Friday, 23 November 2012

A Siri alternative - Maluuba

Siri has definitely been a game changer in the world of voice control on mobile devices and there are many similar apps being developed for other platforms.

I have recently come across a great app for Android called Maluuba which offers a number of Siri style functionality but also a lot more.

Maluuba can be downloaded from here

The interface is clean and simple to use and I was particularly impressed with the tiles on the explore tab.  Integration into  calendar and social network functionality is slick and worked well.

The voice interpretation is reliably accurate and generally understands my accent!

Maluuba is definitely an app that will be one of my favourites and offers excellent functionality.

I will post a more detailed review later.

Versus Touchpad 7 unboxing

Some people think I've turned to the dark side but I have bought an Android Tablet!

Versus Touchpad 7 from PC World (£99.99)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Night vision effect on iMovie

Do you like TV shows like "Most Haunted"?

Try out this tutorial on creating a fake night vision effect.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Running Android on the Raspberry Pi

Check out the video of Android running on my Pi here

I had my first boot of an Android system on my Raspberry Pi on Friday.  We have made many exciting uses of the Pi at home - programming, web use etc by running Android on the Pi (and therefore on the TV) would be a big step forward.

Back in July 2012 the first tentative mentions of Android running on the Pi were made.

Following the threads and links from Google I found these instructions at:

Step 1: Download an image (this was a compressed file) from 

Step 2: Extract the image file.

Step 3: Create the image file to a SD card (minimum 2GB) using dd or image writer which can be found here

Step 4: Boot!

Running a simple time-trial it took approximately 30 second to launch an Android welcome screen and then approximately another 5 minutes before the user interface appeared.  This sadly was too slow to be useable (at the moment).

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Long exposure firework photos taken in my garden

Here are a couple of long exposure photos of sparklers taken in my back garden using the Fuji FinePix S2995 from Jessops.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

How to bake a rich Christmas Cake

Looking for a tasty Christmas cake recipe?

5 eggs (large)
2lb dried fruit
0.5 pints sherry
1 ounce almonds
10 ounces soft margarine
10 ounces dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
12 ounces plain flour

Makes 9" round cake - cook for 4 hours at 150 degree centigrade.

Grease tin and line with a double layer of greased proof paper.  Tie brown paper around the tin and cut out two 9" circles of greased proof paper for later.

Soak fruit in sherry over night.  Chop nuts (if desired).

Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add beaten eggs gradually adding a little flour to prevent splitting.

Fold in the remainder of the flour and add the spice.

Stir in fruit and nuts and add to the baking tin.

Cook for two hours and then add a double layer of greased proof paper to prevent burning the top of the cake.

Test with a skewer in the centre of the cake to check that it has been cooked through.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Do you power nap?

Do you power nap?

Or to put it another way, does you MacBook Air power nap?

Power Nap is one of those great features that I think will be really useful and you probably won't notice is going on Mountain Lion.

Power Nap details from Apple support website

The settings for Power Nap can be found under the Energy Saver option in System preferences.

Power Nap will then automatically happen when the MacBook Air goes to sleep.

If you find the preference is not there do a software update to ensure that you have the latest SMC update.

The update can be manually accessed from:

Was Apple right to update the iPad only 6 months after the last update

So within 6 months we have gone from the iPad 3 to the iPad 4.  I was really surprised when this was announced earlier today at the Apple Special Event.

There are obvious hardware performance improvements and don't get me wrong, I think improving technology is great but ....

As a user of a now obsolete first generation iPad will the pace of change be such the iPad2 and possibly 3 will now become obsolete and no longer supported soon?

With tough economic times still here and ahead of us and with the desire of most Apple fans to keep upgrading are we now being (forced) into a very short refresh cycle?

Is this an issue of profit for Apple or a genuine desire to innovate and develop?

I would love to know what you think.

Apple special event - October 23rd 2012

I'm sat around my HDTV with my sons for the Apple Special Event (October 2012)

If you are reading this live - keep refreshing this page for news as it happens.

200 million devices running iOS6 - the fastest update rate of any software ever!

Document in the cloud - I use this every day and am starting to update documents on the cloud all the time.

iMessage - the best way to send a message over all the platforms.

Game centre - the best way the play games on the Mac or iOS device.

Shared photo streams - a really great way to share photos, in month over 70 million photos shared.

App store - 700,000 apps in the app store with 275,000 iPad apps.  Customers love the apps and have downloaded 35 billion apps.

iBooks one of the most popular apps on the app store - literally hundreds of books where you go! Is there a new iBook coming soon?

Everythig so far has hinted at the competition and is really what Apple are doing in competition.

Are we about to release a competition for the Amazon Kindle Fire.

