Category Archives: Reviews

Mede8er – made in South Africa.

After reading many reviews, comparing dozens of media centre devices, and waiting for over 2 years for the ultimate media centre to arrive, I have finally settled on a product made in South Africa of all places. It’s called the MEDE8ER. I will be blogging and giving my opinion of the device as soon as I get it! I just ordered it from Digital Era.

Some of the highlights that ticked my boxes was that it supports the latest 2TB SATA hard disks, is HDMI 1.3, has SD card support, NTFS / FAT32 file system support meaning connecting to will be a breeze from any PC in the house. It’s got a remote that exists in the Logitech Harmony One database and has some awesome recommedations from the likes of MPC Club.

Processor: Realtek RTD1073 – 128MB SPI Flash – 128MB DDR2 SDRAM
Video Codec Supported: MKV, H264, DVD (VOB – IFO – ISO), DIVX, XVID, DAT, AVI, MPEG, HD MPEG-2, TS, HD MPEG-4, SP, ASP, AVCD (H.264), MTS, M2ts, WMV9, FLV, VC-1, Real Networks (RM/RMVB) 8/9/10, up to 720p

Audio  Codec Supported: MP3, MP2, OGG Vorbis, PCM, LPCM, AAC, RA, Dolby AC3 Passthrough, Dolby AC3 Downmix, DTS Passthrough, DTS Downmix, FLAC, WAV,
WMA Standard (DRM, & Advanced Profile not supported)
HD Audio supportGUI Main Page
Dolby digital                  – support decode & bypass
Dolby digital Plus            – support decode – bypass is in testing
Dolby digital EX              – support – compatible up to 5.1
DTS digital Surround       – support decode & bypass

Photo format Supported: JPEG, BMP
File System Supported: FAT32, NTFS – UI Format Feature

Input / Output
•  HDMI 1.3, Component video, Composite Video
•  Stereo RCA audio for analog audio connection
•  SD / Sony Pro Duo Card Slot
•  S/PDIF optical Output / Coaxial Digital RCA Output
•  Video output resolution – NTSC, PAL, 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1080p24hz
•  USB – 2.0 HOST port x 2 (compatible to USB 1.1)
•  USB – 2.0 SLAVE port
•  3.5″ SATA Internal Hard Drive Bay up to 2TB compatible
•  Built in 40mm cooling fan – TPE mounts for low noise
•  Playlist creation from remote
•  Built in NFS Client
•  Screensaver – Selectable in GUI setup
•  In folder JPEG preview feature
•  Easy navigation button use (excl DVD files)
•  Time Bar FF/FR and Time Bar jump
•  Media Library Jump To file number feature
•  Resume playback feature
•  Photo slide show with background music
•  Network – Ethernet 10/100 Mbps – Streaming MAX Samba 26Mbps / NFS 36Mbps
•  Optional Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
Achievable Streaming G router – Samba 12Mbps – NFS 18 Mbps @ 1m – unprotected
Achievable Streaming N router – Samba 14Mbps – NFS 22 Mbps @ 1m – unprotected
(Typical MKV 720p Play 10Mbps max FF/RW 15Mbps)
•  Samba server – NAS storage
•  A/V streaming via UPnP Media Server (CNN – YouTube etc via optional program such as PlayOn, Tversity etc)
•  Internet Radio (SHOUTcast)
•  File Copying – Card, USB, HDD and Network
•  Subtitle: SRT, SSA, SUB, SMI format

Problem with Nokia BH-905 headphones – a fix!

The Internet is an amazing place for fixes and solutions and this post will explain why?

Gone are the days when something happens and you have to trudge down to the store where you bought something to find out how to fix it or waste time sending  the item back because it broke unexpectedly, and electronics can be a bitch sometimes. One minute they can be working and the next thing they are dead.But not all electronics are stupid like that, normally there is a back door or secret pass code that allows you in.

I have had my Nokia BH-905 headphones for little over 7 months now and I cannot fault them, in fact whenever I can emails or comments from people asking what I think of them, I can only praise them. They have been fantastic.

