Thursday, October 25, 2012

Twitter Feed on Blogger? Where is it?

I've had a twitter feed on my blogger account for some time now, or at least, I thought I did.

No longer. The gadget for twitter feeds merely offers the opportunity to subscribe to my twitter account and does not display my tweets.

I must have missed the argument between Google Plus and Twitter.

It's exceedingly annoying that I can't be as social as I would like. LinkedIn has also stopped publishing twitter feeds.

I suppose it was only to be expected. Everyone falls out in the end.

Whatever happened to long distance wifi?

Three or four years ago I was anticipating the introduction of long range wifi services which would enable me to use my iPod Touch effectively, much like a smartphone.

It never happened. Perhaps there would have been a problem with erratic signals. Who can say?

I really don't know if there was a problem with the technology, but it seems to me that there was no interest in developing it because it wouldn't make any money.

Mobile phone companies seem to be the mainstay of most stock exchanges, so business has no interest in providing low cost solutions.

UK mobile companies invested mega-bucks in installing 3G technology and paying for licences, so there has been no interest in going 4G.

The USA, having been confined to dial up internet for so long has leap frogged us and now runs 4G. Of course, the equipment is incompatible with European telecoms equipment so the 4G slot in my Motorola Xoom is likely to remain redundant.

Well, Orange and T-Mobile have taken the plunge and are now offering Everything, Everywhere on 4G. Presumably, the costs of setting up 3G have been more or less recouped. But, naturally, I'd need to buy a new phone. I am really reluctant to take on a contract offering a phone as you end up paying more than it's worth, certainly by the end of the contract.

I did succumb earlier this year when I discovered Virgin Mobile was offering smartphone contracts at the same price that I was continuing to pay for my trusty Nokia. Thus I now have 3 smartphones. My'ancient' HTC for my ancient Orange account, a Samsung Galaxy II for my 3 account, the most cost effective of all plans at the time I took it on, and a Samsung Ace for my Virgin Mobile account, which is the number that I give everyone just in case they might want to call me.

Except that Virgin have neglected to reduce the tariff as they promised - TWICE!

Seriously fed up with mobile phone companies.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

INWI in Morocco - mobile broadband with flair

Did I tell you I'd succumbed to smartphones? Not one, but two! I bought an HTC Desire in April 2010, but got completely fed up with it within a year because the battery failed, AND it complained of low memory whenever I tried to access Twitter.

So I bought a Samsung Galaxy II. What a phone! I can't imagine being without it now. And it never complains about shortage of memory.

I have been obliged to take a contract with 3mobile, as 3mobile was the most competitively priced at the time. But then I also have to put up with dilatory speeds and frequent lapses of coverage.

Which is what makes my experience with mobile broadband provider INWI in Morocco so remarkable. Friends, if you are travelling to Maroc, be sure to look for the INWI booth in the arrivals hall. I hope your experience will be the same as mine.

No problem about providing a 3G mobile broadband SIM for just 5 days' use. The guy switched the SIM in my Galaxy for me, and got the phone working. I had constant, unfailing mobile broadband coverage the whole time I was in the Tangier area last October, even when out in the middle of apparently nowhere.

No British mobile service provides this level of service in my experience. And it was only £6 for 5 days' use. Terrific when you're visiting for short periods.

The SIM will still be valid when I return, (I hope), and I can simply recharge it. YEESS!

Monday, June 06, 2011

A partial apology to Google!

How it grates!

Yesterday I posted about how Chrome does not display my RAW images edited in Lightroom as they display in Explorer, and every other browser.

Well, it was me. I hadn't chosen the Export command from Lightroom which generates a jpg image, because it wasn't obvious to a simpleton like me. Instead, because there is no Save As command in Lightroom, I had opened the edited image in CS5 and used Save As from there.

Save As is not the command to use for RAW images. Choose Export.

When you choose Export, the resulting jpg looks absolutely fine in Chrome. See the example above.

The fact remains that Chrome does display colour differently from other browsers, as is documented elsewhere on the web.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Colour management FAIL in Chrome and Android browser

Yes, I know it's been a while since I posted. Put it down to a life phase crisis.

But the flat in Morocco is finished and available for rent. During the quieter months of the year, it's heaven to lie in bed at night and hear the waves slapping on the shore.

Mobile broadband has not improved particularly for visiting tourists. Several hotels have free-ish wifi connections. Don't look for widespread free wifi in Tangier. Nor, am I told, is installed ADSL reliable. I haven't asked for a broadband connection to my flat as a result. Check out McD's opposite my flat for free wifi - sometimes.

But this is not the point of this post. I have been taking my photography much more seriously over the year and have installed Lightroom 3.4.1 and Photoshop CS5 with Adobe RAW Converter as a result.

