10 Must-Dos in London

10 Must-Dos in London
10 Must-Dos in London

Venice Trip Report

Venice Trip Report
Venice Trip Report

Disneyland California Trip

Disneyland California Trip
Disneyland California Trip

Web of Links: Week 1

I thought I'd try something new this week, and hopefully this will become an on-going series. I've called it "Web of Links" and I'll be posting some of the most interesting articles I've come across over the past week or so. Most of these will be related to technology, theme park, health or travel stuff, so if you're not a fan of those then this may not be for you. Otherwise....read on:

  1. Activision has posted a video of a computer-generated head that's "so real, it's uncanny"
  2. An example of what a live-action 3D Pokemon film could look like.
  3. Tracking your life with fitness bands.
  4. Just noticed this week that you can get a 3 Terrabyte external hard drive for under £100 - wow!
  5. Blackberry's not doing too baddly - They have already sold 1 million units of their newly released Z10 smartphone.
  6. 4G now available to 50% of the UK with EE. But beware the 50% of places only includes major cities and in the city centre, they call a place which is 80% covered as fully covered too - good PR, huh?
  7. Britain's longest cycling tunnel to open - Because, why the heck not?
  8. 10 Technologies you don't need to upgrade - even though we have.
  9. Despite the fact Amazon video on demand isn't available in the UK yet and we only have 2 main competitors - Netflix and Lovefilm, the US Amazon VOD service has had another TV show commissioned by Amazon itself. These providers are actually having content made for them, much is the same way that Netflix had House of Cards commissioned.
  10. And Netflix commissions another show of its own - Sense8, a sci-fi show from the makers of 'The Matrix'
  11. Charging people for browsing your store - Yes, someone has done it...citing online sales as the cause. Good PR stunt.
  12. Backwards thinking - the media companies don't get the internet over in Portugal do they? They're trying to charge Google for linking to them. it's one of many European countries demand this...
  13. Facebook is set to get even more creepy - using your browsing history to serve you even more ads in your News Feed.
  14. Apple fanatics do get a bit too excited over new product releases don't they? Somersby Cider wonders what it would be like if the same happened with beer. More good PR here.
  15. Twitters ad revenue is predicted to cross $1billion next year.  Wow. I never saw it being that valuable.
  16. New GTA V screenshots are released
  17. Scotland aims to be tobacco free by 2034
  18. The Sun to charge for online access - personal opinion? This won't work, it doesn't look like kind of demographic who would pay for online news.
  19. The Telegraph also announces an online paywall - I say it's more likely to succeed than The Sun.
  20. Apple to be sued over Siri in China - Well, if that software was out before Apple's then it's obvious that Apple took A LOT of inspiration from it. 
  21. Plants vs Zombies 2 coming this summer!
  22. How streaming music services are helping the music industry.
  23. Why your conclusion should be at the top of your emails
  24. Tablet owners watch more TV than ever before
  25. Reinventing the New York payphone - Some pretty cool stuff, though it seems unfeasible to me.
  26. New York to get Boris Bikes
  27. Should Britain let go of London?
  28. Ethnic minority students less likely to get uni places with same grades (study from 1996-2006)
  29. Rumour: Spotify to get streaming video too?
  30. Airline Passengers May Soon Be Able to Use Electronics During Takeoff and Landing

Post image: Digyhpo

Best Travel and Transport iPhone and iPad Apps for Londoners 2013 edition

Visiting the capital? You'll want to take a look at this round-up.
Incredibly it was been three and a half years since my last post on this subject, so it's only suitable to update you on what new apps have emerged and which have stood the test of time. The iPad wasn't even available back then so there's so helpful tips relating to those apps too.

London Tube Deluxe  (£0.69) - This (renamed) application is STILL the best transport app around for London. The developer has kept it up to date with new map releases which is always reassuring going forward. He has also integrated all of London transport into one app, so this now covers all TfL services but with a particular focus on the underground system and buses. There is both an iPhone and iPad version available.  It gives you live status updates (including via Push Notifications if you enable the feature), station closures and service messages, several hi-res tube maps, journey planning (this only works when connected to the internet, but you can access previous journey histories when offline so just plan before you lose connection), live departure boards so can check how long it is until the next few trains from pretty much every station, Timetables (first trains, now, and last trains) and weekend line closures. It also overs 750+ bus routes. What more could you need?

