One of the most welcome upgrades on the iPhone 4 was the camera. Yes, it’s still ‘only’ a five megapixel chip, but it produces high quality images that belie its capabilities. It’s also now one of the world’s most popular cameras – in fact the iPhone 4 recently became the most popular camera used to take images uploaded to Flickr.
As good as the built-in technology is, however, there are plenty of ways of improving the quality of the photographs that you take with it. With the addition of an accessory or two, you can drastically improve your photos or open up whole new areas of photography to enjoy. Here are five iPhone accessories that will transform your iPhone photos.
The Bubo is a neat looking case that totally envelops the iPhone 4 and enables it to use a full size lens to greatly enhance image quality. It also comes with an external microphone for capturing high quality audio. The case is equipped with four mounting points to enable you to securely mount it to a tripod in any way you like.
Perhaps one of the case’s most useful features is the integrated cold shoe mounting point which enables you to use lights or directional microphones. The unique double-grip style of the weighted case lends itself well to action shots and hand held shooting. For your $169 you get the aluminum uni-body Bubo mount, a silicone case , a wide-angle/macro combo lens, a carrying pouch and a cleaning cloth.
Here’s an incredibly innovative iPhone accessory that recently got funded through Kickstarter. The Dot is a 360º (panoramic) lens attachment and app for the iPhone 4. It enables your iPhone to capture immersive, fully navigable, panoramic video in real-time. So instead of recording static two dimensional videos that have one viewpoint, you can record an entire scene in all its detail. I know – sounds terrific, doesn’t it?
To get an idea of just how cool this lens is, check out the videos on the Kogeto website. The developers will also be bundling their own ‘Looker’ capture software with Dot, to enable you to instantly upload your videos to the web and share with your friends via Facebook and Twitter.
Joby were one of the first companies to produce the flexible leg style of mini-tripod. And while you can go on eBay and buy knock-offs for $10, once you try a real Joby tripod, you’ll never go eBaying again. The GorillaMobile is designed specifically for the iPhone 4 and features the trademark bulbous-legged tripod design which you can use in traditional upright fashion – or wrap safely around any nearby object.
The stand weighs 350g and utilises a rail design which enables you to switch from portrait to landscape orientation and position your phone for your needs. If your images suffer badly from camera-shake, or if you’d like to get into the photos yourself with a few delayed timer shots, you need one of these.
So one of the main problems with the iPhoto camera is that it’s a fixed lens. Sure you can use the digital zoom, but as you’ve probably found out, it only degrades the image and produces a pixelated mess. So if you want to get a bit closer to the action, your only option is to, ermm, get closer to the action. Unless you’re packing one of those funky little zoom lenses.
The lens is a fixed telephoto iattachment which gives your iPhone a whopping 8x zoom. The lens comes with a case and a cool little mini tripod that can twist to shoot from any angle. The lens itself attaches to the iPhone via a special case that is bundled with it – once it’s in place you just twist to focus manually and then take your photos.
The main problem with the iPhone camera is one of handling. Firstly, to take a photo you have to let go of one side of the photo to press the touchscreen shutter button. Secondly, holding it to film video is uncomfortable and fairly impractical for longer periods. What you need is a cool harness that would safely hold the iPhone and give the photographer a comfortable and stable grip. Just like the Zgrip iPhone Pro in fact.
One look at this gizmo and you’ll see that’s a pro-grade product in every way. It features an adjustable, quick releasable handgrip system that enables you to shoot professional looking video. The handgrip fully articulates and the levers enable you to adjust every angle to get the shot you want.
Here’s something that’s fourteen flavours of awesome – a remote controlled life-size superhero. This cunningly disguised RC aeroplane wouldn’t fool too many people at ground level, but up in the skies it’s a whole other ‘is it a bird, is it a plane’ ball game.
Produced by RCSuperHero.Com, the superheroes are available in 57″ and 75″ models. According to the developers, the low weight to surface area, high wing and low center of gravity make it very stable to fly. To get it in the air, you either throw it or standing it upright in a stand and it’ll take off near vertically. Check out the video below for the full details.