Delightedly, I have started taking photos in Camera RAW, tweaking them a bit in these two programs and saving them as jpgs for upload to Flickr.

Imagine my horror when on viewing them in the browser, the colour balance was totally wrong and the photos looked dreadful.

At first I thought it must be me. I'd done something wrong in the processing, or not altered a crucial setting somewhere.

And then, in desperation, I opened the flickr page in Internet Explorer, which rendered the photos exactly as I had seen them in CS 5 and Lightroom after editing. As does Firefox, and FF and Safari on a Mac.

So it is NOT me. What then is the culprit?

Google CHROME. I use the Chrome browser all the time. A Google (ahem) search brought up results instantaneously. Google does not support colour management. Whereas other browsers do.

Not only that, the Android browser on mobile and tablet devices doesn't seem to support colour management either. I had a quick look on my Xoom to check.

This is awful Google. I don't even know whether I'm seeing any of my other photos on Chrome as others see them.

I did try this tip for adding 'enable colour profile,' but it didn't seem to work.

How can this have been allowed to go on for so long. It's not as if I'm the first to howl with rage.

Please, please Google, get some colour management into the act for your browsers. Or somebody else out there tell me what I could have missed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mobile in Morocco

View of the Mediterranean from my flat in Tangiers

I'm investing in an apartment in Tangiers, 100 m from the beach and in a prime position overlooking McD's. Look to the right out of the window and you will see not only the new train station but also the site where Tanger City Center will rise.

I'm excited about Tanger City Center. My experience of both Muscat and Dubai City Centers is that these developments are nice places to shop, with lots of outlets, including Carrefour. They attract lots of footfall.

I hope it will also offer free wifi connections where I can go and sip coffee and check my mail and Google Reader, whether on my new Android phone, yes, I bought one, or my netbook.

Although I will have net connection in my flat across the road.

I'm very happy with my new HTC Desire, albeit I have to put up with 3mobile in the UK, but it's a 30 day contract, so I could, theoretically, switch to a new provider at any time.

Don't you just feel for the guys in the States who are locked into service providers with the iPhone? Their gain is that iPhones and Android phones are so much more ridiculously cheap there than in UK. Undoubtedly because it's a bigger market.

I still haven't actually found out if an HTC Desire bought in UK would work in the States with a US provider. When I visited Florida in 2006, I had to buy a different phone for my US sim because, as they would, the Americans use a different transmission protocol. CDMA/EVDO instead of UMTS/HSPA.

So what about mobile net surfing in Morocco? Phone charges are high from your provider and extortionate for data transfer. 3mobile would have charged £5.50 per Mb for data roaming.

The solution is to buy a local sim for your phone and a USB Internet modem for your laptop. Foreigners can buy on showing their passports.

Both Maroc Telecom and Méditel offer a European compatible modem at £22 ($33) with one month's unlimited Internet. I chose Maroc Telecom because that was the nearest shop when I was looking. There are outlets all over Tangiers. The 3G signal was great in Tangiers and also halfway up a hill around 30km to the west. But the signal dips when you're in the valleys. This is also a problem with a plain old ordinary sim in your phone. For one night, I was connected continuously to Movistar of Spain. I suspect that Maroc Telecom may have a more comprehensive network than Méditel. In both cases, connections are likely to be more erratic in rural areas.

The newly rebranded company INWI (formerly WANA) does not offer internet data sim-only deals, because its phones and modems use the American CDMA/EVDO protocol and won't work on European networks. In May, INWI was charging around $57 for a Huawei USB modem including one month of free Internet access.

Only Maroc Telecom offers a 3G prepay Sim card (Menara) to enable your mobile for the web. Read this extremely informative article about where to buy and how to set it up.

It's an internet only service, so you need a Jawal sim in another phone to be able to use voice services. Complicated, I know. But in country charges are reasonable, you can top up, and if are going to be visiting regularly, as I intend, then you can keep the number going.

Just one thing, iPhone is not officially supported in Morocco at the time that I write. I shared tweets with a young Moroccan lady who commutes between Casablanca and Florida. She sold her iPhone to her cousin and let him get on with unlocking it to insert a Moroccan sim.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Buzzed off with control freak business

In my previous post, I conjectured that my 3mobile mi-fi might be able to provide a wifi signal for an iPad, should I buy one.

Not so! Cunning Mr Jobs has put the dampers on that one. First thing I saw on my twitter list this morning was a link to a headline: Jobs: iPad can't tether to iPhone.

And if it can't tether to an iPhone, it can hardly be expected to work with a 3mobile connection - I guess.

As Mr Jobs explained so glibly, Apple are producing the 3G version of the iPad to provide constant net access, so there won't be a need for tethering.

That's another idea fallen by the wayside.

