Pheed

When new social media platform Pheed launched three months ago, it took mere days for Forbes to confidently propose it as a Twitter rival and serious threat to the social media landscape. And indeed, with its celebrity endorsements from the get-go and inarguable new media pedigree (Pheed is self-funded and founded by CEO and new media entrepreneur, O.D. Kobo), it certainly seems like the precocious kid on a daunting block. But while Pheed has won the popularity contest user-wise (350,000 unique visitors in its first few days and big-name advocates such as Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus touting its wares) and impressed with its tech credentials (the iPhone app made Apple’s top apps chart within a month), critical reception has been divisive. I’ve been speaking with the man behind this hyped machine, O.D. Kobo, to get the additive-free view of its motivations and aims.

As the ultimate mix of all your favourite flavours (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube), many people will wonder in the first instance, of course, if it is even necessary, and what, if anything, it can offer that is fresh to the table. Pooling these micro-mediums in the wake of Google+’s infamous tumbleweed disappointment and MySpace’s dubious resurrection may seem risky at best, but Kobo believes Pheed holds the user-based temptations to succeed where these others have faltered. The most obvious and unique difference is its in-built business model, whereby users (Pheeders) may charge for access to content. The platform would then take 50% of the fees made from either the monthly subscription or pay-per-view options, but what Kobo does stress is that this is entirely optional on the otherwise-free service and that first and foremost it is an alternative, all-inclusive, social media platform. What he also stresses is that the motivation is neither financial nor egotistical; it was never, he states, launched as a rival to Twitter, Facebook et al, as has been reported, and he seems genuinely happy for the business model to fall secondary to what is essentially an invention born of user-based frustration.

And it is this frustration that has led to the tweaking of the converged mediums for what he believes will be the ultimate user experience. Where Pheed may not necessarily be covering any groundbreaking territory just yet, the Pheedees appear to be striving to perfect platform functionality, adding social elements where otherwise lacking and providing optimal technical response with, for example, greater video conversion rates. There is also the option to copyright Pheeds, more open social integration (Pheedback) and extended character chatability (420 v Twitter’s 140.) And in light of the recent fallout from Instagram’s lambasted licensing announcement, greater user control will doubtless be hugely welcomed. In addition, Pheed is currently closed to new user sign-ups (both app and web sign-ups will be available again shortly) while it takes stock of feedback, adjusts, and rolls out extra tech goodies like the forthcoming Android app and image filters.

But can it be as delicious as it seems? Potentially, yes, and after all, what’s not to like about a free platform that offers your favourites, user-polished, with emphasis on creator-controlled and potentially-monetized content? For me, one thing: it’s hard to see the gold for the glitter. Kobo refutes any press insinuations that celebrity endorsements have been paid for, but rather that it was grassroots product-plugging and word-of-mouth that gained this startup notoriety. But with honest product belief and an open embrace from big-draw names, I can’t help but fear pandering to such a demographic and, therefore, an image, could be detrimental to Pheed; one’s aesthetic or cultural meat is another’s poison, and never is this truer than in the fickle world of media where connotations can be a seriously damaging force. What has clearly been instrumental in garnering Pheed all-important noise and swift growth may conversely prove to be its fatal detraction as, after all, a celebrity feeding frenzy isn’t going to be what brings everybody to the social media table. But with Instagram cooking up a recipe for disaster and Instagram-owning Facebook continuing to actively disrespect all concerned with its perilous ‘too big to fail’ attitude, and Pheed vigorously bucking this with its open and attentive approach, Pheeding time could be now.

https://www.pheed.com/

https://twitter.com/Pheed


Digital Harinezumi 2

In a time where technology allows everything to be captured in super sharp high definition. Many look back at the hazy imagery of the past with nostalgia (If their old enough) and envy (If they are not). There's something calming and innately artistic in the grain and colour imbalance found in old images and film. Lomography is becoming ever more popular and now Superhead have produced a new version of their Digital Harinezumi camera which allows the user to capture images somewhat akin to the old 8mm camera's of the past, as well as lomo like snaps. aesthetically its form resembles that of the old 110 film that was a popular choice for home snaps in the 70's and early 80's. For those that want that retro feel without the retro hassle of purchasing film and getting it developed the Digital Harinezumi 2 looks to be a great choice.

