Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Offline: Week 2

I have now survived two weeks without using the Internet and this week has definitely been the hardest as most of the week I was stuck at home doing nothing and the temptation to reach for my iPod Touch and update Twitter was almost irresistible.
When I decided to give up the Internet I originally thought I would spend all of my time reading however that is not the case. I’ll admit I am reading more because I don’t get distracted as much however I’ve noticed I now watch a lot more TV and I have returned to playing the offline version of Minecraft I have downloaded on my laptop. I’ve played it so much I have almost recreated the whole country of Panem (from the Hunger Games!) When not playing Minecraft I’ve been watching Friends; 74 episodes to be precise (when you don’t use the internet you are sad enough to count).

Top 5 apps/websites I miss the most
Flipboard – This is how I get my news and social network updates. If I am having a busy day it will usually be the only app which I use because it is a great app which you could spend hours going through.
YouTube – I love watching videos, not mainstream YouTube videos however I like the channels I’m subscribed to such as BBC, Channel 4, DSMS Wyvern, Syndicate & The Verge.
Twitter – This is usually where I find out the latest news and gossip, it is also lets me rant and witter on a bit about stuff that nobody cares about.
Google Calendar – This is a brilliant tool which I usually use everyday so I don’t forget to do something. Usually it just acts as a to do list however I like the fact that I can create an event on my laptop and it will sync to my phone and iPod.
Vine – Ever since it was launched about a month ago I have been in love with this new micro-video sharing app for iOS devices. It allows me to share 6 second videos and it would have been perfect for sharing some moments from the practise BBC School Report day and from other things I’ve done over the half term break.

A fresh new view
Last week I went on a three mile walk in the countryside near Barnard Castle. We went to Eggleston Abbey (which used to be an abbey between the 1300’s and 1700’s. It is now just ruins.
Anyway for the walk we bought an OS map which I personally thought was over priced at £8 however I am used to using a free online mapping system such as Bing Maps or Google Maps.
Even if I was using the internet, an online mapping system would be useless because they don’t show public footpaths and there is no network connection out there.

I love taking photos on my phone and I like the fact that they upload to SkyDrive automatically from my Windows Phone. Unfortunately, since my phone hasn’t been connected to the internet for the last fortnight I’ve had to return to ancient methods of photo transfer.
I needed to plug my phone into my computer!
SkyDrive is also useful for documents as it has the web apps of office 2013 built in. This allows you to work on your documents, spreadsheets or presentations from any device. (This honestly isn’t a SkyDrive advertisement.)

PlayStation 4?
I’d usually know this however without Internet access it is hard to find out. I saw something briefly on the news which I think said that the PlayStation 4 has been announced. So has it?
I think I heard that it has a built in feature which allows you to record the game you are playing so you can upload the video onto YouTube and websites like that but I don’t know. This will probably be the first thing I Google as soon as I get the Internet back.

Horse Meat Scandal
I personally think that a bigger deal is being made of this than there should be, yes they are falsely advertising a product but let’s face it;
they could be putting worse things in our food.
It’s now awkward when you see the Asda adverts and they are saying how much cheaper their products are this week compared to other supermarkets because we now know they are filled with horsemeat instead of beef, pork and lamb and that is why they are so cheap!

The Brits
It was the BRIT Awards on Wednesday 20th February 2013. It was okay however it has seemed to have lost the glory it once had. No celebrities got drunk and make fools of them during their performance, James Cordon didn’t need to cut anyone’s acceptance speech and the act at the end of the night didn’t get cut off half way through so ITV could show the 10PM news. It was almost like that it was well planned and nobody over drank. The most exciting thing which happened was the occasional swear word from the host James Cordon however this wasn’t very regular.
Adele won the award for best single with the theme tune to ‘Skyfall’ however she wasn’t at the award ceremony as she was in America. She said she was practising for an award ceremony over there however everybody knows it is because she was cut off last year. Anyway, Emily Sandé won the album of the year making her one of the highlights of 2012 despite me not knowing a single one of her songs.

