Why NFC and Mobile Payments will make me spend more.

NFC iPhone 5 Wireless Payment System

The Nexus S has been fitted with a NFC (Near-Field Communication) system that will allow people to start paying for things with their mobile. It’s been a long time since we first started seeing barclay cards with wireless payment chips on board and whilst everyone was worried about security I feel a phone will actually be safer than a card because of the password locking abilities. There has also been a lot of trouble with the cards because of “skimming” where somebody can use a device and steal your details by just walking passed you with specialist equipment. Again this could be stopped on a mobile because every payment could be authorised by the user deeming skimming useless unless people were walking round constantly authorising payments and in that case they would be stupid and deserve to get robbed.
There are many benefits to NFC payments using your mobile and only one real downside and that’s the security but having your phone robbed is just as easy as stealing your wallet so if your unfortunate enough to fall into a situation like that it’s pretty much the same thing. Ring and get your phone blocked, get a new one on insurance and your sorted. If you’ve got a modern phone you should be able to restore your phone to what it was with a couple of clicks anyway.
The downsides for me are entirely personal although I’m pretty sure some people might share the same views. The first of which is that I’ve recently bought myself a lovely Mulberry wallet that set me back a fair few pounds and I don’t want to make that investment redundant. Although that said I’ll always need something in my wallet because it will be some time before I can confirm my ID using my phone. The main problem for me is that when I use my card, it doesn’t feel like I’m spending money at all. If I had cash on me I’d feel a lot more wary about my purchases. In fact I probably wouldn’t own some of the terrible things that are lying at the back of my cupboard. The idea of a cash free world is daunting to say the least, although ideal some of the great feelings of having money will go. It’s a strange one because although some might say the whole point of cash is to at some point hand it over to someone else whether that be a bank clerk or a merchant you never actually have the stuff that long but still I feel quite attached to cash and wouldn’t want to be rid of it anytime soon. I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way either but in 30 or so years it may be the case that nobody actually uses coins and notes. It makes sense to get rid of them, there’d be no more change, no more being short of the money because you lost a quid on the seat of your car and the whole payment system would speed up. It’s similar benefits to using a card but at the moment I find my cash flow is kept under control by actually having physical cash that I’m less willing to throw about.
Then there is the big benefit to having a payment system on my phone. I don’t leave my house without my phone. Mobile phones have become such a big part of everyones life that it is considered unsafe by many not to have one on you. If I was running out of petrol but had forgot my wallet, cards and cash I’d be fine because my iPhone would be sat there on the dash playing music through the aux. It’s ideal but again I find myself looking at the flaw of this too and it’s something that is a flaw of so many products in the tech market today. Battery. The battery life on my phone isn’t great and if I thought that I wouldn’t need to take my wallet, cards and cash out with me because I’d have my phone I’d be absolutely screwed if I couldn’t use it. No money, no contact, nothing.
If my next phone has NFC payment the chances are I’ll set it up, the chances of me actually relying on it are quite slim. There will be the times where it will feel like a life saviour I’m sure but the chances are I’ll be keeping my wallet on me for the exact reason I just said. I couldn’t deal without having money or contact to anyone.

The Sony NGP (PSP2)

Sony PSP2 NGP Touch Screen Rear Touch Pad Quad Core GPU and CPU

This here is the Sony NGP. It’s basically a PSP 2 but they haven’t given it a proper name yet. PSP2 makes sense so I don’t know why they didn’t just go with it. Could be something to do with the ridiculous amount of different PSP 1’s you could get.
Anyway, the first thing I thought when I saw this thing is that it is the ugliest playstation in absolutely ages. It’s absolutely horrible with those added analogue sticks however I’m sure they’ll make using the device to play FPS games a lot more bearable.