Make sure you check out Superheadz Youtube channel an the footage shot with teh camera on Vimeo

www.superheadz.com/digitalharinezumi


Navigon 6350 Live

 

Latemag went to The Gadget Show Live last week and to make sure we actually got there, we test drove the Navigon 6350 Live, which pleased to say, got us there hunky dory and I was also mightily impressed with the wizzy extras and subtle attention to detail that made the 6350 Live a far superior unit to my old sat nav (no names mentioned).

The Navigon 6350 Live isn’t just your typical satellite navigation to help map-challenged folk get from A-B. It also features Navigon’s Live Services, providing you with real time information from traffic updates to the nearest car parks with available spaces. The Live Services are provided via a separate module which is plugged into the main unit. This makes the Live Services optional which is actually beneficial as the service is free of charge for the first 3 months, after which time it will set you back £56 per year if you renew in the first 30 days of use, or £75 thereafter. Whilst some of the Live features are a bit gimmicky (Weather Live, I can see its raining thanks), the Live Traffic is extremely useful as the unit will suddenly announce that the road you are travelling down has congestion a few miles ahead and will then proceed to calculate another route for you if you wish to avoid the bottleneck – for those even mildly adverse to sitting in traffic jams this feature alone is well worth £56 per year.

Like the majority of sat navs, the Navigon 6350 has a touch screen interface and a large flat screen (4.3" touchscreen in 16 : 9 format) so sausage fingered folk need not worry about any fiddly finger work to operate. When you first type in your chosen destination the unit will calculate a number of different routes for you to choose from. This is a nifty feature as it allows you to not be completely at the whimsical mercy of an orientation device, many of which typically seem to take perverse pleasure in sending you the long way round. Once you have selected your route, next you can choose which view you would like to use. If the traditional “flat map” view doesn’t tickle your fancy, there is the Panorama View 3D which shows you the landscape you are travelling through in 3D i.e. mountains and valleys or the City View 3D which shows you the city scape with all the buildings in their full 3D glory. Or perhaps you would rather use the Landmark 3D view, which points out interesting tourist attractions along route. To be honest I found the 3D views a bit distracting but that may be because I’m not use to them, but besides we actually needed to arrive at the Gadget Show Live in time for the press preview morning so experimenting with 3D views didn’t seem like a good idea. 

Once you set off on your journey, a nice polite lady purrs directions, turnings and useful information at you, such as which lane you need to be in before a junction (liked that a lot). However despite being mostly calm and helpful she can be a bit melodramatic at times – forthcoming speed cameras result in sinister warnings of “Beware!” and approaching corners incur shivering exclamations of “Danger!” It got to the point where we were in fits of giggles and wondering whether our sat nav would feel more at home navigating us through a haunted house instead. Though I must not tease too much as the voice capabilities of the Navigon 6350 are really quite impressive. The text-to-speech function means that names of roads/streets are actually vocally announced and all the main functions of the device can be operated through voice commands. Because there is also built in blue-tooth, you can connect your mobile phone to the Navigon 6350 meaning you can conveniently and safely access your address book via the display, and make calls, including by using the voice commands. This really does make the unit’s safety credentials pretty good as it goes a long way to minimising the amount of time you need to take your eyes off the road to follow directions, give commands or make phone calls. 

Another great feature is the fact you can use the unit for pedestrian navigation  (can see the Landmark 3D view being more useful here, say if you were walking round London looking for the typical tourist traps). There is even the capability to record the location of where you have parked your car so you can easily find it again (I didn’t test this but as someone who regularly looses their automobile I can see this being a God send). 

In the box are the unit itself, the Live module, an in car charger, a velvet carry pouch and the windscreen holder. The windscreen holder is a quite a chunky fellow and I was a bit worried about it being able to stay put. However there is the ability to use an allen key to tighten the suction pad really tightly to the windscreen which actually makes it really robust – it didn’t fall off once. The instruction manual that comes with the unit is on the light side but you can find further instructions on Navigon’s website as well as all the map updates.

Overall I was genuinely impressed with the Navigon 6350 Live as although the unit seems slightly on the pricey side at £279.99, I would say it really is packed with useful features that really do make it stand out from the crowd and justify the price tag. 


 

“Rocket” is the recently launched brand by two young Italian designers from Milan, specialising in manufacturing distinctly original home decor items particularly products that present common objects in a new light. Their motto is that design should be fun, original and unconventional but also affordable whilst still encapsulating that “Made in Italy” style and quality. 

