Stream your media from your Android device to your TV with Skifta

If you’re an Apple fan you can look away now — you have Apple’s Airplay to do this (assuming you have at least one Apple TV in the house).

Android users! Jealous of your iPad-owning friends’ ability to play movies, music and photos from their iPad on their TV? Well you can do that too, with a little tweaking and an app called Skifta.

Actually there are several ways to wirelessly connect your Android phone or tablet to your laptop and/or Smart TV. In fact the next version of Android (4.2, JellyBean update) will include native wireless display support. Until then here’s a nice and easy way to do it:

First you need a TV that supports the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard. Most flat screen TVs from the main manufacturers should support this. The TV must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network that the device is connected to.

Next, go to the Google Play market on your device and download the free Skifta app. Run that app then go into your TV’s menus and locate the option to play media on the home network. You should see your Android device listed as an available source. Click on that and then browse your device’s music, photos and videos and play them on your TV screen.

One advantage this method has over Apple’s AirPlay is that you can do this anywhere, in anyone’s house, on a friend’s TV etc., as long as their TV meets the requirements above and they allow your device on their home network.

I installed this yesterday and it works pretty well.

Become a Better Photographer

Whatever type of camera you have, if you are less than ecstatic with the results chances are you’re making a few very common mistakes that most people make when they just “point ‘n’ shoot”. I can help you transform your digital photography and quickly see a vast improvement in results.

Take your pick from my range of services:

  1. Ten Tips to Transform Your Photos (colour PDF manual, with sample photos, inc. 30 days support via email) – £50
  2. What do all those buttons do? — a personal tutorial on how to get the most from your camera (home visit, London area, includes 30 days support via phone and email) – £150
  3. Become a Better Photographer — a half-day one-to-one training session. Includes items 1 & 2 above, plus four hours’ personal training on using your camera and editing the results on your computer (home visit, London area. Includes 30 days phone and email support) – £300

Give me a call today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

What’s new in Android Jellybean 4.2

What’s new in Android Jellybean 4.2

Some great new features coming, IF your Android phone or tablet is one that gets good update service from the manufacturer. What if your device’s manufacturer is too slow in providing updates? Fed up waiting for the latest update? Do it yourself with a custom ROM. I offer an Android device rooting and custom ROM update service from £95, or a written how-to guide for £50. Breathe new life into your Android phone and get the latest features today. Cheaper than buying a new one!

Apple & Samsung have won the smartphone wars. What’s next?

Apple & Samsung have won the smartphone wars. What’s next?

Interesting Guardian article about the smartphone market. Samsung has greater market share than Apple, and there is speculation that demand for the iPhone 5 is dying off. Is the market getting saturated with devices that are too similar and updated too often? Apple (and Samsung) need to go in a new direction and bring out innovative new devices that create yet another market, like Apple did with iPad.

What phone do you have, and what will you get next?

Three case studies

Here are three case studies to give you an example of the types of problems I can help solve, how the customer benefitted, and what their investment was.

Patrick had recently moved into a new house and needed a media sharing solution. He had all his photos and movies on his iMac and wanted to be able to play movies and photo slideshows on his three TVs around the house, and to share them with other members of his family on their laptops. I advised him on the additional equipment he would need and obtained it for him. When it arrived I arranged to go in and set everything up. I connected media streaming devices to his TVs and modified his home network and computer settings to achieve the media sharing he wanted. Now his wife can view any photo on her laptop whenever she wants, and his teenage kids can choose movies from his collection and watch them on their laptops or on the TV in their bedrooms. Total cost: £700

Samantha was frustrated with her photos. She had a new, advanced digital camera but the results were often blurred, washed out, too dark or just ordinary. She wanted to be able to take photos that burst from the screen with life and colour, and impress her friends. Following a free initial consultation we spent a half day together at her home. I gave her some tips and training on how to avoid common pitfalls when taking photos, and I provided some basic training on how to use the software that came with her camera to improve the colour and contrast of her photos on the computer. Now her photos are, sharper, brighter, more colourful and full of life. Total cost: £300

Rick is a self-employed professional who travels a lot and needs all his customer information at his fingertips. He had invested in a MacBook Pro, an iPad, and a Samsung smartphone. All these devices were great but they weren’t connected. He had to use his phone to get contact information, and his laptop to view his appointments diary and customer notes. And his tablet provided him with email, Facebook and Angry Birds but nothing that would help him grow his business. We agreed he needed a way to synchronise email, appointments, phone numbers, and customer notes across all three devices, and provide an automatic backup of his most important information. Following the initial consultation I spent a day with Rick at his house. I directed him to some cloud-based services that could do what he wanted, got them installed and set up on his devices, and trained him how to use them to the full. Now he can update a phone number on his laptop and it gets changed on his phone automatically, he can create a diary appointment on his iPad and it appears on his laptop as a reminder, and he can consult his latest notes before a customer meeting anywhere in the world from any device he chooses. Total cost: £500

Give me a call and let’s talk about how I may be able to help achieve the changes you want in your digital life.

One Man’s Meat…

Ah, Evernote… I couldn’t live without it.

Yet there are those for whom the cross-platform, remember-everything app just doesn’t work. Here’s an article by a guy who just can’t get on with it.

I’ve been using Evernote for about four years now, and I admit that in the early months I too struggled to ‘get’ how it was going to help me. For those who don’t know it Evernote is a note taking application. I won’t bore you with details but essentially you can jot down anything, add links, screenshots, photos, create multiple notebooks, share notebooks with others, have all your information backed up to the cloud and access it on pretty much any device.

Having pushed through the ‘I don’t get it’ barrier I now rely on Evernote completely. I don’t have a very organised method, but I am finding that I’m getting more forgetful as I get older and therefore to have everything that’s important to me stored in a single place that I can search easily is extremely useful.

If you haven’t done so already, give Evernote a try.