At first I wasn’t sure about it based on first look but they do say never judge a book by it’s cover so then I read on and found out it’s tech specs:

5″ OLED Touch Screen
Dual Analogues
Dual Cameras
Sixaxis Motion
Quad Core Cortex A9 Processor
Quad Core GPU
A touch sensitive back panel

All of that comes in a package that is a little bit wider than the original PSP and a lot more round. It’s ridiculous to think that not so long ago Apple were saying that they could do mobile gaming well. Up against this the iPhone looks like a toy. That is ridiculous amounts of power to be carrying in your pocket. It could probably process HD video better than my old netbook by the sounds of things. I expected a motion sensor but a touch sensitive back panel? That pretty much came out of nowhere and was completely unanticipated. The only thing that needs confirming before I say that I’m gonna shell out for one these is the price. Sony are renowned for overpricing there products and my PS3 cost me an arm and a leg when it came out but hopefully this will be priced just right. It’s insides make the aesthetics perfectly acceptable. It could be fluorescent green for I care.

OnePoll and trying to make the £40

OnePoll is a website that pays you for taking part in surveys that businesses come to them and ask to give out to the right demographic that happen to be members of their website.
Filling in surveys or polls is advertised as a way to make a quick few quid online all over the place and OnePoll is one of the leaders in the market for online polling but there is a catch. Until you have reached £40 worth of credit from filling in surveys your credit is actually in effect worthless.
Each survey takes about 5 minutes to fill in, some are a lot shorted than that and some are a bit longer. On average I’d say each survey pays out £0.15 which is we do the maths would mean 267 surveys in order to actually get £40 in order for OnePoll to cash out. I know I don’t have much of the money yet but I think I can give some tips on how I got this far and how I will get to £40 quicker than some people might think possible.

1. OnePoll wants you to give up

Don’t give up. OnePoll will make a certain amount of money for just putting the surveys up so the businesses get some firm quantitative data to back up exactly what it is they are trying to prove or to help them find something about consumers out. By giving up you will be leaving that £5 you supposedly earned and OnePoll will never have to cash out meaning they are making money off your time. Lots of people will do this as they think it takes too long to get the £40 and eventually give up. A great bonus for OnePoll.

2. Use your bookmark toolbar

On average I’ve noticed over the past two weeks that a new poll pops up either every day or every other day so the best thing to do is when you log on to your computer and open your browser, have OnePoll on your bookmark toolbar so it’s easy to click and get to it, have your browser remember your username and password and then it’s two click to check whether theres new polls for you to take part in. The Polls don’t hang around forever so make sure your checking your account regularly.

3. Recommend others to join OnePoll

£40 may seem a bit steep to get to on your own, so why not get your friends involved and see if they want to make a bit of cash too? OnePoll has a referral feature where you can invite up to ten friends and by doing so you earn £0.50 for every person who signs up and as they earn £10, £20 and £40 you earn even more money just for them earning some for themselves.

4. If you have an iPhone, use it.

There is a OnePoll app for the iPhone with a fantastic app store rating of about one and a half stars. Don’t let it put you off. The reason that has been put is there are less surveys for the mobile app than there is for the website however when you do get an available survey you get a little ping message so you don’t even have to acknowledge the app on your phone until it needs you. It’s even easier to hide since iOS4 and the folders. Stick it in a folder where it won’t annoy you. It’ll tell you when there is a survey. OnePoll has promised more mobile surveys on it’s twitter account many times so hold tight and utilise those extra pennies as they will eventually make the pounds.

5. Don’t abuse the service, don’t lie.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch” – Remember when your Mum used to tell you that? She’s right. Lying on this service will get you nowhere. It’s pointless, by doing that you are giving the businesses at the other end dodgey data. Dodgey data means businesses won’t come back to OnePoll and it will gain a bad reputation meaning your chances of making money are even slimmer. It’s not about making a quick buck and randomly clicking. If you utilise the service properly you can actually have some fun. I’ve found filling in some of the surveys great fun and by doing them not only are you earning some money your actually helping someone out. Who knows by giving the answers to your survey you might even influence the release of a new product!

So there you go, Tim Ford’s 5 tips to succeeding in making money with OnePoll. Stick at it and follow my tips.