Today the unexpected happened. They just stopped working. I was listening to music via Bluetooth on my Nokia N900 and received a phone call through Skype. The music stopped like it should and the headphones picked up the call. I could hear the other person talking, but they couldn’t hear me back. I switched between headphones and phone and could hear fine, but still the other person couldn’t hear me because the microphone in the headphones had control. I switched off the headphones after the call was lost and then attempted to switch it back on – nothing. No green or red or orange or blue lights, just nothing. :-( You know that sicking feeling!!!

Strangely though the noise cancelling light (orange), which is on the left headphone came on when I switched on the ANC button. Aaah, I thought, so the battery is not dead and the noise cancelling was working in both headphones so that was a good sign that all was not lost.

I decided to recharge the headphones before attempting any fixes. Once charged, I did a search on Google using the following keywords – “nokia bh-905 not switching on” and found a Nokia Support Discussion from the 14th of October 2009, where someone had a similar problem. Reading through the forum, I noticed some folk had the exact problem I was experiencing. One smart person (mseln) even wrote what he had tried to fix the problem, followed up by another post stating he had fixed the problem and gave the solution. It’s people like this that make the Internet work.

So here is the solution or fix as I have tried it and it worked just fine:

Hold down “pause + rewind + volume down” on the right headphone for about 15 to 20 seconds and you will see an orange light then a fast flashing blue light appear.  The headphones are now in search mode looking for a pairing. I was able to connect immediately on my Nokia N900 and everything is working again. :-)

An awesome wallpaper manager called Prismic for the N900.

I found the most amazing wallpaper manager for the Nokia N900. It’s called PRISMIC and it hooks directly into, so you can stay up to date with the newest and hottest backgrounds for your N900. The application cost me $3.75 and I tell you it is well worth it for the sheer choice in wallpapers.

Here are some awesome features:

You can browse all the available categories direct from the website and it shows you exactly how many wallpapers exist in each category.

When you select a category it shows a scrollable grid of thumbnails. Notice some of the thumbnails have four squares in the bottom left hand corner. This shows you that the wallpaper can be spread over the four desktops that the N900 has.  The thumbnails without these squares are single images. You still have the choice as explained below to push the wallpaper to individual desktops or all four.

Lets say I select one of those multiple screen wallpapers. The 4 images appear and there are a couple of options at the bottom. The first icon allows you to save the wallpapers to your device without saving it as a wallpaper (for later use).

The second icon asks you to choose the wallpaper to apply to a desktop, meaning you don’t necessarily have to have all four wallpapers on your four desktops. (clever because you might like only one of the four wallpapers, or two of the four wallpapers).

The third icon allows you to apply all the wallpapers to all your desktops. It puts them in the right order as well. (very clever).

The fourth icon tells you who created the wallpaper. (nice, give credit where due).

Finally the fifth icon allows you to rate the wallpaper and this is extremely useful especially if one is looking for the Top 100 highest rated wallpapers.

Only once you select the image and how you want it displayed on your device, does it downloads.

There are so many awesome wallpapers to use that one is extremely spoilt for choice.

Highly recommended – :-)

Related Websites:

Skype calls on the Nokia N900.

I will echo a recent post by Kerry Wright of that modern technology and applications such as Skype and Facebook are bringing us closer together regardless of ones location.

Today i chatted to my Mom on my Nokia N900 for over 2 hours and it cost nothing. My Mom was at her computer in Windhoek, Namibia and I was logged into Skype on my N900. Skype is built into the N900, which makes it all the more amazing.

The call came through just like an ordinary phone call. When I am home my N900 is automatically connected to my Sky Broadband via wireless, so the entire call was using my broadband, as if I was at my PC.

Now imagine what a call of this magnitude would have cost had we used good old fashion Telekom or BT?

The fact is, we most certainly would not have spoken for so long. Modern technology is amazing and we should embrace it at every opportunity.

T-Mobile’s unlimited Internet is only 1GB – Ridiculous!

I recently upgraded my T-Mobile contract to a Sim Only deal where by I get X amount of minutes and X amount of voice calls and unlimited internet usage.  I took this option because I bought my phone outright.

T-Mobile were very quick to point out that the “unlimited internet usage” was not actually unlimited but instead capped at 1GB.

How ridiculous?

Ridiculous for many reasons as the phone I recently purchased is totally geared towards the Internet and for social networking (Skype, Gtalk, MSN, Facebook, Twitter, has a full internet browser, access to everything internet related). The Nokia N900 is a mini computer or tablet device with a phone function.

