Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

WWDC 2015

So WWDC 2015 happened and what a show as these are starting to look like worldwide events rather than just a tech company keynote.

Quite a bit happened last night as we followed it on TheTechSpy’s Live Twitter account as literally every minute there was something new to announce.

So here it goes, all the best bits for iOS9 in bitesize chunks for you lovely people to digest;

iOS 9

1: With the new Proactive Assistant, Siri is starting to look a lot more like Google Now. As you speak to it, Siri will learn your habits, locations and when and where to open apps that you use. For example, if you pop your headphones in every day, it will just launch the music app or suggest directions when you jump in your car.
2: One of the interesting additions to iOS9 is the Caller ID suggestions for unknown calls. This is based in what it finds in your email, so I am not sure how much use this will actually be.

3: They are now bringing us Split displays, allowing you to have two apps open side by side and even adjust the sizing of the apps you are viewing and drag content either side. unfortunately this will only work on iPad Air 2 and of course anything coming out in the future.

4: The other cool new feature was the keyboard upgrades, allowing you to swipe on the keyboard acting like a trackpad. This feature is great for instantly highlighting words or moving the cursor to a new place.

5: Good old transit maps, or Tubes to us Londoners. This will overlay the tube map and stations into maps and will give you details of the stations and train/bus arrival times.

6: Passbook renamed Wallet – Our very own Mr Carroll got very excited at this addition as Apple Pay is finally being introduced to the UK. You will be able to have all of your credit cards and loyalty cards all in the same wallet making paying and earning seamless. The best part is from the start, London Tubes will be accepting Apple Pay as a way to pay your fare….Very nice indeed!

7: My personal favourite is News, it looks a lot like Flipboard and this is superb. This pulls in content from various publications and displays articles in a very smooth and cool way. It delivers newspaper and magazine type articles based on your habits and has beautiful hi-res galleries of photos and can even play video direct from the publication itself.

8: Along with this we particularly liked the idea of being able to have video content from an app while you are doing something else. Imagine writing an email while having YouTube up in a small screen in the top right of the screen.

Part two to follow

I am quite confident in saying that a few of you reading this will have kids, and even more confident that most of you remember the 2am Club.

Let me refresh your memory if it has been that long, remember when your pride and joy used to wake between 2-3am screaming for milk, at which point one of your had to run to the kitchen, boil some water, mix the formula and then cool down the mixed formula enough to give to your baby….all while trying to open your eyes and wake up.

Well, a husband and wife team who used to work for Samsung have come up with some tech to make this task a little easier to swallow and are trying to achieve funding over at Indiegogo. As you can see below, it looks like an “old school” coffee machine which can be loaded with up to 24oz of formula which will stay fresh and dry for up to 4 weeks and up to 8oz of water.

All you need to do is place a bottle underneath and hit the “on” button which starts the 60 second countdown on the water boiling which is then cooled again to body temperature and released into the bottle which will sort out all sterilisation issues that most parents are concerned about. Once this is complete, you turn the formula wheel which dispenses 2oz of formula at a time until you get your desired amount. This complete process takes about 90 seconds.

Of course, along with this the all the units that will need cleaning are dishwasher safe and are BPA free. This device is also manufactured to the Microban standard to inhibit the growth of those nasty micro organisms.

All in all this looks like a great product and one that I can’t see any parent turning their nose up at. What a great idea for the home and that’s without even thinking about the possibilities of this in hospitals and countries that do not have a good quality supply of water.

Move over Teasmade, Piena are in town to save us even more time!

Piena

 

 

 

 

With the advancement in the smartphone industry, we are quite rapidly seeing the quality of pictures from our phones getting rather close to our point and shoots. With sharper images, high res displays and millions of pixels being packed into a device that basically is a computer, why would you want to carry anything else.

As we have seen, the demise of the SatNav market due to GPS becoming a strong feature in pretty much every phone, will we see the likes of Canon and Nikon having to collaborate with firms like HTC, Apple and Samsung as the navigation industry has had to do?

Personally, I think photography has a few more strings to its bow than this and will survive the onslaught, but they will have to change strategy to ensure profits stay alive and the industry continues to flourish.

Canon have already started to bridge this gap. Today we see the launch of the PowerShot N, which brings this company closer to the mobile industry.

The metal bodied camera is compact as you can see and features a 12.1 MP CMOS sensor, Full HD movies recording on a micro SD, 16 x zoom, 28mm lens and a 7.1 cm touch screen to see your images.

PowerShot N

The gap is bridged in a number of ways. Firstly we see the inclusion of Creative Shot, the creation of 6 images from the original shot to satisfy the Instagram generation. The camera still includes the normal scene modes to aid shooting.

PowerShot N 2

Secondly it’s all about connections. Along with USB, we have WiFi which works to connect to the internet and Via a dedicated Facebook button, publishes your photos direct to your profile. Obviously this relies on the fact that you can get a connection as no 3G/4G chips are included. You can tag your shots automatically via its GPS feature to track where you are taking your photos around the world.

To make this more familiar to the mobile generation, Canon have thrown in the whole zoom and shoot feature which most people are used to and of course the “any way up” feature which allows you to operate the camera at any angle. Angles of photos are taken care of as the display is a tilt-up screen which I have to say works very well when taking some photos.

This is a very nice camera and is aimed at a particular group of people, but I think more importantly we see here how the industry is having to adapt to an ever changing future to survive. But the problem is, at £270 I don’t think this group will carry this along with their phone…..sorry Canon, back to the drawing board.

