Tech Stuff – Top Ten Posts of 2011

Here are the top ten blog posts (by views) for 2011.

10. Joikuspot s60 limitation

This blog post which described a major limitation with Jokuspot on the Nokia N95 was the principle reason I bought a MiFi.

9. No joy with Sony PSP and JoikuSpot Premium

This was quite an old post, from nearly three years ago, when my primary method for mobile internet was using Joikuspot on a Nokia N95. Since then I have used a MiFi and now in the main use the portable wireless hotspot on a Google Nexus One.

8. Insufficient Bandwidth

This post described how a problem with my FTTC was causing me to have issues with iPlayer streams. I think in the end it was more of an issue with BBC iPlayer than an issue with my internet connection.

7. New Sony Tablets, the Tablet S

In this blog post I was looking forward to the new Sony Tablet. Having now seen the Tablet for real I am slightly disappointed. It didn’t feel like a Sony product and seemed overpriced for what it was.

6. Instagram on the Desktop

My sixth most popular post looked at a couple of Mac apps that allowed you to view Instagram images on your desktop. I really like Instagram, but sometimes feel disadvantaged when I want to see a feed of Instagram images on my Mac.

5. ITV Player and 4OD on the PS3

An update to the PS3 provided access to the watch again services from ITV and Channel 4.

4. iPhone Portable Wifi Hotspot

Back in January Apple announced a new feature for the iPhone, that allowed you to turn it into a portable wifi hotspot, something I had been doing for a while using my Froyo Google Nexus One.

3. I don’t like BT FON

My third most popular post was a rant about BT FON, well actually it wasn’t a rant about BT FON itself, it was rant that BT routers configured for BT FON also broadcast a BT Openzone SSID which wasn’t a real BT Openzone and so as a result my iPhone (which has free access to BT Openzone) couldn’t use it.

2. BT Openzone-H

This post was a follow on to my BT FON rant, it was apparent that BT were aware of the problem I discussed and are in the process of changing the settings on the BT Homehubs so that instead of broadcasting the BT Openzone SSID they have renamed it to BT Openzone-H. I should say that though I posted this in July, here nearly six months later my neighbour’s BT HomeHub is still broadcasting BT Openzone and not the new Openzone-H.

1. Live BBC TV on the iPad

My most popular post was not really a post more of an addendum to another post reviewing the BBC iPlayer app for the iPad.

The addendum mentioned that the main advantage of the app over the web interface was that you could access live TV through the app.

BBC iPlayer for iPhone Arrives…


Though you have been able to access BBC iPlayer on your iPhone for a while now, the launch of the dedicated iPhone BBC iPlayer App means you can now stream live TV and radio on your iPhone (as you can with the iPad app).

So is the content different from what you get on the web on the iPhone?

So can you download content for offline viewing? Like when you are on a train? Something you can do on your computer. Well no, you have to have a decent internet connection to watch BBC iPlayer. Also you can’t use the service on 3G, you do need to be on wifi. Correction: I made an incorrect assumption you can access BBC iPlayer streams on your iPhone via 3G on both the App and the Web service. Of course be aware that streaming over 3G uses a lot of your bandwidth, so if you have a cap or are charged per GB be careful.

The main difference is that the app allows you to watch live BBC TV which is probably the main reason for getting the app, though remember you will need a TV licence to watch the live streams!

In the end I can’t see what the app adds that viewing on the iPlayer on Safari doesn’t have already, apart from “favourites”. What’s the point of that as most content disappears in under seven days anyway… I’ve not use that feature on the iPad and I doubt I will use it on the iPhone.

The app doesn’t have Airplay, though the web interface does, so a limitation there rather than an advantage.

Correction: The app does have support for AirPlay but it’s not intuitive. AirPlay is initiated outside the app by double clicking the home button and swiping right and pressing the AirPlay button; the streaming video will then be displayed through your AirPlay device (i.e. your Apple TV).

At the end of the day I am not sure what this brings to the iPhone, though from experience I have found the iPad app experience to be slightly better than the iPad web experience, but only slightly better.

Update: Of course the app and the streaming are only available in the UK.

Get the BBC iPlayer iPhone App in the iTunes Store.

Insufficient Bandwidth


I really do like the speed of my fibre connection so was slightly annoyed whilst watching a programme on BBC iPlayer on my iPad to get this message.

It said that You have insufficient bandwidth to play this programme.

This was puzzling as I usually have no problems with streaming video… so off to speedtest.net and a quick test.

Well that was surprising and slightly unexpected. My usual download speed is 37Mb/s, under 7Mb/s is much slower than normal.

I did a reboot of the modem, but that another helped slightly.

The plan this morning was to turn it off for twenty minutes and see if that made a difference. However a check this morning saw that my speed was back to normal.

I don’t have an idea why the speed dropped so much, might just have been a one off, but then again it may be something else. Will test the speed later this evening and see if I get similar results.

Live BBC TV on the iPad

Okay so there is one feature of the iPlayer iPad App that “could” make it worth downloading (remember it is free anyhow) and that is it allows you to live stream the BBC channels to your iPad. Now if you do this, you will need a TV Licence. You can watch all the (SD) BBC Freeview channels.

It was also pointed out to me that as the BBC iPlayer App is an App it currently doesn’t support VGA-Out as many other video apps do. You can do VGA-Out with the web version.

Thanks to Carol Walker (@weedog) for these.

Neither the App or the web version of iPlayer support AirPlay which is what you would use to stream content to your Apple TV. Now that would be useful especially as BBC iPlayer is not native on the Apple TV (and in the UK it should be). Of course if we could put Apps on the Apple TV then we could put this BBC App on the Apple TV! Sometimes I wish life was a little easier and simpler.


iPlayer on my iPad


The BBC have released an App for the iPad for BBC iPlayer. I have now used it a few times and to be honest, it’s just okay. I think it is better than the website version of iPlayer on the iPad and it seems to be a little more stable. A bit easier to go back to a video you have paused for example.

Navigation is slightly different to the website version you get on the iPad, but not much really too different.

This is the iPad App.

This is iPlayer on the iPad browser.

So my next question is why?

Why on earth did the BBC spend time and money on an app for the iPad if it adds virtually nothing to the experience that you get from using the website on the iPad?

So is the content different from what you get on the web on the iPad? As you know from my previous post what you see on the iPad is never the full iPlayer experience, and from what I can see on the App the availability is the same as you get via the web on the iPad, ie less than what you get in a full web browser on your computer.

So can you download content for offline viewing? Like when you are on a train? Something you can do on your computer. Well no, you have to have a decent internet connection to watch BBC iPlayer.

In the end I can’t see what the app adds that viewing on the iPlayer on Safari doesn’t have already, apart from “favourites”. What’s the point of that as most content disappears in under seven days anyway…

Hopefully this is version one.