Thursday, 31 March 2011

I'm behind Amazon, waiting for Apple

Much as I dislike Amazon's MP3 sound recordings, and not quite so much Apple's AAC - both are lossy compression and ruin the music. I am right behind Amazon when they decide to support me, not give in the greedy music industry.

The cloud

What Amazon has done is to create a storage area 'in the cloud' in other words on their servers. This cloud belongs to and is accessible only by the me. I can upload my music, bought from Amazon or not, to my cloud. Then play it on any computer over the internet. Its my music you see, I bought it, I own it - or at least a licence to listen to it in anyway I want (not to copy it to someone else obviously, but maybe I could sell it, transferring it to another person's cloud, at a price? I can sell a CD).

Copyright NOT device-right

Copyright cannot be sliced and diced to make it a 'device-right' limiting me to listening only from one device! The iPod has seen to that, now its the cloud's turn.

But the greedy music industry doesn't like this and believes that you need another licence to store it on your cloud, and another to play your music on another computer than the one you first downloaded it to. Or another one to keep a copy on your cloud... a sort of backup really.

Amazon have a catch-it for that. Buy a track from them and they put it straight away on your cloud storage for you. You can then play it on any computer you want providing you have the login and password to your cloud. You can also of course download it.

Well done Amazon, next is Apple who seem to a bit behind in this race, surprising isn't it?

We want to own own music and we want it better quality.

I will make no bones about the fact that I detest lossy tracks and neither Amazon, Apple or most record companies have done anything to get our downloads up to even CD quality (16/44.1 straight AIFF, non compressed files). When clearly there is an opportunity for the industry to move on and offer a quality better than CD. Say 24/48 or better 24/96 with lossless compression to reduce download bandwidth.

So, Amazon and Apple that is the next challenge. Get to it!

PS I believe that if you subscribe to Apple's cloud service "Mobile Me" then you can keep your iTunes library on the iDisk storage they provide. The only difference being you do not, I suppose , keep a copy on ay other computer. But you can share it to other machines using "home Sharing"...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Two hot media topics

There is an interesting trend!

Its called WiFi, but not for browsing, but for watching IPTV and other media.

But there is a problem, its the rights and licensing people. They seem to have got it into their heads that we should have another licence, and of course pay more fees, to have the TV on your iPad, iPhone or mobile. We already pay to watch their stuff on our TVs, now they want more for iPads. Which they are not going to get - but they are putting up quite a fight against the consumer about this.

It is analogous to the telecom companies wanting more payments to use your mobile phone to create a WiFi hotspot that users can log into and use your 3G for browsing on their PCs. Notably O2 has just announced that they will not charge any more for this internet tethering so I guess others will follow suit.

So watching TV on different devices, added to the other reasons the rights people think you should pay more for - time shifting and home copying - the whole thing gets ridiculous.

WiFi universe

But back to WiFi. It seems to me that broadcasting has to take a new technology path. The TV is great, for linear viewing. But it can't do Video On Demand (VOD). The internet can do VOD, but is currently hamstrung by the rights people from doing TV. So we have to get this all together somehow. No matter what a new approach to the hardware is needed.

The basis for all home media distribution has to be the WiFi. The generation of content to be distributed has to come from your broadband connection, your computer or your iPad or a new kind of box which receives TV channels then streams them to your WiFi distribution system. Such a box could be easily remote controlled from your computer or iPad. It would handle both music and video the same way.

That also implies that your HiFi system, for music and your TV, for video, both have to be WiFi enabled. This is the tentative direction that some movements are heading for today. In the so-called 'open' world a standard called DNLA has been created to enable systems to stream to each other. In the Apple universe we have the very successful AirPlay system.

One great big advantage to this idea is that you can both watch TV and browse the web at the same time. The TV is a shared experience, but the web browsing is a private and singular experience. That's why Google TV and YouView won't work. It is no good at all having the internet on your TV, and it is no good at all not to have a link between what is on TV and associated web pages on your iPad. Imagine BBC Question Time, as you watch the guests blah, blah answers, you can have real live statistics and facts presented on your iPad... to make your own judgement.