Next Bus London (£1.99) - Since the last update TfL has aupdated their buses to enable live tracking via mobile  phones. All you have to do is go to any bus stop, key in the number displayed on it and check when your next bus is coming. This app makes all that simple! You can even use GPS to locate stops near you.

National Rail Enquiries - The great news is that this app is now free! It used to cost £4.99 and is even more powerful than before! Here are its features: Journey planning for single and return journeys across the whole UK rail network, with departure platform information (where available), you'll be told about delays and cancellations when searching for trains and be given alternatives, live departures and arrivals at all National Rail stations in the UK with live train progress, add multiple stations to the application's home screen to one-touch access to their live departures, automatically find your nearest stations, and the 'Next Train Home' feature finds your nearest station and plans the quickest journey home. You can now also plan journeys between a station and a postcode and find and buy train tickets.

Tube Exits (£0.69) - Still a favourite and now at a third of the price! Ever wanted to know where the station exit is and on what carriage you should get on? Tube Exits has the answer. It can also tell you what carriage to get on for the nearest interchange to other lines saving you valuable time, especially in peak hours and will even tell you what side the doors will open on. No internet connection required. You can also plan journeys using the app.

iRefund (£0.69) - Still a great app - Have you ever been delayed by the Tube for more than 15 minutes? Then you are probably entitled to a refund (refunds cannot be made if the delay is beyond TfL or its contractors control such as: security alerts, third party action or adverse weather conditions. This also applies to service changes alerted in advance. For all other situations, you are entitled to a full refund, but this can be time consuming so the App does everything for you. When the delay starts, open the app and tell it, when it is over, tell it the delay has finished - the details are saved. Once back above ground click to submit. Your Oyster card, address, name  and other static details are only needed once and will be saved for all future claims. Literally, in under 30 seconds, you can be claiming your refund. It also keeps track of your claim history so you can cross-reference the claims that you have yet to be paid for. Best of all with just one refund the App has paid for itself! A definite must for londoners. (The image of the App on the top left has changed to one of a train lately)

GetTaxi (free) - Catching a cab in London can be a pain. You stick your hand out and wait, and wait and eventually one will let you in. Sometimes you'll spend ages waiting on a corner wondering when you're cab will be coming that you booked 10 minutes ago! Only got cash? Most taxis won't take it! GetTaxi is the solution to all three of these problems! It's a simple app which loactes you via GPS, you can then book a cab in a matter of seconds and then track it until it reaches you with the estimated arrival time, distance and live map locator. And with a range of payment options you can pay however you wish: via cash, card or a business account! This is the best taxi app for Londoners!

Disney World ICP - March Update

It's now less than 3 months until I'll be jetting off to work at the Walt Disney World resort and there have been a few updates over the last month.

First of all, I and Jack Chandler have decided that we'll be traveling together as it's always great to have a travel buddy with you. Whilst I'm spending an extra week in Florida with my family, he'll be checking out Washington DC! Then we're going to meet in New York and spend a few days there as planned, fly over to LA together and then hopefully visit Disneyland and do a few more bits of sightseeing.

I wish I could visit San Francisco whilst in Los Angeles as it's only an hour's flight away but I just can't stay any longer in the US due to have a 3-week radio work experience placement immediately after back in the UK.

Yummy Jobs has sent us an email about travel insurance which I'm going to look at more closely next week when it's my Easter holidays.

We've also got an email saying that Yummy Jobs will be sending out the Disney packs and they should arrive on our doorsteps by the 22nd March which works out perfectly as I'll be back home in London then. This will mean I'll be able to book an appointment for during my Easter holidays and save me travelling from uni in Leeds which would be great. The email also includes an eight or nine-page document all about the Visa, which is worrying: I'm sure I'll be fine but it just looks really complicated and boring.

We've also booked our seats on the Virgin Atlantic flight to Orlando which is also very exciting as there's going to be a lot of us Disney program participants which should be exciting. It's going to be interesting seeing how I'll entertain myself for nine hours on a plane but I'm sure getting to know everyone and the IFE will help.

Roll on Summer 2013!
How much is this all costing? Read my post on the ICP costs.
Interested in more? Read my next update: Disney Packs.