Ways to Challenge yourself in 2018 – A List

Looking to challenge yourself in 2018? One way to do this is to set a monthly goal. Think of something you always said you would get around to, but always found an excuse not to do it. Then do said task for a full month. We asked around the office, hoping to come up with 50 such tasks, but came up with 26.

This author has already started with number 1 – give up alcohol (for a month). Check out our list below, and see what you think!


  1. Give up Alcholol for a month.
  2. Read every day for a month.
  3. Read at least 50 books (non-fiction) in 2018.
  4. Take a photo-a-day for a month and post to Instagram.
  5. Do some form of exercise every day for a month (walk to the shops does not count).
  6. Take a sabbatical from my day job and do something entirely different for a  month.
  7. Have a goal for each day and aim to complete that goal, whatever else I do.
  8. Cut out coffee for a month.
  9. No Netflix for a month.
  10. Eat at least one piece of fruit a day.
  11. Lean a bit of Spanish.
  12. Fasting. Do a fast to understand – so many things.
  13. Cut out Chocolate/Crisps/Sweet things for a month.
  14. Reduce coffee intake (yes! The second mention of coffee, but I drink too much.
  15. Be nice.
  16. Don’t dwell on what others say – feck em.
  17. Walk to work.
  18. Mindfulness
  19. Go outside comfort zone at least once a month.
  20. Pay me first. You should always pay yourself first before you pay your bills.
  21. Buy a new Kindle so that I can do ‘number 3’ in the dark.
  22. Develop new (good) habits.
  23. Delete Facebook. But, actually, for me, Facebook seems to have evolved to such a time-waste – silly news stories… etc…
  24. Don’t stress.
  25. Get up at least an hour before I need to.
  26. Eat more yoghurt with probiotics.

RIP Steve Jobs (updated)

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs (Image VIA Apple.com

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. (US President Barack Obama)

Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56. May he rest in peace.

As a mark of respect the Apple.com website has an iconic picture of it’s former CEO and co-founder. It is also reported that Apple stores will dim the lights behind the Apple logo. This is a sad day for Apple fans, Steve Jobs is the man who brought technology to the people, in a way that “just works”  Thank you Steve, we can only hope and pray that you will keep an eye on Apple from the iCloud. iPIPB.com

His family issued this statement:

Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family. In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories. We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., (via merrionstreet.ie): “Steve Jobs was a creative genius who broke down walls in business and opened doors in people’s minds. His innovative prowess in the area of technology has brought about a level of access to information for millions that few would have ever foreseen. His legacy will be not just his products and business achievements, but also the way in which he altered mindsets in the business world and in everyday life”.

Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates : I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.

The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.

For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor.  I will miss Steve immensely

Camping outside Apple for the iPhone 5 in style – The iPhone 5 Experiment (Interview)

Rob Shoesmith


Rob Shoesmith
Rob Shoesmith

Rob Shoesmith has decided to camp outside Apple for up to a month in anticipation of the iPhone 5, but he plans on doing it with a bit of class! In our interview with him below, find out how he plans to be fully entertained by a magician, fed by a baker, and even get his laundry done, all while he wait’s in line for an iPhone 5.

iPIPB: Hi Robert, before we begin can you tell us a little about your company and your history with Apple’s iPhone?

Robert: I’m from Coventry UK and work for a US based app developer called MEDL Mobile as a marketing and PR Executive. Now here is the interesting part. I’d studied Internet marketing at the University of Derby but due to a lack of maturity and finances on my part I had to quit my course early. I was heavily in debt and needed to find a job fast as a stopgap. I got an honest job as a trash collector for my local government and its funny how life pans out and 5 years later I was still emptying dustbins for a living. I got to the point where I was in desperate need of a change of career and wanted to find a career in tech marketing and PR. I just NEEDED a break but knew if I approached a PR company with my current job title as Trash Collector on my resume (excuse the pun) it would have been put in the bin. I love being un-traditional in my approach to things. I was browsing the App Store and came across an app called the App Incubator by MEDL Mobile. The app allows users the ability to send them ideas for iPhone and Android apps without needing to have coding or programming skills. In return for the idea, if the company like it they will pay the full developments cost and share the profits with the person who submitted the idea to them.I went about brainstorming a lot of app ideas and submitted an idea called Problem Halved to them. Problem Halved is an agony aunt style application and I generated a lot of media coverage!