New version available today (some one shouts out cool)

The Mac

The Mac continues to outgrow the PC market and is consistently named as number 1 computer for reliability as is now the number 1 computer and notebook in the US.  They are really pleased with the continued momentum with the Mac.

New Macs coming today.

Phil Schiller

The new 13 inch MacBook Pro - great bit of hardware, really thin 20% thinner, weighs 3.75 pounds, really light. Two thunderbolts, USB3 and a host of other ports, Retina Display, amazing display -4x more pixels. It is amazing. FaceTime HD camera, dual mics, and stereo speakers. 7 hour battery, i5 or i7 processors -all flash memory. Powernap - updates including backup to timecapulse. $1699 TODAY!

Mac mini

(something called mini in this presentation)

Now has SD card and more USB3 ports. Dual or quad i5, different config models starting at $599 and $999 for a server. Ships today.

The iMac

Great design,  stated in 1998 with the Bondi Blue iMac - update, update with 7 generations. The next generation iMac - impossibly thin, about the same thickness of a tablet!  Stunning from every side, edge to edge glass. 5mm at the edge. Amazing engineering - super strong and thin! Removed the optical drive. 21.5 and 27 inch displays. Fully laminated and anti reflected. 75% less reflected. Face time HD, stereo speaker and microphone. Headphone, SD, 4 USB. Can choose HDD or flash for better performance.

Fusion drive 128GB flash and 1 or 3 TB HDD  fused in one drive. Intelligent movement of files from flash to HDD. $1299 - ships in November 2012.

That completes the announcement for iMac.

Next iPad.

100,000,000 million iPads now sold. This is just under 2.5 years and as a new product in a new sector . New tablets announced almost daily. 90% of traffic comes from an iPad.

Why is iPad so great?

People love their iPads, the love the big display, the fast response, the front camera for FaceTime and the rear camera. People love the connectivity and the all day battery life.  Users live all the apps to help them work, play, create and learn.

iPads have become a real game changer in education - the possibilities are endless. iBooks textbooks created with iBooks author are used in 2500 classrooms.

A new version of iBooks author launched today with updates including fonts, formula. Multitouch widgets and book updates. Free download on Mac App store.

iPad is doing more and more in business.

We announced iPad 3 earlier this year and this now the top selling iPad.

Here comes Phill with a new announcement:

Here we are 6 months later announcing the 4th generation iPad.

iPad A6X processor, double graphics performance, next generation ISP, 10 hours of battery life. HD FaceTime camera. LTE performance, 2x faster WIFI, lightening connector, USB and SD card, HDMI and VGA connectors, retina display, black and white, 16 GB $499.

Here it is the iPad mini - it exists!

What can you do?

New design, not just shrunken down, really thin, beautiful from every angle, really fits in one hand.

7.2 mm thin
0.68 lbs
Black and white
Screen size - 7.9" 1024x768 - everything works!
FaceTime HD phone calls
Great work for iWork and iLife

Better than the iPad 2

A5 chip
FaceTime HD camera
5MP iSight camera on back

The iPad mini has been announced so how much will it cost?

Every inch an iPad - lots of new colour smart covers.

16GB and wifi $329

Pre-order from Friday with WIFI shipping a week later.

2012 - a great year of innovation,

Lots of new products, iOS, Mountain Lion, Cloud based services.

Thanks to everyone who works for us and with us.

For more thoughts and analysis head over to

Google deleted Adsense on my account

Sad afternoon,

Google deleted Adsense on my account but they don't actually say why!

I'm a little concerned that there was no warning and it just happened.

I'm fairly sure that I am honest and have not abused the system.

I would love to know if anyone else has had a similar experience.

Monday, 22 October 2012

God of the Old Testament and WAR!

Listened to a great talk tonight on what we should think about war as Christians.

Joshua 6:15-27 (NIV)On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. [16] The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! [17] The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. [18] But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. [19] All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury." [20] When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. [21] They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it---men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. [22] Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the prostitute's house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her. " [23] So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. [24] Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord's house. [25] But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho---and she lives among the Israelites to this day. [26] At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: "Cursed before the Lord is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: "At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gates." [27] So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

This is a difficult as poses the question what should we think about war in the old Testament.

Idea 1: Don't we believe in a God who says love your enemies?

How do we square this or simply ignore the difficult bits in the Old Testament.

This passages challenges us with who we think God is.

This is a very brutal and violet story. We must be aware that the Bible is brutal in places.

If God is a God of love how can He do something like this?

What does this actually mean? What is God's love actually like? For example parental love is not all fluffy and Disney-ish and has to say "NO!" and trains and directs.  This is not a soft wispy-washy love.

What would we turn out like if God gave us everyone we wanted and with no boundaries?

