Category Archives: Technology

Apple, bring back Nokia LifeBlog

Way back in 2014 when Apple introduced iCloud Photo library I have been a very happy bunny.  An in-house and integrated way to backup my photos and have access across all my apple devices.

It may seem like an odd feature to be so happy about however many moons ago my house was broken into and my old Black MacBook was stolen; fortunately, the USB hard drive that contained my library of over 50,000 photos was left behind. At the time that bad feeling of thinking that I had lost such a massive collection of memories of my single life, meeting my wife, my two kids and everything in between was gut-wrenching. I didn’t have a back up of my digital life at the time just the odd badly organised collection of DVD containing a month or two of Photos, one of music and a stack of software that was either illegally obtained or obsolete. I was onboard with iCloud Photo Library the day after launch.

My library has currently expanded to 76,478 Photos and 4,101 Videos and my family has increased by 1 child and 3 goldfish. Having the off site back up that is so simply integrated with my iPhone, iPad, Mac and the addition of my wife’s iPhone link to the same family plan for me is amazing. I now also back up to Google Drive and Google Photo just to be sure so that I don’t have that panic feeling ever again.

I have always felt that a digital log of memories is important to help with reliving them life experiences as I get older. I look back to my childhood and the memories that I have are amazing but they are limited; even when talking to my parents, I have always wanted a more detailed way to look back into the journey me and my family are on.

Something, however, was still missing. I look back to around 2002 when I first had this idea of being able to have these triggers to look back at my life. At the time I had not long had my first digital camera and was already starting the build my memory box of life, I also got my first “Smartphone” that incorporated a camera. It was the Nokia 7650 and it ran Symbian OS. It’s
almost comical now to say this but it was a powerhouse of a phone at the time. More importantly for me, it had a great trick up its sleeve in the form of a desktop application, Nokia LifeBlog.

The idea of RSS feeds and blogs at the time were for me very exciting. The collection of information from different sources pulled together into one place and your own easy way to add to this collection with your own blog. Nokia Lifeblog was this, but for your own personal memory box. It pulled information from your phone and displayed a time log of your life, day by day, week by week. It listed text messages, calls made and missed, alongside the photos you had taken all in time order and in a calendar view. Looking back at it you could follow a night out from the calls to the boys and the “Almost in town now” message followed by the drunken photos and the hangover comedown the next day. It was for me almost perfect way to look back at what was happening in my life at the time.

The only problem was it didn’t take long before my phone was changed for something better and then Symbian OS started to fade away Nokia LifeBlog became useless. I switch to Windows Mobile then Apple came along and I settled into the closed garden and happily handed them all my money. I have over the years ran multiple handsets with Android running side by side with my iPhone, however, every time the integration with my iPhone and Mac (and the happiness of not having to use a Windows PC) iPhoto and later Photos was just to good for me to want to ever switch again (ok may Huawei could tempt me).

Apple has just released messages in iCloud and that reassurance of not having to worry about losing photos anymore now also includes my messages. There is, however, a more exciting development; I feel I am now one step closer to being able to have the Lifeblog days back. Over the years I have often looked back at messages received and sent to my girlfriend and now wife and mother of my children. It an extension to the memory box I have from my photos. Like my photo, I have been hoarding message since 2008… almost every one of them. Transferred from phone to phone in one way or another; I couldn’t even comprehend how many messages that is over the years (4.9GB according to my iCloud storage) but more importantly just about every message gives meaning to the photos taken over the years.

Photos already offer Memories with additional improvements due later this year but it only offers memories from Photos. What I’m looking for next from Apple is to integrate these two collections into one LifeLog so that not only can I look back over the images in my memory box but also the context of what was happening from the communications in my life even if it is just how many time me and my wife have messaged each other to pass the toilet roll.


Geek Toy – 3D Robotics IRIS+

I’m sure I’m no different to any self-respecting geek; you see a link to a new gadget and you can’t help but click on it  to find out about the shinny new thing.  Equally I’m sure that most of the time you finish reading with a” Meh”.  The IRIS+  from 3D Robotics however made me stand back and say WOW!

Auto Mission Planning
Auto Mission Planning

This thing is seriously cool.  It a personal drone that will do more than just fly around with the added camera to record amazing Ariel images.  If has “Follow me” allowing you to run or race about while the drone follows you centring the images directly on you.  It can do 3D image scanning, autonomous flight by giving it a set mission.  You just draw a line of a map to tell it where to go.  If will even return home when the battery is running low or it goes out of range of you controller.

IRIS+ From 3D Robotics
IRIS+ From 3D Robotics

A must buy for anybody that has the cash to spare and is looking for an amazing drone that you don’t need to spend months learning to fly so you won’t crash into a tree the first time you try to fly it.

Checkout the promotional video to really see what it can do.