The Nokia N900 is not the only phone offering such features, there are many other phone makes (Blackberry, Apple, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, LG etc) and models offering fast download speeds (7.2MBit, 10MBit).

T-Mobile bragged that they were streaks ahead of the other mobile ISP’s because they offered 1GB instead of 500MB. All very well, but that is a pathetic statement to make!

I consider myself a heavy Internet data user on my mobile and by that I mean:

  1. The Nokia N900 is a multi-tasking device, therefore it is possible to open multiple web sites in the real internet browser, which is similar to what you would find on your desktop PC, and it is able to load up all the graphics, video and sounds that are normally present on a website quickly, which obviously uses a lot of data. I regularly browse;
    1. BBC, Sky News, Engadget, Wired, Netvibes, Youtube, Wilkinsonsworld, Crunchvictims, FT, CMAVision, Gmail,  etc.
  2. On top of that I would have open Facebook, an online scrabble game,
  3. Multiple Twitter accounts,
  4. Last.FM scrobbler, or Shoutcast music streaming, or E-Book reader,
  5. I am downloading a few podcasts on a daily basis,
  6. Reading and replying to my various Email accounts,
  7. Instant Messaging through Skype, MSN, GTalk and Facebook (all possible in one place on the N900),
  8. Blogging on my various websites,

I had a look at my data usage after a week of using the Nokia N900 and it’s up at 450MB. (Doh! after a week). There is no way on earth the 1GB limit is going to last me. I will reach that cap by the end of next week!

T-Mobile already offer broadband via a USB Dongle. They are quite generous in the amount one can download with their USB dongle (£ 10/mth – 4.5 Mb/s  – 3 Gb cap). – Check out

What they need to realize is that with the new mobile technology coming out with bigger and better devices with lovely large screens and qwerty keyboards, that devices such as the N900 are similar too and / or if not better than a netbook or a laptop with a USB Dongle, since they incorporate the internet technology in the device.

For a Sim Only contract with unlimited Internet at a cost of £15/mth, one would expect T-Mobile to offer a larger download limit!

Come on T-Mobile, please review your Interet download policy!


Bowen uses Netvibes Wasabi edition.

netvibes-wasabi-editionThere are a lot of tools or web applications that can make your life easier online and the one I find most useful is NETVIBES.

It is a personal web portal containing a mulitude of options (RSS/Atom feed reader, local weather forecasts, a calendar supporting iCal, bookmarks, notes, to-do lists, multiple searches, support for POP3, IMAP4 email as well as several webmail providers including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and AOL Mail, web storage, Delicious, Meebo, Flickr photos, podcast support with a built in audio player, and several others).

I don’t use all of the above options, but I do use Netvibes as my RSS reader, which allows me to scan and view hundreds of website at one time.

Recently Netvibes invited me try out their new Beta version called Wasabi. It introduces a new streamlined look that includes a mosaic view, a list view and the old tabbed view. It is a lot faster as well.

Old Tab View: This is what it looked like before the change.

Old Tab View (with newpaper style news or quick summary).

New All Feed View: This is really clever as it shows you the latest news across all websites.

New Expanded View – Here one can effectively load the website within Netvibes.

New Mosaic View: When you click on a mosaic it opens up in expanded view or a mini website within Netvibes.

Each mosaic has tiny mouse-over options on it. If you look at the 3rd mosaic below (with my mouse hand) you can see a forward pointing arrow (clicking on it will allow one to share the article), the clock means (Mark as ‘Read Later’), the double arrow if clicked on (Opens the website in a new tab or browser window) and the square if clicked on marks the mosaic as read. Once ‘read’ or ‘marked as read’ the mosaic turn semi-transparent like the fourth mosaic.

Hovering your mouse over the mosaic reveals the full heading:

Adding a feed is childs play, one reallysimple clicks on the Green Add Content button at the top left hand corner of the page and a screen opens up with various choices. Netvibes recommends feeds for you or one can define your own feed. Most good websites, blogs, news sites, photo sharing sites have RSS feeds, simply type in the address of the website in the space and Netvibes will tell you if one exists or not.

or add a feed by browsing the various categories on offer:

You can see more screenshots of my Netvibes in my gallery.

I just happened to twit about this very topic and guess who replied to me with thanks?

