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tripmode-featured-image
Review, Tutorial,

TripMode Review : Save Your Mobile Data

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I’m currently on holiday somewhere in Spain and the best european data option my UK mobile operator can provide is the O2 Travel bolt-on. For £1.99 a day, I get access to “unlimited” data abroad, however only 50MB in 3G at which point I get limited to 2G, better known as GPRS with speeds at around 5kb/s.

student-discount
Tutorial,

Student Discount for Everyone

Today I will be sharing a secret that will enable just about anyone to benefit from a Student card and all the discounts that go along with it.

Why not use these discounts along with my Christmas Tech Gift Guide 2015 to save yourself some money on your Christmas shopping.

NUS Extra

You may already know that students are eligible for discounts at a variety of shops, cinemas and other attractions, but what you may not know is that just about anyone can get a Student Discount card.

Students in School, College or University, studying in professional organisations, distance learning & work based Apprentices are able to buy an NUS Extra card or NUS Apprentice Extra card to get exclusive student discounts and competitions.

The NUS Extra card costs £12 for a year, which equates to £1 a month, which can easily be earned back through discount savings.

NUS-Advert

E-Careers

Anyone who signs up to an online course at e-Careers is eligible to buy an NUS Extra card, the courses cover just about any subject you can imagine and can be purchased for as little as £7.

e-careers-nus

You can find cheap courses at Living Social or goGroopie, once purchased you must follow the instructions provided to activate it with e-Careers (sometimes it can take up to 3 days to accept the redeem code).

Once you are successfully signed up for a e-Careers course, head over to the NUS Extra Application page and when asked, state your place of study as e-Careers, the card will cost you £12 with optional extras such as an ISIC card for £2.99 (great if you travel a lot) or a Gourmet Society add on for £3.99.

Discounts

Once you have applied for the NUS Extra card, you will be able to log on to the NUS Extra website and use the links to get access to retailer websites with a discount codes.

I have listed some of the more interesting discounts below :

  • Apple Store : Save up to 15% when you buy a Mac up to 4% off iPad and there is also special pricing on AppleCare Protection Plan and Accessories for Mac.
  • Amazon Student : Amazon Student offers a six-month trial of unlimited One-Day Delivery, Prime Video and Prime Music and enjoy an extra 5% saving on millions of products on Amazon.co.uk. Pay nothing until your trial ends, when you can convert to half-price Amazon Prime for just £39/year.
  • Spotify : Enjoy 50% off a Spotify Premium subscription with NUS extra – yours for only £4.99 a month for up to 12 months.
  • Virgin Fiber : Sign up to a 9 month unlimited* superfast broadband contract which only ties you in for 9 months, and save on the installation fee.
  • Odeon Cinemas : Save an extra 25% off the price of a student/teen ticket on Mondays to Thursdays by showing your NUS extra card at any participating ODEON.

Spotify-Student

NUS Extra Card

It will probably take a few weeks for your NUS Extra card to be delivered but once you have it, never be scared to ask at the checkout if there is any Student Discount or promotions.

Please share or leave a comment below if you have enjoyed the article of if you belief it can benefit someone else, catch you next time.

OSX-Screenshot
Tutorial,

Master Screenshots on OSX

Screenshots are something of a daily occurrence these days, but did you know you can do so much more with screenshots on your Mac?

Need to know

In order to avoid using the Capture app built into OS X, there are universal keyboard shortcuts that you need to know. Here’s a few you should try to remember and their specific properties. Try each one as we go to get a better understanding.

  • ⌘⇧3 : Capture the whole screen with no delay.
  • ⌘⇧4 : Select a rectangular portion of the screen to capture.
  • ⌘⇧4+Spacebar : Move mouse over a window to highlight and click to capture the window.

By default, each screenshot will be saved as a PNG file on your desktop, but if you prefer to use the screenshot directly in a document for example, you would simply hold Ctrl while taking the screenshot in order to have it saved to the clipboard.

This would come in handy when taking a quick screenshot to send to a contact without the intention of conserving it.

Default Settings

As default, screenshots are saved to the desktop as PNG files and called Screen Shot followed by the date and time at which it was created. If you would like something a little more custom then don’t worry, i’ve got you covered.

In order to change the default settings we will use the Terminal, which can be found in Applications Utilities.

