Andrew John Smallwood

Digital Dynamo & Online Expert

WiiU launch – UK get ripped off again

The WiiU was announced today and although I’ve been present at every launch of every Nintendo console since the N64, I’m not too impressed with what I’ve seen so far.

Yes, it’s finally HD, it’s got a sleek design and I’m really intrigued about how the new gamepad will work.

But, I’m getting pretty sick with the UK getting ripped off again. Although the launch price in Pounds Sterling hasn’t officially been announced, popular retailers have already announced their pricing models.

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An open letter to Nintendo

I’ve been a huge Nintendo fan for years and have grown up surrounded by your major franchises, especially Zelda and Mario.

I supported you through the dark ages of the Gamecube and relentlessly defended you against the threats of the Playstation and XBox.

But then, last year, I went and did the unthinkable. I went to the dark side and bought an XBox 360. This was a huge decision, especially as I’m not only a Nintendo fan boy, but also part of the Cult of Mac.

After the purchase, I instantly felt guilty. I had betrayed the brand that I had grown up with. My Wii still adorned my living room next to the shiny new XBox, but with no major new releases, it sat and gathered dust.

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Destiny: Check

Friday 25th March, I became a man.

Long gone are the days when I used to queue at midnight for the latest Nintendo console (2001-Gamecube, 2005-Wii).

For as I strolled through the west end of London following the Foursquare London meetup at Waxy’s, I wasn’t going to join the hordes of Nintendo Fanboys awaiting the launch o the 3DS.

I was gearing up for a much more important launch.

iPad2

I was releases from the office at noon to go and sit in the heat of Hanover Street. Continue reading “Destiny: Check” »

Snow leopard; was it worth it?

If the price wasn’t too much of a giveaway, the meager one hour it took to install this ‘upgrade’ to leopard was. Everything from the name to the official wallpaper shows that that’s exactly what it is. An upgrade. It won’t go head to head with Windows 7. It doesn’t need to, it’s already streets ahead.On the face of things, I can’t see any noticable improvements with the user interface. Nothing sparkles the way it did when upgrading from Tiger to Leopard. Yes, exposé is a bit more organised and you can now scroll in stacks but these minor improvements pose the question ‘why wasn’t it like that before?’ There is the new QuickTime player (but I use VLC) and there’s support for Microsoft exchange (but I use gmail). So these changes simply don’t affect me. The greatest difference was the space it freed up. Leopard left me with 19GB on my hard drive, Snow Leopard gave me back 12GB extra space! Pretty amazing when my other laptop Asus eeepc with XP has no room on the partioned C drive for any software because it’s full to the brim with the operating system and common files!So in conclusion, Snow Leopard doesn’t give that wow factor received succeeding the installation of Leopard but for £25 and an early release, what did you expect? What will the next big cat be? That’s the one we want to look forward to!

iPhone, therefore ical

I am trying to vary my blog posts but 3 days into owning the holy grail of current technology, I felt compelled to post about the iPhone again. But, this isn’t an ordinary post! For those that find it, it can serve as a tutorial on how to receive push calendar combining iCal and gCal. There is an added twist as well!I’ve used girlfriend for the duration of this explanation, please alter accordingly1 – The SituationI lead a pretty hectic life if you include work, freelance work, mates, girlfriend, family, girlfriends mates (in no particular order). I do not own a diary, the iPhone was going to be the answer to my prayers. A diary at the touch of a button, great!My problem is that when my girlfriend tells me she’s arranged a date for the diary, it goes in one ear and out the other. Although, I swear that sometimes she never tells me and just assumes that I know (but that’s neither here nor there).The solution, my girlfriend can update my calendar from her iPhone or the Internet and it will wirelessly update on my Mac, on the Internet and my iPhone, no wires attached! You may say it’s easy, but you may also have a MobileMe account, or you may have paid for BusySync or NuevaSync etc… If you are like me and you’ve already shelved out enough money on the phone itself, I’d rather do things as cheaply as possible – or free. Believe me, this is going to stop a lot of arguements and my grey hair growth may slow down as a result.Solution:

  1. Sign up for Google Calendar (I’m sure you already have).
  2. In iCal, add your gCal account in preferences using CalDav – View tutorial (you can now read and write from iCal – gCal, test by refreshing)
  3. Set up CalDav in your iPhone – View Tutorial – (you can now read/write from your iPhone – iCal & gCal, test by refreshing)
  4. Share your google calendar with your girlfriend. Give her read/write privileges (under settings)
  5. Download the Google Apps App for iPhone on your girlfriend’s phone
  6. Log in to Google Calendar (gCal) scroll down and click settings, you may need to deselect>save>exit, reselect>save>exit the shared calendar in order to make it visible in the browser window
  7. Test it, your girfriend should be able to edit something in the shared Google Calendar (on iPhone/Internet). This should update in your iCal (Mac), gCal (internet), iCal (iPhone).
  8. Ta  da! No more arguments, well, no more arguments about arranging your life.
  9. A nice touch from the lovely people at Google is that if your girlfriend edits something that you’ve already input, you’ll be sent an update email! How nice!

Issues:I haven’t gone to the trouble to find out how to totally share iCals from iPhone > Internet > iPhone because I don’t need to. My girlfriend still uses an old fashioned filofax but she can keep me updated wirelessly.I haven’t found out how to share and update multiple calendars so I’m just going to use one.I’ve trawled the web looking for a free answer to this so when it happened, I thought it was too good to be true, I’ll update you if there are any bugs because I can’t believe that I’ve solved this problem. Alternatively, let me know if this is easy and Ive just been looking in the wrong place! I look forward to your feedback (as long as it’s constructive).

Death to Vodafone, long live iPhone

Today was the day, the day that I’ve been waiting for. I finally got my hands on an iPhone. I had been desperate to get one as soon as they came out but could never commit to an 18 or 24 month contract. Now, after returning from travelling, the need for information on the move has got too much. I need my email, I need 24/7 internet access albeit via 3G, I need Google Maps at the tip of my finger!To be honest, the iPhone would have made travelling the world that little bit easier but they don’t travel well and it would have cost a bomb to keep it running whilst on a budget. Now, after perusing the market, I nearly purchased a Google phone, but the Google support for iPhone is still outstanding thanks to Eric Schmidt.Having bugged the staff of Carphone Warehouse and O2 for the past week, being rejected over and over again, I finally managed to beat the rush. Even in sleepy old Ipswich, I was third in the queue and when I left some twenty minutes later, there were 9 people waiting to be seen. The shop only had 2 members of staff who were already kissing goodbye to their lunch breaks! Damn that Jonathan Ives!En route home, I nearly crashed into a taxi whilst dreaming about the afternoon’s festivities. When I used to get phones ‘back in the day’, I looked forward to setting it up and really getting to know the interface. Not so with the new iPhone, especially for Mac users. I plugged it in, it uploaded my contacts, calendars, emails, songs, videos and photos with a few clicks and I was up and running.Right, now what’s this app store all about.