How to Share Video on Twitter from iPhone 3G

I worked out today how to share video on Twitter from the iPhone 3G (not 3GS). I was very pleased, a couple of weeks ago, to discover the Qik Video Camera app for the iPhone 3G (and original iPhone), which, at last, brings decent quality video (of suprisingly good quality given the limitations of the 3G’s camera) to the 3G. I was disappointed, however, that, unlike Qik’s other applications (for the 3GS, among others) it doesn’t allow the live broadcast of video. It also looked like it was difficult to share the video it captured.

I tried downloading Twitvid, which is a programme I have used for tweeting videos I have shot on other phones I have owned, but that just gives a message “this phone appears not to be configured for video” when you try and do anything useful with it. I then discovered that the Qik Video camera app does have video sharing options built in. One of these will upload the video to Facebook, another will send it by email, and a third will upload the video to Qik’s own servers and let you send the link by SMS. What I discovered through trial and error, however, that this third option puts the link into the iPhone’s clipboard, and it can then be pasted anywhere, including in a Twitter app. So, there is a round-a-bout way of sharing iPhone 3G videos via Twitter, I wish it was a bit easier, but it does work. The resulting video is below.

Another strange thing about this is that there appear not to be any settings which allow you to link the videos to your Qik account, and they are consequently posted as being from “Temp User”, who appears to be based in the United States. I don’t know if this means they won’t be hosted permanently. Watch this space

Vodpod videos no longer available.

An Open Letter to the Managing Director of Cross Country Trains

Dear Mr. Cooper

Internet Connectivity and Mobile Phone Signals on Voyager Trains

Cross Country Voyager Train

A Cross Country Voyager Train - Image courtesy John Grey Turner http://www.flickr.com/photos/johngreyturner/

I am writing to you to ask if you can please do something about Internet connectivity and mobile phone signals on your Voyager Trains. I write following two particularly frustrating journeys; from Leeds to Bristol Temple Meads on 25th January, and Bristol Temple Meads to Manchester on 26th January, when neither of the devices I normally carry with me for Internet connectivity on the move, a Vodafone dongle and a Mifi mobile wifi unit on the Three network, could get anything more than fleeting signals. I am a regular user of Cross Country trains, most frequently between Leeds / Wakefield and my office in Sheffield, but also on longer journeys too.

I travel a lot in my job, and, partly because I live within walking distance of Huddersfield station, partly because I believe in keeping driving to a minimum in the interests of saving the planet, but mainly because I can work on the move rather than treating travel as “dead time”, I nearly always travel by train. I firmly believe that efforts need to be made to attract more people out of their cars and on to the train, and that making the travel experience more like a mobile office could be a key factor in this.

I travel regularly on East Coast Trains between Leeds and London, and find the free wifi offered on those services to be a great help, even though actual connectivity to the Internet can be patchy. I also note Virgin Trains’ introduction of wifi on its West Coast services, although I believe that the fact that there is a charge for this is a powerful disincentive for most people. Personally, I think free wifi on trains has to be the way forward and is the main way to create the mobile office on rails.

The Cross Country Voyagers are the trains I have the most problems with connectivity on. And I know it is the Voyagers which are the issue, because there are no such problems when using your refurbished HSTs on my usual route between Leeds and Sheffield. Now, I realise that Voyagers are designed to be very safe trains, and, I of course, welcome that, but it is evident that, with safety also comes the inability of mobile phone signals to penetrate into the carriage. Virgin had the same issue on its West Coast Pendolinos and has addressed this by placing signal boosters in the carriages. I now find that I often get an near unbroken 3G signal when traveling from Manchester to London on Virgin services, which means I have an alternative to using the (paid for) wifi.

So, my request to you is, can you please consider introducing signal boosters into Voyager carriages. Free wifi would be great, and if you would consider it, that would be an extra incentive to the mobile office worker. But, if wifi is a step too far at this stage, please look at 3G signal boosters similar to those adopted by Virgin, I am convinced that this would be an important tool in driving up business use of your services and would pay for itself over not too long a period.

No signal on Mifi on Voyager Train

No signal on Mifi on Voyager Train

I know there are lots of people who feel the same as me, as is evidenced by replies to my blog post on the issue (https://johnpopham.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/campaign-for-better-connectivity-on-trains/) by the many comments of people who use the #uktrain hashtag on Twitter (http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23uktrain) and other people I come across in my travels. In the modern age, people need to stay connected to their networks to operate efficiently, and it is immensely frustrating to lose this connectivity for long periods while traveling on your train services.

I would be grateful for a reply indicating whether this is something you are prepared to look into.

With best regards

Do I need an iPhone

I need some help deciding what to do about my phone situation. Can people of the interweb solve my dilemma for me.

I have two phones, a work and a personal one. The work one is a BlackBerry Bold, and I am very happy with that. It does all sorts of wizzy things, has 3G and wifi (unlike most BlackBerrys), and is brilliant for sorting out email on the move. The one down-side is the pretty poor 2MP camera.

Until very recently, my personal phone was a BlackBerry Curve. To be honest, I was talked into getting this by an over-zealous salesman, I have never used its email function, and, without 3G or Wifi, I found it pretty limited. The only real advantage was being able to text quickly using the QWERTY keyboard. So I was quite happy recently when I was given a discarded Nokia N95, which I could immediately see was a much better prospect than the BB Curve, particularly as it has 3G and Wifi and is capable of playing BBC iPlayer content (in theory, I haven’t got this to work yet), watching TV streamed from my Slingbox (this does work very well and has allowed me to catch some crucial bits of the West Indies v England cricket test series while on the move), streaming live radio from BBC stations and direct downloading podcasts. A key thing which attracted me to the N95 was the possibility of having a half decent (5MP) camera in my pocket with the ability to upload photos directly, via Wifi or 3G, to Flickr, Twitpic or elsewhere.

And so, just as I am getting used to my new toy, and liking it (except for the frustration of having to relearn texting from a normal phone keypad), a spanner in the works. I learn that I am now eligble for a “free” upgrade to an iPhone.

So, do I abandon my new toy and replace it with an iPhone? I am liking the N95, and reluctant to give it up. But I know lots of people with iPhones and have coveted one from afar, and not so far, for a while. BUT, the iPhone’s camera is not great; there is, as yet, no client for the Slingbox on the iPhone, and, from what I can gather, listening to streaming radio may not be so easy as it is on the N95 (which also has a built in FM radio for non web listening).

What other reasons might there be for me to abandon my N95 in favour of an iPhone, other than that the latter looks nice, and has outstanding design principles? The poor iPhone camera and lack of Slingbox client are the factors which are driving my reluctance at the moment. The latter should be addressed shortly, but I don’t think the camera can be solved, and I really like the idea of not needing a separate camera and being able directly to upload decent quality photos.

So please help me make a decision. And if you are advocating the iPhone, please give me some killer reasons.