To change the format of the screenshot image, use the following command, changing abc for bmp, jpg, pdf, pict, png or tiff as required:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type abc

To change the location of the screenshot image, use the following command, changing abc and 123 to the folder path you wish:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/abc/123/ 

To change the name of the screenshot image, use the following command replacing abc by your desired name:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture name "XXX" 

Screen Shot will now be replaced by your desired name as default, followed by the date and the time the screenshot was taken.

In order for the changes to become active, use the following command or restart your mac :
killall SystemUIServer

All these are demonstrated in the image below.

Terminal-Screenshot-Tuto

If you don’t feel comfortable messing around in Terminal, there is a program called Onyx which provides a GUI to make the changes.

Go to Parameters, you will see a drop down box for Screen capture format as well as a Path and Name field to fill.

Onyx-screenshot-settings

 

 

Apple-TV-Screen-Shot
Tutorial,

How to record the Apple TV screen

If you would like to record the screen or record a video of your new Apple TV, please don’t film your TV set, just follow this guide and you’ll be all set in no time.

The Wonderful USB-C Port

If you want to capture an image or video of your Apple TV screen for a demo or for a review, as I will be doing in a couple of days time, the USB-C port on the back of the box is there to help.

Apple-TV-Shuffle

The interesting feature with the new Apple TV is being able to see a video output on both the TV screen and on a Macbook at the same time.

Don’t get any bright ideas such as recording Netflix content, as anything protected by DRM ends up as a black screen if you try to record it.

As mentioned above, you will need to use the USB-C port of the Apple TV and as such you will need either a USB-C to USB or a straight USB-C cable if you want to record anything. If you don’t have such cables then you won’t be able to record anything and should probably stop reading here.

Is this thing on ?

To record a video, it’s actually ridiculously simple (thanks Apple). You might remember this article a while back on how to record your iPhone screen? Well it’s pretty much the same.

Apple-TV-Quicktime

Open QuickTime on your Macbook and select File → New Movie Recording. A window will most probably open up using FaceTime as the source with a small box towards the bottom of the screen.

Click on the small arrow next to the red record button and select Apple TV under the Camera and Microphone headings.

You then simply have to click the red record button and you will have a lovely recorded image directly on your Macbook without having to film your screen.

Cheese!

Weirdly, it is actually more difficult to take a native screenshot, which I will explain below. Or you could actually make life easier for yourself and take a screenshot on your Macbook of the QuickTime app (to master screenshots on OS X, see here)

Apple-TV-Xcode

For a cleaner, native screenshot it’s slightly more long-winded. On top of a USB-C cable, you will need to download Xcode on the App Store before connecting the Apple TV to your mac.

Open Xcode and click Window in the menu bar, select Devices (or use the shortcut ⇧⌘2) and the choose Apple TV in the left panel before clicking the Take Screenshot button.

You should then find a lovely 1920 x 1080 PNG file on your desktop (unless you have changed the OS X defaults) such as the one below.

Apple-TV-Screen-Shot

 

Apple-TV-Unboxing-12
Review, Tutorial,

Apple TV Unboxing & Setup

The highly anticipated and expected Apple TV was finally released on the 30th October 2015, I received mine in the afternoon by delivery and here is my unboxing and first impressions.

What’s Inside?

As always the Apple packaging, in my opinion at least, is next to perfect, every item has its place and adds to the excitement of unboxing.

Apple-TV-Unboxing-3

As expected you will find inside the Apple TV box itself, the new Siri Remote, a user manual, an unexpected Lightning cable and a power plug which could be different depending on which region you live in.

Apple-TV-Unboxing-4

Lets start with the Apple TV box itself, from the top the device makes a square with 98mm rounded edge side and is 35mm high.

As you would expect, the top of the device features the universally recognised Apple logo along side the letters “tv”.

The device is actually 12mm taller than the last generation Apple TV which is an unusual move from Apple.

Apple-TV-Unboxing-6

On the bottom of the device you will find, under the Apple logo, all the device information such as model number, serial number etc. It has a slight spherical emboss which makes sure the device sits flat and level.

Apple-TV-Unboxing-7

Out of sight on the back of the device you will find 4 IO ports, one for power supply, a USB-C port, a 1.4 HDMI output and a 10/100BASE-T Ethernet port.

However that is not all that the new Apple TV is packing, a 802.11ac Wi‑Fi card with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.0 card are well hidden.