To bring it all together we need

1 The rights people to see sense and allow their video to be streamed to any viewing platform without paying extra fees. As happens to day for music...

2 A firming up of the system specifications and the development of a TV tuner with WiFi output.

Get to it lads.

PS. Lets also forget the new BBC and other company's proposed YouView system. This is absolutely not the way to go for modern consumers.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

HiFi the way forward

I am amazed by the number of outrageously priced HiFi systems on the market. There must be a lot of non technical and deluded people out there!

People that would spend £10,000+ on an amplifier, £5000+ on a DAC or Preampifier, and then £10,000 on speakers.

I agree about spending the most you can afford on the speakers, there are no good low cost solutions. But when it comes to the electronics these prices are absurd.

Just think about the cost of the components. First they are largely standard ICs and thus the design and performance is already fixed by the manufacturer, second there are a very limited number of good ICs, especially for preamps and DACs. The cost of the components in a good DAC design is not more than £100, so why a price tag of £1000+??? Even worse for preamps, the cost of a good, low noise opamp is not more than 50p, and the total cost to make a preamp with RIAA compensation, line inputs and volume control is no more than £100!!!

So what would be a good choice?

1. Computer source (make it a Mac!), not CD, there is no future in CDs, just copy them to iTunes and you have the same quality source. Don't buy music from the iTunes store, all the tracks are compressed with AAC lossy compression which ruins the timbre, the attack and the stereo positioning. What you can do increasingly today is to get high quality digital files, up to 24bit/96kHz from internet download vendors. Finally we can get some source material closer to the recording in the studio, most are classical or jazz, as the recording labels have not woken up to this higher priced opportunity.

2. Next a DAC. A top end DAC can be made with 4-6 ICs, the excellent WM8804 and WM8742 from Wolfson Electronics, a couple of good opamps from National Semi, and some power supply regulators. This will give you a DAC with SPDIF optical or RCA inputs, and balanced or unbalanced line outputs.

3. A preamp is not strictly neccessary, unless you want to play vinyl disks, which in any case have a recorded quaility much worse than CD or file downloads, so why would you bother? If you have a collection of vinyls, then get a preamp, but then record them as lossless audio file (eg Apple Lossless format, or non compressed AIFt) onto your computer, Quicktime can record and top and tail your tracks.

4. An excellent amplifier can be made using the Class D modules from Hypex together with a decent toroidal mains transformer and some big capacitors. Buy as a kit, or from some boxing house.

All in all the electronics could be built for less than £400 cost. Then you need the computer, but this is a shared cost. But when it comes to the loudspeakers, spend, spend, spend.

My system ideal:

Mac Mini or iMac computer, Wifi AirPlay streaming to an Apple TV, optical digital input to a DAC+AMP combination and some high end speakers.

All controlled remotely by an iPad using iTunes.

Even better might be the AirPlay built into the DAC+AMP combo.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Jolly little icons in the menu bar

Here are mine:

Screen shot 2011-03-28 at 11.02.21.png

What do they all do?


The red 'airport' or 'WiFi' icon shows that the program Photosync is running. This program is wonderful, it allows you to copy files from any device to any other, for example from your iPhone camera to Aperture on the MacBook. You can also chose files on the MacBook to copy to the Photo app on the iPhone or iPad.


Next is the blue box. This is Dropbox, a file sharing system up in the cloud. Programs exist for the MacBook, iPhone and iPad to be able to view and exchange files. I put a number of reference files in my Dropbox so I can have them with me on the iPad. For example if you scan a document using Preview, you can save it directly to your Dropbox folder and weee... it pops up on your iPad.


The page and pen icon is Justnotes. This is a very quick way to write notes, it syncs via the cloud to Simplenote which runs on the iPad or iPhone. Whatever you write in a note on any device is automatically synced to other devices.