This post was uploaded by @rebecca983

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Offline: Week 1

I have been off the Internet for one week and I’ll tell you now, it hasn't been easy!

My morning routine now consists of waking up to the chorus of ‘I got you babe’ from the alarm on my iPod (which doesn’t use the internet) and getting ready for school without using Flipboard on my iPad to check today’s gossip and news.
Instead I have decided to buy ‘i’ everyday which costs only 20p. The newspaper is a brief summary of what is going on in the world and all the articles in the paper come from ‘The Independent.’ I would defiantly recommend this newspaper as it has everything I could ever need to replace my iPad - gossip from the Opinions page, serious news from the front page, games and puzzles on the crossword page and informal news through columns and features. ‘i’ even has weird facts like what I would find on Twitter; did you know that 100 years ago there used to be a horse long jump in the Olympics and the record for a horse jumping was just over 6 meters.
Cross words are my new Angry Birds

On Friday 15th February 2013 it was a BBC School Report practice day where the DSMS Wyvern team produced a news show in a day.
This has been the only time during the week when I’ve been extremely temped to use the Internet. I'd get irritated when I am explaining to someone how to upload a video with certain settings and I know I could be doing it quicker by simply doing it myself. You can see the ‘Wyvern Webisode’ here (below).

At the weekend I bought an expensive pen so I could do some writing in a pad… not on an iPad. I didn’t buy it online like what I usually would instead I needed to walk into a shop and hand pick one. I learnt that Parker pens are extremely expensive and unusually only come with blue ink, if you want black ink you need to buy it separately which is annoying because I prefer black ink. After searching in two shops I ended up buying a vector Parker pen that isn’t a ball point (however I can’t remember what you call it).

Snow & Photo sharing
The most observant of you may have realised that it was snowing quite heavily in the North East of England earlier this week. This is usually the weather where you would find your Intagram and Flickr feeds overflowing with pictures I have taken of the snowy streets and fields. Instead, I wasn't even carrying my phone round with me at this time so I couldn't even take a few snaps!
I realised that if you aren't connected to the internet and you have nobody to call or text it is pointless carrying a £200 smartphone or iPod Touch round with you.

Just before I have up the Internet I decided I wanted to put most of the Beatles albums on my iPod Touch – as you can probably guess, they take up a lot of storage space. So U went through my apps, deleting ones I did not need any more. This included a lot of my games, Pinteret, Tumblr and surprisingly Facebook.

I deleted the app because it uses huge amounts of storage and it is really slow to use. For the last few days before I became offline I used the mobile Facebook website on Safari. Although it was clunky and ridiculously slow it was brilliant!

Since it was just a website it means that as soon as I shut the browser it was all gone. There were no notifications off people poking me popping up in the middle of the night and no messages popping up in the early hours of the morning off people asking me what homework is.
I could sleep distraction free and uninterrupted.

It is also worth mentioning that because the mobile site is so bad it puts you off using Facebook as much which means, like me, you are more lightly to do something productive such as cooking, reading a book or writing a book instead of aimlessly scrolling through my news feed aimlessly. Maybe that is why it is estimated that approximately 68% of Facebook users take breaks from Facebook however it is probably because of all the rubbish uploaded to the site.

It was my Twanniversary on Sunday 17th February 2013 which marked my two year anniversary on Twitter. I first got Twitter when not many people my age had however I can’t remember the exact reason. Anyway, I have worked out that I do around 8 Tweets a day and according to Klout I have an influential opinion on apps.

After a hard first week without the Internet I hope I’ll be able to survive a second week Internet free.

This post was uploaded to Blogger by @zumbafootball

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Offline: Why I'm doing this

The Internet, we all use it, most of us use it daily, but do you use it too much? How much is too much, I don’t know however I can tell you that I use it a lot. As soon as I wake up I am straight on various news apps checking the latest news and then I am onto Twitter to tweet about the weird and wonderful stories I have found. I continue to use the Internet all day until bedtime when I finish my day by lying in bed messaging various people over Facebook Chat.

