Archive for the 'Tech' Category

Jul 22 2008

WordPress for iPhone

Published by under Digital,Tech

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Writing this on the newly-released WordPress for iPhone app. Seems to work ok, although it’s more than a little basic.

Can’t quite figure out how to enter links, although I’m assuming that will show up as a hyperlink on screen.

Preview mode is very good, although doesn’t show your photos.

Attaching photos seems to work ok, given the limitations of the iPhone’s rubbish camera. Below, if it works, is the view from my window just now – the G-Wagen, fading perhaps but still King of Moscow’s urban jungle. Incidentally, four went past in as many minutes.

No copy and paste, of course, which – along with the lack of links – has to be the major limitation.

All in all, a pretty good effort. If I were liveblogging an event, for example, this would be pretty handy.

And it’s free. I’d pay for more features, though. Comment management, perhaps, or decent implementation of MarsEdit.

Thanks, WordPress. I look forward to the next version.


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Jul 20 2008

Pwning all over the world

Published by under Digital,Russia,Tech

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iPwn.jpgI’m not the only one to have been on tenterhooks for the last week or so following the release of Apple’s iPhone 2.0 update. Today, in what I reckon is a pretty impressive timescale, the iPhone Dev Team released their ‘Pwnage 2.0′ tool – enabling those of us outside Apple’s tightly-controlled set of official carriers to once again unlock our ‘phones and start playing with the new software. Thanks, guys.

It’s good, too. Some of the new applications are very impressive, and the whole thing feels that bit more polished.

But that’s not what this entry’s about.

This morning I headed over to Gorbushka in search of an 802.11n card for my Mac Mini.What I did find, all over the place, was Pwnage 2.0. Barely a few hours after its release, Moscow’s iPhone industry is happily upgrading, unlocking and jailbreaking like it’s September 2007, and making a healthy profit in the process.

Globalisation and free enterprise. You gotta love it.

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Jul 11 2008

It’s tough being a fanboy

Published by under Digital,Media,Tech

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It’s only been a month since WWDC. Only a month since the hardly-news-really launch of the 3G iPhone and Apple’s new ‘MobileMe’ service. But in that short space of time, the hype has reached fever pitch.


The new App Store, according to TUAW, will completely revolutionise, erm, everything. The iPhone 2.0 update will, so Apple tells us, salve the phone-envy of those of us stuck with the oh-so-out-of-date 2G iPhone. MobileMe will be, like, like only better. (anyone remember iTools?) And the new ‘phone itself, far from being the handset we should have had all along, is so much more than the sum of all its parts.


Instead, it’s been a pretty rotten day for Steve & Co.

MobileMe has been up and down more times than the Grand Old Duke of York’s ten thousand men. And, as the song goes, it appears to now be neither up nor down.

O2′s Activation Servers for the new phone crumbled under the pressure. Same story at AT&T, apparently. And the iTunes App Store.


As for the hacking / fanboy community, some early birds have nabbed the 2.0 firmware off Apple’s Servers and promptly found that they have to downgrade again because their phone wants reactivating. Surprise surprise. Meanwhile the devteam are tantalising their readers into a pant-wetting frenzy of anticipation as the next version of ‘pwnage’ approaches.

Take a chill pill, guys.

It’ll all be working fine in a week or so. Is it really so important to have it all now now now? Perhaps The Register puts it best:


for the moment the best advice is probably to relax for a few days and get the update once things have calmed down. We promise not to tell anyone you weren’t at the cutting edge for 48 hours


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Jul 01 2008

Links of the … how long’s it been?

Published by under Comms,Digital,Media,Misc,Politics,Tech

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I’ve been very remiss in sharing links lately. With apologies, here’s a few highlights:

EFI-x – run OS X on any old PC. Hardware issues here we come – but if it works on a tiny Vaio I’ll be tempted

Why “Old Etonian Simon Mann” is a twit – Gill Hornby in the Telegraph. Brilliantly insightful.

Charles Crawford on public sector and public service mawkishness. Priorities indeed.

Happy Birthday iPhone. Still loving mine, despite the awful camera. Interesting predictions here from The Reg.

Two great posts from Lords of the Blog. Compulsory voting – with (and only with) a box for ‘declared abstention’ – has been a hobby-horse of mine for some time. Not just for our (elected) representatives, but for all of us. Reading these convinces me even more. But would the electorate wear it?

Intel says ‘no’ to Vista. Me too.

Does anyone ever use ‘sharing buttons?’ asks Simon. I suspect he’s right. In fact I’d go a little further – do the majority of web users actually use the likes of Digg on a regular basis? Or is it just for small groups of like-minded geeks?

Stairway to Brand Heaven (or Hell) from David Armano, via Steve Clayton. A picture telling a thousand words – again.

… and finally, a little Aussie humour from Theo.

More later, perhaps.

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Jun 13 2008

Civil Serf – gone but not forgotten?

Published by under Comms,Digital,Media,Politics,Tech

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Interesting missive received through my ‘contact’ page the other day:

Dear James,

I understand from one of your posts that “Thanks to Google Reader, I have all of Civil Serf’s posts from some point in December onward”

I found myself in the same position as Civil Serf and was hoping that you know exactly what happened to her. Was she disciplined? What was the outcome? Has any light been shed on the whole civil servant blogging issue?