The Speaker icon does what you would expect, it allows you to adjust the volume. But it gets much better if you install Soundflower, this then gives you the option to select input and output sources and destinations as well as adjust individual volumes. Soundflower can be used to pass digital audio from one program to another, for example to record streamed audio, or film soundtracks. I use SoundStudio as my audio recording and editing program.


The circular arrows are for Mobile Me iDisk. iDisk is a virtual device in the could with folders in which you can keep files, these files are then accessible by your iPhone or iPad. For example the iPad programs Pages, Numbers and Keynote use the iDisk to copy files to your MacBook.


The clock and circular arrow is the icon for TimeMachine, the OS X backup software. Whenever Timemachine is backing up your computer it rotates. It can be used to launch a backup at any time.


Wiggle, no better way to describe it (faded out here), is the icon for MacBook Bluetooth. It can be used to link to your mobile phone, and then use the iSync program to update your phone with all the phone numbers in your address book.


WiFi, this need no explanation. From here you can chose a WiFi network, OS X remembers networks you have joined and after that can join them automatically


Battery icon. This can display just a bar chart of the battery charge or also the % or charge time remaining.


A much forgotten icon. This lets you display the OS X's full font and character set, for those occasions when you want a special character (language or symbol) in your documents.

So there, those are the one I find most useful.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Video RSS

A lot of effort is being made today to build supply chains for movies and TV channels. We have already, to mention but a few

- Cinemas
- DVDs
- iTunes
- Seesaw
- BT vision

... and many other up and coming streaming and downloading internet offerings from media, broadcast and telecom companies. And yet the illegal downloading of movies is booming. Why?

It is the same kind of mess that the music business has been through and which the publishing industry is going through.

The problem lies with the media companies (studios, distributors, broadcasters). For too long they have both relied on distribution to control the market and to give them feedback about users. And their obsession with DRM control of end user experiences. But this has to change, the "middle" man who they represent is falling to the every increasing influence of the open internet. We are on the cusp of having a enough bandwidth to be able to get all the media we can watch by our broadband connections.

But still the media people don't get it.

Especially the entrenched ones, for example the BBC. They have controlled TV broadcasting for so long, they cannot imagine giving up the supply chain, they built and ran the transmitters, they switched us to digital, terrestrial and satellite. Now they are pushing another set top box at us that they call YouView, which has a number of partners who see just enough money in it for them to get on board, or who want to have a say in its development. But youView is just another box providing a mixture of Freeview reception, Pay TV and internet streaming in one new box. It is 3 years late in delivery and now not expected until 2012!!!

Is it what people want, and is it the right way to go?

For years we have had a superb system for pushing out web site contents, called RSS - really simple syndication. This is all based on a common public standard and has led to a lot of venture development of readers that grab the RSS streams and format them for consumption, often making the result look like a published magazine, but one that updates every minute!

So why not for video? Every media creator could provide streams of their content, and many software developers could grab these to make an IPTV, movie-on-demand system. The media streams would be both linear programming and specific on-demand steams requested by users.

So what is different?

- It is a standard just for the delivery of content (video codec, etc)
- It does not require a set top box, any computer can be the terminal with the correct software loaded.

And a final big plus. The computer is obviously connected to the TV which becomes a simple display, thus reducing its cost, and the computer can present not only the media but also allow a user to sit it on his lap and browser related web sites at the same time as he is viewing the media. This is a crucial point as more and more people today watch the TV, but at the same time have their browser open to get a second channel for information. And the advantage of using the computer for video and web content at the same time is that they can be linked, so that a user can get web pages relevant to the video he is watching, this is the holy grail!

But note that the way it has to be done is video has to be streamed in a standardised format (say MPEG4/H264), that computer programs have to developed to grab these video RSS streams and be able to transfer them to the TV Video Display. If plain old linear TV reception is also required then a TV tuner can be attached to the computer, not built in the display. The computer can also act a DVR to record programs. Obviously the streaming should be done wirelessly, no one wants their computer to have a cable running across the floor to the TV. Apple have the making of this with their Apple TV box which is very cheap, and simply connects your WiFi to your TV HDMI input (it actually can also browse the iTunes movie store and You Tube etc, but that is a side line, best done by your laptop and streamed across). Other makers are thinking the same way and starting to offer similar, very low cost interfaces, Apple is thinking to licence its AirPlay system directly to display makers to integrate the system without a box.

