Google Would Like To Know What You Love.

Google's What Do You Love Aardman

Surrounding the web today has been Google’s latest attempt to interest you in just about all of it’s well known services, should you not have already been sucked in to the Google world. How do Google plan to go about doing this? ask you what you love and show you all the related things to that particular word or phrase that Google services can do/use.

As you might of noticed from the screenshot above, this includes more well known services such as image search and others that people might not be so aware of such as patent search. It’s quite a good thing to use if your looking for a broad variety of information about a particular thing however I can’t help but think that it’s a bit of gimmick and that people will only use it once in a while.

I like how when you type in something such as Aardman, you can view rendered characters from shows like Wallace and Gromit and Shaun The Sheep that people have submitted too sketch up, a free tool for making three-dimensional renders that Google offer.

It does seem a tad buggy at the moment though, for example if you go onto Google Product Search and type in Aardman you will be prompted with pages and pages of products related to the animation studio however, if you search it on the What Do You Love page, no products are shown at all.

I can imagine this might also be good for a bit of research as you can see an overview of a vast amount of information about something. Almost like it has a central hub of information that you can go back to in order to find information in a different form, whether that be in terms of search trends, news or images.

Google is renowned for it’s innovative services and this is certainly one of them, whether it will take off and become as big as it’s other services, I’m skeptical. In fact very skeptical, I can’t imagine people using this as their main search tool, although I don’t think that’s what it’s intended to be used for.

Visit the website here.

Solved: PS3 Wireless

Orange Netgear 150

All those problems I’ve been having with my wireless, something I once thought to be a problem of the actual Playstation network are starting to come together.

I’d figured out it couldn’t be the Playstation Network because the other PS3 in the house (newer model) was downloading absolutely fine at pretty blazing speeds for the area. I was confused, I was assuming that the hardware I have had on my older PS3 (80gb) was the problem because other devices were working absolutely fine on the network.

That said, I’ve moved the router around the house a couple of times and haven’t exactly got the best signal anywhere. I assumed that the quality of the connection was lacking and decided to hit up the administration panel for the router. I always have a look around settings on routers to try and keep up to date just in case there are an problems in future I have to troubleshoot but in this case it was a simple problem of busy airwaves. Whether it be neighbors wifi or cordless telephones or any of the crazy number of wireless things I have running round the house, something was definitely hogging the bandwidth.

The soloution was then simple, all I had to do was change the channel from auto to 11 and ever since I’ve increased my WiFi signal strength around the entire house, now being able to get good speeds and a quality stream on my MacBook Pro from the furthest part from the router in the house. The PS3 is also now downloading at speeds that make a bit more sense (100kb/s+)

I’m chuffed that this is all working now as I was just a couple days away from dropping £100 odd on a performance router for media streaming and gaming. Not really necessary seeing as I hardly ever stream media and or play online games but so long as it fixed my problem.

If you have Orange Broadband and are having problems with your PS3 connecting to the bog standard N150 Netgear router that Orange force upon you and probably pick up for £2 a piece then try fiddling with your channel broadcast settings and you may be pleasantly surprised. If your not having problems try anyway and you may increase signal quality and /or range.

I’m locked into Apple’s Eco-System

Apple Logo

Apple has this incredible ability to lock people into their eco-system. Once your an iPod user, your an iTunes user (I’m aware there are alternatives but they offer a sub-par iPod experience.

They got us all into iPods and we all are locked into iTunes to a certain extent for convenience purposes, sure we can move to Amazon music and others but it’s less convenient. I also have a very neatly organised iTunes library in a format that works great on an iPod/iPhone. So I bought an iPhone and synced all my music too it from my PC. Then I started buying Apps. Apps will only work on the iPhone so I didn’t want to by a Windows Phone despite seeing promise in the OS because I’d lose apps I’d already paid for.

So by then I was locked into iTunes and iPods and iPhone. Then I bought a MacBook Pro based on it’s battery life. I now use iPhoto and have a great organised photo library and it’s very convenient to use and from this one thing lead to another, my whole digital library of content became optimised for Apple’s products and I became locked in.

Apple offer this incredible “convenience eco-system” the problem being that it becomes so “convenient” you don’t want to leave because that then become “inconvenient” as you have to go out of your way to transfer to other services.

I won’t be making excessive use of iCloud for these reasons. I’ve started using Spotify for music now and it’s just extremely convenient and I don’t want to get even further locked into Apple’s convenient ways. Once your in their brilliant little world it’s hard to leave.