Well now, we’ve got a superb selection of wallpapers for you today. We’ve scoured the wallpaper libraries from DeviantArt to Wallbase to find the best sunset walls available. This is not some dodgy list compiled from the most popular downloads, we’ve actually gone through all the sunset wallpapers looking for the best ones and handpicked them all. What’s more, we started out with 50 finalists and we wittled the list down to 20 that we’re happy to give the Geekosity stamp of approval. Enjoy.
Just click on any image to view its download page …
[portfolio_slideshow size=medium trans=turnRight nav=top]
There have been several ages of in-car entertainment. From old medium wave radios, through 8-tracks, compact cassettes, CDs and more recently iPod connectivity. However with the exception of satellite radio, which is only available in the US, the only changes to listening to radio has been FM and more recently digital radio. That is all changing with the advent of in-car Internet radio.
Listening to radio on the Internet has only really been possible in cars since the advent of 3G and 4G networks and data caps with sufficient bandwidth to cope with it. Here in Australia we’re lucky enough to have a couple of very good 3G networks, in fact the Telstra 3G network is one of the most comprehensive anywhere on the planet. However with even a modest data cap of, say, 2Gb, you can still listen to Internet radio in your car without copping a massive bill from your mobile telco.
So the key to in-car Internet radio is obviously a mobile Internet-enabled device which, in most cases, means a smartphone of some sort. Both iPhone and Android smartphones are more than capable of fulfiling this role and both are blessed with great 3G capabilities to enable high quality streaming audio. You can of course also play Internet radio on something like an iPad, but they don’t work too well in a car due to their size, unless you’ve got some expensive dashboard modification and have mounted your iPad where your radio used to be.
Streaming Radio Software
Whether you’re an iPhone or an Android user, there are some terrific Internet radio applications out there. In fact an app called Livio was just released which is an Internet radio player designed specifically for use in a car. However for the purposes of this article we’re going to concentrate on TuneIn Radiobecause a) it’s available on both platforms, b) it’s the best streaming radio app on the market and c) it’s now available in ad supported free flavour if you want to try before you buy.
TuneIn enables you to browse through a vast number of Internet radio stations, from online-only amateur broadcasts right through to well known national broadcasters like the BBC in the UK or ABC in the states. Basically pretty much any radio station on the planet also broadcasts online now. All of which means you can listen to exactly what you want, rather than what’s available on the local FM frequencies.
There are a couple of things to consider when tuning to a station. Many broadcasters transmit two or more streams at different bit rates and unless you’re on some miracle all-you-can-eat bandwidth plan, you’ll probably want to choose one of the lower bandwidth streams. For instance, the BBC broadcast pretty much all their radio stations in both 128K and 48K varieties. Simple maths will show you that you can listen to a 48K stream for more than twice as long as the 128K stream while using the same amount of bandwidth. In my experience you don’t really notice the difference between 128k and 48k in a car anyway due to outside and interior noise issues, but your mileage may vary.
With TuneIn radio you can switch to a lower bandwidth stream by clicking on the ‘Options’ button for any radio broadcast and then on the ‘Choose Stream’ button. For the BBC stations this gives you a choice of 128K AAC, 48k AAC and 48k WMA streams. I’ve always plumped for the 48k AAC streams and have found the quality to be excellent.
So now we have an Internet-ready smartphone running TuneIn, which is great, but the problem of course is that smartphone speakers are uselesss in an environment like a car. An obvious solution is to simply plug a pair of headphones into your phone – but I find this quite restrictive, with the headphone lead getting in the way of seatbelts and steering wheels.
So we need to get the audio from the device and out to the car’s speakers. There are a couple of ways of achieving this – a lot of which depends on what’s already in your car. Now if you’ve got a fairly recently model of car you may already have iPod connectivity (either wired or Bluetooth) in which case all you need do is connect in the usual manner and start listening. If you’ve got a slightly older car, then you might choose to update the head unit in your car to something with iPod connectivity.
The most flexible option is to use an FM transmitter in your car to broadcast a signal from your phone to your in-car radio. These don’t require any rewiring, you can move them from car to car, many of them also power your smartphone (which is important as streaming Internet radio is heavy work for the battery) and they’re reasonably priced. The only real drawback to these sorts of units is finding some dead air on which to broadcast your signal. Out here in rural New South Wales it’s more of a problem to find a radio station rather than static, but I imagine that if you live in New York it could be virtually impossible.