 Their debut collection comprises of 10 designs which draw strong inspiration from their common infatuation for rock n roll and disco culture. The designs are fun, vibrant and playful (I am particularly liking the Audio Cassette Desk Shelf) and stay true to their motto. 

You can catch them at the Milan Furniture Fair 2010 (Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano), 14th – 19th April, or if you’re not swinging past that neck of the woods you can find out more and see the whole collection via their website www.rocketdesign.it

 


Predator Lamp Table holding a Laser Gun

Predator Lamp Table holding Nunchucks

Predator Lamp Table holding Nunchucks

Predator Lamp Table holding Nunchucks

Saw these at The Gadget Show Live and thought they where rather cool. Each lamp table stands 75cm and is welded to a chequer-plate base for added stability. The detailing incorporates bearings, nuts, springs, cogs, bolts, chains and steel fabrication.

With a new Predator movie on the way, it's the perfect time to get on for the sci-fi fan who thought they had it all.

Pick yours up from ProMech Racing


Motorola Milestone

For the past week I’ve been test driving Motorola’s Milestone and devouring of all its nutritious Android goodness. Here’s the lowdown...

Aesthetics & Build

The first thing that strikes you when you take the Milestone out of the box is the weight. As one of the heavy weights in the Android market, the Milestone weighs in at 165g but it only takes you a second to realise that this is down to muscle rather than blubber. The cold smooth metal casing and robust pull-out QWERTY keyboard may add weight, but are also a reflection of the top-notch build quality. And besides, it’s hardly fat at 13.7mm thick. Suddenly that 165g is a sturdy reassurance that the Milestone is going to take all the Android abuse your nifty thumbs can throw at it.

The overall design is a mix of austere industrialism and 80’s retro, which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but perhaps a smart move on Motorola’s part, capturing the love of all things 80’s that pop culture is awash with today.

The 3.7"; WVGA (480 x 854 pixels); 16:9 widescreen TFT dominates the front of the phone, the only other features are 4 touch menu buttons and a somewhat peculiar overhanging lip on the bottom or right hand side, depending whether you are holding the handset vertically or horizontally. Visually it looks a little strange and you do wonder why it’s there; a design decision or a hardware necessity? On closer inspection the “lip” does actually contain the microphone, so one assumes it was a brains rather than beauty feature.  Still they say beauty is based on symmetry and if that rings true for you, the Milestone’s off-kilt lip may be a turn off.

Functionality

Well being an Android handset, the real selling point is the wonderful world of widgets, apps and games that are only a click or two away. But for those not wanting to compromise on traditional phone features, the Milestone doesn’t disappoint here either. In terms of messaging, the Milestone will happily text, email and voicemail. Entertainment is fully covered with the Media and Music player supporting all the usual suspects i.e. MP3, WAV, MPEG-4. Imaging whilst not the best spec on the market, will still be perfectly satisfying for all but the keenest photographer, with a 5MP camera, 4x digital zoom and video capture of DVD quality up to 24fps ; D1 (720x480) resolution. For the more pragmatic amongst you, there’s an alarm clock (featuring the most  alarming noises I’ve heard in a while, perhaps translating that functional requirement a tad too literally), a calendar and flight mode. There’s built in GPS, Google maps and direction support for those of you prone to getting lost. Oh, and did I mention you can use it as a phone too (tongue now in cheek).

The availability of the Android apps really is the winner though. Literally hours of fun (I would highly recommend a healthy dose of nostalgia in the brilliant ConnectFour). Social Media addicts will love the Tweetcaster and Fbook apps.

Motorola Milestone

Usability

The Milestone uses Android 2.0, Google’s operating system for mobile phones. Apart from the 4 permanent touch buttons on the screen casing, the majority of the navigation and menu options are controlled through the touch screen. This can take a little bit of getting use to, especially to newbies. Whilst you are finding your touch screen feet, it can be a little frustrating when you intend to scroll but accidently open a menu item. Zooming in and out of browser windows and maps with a “pinching and expanding” motion is quite nifty and makes for quick and easy browsing.

