London apps for iOS

Here’s a useful set of apps for iOS suitable for use when visiting London Village.

TUBE

The Underground is easy to use, well mapped, and exceedingly well apped. Many more apps are available than this short list.

Tube Deluxe £0.69

Tube Map Pro £0.69 there is a free version available, but notifications of line closures and delays makes this one top value.

TubeWalker £0.00 combines walking, tubing and sightseeing (recommended by Gary Smith)

BUSES

An Oyster Card is best for jumping on and off buses – cashless swipes and easy to topup

Bus Checker £1.99

Absolutely worth every penny if you bus a lot. Shows bus stops in locales, next bus arrival in real time, and pings you when your stop is approaching.

Bus Mapper £0.00 not used this myself, but it popped up in a search, and it’s well rated, and it has live info.

AIRPORTS

Most international travellers arrive in London by air, so knowing flight arrival and departure times and location of shops at the airport is very handy

Heathrow £0.00

Gatwick £0.00

Stansted £0.00

MAPPING

If you have mobile network on your iPad or iPhone then offline maps may not be needed, although wifi hotspots are plentiful in London.

CityMaps2Go £1.99 offline mapping for bandwidth free wandering (recommended by @CliveAndrews )

Connected apps include

CityMapper £0.00 not only for maps, but TfL trip planning as well, including all modes of public transport. Very good for route planning. Network needed.

EXCHANGE

XE Currency £0.00 Avoid rip-offs at the plentiful exchange bureaux by knowing the listed rates of the day in your own currency

TAXI

Hailo £0.00 Taxis are the most point to point means of public transport in London, especially when luggage is added, and the knowledge of the drivers is world renowned.

This app gets the cabbie to come right to you (thanks to Richard Cudlip for recommendation)

CYCLING

Boris Bikes £0.00 since these cheap numerous rentable bikes appeared in London, usage for short trips has taken off. There’s not many hills, and getting around by bike is very enjoyable. And helmets are not compulsory!! NB The wind may ruin your hairdo. Carry a brush.

WIFI

The Cloud £0.00 This provider is very common in London. This app includes a profile that you can install so that the device will login automatically whenever you’re in range. No pesky repeated logins. A map shows nearest locations (network needed for this function).

OTHER

When you’re travelling with iOS, you’ll be logging in and entering email details a lot to maintain accounts and connectivity. Consider having a gmail (or similar) set up right on your phone or iPad so you can pick-up the necessary “confirm your account – click here” emails. Maybe even use a junk one that you can ignore and discard when you get home, to avoid getting all the follow up spams. The Gmail app is very good and easy to activate.

Twitter is a great way of getting travel tips, alerts and advice. Here’s some recommended follows

AboutLondon

Londonist

BBCTravelAlert

LDN

What apps would you recommend if your mate was London bound?

Texting from iPad

You can’t send texts from an iPad right? Oh contrare!! I’ve discovered a workaround of sorts that might be useful, dependent on other gadgets.

I won (yes I won!!) an iPad Mini from @TechTVuk and have spent the last few evenings setting it up as half a Work iPad and half a Family iPad, so that the parents and children can all enjoy the new device. But not everyone in my contacts has an iDevice(!), so iMessage-only may be a bit limiting. So I started installing some other apps that I use and recommend for calls on iPhone.

To set up Viber & Vonage I needed a device to which an SMS could be sent in order to login. Enter my @ThreeUK mifi. Text sent to mifi. Code obtained. App set up. Very straightforward indeed. And Skype was of course easy too. (no text code required).

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I can now send texts via three different apps on the iPad, plus iMessage as well. Skype Vonage and Viber. Happy face.

My grateful thanks to the good folks of @TechTVuk for awarding me the new iPad Mini. They do creative video for technology companies. Tell them @pedrostephano sent you.

NB picture shows the text I had sent to my iPhone. Setting it up this way didn’t work. But via the mifi did – and it’s exclusive and thus separate to my iPhone which is the way I want it.

Update – learned that Viber also has an app for desktop in both Windows and Mac variants, as well as the mobile platforms.