MEDL Mobile were really impressed with my ability to generate huge press and offered me a part time job helping to get other people to have their apps developed get noticed.

Then a few months ago they offered me a full time job with them as a marketing and PR executive that I gladly accepted! The last couple of years have truly been life changing for me.

iPIPB: There seems to be a trending history of people camping out for Apple products – particularly the iPad and iPhone, but you are taking this to the next level in terms of duration, and you won’t be spending a penny the whole time! Tell us about the project? – Where you got the idea? When/Where will you start ?

Robert: Apple as a company has such a huge marketing and media influence I thought to myself would it be possible to live indirectly off this influence via donations from companies and individuals for up to a month camping outside the Apple Store in Convent Garden Central London. There is one rule to the experiment. I can’t spend any of my own money once I set up camp. My intention is to begin camping out once Apple reveal the official release date.

iPIPB: Apart from your love of the iPhone, why are you doing this?
Robert:Part of the experiment will involve talking to the press and this will only stand me in good stead for my new role. It would be nice to make my mark in the tech marketing industry and I love what I do now and wake each morning looking forward to my working day ahead. Emptying dustbins was mind numbingly boring and I never want to go back to that kind of job and I want to make a huge success of the opportunity MEDL Mobile has given me.

I want to see just how extreme I could make the experiment. I mean how wild is it for a mobile laundry service to even offer to pick up my dirty washing and return them washed and laundered to my tent. I want to show the irony. One example is I will effectively be living on the streets but having top London restaurants delivering gourmet food to my tent! How ironic is this?

There is a lot of doom and gloom around the economy and I just want to entertain people in my blog posts and make them laugh and show them you can get what you want with no money. You just have to try hard and think outside of the box.I’ve had over 150 companies offer me help which is brilliant! I’m involved in promoting MEDL Mobile apps and a lot of these companies may be looking to develop apps for their brands in the future. It certainly helps having a dialogue with these companies.

iPIPB: Rumours on the internet suggest the iPhone 5 may be in short supply, none the less, is 1 month not too long to camp out?

Robert: To a lot of people a month sounds extreme. I have so many cool things lined up to blog about I don’t want to rush my blog posts and obviously I to thank the companies who have supplied their products to me.

iPIPB: You seem to have a lot of people supporting you with this project, such as a personal trainer and even a magician, have you been surprised by the media interest in this project? Tell us more about the support you have been offered?

Robert:Totally! I know the experiment would generate a fair amount coverage once the camp out begins but I wasn’t expecting how quickly and far the story has spread. I’ve even done interviews for Brazilian television. Chinese national newspapers and Al Jazeera news channel.

I have approximately 150 companies who have either offered their services or products to the experiment, which is amazing!

Highlights include:


–       A mobile laundry service to come and pick up my smelly clothes to wash and iron them.

–       A baker who will make me an IPhone cake to feed other 100 people.

–       A belly dancer who will be flying in from Scotland to keep me entertained.

–       Numerous bands who will come and entertain me with acoustic sets.

–       Top restaurants who will keep me fed and watered.

–       The offer of a 4 by 4 vehicle.

–       A freestyle soccer player to do some tricks and teach me some to.

—       Thousands of dollars worth of gadgets.

–        Camping equipment.

– Personal Assistant to run errands for me

– Gym to let me use their shower so I can keep clean and freshen up.

iPIPB: Have you come across many particularly difficult barriers in setting up this event?

Robert:Initially generating interest from companies about my experiment was difficult as I had no press interest, which they were looking for their products to be featured in, and my blog stats were poor and in some companies eyes there wouldn’t be a return on investment.

I found contacting smaller start up companies more effective than the larger corporate brands. Once I had these businesses on board I found larger companies starting to take note and before I knew it things really started to snowball in terms of product donations and media coverage. They kind of fuelled each other.

iPIPB:Will you be documenting the event while it’s in progress? We would love to be able to view your progress on Twitter once you start?

