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New Yahoo Mail Is Shiny!

This morning I logged into my Yahoo Mail account. I don't do it often, but I just wanted to check and see if the new Yahoo Mail had been rolled out to my account.
Lo and behold, I now had the new Yahoo Mail. I've played around with it for a while now and must say I'm quite enjoying the web interface. As with other webmail services, you can personalise themes with background images. The real added value no other webmail providers offer is the 1 terabyte (yes! 1 TB!) storage. For me, that's potentially one TB of Wobbles image and video emails that Candice and I can send each other. The new Yahoo Mail works great on my old laptop running Lubuntu on both Firefox and Chromium.
I'm tempted to install the Yahoo Mail Android application and use it on my Android devices too. I suppose this is a good way to keep me out of trouble while I wait for the Nexus 5...

Are you using the new Yahoo Mail? Do you have any comments and/or questions? Feel free to leave a comment below through the Google Plus commenting system. I wonder how long it will be before there will be a Yahoo Plus commenting system...

My recommended Android apps for tablets

2012 has definitely been the year of the tablet computer and e-reader. Many of you will have received or bought a tablet computer this year. According to market research, the tablet most people now have is in the 7"  form factor and runs Google's Android operating system. Here is my list of recommended applications for Android tablets, and where to get them from.

The Android application for Google's own social network (which is growing very fast). I like the Google Plus app because it has a very fluid and visual UI, it is a fantastic source of content and also gives you access to Google Plus Hangouts. Hangouts is Google's equivalent of Skype, and allows free voice and video calls over the internet, even for large groups of users. I find that most of the time both the video and sound quality is better than Skype too.
There is also an Android homescreen widget available as part of this app. Very useful if you want to glance at posts without actually going into the app.
Google Plus is free to download from the Google Play Store if it isn't already installed on your device. Sadly it is not available for those of you using an Amazon Kindle Fire or Fire HD tablet.

My favourite Twitter app for tablets. You can also integrate your Facebook account to read and post to/from your News Feed. Nice and fluid, the picture previews are funky and notifications look good. If you have a tablet running Jelly Bean 4.2, you can also add a widget to your lockscreen.

My favourite news reader/magazine app. With Google Currents you have access to hundreds of Currents Publisher Editions. Publishers such as Forbes, The Guardian, TechCrunch, PBS, Saveur, and more have produced hundreds of editions including full length, in-depth articles, videos, fine photography, and slideshows. Editions are free - covering news, business, lifestyle, fashion, sports, science, technology, design, food, entertainment and more.
Great way to keep up with the news through more than one website, there is also the facility to save content for offline reading. Google Currents is also an excellent way to discover new news sources such as blogs and feeds.
Google Currents is not available for the Kindle Fire tablets.

The official BBC News app for UK audiences. A great way to stay up to date with the news. It also has personalisation options so you can choose your favourite news sections and organise them.

My favourite bus tracker app for Edinburgh. As well as bus tracking, you can set alerts, save favourite bus stops and create homscreen bookmarks for your favourite stops.

My Bus Edinburgh is not available for Kindle Fire tablets.

A great app for viewing photos posted to the 500px website. If you are registered, you can also manage your account and view your network pictures.

A fantastic app for looking up info on movies and/or tv shows on your tablet. Especially handy while sofa-tableting while watching TV.

An app for watching shows from the TWiT network. Fantastic for both video and audio podcasts as well as for warching the live feed.

A lightweight image, manga and comic viewer. Fantastic on my Nexus 7.

This is just my most used recommended apps. Feel free to suggest any other additions in the comments. As usual, feel free to ask questions and/or comments below.

Diaspora* Will Now Be A Comunity Project

Diaspora*, the free, distributed and open source social network, is now a community project.
In an email to Diaspora* users and people who had signed up to people who had signed up at, Daniel Grippi, one of the founding members of the Kickstarter and project, announced the plans for the Facebook/Twitter FOSS competitor.

Here's the email text:
Dear Community,

We have been overwhelmed with your support the past week after our annoucnment of and the opening up of signups on  This week, we are excited to share with you some important Diaspora announcements.

When we started Diaspora two years ago, the project kicked off with amazing reception and support from people that believed in our ultimate goal: giving users ownership over their data. It's a powerful idea, one that captured the imaginations of millions of people across the world. This vision has expanded and evolved over the past two years that we have been working on it as the project has grown.

Diaspora* began when we were still at NYU—just four guys trying to scratch our own itch. We had an idea about how social networks could work in a new and exciting way. We intended to be done over the course of a summer, and with an expected budget of $10,000 from our Kickstarter campaign. The reception of this idea was so good that we managed to reach 20 times the expected amount in donations, and the project expanded to cover far more than just a summer. It's been over two years now, and we are proud of what Diaspora has become.

