Category Archives: Featured Site

Swype is the best virtual keyboard for touchscreen mobiles and tablets offering unique finger or stylus gestures.

Swype is a virtual keyboard for touchscreen smartphones and tablets where one enters words by sliding a finger or stylus from the first letter of a word to its last letter.  I have been using the app since 2010 on all my touchscreen devices. In my opinion it is the best swiping finger gesture keyboard available.

What makes it stand out as the best you may ask?

Just like every hardware keyboard that has a Ctrl or Command key, Swype has Swype shortcut button button. Every gesture shortcut starts from this button.

The most useful gestures are similar to hardware keyboards and are universal and easy to remember.

A list of universal shortcut keys
A really nice touch to have the universal shortcuts keys.

Another great feature is the ability to punctuate a word such as CAPITALIZE all letters in a word, or Capitalize the first letter of a word, or remove all capitalization from a word. Simply use the Swype shortcut button + Shift button.

Swype up to shift to see punctuation choices
This option to CAPITALIZE words is unique.

Continue reading Swype is the best virtual keyboard for touchscreen mobiles and tablets offering unique finger or stylus gestures.

Untappd is the best beer discovery social sharing app & website.

For the past 8 months I have been religiously recording every beer that I drink. I am doing this with an app called Untappd and it has changed the way I drink beer. The app is super intuitive and easy to use.

My profile showing key beer information.

Whether I’m in a pub, restaurant or at home cracking open a can or bottle of beer, the first thing I do is scan the bar code (if possible) or do a search for the beer name. Once the beer has been found in the database, I check it in. If I am at a pub or restaurant I insert the location (useful for others).

Next up I take a photo of the glass of beer, bottle or can and attach it to the check-in. One doesn’t have to take a photo (but a photo is worth a thousands words).

Continue reading Untappd is the best beer discovery social sharing app & website.

Hello FastComet WordPress Web hosting, Goodbye Amazon Web Services

I gave Amazon Web Services my best shot as it is not a service you can simply sign up too and be up and running  in no time at all. There is a lot to learn and read. It was fun and a steep learning curve to set up my WordPress website through a command line (No cPanel to be seen), and at times a little frustrating when things didn’t work out.

AWS was very rewarding when I had everything up and running. My website was super fast and the tier I was on was free for a year. It is a wonderful platform to learn new things on, to fiddle with all the various network settings, storage, user permissions, security, routing etc. Trust me, I touched only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the AWS Services.

However, in my opinion it is no place for a website you want up and running 24/7. No sir! And that is why I have moved to something a little more stable. In a previous post I mentioned I had been on Bluehost.com for many years, but in the past couple of years I noticed a rapid decline in speed and there customer service was really poor and I often had to wait ages for a human to chat too.  So my search for a new host began.

fastcomet-is-awesome

I found FastComet online via many reviews and decided to give them a try. I chatted to one of the Sales reps online and found out tons of information. FastCommet reps were friendly and super helpful.

Continue reading Hello FastComet WordPress Web hosting, Goodbye Amazon Web Services

Take a look at LastPass password manager.

I generally have a good memory for passwords, but over the years with all the cyber criminals hacking everything I’ve increased the complexity of my passwords, which ultimately makes it harder to remember. That is a good thing until one needs to access a site or app and then its WTF is the password?

Pass">LassPassI gave LastPass a tryout earlier this year and have been thoroughly impressed with them.  They have some excellent features, and their web / app interface is so awesome.

Continue reading Take a look at LastPass password manager.

An Awesome ‘Home New Tab Page’ Chrome Extension.

I stumbled upon an incredibly useful and beautiful new home tab page extension for my Chrome browser. It is called Home – New Tab Page.

Chrome home page

On my 27-inch Dell monitor it looks incredible while on my Surface Pro 4, touching the icons is effortless. All my key apps or favorite websites are right at my finger tips, as well as notifications, calendar events, time, date and a large Google search bar.

It is perfect especially since my Google profile follows me where ever I go. Not to mention I can select from a bunch of awesome backgrounds. The crazy thing is this extension is free. Kudos to the author, but there really should be a donation button.

Some of the features of the extensions are as follows:

Continue reading An Awesome ‘Home New Tab Page’ Chrome Extension.

It should be called the BIG CON-fused dot com

We are in the process of renewing our car insurance as our existing policy is about to expire, so I did what most sensible people do and visited confused.com since these guys promise to take the confusion out of chosing car insurance. (chuckle chuckle).

