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Things to make you go boomz

Things to make you go boomz

BassBoomzAnyone who knows me knows two things: I love gadgets, and am always looking to save some cash. This isn’t a bad thing, after all – gadgets make our lives more easy, and who wouldn’t want to save some money at the end of the day?

So when I was offered a chance to review the BassBoomz, a micro Bluetooth speaker that could replace space-hogging speakers and be far cheaper (at just £50 till the end of March with the discount code listed at the bottom), I jumped at it.

Seriously it’s tiny – it’s only half the length of a cell phone, fits easily in your pocket or some spare corner of your desk (or perched up on some books) and barely 5 cm across in width.

Yet this Bluetooth-enabled speaker packs a surprisingly serious punch of sound. When they say bass, they mean it – I was able to get sounds out of it that usually produced a cracking sound in my higher end speakers. I’ve now ditched my speakers and now just use this attached to my laptop or mobile phone!

Set up was a breeze; just make sure your devices (eg mobile, laptop, iPad) have their bluetooth on, and with two clicks of the mouse, you are ready to go anywhere in the house, or on the street. A line-in and mini USB port on the bassboomz ensures you can recharge on the go (no batteries required!) using a plug or your device without hassle. And the tough aluminium casing ensures it can take any knock in your bag without hassle – try that with your speakers at home!

Once that’s done, you can emulate rich Miami millionaires by simply choosing any song you like on your mobile phone, and suddenly it’s booming out of this tiny little speaker!

Overall, I am really impressed with Bassboomz, and can’t wait to try the next thing that comes up!

If this has tempted you, you can buy a BassBoomz for £49.99 (saving £30) by quoting discount code BBZ304616 at http://www.bassbuds.co.uk/bassboomz – give it a go for yourself!

(This post was sponsored by BassBoomz)

How Tywyn thwarts Google Street View…

How Tywyn thwarts Google Street View…

Google Street View has thrillingly – and rather scarily – managed to scan 95% of the homes in the UK. Which means that most of my childhood haunts are finally on Google Maps for an easy trip down nostalgia street.

However, when I try to go down this street in Tywyn and then move forward, I am magically transported through some mysterious blurred tunnel to another place in time and space. Also known as the back alley. Then I’m transported back.

Such a shame I can’t seem to find a way to tell Google how to correct their mistake. Unless there is a teleportation tunnel operating in Tywyn these days…

Can we get a Secret Santa 2.0 going by next week? Y'know, for charity…

Can we get a Secret Santa 2.0 going by next week? Y'know, for charity…

Time was, when the UK blogosphere was concentrated in the power of a few key individuals, thinkblank.com had a Secret Santa every year where you could give a random blogger a gift, and get a random gift back. The great thing with this approach was that you were almost encouraged to stalk said blogger for a while, to see what they’d like and want.

This year, the only example of a Web Secret Santa I’ve found so far has been Firebox’s Global Secret Santa, whereby you buy a gift (from a limited range) for someone via Firebox, and someone else buys you a gift (from the same limited range). Which almost seems a step backwards in the world of Secret Santas.

So …

Would there be any interest in a Web 2.0 Secret Santa for bloggers whereby people register, they’re given the details of someone else who’s registered, and told to buy an appropriate gift worth £10 or less for them? Optionally, if they buy it through an affiliate site like Amazon, the commission is then donated to a charity…

Are there any savvy database types who could knock up an appropriate database and website in 7 days?

Is this a really really stupid idea?

Why Google Maps Navigation won't be that huge

Why Google Maps Navigation won't be that huge

So, Google Maps Navigation has launched and shares in sat-nav companies have already collapsed – following my sharedealing friend’s famous edict that you don’t want to launch any product that Google can march into. But I’m not so sure what they’re worried about.

I used Google Maps on my Android phone a while ago to try and drive to a remote location. Sure, the interface was incredibly clunky and it wasn’t the best set-up in the world – but I’d have been fine with that if it ACTUALLY WORKED. Ironically, while my phone had a GPS lock throughout the journey, it spent ages vainly looking for a data signal.

No doubt Google can improve on the user interface and speed of the application – but unless Google suddenly have powers to swamp the entire continent or planet with a coherent data signal, there’s still going to be a lot of room for a “traditional” satellite navigation company. Because when you’re lost, the last thing you want to find is that your freebie Google Maps device can’t tell you where you are either because it can’t download the relevant map of your location.

The future of Windows?

The future of Windows?

xkcd examines Windows 7

xkcd examines Windows 7

Windows 7 Desktop

Windows 7 Desktop

Quite a few bloggers (see the full guestlist) and I were invited into Central London to preview what exciting things Microsoft had in store for us for 2009/2010, in an event apparently termed Microsoft-hosted CESfest 09. So off we duly went.

The mystery about what was going to be revealed at said event was somewhat spoilt by the extensive press coverage from CES 09, including a preview of Windows 7 and some enhancements for Windows Live Messenger, but they revealed all to us (and a webstream) anyway.

So now you’ll be wanting to know what exciting new improvements there are to Windows 7….

