Author: Andrew Smallwood

I am a web designer by heart and am well versed in all things digital. Having run my own freelance digital agency since 2006 and worked at the University of Westminster, I'm currently immersed in the heart of the music industry at PRS for Music

Elbow: Live at The O2

Elbow

Elbow landed in London for the latest leg of their tour and gave the crowd something to remember.

It would always be touch and go, riding on the wave of their Mercury win, but since then, there have been other Mercury winners and music has evolved.

Their latest record ‘Build A Rocket Boys’ had only been out a couple of weeks so would the working class boys from Manchester win over a largely middle class crowd in London?

They opened with a plethora of tracks from the latest album including ‘The Birds’ and ‘Neat Little Rows’

It was clear as soon as ‘With Love’ was emblazoned on the audience that the new album would fit in seamlessly with the rest of their back catalogue.

iPad2 has arrived

Coast Design was one of the first in the country to get their hands on the iPad2. The most anticipated apple release since the first iPad and it won’t be beaten until the next iPad hits in around 10 months time.

We’ve heard many a person claim that there’s no real place in society for a tablet computer of this nature, yet the original iPad was a storming success.

Yes, it is a luxury item. No it won’t replace a laptop for those serious about their hardware. We won’t be seeing Adobe Creative Suite being released on the iPad any time soon. But, think about the casual computer user.

Those that have 3 main uses for purchasing a computer of some kind

Destiny: Check

iPad

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.

Banksy: Living Room Scene, Regent Lock Camden

Banksy Regent canal

The best parts of London are hidden.

Even better parts of London are temporary.

That’s what makes street art so special.

It exists in difficult to reach places and only for a finite period of time. I recently saw the latest London edition of Banksy artwork.

Lower yourself from the hustle and bustle of Camden Lock Market and walk east along Regent’s canal. After about 5 minutes you will come up against Banksy’s Living Room Scene.

It’s a simplistic chalk drawing that could have been drawn by anyone but there are little tell tale signs that are unmistakably Banksy.

iPad2, will it launch?

The gap between the US and European releases of the iPad2 had been rumoured to have been up to 3 months, so imagine our delight when Jobs himself announced it would be 3 weeks, earlier this month.

Great news, but with an extraordinary amount of demand over the pond, will that affect our ability to get our hands on the lighter, faster, slimmer version of the iPad?

We’ll find out soon enough but even if it does launch this Friday, the stock is likely to be limited and if you haven’t got your greasy palms on one by lunchtime, you may have to kiss it goodbye for a while.

A 5 week lead time in the US for online orders could potentially result in an even longer lead time in Europe if you miss your chance on the first day.

Is praise for the Mac App Store misguided?

The Mac App Store launched this week and after a few hiccups in authorising accounts, has been a huge hit. There has been a lot of buzz about it since, but some of this seems to be misguided.

Yes, it makes sense that software should be available to download via an online marketplace like this but it isn’t exactly taking giant leaps forward. All the Mac App Store is really doing is freeing up space within Apple’s high street stores by ultimately reducing the offer of boxes of software that serve no purpose.

Somewhere: Review

Somewhere poster

The first film I saw of 2011 was ‘Somewhere’ by Sofia Coppolla.It’s about an actor called Johnny Marco, played by Stephen Dorff and offers a personal insight into the lives of actors of this stature.

Think Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis. Great actors in their own right but put them in a press conference and ask them clichéd questions like ‘Who is Johnny Marco?’ and you pay more attention to the monotonous aspects of their lives instead of all the glitz and the glamour. And who better to tell this side of Hollywood than Sofia Coppolla who is the daughter of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now Director, Francis Ford?

Opera 11 released

Opera 11 beta was released this week, this may not seem like much to some because their market share has been crippled in recent months by the growth of Chrome and the resurgence of IE with IE9.

But to those in the web design community, we still look toward Opera for innovation. They come up with a lot of these ideas first only to be duplicated by competitors and ultimately improved upon.

Seriously, how long had Opera displayed ‘speed dial’ as a home screen before Apple came along and produced their own version. Obviously Apple made this sexier with a curved effect and reflections but Opera were there first.

Has Facebook Places failed already?

Location based social networking is surely the breakthrough of 2010 with the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla competing for most of the previous year. Facebook Places arrived late onto the scene and, as a result, has not run entirely to plan.

First we had the statement on launch night from Mark Zuckerberg himself that the usefulness of ‘checking in’ at locations via Facebook would allow users to find their friends in the real world.

Come on, we all know the real reason is:

Google TV falters

The battle between Google TV and Apple TV took another turn this week and there are still no clear victors.

I recently opted for Apple TV because I wanted the original version but wasn’t prepared to pay the price. The re-release and price reduction to £99.99 may prove beneficial in the war as it snapped up early buyers.

Although not instantly blown away by Apple TV, I recognise the potential in what’s to come. Initially, the UK version does not give you access to TV programmes, just films and your own iTunes library. But, that will come in time in addition to apps or extensions similar to that on the iPhone.