The general premise of the menu system is that you have a “home page” on which you can make short cut icons to your favourite/most used menu options. Then there is a swipe out menu containing all your menu items (which can get quite busy depending on how many apps/games/widgets you have downloaded from the Android market place). You tap the menu item to open it, then hit the menu button (one of the 4 permanent buttons on the screen casing) to open the sub menu, or options. Generally speaking the interface is intuitive however there are instances where it can be tricky. For example, if you want to send a text message to a contact in your phone, you need to go to “Contacts” and not “Messages”. If you go directly into messages you need to know the recipients number off by heart as there isn’t a link to your Contacts that way round, which isn’t all that logical at first.

When on a call the touch screen can be a little annoying as if you are not careful your pesky cheek can push buttons on the screen such as “put on hold” or “hang up”. This does make it somewhat irksome as a phone as you have to be a little too delicate – forget trying to hold the phone between your cheek and shoulder to free your hands up for anything.

The handset can be used vertically or horizontally, depending on personal preference/what you are doing. The screen is motion censored to adjust depending on which way you hold the handset, which works pretty well without too much lag.
The pullout QWERTY keyboard is a nice addition, though I feel it’s a little let down by the keys as there is very little to differentiate between the feel of individual keys and it’s very easy to press the wrong one by accident. Strangely, I actually found the on-screen QWERTY a bit more reliable to use. However the pull out QWERTY does have a D-Pad, which makes scrolling and selecting a cinch.

Performance

Despite having a fairly slow start up, the actual response speed of the OS and functionality is pretty good. A full battery charge lasted just under 48 hours and that included about 45 minutes of ConnectFour, a 15 min phone call, and general messing around with various features for over an hour or so. A handset with a 3.7” TFT screen is never going to compete with “old-school” phones, but the Milestone isn’t too bad considering.

The video playback is occasionally a little pixelated, especially with the built in BBC iplayer app, but in general it’s not too bad. What is impressive though is the speaker quality and volume level. Even if you are not using the 3.5mm headphone jack, the speakers on the Milestone actually outperform those on my Toshiba mini laptop, so was quite impressed there.

The one thing I was underwhelmed by was the quality of the camera. The photos appear grainy with washed out colours. When taking photos in poor light i.e. indoors, the image on the screen is very dark, the actual photo brightens up with the flash but this does make it somewhat hard to frame your subjects as you only really see them after the photo has been taken!

In the Box

Other than the handset itself, the box has a few other goodies. There’s obviously the manual (very small, not very detailed), and also the CD for installing Motorola’s Media link to your PC. Quite pleased to see the charger is USB adaptable so can either charge straight from the mains or via a PC/Laptop (With the shorter battery life on these large screen phones, I assume this is a must functionality). There’s also a pair of in-ear headphones/ hands free.

For more information check out Motorola’s website


HTC Tattoo

I remember when it was all the rage to have a phone with interchangeable covers (anyone else have a Nokia 3310?!). All of a sudden you didn’t have to have the bog standard black or silver; you could be an individual and choose a decorative cover that reflected your personality or mood.  Very exciting stuff that phone manufactures have been offering for years, but however many fancy designs and iridescent colours they offered, it was never truly “you” as all you were doing was picking someone else’s design. There was always the risk your poor little phone would have the misfortune to wear the same dress to the party as another.

Well HTC have now taken the “phone personalisation” a little further with true “phone customisation”. With the HTC Tattoo you can actually fully design your own custom cover, all done through an intuitive interface online. You can design both the front and back of the phone, changing the background colour, adding patterns, placement symbols, text and images. You can even upload your own images and photos to use – so if you want Fluffy permantly embedded into your phone cover, well now you can. Your phone will always be an individual. If you don’t have any imagination or have little trust in your aesthetic eye, you can always choose from a list of pre-designed covers to jazz up your HTC Tattoo.

It’s an Android phone so there’s access to apps galore and it’s an online gateway to all your favourites such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. There’s a 3.2MB camera and MP3 player (with a 3.5 mm audio jack), so it’s a good all-rounder if you like a balance between imaging and music on the go. Weighing in at 113 grams and with a 2.8-inch TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen it’s not the smallest Android phone out there – but hey, who would see your funky design if it were!

For more information visit: HTC Tattoo

HTC Tattoo

HTC Tattoo

HTC Tattoo

HTC Tattoo


X10 Mini Pro

We lucky people at Latemag got the opportunity to have some hands on experience with Sony Ericsson’s  Xperia™ X10 family before their official UK release in Q1/Q2 this year. Now I’ve always been a Sony Ericsson chick (my last 5 contract phones have all been Sony Ericsson) due to their superior battery life and easy to use menu systems (not to mention their sleek and shiny looks), but did the latest addition to the Sony Ericsson family live up to expectations?