I don’t care about your dream

I’ve always thought this. I’m sorry that your imagination bores me and I’m sorry if your reading this thinking that I’ve told you about one of my dreams before and am therefore a complete hypocrite. The reason I chose to write this today is that nobody has actually told me about one of their dreams today so I don’t feel bad if they log on to the net, happen to stumble across this page and realise that this rant is based purely on the fact that they told me about their un-interesting and boring dream.
The problem with someone telling me about their dream is that the chances are I can’t relate to it as it’s a matter of experience that happened when the person wasn’t even in a state where they could make a cup of tea. In fact for all I know when your telling me about your dream you could be lying. You could be talking the most epic lies that ever were but just because you tell me it’s a dream you think it’s perfectly acceptable and believable.
Then there is how people go about telling me about their dream. They wait for silence, they wait for the conversation to die away and have little chance in escalating into decent flow again and then they go for it. You can always tell that someone has been desperately trying to tell someone their dream and that they woke up and thought “I’m going to tell someone about this crazy vision I had in my sleep” and then as soon as it clicks that they could use this awkward moment to explain about their dream.
I also don’t understand the reaction people expect to get out of me when they decide to share their nightly thoughts with me. What am I supposed to say about these ridiculous visions that people have? It’s almost if people want you to tell them that they are nuts. It’s the infamous line of “I had this really weird dream last night” that sends me into a state of rage and fury that the next five or so minutes are going to be purely about something that there is absolutely no evidence ever existed and no way of accurately recalling and representing to another person.

I don’t care about your dream. I don’t car about anyones dream.

So Amazon Bought LOVEFiLM

Yes, today the online retail giant Amazon took hold of the massive european movie rental service today. Amazon already had large shares in LOVEFiLM but today they sealed the deal with taking hold of the majority and now have complete control.
I don’t mind Amazon, it’s not one of these businesses I hate because they have stupid promotions or stupid products, in fact I’ve never had a problem with them. They deliver my good quickly, any returns have been simple when required and they don’t do anyone any harm.
Hopefully though, Amazon invest heavily in LOVEFiLM so when Netflix come over they actually have some stance against it. I’m talking mainly about the streaming service because I can’t really fault my delivery of blu-rays but the online streaming is quite slow. It’s not my internet either as it’s more than capable of streaming iPlayer or movies from other websites. I’m not sure how Amazon plan to improve the service or if they even do but hopefully I’ll get more online films available and the servers will be heavily upgraded so I can get even more for my money. I also hope that LOVEFiLM doesn’t undergo rebranding. I don’t want Amazon DVD Rental Service or something like that. LOVEFiLM works just fine thanks.

The Acoustic Phase

Music is a hard thing to write about all due to the fact it’s down to personal preference and no two people have the same tastes as far as music is concerned. There is always going to be your favourite songs, your favourite artists and your favourite genre. Obviously you have people who have a more diverse taste in music than others, some people take a keen interest in heavy metal, some take a keen interest in grime.
For me, there is nothing in particular that stands out as a favourite genre and I don’t consider myself restricted to a certain type of music. I really will give anything a listen and see what I think about it. It does tend to happen in phases. Having just come out of an Owl City and Techno phase I’m now entering the acoustic phase.
It all came to be through Spotify, sometimes dubbed the music discovery service. To be fair, for me, it has sort of lived up to that phrase. From clicking related artists and searching acoustic I’ve pieced together an acoustic playlist which features many songs that were originally acoustic and some of the past chart songs that have acoustic versions of them as well.
From what I’ve found with the acoustic versions of the chart songs is they take a song that you can dance to in a club after a few bevvies, smash out on your car sound system and play really loudly and convert them into something completely calm and relaxing that can be listened to without getting you to worked up and buzzing. Whilst it sounds great to have songs that can get you buzzing, I find it helps to have some music that you can just kick back to. I’ll give the example of Forever, Chris Brown. This has been covered by Boyce Avenue, a group or artists associated with the acoustic genre, which is absolutely fantastic to just listen to quietly in the background whilst your working but then the non-acoustic version is a lot more upbeat and great on a set of huge speakers in a club where you can’t hear yourself think.
It may sound like these songs are sort of dumbed down and depressing but it’s really not like that. It’s just a different way of playing a song and suitable for different times. If you like trying out some new music every now and then why not check it out.

