Click to visit on your mobile

We strongly reccomend a visit (from your mobile or tablet) to’s Winterlands site – most impressive.

As an alterrnative you can always check out the actual snow situation at one of Scotland’s leading ski areas at the  Glencoe Mountain resort.

It’s touch and go currently as to whether or not the facilities will be operational over the holiday period.

STATUS (Daily - check for updates)

We have lost the lower slopes but the poma uptrack is complete for access only. Middle and upper slopes still have good cover of soft snow.”

29/12/14 (am) – “Most runs on the mountain have a good cover of snow some a little thin and narrow in places. Upper mountain snow is firm but grippy with some scraped patches in high traffic areas.”

27/12/14 (pm) – “Poma, cliffy and Wall T-bar all expected to run tomorrow morning. The Groomers have been working hard and we hope to have the Main Basin T-Bar running by lunchtime.”

26/12/14 (am) - “We are going for a 10am start .. Plateau Poma piste involves a bit of combat skiing. Now the daylight has come in we have assessed the runs and unfortunately the wind has scoured huge areas, so Mugs Alley a no go. Tickets £20 adults and £15 kids.”

24/12/14 (pm) – “Heavy snow today has improved conditions on the hill. We expect to be able to offer some skiing on Boxing day. We won`t know how much until we get up the hill on the 26th.”

 Merry Christmas from and


Tablets phablets everywhere

As Apple inadvertently leaked its new iPad family members  (we will report back after the official launch later today) Google announced its new (mainly Nexus) range yesterday with a sort of  9, 6, player headline with an associated lollipop!

We’re surprised / disappointed that there’s not a smaller tablet even an 8 would have been our preference.

The 9 & 6 tablet/phablet will be available for pre order  in the UK likely next month but the player (their new set top streaming box) has no UK release indications yet. No formal prices for the UK yet but early indications are  Nexus 9 (from) – £250 ish / $349 and Nexus 6 (no contract) – £420 ish / $649.

The phone is from Motorola and the tablet from HTC.

Google had their traditional blog post on the new products and were unsurprisingly concentrating on the android brand. Especially the “and” bit andyou!

We’ll leave you with their video.

99’s for Apple & Amazon

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Today is Apple’s day for their “special event” with the anticipated announcement of the iPhone6 and (increasingly likely) the iWearable which may or may not be called the iWatch.

Rumours of course abound and the somewhat unlikely combination of U2 and the Mayo Clinic are amongst the latest. Also we hear that many glitterati from the fashonista sector are expected. We wonder if Burberry may feature at the behest of Angela Ahrendts, their ex CEO, who is now Apple’s  Senior VP of  Retail & Online Stores.

You can watch the event live, running Safari on iOS or Mac, or on your Apple TV and “… follow every moment.”

Numerous live bloggers will be in attendance and Apple watchers such as:

will guide you through it all with their informed commentary.

In accordance with tradition the Apple Store is now closed and you can read “We’ll be back” in 19 different languages. Hungarian is our favourite as they can say it in one word “Visszatérünk”

We shall wait then watch from 6pm BST/10am PDTand likely report back (briefly) later tonight after it’s all over (around 9-10pm BST we guess).

Amazon in an attempt to make their FirePhones move off the shelves have cut the US starter price to 99cents.

The firePhone has also been launched over here  and can be pre ordered from O2  starting at an even lower cost of £nil on a monthly £33 2 year contract with availability indicated as Tuesday September 30. As in the US you also get (until December 31) a free year of Prime membership which normally costs £79.

Announced for the UK last week was the Amazon Fire TV also at £79. Availability is Tuesday October 14.

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

CNNIC Spots over half a billion Mobile Internet users in China

CaixinOnline using data from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) are reporting that mobile internet users in China at June this year stood at 527 million of whom 480 million used smartphones. The total mobile internet access figures exceeded those accessing via a PC for the first time.

The year on year growth at 13.6% is well down on 2013 which was 19.6%. Further falls are anticipated as the market saturates.

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Our header graphic is from a ping of all devices on the internet carried out by the Internet of Things search engine Shodan.

Here’s the mightily impressive full version.

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In-Car InControl InXE infotainment +

Jaguar in connection with their build up to the full launch of their new XE model in 2015 today have released the third of their four “technology previews”.

It is the “All-new InControl infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen”.

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In summary it includes;

  • Optional on screen (that’s the windscreen) displays of key info
  • Access via the touchscreen to iOS & Android apps on your smartphone
  • In-car wifi hotspot
  • Voice control
  • Remote access via your smartphone
  • Emergency call
  • Tracking

The full “reveal” of the new model is scheduled for September 8 on the Thames with contributions from Emili  Sandé, Stella McCartney and Idris Elba. You can be kept informed of events by registering here.

