launched a new plugin, which makes streaming locally to the android device, super simple…

If you have enabled UPnp in your Xbmc installation and are Wifi connected to the same network as Xbmc you can stream your Xbmc media to your Android device.

And yes it also supports moving between devices with the resume button which will stop the currently playing media on you Media Center and continue it on your local device where it was stopped.

It was possible to do this before but Yaste just made it super easy…

Top 10 Good Tech Habits

don't feel blue


Lifehacker
has a list of 10 good tech habits to have… Luckily I seems to have most of them, however its good to share them because lots of my friends have fallen fowl of some of them.

  1. Search Google Like a Pro
    Absolutely! You got to know how to use search engines fully…
  2. Back Up Your Computer
    The amount of friends who don’t do this is terrible. I don’t backup everything but the essential stuff I have backed up on Spideroak. The less important stuff I have backed up on Dropbox.
  3. Use Secure Passwords
    If I got a pound for everytime I’ve shouted Keepass!
  4. Know What Maintenance Your Computer Needs (and Doesn’t Need)
    Of course building PC’s in the past and still doing bits here and there, I certainly feel like I know my stuff, although since I moved to Ubuntu I’ve kind of lost touch with my Windows background.
  5. Be Smart About Hoaxes, Scams, and Internet Myths
    Oh I’m across this, snopes and wikipedia is your friend. Generally if you think its all makes sense
  6. Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi
    I’m aware of the risks and never do anything serious on a non-SSL connection. I’m aware of the sniffers and have been known to throw open wireshark every once in a while.
  7. Avoid Getting Malware (and Spreading It to Others)
    Running Ubuntu over Windows means the chances of Malware is less but I’m also very aware of the risks. I usually avoid passing stuff on by just deleting them but I’ve sometimes I report them. Specially banking phishing.
  8. Keep Your Desktop and Hard Drive Free of Clutter
    Check, all good…
  9. Know When You’re Paying Too Much for a Product
    Yes although I won’t go totally out of my way for a deal, as I put a price on my time and effort
  10. Regularly Audit Your Privacy Settings on Social Networks
    My general rule applies… If its private, it shouldn’t be online. No matter what privacy settings you have check the End user licence agreement! That will tell you everything you need to know…

The official XBMC android remote control

I downloaded the official Android XBMC remote a little while after using another android remote control for quite a while.

When I first saw it I thought whats so special about this remote which makes it the official xbmc remote?

Well that was before one day I was watching Breaking Bad catching up with the seasons and my phone rang but not only that the show paused and a little xbmc popup came up saying exactly who was ringing with a little icon. I was so shocked I actually missed the call. This was followed with a text message from my voicemail service saying I had a new message. It was so seamless and I had no idea the android remote had this built in, so I looked through the settings and found these interesting options.

  • Statusbar notification
  • Show incoming SMS
  • Show incoming calls

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the check list for features is something out of a dream. Here’s a couple of the most interesting ones.

  • Control XBMC’s volume directly with your device’s volume buttons
  • Manage multiple XBMC instances
  • On incoming call, display who’s calling on TV screen and pause video until call is over
  • On incoming message, display on TV screen
  • Setting that prevents your phone locking the screen. You can apply it either for remote control only or all screens (or disable it completely)
  • Cover art is shown where available
  • Play and queue albums, songs, genre selections and much more directly without having to turn on your TV. For instance it’s possible to queue/play all songs from an artist but of a certain genre.
  • Displays movie poster and actor thumbs where available.
  • Play trailer from details page where available.
  • Coming soon theres also some more really interesting features…
  • Boxee compatibility
  • Download media locally to device’s SD card
  • Stream media to device
  • Rating support in Now playing
  • Last.FM integration

All this functionality has really made me give up the wii-mote as the preferred method of controlling XBMC. I’d suggest a couple more things like trans-coding (so you can take away a copy which isn’t multiple gigabytes), send to xbmc (bit like send to xbmc or xbmcfox), a locale plug-in (might be handy), a proximity sensor option (if you walk out the room for example it will pause or even stop after a while xbmc) and the ability to see additional media or even fansubs on the device its self.

The best and worst of Hotel Wifi

Lloyd hotel from the north view

Hotelchatter posted up a list of its best and worst wifi enabled hotels. Its mainly American centric but there is a international version here.

Number one in the international version is the Lloydhotel.

Amsterdam: Lloyd Hotel. Free WiFi. Worked so fast in this large hotel. So fast we downloaded an entire season of The Office on iTunes within two hours.

Even 2 years ago it was flipping fast and effect-less. Every 4 rooms shared a wireless point and there was more that enough through-out the rest of the hotel to get wireless outside, the lobby and beyond. I think the only place you don't get wireless is in the lifts. I also got upgraded to the D level penthouse on the weekend, so I'm a little bias generally towards a simply awesome hotel.