What has to be sorted to get this going?

1 Broadcasters and studios/distribution companies have to give up their middle man role of commanding the delivery chain. They have to focus on media creation, which is what we all want fro them anyway

2 A standard delivery technology has to be agreed

3 Rights owners have to accept that their media will be used by consumers in many ways which they cannot control. No longer can they release a program for viewing on BBC2 at 7:30pm on Wednesday viewable only on your TV by Freeview reception. This slicing and dicing of copyright has to stop.

Will it happen? Not while the granddad of them all, the BBC, continues to have the wrong strategy for the future of broadcasting. They are such a strong influence that they could easily change everything, and they should do it. Does it need Ofcom and government action, probably, especially in the revision of copyright laws and ISP behaviour.

Monday, 21 March 2011

My iPad app choices

My iPad is starting to fill up with apps, even though I try very hard to only load those which work well and provide a useful function - apart from the games for the grand-children!

Here is a run down of the apps in the order that I have them on my screen. The first screen is this:



The Remote app from Apple is used to connect the iPad to your Mac running iTunes. Using it you can chose music to play, and play it through the computer, or though Airplay. Airplay is Apple's WiFI streaming system for sending the music to an Airpot Express or Apple TV2 on your network.

Remote is an excellent program which allows you to sit on your couch and play any of your music through your HiFi system. An Airport Express can be connected either by analog audio or by optical digital audio to your HiFi, the Apple TV streams through an HDMI output to your TV or by optical digital output to an external DAC and amplifier. The app looks like this:


You chose an album (or Song or Artist or Gendre or Composer) button at the bottom of the screen to display your music. Select the item and play. The small loudspeaker icon at the top allows you to adjust the volume and select the output channel, for example Computer or Apple TV or Airport Express.

Keynote Remote

Keynote Remote is actually an iPhone app and displays in a smaller window, you can hit the x2 button to make it fill the iPad screen but the resolution is lower.

First start Keynote on your Mac and open a presentation. The first two slides will be displayed on the iPad and the Mac will go to full screen display, swiping on the iPad screen changes the slides. You always see the current slide and the next one. Like this:


To show the slides to an larger audience you must connect a projector to your Mac, various cables allow you to do this by DVI or VGA connections.


iTeleport is one of the many "VNC" applications that let you view your Mac's screen on the iPad and take actions by touching, swiping or typing.

For iTeleport to work you have to set up Screen Sharing on your Mac, in the System Preferences pane.

This is a typical screen view:


This is a display of the Aperture photo management program running on the Mac.

iTeleport is very useful when you want to see what another users has on their screen, for example while they are browsing the web you can see the pages they are viewing and engage in a conversation about them.


Wikipanion is a dedicated app for viewing Wikipedia on line encyclopaedia. You simply enter a topic in the search box, select a page then view it. Like This:


It is very convenient to have the page content alone displayed, and better than viewing Wikipedia using your web browser.


This is a new one for me, and I have not yet decided to subscribe to any newspaper. So this is just a demo:


On the welcome screen you chose the publication, when it downloads you can view it:


A whole page is presented on the screen so it is a bit difficult to read the small print size, however you can pinch to zoom in and swipe to move about. When you are zoomed out fully then swiping will go to the next page. Interestingly you can print the page or the screen view you currently have. Here again if you are printing a newspaper sized page on an A4 sheet then the font size is pretty small and almost impossible to read...

Note: printing from the iPad needs either one of the special HP printers supporting Apple's AirPrint, or an application called Printopia installed on your Mac which is connected to your printer.

Today's News

This is a WONDERFUL app. It grabs news stories from the Guardian newspaper and sets them out as simple text pages, very easy to read. Unfortunately some of the Guardian's articles are not released by the right's owners. But in this case you have the option to click and go the page on the web site and view in your Browser.



