[TOOLBOX] Speedo Fit

2016-01-14 19.31.23So, gradually thinking about some of the apps that I have on my phone… some very ‘quick & dirty’ reviews of what they are and where they get used.

The ‘Speedo app‘ has been available for quite some time (originally under another name, but I can’t remember what)! I remember adding it to my iPad, because it was (is?) only available on iOs … and I had Android phones for most of the last 4-5 years… one problem with this is that I never remembered to add my swimming, because I had to go and get my iPad. Now I’m back on an iPhone, let’s start using it again!

Yesterday I went for my first swim since I moved from Durham (where I used to go swimming 2-3 times per week) … headed for the Manchester Aquatics Centre – which has a 50m pool, but typically is divided into 25m pools … still, surprisingly feels a lot further. Slightly frustratingly when I went to enter the data into the app, the Aquatics Centre isn’t on the system … so I’m curious how the data is entered.

2016-01-14 20.55.35One, however, can add swims manually – swiping left/right to find your numbers (I’m guessing it thinks you’ll be fairly consistent in distances!) and then log your swim.

2016-01-14 20.52.19If you’re into ‘gamification’, you can choose yourself a challenge (I randomly picked the Irish Sea Swim) and each time you log, it indicates how far along you are… and if you want to, add a friend and challenge each other to finish faster?! I’m more interested in challenging myself than others… though socialising with exercise definitely makes me go more!

The app integrates with the ‘Health’ feature that comes by default with your iPhone … so if you’re into quantifying all your exercise… there’s one for you! I’ll be interested to see if I keep using this app, as I’m not overly interested in quantifying my fitness (no Fitbit for me thanks), but I like the idea of saying that I’ve swum the Irish Sea!

What fitness-type apps do you enjoy using?


[TOOLBOX] Bonusprint Photobook App

I was looking at my phone over Christmas, and realising how many apps I use on a regular basis – once I’d extended that thinking to Macbook apps and a few core websites, this is 150+. I decided I’d play around with a short blog-post on each tool, thinking about what each is good for, and which I’d like to make more use of … there’s always more to learn about everything that’s available online.

Bonusprint has moved on from photo-processing, and last Christmas (noting a theme here), I decided to make a photobook for each year – funny as I’ve been digitising all my other paper-based content – but I’ve always been a bit of a scrapbooker. Checking on MoneySaving Expert, I found that I could get a large, 100 page, hardback photobook for £19, so went ahead rather tentatively with a photobook for 2007. A year later, and the photobook for 2015 is made and on its way to me, including the following pages:


The quality for the photobooks is decent – I’ve describe it as being similar to, but bit better than, an annual! The books do take a surprisingly long time to make – picking the photos from the many that I’ve taken to make the most of the 100 pages that are available (you can pay for extra pages, but still, it’s a good discipline) – you can put anything from 1 to quite a lot of photos on each page, but obviously the more = the smaller they are! You can add text, and in fact anything that you can produce as an image (e.g. a JPeg file) can be inserted into these books, and once in, can  be drag and dropped around. There are various layouts provided, but you can over-ride these. For the first few photobooks I used the software that means that you are working directly online (meaning that I have a couple of stray photos popping up on the wrong pages/upside down), then took advantage of the option to download an app and work offline on my laptop – much faster … just leave plenty of time to upload the finished product, then wait a couple of weeks for it to arrive. I’ll be back to do another one for 2016!

Digital Life(style)

I bought a @Fairphone #wearefairphone


I knew I was about due the end of my contract with Three, and I’ve had days where I’ve loved my Samsung S3, and days when I haven’t, but I’m guessing no phone is perfect. Was getting excited about the idea of the Samsung S5 as apparently they’d improved loads of things on it, particularly the battery life! However, last year I became vaguely aware of the @Fairphone, and as I often make mention of how to behave ethically/morally online, it’s made me think a lot more about what I own in the electronics sphere (to be honest, don’t own a great deal of other “stuff” of any value), so I started to think about it. Then at #TDC14 the other week, there was a speaker talking about the wars in the Congo – and that most of them are down to fighting over the minerals in mobile phones – so people are dying for our technology.