I use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Bing, Evernote, Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest, SkyDrive, YouTube, eBay, Amazon and Skype all which use the Internet.
The wire most people couldn't live without.

I wouldn't say that I am a particularly religious however for Lent this year I am going to give up the Internet.
If you didn't know, Christian people sometimes give something up for Lent such as chocolate or sugary foods. It starts on Ash Wednesday (which is the day after Pancake Day) and it lasts for 40 days and 40 nights.
If you want to know any more about Lent it may be worth investing in a Bible.
Lent 2013 begins on Wednesday, February 13 and ends on Saturday, March 30 2013. (Anyone who is half decent at Maths will realise that that is more than 40 days and that is because apparently Sunday's don't count however I will be counting them.)

The Internet is a gutter, it has uses however most of the time it is clogged up by someone else's rubbish.

I'm doing this for no other reason than I want to see if it is possible for myself to live web free for a period of time. If I succeed I hope I have became wiser and more intellectual. And if I fail and give up less than half way through I'm going to be extremely disappointed with myself and probably delete this post so I don't look like a complete idiot.

Unfortunately I won't be able to do the dramatic unplugging of my house's Ethernet cable because my family needs to use the Internet however I will be turning off Wi-Fi and the mobile data connection on all of my devices.

The Rules
I can text message however I don’t see why I’d want to, 10p a message is a waste of money. This means if I want to have a good conversation, it is going to have to be face to face.
I can’t use any sort of Internet browser (this means I can’t surf the web or buy things online)
I can have a mobile phone however I can’t download apps, music, games, videos or anything else. I can’t use any pre-installed apps on the phone if they use the Internet – such as maps, email and calendar.
I'm allowed to get friends to check emails as occasionally something important comes into my inbox.

I'm going to be writing a weekly post on Microsoft Word 2003 about how I'm coping 'Offline' which I'll get one of my friends to post onto this blog for me. So check back every Wednesday.
My usual stream of nonsense and twittering will return March 30th 2013.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday 9th February: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 9th February 2013 and...

Mailbox for iOS released
Mailbox is a Gmail app funded by and this week it was released on iOS devices. The app only works with your Gmail email account so it is useless if you use Hotmail, Outlook or Yahoo. Despite this drawback it is a really good app which seems to prefer swiping and gestures over tapping. This app has got rave review for its excellent design and it's simplicity to use however if you want to start using the app there is quite a big queue (right)!

Death Star on
Another thing which has happened this week regarding is the plans for a Death Star to be made. You may remember that less than a 5 months ago there was a petition sent to the White House with over 30,000 signatures proposing that America should build a death star. Since then the White House has raised the number of signatures needed to 60,000 however Star Wars fans are not worried as the idea has been launched on earlier this week. whom launched the project on Kickstarter hope to reach a £20,000,000 in the next 50 days however if they fail to come close to that figure they get no money at all.
Find out more about the project here: Kickstarter Open Source Death Star

Backwards Bowler
Jim Cripps is a pretty standard bloke apart from his unusual talent which is bowling backwards. He found he had this unique gift when a friend challenged him to try and score 150 points backwards. It sounds impossible, but Jim says he managed to land a strike on his first try, and ended up with a final score of 163!

Friday, 8 February 2013


Apparently a blog is supposed to be a personal website where I post my most deepest thoughts and feeling however over the last 2/3 years of blogging I honestly haven't done that much.
My blog has been a place of my reviews and thoughts of some of the stories in the news and some of the latest pieces of technology.

However I thought I'd share something with you which has happened to me recently; I got braces. I have now had them for 24 hours.

I have known that I was getting them for about 3 months now. I was originally quite scared however as time passed and I discreetly talked to people with braces I realised it wasn't that bad.

Getting braces was fine. I just sat in the orthodontics chair looking at the ceiling wishing that they had a map up there or at least something that I could look at. It took around 45 minutes and afterwards I couldn't work out if my mouth was shut or not and if I was dribbling or not which was embarrassing.