Since joining Backstage, I've spent a lot of time in hotels and always try to pick hotels with Free Wireless. Usually the problem I get is that the wireless is in the lobby not the rooms or its not actually free its pay wireless by someone like Tmobile, BT or much worst Eurospot. The other issue is that most hotels don't care or have no one who actually knows the difference. When trying to book a hotel in Newcastle I phoned up about 12 hotels and at one point had to describe the BT open zone, Tmobile logos over the phone because the reception couldn't tell the difference between free and pay wifi. No lie!

So yes the situation in the UK is pretty dire once you get out there. I'm certainly thinking about submitting some of the hotels I've been to on the international hotelchatter site. I remember a hotel I stayed in during my last trip to Manchester, it costs equivalent to 10p a minute for internet access through a wired connection (there were no bundles or offers available) I believe it was operated by swissport or europort. And thats the biggest problem, you can read the website and find it does have internet access but what kind is unknown by even the staff or management.

On the upside, GNER trains have wireless through-out the trains and although it costs about 10 pounds for 24hours, its certainly worth it for a 6 hour journey to Scotland. Recently I heard the Cloud have covered the City of London (business square mile) in rich wifi. I don't think its free but at 11.99 per month for unlimited (yes what does unlimited really mean) data its not a bad deal if your wanting wireless in the UK. The cloud has also been pretty good about inter-operating with BT and I think you can even interop with Tmobile hotspots. There's no douht where ever you go now in London at least, there is some kind of wireless and its usually operated by one of the big 3. Sometimes I do see Orange hotspots, but I can't seem to get Orange to just add it to my existing mobile bill.

Generally its all a big mess but soon I'm sure like the Marriot adverts I keep seeing, hotels will wise up and start highlighting the fact they have free wireless (although I'm sure it will just get added into the room bill).

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Personal storage servers are back in fashion

Seagate D.A.V.E

Found on Engadget. Seagate D.A.V.E /images/emoticons/laugh.gifigital Audio Video Experience ) is simply a mobile hard drive with USB2, Bluetooth and Wireless. Its got a server built in so you can connect over wifi or bluetooth with almost any device. Currently it comes with 10-20gig of space, but there expecting much more in the near future. Oh and it launches in May.

My thoughts, on this very nice device which I can certainly see myself buying one. Does anyone remember the Toshiba Hopbit? Yes it didn't support Wireless and USB2 but the principle was the same. To be fair I wanted one of those a back in 2002 too.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Phones on a plane and Free Wifi on GNER Train

ishida's seat from London to Edinburgh

Our good friend Rachel Clarke who now lives in New York (the movie piracy capital says the MPAA) asks Phones on Planes?

No. Please no. At least put them in a booth or something so the rest of us don’t have to hear them say ‘guess where i am, on a plane’.

I have to say, I don't quite think this is such a bad thing. Ideally there would be a restriction on high volume talking not mobile phones. Yes they seem to induce high volume chatter but if your using your mobile for Data then thats a whole different story right? I just look forward to the day when I can finally text my friends to say I'll be arriving at Chicago O'hare in 30mins rather than waiting till I'm through customs. Although, like most people I also turn on my phone the moment I get off the plane. Another reason for mobiles on a plane is the fact that airplane phones already exist. They hardly used because once you swip your card, you can feel the timer eating through your money. The cost aspect as applies to in the air wireless which has stupid prices attached. I think having the ability to use your own dataplan/phone will finally break those stupid in the air monoploies.

Talking about Wireless. I thought I'd give a big thumbs up to GNER's Free Wireless onboard the train between Leeds and London Kings Cross. This is how I'm currently replying to all my emails and blogging. Its also pretty damm fast, the upload speed is bad (ping times of 1000 to my network) but general browsing and IM are good. From what I'm reading the Wifi shouldn't be free but trust me it is and there's no blocked ports or anything. I was able to VPN into my network using Hamachi and VPN into the BBC. Oh I also forget to mention there is power on some of the carriages in GNER and it also seems First Trains in the North of England. So from now, when traveling up to Northern England, I'll be traveling by train! This is great because I've been meaning to cut down on my air travel and I end up feeling terriable after flying. It may take longer on the train but its comfitable and you can actually relax with a reasonable amount of leg room.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Ultra Wifi is coming

11.99 pounds unlimited wifi

This arrived in my inbox today.

Thank you for registering your interest in Ultra WiFi. We've been thrilled by the response to the offer and we are pleased to announce that Ultra WiFi will go on sale July 4th. It's a big step forward for WiFi in the UK as Ultra WiFi will finally bring people the great value, always on, internet access on the move they have been asking for.

Ultra WiFi is unlimited low-cost WiFi for just £11.99 per month. You commit to a 12 month contract and we commit to bring you low cost all-you-can-eat WiFi at Cloud hotspots and Hotzones across the UK.

With over 7,000 Cloud hotspots across the UK, including 9 city centre hotzones and hundreds of new sites every month, we are confident that no other WiFi provider can match this offer in terms of price and coverage.

We will email you next week so you can sign up for Ultra WiFi directly from The Cloud website.

Kind Regards

The Cloud Networks
Your wireless route to the Internet

Please see www.thecloud.net/ultrawifi for details.