After I signed in, there was the laborious task of filling in all our personal information including our full car history information. It wasn’t too bad as the fields are fairly straight forward. One of the last questions on the questionaire was the following: “How do you usually pay for your motor insurance?

I answered Monthly and moved onto the SHOW MY QUOTES page. 89 possible result popped up onto the screen and with some handy filters we managed to pick out one particular quote from tGIC (the Green Insurance Company), which seemed to tick all our boxes (Courtsey Car, Legal Cover, Breakdown Cover, Windscreen Cover).

The £363.45 is a ‘one off payment in full‘ price and the £445.65 price is if one decides to pay monthly payments.

Clicking on the More button takes one to a summary page displaying the quote details.

I was happy with the quote so went ahead and clicked on ‘Buy Online‘ button and it then takes one to the tGIC website where a similar quote is displayed on the screen as the ‘Your Online Price‘.

Notice the Online Price (that is the Payment In Full Price) and the monthly payments are displayed below it and if one multiplies £37.21 by 11 and then adds £36.34 it equals £445.65 as stated on the Confused.com website.

I clicked on BUY NOW and this is where the fun starts. Straight away tGIC have added some extras in because they think I need them, which pushes the price up and over £400. Fair dues they are check box options that can be unchecked, which is pricisely what I did to get the price back to the quoted Online Price. The last screen is the payment screen and what do you know?, there is NO option to PAY in FULL!  How strange? I searched high and low for the option to pay in full but it was non existent.

I thought I had made a mistake so went back two pages and clicked on the AMEND QUOTE button and had to go through 5 or 6 pages of the same personal and car related questions and finally noticed on one of the pages the question:

I changed it to ‘In Full‘ thinking it must be this option that is preventing me from paying in full:

The Quote screen came back but with a completely different price (a lot higher, £67 higher than originally quoted) but with an extra option ‘BUY NOW IN FULL’.

CONFUSED – I certainly am! How does one get to pay the Original Online price of £363.45 as quoted on Confused.com website as well as on the Green Insurance Company’s website?

From what I can see, one cannot purchase the Online Price unless you call them which kind of defeats the whole purpose of buying it online. Not only that tGIC states that ‘Policies bought over the phone will incur a £20 charge‘, so it will still more that the original Online Price quoted 🙁

I went back to the Confused.com website and edited my details again, and this time answered ‘Annual’ to the question “How do you usually pay for your motor insurance?“, and the quotes came up as before, but this time round the same policy was £430.90 (exactly the same price as tGIC quoted after I amended my details to reflect IN FULL payment). What a CON? Why should a payment in full push the price up even more? So much for a discount! [superemotions file=”icon_redface.gif” title=”Redfaced / Embarassed”]

I also went to the Green Insurance Company website and entered in all the same details for the umpteenth time and the quote returned twenty pounds more expensive at £383.45.  It also didn’t show the Plus package, nor was there any mention of the extras that the Plus package had, so I can only imagine that this quote is NOT the same as the one on the confused.com website.

CONclusion:

  • If one chooses to pay ‘IN FULL’, one is penalized by a more expensive price. – ridiculous as that might sound!
  • If one selects ‘PAY MONTHLY on either website, the cheap Online Price in great big bold letters, is just there for show, it’s impossible to pay the Online Price IN FULL as the option does not present itself on the Green Insurance Company’s website.
  • It is FALSE ADVERTISING if one cannot actually purchase the pay ‘IN FULL’ price or the ONLINE PRICE. Both websites appear to be guilty of this, unless of course either website can tell me otherwise!

Related Topics:

TFL Barclays Cycle Hire website is utter pants!

I have been trying to register online for TFL’s Barclays Cycle Hire – become a member, but have so far been unsuccessful because the site is just CRAP.  It doesn’t tell you which fields are mandatory until the very end, nor does it explain which fields are the problem after the validation has taken place.  All one gets is a ridiculous message that gives no clues to the actual problem:

Please check the following and try again.
Sorry, we are having a problem with your request. Please try again, or call 0845 026 3630 for help

To become a Member of Barclays Cycle Hire, you need to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age (check – I am older than 18).
  • Buy cycle access (24-hour, seven-day or annual) – (check I want 24-hour access).
  • Have a UK postal address which matches your billing address (check – I live in the UK and have a physical home and billing address).
  • Agree to the terms & conditions of Barclays Cycle Hire which include fees for late, non-returned and damaged cycles (check – I ticked the two boxes).

Strangely nowhere on the form does it prompt you for your date of birth, so how the hell can age be validated, nor does it ask which cycle access I want? I suspect if I got past the initial bullsh*t form it would ask me for my credit / debit card details, where my age would be validated.

So after six tries I am giving up. TFL have lost out. There is no way I am wasting my hard earned money on a 0845 number because on principal I should be able to sign up without any hassle via the website. I sign up to hundreds of online services a year and have very little hassle and most good web sites will at least tell you which fields have not been filled in correctly or show you the mandatory fields of entry.

LensHero is a great site dedicated to digital camera lenses.

Buying a DSLR camera can be a scary experience when one considers there are over a twenty camera & lens manufacturers with hundreds of different models, and hundreds of different camera lenses of all shapes and sizes. LensHero makes choosing your lens easy.

TWO steps are all that are needed.

The site asks you to enter your digital camera manufacturer, and as one types, a list of models appears in a drop down. Pick the digital camera and then use the slider to determine your budget. (The slider goes all the way up to £17990, a dream budget for most).

Pick the type of lens you want by selecting the style of photography you are interested in. (macro, close-up, wide angle, telephoto, fisheye, tilt-shift, portrait, sports & action, landscape, travel and wildlife or all types).

Or select the zoom tab and use the slider bar at the bottom to select the zoom range you are interested in. The two thumbnails change as the sliders are moved showing you exactly how your photograph zoom will look. (Nice).

Or click on the suggest tab, and tell LensHero what lenses you have already and then hit the GO button and it will suggest a lens for you.

Here is what LensHero suggested for me, which was spot on and one of the lenses I am interested in.

On the same page I can see the lens, the price, compatibility and even a location and price where I can get the lens (brilliant).

There is a link to a more detailed page, which contains a user review, the pros and cons, a compatibility list with other cameras, the specifications of the lens and an area for discussion. The entire information one would need, all in one place.

Finally, if you don’t want to use the easy 2 step approach, they also have a list by manufacturer, type, lens mount and by camera.

This is a great website. If you are looking for a DSLR, why not try out their sister site called snapsort. A similar idea for digital cameras.

Licorize is more delicious than pearltrees.

I just read that Del.icio.us is going to be shutdown by Yahoo. For me it’s been one of the best online bookmarking service for years, so it will be a sad day when the service is terminated by evil Yahoo. I’ve already started searching for it’s replacement and have found a few good sites already and have imported my delicious bookmarks into them for a trial out! Top of my list so far is:

  • Licorize:
    • because it allowed me to import my delicious bookmarks.
    • it is connected with the following awesome services (all of which I am already using):
      • Evernote
      • Twitter
      • Dropbox
      • LinkedIn
      • RSS
      • ReaditLater
      • Apture
      • Skype
    • There is the ability to share with everyone, a group of people or an individual,
    • it allows others to collaborate on ideas and projects and all of this can be done in real time.
    • have added integration with many browsers so you can share a website URL by simply clicking a button.
    • have added integration for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and even via the iPhone, iPad or iPod (not that I have any of the last three iDevices).
    • They have there own blog, which appears to be updated regularly with news, new fixes, ideas etc. Check it out http://blog.licorize.com/
  • Pearltrees:
    • also allowed me to import my delicious bookmarks.
    • Pearltrees is the social way to discover, organize and share the stuff you like on the Web. Use Pearltrees to keep at hand the stuff you find everyday on the Web, to discover new stuff in your areas of interest and to drive people through your web.
    • A pearl holds anything you find interesting on the Web. Click it to open it, drag and drop it to move it… or put your pearl into the trash to delete it. Every pearl has a detail window, which gives information about its content, comments and picks.
    • A pearltree is a curation of web pages. It works like a folder for pearls. You can open it, close it, browse it, move it into an other pearltree or send it anywhere to share some of your interests.

    I’ll admit the subject of my post does not do Pearltrees justice. I signed up and didn’t quite get the concept at first, BUT having spent a good few hours of my Saturday building up my pearls & pearltrees, I must admit it’s a really cool concept and linking to other related websites is so easy and visually pleasing. I’ve embedded my pearltrees into this post, but if you are interested in seeing the bigger picture, why not visit me at pearltrees.com