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Elgato introduces World Cup vuvuzela filter... seriously!

Now England are through to the last 16 of the World Cup, the timing couldn't be better for Elgato's latest innovation - the Vuvuzela Filter. 

You may remember my post the other day about Elgato's TV tuner software and now, users of this great hardware and software combo can cut out the sound of the South African horns that have become an irritant to fans and players alike. 

Personally, I love the vuvuzela. I love them so much I got a friend to bring one back from South Africa for me. These horns are a part of SA football culture and we're playing in the their backyard, so why shouldn't they be a part of the crowd noise?

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Internet Explorer 8: InPrivate Browsing Parody

With the England World Cup game coming up at 3PM and a mountain of work to get through before then, it's unlikely I'll get a post up today. To keep you entertained during this national pride-enforced hiatus, here's a little parody of Microsoft's current IE8 advert. Enjoy! 

 Can't see the video? Check your Flash player version here

iOS4: My initial thoughts (on an iPhone 3G) [Updated]

Well let's first get something straight, I'm only testing iOS4 on an iPhone 3G at the moment so I don't have access to all of the "magical" new features, but what I've seen so far has been interesting to say the least, mainly discovering which features have been chopped for users of the iPhone 3G or below.

A lot of people have already begun bashing the new operating system on iPhone 3G for being sluggish, but I'm yet to see any evidence of that. These are, however, my initial thoughts so things are liable to change as I get used to the new OS for the next two days until I upgrade to iPhone 4. My girlfriend will be taking on the iOS4'd 3G though so I'll still be able to speak from the late-adopter's corner as well.

For now, let's say this is a guide for iPhone 3G users who are on the brink of upgrading and all you smug 3GS owners can let out a little chuckle each time I mention a feature that doesn't work. (As I said, I'll be getting the iPhone 4 this week so too much smugness might lead to me giving you something you can really tap to focus on!)

For the sake of brevity, clarity and a small amount of "man, I'm tired and wan't to finish my beer-ity" I'm going to go through each of iOS4's touted new features and give you my thoughts on those I can access right now. 

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Elgato launches EyeTV for iPad

Missing World Cup matches might be a thing of the past for EyeTV customers now Elgato has announced its EyeTV 1.1 app, bringing streaming TV to the iPad.

For those who haven't used it, EyeTV is an app for Mac that allows users to watch and record digital television on their Mac via a tuner. These recordings and even the live streams can then be sent to an iPhone and now the iPad via the EyeTV app for viewing anywhere using a 3G or Wi-Fi connection.

It's probably the best piece of Mac/iPad software I'm unable to use, given that I live in a non-freeview area. 

The benefits of the app on the iPad are obvious with a larger viewing area and improved resolution over existing iPhone models, and users can even browse the Program Guide and schedule recordings from within the app. 

EyeTV 1.1 is available now on iTunes at a cost of £2.99/$5.99 or free for existing EyeTV app users. 

iPhone 4s arriving early? iOS4 available today

I just went to grab a coffee and on my way discovered my new micro sim card from O2 for my new iPhone 4. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've not pre-ordered my phone and am going down the (possibly foolish) upgrade in-store route on Thursday morning. 

In preparation for my upgrade, that may well come at the cost of UFC-style wrestling and eye-gouging at my local O2 shop, I'm also looking forward to downloading iOS4 today whenever Apple deems it appropriate to launch its new mobile operating system. Mac Rumors notes that iPhone OS 3.0 didn't arrive until 1PM Eastern/10AM Pacific last year which means I might have to wait until this evening to test it out. 

In other iPhone news, it seems some lucky buggers may get hold of an iPhone 4 before Thursday if tracking information posted on numerous sites turn out to be accurate. This, however, depends on the level of control Apple has when it comes to shipping and how desperately it wants a unified launch date. 

The iPhone 4 launch is beginning to heat up and I'll do my best to get my first experiences with iOS4 (albeit on an iPhone 3G) up here as soon as I can. 

How far we've come: iPhone 4 has higher specs than 2000 iMac

David Blaine of all people alerted me to an Ars Technica forum post that highlights the wild leaps forward in technology as well as the continued thrust into mobile computing of the last ten years. 

Comparing the specs of the new iPhone 4 with an iMac 500 launched around this time in 2000, Apple's smartphone beats the once powerful desktop in almost all areas. 

The $199 iPhone 4 which now supports HD video recording and editing betters the then $1499 all-in-one computer that I can remember laying out magazine pages on! 

While the relative value of processor speeds could be questioned, the iPhone 4 certainly offers more impressive graphics, memory and even HD capacity than the old iMac and with a weight differential of almost 30 ounces. 

Ten years is a long time in technology terms, but this interesting comparison does serve to point out just how rapidly we're advancing and how accurate those who predicted the dominance of mobile computers are set to be. 

Hello world: It's the all-new benharvell.com!

After a lot of hard work and more than a few moments of head-on-desk frustration, the fruit of my labour is now right in front of you - the all-new benharvell.com!

Now that I've put in the work (and spent money) on getting the 2.0 version of my online home up and running, I'm going to dedicate a lot more time to it and hopefully give everyone a good read.