Zite is a new one I just can across, it scans the web for RSS feeds from magazines and news sites, filtered by topics that you chose. Then it formats them as items on the screen. Tapping on any item brings up the full text and pictures. Swiping goes to the next magazine page.

This provides hours of topical and current reading. Articles are arranged in date order, so you may get some just a few minutes old and others several days old.



I am not sure about Zinio. It is a database of hundreds of magazines which you can subscribe to and download. I am giving it a trial with a subscription to National Geographic. I love this magazine for its superb photos and page payouts.

Here is the Featured view, my subscriptions view and a typical page display:


There is no doubt that the quality of display of the magazine pages is superb, but one wonders if they are difficult to read and the layouts are not designed for the screen, but for the printed page?

Maps, iTunes, iPod, Contacts, Calendar

If you take a look at the first image of the complete first page, the next apps you will see are iPad standards - Maps, iTunes, iPod, Contacts, Calendar and Photos. These need no comments, except perhaps to say that both Contacts and Calendar automatically sync with my MacBook through the Mobile Me cloud service of Apple, which I use also for my email.


A quick word about Photos. In some ways this is a weak application, but it does have one feature that is very useful, its ability to stream any pictures in its albums to the Apple TV and thus onto my TV screen. This is great for making presentations of slides made in Keynote and exported as images. The drawback of Photos is that the only way to update the albums is by USB cable and sync in iTunes, there is no way to update it from the cloud or by local WiFi - a great shame. The app Gallery (see below) does access the could and pull down your photos, but its limitation is that it cannot use Airplay to stream them to the Apple TV and your TV! Let's hope this gets updated in the near future.


This is a great program. There is a version for the MacBook and the iPhone. When it is installed on each you can WiFi copy any photos from one device to any other. If you take your photos with your iPhone, then it is a simple matter to copy them from the iPhone Photo album, to the MacBook. And conveniently they arrive directly in either iPhoto or Aperture on the MacBook.

The reverse direction, Aperture to iPad, is not so easy as your photos have to be exported to a temporary folder, then picked up by Photosync and sent to the iPad or iPhone...



This is another great app. If you sign up for Mobile Me, the Apple cloud offering, then Gallery is the receiving end for any photos shared by iPhoto or Aperture to the cloud. It is simplicity itself to send the pictures from Aperture to the could, select your album or pictures and hit the Mobile Me icon in the menu bar.

The Gallery app can also find the photos of any friend you have who share their Galleries publicly. Your friends can access your photo albums from the web using a browser, simply going to the address



Another part of the Mobile Me service is a storage "disk" in the cloud. This disk can be used to store or share any files between users. It is also used to share documents from the Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps on the iPad. These apps can copy their files to iDisk, and the same apps on the MacBook can open them from iDisk. On the MacBook the iDisk is shown as a device on the Finder window.

Folders on the iDisk can be used for Documents, Movies, Music etc. Just as your folders on your MacBook. In fact it is possible to keep all your music in the cloud by telling iTunes to put its library on the iDisk in the Music folder!

Pages, Numbers, Keynote

These are the standard Apple apps for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. They are very powerful and you can use them when away to update or create media. iDisk is uused to copy media to the cloud or from the cloud and the apps are compatible with their desktop equivalents - at least in all major features.

One interesting fact is that the apps can export media as a PDF or DOC file. These can be copied to iDisk or emailed.

My bottom line

In my permanent bottom line I have the apps Safari, Mail, Safe, Skype, Tunein Radio and Simplenote. Safari and Mail need no comments, except perhaps to say that mail is a push app when used with Mobile Me and you get a very personal address as


I have always tried to remember passwords, and of course the iPad or MacBook will remember web site logins for you in its encrypted Keychain app. But there is a host of other data which you will find convenient to keep somewhere, securely. This is Safe.