Today, the network has grown into thousands of people using our software in hundreds of installations across the web. There are hundreds of pods that have been created by community members, and it has become one of the biggest Github projects to date. It has been translated to almost fifty languages, with hundreds of developers worldwide contributing back to the project.

Diaspora has grown into something more than just a project four guys started in their office at school. It is bigger than any one of us, the money we raised, or the code we have written. It has developed into something that people all over the world care about and are inspired by.  We think the time is right to reflect this reality, and put our code where our hearts lie.

Today, we are giving control of Diaspora to the community.

As a Free Software social project, we have an obligation to take this project further, for the good of the community that revolves around it. Putting the decisions for the project’s future in the hands of the community is one of the highest benefits of any FOSS project, and we’d like to bring this benefit to our users and developers. We still will remain as an important part this community as the founders, but we want to make sure we are including all of the people who care about Diaspora and want to see it succeed well into the future.

If you look around, you’ll see that we’ve made an effort to open up to the community more to help better serve it. We’ve opened up our Pivotal Tracker for community developers help join in (You can sign up here), we’ve launched a tool that deploys one-click installations to the Heroku app hosting service, and we’ve updated to be more community-centric, showcasing other pods a user can join.

This will not be an immediate shift over. Many details still need to be stepped through. It is going to be a gradual process to open up more and more to community governance over time. The goal is to make this an entirely community-driven and community-run project. Sean Tilley, our Open Source Community Manager will spearhead community efforts to see that this happens.  Stay tuned to our blog for a message from Sean concerning next steps, as well as ways to get involved in helping with the transition process.

This is a new opportunity for Diaspora to grow further than ever before.  We can’t wait to see what we can do together.

Daniel and Maxwell

PS. We also want to give special thanks to a few people who recently, and over the past few years, have shown us what a special community we have. It is by no means complete:
Mr ZYX, sean tilley, David Morley, Jan-Christoph Borchardt, Joe Braun, David Morley, Hans Fase, Florian Staudacher, Movilla, Stephan Schulz, Sarah Mei, Tom Scott, kinky joe, denschub, justin thomas, Steven Hancock, Diasp, Jason Robinson
So there you have it. In my view this is the project up on its feet and ready to roam the FOSS world and Internet. I am on Diaspora*, but don't use it much because nowadays I find Google Plus more interesting and to have more features.

With Dalton Caldwell's starting to move and grow after his successful Kickstarter-like effort, and Diaspora*, Google Plus and other social networks, there seems to be much more choice for people than there was 18 months ago. Maybe Facebook should be worried about erosion of their users and users loyalty via small chipping rather than one large direct competitor.

As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions.

Picplz Shutting Down

Picplz was a photo sharing service similar to Instagram which had an Android client long before Instagram started being ported to Android. I have been using Picplz for years now, and am sad to find out that the service will be shutting down on July 3rd 2012.
The people running Picplz have very kindly set up a download service so you can download all your content from the site easily. Just go to and log in, follow the prompts and you will be able to download all your photos as a single .zip file. In my case there are 245 images, so the zip file was quite large clocking in at over 200MB.

It is a shame Picplz has reached the end of its service, I found it a useful way to avoid issues with rights to intellectual property (Facebook cough cough!), and to post images to almost all my social networking services at once (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter etc...). I'm not totally bought into Instagram even now that there is a full Android client, and sharing through Skydrive from my Nokia Lumia 710 is a bit iffy.

I'll let you know how I get on finding a replacement photo sharing service as time goes by. As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions below.

Picnik Shutdown Getting Closer

The announced shutdown of Picnik, scheduled for April 19th 2012 is getting closer. Picnik is/was an online photo editing and publishing tool. Usable through a browser, Picnik had both a free and a premium paid for offering. In 2010 Picnik became part of Google.

This morning I received an email from Picnik reminding me of the imminent shutdown date and giving me advice on how to export my images and content.

