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4G in the UK

Apple recently made a blunder with the release of the new iPad. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have taken a keen interest in the misinformation provided by Apple on their UK website after receiving an number of complaints about the 4G (fourth generation mobile communications technology) capabilities of the new iPad. When asked by the ASA to remove the misleading information, Apple simply added a footnote stating that 4G data coverage is only available in USA and Canada


On their UK website Apple claim that the iPad is available as Wi-Fi only or as Wi-Fi and 4G. Such technology is capable of delivering data to mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops at a rate of GBits/second (one thousand million bits of data every second) for low-mobility users i.e. pedestrians or stationary users and 100 Mbits/second for users in cars or trains. The ability to communicate at these speeds borders on the pre-cognitive level i.e. it seems to almost load before the user confirms that as their action.


Image courtesy of


Very exciting, but why aren’t we seeing the benefits of 4G in the UK?

Reports claim that the iPad’s hardware is configured to use different frequencies in the US and Canada than in Europe. Potentially, this means that European visitors to North America will not have roaming access for their iPad. The government have been asked by the 4G Britain campaign to “Do whatever is necessary to  move forward” with the deployment of 4G technologies. But other articles suggest that the ‘hold-up’ does not stop at the government, but instead with the mobile network carriers (Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere (the merge of T-Mobile and Orange). The regulating body Ofcom are delaying the auction process, where carriers can buy portions of the frequency bands, until the end of the year due to threats of legal proceedings by rival operators.

Everything Everywhere have since launched the first trial of 4G technology on the 1800 MHz spectrum, giving fifty people in the Lake District access to ultra-fast connections. EE hope to use this frequency in the UK later this year to make 4G a “reality for the whole nation as soon as possible”.


Where do we go from here?

The implementation of 4G research could lead to developments in ubiquitous computing which allows users to connect to networks via different methods like Wi-Fi, 4G and older  generations and wireless personal access networks (WPAN).

4G also supports IPv6 protocols which, among other things, makes the requirement of sharing IP addresses in large networks virtually obsolete. Reduced costs of older generations of this technology could potentially lead to establishing networks in more remote parts of the world, connecting everyone, everywhere.

May 3rd, 2012 by | Leave a comment

Web Design Basics Part 3: Using Sketches to Influence the Design Process

The length of today’s post belies the importance of sketching and roughing ideas out on paper.

More people prefer using technology to make their design process efficient. Not wanting to be left outside the bandstand when the main act is on, I recently bought a Wacom Bamboo tablet to streamline my process, to cut out the pencil and paper stage, but I have found it has the opposite effect.

Pencil and paper still do play a large part of a designers thinking their way around a problem and here we will pay homage to these, the tools of our trade. Maybe I am too ambitious but we’ll start of by looking at why sketching is important and finish with my tips for getting started.

Rapid Prototyping

Sketching = good for 2 (½) dimensional prototypes.

Designing for a client means they will often seek your work for approval. Sketches effectively inform your client of your intentions and they often feel they can be more honest about what they want because it isn’t obvious you have gone to any great effort with your ideas.


November 9th, 2011 by | Leave a comment

Web Design Basics Part 2: Drafting Your Initial Design Specifications

What is a design specification?

A design specification is a tool used by design teams to ensure all members of the team are “singing from the same sheet”. It is particularly useful if the project involves members from different organisations, to make certain everyone agrees on the features of the project, aims and milestones/deadlines.  It’s sole purpose is not to connect teams. No, it should be used in good practice to make sure you (the designer) understand the client’s needs and wants.

A robust initial design specification usually contains the aims and purpose of the website, target demographic, both technical (scripting languages used for features of website) and non-technical specifications (how the design should look, scalability, security, accessibility) and guidelines for content. From here we will be using one of our previous customers as a case study to discuss the design specs. Information will be given on each element and our design spec for this customer will be in bold.


JMB Bookkeeping site
One of our previous design clients


September 28th, 2011 by | Leave a comment

Web Design Basics Part 1: Understanding the Brief


How you interpret the needs of your client will affect the end result you produce for their approval so it is important you and your client understand each other. It is also important that you don’t just roll out a design idea you had way back when to make another satisfied customer. Take time to get to know your design clients and treat them like individuals – because they are. They have their own ideas they want to have included in their design.

It might be common sense but trying to be as responsive to their initial ideas will lead to you having a fruitful relationship. It is their project after all.

Your responsibility at this stage is to get as much information from your client as you can. Your initial ideas should reflect your client and their company so maintaining your focus and not becoming overwhelmed by your initial ideas is a good start. Remember, your client has chosen you for this project because you are professional and you know your stuff so you should know the right questions to ask. An initial questionnaire for your client is your only tool at this stage. You can conduct this questionnaire in person, over the telephone or you can send your client a copy which they will return with all the right information (hopefully). (more…)

August 31st, 2011 by | Leave a comment

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