One password only is them needed to open your safe, and you can then look up any information stored such as commercial, password, personal and product keys. The database of Safe can be backed up using iTunes, connect the iPad to your MacBook by USB then backup Safe and save the backup in a folder on the MacBook.

The only negative thing about Safe is that the developers have not, yet, written a desktop version, so you cannot open the encrypted file on your MacBook. Hopefull someday they will do this.


Everyone uses Skype, so little comment is needed. For video chats however between Apple devices, for example iPhone and MacBook, you can use the very simple FaceBook app.

Get some credit on SkypeOut and you can use Skype as a regular telephone to make, but not receive, calls.

Tunein Radio


Wonderful app, much better than Radio in iTunes or on the Apple TV, which lacks a lot of available stations, especially in UK where their is no BBC!

But Tunein has them all, sorted by content. You can also chose to display Google maps and look for stations at any location. Want to hear French stations in Paris, no problem, just click on the map of Paris France and you get a list of local stations.

Tunein can stream the audio to your HiFi connected to the Optical Digital output of the Apple TV and the quality of reproduction is remarkably good. It can also record programs.


Simplenote works alongside Justnotes app on the MacBook. You create a note, and anything you type is synced across to Justnotes on the Mac. Simple and reliable.

iPad - Simplenote


MacBook - Justnotes

Screen shot 2011-03-27 at 18.04.41.png

There. That is the first page of my iPad apps. I have a second page of similar wonders, but more on that later.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Handling photos in Apple eco-sphere

This is a summary of the way you can store and transfer iPhone or other photos to an iPad.


By wire.

Photos are stored on a MacBook in one of two programs, Aperture or iPhoto. You get the photos into the programs by connecting your iPhone/camera to the USB on the MacBook, the camera will appear in the side bar, import from there. If you just want to delete the photos on your camera you can use the Image Capture program or, one by one, using the Photos app directly on an iPhone (which is very tedious).

By WiFi

Another way of copying the photos is to use an app called Photosync. This runs on both the MacBook and the iPad/iPhone. It can copy photos between any two devices by local WiFi. The only problem is that Photosync cannot delete the photos after copying, so you have to plug in the iPhone and use Image Capture to delete them or, again one by one, using the Photos app.

This is the general scheme of things:


Aperture to iPad

1. Using iTunes to sync the photos. Connect the iPad by wire to the MacBook, open iTunes, chose the iPad and the tab 'photos'. Select which albums you want to sync, then hit sync.

The photos albums will be copied to the iPad Photos program.

2. Using Mobile Me. Chose an album in Aperture (or iPhoto) and hit the Mobile Me button. This will create an album on, MOBILE ME / Album name, and start a copy of the photos to the Mobile Me cloud.

The photos in the cloud can be viewed using the iPad/iPhone Gallery app.

Photos can be added to any Mobile Me gallery from iPhoto or Aperture.

Viewing the photos

Photo App

Using the iPad Photos app you chose an Album, this displays thumbnails of all the photos inside it. If you chose a photo this will be shown full screen.

You can swipe left/right to view other photos in the album.

There are two icons in the menu bar:

1. Airplay to Apple TV, which will show your photos on your TV

2. Other actions. Here you can: email the photo, upload to Mobile Me, chose to use as a contact's photo, use as wallpaper, print (you need an HP printer or Printopia software installed on the MacBook), or copy the photo, for pasting in another program (e.g. Pages, Keynote...)

Gallery App

The Gallery app connects you to the photos in the Mobile Me cloud. Your photos are in My Gallery. You can also connect to the galleries of any friends who use Mobile me. When you chose a gallery the thumbnails of the photos will be displayed, chose one, then you can swipe right or left, run a slideshow or email a link to the file..