Cygnett and Belkin both make excellent FM transmitters that combine a stand with the transmitter and a power source. I’ve been using the Belkin transmitter for the last year without issue. It enables you to preset dead FM frequencies to transmit on and sits proud of the power socket on a gooseneck stand which you can easily orient in portrait or landscape modes. It also has a couple of audio boost modes that are supposed to improve the clarity of talk radio – but they’ve never much improved the audio for me. Also, be aware that the gooseneck stand can and will swivel in the power socket.
Once you’ve got your FM transmitter and your Internet radio app installed, you can enjoy high quality radio anywhere you can get a good 3G signal. As there are sometimes blind spots where the reception drops out, it’s often easiest to let the radio app buffer for about 20 seconds before playback, then you simply don’t notice any drop-outs. It’s also important to remember to turn the Internet radio app off after you leave the car – TuneIn automatically turns off when removed from a cradle, but other apps may not.
There’s something peculiarly enjoyable about listening to the weather or the traffic reports in some far-flung corner of the earth while you’re driving down the road in the opposite far-flung corner. Just remember that they might well be in a different timezone to you and so those time-checks should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Of course it’s important to keep an eye on how much data you’re working your way through. To give you a rough idea of usage, a 128Kbps will use about 57MB for an hour’s listening. If you’re running TuneIn radio, you can easily monitor the bandwidth you’re using from the app itself. Just go into the main Settings window and you’ll see the app’s data usage – just reset this at the start of your billing month and you can easily keep tabs on your bandwidth.
The offline option
If you don’t have a good 3G cap on your smartphone then there’s nothing stopping you from recording shows at home using a PC or Mac based Internet radio application and playing your favourite shows like podcasts when you’re on the road. We reviewed RadioShift (Mac only) which is perfect for this as it can record shows on a schedule and send them to iTunes for syncing with your iPhone or iPod.
It’s great to see the Windows customisation community back in full song again. I suppose that over a decade of Windows XP will blunt anyone’s enthusiasm, but Windows 7 seems to have reignited the scene. And for as long as there has been a customisation scene, there’s been Rainmeter – it’s one of those venerable apps that’s been there from day one, like Windowblinds and Winstep. It has evolved out of all recognition since the early days when it was, in fact a rain meter. Now it can pull off amazing skins like Omnimo.
Omnimo 4 is inspired by Windows Phone 7′s cool angular colour blocks interface. It’s a multifunctional interactive desktop information center which runs on top of Rainmeter. It utilises a huge number of custom tiles to provide various information/settings at a glance, right on the desktop. Moreover, this is a skin that was designed to be customised itself – every single tile can be tweaked, modified or positioned according to your requirements. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the early builds of Windows 8 that Microsoft demoed recently.
Out of the box, Omnimo 4 looks sensational, but don’t stick with the default layout. You can either click on the settings icon and add your own tiles or download some new, highly specific ones, from the add-ons library. If you’re into desktop customisation and you haven’t taken this suite for a spin yet, you’re missing out on something truly amazing. If you want to supply feedback, be sure to favourite and comment on the DeviantArt entry.
In this era of home media centres and multimedia consoles, we’ve started watching our favourite television shows in a different way. Disatisfied with staggered global viewing dates and adverts every seven minutes, downloaders have embraced the torrent sites and Usenet archives to get their fill. You download the shows you like, you watch them when you like, you can view them in HD and you miss out on all the adverts messing with the show’s flow. Don’t feel bad about consuming your favourite TV shows in this fashion. If the media companies had wised up 10 years ago, they’d have found a payment model us consumers could stomach and they’d have realised we don’t like it when they butcher shows so much they turn into commercials with occasional TV show snippets in-between.
Anyway, the fact is that the torrent sites and Usenet are teeming with fresh TV show downloads. Which is all well and good, but it can be a bit of a bore having to check the websites for your latest show, in your preferred format and quality. There is another way though – it’s perfectly possible to automate 95% of the process. Your media centre can download your shows as soon as they become available and your media centre software can categorise it and make it available for your viewing pleasure. There are a couple of ways of doing this that we’re going to cover here.