Help request: Securing a computer

Help request: Securing a computer

Having rebuilt my Dad’s laptop over Christmas so it can now write in the version of Chinese that he wants, I unfortunately seem to have left it wide open to the point where he keeps getting pop-ups insisting that he has a virus, and that he has to pay $60 to get rid of it.

Obviously, it’s just one of those spammy pop-up things, but what’s a good one-stop application to block most security loopholes? I’m loathe to install Norton AntiVirus or whatever since it just tends to slow down everything in its’ path!

Crafting the perfect LCD TV…

Crafting the perfect LCD TV…

I have been known to bemoan the current state of LCD televisions, in particular the way they just won’t let you control anything. I’ve got a Panasonic Viera type (bought cheaply, I might add) and it constantly adjusts the brightness/contrast for what it perceives to be the perfect picture. This is an “intelligent” feature you can’t switch off, which renders some PS3 games (like Grand Theft Auto IV) unplayable because the screen fades in and out so much. Bah.

So when I somehow managed to get an invite to a preview of LG’s new range of LCD televisions for 2008 in the plush environs of Fulham FC, I popped along and had a look. The presentation was a trifle odd, taking in topics such as LG’s unillustrious origins through to its (frankly terrible) tagline of Life’s Good.

Then it came to the television sets, all of which frankly looked gorgeous visually and design-wise – the Scarlet ones perhaps a little *too* gorgeous. Although they trumpeted the LG Slimline Scarlet (LG6100) as being the “world’s slimmest LCD TV with integrated digital tuner” – from my viewpoint, the difference in depth between that model and its bigger brother, the LG7000 seemed small at best. And how important is the thinness of a TV that you won’t be carrying around all the time?

Thankfully, all the TV sets had some rather good features – complete control over picture settings (plus an intelligent option if you do want the TV to do all the work for you), an easily understood user interface, and hidden speakers that project the noise to head-level, as opposed to down onto the floor.

On the connectivity front, some of the TVs had a USB port so you could access photographs and music from a shared drive – although not video as of yet. The LG7000 trumped this by sporting Bluetooth connections, so you could Bluetooth your mobile phone pics to the television – or don a pair of Bluetooth-connected headphones for wireless listening. The basic LG4000 sported a built-in DVD player.

There was also some discussion about the power consumption of these televisions, with LG emphasising their commitment towards reducing power consumption enough to grant all their TVs next year on/off buttons as opposed to stand-by ones. Plus, apparently, LG have the second highest number of televisions that meet the Energy Saving Trust‘s standards.

Conspiculously absent from any of the discussions was a mention of price – which is a shame, since that’s going to be one of the key factors especially in the credit-addled times we live in. Sure, I want an all-singing all-dancing LG7000 – but can I afford one?

Anyway, for more information, take a look at the LG Blog, or fellow attendees Gadget Venue, HDTV UK and Coolest Gadgets.

OMG, I can hack a Firefox extension!

OMG, I can hack a Firefox extension!

Believe it or not, I used to be able to develop and program a computer (and yes, I can choose the perfect time). Admittedly, nothing more complicated than BBC Basic, HTML and adjusting a Javascript code, but I did think I’d lost those skills.

I was – and am – a huge fan of the LJ Hook Firefox extension. It basically allows me to add HTML code to a Firefox text entry window via a simple right-click – but it doesn’t work out-of-the-box in Firefox 3.

Tonight, since I couldn’t sleep and am still coughing/spluttering/snorting/having difficulty breathing, I ended up fiddling with the extension, having vaguely remembered reading a blogpost about tricking Firefox into installing old extensions.

And somehow, I’ve managed to get LJ Hook to work – and even slightly improved it by letting it work on all websites. Now, I’m wondering about the ethicacy of uploading an improvement to someone else’s extension when it’s not Creative-Commons licensed but the original author seems to have disappeared…

To Twitter on a blog or not to Twitter…

To Twitter on a blog or not to Twitter…

As some of you will have no doubt noticed, I had set my Twitter updates to appear on my blog every 24 hours via Loudtwitter. I set this up partly because there can be weeks that go by when I don’t update my blog – or can’t get my thoughts out in coherent sentences – but the simplicity of one-line blogging updates is probably preferable to an occasional drought of content.

However, I’ve now received my first complaint from a loyal (and uber-important!) reader.

So, loyal subjects and readers, I’ve disabled the Twitter updates on my main blog (although they’ll still appear on t’other blog). If you’re obsessed with the minutiae of my life, you can always follow my Twitter or Facebook updates direct, or let me know what you think!

Cuil – not a Google-beater. Not yet anyway.

Cuil – not a Google-beater. Not yet anyway.

Fair play to whoever runs Cuil’s press relations – they’ve managed to get coverage in pretty much all the mainstream press I’ve seen today, including the BBC. Very impressive, considering the number of companies who have claimed to be better than Google at searching, but doing nothing more than aiming a slingshot to Google’s Goliath.

However, I think the next time before they launch their press releases, they might be advised to do a little more work on the search results and their engineering resiliencce. An ego search for Andrew Wong on Cuil does retrieve my LinkedIn profile – but attaches a picture of a totally different person. and a Chinese athlete. Try to run another search, and then you’re told that Cuil’s servers are over-boiling. Which you never get on Google, it has to be said.

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