2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Snapcam App Review

Snapcam is currently a Windows Phone exclusive app which enables you to upload a gallery of images and have them printed in a matter of a few days, as a photo book.

I read about the service on the Lumia Conversations blog as Snapcam were promoting the service with a discount voucher for Valentines Day. I thought it would make a nice personalised present for my wife to have a couple of books printed with photos of our two greyhounds, from the images stored on my Lumia 830 and laptop.

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At the moment, the service has two options available – a hardback book or a glossy softback book. Once received, the images are printed on high quality Xerox paper and the book is posted out to you.

The service costs £4.99 for the softback book and £9.99 for the hardback book with a nominal amount of about three quid for shipping.

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You first create an album by importing images from your camera roll or OneDrive. I found the easiest way to get all the images into the album was to copy and sort my images from the different sources I had into a folder on OneDrive and then import them in one download. Contrary to one app reviewer, I was able to use images stored in a nested folder on OneDrive. Once in the album, the images can be swapped around and Snapcam automatically fits them into the page depending on the number of images and their orientation. This can result in some portrait images being stacked on top of each other (if you have more than 24, there is a minimum of 12 images to complete an album) which isn’t necessarily making the most of the available space on the page. However this can give the pages a bit of variety instead of the same format repeating across each page. The front page image does need a bit of consideration in its layout, in that the image can’t be moved up or down to get the correct placement at the top and bottom parts of the page. Therefore you have pick an image where you know that the top and bottom parts of the image aren’t going to get chopped off. Hopefully this flexibility can be introduced in an app update.

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You also have some limited options to set what the album title is, colour and background (eg. Red letters on a white background) Once the album is ready you choose what print format you want where the cost of the book is advised. The app then asks you for delivery, invoice and credit card details. Once confirmed the app starts to upload the images to the Snapcam servers – I would strongly recommend that you use wireless to perform the upload as an album is likely to be a couple hundred megabytes in size.

I did hit a couple of issues during the upload process, Snapcam recommends that you leave the app open during the upload to ensure the images are uploaded successfully. However image eight seemed to get stuck and after twenty minutes of nothing happening I closed the app down and restarted it. Image nine then continued to upload and image eight had its status changed to ‘SubmittedToBts’. I guess that this means ‘submitted to background transfer service’ so there is an upload process that continues to run once all the other images have been uploaded in the foreground; roughly half a dozen images seemed to get stuck in the upload queue out of around thirty so I left the phone sat on top of my wireless charger overnight.

Checking in the morning, I noticed that all the images had been uploaded and the album had been printed! Looking for a bit of reassurance, I submitted a log file via email (this can be done in the app) to the Snapcam tech support contact to make sure all my images had been submitted successfully. I received an acknowledgement later that day but before my query could be progressed, the albums were delivered the next day! Well packaged in a hard-backed envelope, both albums contained all my submitted images as I’d sent them.

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Overall I’m thoroughly impressed with the Snapcam service; I can’t fault the quality of the prints or delivery. The app has a few rough edges and could do with a few changes to make the process of creating your album easier to customise, but there are no showstoppers here. I’d give it an 8 out of 10 overall – thanks to Lumia Conversations for bringing this to my attention – my wife was very pleased when she had the albums as one of her presents this morning!

Keeping Symbian^3 and the C7 Working at Top Speed

First of all, I’d like to wish all my visitors a very Merry Christmas. I’m currently writing this as I’m laid up in bed with a nasty cold and there is nothing to watch on telly. So, I thought I’d post a short article about a useful thing I’d discovered whilst using my Nokia C7-00.

I’d noticed recently that my C7 was getting slower and slower, especially when switching it on. It would take a matter of minutes before I could use applications within the phone ‘hanging’.

I took a look at what was ‘different’ in using the phone. I’d installed a number of applications to trisl and left them on the phone, to use ‘on a rainy day’. Thinking this would be agood place to start, I decided to have a purge on any necessary app’s and uninstalled anything that I didn’t need.

Once this was done, I rebooted the phone. Unfortunately, the performance was still the same. So, I looked at other areas of the phone and opened the messaging application. Because of the greater memory in modern phones, I’d become lazy in keeping track of my inbox/text messages and hadn’t deleted anything for a good while.

In total, I’d built up around 2,500 items, incuding sent and received SMS messages. I set about clearing everything that I didn’t need or want to keep. An easy target was the sent items folder, containing nearly 400 items. Once I’d had a clear out session, I’d reduced everything down to less than 400 messages. Another reboot… and hey presto the phone was working as quick as I’d first purchased it! Accessing the applications menu was much faster and generally the phone was much more responsive.

The moral to the story? To keep your C7 (and the same probably applies to other Symbian^3 phones) working at an optimum speed, keep your messaging inbox and associated folders to a minimum number of items as possible. Have a regular clear out and delete any messages you don’t want to keep.

Happy holidays and have fun!