RSS Feeds and BitTorrents
RSS feeds are such a useful facility. They enable you to sidestep HTML and access precisely coded text only feeds from websites. What you may not know is that most of the main torrent sites operate fully customisable RSS feeds. What this means is that you can create a custom search with as much precision as you wish and save it as an RSS feed to be used by a download program.
By way of example let’s create a custom RSS feed for a TV show. For the purposes of this article we’re going to be using the excellent BitSnoop website, but BTJunkie, Demonoid and UK Nova all have RSS enabled searches. We’re going to use the Bitsnoop Custom TV RSS Feeds page to create our feed.
Now it’s time to define our RSS feed. Just choose a show or shows in the column on the left and click ‘em over into the box on the right. Once you’ve chosen your shows, choose how many episodes to display – if you’re currently up-to-date with these shows then set it to 1 – if you need to catch up, set accordingly. And that’s the hard bit done. Now simply copy the Custom Feed URL into your clipboard.
Now obviously we need a bit of software to download these shows with. There are several options here, but I’m going to make two recommendations – Miro or uTorrent. Miro’s great because it’s a full blown media player too and you can download view your shows in the one application. uTorrent’s a nice simple torrent downloader that handles RSS feeds with ease and is far more configurable than Miro. If you’ve never done this before, try both and see which you’re most comfortable with.
If you’re using Miro, click on the ‘Sources’ tab in the sidebar and then just paste your custom RSS feed into the URL window and click the ‘Add Source’ button. Your downloads shows begin immediately – simply check the right episodes are coming down – if they’re not, click the X button to remove it.
If you’re using uTorrent, it’s every bit as easy. Start the program and click the ‘Add Feed’ button. Paste in your RSS feed and you’ll see it listed in the Feeds in the sidebar. Once it’s been added, click your feed and then click the ‘Edit Smart Feed’ button. In the options window, tick the ‘Download only one version of each episode’ box so you don’t end up with 42 versions of the same show. Now click on the Advanced tab and you can select a Quality type and an episode range if required.
RSS Feeds and Usenet
In my humble opinion, Usenet is superior in pretty much every regard to Torrents. I’m pretty sure the only reason more people don’t use it is because they aren’t aware of it. If you’re not, you can read up on it here. The main advantages from this downloader’s point of view are that a) you download at near the full speed of your connection for the duration of the download and b) there’s no ratios to worry about and no requirement to seed. In order to use Usenet you’ll need an account – I’m lucky enough to get one for free thanks to my most excellent ISP, Internode. But if you need an account your first and only stop should be Astraweb (I get a small affiliate kickback if you sign up via that link but that’s not the reason I recommend them – I recommend them because they’re the best).
So now you have your Usenet account you should aquaint yourself with two new websites – Newzbin and NZBMatrix. Think of these is Usenet aggregating sites like the big torrent sites – they don’t actually house any content, they simply offer the unifying NZB files which do the same as .torrent files and enable one-click downloads. Both those sites offer premium membership for very reasonable rates – pick the one you prefer and pay ‘em a few Bucks – personally I prefer NZBmatrix and that’s who I’ll use for this example.
Okay, so NZBmatrix offer the same RSS functionality as the torrent sites. If you go to this page you’ll see a simple form. Enter your username and NZBmatrix API key (click on My Account to find out what that is), select a category (such as TV:HD) and enter a search term in the text box – et voila – a custom Usenet RSS feed.
So we’ve generated ourselves a custom RSS feed, now all we need is some software to plug it into. The only software I recommend for this purpose is SabNZB, which is cross-platform, open source and very good. To enter your custom RSS feed into SabNZB, click on the Config button and then the RSS link in the sidebar. Give your feed a name, paste the custom RSS feed in and click the Add button. You can create as many of these as you want – I personally use one for each show I watch.
And that’s all there is to it. Once you start looking out for RSS feeds you’ll start seeing them on pretty much all the download sites. Get a couple of good RSS feeds set up and your favourite shows will download automatically as soon as they become available.
There are loads of cheat-sheet style wallpapers out there, but the vast majority of them are either horrible to look at, or so specialised that they hold little interest for most people. For the purposes of this round-up we’ve tracked down six wallpapers that look great on the desktop and include useful facts or information.