We’ll leave you with their quite clever video (apart from displaying a left-hand drive layout) introduced and narrated by Dr Mike Bell, Jaguar’s very own Global Connected Car Director!


Appy Bluetoothed Mannequins

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Iconeme (pronounced as economy but with a wicked “I” instead of an over used “E”) are now employing their VM Beacon technology with 4 retailers around the UK:

  • Bentalls (Kingston upon Thames)
  • Hawes & Curtis (Jermyn Street London)
  • House of Fraser (Aberdeen)
  • Jaeger (Regent Street, London)

Mannequins are accessorised with a Bluetooth electronic beacon in addition to the appropriate apparell. The retailer, via their own programmed web portal will provide information on the specific wear to passing customers on their smartphones using the Iconeme app (both iOS & Android – see below).

The process goes something like the following:

  • Passing within range (eg the retailers shop window) your app alerts you to to a VMBeacon presence
  • Open the app & access the mannequin
  • Liking the look explore  the apparel further
  • You can then, get more detail, find where it is instore, purchase from the retailers website, share the info with friends or family or save the look for further investigation.

The app can also provide you with offers from time to time.

We rather liked the look of the Iconeme app graphic -  but we are of course biased.

You can download the app here

Certainly this is likely an area where iBeacon technology could certainly catch on.

We’ll leave you with a Beacons insight video from GDR which features the Iconeme VMBeacon system and app.

Will you pass your DQ test?

Ofcom  in connection with the publication today of the eleventh edition of its Communications Market Report (CMR) has included both the results of its research into the Digital Quotient of our population as well as a somewhat shortened test so that you can quickly (3 minutes they claim) come up with your own level.


It consists of 18 questions with a maximum score of about 144 we reckon but to achieve that you will have to use a Smartwatch a 3D printer and glasses!

The overall average at 100 we reckon converts to a percentage of just under 70% and the “with it” 14-15 year olds just under 80%. Everybody passes with even the 75+’s scoring 55%.

We may return to the full UK report at a later stage to comment on some of its 429 pages and the consistently colourful charts

Report links:

Smartphones – back to basics and keep them simple

That’s the message arrived at following a recent survey by uSwitch in the UK.

The full responses were:

As far as the features of a new purchase are concerned again the message is simplicity itself with the top 3 being of a very basic nature with only the new normal of finger print scanning security coming in at number 5.


Survey / methodology: Survey conducted online via the Consumer Opinion Panel in July 2014 among 1,605 mobile customers on pay-monthly contracts.

There are 50.1million UK adults (ONS) and according to our survey 86.6% have smartphones = 43,386,600. 13.4% of survey respondents don’t own smartphones.

Nomophobia, selfies, usies and the nicest place on the internet

  • Nomophobia – The fear of being out of mobile phone contact (abbreviation of no-mobile-phone-phobia)
  • Selfie – a picture of oneself
  • Usie – a group selfie
  • Helfie –  a selfie of the hair
  • Belfie – a selfie of the derrière
  • Welfie –  a work-out selfie
  • Drelfie – a drunken selfie
  • Shelfie –  a selfie of your bookshelf
  • ???????  -  a personal video of oneself giving a hug (as per

Our provisional word is hugsie!

Free for all in Zambia have today announced their free App initially to be made available in Zambia with a view to rolling it out to other countries. Airtel is the carrier/provider

The rationale is fairly simple. “Over 85% of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30% of the total population accesses the internet.”

Limited services will be available in Zambia as follows (our links are to the Zambian sites where possible – many of course are mobile versions):

  1. AccuWeather
  2. Airtel
  3. eZeLibrary
  4. Facebook
  5. Facts for Life
  6. Google Search
  7. Go Zambia Jobs
  8. Kokoliko
  9. MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action)
  10. Messenger
  11. Wikipedia
  12. WRAPP (Women’s Rights App)
  13. Zambia uReport 

We’re impressed and we think it is a very positive move. Elsewhere others including Gigaom list both their positives and negatives.

  • “PRO: They provide access to those who previously lacked it.
  • PRO: They give carriers a way to show people what the internet does and then sell them up to paid data services (which is why the carriers aren’t even charging for carrying its data.)
  • PRO: They give included web services the growth Wall Street craves.
  • CON: If users don’t pay up to exit the walled garden (and for many, why would they?) then it stymies any rival web service, by making it harder for people to find them, let alone use them. In other words, zero-rating entrenches powerful monopolies, hurts competition and potentially slows down innovation.
  • CON: If your web experience is mediated through a monolithic portal, that undermines privacy — everything you do and look at is funnelled through one profiling gate, with the results going to advertisers and potentially spies.
  • CON: There’s an immense risk to free speech. Particularly in more authoritarian countries – and there are quite a few in emerging markets – state censors must love the idea of everything passing through one portal. It makes their job so much simpler.”