Apple-TV-Unboxing-8

Next up is the new Apple Siri Remote, the remote is split at around 60/40 in to two different textures, the top glass touch surface allows navigation and selection onscreen whereas the bottom part is a glossy plastic for grip.

The remote is slightly shorter than the last generation at 124mm compared to 152mm, however it is slightly larger at 38mm compared to 25mm.

This is understandable as Apple have introduced 4 new buttons, Home, Siri and Volume Up/Volume Down and a microphone at the top.

Apple-TV-Unboxing-10

On the back of the device, not only will you find the model number, serial number and other relevant information but also a microphone to complete the dual microphone setup new to the Apple Siri Remote.

Apple-TV-Unboxing-11

Apple decided to include a Lightning cable in the box, to charge the new Apple Siri Remote but I wonder if it wouldn’t have been more simple to include a USB-C cable to charge the remote and serve a second purpose to connect the Apple TV to a Macbook.

Apple TV Setup

When the device is powered on and plugged into a monitor/tv screen, you will be met will the following screens which take you through the setup procedure.

The obvious first step is to pair the new Apple Siri Remote by holding the Menu and + buttons at the same time, this initiates the Bluetooth pairing process.

Apple-TV-Setup-1

Steps 2, 3 and 4 involve choosing the device language, region and deciding whether to configure the device manually or with a 9.1 iOS device.

Next up the Apple TV will ask you to log in to your Apple account and eventually verify if you have two factor authentication enable (I highly recommend you do).

After verifying your account you should be asked if you would like to activate location services, again I would recommend this to improve the Apple TV’s suggestions and personalisation etc.

Your Apple TV will then ask you 3 more questions, whether you would like to use (who wouldn’t), whether you would like to use the live wallpapers (watch out for data usage) and lastly if you would like to send diagnostics information to Apple, I tend not to.

Up next are two more questions, the difference being you are obliged to accept to be able use the Apple TV.

And there you have it, you are not set up to use the new Apple TV, here are a couple of screenshots from the home screen, movies app, app store and the music app.

Apple-TV-Setup-15

Apple-TV-Setup-16

Apple-TV-Setup-17

Apple-TV-Setup-18

The Apple TV is available to purchase on the Apple website for £129 in the 32GB model and £169 for the 64GB model.

I will try to have an impressions and full review article up within a few weeks but I need a little time to play around with it first.

As always thanks for reading, any questions will be answered in the comments section below and make sure to share, like and retweet on social networks.

iPhone-Screen
Tutorial,

How to record your iPhone screen

Since the arrival of Apple’s OS X Yosemite, it has become possible to record the screen of your iPhone or iPad natively using QuickTime. Lets take a look see.

Please note before continuing that this technique does not work for legacy devices using the 30 pin connector. 

QuickTime, Quick and Simple

If you need to record the screen of your Apple device, there is no need for another camera or device to film, QuickTime is here to help.

In just a few clicks you can capture and record the screen of your iPhone, you will need to connect your device to your Mac (10.10 and above) with a Lightning Cable before proceeding, done? Lets continue.

To start, open QuickTime on your Mac and on the menu bar click File ➞ New Movie Recording (or use the shortcut ⌘⌥n).

Next, click on the small arrow next to the red circular record button near the bottom of the screen.

iPhone-Screen-Record

In the list that opens, select your device under the Camera and Microphone headings, your iPhone should then e displayed on the screen.

To start and stop the recording, click on the red button, at the end of your recording you can save it, share it or use it in an iMovie project.

For a still image, just take a screenshot of the QuickTime window and a PNG file will be saved to your Desktop (to master screenshots on OS X, see here).

This technique may also be used without recording to simply display your iPhone’s screen on your Mac with a more stable connection that Airplay for example. This could come in handy for presentations with a Mac connected to a projector.

 

 

Quidco Banner
Tutorial,

Cashback with Quidco

If you often shop online or with a credit or debit card at your local shops then you should probably consider using Quidco.

Quidco is an internet site that rewards you with a percentage cashback on purchases when shopping at partner retailers.

As an example, if you spent £10 with a participating retailer offering 10% cashback, your Quidco account would be credited with £1 cashback.

Free Money?

Generally, the first question they ask when hearing about Quidco is how and why, and to be honest it is pretty simple.

Retailers pay Quidco a commission when generating sales through the Quidco website and the commission minus a small fee is passed on to us, the consumers. Have a look at this next video for a better explanation.