Robert: Yes of course! I will be blogging on my website at www.iphone5experiment.com and on twitter at @shoesmith81 I will also be doing some live video streams at http://www.iphone5experiment.com/live-streams and uploading videos to my You tube Channel www.youtube.com/robertshoesmith If companies or individuals would like to donate their help they can do so by emailing me at rob@medlmobile.com.

iPIPB:What are you personally expecting from the iPhone 5?

Robert:I think Apple needs to make a big statement with their next iPhone as Android devices are getting a lot better. I hope to see the iPhone 5 sport the A5 chips and longer battery life. I’m looking forward to using IOS 5.

iPIPB: Best of luck Robert, we look forward to hearing how it goes!

iPhone 5 Ireland (updated)

iPhone 5 Mockup by Macrumors
iPhone 5 Mockup by Macrumors
iPhone 5 Mockup by Macrumors

We keep getting asked about the iPhone 5 release date in Ireland, wish we knew. It’s not been announced by Apple yet. We will update this page with the date, however we are opening this post to start the discussion. We are interested to hear what you have heard about the release date, or even to speculate on the device itself!

Update 05/10/2011: The iPhone 4s was announcted. No iPhone 5 this year more info here



IRELAND: “Where is our Apple Store?”

Apple Store Ireland

I’ve been reading a lot on the internet about the so-called fake Apple Stores in Asia, I understand that two have now been closed, not because of any reaction from Apple (yet), but because they were unlicensed.

There is still some of them open for business. It makes me wonder why we don’t have an Apple store here in Dublin or anywhere in Ireland for that matter? We really are missing out by not having one.

While ‘CompuB’ have some very nice stores in Dublin and Limerick (the stores I have been to), it would be nice if Apple showed a little more retail interest in Ireland.

As of writing this post, Apple has 237 stores in the US, 30 in the UK with only 4 in China, they also have stores in Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.

Apple stores, in themselves, are a tourist attraction, have you ever seen the ones in New York? There is people outside actually taking photos… of a computer store!!!

What prompted this post from me, was my recent call to Apple Care. The agent seemed shocked that we don’t have a retail store or an authorized re-seller who can repair iPhones.

I has smashed the screen on my iPhone 4 on Sunday – it hit the ground face first.

It’s going back into its protective leather case, no more naked iPhone 4!

So back to the title of this post, come on Apple open a retail store in Dublin…

You won’t regret it!

Star Trek PADD for iPad – To boldly go where no iPad has gone before!

Star Trek PADD
Star Trek PADD
Star Trek PADD

As a Star Trek fan, when I first saw the Apple iPad, I immediately thought of the PADD (Personal Access Display Device) which was used by Starfleet as a tablet computer.  So I was delighted when I saw CBS had brought this to life with PADD for iPad. The iPad app emulates the Star Trek PADD interface has various Star Trek sound effects and computer voices that react to your touch.

How here’s the thing, while the app does have a built-in database of various Star Trek characters, ships and so on, it is not a complete collection. Rather than linking to data from a resource like Memory Alpha, the designers have used the StarTrek.com database for its information. This means, this PADD is more of a “nice to have” app than a reference tool. The designers try to make up for the  problem by linking into Twitter and Facebook, which is ok, but not what I would imagine Trek fans would prefer.

It’s not possible to filter down characters  by series, which surprised me, in fact there is almost no filters aside from the main sections. The designers note “The official Star Trek PADD app database does not include all information within the Star Trek Universe. We will continue to update the database as information becomes available.” Again a little surprising as all Star Trek Moves and series have long since ended, aside from the new movie, which we could forgive.

Despite all the above, it is worth having this app if you are a Star Trek fan. It looks very like the displays in Star Trek The Next Generation  and you are bound to have some fun playing around with it, and while it has plenty of potential – don’t expect it to be your ‘go to’ Star Trek reference tool, because it’s nowhere near that.

[box]Star Trek PADD for iPad is 3.99 in Irish app store[/box]



iOS 5 beta for iPhone 4

iOS 5 First look
iOS 5 First look
iOS 5 First look

Thanks to a really great contact on Twitter I managed to grab the first beta of iOS 5. While much of the great and wonderful updates have been reported on already, I have been through the settings and jotted down some notes on what I found. Here are a few observations on iOS 5.