Apple know about this, they know if they get you onto a Mac you’ll come back for more; and since they’ve gained progress in the mobile game they can further capitalise on this. It’s a very clever system but those of us who want to keep our options open in the future, for financial, or for other reasons we need to make sure we don’t get too locked in.

Owl City – All Things Bright and Beautiful

Owl City - All things bright and beautiful

It’s been almost 2 years since Adam Young released his last album, Ocean eyes, which launched Owl City into the view of the masses with the hit song, Fireflies. What once started as the project of an insomniac, Owl City has become world famous with it’s quirky, electronic beats.

The new album take a similar style to that of the previous albums released by Owl City which will be comforting for existing fans such as myself. The thing I like about Owl City is that it’s sort of like video game music but you can actually listen to it without out playing on a game and it remains enjoyable. It’s very quirky and where as some people may argue it all sounds rather similar, I disagree. It’s easy to brand one genre of music as all sounding the same just because it takes similar sounds, elements and instruments for each song. After all it would be impossible to define a genre if it did not have certain features to make each song within it sound similar.

I would love to go see Owl City just because it would be interesting. I’m not sure exactly how Adam Young would compose himself on stage as he has often reminded people of how he is quite shy, something I find hard to come to terms with after he has travelled the world on previous tours. I’m also pretty sure he’s not going to be in Cardiff from what I’ve read so I may have to see if I can find a ticket in London, if the plan to get up there after the summer goes well!

Obviously it’s hard to recommend music to people who have their own personal tastes. But if you were a partial fan of Owl City and are looking for an album to take on holiday with you or fancy a smooth listen that’s easy going and rather relaxing then why not give it a shot. All things bright and beautiful is also available on Spotify.

Why is the PS3 Update System So Slow?

20110612-224732.jpg

My Playstation 3 takes absolutely for ever to update, no matter what type of update it is, game or system and it’s starting to do my head in so I’ve decided to investigate the reasons into why it might be happening.

Now I know the WiFi card on the PS3 isn’t the greatest of all. I also know that my hardware is getting old now (I have the first 80gb version) so I’ve been trying to ensure maximum signal and from meandering round the internet I’ve found that the signal quality to the PS3 is sub-par if it’s not above 80% so by shifting my router from phone line to phone line, I’ve managed to find somewhere I can maintain at least 78% and it’s still pretty slow, every now and then due to various reasons the Wifi signal peaks at about 87%.

Did the moving of the router improve download speeds? No. Absolutely not.

Next step was to find out what size the update was and I also came across the manual installation firmware files for the PS3 running in at 178mb. Not exactly a large file and with modern broadband that should not take much more than 15 minutes on any standard. This is not the case on the PS3 though, I’m currently on about 3 hours and have a pathetic 16%.

So the obvious option was to see if it’s something to do with Sony’s servers and assuming it’s running the same servers for the manual download as it is for the automatic install on the playstation surely my MacBook Pro should be downloading it just as slow. This was not the case, the laptop managed to download it in about 12 minutes at an average of 198kb/s.

Now this means one of two things, either the Playstations poor network card is to blame, or Sony is running different servers for it’s Playstation downloads too it’s PC downloads and I’m pretty sure most people opt for the Automatic download so the PS3 automatic download is going to get used more often leaving it to be slowed down quite a bit, especially if they run their game updates off the same server as well.

So currently my best option is too install the firmware updates manually although I’m pretty sure this isn’t possible for game updates (which happen far too often, with far too little changes). Maybe Sony’s servers need an upgrade, they definitely need better security after the most recent hacks so why not take the opportunity to spend absolutely loads on a new server farm Sony?

Wii U Announced.

Nintendo WiiU controler

Above is a picture of a Wii U controller. It looks sort of like those portable GameCube mods you see every now and then but the idea of it is actually amazing.

 

It’s a 6.2 inch touchscreen, all the buttons of a wii controller with a few added shoulder buttons and two analogue sticks thrown in as well. Not only that it has a microphone and front facing camera. It all works together incredibly well together as demonstrated in the presentation videos. Reggie Fils-Aime was keen to stress that any prototypes that people try on the E3 floor are early builds and people shouldn’t take too much from the experience (which suggests to me there’s a few kinks at the moment) but they are there nonetheless.

As far as internal specs go, Nintendo didn’t exactly put them out clear although what was made clear is that the Wii U is going to be HD. Not only that the games on the demos looked incredibly well detailed compared to the current Wii and perhaps on par with the PS3/360 if not better.

