Test post from Posterous

Posterous is a new service that allows you to post to multiple sites in one go from an email account. Once you’ve opened your free account, you add services such as Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and your WordPress blogs to your posterous options, then an email to post@posterous.com adds it to all your sites.

Posterous also reads and posts photos, videos, audio URLs and many other file types and adds them automatically.

All very easy, and probably the simplest way to blog when on the move.

Posted via email from Chris Parker’s posterous

How to (partly) avoid the O2 iPhone 3G S upgrade rip-off

So you bought the original iPhone when it was released in November 2006 and upgraded it to the 3G in July 2007 on an 18 month contract. Now you want to upgrade to the new iPhone 3G S on the 19th of June.

iPhone 3G S (32GB)
iPhone 3G S (32GB)

The problem – you’ve got six months left on your contract and O2 are going to charge you 6x £35 = £210 to get out of the contract, then £274.23 for the new 32GB iPhone and a new 18 month contract. Grand total £484.23.

A better way is to buy the new Pay & Go iPhone at £528.30, swop your old sim card into it, and sell your old 16B iPhone to MazumaMobile for £200. Grand total £338.30. A saving of £145.93.

As pointed out in this thread on Macworld UK, you’ll be able to continue your old contract until July 2010 and then be able to upgrade to the inevitable next iPhone release. O2 have confirmed to a couple of customers that your current sim card will work in a new Pay & Go iPhone.

Anything wrong with this logic?

[Update] Apparently not, as O2 confirm at the bottom of this page that your current sim card will work in a new Pay & Go iPhone.

[Update 2] Apparently yes. @rickythegeek (thanks Ricky) points out on twitter that you can sell the old iPhone to MazumaMobile whichever route you take. That brings down the price of paying off your old contract and taking out a new one to £284.23, the better deal by £54.

On further reflection I think I’ll stick with Plan A and buy a Pay & Go iPhone and continue the old contract. Although it will be £54 more expensive the contract will have expired by July 2010 making the next upgrade cheaper and easier.

Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote

I recently picked up the new Harmony 1100 Universal Remote to replace my very tired Philips Pronto RU890. The Pronto is very powerful but took weeks to program satisfactorily and I dreaded having to reprogram it if I found an error in a sequence of IR codes or I replaced a home entertainment component. Part of the dread was due to the Windows only software and part to the old serial port which required something like a Keyspan USB-Serial adaptor to connect with – the whole process was hit and miss…

Continue reading “Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote”

Nintendo DSi – update

Nintendo DSi
Nintendo DSi
I promised some more details on the DSi.

I’ve now had it for three or four days and had a chance to play with it for a while. The new features that I like are:

  • DSiWare – downloadable software
  • SD card slot – for music, photos and downloaded games
  • Better user interface
  • Dual cameras

I can’t say I really notice the larger screens and I don’t notice the removed GBA slot – in my DS Lite I used it for a rumble pack.

So far I’ve downloaded the Web Browser – works fine but just as slow as ever, Pyoro aka Birds & beans – a simple but fun shooting game and Paper Aeroplane – fly a paper aeroplane down an increasingly difficult vertical channel. I’d like to download Movable Memo as well but I can’t find it – I’m not sure it’s been enabled yet in the UK store.

I’ve tried loading some AAC music files onto an SD card and they play very nicely in the DSi. If the headphones are connected when the music is playing, it continues to play if the case is closed. Useful if you’re on the move.

The user interface is much simpler. The screen shows a horizontal list of installed software – lots of room to grow. The applications can be rearranged to your preferences.

The dual cameras are great fun. Although the images are only 640×480 the software allows you to manipulate and distort them to achieve lots of weird effects. Probably more fun for the younger audience but good to see Nintendo use these low-resolution cameras to good effect.

Overall, this is a very nice little games machine. When new “DSi only”games are released that take advantage of the faster processor I’m sure we’ll see some great new games. Until then, unless you’ve got a game that relies on the DS Lite GBA slot, your current games will work on the new DSi.

Not a must-have upgrade, but probably worth it especially if you can trade in your DS Lite as some high street stores are offering.

Sony PRS-505 Reader – A Short Review

I’m really enjoying my Sony Reader PRS-505. I got hold of it before Christmas with the aim of lightening my travel load, and it works a treat.

The screen is very clear – when I saw it on display in Waterstones I thought it was a mock-up with a piece of paper slapped over it. There’s no backlighting on the screen but you can always clip one of those little reading lights on the cover when you want to read in the dark.

Sony Reader PRS-505
Sony Reader PRS-505

The battery life is excellent because it only uses power when you turn the page. I ran it recently for seven days, using it everyday, and the battery indicator was still showing full when I got around to plugging it in. I’ve never seen it showing less than half charge.

Sony’s partner in the UK is Waterstones. Last time I looked they only had about 7,500 ebooks available and their prices aren’t low either. The good news is many ebooks can be downloaded free of charge, in fact the Reader includes a CD with 100 out-of-copyright classics to get you started. And the Gutenberg Project has thousands of free titles to download.

For purchased books I’ve been using mainly ebooks.com and Powells. Ebooks are available in a variety of formats, DRM’ed and DRM-free, and tools are available online to convert to and from various formats.

Sony Reader PRS-505
Sony Reader PRS-505

As a Mac user there is one ripple on the pond. Sony uses Adobe Digital Editions to authorise the Reader to display DRM-protected files and the Mac version of ADE doesn’t recognise the Reader. The solution is to authorise the Reader from the Windows version of ADE, either with a real PC or something like Parallels. Once the Reader has been authorised you can use the Mac version of ADE to put files on the Reader, or simply drag them to the Reader which shows up as a USB drive in the Finder.

An even better solution is Calibre by Kovid Goyal. Calibre (freeware) converts ebook formats, sends the files to the Reader, allows you to read the ebooks on your Mac as well, if you wish, and generally manages your ebook library.

Sony has recently released the PRS-700 with built-in backlighting, a touchscreen and a higher price, but it’s getting mixed reviews. The 700 isn’t designed to replace the 505 apparently, and both are likely to be on sale for the foreseeable future, but the PRS-505, at US$300/UK£200, is significantly cheaper and does the job well. Recommended.

MSI Wind running Mac OS X

I’ve bought an MSI Wind for travelling. It was only £309 from play.com and came with Windows XP, a 160GB hard drive, 1 GB RAM, wifi, bluetooth and a 6-cell battery. A second gig of RAM cost about £11 from crucial.com.
It’s now running Mac OS X, 10.5.6. There’s lots of information at MSIWind.net including full instructions on how to install Apple’s operating system. aboutthiswind Once you have all the downloaded components to hand it’s about a 90 minute job. Everything works under OS X except sound in and the internal camera – new drivers are in progress.
All-in-all, a great little solution if you don’t want to carry a MacBook or MacBook Pro around with you. MSI Wind