Would also be grateful if you could provide me with some of her posts to use as examples in my case.

Kind regards,

There was a name at the bottom, but I’ve edited it out for obvious reasons. Let’s call him / her (for it was an ambiguous name) Bob.

I sent what I thought was quite a helpful (if a little sceptical) reply to ‘Bob’:


Sorry to hear of your troubles.

At this stage, and please forgive me for being blunt, I have a suspicion you might be a journalist on a fishing expedition – there’s been a lot of interest in the Civil Serf story. But, assuming you’re not, I’d be interested to hear some more background, although I’m not sure I can be of any real assistance.



Haven’t heard back from him / her.

So was I too suspicious?

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Jun 09 2008

70/194 ain’t bad

Published by under Music,Tech

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Engadget brings us some niftly liveblogging from WWDC, including shots of some of the slides to which Steve treated the MacFaithful.


Here, for example, are the seventy countries – in red – where the brand-new, 3G iPhone (with GPS) will be available later this year.

Spot the big green one?

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May 18 2008

Dad, where does Lego come from?

Published by under Misc,Tech

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This is fantastic. Making of a Brick

(Via Tom Watson.)

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May 11 2008

I think, therefore iPhone?

Published by under Tech

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07052008123.jpgSo I finally got my iPhone. After a few days of fruitless visits to Manhattan’s three Apple Stores, and AT&T ‘sales’ staff being downright rude, I figured a bit of ‘When in Rome’ was in order.

So I put an ad in Craigslist.

Quite a surprising response over the ensuing 12 hours. Most of them fell into two categories:

“Yeah, I got an iPhone, meet me in such-and-such a dark alley in Harlem and me and my buddies will relieve you of your wallet”


I have an iPhone, no box, no charger, no accessories just the phone, and I need to shift it in the next half-hour, it’s not stolen though, honest.

Amongst these, though, I found my shiny silver-and-black toy thanks to a very nice young lady called Katie. A few hours and a less-than-retail fistful of dollars later, and I had my ‘phone – swiftly unlocked thanks to ZiPhone. And you know what? I love it. The screen, the OS, the functionality – consider me converted. But I’m not quite ready to throw my N95 in the bin yet.

Why? I guess because, in its current form, the iPhone just isn’t quite there yet. My Nokia N95 shoots video, has GPS and a much better camera; the iPhone has a bigger screen, Google maps, various other frills but, more to the point, it has that interface which makes everything so much more useable – and makes the N95 feel so dated and clunky.

My timing’s lousy, of course (probably as lousy as the iPhone’s camera). The 8gb iPhone has, we think, been end-of-lined. The iphone rumour mill, in its many forms, talks of 3G, GPS, 32gb and all sorts of other possibilities as early as next week. There’s no 3G here, so that doesn’t really bother me. But GPS and a better camera would very probably tip the scales.

For now, though, I’m pretty chuffed with my new purchase – even as last week’s ‘phone, it’s still a pretty smart piece of kit.

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May 05 2008

But I just want my iPhone, Charlie.

Published by under Tech

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Lola appleNEW YORK.  We’ve been planning this trip for ages.  We’ve many purposes for being here – catching up with my big sister, shopping, sightseeing, and simply a much-needed break from Moscow.  And, of course, a visit to the Apple Store.

One of the possible motivations of said visit was to finally buy myself an iPhone.  I’ve been swithering for ages, but perhaps it’s finally time to give in to temptation.  

I’d tried to source one in the UK a couple of weeks ago, after O2 and Carphone Warehouse dropped the price of the 8GB model.  No joy – they’d sold out before I could get one.  No worries, I thought, I’ll get one in New York.

Apple Store, 5th Avenue, Saturday evening:  no iPhones.  So we left with a black MacBook and an Airport Express instead.  They may or may not be getting more in during the week (and I’ll be back for some more AirPort bits anyway).

AT&T store, TImes Square:  Yes, we have iPhones, but you’ll have to activate (and sign a contract) in-store.  Er … no thanks.  Oh, and the assistant was perhaps the rudest person I’ve encountered since we got here.

Perhaps I’m fated not to have one.  Perhaps I should be sensible and wait for the imminent 3G update.  But Russia doesn’t have 3G, so unless the update brought with it either GPS or a much better camera, I could live without it.  And there’s always the possibility that the update will break the existing unlocking tools.

Yesterday afternoon we were out and about in Central Park.  Strange absence of maps and signage – for us foreigners it’s rather easy to get lost.  Unless you’ve got a cellphone with Sat-Nav.  Perhaps my N95′s not quite so useless after all.  It takes good photos, too.

But, with apologies to the kids’ favourite TV show,

I just want my iPhone, Charlie …

confession:  that’s not an apple Lola’s holding, it’s a tomato.
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May 02 2008

Shutdown Day

Published by under Tech

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logo_en.gifSteve mentioned a while ago that tomorrow is Shutdown Day.

Given that I’ll be spending most of the day in the air, that’s alright by me. Can I leave the Mac Mini running to record Battlestar Galactica, though?

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