Here is a link to my Spotify playlist.

You will need a spotify account. Another great way of discovering acoustic music and covers of songs you like is to head over to YouTube and search for the song and just type acoustic after the song name.

Potential WebOS tablets?

Word from Engadget is that these are the new HP/Palm WebOS tablets and they look amazing. Based purely on aesthetics that is but they truly are beautiful looking gadgets. Maybe it’s just I have a spot in my heart for the success of the HP/Palm venture as it had so much potential of which we haven’t seen that much or maybe it’s something to do with the fact it looks like a stunning all over black iPad.
I haven’t really toyed round with WebOS in person but it looks pretty awesome from what I’ve seen and this might be just the thing to get that OS out to the millions rather than the few that currently use it. Looking forward to more information on this.

Facebook Applications: The Good and The Bad

Facebook has changed the way we communicate on the web. It’s made things that once seemed impossible, easy. It’s allowed us to stay in touch with as many people as we want and given us a central hub for finding out about friends interest, what they’ve been up to.
FaceBook isn’t a stand alone web app though. Facebook is actually a platform. It’s allowed developers to turn up and make applications that people can utilise and enjoy whilst making use of the facebook features such as friends and photos.
Now this is good in many ways. In fact I can play poker twice as much as I ever did before because I can either play with complete randomers or just as easily click a few buttons and I’ll be on a table with just my mates. I can also compete on league tables with them to see who has been playing poker the best with other players. I can even use facebook applications to simulate my own farm and car garage.
Facebook Apps changed the way we play games in many ways, it introduced people to gaming in a different way and even enticed people who weren’t usually gamers. For better or worse (I know people have strong opinions on Facebooks approach to privacy) Facebook changed everything.

Now for the good an bad about facebook applications.

The Good:

I can log on to Facebook on almost any device, at any time and find out exactly what all my friends are doing. I can look at recent pictures that hey have uploaded and I can update things myself. This is Facebook. Facebook as a stand alone app. It’s not just that though, as I’ve already said it’s a platform and this has allowed great way for us to communicate with friends. I will use poker again as an example. Zynga created their poker platform and game and it has changed the way people play it. You can find your friends without adding a custom user name, you can check leader boards and you can interact with massive communities.
There is also loads to do if you are bored. There are thousands of apps that are available on Facebook and you can play nearly and game or find something productive.
It’s not all gaming either. Twitter have their own app which allows you to have your tweets directly displayed to all your friends on their feed. There’s polling apps and other productivity packages that can be used. Overall it can be very useful but the problem is that it can be abused.

The Bad:

I don’t know 100% what the policy on the applications are but from what I see there is no checking or approval processes involved and this has allowed a hell of a lot of terrible apps hit the platform.
An example, I was looking through my feed the other day and saw one of my friends had been supposedly playing doodle jump on his PC via Facebook. I clicked play doodle jump to see just how good this game would play on the PC. To my surprise it wasn’t actually doodle jump, in fact it was some other game. Now this wouldn’t be too annoying had I not just approved my information to be used by the application. It’s misleading and unfair that these things are allowed to be displayed on loads of peoples walls and then entice others to fall for the same thing. It had posted the same picture of doodle jump guy and my score in the other game on my wall which no doubt had other people doing the same.
Now doodle jump isn’t the only application to do this and there is no saying just what these applications actually do with your information. There are hundreds of these apps on Facebook. It just goes to show that even though Apple get a hell of a lot of stick for their polices on applications, they have actually managed to filter out stuff like this. Even if they are still a little tight and there is a few awful apps on the App Store there still isn’t anything that’s that much of a misleading download or using the users data without them knowing.

I really think that Facebook need to look at this. The liking thing was annoying at first but personal information that I was and still am happy to share with friends, I don’t want it shared externally via a misleading application. I don’t want any more spammy emails coming from fake games that I wanted to play for a brief moment on Facebook. They need to review this.

Driving An Auto – 1 Month In.