There was also a load of games announced for both the 3DS and the Wii U from Nintendo and third party developers, most notably the first party games are the ones I’m going to want, this includes; Mario 3D, Mario Kart 3D, Luigi’s Mansion 2 (!!!) and a new Smash Bros which will be on both consoles.

I will without a doubt end up buying a Wii U and I’ve decided that now the game list is looking better for the 3DS I’ll be picking one of them up soon, or I may just wait for the 3DS first design revision and buy that.

Very impressive Nintendo, very impressive!

WiiU console
Wii U console takes a rounder shape

 

 

EXCLUSIVE: Q&A on Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred with Creator, Sarah Jayne.

Yesterday, I posted about the upcoming Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred Show that will soon hit the internet. After a few tweets back and forth I decided to send the creator of the show, Sarah Jayne, an email to answer a few questions about the show. So here we have it, a short Q & A with Sarah Jayne regarding the new show Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred.

Tim Ford: Has the show begun filming, is there a date set in stone for the first episode to air yet?

Sarah Jayne: We have started filming, yes! We plan to show our first episode the beginning of September through the cardiffborn.co.uk website, also Twitter and other social networking sites. We will also have a weekly evening in bars across Cardiff who will play the weekly episode in their venues.

Tim Ford: Is the website going to be re-designed for the show? I understand that currently it is based on an iWeb page and assumed that it is a temporary portal before the full website launches with character bios, news and of course the videos.

Sarah Jayne: Yes the website will be resigned. We rushed to buy the domain name before anyone else did it a couple of weeks ago. We will have full updates, character profiles, photographs, appearances and more. This won’t be for a while as we don’t want to give too much away too soon.
Tim Ford: You’ve dismissed comments about talks with BBC, is the future of Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred on Television?

Sarah Jayne: With regards to TV I have had an offer from a TV station (don’t want to name them) who wanted to give a bit of money and recast. I’ve turned their offer down. I only launched the idea 3 and a half weeks ago so before I approach any other channels I want it all to pan out the way I want it. I think if I approach them too soon it’ll backfire especially with most people assuming it’s a Cardiff version of The Only Way Is Essex. Yes it will have a similar format but my spin on it is completely different.

Tim Ford: The show is described as a more “real” docu-soap, is it the case that Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred will take a more relaxed approach on scripting and filming than other similar style shows such as The Only Way Is Essex with “some things set up purely for your entertainment”

Sarah Jayne: We will not be having scripts as we want the characters to come across as natural as possible. Having said that there will be scenes improvised for entertainment value. I mean watching someone do a whole shift at work would not be good viewing!

Tim Ford: People have suggested that the show “Gavin and Stacey” has had a positive impact on the portrayal of Welsh people and Culture, do you think that Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred could have a similar effect on peoples opinions of Wales?

Sarah Jayne: I’m a fan of Gavin Stacey and for the reason you mentioned. I felt it really managed to push aside the usual Welsh vibes we get and really put emphasis on the amazing Welsh sense of humor. I will be taking a similar route.

 

So there we have it, make of it what you will but for me, after actually speaking with Sarah Jayne, I feel that her passion for the show and the drive for a bit of differentiation from shows like TOWIE and Chelsea may make Cardiff Born Cardiff bred one to follow. I particularly like the idea of having screenings in bars round Cardiff as well and turning down a TV Station shows just how determined Sarah Jayne is to make this special and not to let it get messed with by the large production teams.

Sarah Jayne also mentioned these news articles and radio show for more info:

ITV Wales
BBC iPlayer – Listen from 1hour 15

Best of luck to Sarah Jayne with her show and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye and keeping  people posted on here whenever I get information about the show.

WWDC 2011 Verdict

WWDC 2011

 

Mac OSX Lion –

The presentation on Mac OSX Lion was extremely similar to the last one, something that I found interesting and will probably end up owning but it wasn’t something that actually excited me. In fact it was pretty boring as it was almost exactly the same as the last keynote.

Yes all the new features are cool, yes it’s great that I can download it from the Mac App store. Couldn’t care less about the Mail.app, the one I’ve got is good enough and after recently unifying all my emails to Gmail, I’m going to be using it less anyway. That was one of the few things I had not seen before that was in today’s conference.

What I’m hoping for most is a speed boost as my MacBook Pro is being incredibly slow lately although I’ll probably buy a new one in the next few months when Lions actually pre-installed.

iOS5 –

This was better, although still not as exciting as last years it would seem, or maybe I’m just bored of hearing about features that should of been implemented a long time ago.

The notification system has been updated, I didn’t realize how much this needed doing until recently. It’s looking promising, although, it’s actually the same as an app that has been available on jailbroken devices for absolutely ages and news has been going round recently about how the developer of the non-apple version, was employed by Apple.