Friends can view your gallery at

Getting to grips with Apple Mobile Me

I have just subscribed to Mobile Me (go to, Apple cloud and email service. I have not got to grips with all its features but I have dug into some of its features. Here is what I learned:

Using iDisk

iDisk is a cloud storage area which you can use to save/retrieve files. You set up your access to your Mobile Me account in the System Preferences/Mobile Me pane, then open your Finder, and you will see a new 'cloud' iDisk drive icon at the top of the DEVICES list:

Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 10.39.40.png

You can up/download files to the folders pre-defined for you. I use Documents mostly as this is where you put Pages, Numbers and Keynote files you want to access on your iPad. You can force a sync by hitting the circular arrows icon.

You can view your iDisk on the iPad using the iDisk App. This allows you to preview files, copy PDF's to iBooks, Open the file in Pages, Numbers or Keynote, Share the file by providing an email link to a web page at files/, Delete the file, Display Info about the file.

Page, Numbers and Keynote

You can up/download documents, spreadsheets and presentations using iDisk.

- MacBook to iPad: save the file to iDisk/Documents, Copy from Idisk in the iPad app

- iPad to MacBook: Copy the file to iDisk (it will go into the iDisk/Documents folder), open on the MacBook. (You can copy the file from the iPad in the native format, or as PDF or as a .DOC file for Word)

Using photo Gallery

This is complicated!

First your photos should be saved to either iPhoto or Aperture on your MacBook. They can then be uploaded to the Gallery by selecting them and hitting the Mobile Me button.

Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 11.16.21.png

Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 11.27.25.png

Then, you can view your uploaded photos using the iPad Gallery App, this will display your albums, thumbnails and photos. You can run a slide show of the photos and email someone a link to them. (Unfortunately for now you cannot stream the display to Apple TV using Airplay, but hopefully this will come in an update...)

Last, you can manage your gallery by going to (on your MacBook, it doesn't work on the iPad...), login with your user name and password.

Login page
Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 11.14.57.png

Gallery page
Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 11.18.55.png

Here you can:

- Chose the Cloud button, and album

- Upload new files, adjust settings, Delete both Albums and Photos (the dustbin icon), Rotate (the rotate icon)

- Chose the "Gear" icon, and chose New Album, Select All, Select None, Show Info, Set Key Photo, Delete, AutoHide

- Chose your User Name, Manage your account, get Help and SIgn-out

Web viewing

Anyone can view your gallery by going to They can also download photos.

Viewing My Gallery
Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 11.17.33.png

Apple TV

You can directly view your photos on your TV using an Apple TV, but only from your MacBook, not from the cloud Gallery. You can display any photos you have in your iPhoto or Aperture library.


The whole Apple iDisk and Gallery, and other services (Sync Mail, Calendar, Bookmarks, Photos...) is a bit disconnected and there does not seem to be a single Help file...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

HS2 - new high speed trains planned for UK

Everyone is up in arms about the proposed construction of three new high speed rail lines. Most of the objectors are moaning about destruction of the environment.

But this is a stupid argument, with little weight.

The better argument for people who live in the countryside though which the trains will pass at 250MPH, is what is in it for me? And the answer is nothing.

Local people will have no benefit at all, the trains will only benefit those living in London and Birmingham (and further North).

So who should pay for it? Clearly London and Birmingham, plus they should pay for the privilege of travelling through our fields and villages.

Jeopardy TV and Music

There are two industries in jeopardy right now

1 Flat screen TV - because there is a lack of good programs to watch (and too many ads, who wants to pay £500 for a TV just to watch 9 min/hour of utterly boring ads?)

2 Mobile computing, iPhone, iPads etc. because the world's infrastructure of networks is far to weak, slow and volume insufficient. We need perhaps x10 of the bandwidth we have today to make progress likely ( cloud storage, video on demand, IPTV, etc, etc

Volunteering - time AND money

Stop thrashing around, moaning about service closures. Do something, but not by complaining to the council.

What we want the council to do is the cuts that are mandated, then make a further step on planning a 5% per year reduction in council tax. However they can. Cut pay, strip out non-jobs, leave expensive luxury buildings, stop free parking...

The money released, or increased volunteering, both cash and time, must run the services that local people want.

No more bloated, fussy, do-goody council activities. The councils must do the minimum they should and stop dreaming up any new social schemes.