Author Archives: ddewhurst

Learning Finnish Aids

Im currently trying to learn Finnish.

It’s quite a difficult language to master to once you start to get the hang of it it can be quite rewarding. As I have been mainly teaching myself I have used all the books, CDs an DVDs I can get my hands on. My top 2 most useful for a beginner are the book and CD Teach Yourself Finnish, and the TV series and book Supisuomea.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I have also created a free mobile phone game to help you learn some basic Finnish which you may find useful.

Finally I have created an Amazon Store page where you can see my other recommended Finnish learning materials. If you make any purchases here they will help fund future updates to the Finnish mobile phone game.

The Gadget Show Broadband Truth Campaign

The Gadget Show on channel Five in the UK has a new campaign to test if the broadband speeds advertised by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) really are as fast as advertised. In my experience it often isn’t. You can run their test to see for yourself. Then let them know the results and, equally importantly, if it isn’t as fast as it should be complain to your ISP directly.As a web designer, and someone who uses a Slingbox I often find the upload speeds of broadband providers pitiful. This figure is always hidden in the small print but is something we all use, especially now more and more of us upload photos and videos to websites.For people outside the UK I have found this service which seems to work quite well.

Adverts on The BBC’s Website

The BBC has finally introduced the much talked about adverts onto all of it’s web pages, when viewed from outside the uk. I can understand the reasoning behind this, especially for broadband video and pages about TV shows. However when it comes to the news it does make me feel uncomfortable.My main problem however is with the layout of these new adverts. As you can see from the picture below, I pity anyone who has an 800×600 monitor, or who would like to visit BBC news on a mobile device. The advert along with the vast amount of white space surrounding it, the superfluous grey header and the main BBC News header, means that over half the space is taken up before we even reach the news.BBC News With AdvertsOk so you can scroll, but BBC News is a site with lots of pages with individual articles on, so after a few minutes browsing the news you become fed up of waiting for it all to load and scrolling down to the text.Also they are really annoying animated banners. Please BBC introduce static pictures or even better Google style text adverts.I recommend if you feel the same, let the BBC know, switch to reading the news off their RSS feeds, and most importantly of all: Dont Click On The Adverts! If no-one clicks, they wont get any money and they will have to change the system.

Helsinki Sightseeing Tram Audio Guide

The 3T tram runs in a figure of eight around some of the top tourist sights of Helsinki. I have created an enhanced audio guide for this tour. It features an audio commentary and photos of the key landmarks. You can catch the tram and play this recording on an iPod, MP3 player or portable audio player to experience the sights and sounds of this historic vibrant city.Watch a demo and download the guide.

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Mac OS X Leopard Transparent Menu Bar Fix

So Mac OS X Leopard is out soon. It looks a good update, but allot of people have been complaining about the new transparent menu bar.Leopard Menu BarAs you can see it makes the menu bar less clear than before, and Im sure it could get annoying especially if you have poor eye sight or are using a laptop in a bright environment. So there are hacks and mods to fix it.But Wait! There is a much easier and safer option.Just download the wallpaper I have created and use that. Problem solved. It has a blank menu bar at the top which will show through and should cancel out the transparency. It is designed for 1440 x 900 screens so you will need to create your own if you have a differently sized screen. I have set the rest of the desktop to a professional (and boring) 25% grey. Feel free to change the grey to your favourite wallpaper in an image editing program. I don’t have Leopard yet so I haven’t been able to test my idea. Please let me know if it works.

Learn Finnish Mobile Phone Game

I have just finished developing version 1.0 of Flash Finnish. It is a mobile game to help people learn Finnish. It is quite a short game at the moment, but I plan to expand it soon with more words and more complex questions. If your phone supports Flash Lite 2.0 games you can download it for free. I have tested it on a Nokia N95, if it works on your phone please let me know so I can add it to the list of supported devices.phonecap3.jpg

Helsinki Nokia N95 Upload

Below is my first test at posting to my blog using my new Nokia N95 to take the picture and to upload it, all without coming near my computer! I used ShoZu which can be fiddly to set up, but once its installed it seems to work ok. You can also post to Flickr and even add GPS data from the phone to Geo-Tag them.

Test upload

Posted by ShoZu

Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings Update

I have just complete an update to the Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings website. You can now vote on Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures and other spin-offs such as the 60’s movies.In case you are not familiar with the site Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings is an ongoing survey of on-line fandom’s likes and dislikes.This site is fully dynamic, with every vote cast updating the results straight away. You can vote on every story; from An Unearthly Child to the latest broadcast this week.The Dynamic Rankings site has been going since 1995. With over 4000 voters and counting it is the worlds largest continuous Doctor Who survey.As a taster here are the latest top five Doctor Who stories:1 The Family of Blood2 The Empty Child3 The Doctor Dances4 Talons of Weng-Chiang5 The Girl in the FireplaceVisit the site and have your say.

Eurovision in Helsinki

As you may know Eurovision is in Helsinki this year. There are events happening throughout the built up to the final on Saturday. As I have just moved to Finland for the summer I thought I would put some of my photos of these events online for you to enjoy. You can see some of my best photos here, whilst some of my latest photos can be found on Flickr.Eurovision Flag

Save Freeview HD

If you have seen high definition (HD) TV you will know how impressive it is. I recently went to see the first episode of the BBC TV series Torchwood projected onto a local cinema screen and I was very impressed; even at full cinema size the picture quality looks good. However there are plans afoot to sell off the spectrum that would be used to broadcast HD over Freeview. This would mean that the only way to get high definition TV would be to pay Richard Branson or Rupert Murdoch (for Sky or Virgin Cable). The BBC has committed itself to spending your licence fee on producing all its programs in high definition. If you care about being able to see these programs in HD without paying extra for the privilege sign the petition and visit Save Freeview HD.