If you've not visited before, you can find out more about me and the work I do using the links along the top of the page and you can subscribe to the site by clicking on the RSS link on the right. If you're wondering why I haven't pulled all my old content onto this site, it's mainly in the name of "new beginnings" but also because it's a very fiddly process. There wasn't much there in the first place anyway. 

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iPhone 4 Delays - Thank God I'm on O2!

After I bemoaned the fact that I appear to be paying through the nose to upgrade to iPhone 4 on the UK's O2 network, it seems that my being an O2 customer may just help me secure the device on launch day. 

Following the news that the latest iPhone is in severely short supply, O2 has announced that it will only be offering the iPhone 4 to existing customers until at least late July. Phew!

Apparently, the planned production of four million iPhone 4s per month has had to be halved due to the scarcity of screens for the device and has had a knock-on effect for those selling Apple's new phone. Stock is also likely to have been reduced to each vendor in the first place, with more networks selling the iPhone in the UK this time around. 

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How much will iPhone 4 REALLY cost you?

I'm on the O2 network here in the UK and I'm going to stick with it when I upgrade to iPhone 4 next week. Since switching to O2 when I bought my first iPhone, the service has been acceptable (certainly better than AT&T from what I hear) and it's going to be a great deal easier to simply extend my contract and grab the latest iPhone model at the same time. 

That said, I was sent an email this afternoon outlining O2's upgrade options and new tariff details (below) in which they've tweaked things to squeeze a bit more cash from me every month. Here's why: 

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When the café is closed...

Turned away from my normal beachside coffee shop for being too early, I took a wander along the cliffs before giving my money to Costa. Here are a few snaps from the iPhone.

Note to indie cafés: Accommodate me and I won’t go to the major chains. Just saying...

iPad and Velcro

Guy Kawasaki posted this video on Twitter today via AllTop which got me excited about the options available for the iPad... if you have some Velcro handy. While some of these ideas aren’t advisable (who would stick an iPad to a motorbike!?) a few look truly brilliant. Check out the video above and open a new world of iPad convenience for your home.

Valve continues its excellent Apple-esque marketing for Mac games

The video above dropped into my inbox earlier today and shows just how well Valve Software knows its new Mac-using audience. Its trailer for Half-Life 2 for Mac (out 5/6/2010) apes the original “1984” commercial used to promote the original Apple Macintosh and continues Valve’s excellent marketing campaign that I covered on iCreate’s blog back in March. 

Find out more about Steam for Mac here

Why I spent an extra £100 on my iPad

As Apple prepares to launch the iPad in the UK at the end of this month, I’m tapping out this post using the “magical” new device from my office in Bournemouth, UK.

Yes, I got hold of a US iPad a month before it was due to go on sale here and I couldn’t be happier. 

How? I went down the same route as many a frustrated, European fanboy and threw some money at eBay. This flagrant disregard for the safety of my hard earned pennies came about after the excellent BundleBox.com stopped taking any more iPad orders just short of my payday. 

The positives are obvious. I’m playing with an iPad right now, I’m the envy of my peers and I’m getting a head start on other UK-based tech freelancers who are, no doubt, pre-ordering today. The negatives? I could have saved £100 pounds if I had waited or, for the same price as I bought my 32GB Wi-Fi model, I could have bought a 32GB Wi-Fi & 3G iPad.

But I’m still happy, for these three reasons:

1. If, a couple of weeks ago, someone had told me I could have an iPad in my hands the next day for an additional £100 “handling fee”, I would have bitten their arm off. This is effectively what I did although, to the best of my knowledge, the charming eBay seller who shipped me the device still has both his upper limbs.

2. The brilliant guys at Three.co.uk have loaned me a MiFi portable Wi-Fi hotspot for a feature I’m writing, so 3G on the move isn’t a problem for me right now. It also means the iPad is starting to “pay for itself” through freelance work already. 

3. My girlfriend LOVES this thing. I can see me upgrading to the 3G at some point in the next year and I know my original will go to a good home while keeping domestic peace for a few months. 

My next question is, do I head down the same route for the iPad accessories I now MUST have or actually be patient and go to a local Apple Store this time? Given how long this post took to write on the iPad’s “virtual keyboard”, I’m starting to see a UPS delivery in my near future...

 

EDIT: The accessories are now available for pre-order on the UK Apple Store. Looks like I’ll be doing that then!

My first day as a freelance writer

So here goes. I’m up nice and early, got a coffee (in the mug above) and I’m about to tackle my emails. It has been a long time coming but I’ve now made it to the first day of working for myself. I’m hoping this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

I’m setting myself a daily agenda so I retain some kind of timetable but with the added benefit that I’m in control of its completion. No surprise meetings, no delegating, no answering queries from readers or the team. Just me. 

This morning it’s all about the iPhone and its apps for a well known website as well as a popular book on the subject. Then there’s a quick admin meeting over coffee... with myself. And then on to some blog posts which should fill up my afternoon. The sun is shining and I’m excited. 

Let’s do this!