Auto Gear Box

I’ve spoke about why I’m driving an auto and how it came to be here but I’m now going to write about what it’s actually like.
First things first, I don’t dislike driving an automatic transmission vehicle at all. In fact I rather like the idea of have an auto. I’ve always understood an automatic transmission as an advance in technology and I’ve always considered advances in technology a good thing, generally.
Whilst I’m glad I acquired a manual license from what I can see in the future the majority of cars are going to be semi-automatic or completely automatic cars, especially with the rise of electric cars. I also don’t mind this as it is clearly the way forward. The top sports car companies have been implementing semi-auto gear boxes with what Jeremy Clarkson and gang refer to as “flappy panel gearboxes” for years now and that’s because they’ve developed them in a way which makes the gear change quicker than any person could do. The chances are, in the future or quite possibly my next car will have one of these semi-auto gear boxes and for me that would be absolutely perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I love the manual gear box in my Punto but there are times where I would not have to worry about any gear changing (even if it does become second nature after a while) and just get where I’m going. Motorway driving is a perfect example of this however there are also times I want to push my car and go for a nice drive through the lanes and get some proper noise out of the engine. This would be a time where I would actually want to be changing the gears but whether that’s by using little panels or a sequential gear box I really couldn’t care less.
The Toyota iQ has a sport mode which a few of my friends have poked fun at, being such a small car with a small engine but it does genuinely make a difference and the iQ, in all fairness, is pretty darn quick for it’s engine size. The sport mode however doesn’t quite cut it for me, I’d rather be able to change the gears myself.

Big year of spending ahead!

I have just been pondering the things that I think is going to cost me the most money in 2011 and where as some is similar to last year some is not. I’m usually pretty good with money but I also love a big spending session so here is what the majority of my money will be spent on.

Photography stuff:

I’ve already said on my blog what I’ve found with the financial side of photography. You need to spend a lot of money. Nothing is cheap. The bags, the tripods, the lenses and the cameras themselves. This a new hobby I’ve been hoping to get into and I don’t think I’ll be able to do it without putting some good money behind it. Luckily a lot of photography equipment holds it’s value so if I ever do decide to get out of it, I might be able to make some money back.

Apple stuff:

I’m not an Apple fanboy as some might think judging by the fact I have a MacBook Pro and use an iPhone and I can understand why it may come across that way but not a day goes by where I don’t boot into windows and use it. I might even go as far as to say my PC gets more use than my MacBook Pro because it’s so much more powerful and better at doing things. All that said, I’m impressed with the new Air and will probably end up buying one and if the iPad 2 is good enough chances are I’ll end up getting one of them as well. I’m expecting at least one camera (preferably front facing) a better processor and some new iOS features.

PC:

Yes, I keep an equal balance and the chances are I’ll probably build a new computer this year. As an avid tech fan there really isn’t anything better than having the latest tech inside your machine so even though I have a really high spec PC those sandy bridge processors look damn good and I fancy running Windows 7 as fast as I can afford to.

Social life:

By far most of my money is spent on socialising. Whether it be peoples birthdays or just the weekend I always end up going out and spending far too much on things that really don’t do anything but ruin my morning the day after. Always a good laugh though and I’ll be able to keep a good balance between work and going out then.

Petrol:

One of the most annoying things I’ve learned about driving is having to constantly fill your tank up with something that depletes in absolutely no time. Petrol prices are always going up, in fact, it has just hit £1.30 a litre at my local garage and as I can never be bothered to fill up when I’m near a cheap garage I end up spending the extra money at the local BP. No doubts that I’ll have to spend most of my money karting myself about whether that be in my much loved Punto (if it ever gets fixed) or my ugly little Toyota iQ (currently averaging 46 to gallon)

Clothing:

I love designer clothes and they tend to be the only clothes I buy. Favourite brands include Stone Island, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch and there is no doubt all three of those will be taking a fair few pennies out the pot this year.

Other things:

I think the things above are what takes the majority of my money however I’m sure things like the odd Subway sandwich and curry cost me a fair bit and I’m always getting up to different things so I don’t see why it would be limited to these things. I just think the things above are what I’ll have the biggest outgoings for this year.

Still should be a good 2011!