Archive for Internet

New Facebook Layout

I think I am right in believing that I am part of a  minority of people, who like it when Facebook change their layout. I have been looking forward to this change since I read about it a couple of weeks ago, and now it has arrived for me today and I cannot help but love it.

This is just going to be a brief description of the new stuff which make a real difference to my use of Facebook. Hopefully I will convert some of you who’s first reaction to the layout was negative. This is certainly not an all encompassing review, so I suggest you take heed of what I have to say then explore for yourself.

The Publisher

It has always been possible to post pictures and links to your wall, but it needed a trip to your profile page to do so. Because I rarely looked at my profile, I was never compelled to post links and lone photos.

The publisher has tried to solve this problem by putting more posting options right on your home screen. It is not bringing anything new to the table, it is merely putting your options in view, so you are more likely to post a wider variety of media.


Improved Feed Management

The first difference you may notice is the X in the corner of items in your feed. This is another example of bringing current feature into plain sight. It was previously possible to choose who you did and did not want to see in your feed, but now all you need to do is click the X on people you do not want to hear about anymore.


I however have chosen a different method of filtering who I do and do not want to hear about. I have chosen to make two new friend lists (this is done on the Friends page), one list containing people I am interested in hearing about, and another for people I do not want to hear about. This method allows you to view a full feed (All friends), then a feed of interest, and a feed of rubbish.

This is particularly useful if you have an amount of ‘friends’ too large to manage. This method can be extended to include separate feeds for Family, Colleagues and other groups of people, if you are so inclined.


News Feed (Full Feed)


Interested (Feed of interest to me)



As far as I can tell, this is replacing the “Top Stories” feed (The previous default feed on the homepage). there is nothing much to say, except that this is the worst new arrival and will be mostly ignored by me.

So hopefully this article has been some use to some people. The new layout will certainly make my Facebook experience much more pleasant. My main hope for the new layout is that people will begin to post more media, rather than solely status updates. And again, I hope I have helped more than I have waffled.


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Hello all. Today all I would like to do is get a few people using this great site to edit their photos, doing my part in the global war against red-eye.

In my opinion this tool is indispensable for people who upload a lot of photos to photo sharing sites, but do not currently edit their pictures. Purely for its sheer ease of use I think this tool should be in many peoples’  tool belts. there are very many features to cover, so I will cover the things which stood out to me.


To get started first you need to choose a picture to edit. This can either be done by uploading pictures from your hard drive, or accessing pictures you have already uploaded to photo sharing/social networking sites. Here I will be talking about editing pictures on Facebook.


When you click on the Facebook icon you will be prompted to log in and you may have to give picnik  permission to access your Facebook information. So once picnik has connected to Facebook you will be presented with your “Pictures of You” album. Now you can use the dropdown menus (circled) to choose who’s photos you want to edit and which album.





When you have decided which photo to edit, click on the cog icon. You are presented with these options, I will only talk about the editing here, but I’m sure the other options will come in handy some time..





Select “Edit” and you can get started. From here it is pretty self explanatory, so now I will just give you an overview of the things which caught my eye.




Rotating mainly works as it always does. The thing which caught my eye was the ‘Straighten’ tool.   This allows you to break free of the fixed 90° rotations to get awkward pictures as straight as you would like. It is hard to explain this feature so I just say take a look for yourself and all will become clear.



For me, this tool has no real place in photo editing as such. But it is certainly worth a mention because it is the perfect tool to optimize desktop backgrounds to fit your screen resolution perfectly.


image  The red-eye is something I believe should be eradicated from all photo sharing/social networking sites. hopefully any friends (-Peter) reading this will use this site to get rid of red-eye in their Facebook pictures easily. But a notable nice feature of this till is the ability to remove red-eye from both humans and pets.




There is a whole load of things to do in the “Create” tab which I will not cover, all I will say is that there are many basic effects there which you should take a look at if you are into that kind of thing.

Save and Share


And here is what I see as the best bit. Once you have finished editing your photo, you can save it right into Facebook itself. There is no need to save the image, uploaded it and remove the original. You can just replace the old copy with the new copy and you are finished.

I really do recommend this site. With is ease of use, useful features and clean interface, I believe this is the best photo editor for a regular person who uploads a lot of photos.