Netvibes-CEO saying thanks

Google Wave is difficult to understand.

Google Wave GuideSo like the few tens of thousand people who have tried Google Wave, I am struggling to see what benefit it will have for me in the immediate future?

I am keen to give it a try out and to find out more about it, so I did a few searches online and stumbledupon this guide called “The complete guide to Google Wave” <how original?> by Gina Trapani & Adam Pash. The application isn’t even available to the masses yet and someone has gone and written a guide book on it and a PDF which is selling for $6’s. <nice & good luck to them>

Google Wave is a new web-based collaboration tool that’s notoriously difficult to understand. This guide will help. Here you’ll learn how to use Google Wave to get things done with your group. Because Wave is such a new product that’s evolving quickly, this guidebook is a work in progress that will update in concert with Wave as it grows and changes.

Those words coming from the two editors of the website. If it’s so bloody difficult to understand why do they think people are going to want to use it, let alone part with 6 bucks to learn something that is difficult [superemotions file=”icon_question.gif” title=”Question Mark”] (perhaps the very reason why I want to learn about it because it’s difficult and querky).

Anyway, it’s a very good read if you are struggling to see what Google Wave can do, and it has certainly helped me better understand it. Whether I will use it like it’s intended purpose, only time will tell.

Then I discovered that Gina Trapani is the editor of one of my all time favorite websites called So, not some fly by the night author. Gina certainly knows what she is talking about!


So come on friends and family, let me know if you want an invitation. I have 10 invites left (9 if Jeff sends me his email address). As mentioned in the previous post, family and friends first and if there are no takers, then I will offer them to the world.

Windows 7 took almost 4 hours to upgrade my Vista Laptop

win7_homepremium_3dl_0e89dfd3So I upgraded our Windows Vista HP Pavilion DV9000 laptop last night with Windows 7 Home Premium and the bloody upgrade took almost 4 hours. But it was worth it in the end. Windows 7 is awesome, flat out and I think for the first time in 2 years we are seeing the true capabilities of our laptop. If only it came with Windows 7 back when we bought it!

I had to remove only one application, which wouldn’t work and that was my anti-virus. So overall I am very impressed. Hopefully the anti-virus can be resolved.

I am using Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack, which allows 3 machines to be installed. I plan to also install Windows 7 on my iMac. It was such a fast machine with Windows XP, so I can’t wait to see Windows 7 on it!

It will set you back £129.99 for the 3 licence pack at Fortunately I had a £30 gift voucher from my birthday (thanks Mom & Rob), so I was looking at £90 for the 3 licences. Definitely money well spent. I also picked up a 3 pack licence of Office Home and Student 2007 even though there are no students in the house! That was £55 at Amazon. – Bargain.

Look out for future comments on Windows 7.

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.

Related Links: – competitive prices, awesome service.

I’ve been supporting for quite a while because their prices are very competitive, often the best online and their service is second to none and even more so when things go wrong.

One such example happened recently after I purchased a pair of Nokia Bluetooth headphones (BH-905) from them. The headphones arrived in a timely fashion and I listened to them a couple of times but noticed a problem. I contacted on the third day by phone and explained the problem and the support guy was very helpful and said “not to worry” and explained what I needed to do to return the goods back to them. I followed all the instructions and sent them back via special delivery.

A day or two later I received an email from them which told me my postage had been reimbursed. That was a nice touch. A few days later I had my second pair of headphones and they have been working perfectly ever since.

Related Links:

New Facebook application for Nokia 5800XM is awesome!

scr000053I am not a huge fan of Facebook and all the silly applications that come with it, but for communicating with friends and family it is brilliant. I’ve been using it on my various mobiles for quite some time now although none of the FB applications were that user friendly or in the Nokia 5800XM’s case “finger friendly”….. until now!

Symbian have release a new version of the Facebook application especially for the touch screen Nokia 5800XM and N97 and it’s a pleasure to use. The screen options are clear, there are nice big buttons and accessing the various menus are very easy and fast. One of the coolest features is the camera button (see top left corner). Pressing on this button pops up a choice to take a photo using the onboard camera, or one can select a photo from your phones gallery, but either way the photo is immediately uploaded into a new or existing album in your Facebook profile. It’s lightning fast as well. I was walking down Cannon street yesterday and literally snapping photos and uploading. It’s such a useful part of the application, especially if you are a happy snapper like me and want to share photos with your friends and family.

