Weekend Reading: 13th July 2013
July 13th, 2013
Some worthwhile reads from around the web.
It’s the weekend. Why not grab a coffee and put your feet up? We’ll take a look at some of the best reads from the week.
- Snapcat: The app that lets cats take photos of themselves – Daily Mail
The Daily Mail reports on a fun app called “Snapcat”. It’s apparently designed to allow cats to take photos of themselves. The application works by showing virtual bouncing lasers and moving dots on the display. Cats are encouraged to chase the dot – upon tapping the screen a self-portrait is taken. In case you wanted to give it a go, the app costs 69p from the Google Play Store.
- Instaweather – Google Play Store
If you’ve been using Instagram during the scorching weather this week, try using Instaweather to capture your next photo. It’ll overlay your photo with the current weather conditions. A great way to show off about the 30 degree heat.
- Tell me everything about you: What’s next in Quantified Self? – The Next Web
Nowadays, we have smartphones and other fitness accessories that can track our every move. These accessories record information such as how far we walk, how well we sleep and how far we travel in motorised vehicles. This article looks at how “quantifiable self” applications are changing the way we live. As with many other people, I have no qualms about using an application or an accessory to track my daily routine. Though some of the imagined future possibilities sound a little scary. When “quantified self” becomes routine, it’s possible medical insurance companies will ask us to track ourselves in exchange for a lower insurance premium. We’re already seeing it for car insurance where many young drivers have installed a GPS tracking device in exchange for lower premiums. Would you be happy for a medical insurance company to monitor you?
- Be More Dog – O2
If you haven’t seen O2’s latest advertising campaign, go and check it out here on YouTube. It’s a lot of good fun. We had pony adverts from Three earlier this year. Now it’s a dog advert from O2. What’s next?
- SIM Free vs Contract: How much does that cheap smartphone really cost? – OECD Insights
The OECD published a report this week looking into the real cost of buying a smartphone. As regular readers know, there are two ways of buying a smartphone. The first is to buy your smartphone on a 24-month contract. You’ll get the handset for free or for a reduced price. The remaining cost of the handset is then mortgaged and split up over 24 months. It’s part of your monthly bill. The second way to buy a smartphone is to do it SIM-free (e.g. from Amazon). Whilst you pay more upfront, you’ll benefit from low cost SIM only deals. The total cost over 24 months will often work out to be less than getting a contract. In the OECD study, they look at the mobile market in several countries. The good news is that the UK does incredibly well compared to our peers. We have low costs for mobile subscriptions and a healthy choice of SIM only deals. Much of this is thanks to the smaller operators: Three, Virgin, Tesco and giffgaff. They’ve created a lot of competition and contributed to lower costs across the industry.
- Vodafone under fire over per-minute charges change – BBC News
From August 1st, Vodafone Pay As You Go customers will be charged per minute. At present, Vodafone charges 25p/minute but this is on a “per second” basis (minimum charge of 25p). From August onwards, the length of calls will be rounded up to the nearest minute (e.g. a 61 second call will be charged at 2 minutes). On average, you’ll pay an extra 12p for every call. If you’re affected, take a look at Three’s new 321 tariff. Calls will cost only 3p/minute: a huge saving on Vodafone’s charge of 25p/minute.
- Review of Nokia Lumia 1020: Windows Phone with 41 Megapixel Camera – giffgaff
Nokia announced the Lumia 1020 on Thursday. It’s a Windows Phone 8 device with a 41-megapixel PureView camera. The benefits of having a high-resolution camera are reduced amounts of noise and 3x lossless zoom.
- How elite security ninjas choose and safeguard their passwords – Ars Technica
Ars Technica talks to a couple of security experts and asks them how they manage their passwords. Most experts say they use a long and unique password for each site. These passwords are difficult to remember so they use a password manager application to store them. Examples include LastPass and 1Password. The passwords can be stored on a USB flash drive, on your laptop or in the cloud. The passwords should also be protected with a master password. This provides protection in case your computer is stolen.
- This Digital Telescope Will Blow Your Mind – Fast Company
At £25/person, a “View from the Shard” is one of the more expensive attractions in London. This article from The Fast Company takes a look at the high-tech digital telescopes at the top of The Shard. As you turn the telescope and explore London, you can switch between “Live” mode and a selection of three augmented reality views. Regardless of what the weather’s like outside, the augmented reality views give you a glimpse of London during the day, during sunset and at night. These snapshots have already been taken. The telescope also provides extra information on the buildings you see.
- Word Heat Map of London – Yelp
A heat map of London based on reviews at Yelp. The heat map show areas associated with certain words in a business review. There’s some fascinating insights – for instance hipsters tend to congregate around the Shoreditch/Old Street area. Posh restaurants are typically found in Mayfair whereas cheaper restaurants are just a stone’s throw away in Chinatown and Leicester Square.
My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.
Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.