Here's the message:
Important Picnik Announcement 

As we announced earlier this year, we will be closing Picnik on April 19th, 2012, and we want to make sure you have the information and support you need.
For more details on our shut down, or recommended alternatives to Picnik, please see answers to frequently asked questions.
Refund update for Picnik Premium
We have submitted all refunds for processing. For the few who have not received their refund, please do the following:
  • Confirm you have not mistaken your refund for a new Picnik charge
  • Contact the original financial institution you used to purchase your Picnik Premium membership to confirm they have received the refund notification
  • If these steps don't resolve your issue, contact us by logging into your account and clicking Help.  Please contact us prior to our April 19th closure.
Picnik Premium
Picnik Premium will continue to be free for everyone until our closing date. So please keep creating!
Grabbing your photos
If you would like to remove your images from Picnik, please use Picnik Takeout to easily download your photos to your desktop in convenient zip files. You may request downloads as many times as you like until our closing date of April 19, 2012. If you choose to zip up now, you can still use Picnik and remove any new edits though April 19th. Make sure you can open your downloaded zip files. If you have any problems, please contact
Thank you,
Team Picnik
The Picnik website also doesn't let you miss the fact that the service is shutting down soon. Here's how it looks:
Difficult to not get the message.
I had used Picnik for a while after discovering the service on the Chrome Web Store. Nowadays many of the features in Picnik are offered as part of the photo service Picasa/Google Plus Photos. Hopefully all the rest of the features will be rolled over, then it will make sense to kill off the extra (little known by the general public) brand.

As usual, fell free to leave comments and/or questions below.

Google Music! Indies Rejoice!

Today Google held their November 16th Event in LA. It was all about Music and I'll try and summarise what was announced.

Google Music, the cloud storage and playback service for... wait for it: is now open to all in the USA and free to its users. There is a new Android application which ties into the Android market and allows easy shopping and purchasing of tracks. Once a music track has been purchased it is available to stream, play and store on Android devices, and also to be streamed through a web browser. (there is an up to limit of 20000 tracks) There is also the option to share your music with friends on Google Plus.
I popped onto my Google Music Beta account during the announcement and saw a few changes. Firstly the main logo has changed from "Google Music Beta" to "Google Music". Secondly in the top right hand corner there is a new "SHOP" button. The "SHOP" button leads to a dead link. (This may be because I am accessing Google Music from the UK, where the service is not officially supported)
The other big news for the whole music industry is what Google Music offers to independent artists. As well as launching with content form Universal, EMI, Sony Music, and many independent labels, Google offers a direct distribution platform to artists. Independent artists therefore have direct access to audience therough the Artist Hub. Jump for it young unsigned musicians!

Indies, rejoice!

As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions below!

Social Networks Change Faster Due To Competition

Google Plus is now in Beta, which means anyone can sign up and start using Google's social network. Just go to and you should see the Doodle promoting Google Plus.
The Google doodle promoting Google Plus Beta

Once you are on Google Plus you get all the excellent features the new social network offers.
Google Plus Homepage
Facebook has just revamped and reorganised its homepage and layout. Many commentators on the interwebs claim that this is a knee-jerk reaction to Google Plus. This concept is pretty plausible and I'm inclined to go with it considering how many new "features" Facebook has rolled out since Google Plus's launch into field trial status. (excuse the pun, it was just too easy!)
The New Facebook Homepage and StatusNet have had a major upgrade since the weekend too! There were massive changes to the UI, to the APIs and social network. As well as updating your status, you can now post bookmarks, events, polls or questions. It's pretty sleek and an impressive step forward. Well done to Evan Prodromu and everyone involved in the upgrade.
The New Identica Homepage
Twitter hasn't changed much in the last few months. Twitter's users are still getting used to all the "new" fancy UI and features so it may be a while before they change anything.
Twitter's "New" Hompepage
Meanwhile more and more interweb users have never heard of or have forgotten about Myspace, Bebo and Friendster. I believe that Apple's social network is some sort of secret society that even Apple Fanboys and Fangirls have never heard of. Ping?!
Ping. It's a bit like a Secret Society.
As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions below. If you "liked" this blog post, why not "+1" it? (yes I do find it funny)

A New Jolicloud Later This Year

Last night a tweet popped up in my Twitter stream from the official Jolicloud account.
"A new Jolicloud is coming this fall, register for the beta:"

Of course the first thing I did was head over to and register. The Jolicloud homepage is now openly inviting users to register for the beta of the service.

I registered and updated the details of which platforms I use and will be using Jolicloud on, and that was it! Easy Peasy! (No pun towards the Ubuntu Netbook derivative intended...)

So as I continue to use Jolicloud through the web browser on my Desktop/Laptop machine, and as an OS on  a partition of my netbook, I'm looking forward to seeing what Tariq Krim and the rest of the clever people working on Jolicloud are going to come up with.
You can read more about Jolicloud 1.2 here. As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions at the end of this post. If you liked and/or found this post useful, please also Google +1 it. 

I received an invitation to Google+ from Niall

I'm just writing a quick post to let you know that I am now on Google+ thanks to an invitation from my friend Niall Scott.
A screenshot of my homescreen in Google+.
If you are one of the many enthusiastic people who wrote comments on my previous blog post about Google+ and would still like an invitation, please leave a comment at the end of this post or Direct Message me on Twitter (my Twitter handle is @Todoleo).

As usual, feel free to leave comments/questions and why not +1 this article with the button at the end?