Guardian on the iPad

If asked I’d say my newspaper of choice is the Guardian but I don’t actually read the paper. I don’t read newspapers during the week and my Saturday paper of choice is The Independent.  I find I quickly flick through the Saturday Guardian.  The Guide is nice, there’s usually something to read in Travel and the Weekend magazine but I always feel like I’ve read the news and cannot fathom the Review.  Yet I’ve just spent almost an hour reading the iPad version of this Saturday’s issue.

I’ve been deeply unimpressed with magazines on the iPad.  Most seem to have recreated CD-Roms with pointless whizzes and bangs like intro animations.  A behind-the-scenes video of the photo-shoots is often a selling point but who cares about seeing how the magazine is produced?  The simple problem is magazines (without the adverts) don’t actually have much content in them and are much nice to flick through in paper.

The Guardian newspaper does have lots of (text) content and that’s all they’ve put in the app.  No videos, no visuals to ‘explore’.  Yes, it does have a nice design but I didn’t need it to find content.  What was more engaging was swiping through individual stories and engaging with them rather than just glancing and moving on like I would with the paper.   I still skipped most of the 48 pages of the Review.

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Street Food

One of the articles I read in The Guardian was about the “explosion” of street food in Vancouver. Being Canada they had to do things formally so a panel of “two of the city’s leading chefs, a nutritionist, a bloke who runs farmers’ markets, a woman who understands fairtrade and sustainability, two local food bloggers and two members of the public, together with a couple of council faces” worked together to bring street food to the city.  They now have licensed stalls serving a vast array of goodness to Vancouverites.

I dream of the same for London.  A few stalls are popping up.  The Southbank has some including the PittCue Co and Engine. But there’s no concerted effort to get great stalls everywhere.

I’m lucky enough to work next to Big Apple Hot Dogs on Old Street.  Friendly and exuberant proprietor Abiya Cole cooks up tasty free range handmade pork dogs for £4 and under most days during the week.  But he had to find his own spot away from the road.  There’s a growing number of food stalls that do festivals and corporate events around London.  It would be great if they had a regular home on the street.

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Cloud storage with Box.net

I have four external hard drives with back-ups of my music/photos/videos/docs in the corner of my flat.  There’s no structure to them and they aren’t updated.  They also will not help me in case of fire or theft.  To the cloud then.

My photos are with Flickr which should feel safe but I’m starting to worry about Yahoo – they really need to show Flickr some love and I’m questioning the $25 a year fee. Generally my paperwork is somewhere in Gmail (although there are horror stories about people loosing that). I don’t have that much video I value but I do have a 29 days worth of digital music. iTunes Match will save that if it comes to the UK but that needs a change in the law first.

I thought about putting everything in Dropbox which has revolutionised the way I share and move files around but it is $99 a year to take my account from 2.8GB to 50Gb.  Then I read that Box.net are offering 50Gb for free if you download their iOS app and sign-up before 2 December.  Bargain.

Box.net is an enterprise version of Dropbox.  It is much more about sharing documents with lots of people and integrates with other apps.  It is also squarely aimed at business with the majority of features requiring subscriptions – including its software for integrating with your PC filing system like Dropbox.  This means you have to upload via the browser.

So Box.net isn’t replacing Dropbox for me but it is going to be my deep backup for everything I don’t want to lose.  And it isn’t going to cost me a cent.

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