So that’s great, the photo app has also had a slight update with editing and the use of the volume + button as shutter button. There is also quick access to the camera from the home screen which is a welcome addition. The photo app as well as other have had deep twitter integration added which as an avid tweeter, I will probably end up using here and there.

Going PC-free doesn’t bother me, I’m sure it’s welcome to some people who want a phone and a PC as separate entities but I don’t really care. I like having my stuff across devices and my PC as a central hub for my media. That said Wifi syncing is great. Another thing that I’d be able to do on a jailbroken device anyway and since I use Spotify and music was the main reason for syncing it’s not that helpful but backups and app syncing is great. The other PC-free thing that is great is over-the-air updates. iOS has needed this for a long time and Apple have also decided to only update the bits of iOS that need updating rather than have to download a huge file each time you update.

The final thing that Apple announced with iOS5 was iMessage. It’s sort of BBM for iOS devices. Now I would of thought this was great but I can only name two or three people who I can actually FaceTime or actually contact via Apple exclusive methods at the moment and with the price of iPhones this isn’t going to change any time soon. It’s trying to be Whatsapp but lacks the benefits of being cross platform. Whatsapp works incredibly well because it’s on Blackberry, Android and iOS.

The main thing that really annoyed me about iOS5? It’s not going to be released until fall! It’s not what I expect from Apple, they usually do it instantly or straight after the conference or at least within the month!

iCloud –

iCloud is full of great ideas, but nothing anyone expected. We all expected Apple to bring out a Spotify competitor but instead the came out with a series of souped up syncing services. Something that’s fantastic if you want to have every single one of your services with Apple. I don’t get all my music from Apple, so apparently I should apply for the ¢25 a year service in which they try and match my iTunes songs that aren’t purchased from Apple, with songs on Apple’s servers so that I can put them on all my Apple devices or on a PC. No thanks. I’ll stick with Spotify.

There was also document syncing, no good to me as I don’t use Apple’s productivity suite, I use the worldwide standard, Microsoft Office. One great thing to come from iCloud that all the developers were shocked at is that they are releasing the API’s to it so that they can make use of Apple’s new super-sync services.

Contact, Calendar and Photo Sync are great but not really necessary for me as I don’t operate devices that constantly have to be updated with the information and when I do is all I have to do is sync (which has now been made easier with wifi sync)

So all in all, it wasn’t a great WWDC, there have been better and being the first in years without an iPhone announcement it was sort of killed. Will just have to wait and see what happens in September now because I’m due an upgrade on my contract and I like the idea of having a new shiny phone, even if I have only just bought an iPhone 4.

Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred To Be TOWIE Style, Welsh Reality TV Show.

Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred Cast

When I titled this post up, I thought to myself whether I could actually call the new “show” a “TV show” because at the moment, there is no definite broadcast timetable, instead it’s going to be launched on the website on a weekly basis.

The show already has a small following on Facebook with over 3000 “likes” and regular updates coming from the page with information about the progress being made with the show. The cast have officially been chosen and a launch party for the show was held on the 3rd of June with over 200 confirmed attendees to Gio’s Bar in Cardiff.

I’m not sure whether it’s going to be a hit in all honesty. It’s being created by a Welsh modelling and talent agent called Sarah Jayne and her business, Sarah Jayne Management. Supposedly talks have been in place to have the show on BBC3 and without that it’s unlikely to take off without going viral which will be very hard to encourage when shows like this are instantly dubbed as copies of Essex and other Reality TV shows. I’ve mentioned how Chelsea fared when it first came out in another post and I can’t help but people will think the same if not worse of “Cardiff Born Cardiff Bred”. The makers of CBCB claim that their cast is unique in the way that they are not “fake” and are real people. They boast that the people are “real” and that “everyone is different” and current reality show offerings do not represent this.

Obviously there is no way to tell what it’s going to be like until it launches but for now I will remain skeptical.

 

UPDATE: Sarah Jayne Management have contacted me via the TimFord.co.uk Twitter, @Fordsite with the following statement:

“@fordsite I like your post, however, SJ Management has never stated that about BBC3. Also feel free to ask me any questions.”

It seems other forms of press are also misinformed with articles by WalesOnline also stating the rumors. I shall keep you updated on The CBCB scene as it’s looking to be rather interesting and SJ Management do seem to be pushing it. Using twitter to stay in contact with people like the press and bloggers certainly is a good way to get coverage and Sarah Jayne seems very keen in doing so.

Best of luck!