NFC errors

For quite a while I’ve had concerns about the security of my personal details on NFC enabled bank cards, to the point that I carry my Barclays card in a RFID wallet. @Alien8 confirms that the infosec community is well aware of the potential risks, but mainstream consumers are not.

Tweet today from @FraserSpiers confirms the issues that exist, so I’m starting a little list which I’ll be presenting to my business banking manager.

Contactless ‘charging errors’ at M&S

Card errors

Getting rid oF CAPS LOCK ErroRS

I’m a lousy typist. I use two fingers sometimes three, and both thumbs. Often I accidentALLY KNOCK THE CAPS LOCK KEY WHEN I TYPE AN “A” and then I because I don’t touch type, I don’t realise until I reach the end of the sentence and look up. Then I curse, and backspace delete and retype.

Today I thought “I wonder if I can disable the CapsLock key?” after I found that particular function exists on my aftermarket Logitech keyboard on the house PC (which has SetPoint software that enables easy turning off of the Caps Lock key). I wanted to not have CapsLock on my main work laptop which I use most often.

Googled it and got http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/disable-caps-lock-key-in-windows-vista/ which allows you to download a set of registry hacks. I executed the “KillCapsLock” one after downloading them all (and storing all in DropBox for later reference).

Rebooted and restarted. And blow me down – it works! Ace. Now I haVE TO USE THE SHIFT KEY TO TYPE STUPIDLY. Much better.

BFF’s BT Yahoo email hacked

Email HackedMy best mate’s wife sent me an email this morning. From The Philippines. Interesting since I spoke to her only yesterday. She hasn’t gone anywhere!
In fact this is a phishing scam. Common on the internets. Treatment should always be “Ignore Delete”. But – I added a step – I phoned a friend. The owner of the email was very upset. She’d logged on to find her emails ALL GONE.
No folders, no inbox, nothing from three years.

First aid measures applied – password changed instantly to one that’s not used elsewhere. Now she’s contacting her ISP to find out if the emails can be recovered (I don’t hold much hope). Next thing we’ll do is get her a new email address, and institute a backup plan such as AutoForward to a gmail address.

I’ll get her to read this post from a few months back which outlines all the steps to undertake if you’ve been hacked, and some advice for prevention.

Don’t ask when you’ll get hacked. Plan for when you’ll get hacked (not if!!) and should you need any help, phone a friend *waves

Data abroad

Our holiday to Europe last year, with many connected devices present, was spoilt somewhat by lack of internets, firstly caused by Three UK failing to unlock my device in the promised timeframe, secondly by the hunting of SIMs that could give data (then replacing them!) and thirdly by public wifi (eg German McDonalds) not allowing foreign devices. Yes, I couldn’t believe that either. But twas true. So this year, I’m starting the solution hunt early.

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First knock was on the twitter door of @BenSmithUK of WirelessWorker.net – here’s  our convo with TruPhone and MaxRoam getting mentions.

Best recommendations? Have an unlocked device for abroad. Buy SIMs before leaving.

Thanks Ben.

Emails and backups

A neighbour asked me if I could pop in and help sort out her emails as one had sat in her outbox for three days and wouldn’t go. Turns out her scanner was generating 19MB tiff files of her documents which exceeded her 15MB server limit so this was easily fixed by converting the overlarge file into a jpg and resending the email. Changed the default settings on the scanner and job done.

Then I asked the standard question – “Whats your backup?” and after a few questions and answers to and fro, I established that freshly imported photos got to the 3TB external hard drive, whilst scans and PC-generated piks go into My Documents/My Pictures as per normal.

There was no backup. 15GB of photos from 2002 to present. Not backed up.

“But they’re on my hard drive!” she opined. I explained that if the hard drive fails, there is no backup. Then I proceeded to copy all onto D: then set up Windows Backup and schedule (not my first choice, but the WD software for the HDD would not install and it was getting a bit late). I left knowing that in about one hours time, there will be a backup.

Proof that “having an external hard drive” does not equal “having a backup”. What’s your backup plan?