The iPhone. Ten Years On.

In case you don’t have an interest in all things iPhone, it has been 10 years since the original iPhone was released. Personally it doesn’t feel that long since we either had small… phones in our pockets, or were struggling with the bulkier smart phones of the time (Windows Mobile anyone?)

To celebrate the tenth anniversary, Three UK offered to sent me an old school iPhone handset. With the challenge to use the iPhone 3G for three days instead of my iPhone7.

“Why not?” I figured?


Installing Apps On The iPhone 3G

Its kinda small and cute to hold, in fact I found I could lose it in my pocket. (How long has it been since you said you could do that?) All nice, and cute to start with. I then powered it up and got installing apps.

Step 1 was navigating the old school app store, which simply felt slow and laggy to use. To the extent that some images were not loading. My attempts to download apps (once I got there) were mostly met with notifications advising me to download old versions. This didn’t seem to do the trick.

No matter, what I did I couldn’t log into my Twitter / Snapfeed accounts.

The good news was that Facebook let me log in… but. My word it was slow, and it only seemed to let me load one page of my newsfeed – and that was all.

Instagram was one big tease. On one hand – look at that beautiful icon! It also loaded up! It let me enter my username and password.
It then asked me to upgrade my phone.

So no. I must say didn’t use this particular phone exclusively.

Using The Internet On The iPhone 3G

Slow on 3G

Slow on my wifi.

Interesting reminder into how different the web must have looked 10 years ago…

iPhone 3G Camera Verses The iPhone 7 Camera

Its OK, I knew this wasn’t going to be a massively fair fight, so i thought I would get out and about around here, to find different conditions I could take pictures in.

The Group of Trees

I stumbled into this group of tree’s that can be found in our local field. I’d never found them before, and figured it would make a good test for the two cameras.

The Train Line

My attempt at going somewhere with a bit more light.

Lego Photography

I decided to give the iPhone 3g as much light as I could.

Sadly it seemed to struggle to focus on multiple objects.

What is Good With The 3G?

There were some positive highlights from the trip back in time. For one, the default map app STILL WORKS! And powered by Google Maps. AND kept up to date…

But my personal highlight must be playing… Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D! 

He does appear to be doing a bizarre dance – don’t take the mick out the graphics too much, it was impressive at the time!

The More Things Change..?

With all my qualms about speed and photo detail set to one side, using the iPhone 3G reminded me of Apples focus on user design. The fact that they’ve not made any massive design changes to the iOS shows that if you can use one iPhone, the chances are you can use any iPhone.

Holding the old Phone in my hands, I could help but wonder.

The iPhone 3G used to be cutting edge. What is phone technology going to look like in ten years time? 

And considering the difficulty I using current apps, what will the above progress mean to the people that get left behind?

Mission Mindfulness

Pokemon Go… Worth a look?

I have to admit, I think Pokemon just missed me when it first became big, but there was something about Pokemon Go that got my interest… it was possibly the huge amount of talk online that did it… and the lack of ability to download it in the UK at the time.

But what is Pokemon Go anyway? In the words of wikipedia… “Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game, developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company as part of the Pokémon franchise. It was released worldwide in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices.” Augmented Reality. is a fancy term for when a view of the real world has elements added to by computer-generated elements such as sound, video, or graphics. (See this mashable for more)

Why did I say all that?

Spotted in our local Sainsburys

Simply, Pokemon Go is a game where you walk around your neighbourhood looking for pokemon to catch. Walk a little further, and you can access powerups, and train your pokemon. There are expectations that there is a going to be a trading system in a future Pokemon Go update. I’ve heard its a little like Geocaching

Basically we have a game here that encourages people to go outside… and possibly even talk

Going for a ride…

to people around them.  People are also tweeting that its helping with depression and social anxiety.

I’m not going to say that this is the perfect game for Little Ones to play, due to it not being massively little kid friendly (for that I would suggest checking out the Cbeebies apps), but for older kids, this may be a great game to load up on walks around parks… and to go and catch pokemon together.

Pokemon Go can be found at your mobile app stores… and I would suggest checking it out.

If Pokemon Go still isn’t sounding like your thing, how about Chardonnay Go?


Taking the iPhone 6s out for a review

Life seems to come and go in cycles. Every couple of years there will a new James Bond movie, Sainsburys will find new ways to sell Christmas every August, and there will be a new iPhone released every Autumn. This year, Apple released the iPhone 6s to the world. When I was given the chance to review the iPhone 6s, I could only really give one reply.

HDR shot taken of St Thomas / Exwick in Exeter
HDR shot taken of St Thomas / Exwick in Exeter
A quick side point, any comparisons from here on in, are to my current iPhone 5s. Which – as another side point; I love dearly.

The big differences between the iPhone 6s and the 5s are obvious as soon as you see the 6s. The new model is not only lighter and thinner, but it’s a lot larger. The screen is 4.7 inches compared to the 4 inches of the older phone. The iPhone 6s Plus screen is even larger at 5.5 inches… which (at the moment), almost feels to big? The device also feels quicker and more responsive to use.

