“Hey Siri, give us a hint.”

Apple has sent out their invites for their “annual” iPhone release.

Hey Siri, Give Us a Hint

If you ask Siri on your iPhone, to give you a hint, you get some quite witty responses.

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As well as new iPhones, the rumours also say there may be a new Apple TV. That I wouldn’t mind to replace my old 720p model.

Dusting off the Pogo

Polaroid Pogo printer

Many, many years ago I went out, after listening to people on the Twitter, and purchased a Polaroid Pogo printer, well according to the Twitter it was six years ago in 2009.

I bought it for £50, though it soon fell in price to £17…

I did use it for a while, but there were some core reasons why it never really clicked for me, partly the size of the prints, just 2” x 3” which was too small for most things. Couldn’t really see a practical use for such small prints, even if they were stickers. The other main reason was that the quality of the prints was quite poor in comparison to the HP photo printer I had at the time. So like many other devices after the novelty had rubbed off and the curiosity value had waned, it went into the cupboard.

It was recently though that after making notes in a my new work notebook (trying out visual note taking for project planning) that I realised I actually wanted to include a diagram in my notes. I could have attempted to draw the diagram, but I am not that good at drawing clear diagrams. Also in this case I wanted the actual diagram, not a drawn representation of the diagram. I then remembered the Pogo printer and I wondered…

I had to connect it to the power adapter and remember that the easiest way to do this was to send it the image file over Bluetooth. I was actually quite surprised and impressed that it worked.

I then realised how useful it would be for making notes, well supporting handwritten notes. I could use it to print off slides from Powerpoint presentations, diagrams from said presentations, covers of reports (as visual reminders), images as visual cues for notes, cartoon strips (usually xkcd) even photographs of locations where meetings or events were been held.

There are some challenges in using it. It only likes JPGs and only in 4:3. It will print other ratio but expect to get some unexpected cropping. One strange outcome is that square images (like those created in Instagram) come out in portrait mode.

The most consistent way of printing has been sending files from my Mac to the printer via Bluetooth. I have had success in doing this with a Windows 7 laptop, but the experience has been inconsistent and some days it just won’t work! Alas because of the Bluetooth restrictions imposed by Apple, you can’t print to it from an iOS device such as the iPhone or the iPad. Having said that, LG released a ZINK printer that utilises an iOS App to enable you to print using your iPhone. It should be said that the process works fine with an Android phone.

Aa a result if a diagram is in PNG format and not in 4:3 ratio then you need to use an image editing package to ensure it will print correctly. Likewise if you export a wide screen Powerpoint presentation as JPGs, you again need to adjust the size of the image (canvas size) so that it all prints and ensure that the Pogo doesn’t crop the slide image.

The ZINK paper it uses isn’t easily available on the high street, so I just bought some on Amazon, watch though as the prices vary quite a bit, I did manage to find 70 sheets for £8.99 which was reasonable.

So far I have found using the Pogo printer a really useful tool in supporting my note taking and planning. I am not sure I would go out and buy one just for this, I was lucky I had it in the cupboard, but they do go for quite cheap prices on eBay if you are interested.

Still no fibre

fiber optic light

Fast broadband in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) came to the Worle exchange, my local exchange, in 2010 and at the time I was one of the first people to sign up, as soon as our cabinet was upgraded. However in 2012 we moved house, literally moving down the road. This house was connected to a different cabinet, and if the internet is to be believed this was the only cabinet connected to the Worle exchange which wasn’t upgraded.

I am connected to cabinet 25, which is on Moor Lane, near to the playground in Plumley Park. At the time of writing it still hasn’t been upgraded with no indication from BT Openreach when it will be upgraded.

I have written previously about my woes with fibre before, when we first moved house and lost fibre and then my initial investigations into why I couldn’t get FTTC and back in 2012 writing about the confirmation of no plans to upgrading cabinet 25.

I did once e-mail BT Openreach (when they published an e-mail address you could contact them on, they’ve removed that option now), their response was that the cabinet wasn’t economically viable and as a result it would probably be upgraded by Connecting Devon and Somerset as part of a public private partnership.

Thank you for your enquiry. You are connected to the Worle Exchange, cabinet 25. We are deploying one of the fastest and largest commercial deployments in the world. Our commercial deployment will have extended to 66% of the UK by the end of December 2014. We aim extend this to 90% of the UK, in partnership with other sources of funding, e.g. local and National government. Our deployment is based on the commercial criteria for each cabinet and your PCP fails to meet the commercial criteria. This is because the cabinet is too small to provide a return on the investment based on the costs for the construction and on-going running costs of providing a new FTTC cabinet. Where cabinets are not commercially viable Government funding is available to county councils and it is worth registering your interest on the County council website.

As a result I of course registered my interest to the council supporting the upgrade of this cabinet to FTTC via the Connecting Devon and Somerset website.

Connecting Devon and Somerset has been set up to deliver next generation broadband infrastructure to areas where the market has failed to invest.

I never heard from BT Openreach or Connecting Devon and Somerset again…

I wrote to my MP, and John Penrose, had had similar queries did some investigation., but again no clear answer from either side.

Connecting Devon and Somerset now say on their web site that:

According to our records your area is either currently, or planned to be, commercially covered by a private service provider. As such we are not allowed to invest in your area under European Commission State Aid regulations. You are not part of our programme and will need to contact an internet service provider (ISP) to find out about the current status/plans for your area.

So the situation is that originally BT Openreach said they wouldn’t upgrade the cabinet as it wasn’t commercially viable. Connecting Devon and Somerset say they won’t upgrade the cabinet as it is part of a commercial rollout.

The BT Openreach website now says that the cabinet is “Under Review”. At one point a third party website said that the cabinet was part of the Phase 13a rollout, but then BT Openreach closed that site down, so that information was lost to the ether.

The BT Openreach website now says that the cabinet is “Under Review”.

According to some other stuff I have read it would appear that BT Openreach decided initially that cabinet 25 wasn’t commercially viable, as a result passed it over to Connecting Devon and Somerset. Then at some point BT Openreach changed their mind about the commercial viability, so when Connecting Devon and Somerset came to plan to upgrade the cabinet, they found it was part of a commercial plan, and under the rules they adhere to, they weren’t able to upgrade it. Now we are in a situation where BT Openreach are saying that it is under review with no indication of when or even if it will be ever upgraded.

The end result is now in 2015, when most people across Weston super Mare have access to FTTC, the area around cabinet 25 don’t. It’s got to the point when I think EE’s 4G service may be the only viable option to fast broadband.

Star Wars Disney Infinity 3.0

Princess Leia

Star Wars will be the main theme for Disney Infinity 3.0 which will arrive this autumn.

My children have really enjoyed Disney Infinity and I think this will be on their Christmas list, (probably along with Lego Dimensions.

Star Wars Disney Infinity

MS-DOS Mobile

This made me smile.

Today Microsoft launch MS-DOS Mobile, a new OS designed especially for Lumia smartphones.

Microsoft are going back to where productivity started for millions of people, launching a beautifully simple OS.

The MS-DOS Mobile preview is an essential download for those who remember life before Windows, those who want to go back to BASIC, or even those looking to boot into DOS for the first time.

Note today’s date.