So You Need a TypeFace
Anyone who’s ever struggled to find the right typeface will appreciate this functional
and useful wallpaper which will guide you through the whole process. Get it
Another reference sheet for designers. This wallpaper manages to combine a very cool
design with useful advice. Get it
Colourful and informative at the same time. If you’ve ever had one of those ‘where the
hell is Kruminjistan anyway …’ moments, this is the wall for you. Get it
An absolute design classic, the original London Underground map looks great
on your desktop whether you live in in ‘the smoke’ or not. Get it
The Anatomy of Type
Great cheat-sheet this one – it breaks down all the elements that go into making and
using a font. Get it
Elements of Design
The absolute basic building blocks of design are explained clearly and concisely
in this useful and attractive wallpaper. Get it
I first wrote this guide over at my personal blog. It got picked up by Lifehacker and is in the Stumbleupon archives, so it still gets a fair bit of traffic. I’d been threatening to update it for some time and, with the new Geekosity site I figured that now was the time to do it. So if you arrived here afresh or were redirected from my blog, welcome.
When this guide was first produced four years ago, there were far fewer opportunities for the homesick expat or traveller to view TV from home. Since then, as broadband speeds have grown ever more capacious, so have the options. Enterprising companies have started branding themselves directly in order to attract these customers and existing suppliers have produced special products. All that being said, the general thrust of this article hasn’t changed. The bottom line is that if you want to watch TV from another country, it’s far more convenient to simply download it and watch it later than it is to attempt to view either live or via a specialist country-specific player application such as iPlayer or Hulu.
Authors note: I live in Australia and my principle interest is in viewing UK television and the better American output, however many of the topics discussed below apply equally whether you’ve living in Perth or Panama.
Update: 12/10/11 – If you’re looking for a quick and simple automated TV show downloader, check out this tutorial I just added to the site. Update: 23/04/12 – Check out this iPhone/iPad app that lets you watch UK TV channels live!
Before you dismiss your new country’s televisual offerings out-of-hand, have a good look at the schedules. Depending on where you are you’ll probably find a great deal of UK and American TV. Here in Australia the national broadcaster (ABC) is virtually a British TV channel on some nights of the week. Moreover the national 24 hour news channel (again, ABC) broadcast an hour of news from the BBC in the small hours of the morning. Invest in a decent media centre or a satellite PVR (either Foxtel IQ or MyStar here in Oz) and you can record these programmes broadcast at exotic times of the night.
Satellite broadcasters weren’t slow to capitalise on the foreign visitors market. On Australian satellite TV there are numerous UK channels, such as UKTV, Lifestyle and BBC Knowledge – I’m sure the situation’s similar in the USA. In fact there’s so much ‘homegrown’ telly on the satellite here that you may well find you don’t need to go any further afield to satisfy your cravings. What may force your hand is the age of the programmes being broadcast, soap operas broadcast on satellite here are famously behind the UK.
Far and away the cheapest and easiest way of getting your fix of British TV is to download it. Yes it’s illegal and yes everyone’s doing it – but if you’re the nervous type I’d still stick to satellite TV.
Downloading Shows via Torrrent
Without doubt, the best way of infesting your PC with spyware and viruses, is to download bent software, movies or music. But then you probably already knew that, right? It’s a bit like smoking – many of us are prepared to take the risk. Unlike smoking, however, you can cut down on your chances of contracting something undesirable by staying away from the dodgier download sites. Get a decent antivirus and antispyware package on your PC and instead get your pirated TV shows and movies from torrent sites.
To download you need a torrent program such as uTorrent on the PC or Transmission on the Mac. Install them. Nurture them. Love them. Here endeth the ‘which downloader program is best’ section.
In order to watch your shows once they’ve downloaded, you’ll need a decent media player of some sort. The one I’d recommend is VLC Media Player which is cross platform. Alternatively, combine your torrent downloading with a very capable viewer and use Miro. If you have a media centre then get XBMC if you’re on a PC or Plex if you’re on a Mac.
The days of having to burn your downloaded shows onto DVD are well and truly at an end. With the massive variety of purely digital playback formats available these days, it’s hardly worth bothering mentioning it. However – if you’ve burning shows or movies for a friend who only has access to a DVD player, then you have a couple of options. If you the DVD player in question can playback DivX and/or Xvid files (and it’ll probably say on the front of the player if it can) then you just just burn the files to disc as if it was ordinary data and they’ll playback fine. If your DVD player does not support DivX or Xvid then you’ll have to convert the downloaded files into full DVD format for which you’ll need something like ConvertXtoDVD.