Did you see that headline earlier this week saying that big business in America thinks that open source should be banned, because, presumably, it's unbusinesslike and offers unfair competition. That includes such staples as Apache web server software, MySQL database software, Linux operating system etc

At least SourceForge reversed its earlier unpopular decision to block downloads of open source software to users in countries on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control sanction list, which includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. There's quite a few in these countries who are glad to be able to get hold of software which enables them to participate in the global community, despite their governments' best endeavours.

Should we actually be grateful to American and other multi-millionaires for creating an infrastructure that increases wealth and money supply? It certainly isn't because they're providing goods and services at a fair price if they're blocking potential demand and access to information.

Oh yes. Buzz. I'm still using it but am SO frustrated at the confusing lists of comments, most of which are dross. This means that I am not following a load of people who are following me, because there's just too much to scan and read. It puzzles me that Google doesn't reverse the policy and let users choose whether they want to see comments rather than displaying them by default. And how about putting tick boxes by posts so that you can mute all those you don't want to see any more in one fell swoop?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mobile broadband blues

I was so excited about my iPodtouch. Then increasingly I realised that its value was compromised because I could hardly ever find a venue with free wi-fi connection that would make it work as a web connected tool.

The BTFon network proved to be totally useless because it didn't recognise my username and password. I can't say that FON went out of its way to explain clearly whether you need a different username and password for BTFon than when you sign up to a FON network.

So I have this iPodTouch, which I want to use for checking email on the move, sometimes, because most of the email that I get is totally non-essential. And I want to be able to check my calendar and contacts which of course are up in the Google cloud somewhere. Occasionally, I might check BBC news. It's an interesting revelation that the majority of websites do not have a mobile version, including 3mobile, but the BBC does.

That's one of my objectives for this year, to build a mobile version of my website.

Paying horrendous monthly fees for telecoms costs is anathema to me. I'm a great user of email and the landline rather than mobiles. Why? Writing comes more naturally to me and use of my landline within UK is free, other than the rental.

Not even the offer of a free, or reduced cost all-singing, all-dancing do-it-all mobile phone is tempting.

I've only moved over to one of the cheaper Virgin Mobile contracts within the last six months, and I still don't use all the minutes, let alone the texts. I much prefer the option that I had in Oman. Buy the phone and pay just for what you use.

I once had a stand-up row with the manager of the local Orange shop, telling him that mobile phone contracts were a rake-off for the companies. He laughed and said that people preferred it that way. Phooey. They were just not given any other option at the time. He even brought the shutter of the shop down on my head as I was leaving.

And then there's the mobile broadband issue. I'd been an early adopter of the 3mobile broadband plan meaning that I had paid £15 monthly for the privilege only to discover that I couldn't get reception in the places that I most needed to use it. I rang 3mobile to say I didn't want to renew at the end of the contract. A very nice Scottish gentleman made me an offer I didn't think I could refuse, monthly broadband at half the price with a new dongle. It seemed fair enough.

Until I found myself on holiday up in the Yorkshire Dales last November without any 3mobile connection at all. But my Orange phone had a fairly good signal. Which gave me an idea. Since mid-year, I had been holding on to a brochure advertising Orange mobile broadband for £4.89 a month, only for 500kb, but that was enough for what I wanted. I took the Settle-Carlisle railway line one rainy day, because walking in the Dales was out of the question. Lo and behold, just around the corner from Carlisle station, I found the Orange mobile shop. I signed up and got my dongle. And it worked. In places 3 can't reach.

So if you've been following me so far, you will have worked out that I now have two mobile broadband contracts.

And then I saw the 3mobile mi-fi advertised. What's that? It's a little device that generates a wi-fi signal from a 3G connection. You can link it to up to five devices.

Well, I didn't want the contract offering an iPodTouch at £23 a month, because I already have an iPodTouch.

The no-strings Mi-fi on Pay-as-you-Go seemed a good option. Reader, I bought one.

Oh dear me. PAYG? It's a joke. You have to pay £10 a month to use it. It comes in the small print as an Add-On, which of course I had overlooked. You might think that sounds reasonable, but I can tell you now that I wouldn't get the use out of it.

Two protracted phone calls to 3mobile in a bid to try and return the thing failed totally. How is it that people simply cannot refer you to the right department??!!

I have to say, that I am enchanted that the mi-fi actually works. I was going to use it for as long as I could before the data allowance ran out and then forget about it.

However, the man Jobs, and you really should take a glimpse at the cover of The Economist for this week 30th Jan 2010 which bears the inscription, The Book of Jobs, has just launched the iPad.

Thinks. There will be a wi-fi version and a 3G version. If I have a mi-fi, would I need the 3G version.

Crucial question of all, will the mobile phone companies lock down the iPad to a contract. I do hope not.

No, I haven't mentioned Google's Nexus phone. Not in UK yet and it will be tied to a contract.