SMLP Self help #01 – how to set up email on anything and everything.

In my job I often get asked how do I set up email on my mobile phone tablet of laptop. In this article I am going to give the most comprehensive answer to the question.

The details information that I’m going to out line will be the first time anybody anywhere has described how to setup email on every product that has ever been made that supports email. This is a massive undertaking for one person to pull together in one is pale blog post however with my 20 years experience using email and 13 years offering professional support for consumers, small business and corporate customer alike I feel that I am the right person for the job.

I am going to brake this down into 3 simple steps.


Open a web browser. For this step any browser on any computer, mobile phone or even TV will do. If it lets you access the internet it will work. Type in the website address


In the centre on the webpage that opens types into the box…. “How do I set up email on my”. Now on the image shown you will see that this is followed by “…..” You need to replace is with a space followed by the name of the thing you want to set email up on. For example “iPad”, “smart TV”, “sony smartphone”


Read all of the top results that will inevitable describe how to set up email you the device of your choosing.

No need to thank me…. Your welcome.

iPhone 4.1/5

I’m not going to say that I I’m some kind of super reliable authority on the crazy world of Apple rumors however I have made an observation over the last week that may have some merit on the pending and imminent release of the iPhone 5/4.1.

I work in retail for a major Mobile phone company and have done so for some time. 11 years to be exact. Part of my job involves managing stock allocation with in own little domain. If I work back to 6 June 2010; the day that the iPhone 4 was announced by apple the stock situation for the iPhone 3Gs 16GB was already falling off the edge. What I mean by this is that around 3 months before there was a noticeable drop in stock allocations for the 3GS combined with a push on offers on the older 3g model.

Apple don’t normally communicate stock level allocations. Basically you don’t get much of a chance to see what stock you are going to get from apple until you actually have it. You place your order for units and then you get what your given. Often you get exactly what you have asked for; but not all the time. Over the last 3 weeks the stock situation on the iPhone 4 and 3Gs 8GB has been a nightmare.

Offer around the iPhone 3Gs 8GB have been running in force across most UK networks for the last month and I have seen about a 80% drop in iPhone stock on last allocation.

yesterday all Pre-pay stock of all iPhones models was reallocated for contract stock. Stock rooms across UK mobile retailer are emptying of iPhone stock.

This could have been just the retailer that I work for. No. I have spoken to contacts within all of the major high street mobile retailers and they are give or take a little in the same situation.

The pressure is building; a storm is about to be unleashed.

We all know this already unless you have been sleeping under a rock or just don’t give a crap. The overall consensus however is that we are looking at a new iPhone 5 and that we are looking at a “fall” release along with iOS 5.

l think we are going to see something else happen.

Based on the current stock levels and and the beta stage for iOS 5. Its clear that something new is in the pipe lines. One issues is however that we have not seen any massive reliable information regarding new bodywork for the iPhone. Something that would be hard for apple to hide. The nightmare Apple had with the great iPhone leak of 2010 when an employee lost his iPhone in a bar will make apple extra careful this time around but with the current storm building people will be looking for the leaks.

With nothing solid going on in that department it would suggest that something else is happening. They are going to be using most of the same parts they have now. An easy update on the camera, a quick switch on the glass on the back of the iPhone 4 and finish it off with a iPad 2 processor. They could update the screen without any information leaking out as most display manufactures are spitting out small high end screen like they are going out if fashion without any idea who the hell they are making them for. Smaller memory chip would allow for an easy storage update and you are done. A new, but not so new iPhone 4.1

discontinuation of the iPhone 3Gs 8GB; a new iPhone 4 8GB and the release of a new iPhone 4.1 32GB and 64GB.

iPhone 4 out of stock from the 24th

7 days to go till the launch of the iPhone 4 and people are clocking up a large wedge of pre orders.  Apple reported 600,000 pre orders for the new iPhone, the largest number of pre orders ever. This is great news for the success of Apple’s newly designed iPhone however can they actually deal with the kind of volume customers are asking for in such a short time?

Apple is going to release the handset in five countries on June 24th.  That’s going to be a fuck load of iPhone’s.  In the UK O2, Vodafone, “3” and Orange are going to be selling the handset from day one.  The first three networks have all been taking pre orders left, right and centre; however the largest mobile company in the UK “Everything, Everywhere” (E2) that controls both Orange and T-Mobile are not, but why not?

E2 are in a position to release the iPhone 4 on the T-Mobile and Orange networks however there is no sign of doing so on T-Mobile from launch day.  They have been jumping up and down about getting the handset out on Orange, they ever email customer to let them know pre orders were going to start; then took a step back.

This could be the craziest marketing ploy ever, it could just be one big fuck up or it could be something else.

I think that Apple’s iPhone warehouses are as empty as my wallet the day before payday.