There are multiple ways to qualify for cashback using Quidco, the simplest however is to use the Quidco website to find the desired retailer and clicking on the ‘visit retailer & get cashback’ link.

This will install a tracking cookie in your web browser that tells the website you have come from Quidco which is used to confirm the cashback.

Asda-Cashback

The next possibility is to store your credit/debit card numbers on the Quidco website, all purchases on the linked credit/debit card from thereon after will automatically earn cashback with qualifying retailers.

In-store-How-to

Please note that Quidco do not require the credit/debit card security number and that they have been assessed as meeting the requirements for compliance with the Payment Card industry data standards. Details here

Quidco also offer a browser plugin compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Safari which will actually alert you when visiting a site that offers cashback alerting you to use the Quidco link to track the sale. Install it here after signing up

There’s always a but

If you are using an ad-blocker (that blocks tracking) or a tracking blocker with your web browser, you will need to disable it or whitelist the Quidco website and the participating retailer sites.

The tracking cookies used by Quidco are generally removed/blocked by these add-ons and as a result the cashback cannot be tracked or validated.

Also, it is worth noting that cashback cannot be tracked when using Apple Pay or Google Pay down to the security protocols they use.

My Cashback

Personally I have used Quidco since November 2014 and I have already managed to earn 442.77 in cashback, having not actually paid too much attention to the site.

Quidco-Cashback-Summary

I have recently installed the Quidco Cashback Reminder plugin on my laptop and work computer and hope to start earning more cashback more often and I also added my bank cards to the site to be eligible for in-store cashback.

Paying Cashback

Cashback is paid on demand or automatically depending on the choice of the user, it can be paid via bank transfer, Paypal or Amazon gift voucher with a 2% payout bonus.

Payment-Methods

I tend to wait for a substantial sum before requesting a payout in order to use it for something meaningful.

When signing up, I recommend opting for a premium account to qualify for faster paying cashback, a premium live support (I can attest that it is instant chat with a UK advisor), no advertisement on the Quidco website and bespoke promotions and loyalty bonuses.

£2 Free Cashback

If you are interested in using Quidco, use this link to sign up to qualify for £2.50 free cashback when you have earned at least £5.

Sign-Up

If you are already using Quidco then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below to let others know how much you’ve earned/saved.

As always if this article has been beneficial to you then please share it with others via Twitter, Facebook and all other popular social media sites.

iPhone 6S Storage
Tutorial,

Make Space on your iPhone

Apple’s recent decision to release the new iPhone 6S & 6S Plus with a 16GB model left many disappointed, I know a lot of people that still buy the 16GB model and struggle with storage space.

This has inspired me to write an article with hints and tips on how to free up storage space on your iPhone.

Manage Photos

Many people fill their devices with thousands of photos, and most of those people don’t ever go back and delete unwanted or unnecessary photos.

The average iPhone size is roughly 2MB, and deleting 100 photos at 2MB would free up 200MB on your phone. Better still, removing 1000 photos at 2MB would clean up 2GB (12.5%) of space on your iPhone.

iPhone Photos

A lot of people still do not back up their photos, if you lost your iPhone tomorrow would you be able to recover all your photos and memories from a backup somewhere? If not you should seriously consider using iCloud to backup your photos or another cloud storage service.

Manage Music

Another large storage culprit is Music, if you have hundreds of songs and albums stored locally on your device then you need to sift through and remove any that are no longer appealing.

Also you could consider either upgrading to a higher capacity iPhone or subscribing to Apple Music and stream all your music from iCloud.

Manage Applications

Have you ever downloaded an application to use it once and then abandoned it or completed a game and not played it since? Good, delete it and you’ve saved yourself some more space.

In order to see what applications are taking up the most space on your iPhone you must go to Settings → General → Storage & iCloud Usage → Manage Storage. You will see a list of every application installed on the iPhone along with the space it is using.

iPhone Storage & Usage

After OTA iPhone Software Updates, you may also find ‘iOS X.X’ in the list, these are the files that have been downloaded to the iPhone in order to perform the update, they are safe to delete and generally save a lot of storage.

A good rule of thumb is to delete any application or game that you haven’t used in the last week or two weeks depending on your general usage.