PowerShot-N 3

 

 

 

 

 

So TheTechSpy has been very busy recently….not only enjoying the rare UK sunshine while surveying the world of tech but we have also been building a website for you guys to enjoy all of our blogs in one place. It is nearly finished, but you can take a sneak peek over on TheSpyGroup

The first issue we came across when building the website was that we could not find a simple way to display our Facebook posts in one place. After some serious research, we came across a small team of individuals with a revolutionary product…. Tint.

Let’s start off with what Tint actually is and I think it is best explained in their own words;

“Tint is a simple, yet effective tool that lets anyone aggregate any social media feeds into one page and embed it anywhere they want.

You can aggregate from Facebook pages, Twitter accounts/hashtags, Instagram accounts/hashtags, Youtube channels, etc. and embed it beautifully into any website, WordPress, Tumblr, Wix, mobile apps, Facebook Pages, and more!”

I could not have put it better myself 😉

The TintUp Widget displays like Pinterest with a beautifully flowing board of tiles and is easy to embed into your website. With the likes of Squarespace and Wix allowing it, you just need to create a login with Tint and create the code which is a piece of cake. Once in your chosen website management board, you embed the code by simply copying and pasting it from Tint.

Tint allows you to customise your feed from within the admin pages with various themes, colours and options and is supported by some of the biggest names in website creation;

Tint

The product is quite versatile and interestingly the guys at Tint also suggest using the product on a stand at an exhibition. People at the show could have their message on the board just by using the designated hashtag with the stand having full moderation control over what is posted.

One of the biggest positives for using this widget is the support you get from Tint. They pointed us in the right direction and helped us to create the product we wanted. Tim ( The CEO) was particularly helpful with the whole process and shows a great interest in his customers whether they are paying or not which is very rare (Thanks Tim). They are a very small team but seem to cover every hour needed by the client over email and even chat.

Here is one of our Tint boards displaying feeds from our sister company TheCarSpy

spygroup

Overall this is a great widget! Easy to use, customise and moderate and works with all the big names of website creation. Amateurs and professionals alike can use this product and both will get an equally slick operation. Of course the product in our opinion needs a few little tweaks, for example it is a little slow delivering embedded code and could do with an option to be able to choose what part of your title is in bold, but saying this it hasn’t stopped us from using them across our website and we believe this will only improve.

If you are looking for an aggregated social media feed to impress on your website, take a look at Tint, they get a thumbs up from TheTechSpy.

Please visit our new website TheSpyGroup

Continuing on from Part 1 of the iOS Replacement Apps blog, here are some of the next apps which could replace the stock apps on your iPhone to make your life easier and maybe even a little more fun!

 

Apple: Safari

Non Apple: Opera – Free

Now, let me first say, there is not a lot wrong with Apple’s offering, Safari is a great browser but sometimes we get bored and just want those added features. Opera includes all the standards, tabbed browsing, bookmarking and of course the “find in page” option, but also has some added features like share options to easily share with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google + and of course email.

One of the best features is the in-built data usage tracker, which can show you how long you have spent off of WiFi which could become particularly helpful while on holiday on those expensive roaming charges.

This app is a step up from Apple’s offering, but you may also want to take a look at the competition in the form of Google Chrome which is also a great alternative.

 

Apple: Camera

Non Apple: Camera+ – 69p

Camera + is an immense app which will change the way you take photos with the iPhone. Not only can you take photos with it, but also edit them after. While taking a photo, you can edit the exposure and focus in real-time. You also have a variation of shooting modes (Burst, stabilised and even timer) and the unique ability to have the iPhone’s light on continuously to take a picture so that you can see what you are doing in low light conditions.

Editing shots are easy, but you can also import into Lightbox for even more possibilities with the choice of automatic sync available. From the app, you can transform your pictures with almost professional tools, allowing many possible Effects, brushing and layering at your fingertips. The app also allows you to share with the likes of Facebook and Twitter direct from the app after editing and is now available on the iPad.

 

Apple: iBooks

Non Apple: Kindle – Free

iBooks I think has a nice feel to the app, but some of you may not like the life-like design that Apple opt for. The only problem I see with this app, is those of you who like to purchase books and build up a huge collection are going to be stuck with Apple’s collection and of course staying with iOS from now on. Kindle changes that, you can buy books through the Kindle store which offers over 1.5million titles including books, magazines, newspapers and PDF’s.

The attraction for me is that you can pick the book up from the very page you left on in any device across iOS, Kindle devices, PC/Mac and Android meaning you are not stuck with iOS for the rest of your life. Some of the newspapers available are the The Spectator, The Daily Mail and The Guardian and the best features include dictionary look-up, search inside the book and the ability to change font, size and margins.

A great all-rounder which is free and solves a lot of issues.

 

Apple: Music

Non Apple: Groove 2 – £1.49

Once again the stock music app from Apple does the job, but it does have some short comings. Along with being a little bit boring and no major changes in the app being done in the last few years, one of the things that really gets to me is the creation of playlists. Going through my huge music collection to add songs to my newest playlist, I would like to be able to briefly hear the song I am about to choose (just like you can in the iTunes store before purchasing) but Apple have missed this.

Groove 2 is a great app which studies your listening habits and creates a wide variety of instant mixes like your own personal DJ. They claim that you will never have to create playlists again.

Winning quite a few awards, this app has some cool features. When you are in the car, you can use smart gestures to control volume, playback and get new mixes while keeping your eyes firmly on the road. It can also create playlists for you with a touch of a button which before BBQs and parties can be a valuable tool to save time.

You will not regret upgrading to Groove 2, if you are serious about your music, this is the app for you.

Apple Apps