On the torrent sites, you’re generally supposed to share as much as you download – so if you’ve downloaded at 500Mb TV show, you’re supposed to let uTorrent upload 500Mb too. However. It’s only the sites you have to register for (such as TheBox) that you have to care about that for. If you download from Pirate Bay you can stop the file uploading as soon as you’ve finished its download. It’s called doing a hit and run and it’s not the done thing to do, but fuck it.
Once a file’s finished downloading (and if you’ve uploaded as much as you want to in order to keep your ratio high at sites like The Box), you can click on its name in the main uTorrent window and hit the delete key to remove it. This will not delete the actual TV show or whatever, just the torrent details from within uTorrent. As long as a file remains in that main uTorrent window it will continue ‘seeding’. If you let it, uTorrent will use *all* your upstream bandwidth, which can make things very slow for web browsing and the like – so you can either limit it, or just leave it going overnight (which is what I do). If you want to limit the upload speed, so you can browse the web etc without slow-downs, open uTorrent and go to Options > Preferences > Connection … and in the bottom right where it says ‘Global maximum upload rate’ set it to 10. This won’t harm the speed things download at – just the amount of upstream bandwidth you donate to sharing the files.
There are zillions of torrent sites, but just two are exclusively devoted to all things UK – they being UK Nova (the original British TV torrent site) and The Box (the new kid on the block). For more general TV downloads I can recommend Pirate Bay and Demonoid.
Now the thing to bear in mind with sites like UK Nova and The Box is that the people that run them have a rather inflated sense of their self worth. They seem to have forgotten the fact that they’re helping to peddle pirated copyrighted media and instead think they’re great big throbbing cocks of love. The truth is halfway between the two. Anyway – the specialist torrent sites take things very personally when you simply download what you want as quickly as possible and then stop. It’s also pretty difficult to register on either of the aforementioned sites and so you’d be spiteing yourself if you didn’t share as much as you snag. Personally I find all that ‘upload as much you download’ business so draining that I go out of my way to download anywhere but UK Nova and The Box.
Direct from the Source
As you may or may not be aware, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have made many of their programmes available online. They’ve all followed pretty much the same model – some things are available for just 7 days after they air on TV – others can be downloaded whenever. They usually come equipped with nasty DRM (digital rights management) that means that a) you can’t watch them anywhere but blighty and b) seven days after you’ve watched them, they self-destruct like a cheesy Mission Improbable prop.
To make matters worse, the BBC (in particular) employ some very effective geographical IP scanning, which means that unless you are physically located in the UK at the time of download – you can’t watch nuffink. Guv.
VPN Tunnels are a good way of getting round geographical IP checks. There are numerous companies offering there services in this market and as more and more broadcasters have begun locking down their feeds to other countries, they’ve also started marketing themselves as a specific solution to the geo-IP lock-out. The VPN Tunnel creates a direct secure connection between your computer and the server operated by the VPN company. Once you’ve connected, your IP address will cease to be Australian (or American or whatever) and become a UK/US one. When you want to watch or download something from iPlayer or Hulu, you just connect the VPN tunnel and start downloading. It really is that simple.
You can find the BBC’s iPlayer here, ITV Catchup here and Channel 4 on Demand, here. Fill your boots.
Some people have had success using a proxy based software/subscription service called HideMyIP. The software costs $29.95 and then you’ll need to pay $7 a month for the premium subscription service to get yourself a useable UK based IP. If anyone’s actually used this service and can both stream and download from BBC iPlayer – please let me know.
The current favourite amongst homesick telly addicts, however, is Expat Shield. This uses a simple proxy to fool the foreign servers into thinking you’re in Birmingham and not Barcellona. Even more amazingly, Expat Shield is completely free. The only problem I have with it is that whenever I’ve tried to use it, it’s been chronically slow. However I know plenty of people who swear by it – so give it a go – you’ve got nothing to lose. Oh and unfortunately, it’s Windows only at this time.
