The Moon

Here is a single photo of the moon, that’s all, nothing more, nothing less…

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It’s a bit more than that actually, it was a quick test of taking a photo (my first astrophoto with my new Canon 1100D nonetheless!), putting it straight onto my iPad with the Camera Connection Kit and then blogging it from my iPad, no desktop/laptop involved at all!

If everything goes to plan then I’ll be able to go out a bit later on tonight when it’s a bit darker and get some much nicer photos, seeing as as this one, sadly, is nothing special. I’ll be able set the tripod up and get some nice long exposures to liven things up a bit!

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Create Settings Shortcuts Without Jailbreak On iOS

I’ve just come across an excellent quick tutorial on DevChimp on how to install a tweak on your iOS device which will allow you quick access to your favourite settings straight from your home screen! I was under the impression that Apple had released a patch to stop this working but I must have been mistaken as it’s working perfectly for me. Go and check it out.

Source: DevChimp

Kickstarter – TidyTilt, The Smarter Cover For Your iPhone

TidyTilt is a Kickstarter project by design students Zahra Tashakorinia & Derek Tarnow that aims to be a solution to the eternal problem of earbud tangling that plagues us all. TidyTilt looks and functions much like the iPad 2’s Smart Cover, it attaches to a thin metal stip that adheres to the back of your iPhone and can be wrapped up just like the Smart Cover to act as a prop for your iPhone, or to secure your earbuds in place tidily with no worry of tangling. The video on the Kickstarter page also shows it being used to attach the iPhone or the headphones to the body of your Mac, to a whiteboard, or just about anything magnetic you can get your hands on. They come in a variety of 4 colours (sadly no orange to match my iPad) and start at just $19 (add $10 for international shipping) which converts to £18 if you’re in the UK, a bargin if you ask me! They’ve surpassed their funding goal by over $40,000 (it’s gone up over $200 while I’ve been writing this post!) but that’s no reason not to get yourself one, I can’t wait for mine!

EDIT: This project has been successfully funded! Stay tuned for a review of the product when it arrives in the coming months!

iPhone 4S/iPad 2 5.0.1 Jailbreak (Maybe) Within The Week!

According to iOS hacker pod2g’s Twitter stream we could be a matter of days away from having our A5 powered devices (iPhone 4S & iPad 2) jailbroken on iOS 5.0.1! He appears to have made a big leap forward with Apple’s newest processor, here’s hoping everything goes well and that come next Monday we’ll all be tweaking SBSettings back to just how we like it!

Microsoft To Sue Comet Over Illegally Copied Recovery Disks

Comet Under Microsoft Scrutiny

Tech giant Microsoft announced today that they are suing Comet over the illegal production and sale of over 90,000 ‘fake’ Windows CDs. UK based electronics company Comet have allegedly burned counterfeit copies of Windows XP & Vista recovery disks and distributed them to customers upon the sale of a new PC, thereby avoiding licensing costs to themselves. Comet have responded to these allegations with the following statement:

“We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers. Comet has sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft’s intellectual property. Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers. It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer. Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously.”

In Comet’s defence, they seem to be under the impression that they are only acting with the customers best interest in mind and are bundling the disk in free alongside the new PC, in which case Comet are correct in saying they are not selling the disks, however Microsoft can still argue that they are responsible for distributing the illegally copied disks. If Comet have previously sought legal advice on the matter then they obviously believe themselves to be completely within the law, however I’d wager Microsoft feel the same way and believe they too have only the customers best interests in mind. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more on this case as it develops through the coming weeks, I will be sure to keep you posted.

Buffer – Discover A New Way To Tweet

Free online service Buffer is my new favourite tweet-companion. Buffer is in essence a tweet scheduler, you tell it what to tweet and when to tweet it and when that time comes, it releases your tweets on a one-per-timeslot basis. It is not the first service of its kind, however it does boast some strong features that I’ve not come across before. Using it couldn’t be easier, simply set the tweet-times when you want Buffer to tweet for you, and then add articles/websites/pictures etc to your ‘Buffer’ (either manually on the website, by email, or via a handy browser extension). When it reaches your next specified tweet-time, the item will be tweeted and then removed from your Buffer to allow the next item to be tweeted at the next specified tweet-time, and so on.

Buffer also ties in to another of my favourite services, If This Then That, which I wrote about only yesterday. This allows you to quickly set up a ‘task’ on the If This Then That website and from then on anything you ‘star’ on Google Reader will be added to your Buffer, to be tweeted at a later time.

Buffer’s great for those who might only have chance to be active on Twitter for a short amount of time each day, but have a lot to say and share and would like to spread their tweets out more throughout the day. The service also ties in to SocialBro, a kind of Twitter statistics monitor. SocialBro can scan your list of followers and find out when is the best time for you to tweet, based on when the majority of your followers are active, to allow you maximum exposure to your audience. After SocialBro has scanned your followers, it only takes a single click to configure Buffer to release your tweets at the optimal time.

If you feel like you’ve got a lot to share and not enough chance to say it, give Buffer a go, I’m adding this post to my Buffer right now!

If This Then That – Genius!

For the past couple of days I’ve started using If This Then That (ifttt), a free service that lets you set up simple, yet potentially quite powerful, automated tasks using the online services you use every day. This is done by specifying a trigger (if this) such as ‘When I add a new photo to Flickr’ or ‘If it’s going to rain tomorrow’ and an action to be performed when it is triggered (then that) such as ‘Tweet the URL’ or ‘Text me’. Each trigger and action is fully configurable, so you can make sure they perform exactly how you want them to. I currently only have 13 of the possible 39 channels active (a channel becomes active when you allow ifttt permission to access the service) yet I have a not-to-be-sniffed-at 484 possible combinations of tasks available. I’d highly recommend the service and if you often find yourself going through several repetitive actions such as Upload photos to Flickr>Tweet about it>Add them to Facebook>Update Facebook status>Email the link to a friend etc, you will be able to save heaps of time by spending no more than 5 minutes setting a few simple tasks up. I’ve listed a few of my favourites below:

Download file to Dropbox from Gmail: If you’re on the move and you come across a file you’d like on your home machine, simply email the file’s URL to your Gmail account with the subject ‘downloadthis’ or something similar and ifttt will spot the email and download the file straight into your Dropbox. (This can also be configured to automatically begin downloading torrents by configuring your torrent client to watch your Dropbox folder, however this is only to be used in a fully legal scenario of course!).

When I star an item on Google Reader, Tweet it: Self explanatory, you can also configure the format of your tweet (i.e. “Check this out [Article Name] [URL]” etc).

Send New Years greeting at exactly midnight: You specify a message, and a time to tweet/email/update status/send a text and it will be done for you!

Add the weather to my Google Calendar: Again, self explanatory, but useful none the less!

When theres a new post on ‘Cosmic Background’, notify me: If you wanted to keep as up to date as possible with your favourite tech blog (oh please, you’re too kind) then notification service Boxcar will push notifications to RSS feeds, straight to Growl (if you’re a Mac user) and even (with the free app) to your iPhone and iPad!

Do yourself a favour and go check it out!

Astrophotos From Tenerife

In the Summer I went on a trip to the Las Palmas Observatory in Tenerife with my course to collect some data. I couldn’t pass up the chance to get some astrophotography in so I borrowed a canon 1000D and got to it! The full set are on my Flickr page (link at the top!). Enjoy!