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Why SMS Should Die


I have rather a large dislike for SMS messaging, stemming mainly from my hatred of numeric keypads. But not only is it annoying to write SMS it is more annoying to pay for sending them. So here is a little bit of mathematics for you.

The maximum SMS message size is 160 characters. One character equals 8 bits, one byte. And there are 1,048,576 bytes in 1MB. So 6553.6 SMS = 1MB of data (1,048,576 / 160) Now to say an SMS costs 5p you end up with a cost of 32,768p, £327.68 to send 1MB of data. Now of course I am not saying that this is a situation that the average SMS user will be in.

The point I am making is that if email replaced SMS we would have an infinitely cheaper and richer messaging experience.

On my network (O2) I have an unlimited data plan for £10 a month, so putting that into messaging terms you are getting unlimited messages (containing text, pictures or whatever you want) for £10 a month (compared to 200 text messages). Also if you compare my free broadband service provided by talk talk (FREE with the landline) I can transfer 40GB of data a month, which in SMS cost would cost me around £1.308×10^10 (£13,080,000,000) So what I am really asking is how can they overcharge so much?  I know not everybody has an email capable phone, and everybody has an SMS capable phone, but this is where the change needs to be made.

It is not only a matter of everybody having email capable phones (which most people do, even if they do not realize), the main hurdle is getting people to use email instead of SMS. I see the only way forward is just getting rid of SMS so people are forced to have a much more pleasant experience.

One thing holding us back, is the absence of a cheap, easy to use phone with only the main features you need. Maybe Android (Google’s open source phone operating system) can provide us with something along these lines. Having a few simple features such as Phone, Address Book, Camera and Mail I could see this phone being far from unpopular. Although in this case people may not like paying £10 a month for unlimited data use, so I would say if orange can give us free Facebook they can give us at least 1000 free emails a month.

Update: I just stumbled upon a short article on Gizmodo confirming my point I left out of this post. In Japan SMS is non existant and everyone uses email, so it IS possible.

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Windows Live SkyDrive

I have just got home from school and received an email from windows live telling me of its new service called windows SkyDrive. This is something welcome to me because I like to know things are safe no matter what, I will certainly be uploading all my must keep files to this service when I wipe my laptop clean.

The idea behind this is to give you 5GB of space to upload your files to, either for backups or to share your files with friends or whatever. I will be using this service to upload my music so I have it at any computer I want, but it could also be used to store important files or irreplaceable pictures. Not only will this keep your files safe and unreachable by any computer fault, but it also gives you access to your uploaded files on any computer connected to the internet. So say you are at somebody’s house, you want to share a song with them but you have forgotten your PMP (Portable Media Player, much better term than MP3 Player), so normally you would have to troll the internet to find this song. But now of course just sign in to SkyDrive and get your song straight away.

I know there are similar services out there, ones that are and aren’t free, but 5GB of space is very generous and it is all incorporated into Windows Live, so if you are signed in for their instant messenger or any of their services, you have quick access to all your uploaded files. Of course it is not perfect, anything free is not perfect, but it is certainly useful. One feature which I would really like to see is the ability to sync with a folder, so say if I told it to upload all my blog posts, instead of having to upload every new one, it could just search the folder daily and upload anything new. But I have been after that functionality with my pen drive with no luck, so it doesn’t really matter.

So take a look at it today, you don’t have to sign up or anything, it is just included with your Windows Live Messenger account.

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Google Reader

Today I thought I would have a look at any new Google stuff, there was not much and YouTube was still classed as new. The only decent thing there really is Google Reader. Google say it can be said to be an inbox of your internet, but I say it is a glorified RSS reader without the site needing a RSS feed. The basic idea behind it is that you add a site to your subscriptions and instead of having to go through all your sites you check on, you just go to Google reader and it will show you anything new on the sites you have selected. Personally I use it to check on my friends’ blogs to see how badly they are doing and also for it to tell me when he new episode of Lost is on the internet (I watch on the internet because I cannot stand adverts interrupting).

So yes, if you have sites you check on daily I strongly recommend that you use Google reader because it just puts everything in one place and the site does not need an RSS feed to be added to your subscriptions. Just go to (I think you need a Google account) and just follow what it says.

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