Auto Delete Messages

Don’t panic, this isn’t going to delete your private messages from your girlfriend/boyfriend before you’ve had a chance to read them, but if you have had your phone quite a while then messages could be taking up a lot of space.

As you can see in the last image, the Messages application on my iPhone is already using 423 MB of space after just a couple of weeks, since iOS 8 there has been an option in Settings → Messages → Keep Messages that allows auto deleting of messages after 30 days or 1 year.

Messages Auto Delete

Delete Local Emails

If you have your email configured on your phone then it may be taking up a huge amount of space, I would recommend that you only store emails for a limited amount of time.

By going to Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars → ‘Mail Account’ → Mail Days to Sync and selecting a reasonable amount of time, I personally use 1 Month.

Email Storage Period

After that time, if you are using IMAP or Exchange, the emails are not deleted, they are simply stored on your email server and accessed through your data connection when requested.

Last Resort

If after all this your still have no storage left on your iPhone, you should definitely re-evaluate your iPhone usage and consider upgrading to a higher storage model, there is a HUGE storage increase between the 16GB and 64GB models.

You may also want to make a full back up of your phone and reset to start fresh.

I hope you enjoyed this article and I would love to know how much space you managed to save in the comments section below, please don’t hesitate to share via all the popular social sites and I look forward to seeing you again on peterfields.me.

Blockbear Featured
Tutorial,

BlockBear : How to block ads on iPhone

If you’ve just updated your iPhone to iOS 9,  you may not know that it’s possible to install content blockers to remove all the annoying ads and tracking scripts that follow us across the internet.

Crystal selling out?

You may remember that at the beginning of the month I spoke to you about Adios. Since then the developer has decided not to submit Adios to the App Store due to political reasons, and as a result I’ve been searching for a new content blocker.

Since iOS 9 was officially released, I have used Crystal, the content blocker by Dean Murphy, but a good friend recently brought it to my attention that Crystal will be accepting a monthly fee to whitelist certain ads, a practice I’m not comfortable with.

Effectively, even after a reported $75,000 revenue from Crystal sales, Murphy stated that he will accept payments from Eyeo GmbH, the makers of desktop browser extension Adblock Plus, to allow “acceptable ads” from some 70 companies to appear in Safari – it will supposedly be an optional feature.

I ultimately continued looking.

Block Ads with a bear

I eventually found BlockBear in the App Store top lists, it’s a content blocker for iOS 9 developed by TunnelBear, a company which already proposes a free and paid VPN service.

BlockBear blocks ads and invasive online tracking, increases page load speeds, allows users to whitelist sites they wish to support and most importantly, has bears !

In light of the news about Crystal, they also assured their user base that they would not accept payments to whitelist ads.

Waking the bear

Whether you decide to use Crystal with ‘acceptable ads’ or BlockBear, the installation and setup are pretty similar. As currently I am using BlockBear, I will show you how to install and setup BlockBear on your iPhone or iPad.

BlockBear is now available on the Apple Store for £0.79, I’m not sure if the price is a limited time promotion or a fixed price so grab it fast.

After installing BlockBear on your Apple device, launch the app from your springboard and you’ll be confronted with a small trembling sheep, flip the switch at the top of the screen and the app will inform you that you need to activate BlockBear in the iPhone Settings app.

BlockBear-Setup

After flipping the switch in Settings → Safari → Content Blockers, jump back over to the BlockBear app and flip the desired switches for blocking ads, blocking social buttons and for blocking tracking.

BlockBear in Settings App

You’ll notice that as you flip the first switch for the blocking options, the sheep will transform into a bear cub, and as you flip the 2 remaining switches, the bear will consequently change in a pokemon-esque evolve style to a fully grown grizzly bear – scary !

BlockBear-Switches

As soon as the switches have been flipped, you can start browsing Safari with a cleaner interface and no fear of being tracked. Here are some before and after images of using a BlockBear.

Before (left) - After (right)

Before (left) – After (right)

I think the benefits of content blockers, especially BlockBear become very prominent when navigating on mobile devices. As you can see in the before and after pictures, ads on theverge.com take up roughly 40% of viewing space, not acceptable in my opinion.

To reiterate you can find BlockBear on the App Store for £0.79, as always thanks for sharing the article if you enjoyed it and I’ll be happy to answer any questions should you have one in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon on peterfields.me.

EDIT: @iManuVarghese just pointed out to me on Twitter that BlockBear is now free.