Skype Phone on 3 Network

Mobile, Technology 2 Comments »

Today news broke about mobile phone network 3′s plans to release the first handset which enables mobile users to use Skype. The handset will allow users to make free calls and send texts over VOIP, but at the same time as working as a normal mobile phone.

Skype is an encrypted internet telephony system that allows for the exchange of files, and with over 9 million members is used throughout homes and offices across the country. Based on peer to peer technology Skype allows users to make calls to landlines or mobile phones for a few pence a minute from their computers.

The Skype phone mobilises this Skype technology, and although phone software is available for download, this easy to use handset should be popular among Skype users. The Skype phone will be available free of charge with monthly contract subscriptions and available for £49.99 to pay as you go customers. The mobile handset will provide 4,000 free minutes and 10,000 text messages a month free of charge.

Users will automatically be logged into internet telephony accessible via one click of the Skype button, and the VOIP contacts list will also be integrated with the normal mobile phone book too.

The Skype phone also comes with a 2 megapixel camera, bluetooth, an expandable micro SD card slot and weighs only 85g. The phone will be available from Skype and 3 shops from 2nd November.

Home Improvement

Authors Thoughts No Comments »

Like so many people my home was in a continuous state of redecorating whilst growing up. Thanks to the the trend of home improvement programs on television you could be assured that at least one room in the house was having a facelift at any one time.

Now I find myself setting up home and the mantle seems to have somewhat been passed onto me in my quest to get the most out of my current one bedroom flat. Unfortunately we have a converted flat from a large old Victorian terrace house. The advantages of the high ceiling and large rooms are great, unfortunately they have added a bathroom where there hadn’t previously been one making it a bit cozy to say the least.

As such the bathroom was my first point of call when redecorating. I found a good website in Trueshopping that proved a good starting point for my bathroom redecoration. With a range of bathroom accessories and Bathroom Suites it was easy to find parts that fitted into an unconventionally shaped bathroom which helped relieve some of the stress of redecorating.

With the bathroom now complete, next up is the kitchen.

A Tribute to Martin Jol

Football No Comments »

It is another sad day to be a spurs fan. As if our underachieving start to the season wasn’t good enough with only one league win in ten, last nights manor in which Martin Jol was axed as head coach and then left in charge for one final UEFA cup match was nothing short of embarrassing.

Now as an avid Spurs fan I am not saying that Jol should not have been sacked, but more the manor in which things have unfolded over the last couple of months that have concerned me. The ways in which the club have acted recently and the dignified way in which Jol has continually reacted, has meant that regardless of the lacklustre performances this season Jol can leave with his head held high and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club looking rather sheepish.

It was as far back as August that that the club were spotted meeting Seville coach Juande Ramos, and with the club touting his position in such ways his position at the club has always been in jeopardy. This can only serve to undermine his authority in the dressing room which has only been seen in public bust ups with several key players.

Whilst publicly backing Jol at the same time this grooming another of Europe’s most promising coaches, the club maintained that Jol would be given time. In my opinion the damage had already been done, and although the club had been caught with their pants down should then have made the replacement as Jol was a dead man walking from this point.

I must however question the ethics of a club I have loved for years, investing £40 million pounds in Jol’s team over the summer to be phased out in August. I personally think that although he was a fans favourite after steering the club to consecutive fifth place premier league finishes (a club first) Jol was due for the boot a long time before August. The Tottenham board clearly had an agenda to fill and the believed that Jol wasn’t the man to deliver which was reflected in some big money summer signings that Jol didn’t agree with Damien Comolli (Director of football) over.

I look back to matches against Seville and Chelsea away last season where the board could have seen tactical weaknesses in Jol’s managerial style begin to appear, but I am not disputing his floors, yes he had them, but it is the events which culminated in the news of Jol’s departure being leaked during an important European game that I am most upset about.

The fans reacted in the only way they could with a standing ovation for the man for the man who has the highest league win ratio of any previous manager over his three years at the club, delivered two fifth place finishes, and put Spurs back on the European map. What was clearly meant to be a match where Jol could go out in a blaze of glory in front of the home fans who adore him clearly backfired as we lost miserably 2-1 to Getafe.