I first saw my braces on the car home and they looked fine. They didn't hurt however I did soon realise that I couldn't speak properly because of a band going across the top of my mouth preventing me from saying my 'J's and 'Ch's.

I woke up this morning in pain, the same pain I went to sleep with and it hurt. I am in the middle of fighting off a cold at the moment so I didn't get much sleep last night either.
It's weird because all of my teeth seem to be in a different position to where they were yesterday.

Unfortunately having braces means that I can't chew anything without being in pain - I also can't chew anything because I don't know where half of my teeth are any more.

According to my friends, all of this trouble will disappear in the next week however return when I get my braces tightened in a few months time.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

'Flight' Review

Although this movie looks like an action packed adventure in the trailers it is actually closer to a drama than an adventure or thriller.

The first 40 minutes of the film are extremely intense as an aeroplane is taking off in bad weather however they get off the ground and into the air safely. For most of the journey in fact they are in good weather and everything is fine until they start to make a decent and for some reason the aeroplane starts to nosedive! Captain of the aeroplane, Whip Whitaker, wakes up from his sleep in the cockpit, he calmly turns the plane upside down to stabilise it and then he amazingly lands it in a field with only 6 casualties out of over 100 passengers!
Although we wee the captain drinking vast amounts of alcohol before the flight we learn that he was the only person who could have landed the aeroplane as well as he did.

After those 40 minutes of action, we follow Whip as he deals with the press, court cases, alcoholism and drugs.

In conclusion, this is a interesting film and any fans of serious dramas who like twist and turns will love this. I doubt you will be able to see it as the in-flight movie.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

New Lumia joins the family

Earlier today the Nokia Lumia 620 was added to Nokia's Windows Phone family. It has a 3.8-inch display and a 5MP camera. Nokia likes making their Windows Phones completely customisable and that is why you can purchase interchangeable back covers for this phone.
Inside it has a snapdragon processing chip which makes it extremely fast and lag free.
One of the best things about this phone is the fact that you can download all of the cool Nokia apps like 'City Lens' and 'Nokia Maps'.

This phone is a lower end smartphone coming it at around £200 in the UK; it will be available on most carriers extremely soon.

Other Windows 8 Nokia Lumia's include the Lumia 820 and 920 which are both pretty expensive.

Monday, 4 February 2013

F1 2013 Cars

Over the last 2 weeks almost all of the 22 cars for the 2013 Formula 1 season were announced. The main announcements of the week were from McLaren and RedBull.
McLaren's new car is exactly the same to last years version apart from a slight change to the back wing - which all manufacturers have done to comply with the new 2013 rules (below). The new RedBull car has slightly different paintwork however apart from that, it is basically the same as last year.

Pictures via Sky Sports
2013 Rule changed (from Formula 1 website)

1) Weight - Due to changes in their structure, Pirelli's 2013 tyres are around 2kg heavier per set than in 2012, hence the car's minimum weight limit has been increased by the same amount, from 640 to 642kg. As a consequence, the weight-distribution requirement has also been revised to minimum figures of 292kg:343kg front to rear, leaving teams 7kg to play with.

2) Stepped noses - To mask the step in the car's nose (thought unattractive by many), teams are now allowed to place a non-structural 'vanity panel' over this area, the shape of which is strictly controlled by the regulations.
3) Front wing tests - To prevent them flexing, front wings now face a tougher deflection test, with a 1,000N (100kg) load applied at two different points on both the longitudinal and transverse axes. The amount the wing may deflect has been reduced from 20mm to 10mm.
4) Load and crash tests - More severe load tests for the roll structure have been introduced and the crash test requirements modified.
5) Survival cell - The side load test for the survival cell is more severe too, and it must be applied to all chassis produced by a team, rather than to a single example.
6) DRS - active 'double DRS' systems - Where the DRS activation mechanism is utilised for other purposes - are no longer allowed (only passive solutions are now considered legal). Also, DRS usage is now limited to the DRS zones in all sessions (previously it could be used anywhere during free practice and qualifying).