I recently stumbled upon a new cool (and free) VPN service that worked really for me. It’s called TunnelBear and comes in both Windows and Mac flavours. For free you get 500Mb of bandwidth to play with, which is useful for testing the service out. If you decide it’s working really well for you then the full service is a very reasonable $4.99 a month. We had really good results with this VPN watching BBC iPlayer from Australia – and if that works well (given the 12,000 miles between me and the server) you can be pretty sure that everything else will.
I recently gave Unblock-us.com a roadtest, using the company’s 7 day trial period to view BBC iPlayer in the UK and Hulu in the states. While Hulu playback was fine from here in Australia, the iPlayer wasn’t – it buffered endlessly and after bumping the video quality down to dialup grade, it ground to a halt. Your mileage may well vary depending on where on the planet you are and what size pipe your modem’s plugged into.
I’m used to be a paid subscriber at Strong who are the biggest of the VPN companies and while their service is not without its faults, it works okay. I never got terrific results streaming from the UK to Australia, but US feeds were, for the most part, fine. The main issue I had with Strong is that switching servers is a pain in the arse. On other VPN services I’ve used, you simply set up a couple of concurrent VPN accounts and join the one that’s appropriate to your viewing requirements. However if I set up a UK based VPN on Strong and then want to change to an American server to watch Hulu, I have to log into their control panel, select a new server and then enter a new username and password. It’s a silly setup, but since I hardly bother with Hulu these days, I just leave my UK connection active.
Current VPN Recommendation
This is the BBC iPlayer app running on an iPad using UnoDNS service to bypass the Beeb's region-blocking.
The service that I currently use is called UnoTelly. I reviewed their service here and have found their solution to watching region-blocked TV to be far and away the best I’ve used. UnoTelly’s UnoDNS service gets round a couple of major problems quite neatly. Firstly, it’s easy to setup and requires no extra software. Secondly you can set it up on your modem/router and all the attached computers, smartphones, media centres and TVs on your local wi-fi will have access to the service. Thirdly, the same service affords access to UK and American region blocks with no changes required. Fourthly and most importantly, it totally rocks – I can stream BBC iPlayer live and in high resolution from the UK to Australia and that’s something that no other service I’ve used has ever managed.
If you want full hi-def quality with AC3 5.1 surround sound then your best option is to sign up to one of the better Newsgroup providers (like Astraweb) and download your shows automatically in 1080p. If you use a server based download application like SabNZB and get an account at nzbmatrix.com or newzbin.com then you can set up simple search expressions to download your shows as soon as they become available.
Looking for some replacement desktop candy for your workhorse application suites? Well step this way, Sir or Madam. We’ve hunted high and low for some cool icons for the Adobe CS5 suite and for the latest Microsoft Suites. All packs are cross platform, just use your favourite icon replacement software (we namecheck a couple at the bottom of the article) and spruce up your desktop. You can use these to replace desktop icons or in your system dock, or both.
There are a couple of excellent icon management applications available for the Mac and for Windows. Candybar for OSX is a pricey but comprehensive application, while LiteIcon is a simple and free icon swapper or you can rock it old school. On Windows there’s the venerable Iconpackager or IconTweaker. Have fun.
Sometimes I wonder if people need to be shown the dictionary definition of the word minimalistic. Browse through any of the popular wallpaper sites and you’ll find thousands of wallpapers in that category that are about as minimalistic as a renaissance oil painting.
I’ve scoured the wallpaper sites and are happy to present to you, five incredibly cool wallpapers that are the very essence of minimalistic. For this first round-up I’ve chosen five dark wallpapers, these show off icons like the default OSX and Windows 7 variety to great effect. Just click on the links below to download the archives and then install the appropriate resolution for your desktop.
HydraCoach; calculates your need for hydration (don't know if I need this but it's a nifty gadget).
This is a hybrid bike with not only exceptional performance but stunning aesthetics as well. The motor power and battery capacity is well over the industry standard and a truly futuristic look will sure attract some eyeballs around you. The Terminus is the ultimate trail-machine for the ones who appreciate the best availa
Camalien LED concept watch changes its colors depending on your surroundings - Designers Peter and Sam have come up with a concept watch they’ve dubbed the Camalien. It’s an LED watch with a sleek design that also comes with a camera built into it that will record your surroundings and will change the watch’s color accordingly. | #Design #Watches |