Whilst those things were nice, the thing that made me go “ooooo” was the 3D Touch feature which is new to this generation of iPhones. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s basically holding your finger down on the screen to activate other features.  For example:

  • Example of 3d touch on iPhone 6sThe Notes app now comes with the ability to ‘sketch’ onto the screen*. The harder you press your finger, the darker the colour of your onscreen “pencil” becomes.
  • Pop Up Menus! Want to take a selfie quickly? Hold down the camera icon to activate the menu, and then select the “Take Selfie” option. (And yes, the front camera has a flash now, meaning you can take selfies – or indeed Facetime in the dark)
  • Activate Live Photos! Live Photos are new in the iPhone 6s. When you take a Live Photo, your camera records a second or so before and after you hit the button. Therefore giving you a burst of life to go with your photo. Thats enough about Live Photos for a bit…

Whilst the Clock Face isn't great, I find this picture works, while the iPhone 4s simply struggled.I was mostly interested in the iPhone 6s because of the camera. I don’t feel there’s any massive need to get particularly technical about the camera (there’s other sites for that), but the camera over all feels quicker to focus, it has a better zoom, and a greater ability to deal with low light.

The photo to the left shows The Clock Tower in Exeter. I’ve tried taking pictures of it in the dark on the 4s for a while, this is by far more detailed than anything I’d previously managed.

The photo below isn’t just a cheap plug for my Tales From The Toy Shelf Facebook or Instagram page

I failed taking this picture on the SLR and the iPhone 4s. Neither would focus properly. The 6s managed to focus nice and quickly.

I took both phones out the other week to compare the photos between the two on a particularly misty morning.

iPhone 5s
The iPhone 5s

The iPhone 6s
The iPhone 6s
Not the easiest conditions, but I feel it’s fairly clear that the 6s wins hands down here.

Now. Live Photos. As I said above, when you take a Live Photo, your camera records a second or so before and after you hit the button. Therefore giving you a burst of life to go with your photo. This gives a Harry Potter “moving photo” style affect to your photos.

So in the end you not only have your photo, but you have a quick video clip that goes alongside it. Which is lovely when your taking photos of your kid, and they say something like “cheese” in a particularly cute away. Such as in this picture:


The Live Photo version of this photo looks like this:

Sharing the “Live Photo” element though is a bit of a pain at the moment. You could upload it to YouTube, but from what I can tell you need to transfer the video file over to your computer first. This is because the iPhone seems to look at it as a picture, and doesn’t recognise it as a video as well.

You can also use it as a way to make your own .gif files, but again, that process is a little convoluted. If it becomes possible to share Live Photos to people not within the iOS world, then Live Photos may become something special

I might sound a little negative, but I’m not. I was still playing with Live Photos just the other day to see what I could catch. They just feel like a work in progress, and seeing as iOS9.1 featured an update on how they’re recorded, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more tweaks coming.

Would I recommend the iPhone 6s to people? It’s probably not worth it if you already have the iPhone 6, but as with the other “s” releases, this probably isn’t for you. For everyone else: yes, if you can afford it, get it. It’s the iPhone you know, and (if you’re still reading) probably love, except it looks nicer, runs faster, goes for longer, has a better camera, reacts better, and generally has more features.

And one day. Live Photos will be awesome.

The iPhone 6s was loaned by ThreeUK for review purposes.

Feel the Jungle Beat? 

Sometimes, the internet serves you something you wish you knew about ages ago. This month, that something is Jungle Beat. Jungle Beat is a dialogue free cartoon series, featuring different animals in simple situations – which seem to get more bizarre and chaos ridden as the episode goes on. It feels like the Jungle Beat cartoons have an school Road Runner cartoon influence – but that could just be me.

Jungle Beat seems to be shown on TV all over the place, except mainstream channels in the UK. Thats where the internet saves the day by giving us the Jungle Beat website, a home for the Jungle Beat cartoons online.

Launching today is the Jungle Beat game on the iTunes store, and the Google App store. There is a plot to it, featuring Baby Ostrich getting lost in the jungle, but I guess the important thing to note is that this seems to be a nice little platformer that I’m sure both kids (the game is aimed at children aged 4-11), and… older… casual gamers will enjoy.

Here’s the trailer for the game:

More information about the game, and download links can be found at the Jungle Beat game website.

Or if you just fancy some cartoons, check out the main Jungle Beat site.

Disclosure: A preview version of the game was supplied free, but opinions are my own. 




Missing. One Bing Bunny.

Dear CBeebies,

We seem to be missing a Bing Bunny.

He was last seen on the CBeebies Playtime app, but seems to have been eaten by some dog thing.

Please return him to us, either where he was last seen, or in a whole new game / app.

Yes I would pay any ransom to get him back.

Many Thanks.

Parents of Bing Fans.