UK foods to bring back to Germany (if you’re an ex-pat!)

cheap food from uk“Rip-off Britain.” You see that expression in a lot of Daily Mail headlines in the UK and one has to admit that they’re not far from the truth. Three weeks ago I was in the other end of Europe, in Ukraine, where I was paying about 70p for a pint of good beer in a restaurant. In the UK last week I paid  £4.50 – 6 times as much. Food from supermarkets is also very expensive due to the extreme amount of marketing that goes into the supermarket process but there are a few bargains about, and i’m not just talking about Heinz Baked Beans. Here’s what I picked up last week to bring back to Germany.

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New Journalism without Euros. How a small Ukrainian newspaper is tackling change.

WP_20141127_09_08_55_ProAs part of a training event with Deutsche Welle in Ukraine this week we  visited a local newspapers offices. The small team at Molbuk.ua, Molodyi Bukovinetz, are approaching the question of print vs online with limited resources in a country where honest reporting is becoming more and more important.

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An hour with a Cameraphone at Dunkirk Port DFDS Terminal

It’s with a Nokia 808 in-hand that I decided to kill an hour at the port of Dunkirk in France recently. It’s a grim place. The petro and chemical industry, the lorry parks, old rail infrastructure and the grime caused by the transport of 29 million tonnes of freight per year and 13 million tonnes of roll-on-roll-off vehicles. 2.5 million passengers pass through that part of the port every year and most of those go via the DFDS (was Norfolk Lines) ferry that runs every 2 hours to Dover. Nearly 750 thousand vehicles per year pass through a parking bay with one set of toilets located in a reception building that is, like a disused prison, depressing and interesting at the same time.

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Image via the Port of Dunkirk. Reception building and waiting area at middle bottom of image.

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Lenovo Miix 2 10 Won’t Boot? Try this.

Lenovo Miix 2 10After trying a reboot on my Lenovo Miix 2 10 today I found myself with a dead device. There was no charging indicator, nothing was happening on pressing the power button and it was the same with a 3 and 10 second power-button press.

Thanks to @marauderz I found the answer though.

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Flatster’s MP3 sales model is part radio-recording, part matching, all good value.

At first I didn’t understand how the service worked but after testing Flatster over the last week I’m enjoying it. I’m also convinced there’s something new and interesting going on here. Legal MP3 downloads with no DRM for very little money.

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My testing started after I won 50 MP3 songs on a beer-bottle-top competition. The Warsteiner / Flatster promotion allowed me to log into the service and choose 50 songs. I won another, and then another and I’ve got a 250 song allowance right now which really isn’t bad for a few beers!

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Posted in Music by Steve Chippy Paine. 1 Comment

Patreon makes you think about your independent content future

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As YouTube and display ad revenues fall, the business plan for an independent content creator becomes more and more difficult. Over 8 years I’ve created content around mobile PCs and follow a start-up phase funded party by the German state, everything has been organically funded.

The ad revenue problem is there because we’re not talking about a hobby business anymore and, as with everything, it reaches an equilibrium where business becomes just as hard as it should be. In the early years we could always relay on ‘break-out’ content to keep the finds flowing but now I need to change the way my content is financially supported.

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Posted in Tech Thoughts by Steve Chippy Paine. 1 Comment

Windows 8 Store Market Share. 1% Seems Right.

This is all Microsoft had to say about ‘Windows Momentum’ last week. (See image.)

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…so I did some digging and calculations. Here are some figures that might help ISVs more than the useless figures given by Microsoft.

  • Windows 8 Store has 1% share of US app-purchases
  • Windows 8 Store has 1.4% share of global app-downloads
  • Windows 8 has 0.5% share of the global internet app-devices market.

A 1% share of revenue would give a value of around $250 million for the global Windows 8 Store economy.

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Handheld HDR Photography with the Nokia Lumia 925

2013_10_28_17_01_21_HDR(1)I was never a fan of post-processing photos, possibly because I come from the one-chance era where you looked at a large slide projection and knew that most of the skill had gone into the preparation of the shot. Today, of course, it’s much different. We view 600 pixel-wide photos on crappy LCD screens and the image we’re viewing is one of probably 50 that got shot in succession. We view that photo as it passes from bottom to top, our eyes scanning for the briefest hint of something worth stopping at as we scroll. Because of that, processing that photo for an eye-catching effect is a normal part of todays smartphone-based social sharing process.

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Nokia Lumia 925 First Impressions

P1150042I’ve been using Nokia phones non-stop since the 6280 and their cameraphones since Feb 2008 when I bought the N82. I’ve tested other phones (mostly Sony’s) but always end up going back to Nokia. The Nokia 808 has produced thousands of quality photos’ for me and many that I wouldn’t have had if I’d been relying on even a pocket digital camera but despite the 808 matching most of my phone needs, it’s just too slow for any web or internet application work. When I picked up a Nokia Lumia 620 last month I was convinced that I needed to give a high-end Lumia a shot. Nokia sent along the Lumia 925, now a sub 400 Euro unlocked phone, and I’ve been using it for about 20 days, non-stop.

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Ambient Energy. Could Our Gadgets Harvest their Own Energy?

I just saw a presentation by Intel on the future of batteries, energy and small devices and I didn’t realize the research had got this far. We can now harvest mW of energy from the area on and around a small device. It doesn’t sound a lot but look at functions like NFC which use micro-Watts of power.

Battery technology isn’t advancing quickly. It’s because the chemistry is tough and expensive or profit margins are at risk or even that it’s simply shackled by political control. Ambient energy could be a way out.

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