In my view Jol’s departure was a result of the boards need for quick returns on the money spent this summer, and with a top four finish looking bleaker by the week they became ever more impatient. Jol should have been given time to turn the season around, but this was impossible due to the clubs own sabotage through the meeting of Ramos and his role at the club became untenable. As a result man whose record should have bought him more time to turn things around was axed.

I look forward to Blackburn with Clive Allen and Alex Inglethorpe at the helm, although it would not surprise me if Ramos was in place soon after.

File Sharing Legislation

Piracy, The Interwebs No Comments »

It seems in the next step in combating digital piracy the government has opted to step in, as news broke this week that they are considering file sharing legislation in an attempt to push internet service providers to take a more active role in the crack down of illegal file sharers.

The move is directed towards ISPs and industries who are yet to come together to fight the problem. It is thought the preferred solutions for all are voluntary partnerships between creative industries and ISPs so that regulation is not required, but this news seems to says that unless these companies come together and put such schemes in place then the government is ready to intervene.

“”For the most part I think there are going to be successful voluntary schemes between the creative industries and ISPs. Our preferred position is that we shouldn’t have to regulate,” said Lord Triesman

The argument of ISPs is that they cannot feasibly track every packet that is sent across there networks, and although a route by which illegal file sharing took place, does not condone it in any way, shape or form. Searching single data packets that are sent across networks would also break data protection laws in place to protect individuals.

The arguments currently hindering the ideal voluntary agreements seem to centre around the two issues of intellectual property rights and privacy of the user, and the stalling block is trying to find a balance between the two. Privacy advocates will object to any legislation, but it also seems true that illegal file-sharing affects the income of many musicians.

Either way it seems the pressure is increasing in regard to illegal file sharing within the UK. As previously posted about on The Shelf, the US has seen several case studies demonstrating the growing pressure to protect copyrighted material, and in such cases end user pirates have been targeted, but with this announcement came assurances that the government has no interest in hounding young teenagers who share music.

The legislation is more aimed towards “software pirates that sell bootleg copies of programs, games, movies and music, for profit”, and users of P2P programmes who download songs to listen to without paying are not being directly targeted.

This threat of legislation comes at a time when the music industry is already trying new innovative ways of combating piracy. Recently Radiohead released their latest album “In Rainbows” digitally online, with users only paying what they wanted. However even though fans didn’t have to pay anything to get the album legally it was still reportedly pirated 500,000 times.

It seems that in some instances online file sharing is as much a cultural activity as it is about saving money and making profit of bootleg copies of material with copyright in place.

BoKlok – flat-pack housing?

Finance No Comments »

Do you, like so many people find yourself wanting to get onto the property ladder but simply cannot afford the practicality of buying your own home? If you are from the south west where the biggest deficit between average wage and house prices can be found then you could forgive yourself for being even more disheartened. Just remember that feeling when reading the following and perhaps you will take it that little bit more seriously.

Earlier in October of this year a new type of house went up for grabs on Tyneside, and costing £150,000 gave low income earners the chance to buy their own homes. The houses on offer are provided by the infamous home improvement store Ikea, and have aptly been nick named ‘flat-pack homes’.

The BoKlok – Swedish for live smart – structures as they are correctly known are timber framed and have low living costs. Each coming with a small plot of land and shared garden they are said to create unique communities and a safe environment that is particularly attractive to families.

Although new to the UK these properties are already well established in Sweden where they first appeared ten years ago in 1997. In 2002 they spread to Norway, the following year to Finland and then to Denmark in 2004, demonstrating the success of the BoKlok throughout Scandinavia. After the addition of the 92 square metre BoKlok villa in Sweden in 2005, it seems the planned apartments for Tyneside are yet another expansion of this popular housing product.

The initial sixty BoKlok houses being built in the UK will only be available to those earning between £15,000 and £35,000 who are not already homeowners. Although topping out at £150,000 there are a range of flats and townhouses available with up to three bedrooms from only £99,500.

As well as this initial build of sixty houses, approval has also been granted for a further 57 BoKlok properties on Tyneside. released on the 22 October, Alan Prole, Managing Director of Live Smart @ Home, the developer of the product said

“The first blocks of flats are already going up at St James and will be ready to move in to by the end of January next year, and now we will be able to build the houses, which will be particularly attractive to families,”

Although much is made of the lack of progress made by the government when it comes to affordable housing, I am glad to see one such innovative idea come out of the private sector that gives people the chance to get on the property ladder.

Shopping Directory | Online Security