Orange have a choice; they could take a large volume of pre orders then try to get the handsets out of door as quick as they can. The only issue with this is none of the people with pre orders are going to give a crap about any of the other handsets Orange sell while customers wait for there number to get called.  The other manufacturers start to get pissed off that the network is not shifting their products.  If the wait is a long one customers also started to get pissed off.

The real reason that Orange isn’t taking any pre orders?  Apple is sending them 6 handsets in the first month, one for each region of the UK. If you not getting the stock then you need to make sure its business as usual then you just sell them as you get them.  They would still get bogged down with customers asking for the stock but by not pretending that you are able to supply every man and his dog you don’t piss off every man, just his dog.  Wouldn’t they just loose loads of customers?  Not if the other networks are in the same situation.  They can only sell the stock they get.

When the stock does start to hit the stock rooms and warehouses the customers that have been waiting for ages for their networks to “Fulfil my fucking pre order” they have already started to look around.   That would be when Orange takes the deal.

Clever but risky move from Orange, Apple however are the true winner.

I think that Apple’s iPhone warehouses are as empty as my wallet the day before payday, except the triple storey super warehouse that stocks the Apple Stores.

My guess is there stockrooms are going to be bursting to the seams with nice, shiny new iPhone 4’s to buy.  It maybe at a premium but with the middleman cut out of the mix it’s going to be a big fat wedge of profit through the tills of Apple stores all over the UK.  Also during the “great iPhone 4 shortage of 2010” a chance for them to get each and every person that walks into a Apple Store…

“would you like a [insert iProduct] with that!”

Android is going to hit it extra big.. Quickly!

I’m going to put myself out there and say that over the next few week will be the start of the mass switch from OS X (iPhone) to Android as the mobile system of masses.

The first phase of the early Android has come to an end (HTC Hero, Motorola Dext, HTC G1) and Adriod had so far done a great job to get to its current position in the market; now the big players running Android are starting to land.

The new Sony Ericsson Xperia (Android) handsets are about to hit the stores. I believe that this will be the first range of handsets that will drive the similar cool, easy to use and geeky for the none geeks feel that drove sales in the iPhone. The collection of application that are available for Android handsets compared to the iPhone are not as much of an issue as it used to be and is only going to get better.  Windows Mobile, now re-branded as Windows Phone with WM 7 is just too little, too late.

Sony Ericsson has some great handset designs (when they put the effort in) and once people have got passed the initial “Sony Ericsson handsets always have rubbish software on them” issue; and realise that its not Sony Ericsson under the hood; I think that we are going to see a lot of the new Xperia handsets floating around attached to the side of peoples heads.  The X10 will be the front runner.

Do you think Android is going to be the front running in the mobile market?

Am I wrong?

What color are your pants?

New OS Install? What’s your first Apps?

Today I treated myself to the Snow Leopard OS X upgrade.  Since I was upgrading I thought I may as well just so with a fresh installation.

The first thing to do was to back up my documents, music and Photos.  Two hours later and it was time to complete a fresh installation of Leopard followed by the Snow Leopard upgrade.   Another three hours later; move everything back (+ two hours of software updates) then for the next step I got thinking….

What are the first Applications you install on a fresh OS install?

I’m guessing most people start with there Web Browser of choice (I use Firefox) then staring running through your own chose of apps.

I was wondering what are the first apps you would install in a new system?

Answers in the comments below.

The time is almost upon us in Newcastle

Back in September 2009 Sam ( @purplelime )over at gave the people of Newcastle the heads up about the retail store us northern geeks were waiting for.  Our very own Apple Store.

With less than six days till opening I took a quick look back at the original floor plans of Eldon Square’s new south wing to remind me what I was getting excited about.  I’m now a little worried about what we may get from our new Apple Store.

I’m not going to write anything off till I get into the place myself; but if you look at the size of the Apple Store unit and compare it to the Top Shop unit opposite it. Top Shop normally have some good size stores so it would suggest that the new Apple Store in comparison will be of a good size.  If however you picture the size of most of the stores in Eldon Square (if you have been there and are able to do that) you will be aware that they aren’t very big.

Take a look at this digital walk through of the new wing of Eldon Square.

The size of the units shown don’t seem to be that big.  What if our new Apple store is just a baby version of what you would expect from an Apple store?  I’m not saying that I expect a London or New York sized store; but I do want a store that will do Newcastle justice.

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

What do you think the Apple Store will bring to Newcastle?

Are you planning on visiting on opening day?

Do you care?

Technology in the year I was born.

Stumbled across a very interesting web site tonight. I give you a run down of everything that happened in the year the you were born.

So what interesting things did I get out of it?

The fabulous technology that was born the same years I was… The Spreadsheet and the credit card calculator. How did we ever life without it?