Well like I said previously, its tempting. I mean its far off most broadband costs and everything mobile device I own, supports wifi including my phone. I like the idea of running Skype on my phone, specially now I know it works thanks to David. Yes I understand the cloud isn't everywhere and there are others like Fon arriving on the scene everyday. But to be honest, everywhere I tend to go has the cloud. Hummm, I might wait this one out a little and see what happens.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

The cloud finally becomes a real alternative?

The Cloud

I actually saw this in Tom's blog. Mobile operators face wi-fi challenge. The crux of the article is here

The UK's mobile phone networks will come under attack today as wireless internet provider The Cloud announces a low-cost tariff for unlimited web access, making it easier for people to make free calls through the web from big cities, rather than use their mobile phones.

The Cloud is Europe's biggest operator of wireless technology, commonly called wi-fi, and its network is used by companies including BT, O2 and Nintendo. It is offering an £11.99 a month “all you can eat” internet deal covering 7,000 hotspots in Britain.

That will allow low-cost internet telephony in cities including London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. Using the internet to make calls has already disrupted the business models of fixed-line telecoms operators such as France Télécom.

And my feelings are, that this is a good thing. Competition is great for the market and this may shake the hold Orange, O2, Vodafone, 3 and Tmobile currently have on the wireless/mobile space. Yes I'll still be paying some other corp for the access but hey I don't mind paying for Wifi if its in 75 percent of the places I go in London. And to be honest 11.99 per month isn't bad if your out and about a lot. Compare it to GPRS or even 3G data costs and 11.99 for a months worth of unlimited data is a bargin. Even compared to a broadband connection of say 20 pounds per month its actually not that bad. Some people may beable to even dump there broandband connection if they live close enough to a hotspot and the service is reliable (big question that).

Theres no douht in my mind that central London is pretty much covered with Wifi but funny enough even out in SE18 there is a selection of wifi near myself. One of those pubs is only 2mins away from my house.

Hey there is a reason why I picked a phone which supports Wifi out of the box. Skype may not run well on it yet, but give it time, plus lets not forget theres other VOIP solutions and always online instant messenger sounds great to myself. Once there is a symbian version of Skype the required cpu speed will drop and my phone will run skype like a dream. Till then I still have my wifi ipaq which runs Skype right now.

Don't forget to sign up if your interested in 11.99 pound unlimited wifi.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Geeking the difference between San Fran and London

San Francisco skyline

Ben's been doing a comparison between London and San Francisco and honestly it sounds like heaven for a geek like myself.

Sure, in London we have geek dinners and there’s lots of opportunities to meet up with other peeps who work at BBC (lunch in the White City canteen, in the local BBC bars, etc). But it’s not every night…

I mean can you imagine hanging out with geeks most of the time when going out? Geez, sounds like good to me, no offense to anyone in London of course but its good to be around like minded people sometimes. Moving on…

The other great thing about San Francisco is the coffee shop culture. It’s 18:30 on a Sunday evening and we’re in Ritual Roasters with our laptops out sipping on large cups of extremely tasty java. And of course there is free WiFi (every coffee shop has wifi). Looking around me there must be at least a third of the café’s cliental using laptops. Having your laptop out in a coffee shop in the UK would not only be slightly unusual but also pretty fruitless – or expensive — as most coffee shops either have no wifi or wifi paid for by the hour.

Wow, if only. Now I hear London has more wireless that anyone else but I swear most of it is owned by BT, McDonalds, Tmobile and the Cloud. Usually if you look around you can find coffee shops near wireless points but its rare. Electricity isn't so much of a problem but yeah connectivity is usual left to your 3G or GPRS phone. On the plus side there is tons of pubs and bars across London, some more laptop friendly than others and they shut about 11pm unlike coffee shops which shut at about 7-8pm (at least in the UK). But Ben's next paragraph strikes a cord with me.

In the UK, we have pub culture – which doesn’t suit me at all. I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t particularly like smokey atmospheres. And there’s only so much lemonade you want to drink. Coffee on the other hand is not only my solitary vice but I’m also quite the connoisseur. WiFi in the pub, I don’t think so… Spending the equivilent of £2 on a coffee and being welcome to sit in a cafe for as long as you like using their chair, table and wifi in London… Forget it.

See its so odd, Ben and me are a like in our distaste of alcohol. I don't know what it is but the only drink I will drink if I have to is something soft with vodka. I will drink red wine with a nice meal but usually I much prefer to have a nice can of Redbull over rocks. And honestly I could happily and would much prefer to go to a coffee shop till late. Coffee shop culture maybe thought of as a American thing, but I'm not so sure because going out in Berlin and other large western european cities has always been a coffee shop type experience. Its pretty cool to go out and drink a few cups of strong blended coffee with friends before heading to a club or party. I'll be honest and say I would happily give up pub culture for coffee shop culture.

I'm very interesting to hear what the San Francisco ‘Out of Towner’ with Ben Metcalfe event will be like on March 2nd. Good on you Ben, but I still can not see myself moving to America any time soon. Canada maybe.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]