I need a really good phone as so much of my job is reliant upon digital, so I was nervous about going to such a small brand, but a few more tech-savvy friends (I’m more of the ‘Can I do this with it? Great! Can you do it?’ school when it comes to digital – although there’s an increasing number of tools that are easy to use, and those I work with too) about the spec, and it was said to be at least as good as the S3, probably better – and it’s dual-SIM – maybe I can get an extra SIM card and then have a mobile number to give out for work – I like to impose boundaries on at least some of my tech. Walking into the Three store – one of their staff hadn’t heard of it – looked it up – and said it was a good spec – so now moved to a SIM only deal. Financially, this will work out about £200 cheaper overall once I’ve used the Fairphone for a couple of years … and it appears my “old” phone is still worth about £100 on ebay! I have asked around on Twitter/Facebook quite a lot recently – and people who have them all seem really pleased with them … so an even bigger number of us appear to be diving in this year …  There are 35,000 phones being manufactured ready for July 2014 – right now 13,034 have been sold. 

Ethical Superstore has written a piece on this, ending:

Buying electronics should be no different to buying coffee or tea. If we want to see a fairer world, we need to support the companies that are working to make that happen. Through our purchasing decisions we provide the demand that allows these companies to grow. As consumers we can vote with our wallets…we just need to make sure we vote for the change we want to see.

and Rankabrand defines it as the most environmentally sustainable phone… and most of its sales seems to be on word-of-mouth. Am committed now, so…


Social Media Tools: The Conversation Prism


Developed in 2008 by Brian Solis, The Conversation Prism is a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life. I’d almost stopped using the previous version, but here’s a shiny new one!


6 Easy Steps to Using Hootsuite

Over at the work that I’m doing for ODHEG, I was asked for a simple guide to Hootsuite, so here we are. Hootsuite is designed to enable you to tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc without having to log in and out of each account (the free account allows you to connect to up to 5 accounts, whilst there’s a charge of $5.99 per month if you choose to add more accounts). The main benefit most of you, however, are likely to enjoy, is the fact that you can pre-schedule tweets (e.g. sit down on a Monday for half-an-hour and set up several days tweets), although you will still need to check in to respond to any further engagement. Don’t forget that we earlier looked at setting up a Twitter account – please do let us know how you are using it!

Sign up for an account

Go to


Sign up through your Facebook account, or the simple instructions where it says ‘Sign Up Now’, and follow the screen prompts. Note that when you return to login, the button is just above, in the top right – so do remember your password!

Add Social Networks

The software is likely to encourage you to add a social network as you sign up, but if not/once you have set up your first account, you can add further by looking to top-left and ‘Add Social Network’

This will give you access to the following social networks, so click on the one you want to use:

If using Twitter, log in to authorise the account, so that it can post whilst you are off doing other things: 


The Dashboard


You can add up to 10 ‘streams’ per account. For Twitter, dy default the first will be the usual Twitter feed you would see on Twitter, the second your ‘mentions’ (where others have used your user name in a tweet), your ‘Direct Message’ inbox and outbox, sent items. You can then add streams tied to hashtags, which is incredibly useful for conferences.

Set Tweets

This is an incredibly simple process (so long as you remember that shorter is sweeter!).

write-a-messageSimply start typing in the box, tick for the appropriate social network(s) (don’t default to all social networks, think about the different audiences you have for each). Most of the time this may be all you want but:

  1. Link: Simply copy and paste a long link from elsewhere on the ‘net, press ‘Shrink’, and a shortened link will be included.
  2. Clip: Add a Photo/File (from your hard-drive, although if you’re using this as an app on the phone, straight from the phone).
  3. Schedule posts: I quite often use the ‘Autoschedule’ function, and it spaces them out as it deems appropriate. Otherwise choose a date/time, and press schedule.
  4. Location: Click if you want your location added to a tweet (especiallygood if you’re somewhere exotic!)
  5. Privacy: Works on networks such as Facebook which have different privacy settings, e.g. show just friends/work colleagues.

Checking What You’ve Scheduled

Look to the left-hand menu for ‘Publisher’:

Click and see what you’ve got set (the icons indicate the different accounts):


Is there more?

There’s always more in these apps, but the above information should keep you going for most of what you want. Don’t be afraid to poke around and experiment, knowing that you can always return to ‘Stream’ to read/post, and check out the Hootsuite ‘Help‘ if required.