Well first off, let’s take a high-level look at the specs...

Gone are the days when a phone was just a phone, digital entertainment required separate technological trinkets, social networking was still a buzzword gestating in the brains of PR gurus and no, we didn’t have an app for that. Nowadays we want to stay connected to the world at all times, we want a singular device to entertain us when we’re on the move and yes, we want an app for everything. This is where the Xperia™ X10 family ticks all the boxes; it’s just a case of choosing which sibling is your perfect match.

Making up the bunch to pick from are the X10, the X10 Mini and the X10 Mini Pro. All three are Sony Ericsson’s first Android compatible handsets. Android  is Google’s set of software for mobile devices including an operating system, middleware and applications. This opens up a whole new world of 1000’s of apps for your X10 phone. Also present across the range is Sony Ericsson’s Timescape™. Timescape™ manages all your Facebook™, Twitter™, photos, calls, emails, and texts all in one place and in one view like a deck of cards. The larger of the handsets, the X10 also has Mediascape, the smart way to get all the music, photos, videos you want from your favorite artists in one place.

As all three phones have very similar specs, choosing which of the siblings to go for is really a case of 3 main criteria, imaging, user interface and aesthetics. If imaging is your bag then the X10 has an 8.1 megapixel camera and Mediascape whereas the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro have a 5 megapixel camera and no Mediascape. If you use your mobile to send emails on the go then you may do better with the X10 Mini Pro as this has a full pull out Qwerty keyboard, making longer texts and emails easier, as well as a touch screen interface (both the X10 and X10 Mini have just a touch screen interface).

All three models are great looking, sleek, thin and light although varying in size. The X10 is the bigger of the bunch with its 480 x 854 pixels WVGA 65,536-color TFT touch screen.

X10 Mini X10

 

So after having a play around what did we think?

Well my personal favorite was the X10 Mini, just call me a sucker for small cute things (this little cutester is the smallest Android phone on the market weighing in at 88g and 83.0 x 50.0 x 16.0 mm in size).

I haven’t actually had a touch screen interface before but I found it to be intuitive and responsive and sausage fingers didn’t prove to be as problematic as I thought they’d be (all 3 models have a touch screen interface but the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro operate slightly differently to the X10 due to the smaller screen size and this has been well thought out). The Qwerty keyboard on the X10 Mini Pro was also a nice addition and with its raised keys and space bar in the correct place it was fast and easy to use without making typos. With some pull out phones they can feel a little fragile but the build quality on the X10 Mini Pro is great and I wouldn’t worry about breaking it.

The range of features and apps were also impressive (particularly watching the X10 Mini Pro scan an embroidered brand logo on the demonstrator’s shirt and proceed to scour the internet bringing back information and websites linked to the brand!).

Overall these are great looking phones that are feature rich and intuitive to use. I think Sony Ericsson have done well providing a choice of 3 models in the family allowing you to really choose a model that suits the way you want to use it. After having a play around I’m still a loyal Sony Ericsson fan but my only regret is I’ve still got a year to go until I’m eligible for an upgrade!!

For more information visit Sony Ericsson

X10 Mini Colours

Update: If you want the Sony Xperia for your business mobile phones then visit Cellular Solutions for great offers.


This text will be replaced

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic, retro-futurist Las Vegas following the Great War between the US, China and other countries, a conventional and nuclear war that occurred on October 23, 2077 and lasted less than two hours despite causing immense damage and destruction. Before the Great War were the Resource Wars, during which the United Nations disbanded, a plague rendered the United States paranoid, and Canada was annexed. ... fallout.wikia.com


Blob VB3

The Blob

Concept: freedom; realisation: space-egg.

When faced with the limitations of building regulations concerning house extension, dmvA Architects hatched a unique solution; the hard boiled egg-like structure that is Blob VB3. This mobile/art construction is the product of 18-months work of skirting around strict building codes, with the result a polyester ovate spheroid of highly flexible, mobile usage. At 20m2 and containing all relevant necessities for occasional human habitation (bathroom, kitchen, lighting, bed and storage,) Blob VB3 is ideal as an office, guest house or simply a nucleal retreat. The rovin' ovum is currently on exhibition at the Verbeke Foundation.

Have a peek at the construction on our Tumblr.

Via: CubeMe


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