Other cool things are the quick access buttons to comments (see the little comments balloons to the right of the news feed) and quick access to your profile, status, friends, photos and Inbox. What makes this application work on the 5800XM is all the screen space. Nothing feels like it’s been squashed in and for that reason it’s a pleasure to use.

You can download the Facebook application from the Nokia OVI store on your PC, or download it FREE from the OVI store  on your phone. To install the OVI store application you need to download it from their website. It should prompt you to install the OVI application on your Nokia phone when you first login or enter the site. The OVI store is another cool application and allows one to download free or pay applications, music, ring tones, photos etc. There is a link below.

(Facebook application for S60v5 generation phones highly recommended).


The Nokia 5800XM is not just a phone!


I have had the Nokia 5800XM for about two months now and so far I have mixed feelings about it. It’s no where near as good as the Nokia N95, which was by far the best smartphone on the planet and which I raved about for two and a half years.

Obviously the N95 was an N-Series smartphone and the 5800 is Nokia’s first real touch screen and they have tried to give it a music feel to it. Not sure it really comes across as a music phone, as the music player is okay, or very similar to the N95 in what it does and shows on the screen.

I am not sure if Nokia made this phone and hoped it would compete against the iPhone or the Blackberry Storm or all the other new touch screen models out there. So the iPhone touch interface is slightly better, but that is about it for the iPhone as it doesn’t come close to this phone in terms of features.

The things I don’t like about the 5800XM:

  1. Most definitely the touch screen or touch experience. The lack of buttons is a big thing for me. (If it had buttons and touch screen then maybe).
  2. Texting which I do a lot of is now a pain in the arse, because the touch screen forces you to look at the screen, where as with a normal keys it was quite easy to feel your way around the keypad and type fast.
  3. Typing is a lot slower, because of the touch screen, and one has to hit the screen quite hard and it has to be in the area of the letter.
  4. The camera is only a 3mp, and doesn’t take great photos (if compared to the N95).

What I like about the phone:

  1. Even though it’s not an N-Series phone, it’s got all the connectivity features of my old N95 (wireless, fast internet, 3G, Edge, HSDPA, A2DP bluetooth etc).
  2. It supports SD cards up to 16GB. Very handy for storing music and videos.
  3. It’s plays video in a lovely widescreen format, and watching videos is a pleasure.
  4. It’s running the latest Symbian software, which is a pleasure to use.
  5. There are hundreds if not thousands of Apps (lot of free apps as well).
  6. There are many applications that work really well with the touch screen, such as Google Maps, LastFM, FoneFood, FriendView etc.

What I have loaded on the phone at present in terms of applications:

  1. X-Plore (brilliant).
  2. PhoneTorch (brilliant).
  3. ScreenSnap (brilliant).
  4. SMS Timer (brilliant) – allows one to schedule SMS’s, excellent if you don’t want to send a SMS immediately.
  5. AccuWeather (brilliant).
  6. PhotoBrowser – funky browser with magnifying glass. (Nice Gimmick).
  7. TagReader – Microsoft’s barcode reader (Very Clever).
  8. BarCode – Nokia’s barcode reader (Very Clever).
  9. Split the bill – Very useful if you dine in large groups and have the habbit of splitting the bill.
  10. Google Maps, Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Documents, Google Translate, Gmail – All very useful applications which I use daily.
  11. Soft Touch Stop Watch.
  12. Friend View which uses the GPS to pinpoint you and your friends. (Very useful).
  13. Nokia Maps.
  14. Metro de Paris, NYC Subways maps.
  15. FoneFood – A very clever and useful app from – used to find restaurants in whatever area you might be in.
  16. MyPhone – Ha Ha this is a classic application! It’s called “Exceeding iPhone” and they have somehow managed to use the iPhone UI (user interface) on the 5800XM. So you have a Nokia 5800 with an iPhone interface. It’s darn clever. Check out their website.
  17. Bounce (game).
  18. RT GR (game).
  19. SudokuMaster (game).
  20. Checkers (game).
  21. MR2 (game).
  22. Sensitive (game).
  23. Solitaire (game).
  24. Shuffle Shock (game).
  25. Quickblock (game).
  26. R.Bubbles (game).