We should expect God to say NO! And to deal with us in ways we would not want.

We should be able to find passages in the Bible where God  corrects people.

Habakkuk 1:1-4 (NIV)The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received. [2] How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save? [3] Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. [4] Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

God says ...

Habakkuk 1:5-6 (NIV)"Look at the nations and watch---and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. [6] I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.

God used the Babylonians to punish His people.

God shows love that redeems through pain.  God's love can be seen to be harsh (at that moment)

God can use tough times to challenge and discipline us.

Idea 2: Does God always do it like that?

In other passages God deals with other tribes in different ways.

Joshua 9:26-27 (NIV)So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. [27] That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the Lord at the place the Lord would choose. And that is what they are to this day.

Wiping out people is not always God's big plan.  There was a reason though in Joshua 6.

This goes all the way back to Genesis 15:16

Genesis 15:16 (NIV)In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."

The sin of the Amorities had reached its full measure in Joshua 6.

It is now too late - there is a reason,  Time has run out.

This makes Joshua 6 abut unique.  God is a God of justice.  There has been 400 years to sort things out but justice has come for the Amorites.

God's justice is descending.

Idea 3: Giving the 'first' to God.

Exodus 13:2-10 (NIV)"Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal." [3] Then Moses said to the people, "Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast. [4] Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving. [5] When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites---the land he swore to your forefathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey---you are to observe this ceremony in this month: [6] For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord. [7] Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. [8] On that day tell your son, `I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.' [9] This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. [10] You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.

God brings the Israelites to Jericho - this is the first city defeated and is the first fruit for God.

Joshua 6:21 (NIV)They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it---men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

Who won this battle? God did, it was a battle of faith that only had one winner.

This was God's battle - it was His to win.

Still confused?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Christopher (age 4) sings a lovely harvest song

This is sooo cute.

Christophe (age 4) sings a lovely song about Harvest.

Hope you enjoyed it!

The iClock

What do you do with a broken MacBook which you once loved?

Recycle it of course!

Here is step 1 - the iClock made from the lid of the case.

Check out the video below.

For more tech goodness head over to:

Monday, 8 October 2012

An update to OSX Mountain Lion to 10.8.2

A small update today for Mountain Lion

Not too exciting and no major new functionality.

For more tech news, reviews and videos go to

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Looking forward to North Petherton Carnival 2012

I am really looking forward to North Petherton Carnival (2012) this year.  This is for may reasons mostly because I get to see my parents and I love Carnival.

2011 was a difficult year for Carnival with the tragic road accident that killed and injured so many people on the M5.  I think it is important that 2012 happens and in some way honours all those people from the emergency services on the scene that night and afterwards.

I have made this short video out of my many photos from previous Carnivals as a tribute to all the amazing people who give up so much time, effort and money for this awesome spectacular show.

Here's to 2012.

Inspired by a tweet by Vicky Beeching - what is Church 2.0?

As both a member of the congregation and a planning team member for a weekly service at my local church we have been thinking recently about the purpose and core values of our service.

After reading a tweet from Vicky Beeching this morning about Church 2.0 I've thought more about what Church 2.0 looks like.

The first trap I think we sometimes fall into is in thinking that it is about style and presentation.  If you don't have video projection, powerpoint or video clips you must be still stuck at Church 1.0.

For me Church should be about encountering God, engaging with God and being equipped to serve God in our daily life.

How does look like in a Church 2.0 service?

Engagement and interaction

  • Do I get a chance to talk with others around me about questions and issues?
  • Is there an opportunity to feed back ideas to the leader during the service to shape some of the thoughts and teaching?
  • Is there an opportunity to cater for different learning styles?
     I am a visual learner but others may be more 
    kinaesthetic and want something to do practically with their hands

Encountering with God

  • How is the service shaped to facilitate my encounter with God during the service?
  • Is there an expectation that we will meet with God in a real and tangible way which is authentic and not forced.


  • Do we go to Church with the expectation that we will come away different?
  • Does a Church 2.0 service aspire to send out differently to serve in a more efficient / better equipped way?
  • Are these services more practical in their outcomes?  

When Web2.0 came along many people asked what is the difference?  It is about social media, interaction, connectivity and communities?

Does Church 2.0 mean great connection through social media and online communication, greater interaction both within the service and beyond, more connectivity and strengthening communities?  Does the vicar need a twitter account?

Interesting times ahead....

Saturday, 6 October 2012

What's on my Mac?

I often get asked what apps I have on my Mac so here is my latest 'what's on my Mac video'

Friday, 5 October 2012

What my son (age 8) thinks of the Raspberry Pi

I asked Philip (age 8) what he thinks of the Raspberry Pi.

Checkout his answer on the video below: