Category Archives: Audio Book

R.I.P. Newzbin, it was the best NZB website ever.

Newzbin is no more after losing a battle with the courts. They have now been put into administration because they couldn’t pay their debts. I always said the subscription to the site was too low. It was ridiculously low (as in £2 for 8 weeks worth of downloads).

Word is that they owe the Motion Picture Association (MPA) £230,000 just in interim costs, and that’s without a full costs ruling or a decision on damages. Apparently they also owe a software development house over £500k. :-(

Newzbin is one of the original Usenet indexing sites and the creator of the immensely-popular .NZB format, which opened up simplified Usenet downloading to the masses.

While the major BitTorrent sites were in Hollywood’s spotlights as the major source of copyright infringement, Usenet sites such as Newzbin remained untouched.

This changed, however, when the MPA, the MPAA’s big brother, sent a threatening letter to the site’s operators in 2008.

This letter was followed by an official announcement of a lawsuit against the Usenet indexer early 2009. The case eventually went to the High Court in February of this year where Newzbin was found liable for copyright infringement.

Let’s hope a clone site can open in it’s place soon else websites such a Giganews and Grabit will suffer as a result.

Pushing my Nokia N900 to the limit!

I thought I would see how many applications I can open at one time on my Nokia N900 since it’s supposedly one of the best devices for multitasking.

To make it a little more interesting, I have open various applications namely;

  • My browser bookmarks page,
  • a couple of (IM) instant message (three separate screens)
  • two fairly large websites with lots of images (www.wilkinsonsworld.com) and (www.expedia.com – I did a search for holiday appartments in New York city),
  • RSS Feeder application showing the latest headlines from Maemo, Twitter and BBC News.
  • Twitter website,
  • My blog (lookatbowen.com – edit comments screen),
  • Application manager showing all available applications,
  • Media box – 3rd party multimedia player – was listening to Clive Cussler – Dragon Audio Book,
  • File Manager,
  • Conversations window showing various IM and SMS messages,
  • SMS screen to my Mom,

The N900 so far is working like a dream. No sign of slowing down, so I thought I would open a few more applications.

  • OVI store website, did a search for Firefox and downloaded it,
  • FAQ screen is a help screen for something,
  • The default media player playing Counting Crows.

  • Firefox browser showing our website,
  • File Manager application showing the screens above and below,

  • Witter (a twitter application),
  • Vagalume (Last.fm player).
  • MaStory (blogging tool).
  • Email announcement.
  • SMS announcement.

One awesome feature of the task bar is that each of the mini screens are a real-time image of the actual application. It is bloody awesome!   At this stage I was running out of things to open, and after calculator the N900 finally started to show signs of slowness. Well it was a very clear sign – an error. (ha ha).

  • Calculator,
  • Calendar,
  • Address book,
  • Notes,
  • Buddy list in Pidgin,
  • A game of chess.

I think I have made my point. I challenge any iPhone owner to show me a similar test!

Step away from the N900!

My wife says I am obsessive! She is of course referring to me and my new friend/toy the Nokia N900, which arrived two days ago after a slight delay. You can read all about that in the previous post. Since then I have managed to run the device dry 4 times and when I say “run the device dry”, I mean use it “non stop” for 5 or so hours until the battery is dead. So I guess that is what she means by “obsessive”.

I read the manual that came in the box and it was pathetic, all 17 pages of it. It explained nothing. So I did a search for a manual or a how to guide and found a 231 page Nokia N900 User Guide. (now we are talking). It’s a PDF file and I now have it on the phone for easy access and will be reading it front to back and back to front.

So what is the big deal about this device? The first thing noticeable when it’s turned on is the fact that it runs 99% of the time in the horizontal mode (as in the image to the left). This is so the large 3.5inch screen can be utilized fully. One also notices the lack of buttons anyone on the front. Not even a red or green buttons for making or ending calls and that is because the N900 is more a mini computer than a phone. I received a call while on the train home and to be honest, I didn’t know how to pick it up (ha ha).

It runs “Maemo“, which in simple terms is an open source linux operating system. Open source means anyone can develop software for it and there is a ton of software available in various stages of development. I have loaded quite a few applications already and haven’t even touched the surface of whats on offer.

Here are a few of my favourites so far:

  1. Angry Birds – a very addictive game by Rovio (check out the trailer here). Simple idea but brilliant!
  2. FBreader – Ebook reader, also trying out MGutenberg.
  3. gPodder – Podcast player.
  4. Firefox – Yup, the N900 can display a full browser perfectly and it’s fast. Did I mention add-ins, just like the application on the PC. It’s awesome! One particular awesome add-in is called Weave and I quote;
    The Weave Sync add-on lets you securely take your Firefox experience with you wherever you go. You can now surf the Web on your PC, get up and go, and have everything waiting for you on your phone: your history, open tabs, bookmarks, the Awesome Bar – just as you had left it.
  5. Mauku – Twitter application – I also tried out Witter, but find Mauku to be more finger friendly.
  6. Mediabox – an alternate to the default media player.
  7. Pidgen – Instant Messenger application allowing me to be logged into MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, and Skype. There is a whole host of other IM’s. Facebook chat would be nice. Actually Skype is built into the contact section, which is cool because one can chat, make VOIP calls etc.
  8. Facebook – Social networking application that we all love/hate/know!
  9. Extra media codecs for playing just about any video / audio format. All my files on my home server work perfectly and I got a real good mix (FLAC, MP3, MP4, MKV, AVI, DIVX, etc).
  10. Vagalume – it plays Last.FM and Libre.FM. As there is no Mobbler yet, this is the next best thing. Upon starting the application it soon becomes apparent that Last.FM will not work because of some licencing issues, but fear not as there is a hack or work around and it works perfectly if one follows the instructions over at NokiaAddict.com – Thanks @Gerrymoth.

One very cool feature is the ability to play Music / Video / Photos from my home media servers over wireless. The N900 makes uses of Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA). The device supports up to 4 media servers at one one. I currently have two connected (my iMac and Cubestation), so I have been streaming music and video to the phone with ease. No need for cables or SD cards etc. It’s so amazing.

It’s impossible to tell you all the features, because there are thousands all made possible by the Maemo operating system. Simply the best mobile device I’ve ever owned! Now stepping away from the N900.

 

 

Listening to Decider by Dick Francis on Nokia BH-905.

I am currently listening to a wonderful story called “DECIDER” by Dick Francis on my Noka 5800.

I decided (excuse the pun) to put my new bluetooth headphones (BH-905) to the test. They have 8 noise cancelling microphones that are meant to block out the surrounding noise.  So far they are doing an excellent job. Noise is non-existent with one switches on the ANC button.

I am using a very cool audio application called “PowerMP3″ on the Nokia 5800.  I downloaded this from Symbian World and I would go as far as saying “it is better than the default music player on the Nokia 5800XM”.

Dick Francis – Decider, Architect Lee Morris has plans to restore Stratton Park racecourse to its former grandeur. But the combative Stratton heirs have violent plans of their own.

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