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Samsung Windows Phone 8 apps

Since Windows Phone 8 launched in October 2012, Nokia and HTC have been the main competitors; if you wanted a stylish phone with good integrated apps you would go and buy one of them. Samsung released its first Windows Phone 8 in August 2012 and it was a huge screened smartphone called the Ativ S. During CES 2013, Samsung announced a new Ativ S phone with a smaller screen called the Ativ Odyssey.
The hardware Samsung has made is standard yet expensive and unlike Nokia and HTC they haven't made any decent apps or software for their Windows Phones until now.

RSS Times made by Samsung
Samsung have updated 4 new apps, one of them is called 'RSS times'; it puts your Google Reader account into a stylish feed which looks a bit like Flipboard. I'll admit the app looks extremely professional compared to many other Windows Phone 8 apps and it is definitely a good rival to HTC's and Nokia's Windows Phone apps. This app is brilliant for writers, journalists and basically anyone who like keeping up with the latest news.

The second app Samsung has updated is called 'Mini Diary' which is basically a diary which can save your location, images, drawings and the days weather to the cloud so you can look back over your life like how you would with a real diary. Nobody wants anyone reading their diary and that is why you can even password lock this app so people can't go reading your personal thoughts.
Once again it is a beautiful app which works perfectly on Windows Phone 8.

'RSS Times' on the Samsung Ativ S
Both of these two apps use their live tiles to show the latest picture uploaded so you are constantly seeing a new photo. The 'RSS times' app even lets you have a custom lock screen which updates automatically with the latest picture in your Google Reader feed!

3rd app which Samsung has updated is their photo editing app which has always been pretty outstanding. It allows you to edit your photos or add effects to them which look similar to the filters on Instagram.

Finally, a brand new app Samsung has made in partnership with Collins Dictionary is, well, a dictionary. The app doesn't use the internet and it currently has around 300,000 words saved on it. Although this app's design isn't excellent it is one of the first dictionary's on Windows Phone so it is certainly something special.

In conclusion, all of these apps take advantage of the awesome possibilities Windows Phone 8 offers and I'm seriously considering a Samsung Ativ to be my next Windows Phone thanks to these unique apps.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Saturday 2nd February: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 2nd February 2013 and...

Embarrassing first week for Vine

Vine is a micro-video sharing app made by Twitter which allows you to watch and record 6-second videos which you can then share on Twitter and Facebook. It was launched last week and is currently only an iOS app however it has had a bumpy first week.
The week started off successfully with 3 app updates in the first 3 days of launch fixing minor bugs which may have occurred however after 3 days, we started to notice a huge boom in porn being uploaded to the app. Apple noticed this mid-week and ended up removing the app from the app store for about a hour for the porn to be removed.
There was so much porn being uploaded, for a short period of time an adult video even made it to the editors picks!
Vine still has a few bugs, I've noticed when using the app offline it is often slow and won't upload your Vine once you reconnect to the internet which is a huge shame for iPod Touch users.
A few celebrities have adopted the well built and easy to use app so I hope this app continues to be popular and successful for the next few months.

Windows Phone 7.8 starts rolling out
The much anticipated Windows Phone 7.8 started rolling out to Windows Phone 7.5 users all around the world. It is coming out slowly and it is unclear whether it is coming out to all Windows Phone users or just Nokia Lumia Windows Phone users.
The update allows users to resize their live tiles, have lock screens which update automatically via Bing and the update also brings more colours to set as your background.

Animal Pictures
I can't think of any more interesting news from this week so here are some animal pictures from the Telegraph:
Chester Zoo's  newest resident, a meerkat pup.The tiny newcomer has made its first public appearance after being hidden away in burrows by its parents since being born three weeks ago
American photographer Randy Rimland captured a male lion cub seeming to smile for the camera at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina. There is a surprising similarity to the wide grin of Carry On actor Sid James.
A 'crab's-eye' view of a laysan albatross taking off on a beach on the Pacific island of Midway Atoll