  • As promised by Steve Jobs, you no longer need a PC or Mac to activate or set up your iPhone. It’s now an independent device in its own right!
  • iCloud: You can use your iPhone while syncing it with iTunes and I assume the iCloud. An icon appears on the status bar indicating a sync is in progress. There is an option for “Storage Plan” which is currently grayed out, which indicates Apple may have various storage plans in addition to the Free 5GB. Steve Jobs made this sound like a lot, but when I ran my first iCLoud backup, I realised how little this is if you plan on backing up your camera roll!
Alert Style
Alert Style
  • Home Screen Notifications: You can slide notifications by swiping down at the top of the screen. You can delete all text and phone message notifications but not individual messages. The notifications screen also shows two widgets: stocks and weather. Weather uses GPS to display weather in your area. You can change from banner notifications to the usual pop up windows.
  • Lock Screen: Messages now appear on lock screen as banner notifications opposed to a single pop up message. The lock screen will only show notifications since you last locked it. You can access the camera from the lock screen. New e-mail messages do not seem to appear on the lock screen (disappointed in this).
  • Settings: There is some interesting things happening in the settings . Now an option to update software over the air! A new iTunes Sync option. iCloud options with the following On/Off toggle options: Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Bookmarks, Notes, Photo Stream, Find my iPhone. They were all disabled by default on my test device.
  • Sending an e-mail without a subject? You now get a warning!
  • iPod app has gone! I’m surprised Apple are removing this one, now there is an app for music and one called video, the same as an iPod Touch.
  • LED Flash for ALerts.  The camera flash will go off for alerts. Makes me suspect that Apple will have Blackberry like LED in the next iPhone device.
  • Twitter: Twitter is tightly integrated, you can authorise more than one account, if you use Twitter this is very handy.
  • Camera: Pinch to zoom, seems a bit buggy to me, but it is a first beta, there is also a grid, and best of all you can use the volume button to take  a snap.
  • Photos app: You can now edit photos, it’s pretty basic, but functional none the less. The ability to correct ‘red eye’, crop images and rotate images!

To summarise, lot’s of goodies in this iOS release, which we can expect in Autumn sometime, with possibly more that is available in the current beta. I have noticed throughout the iOS that much of the functionality comes from what was popular apps and jailbreak functions, Apple seems to be listening to its users.

Meteor iPhone plans


Meteor don’t seem to sell the iPhone in Ireland. But I have noticed Meteor offer some very attractive price plans that include data, that would work nicely with the iPhone. I currently pay 45 euro for 150 minutes and texts on O2 with 1GB data, under an 18month contract, that price plan included an iPhone 4 device. Continue reading “Meteor iPhone plans”

No iPad 2 for me!

iPad Cover

Tablet PC’s have been around for sometime now. But Apple have really woken the industry bringing it’s knowledge of touch screens from the iPhone to the iPad. The iPad was deeply criticized as a giant iPhone, but it was still a huge hit and with the iPad 2 gaining first time iPad owners, as well as those choosing to upgrade from the original iPad, it’s time to see can the others can keep up?

I will not be one of those people choosing to upgrade this year to the iPad 2! While the iPad 2 is undoubtedly more powerful and faster than the original, I just cannot see a need to upgrade that would benefit me. I actively use my iPad to watch movies in bed, browse the net and a little bit of gaming. When traveling I find the iPad is a marvelous entertainment companion, small useful and multi functional. I spent more purchasing it at the time than most because I bought it before it was officially for sale in Ireland, it is not a purchase I regret in the slightest, it is  well used and is part of my technology ‘buddies’. But at the end of the day the iPad as it stands even with extra features of the iPad 2 is not better than having a laptop and the iPhone 4 working together. For me currently, the iPad is great, serves a function, but not one that will feel better by upgrading the iPad 2.


iPad Cover
iPad Cover

The iPad 2 offers dual cameras, I have this on my iPhone 4, I always thought it looks a little strange filming with a tablet device! I have used facetime on my iPhone 4 about five times, so I don’t need an iPad with facetime.It is also much slimmer, and having not physically touched the device… I would imagine, feels a lot better. iPad 2 will of course have better memory management for browsing the internet, and Apple have developed some amazing apps that use this faster iPad 2. Still not enough, sorry Apple! I do like that this device has a dual core memory and more ram, this is something iPad has needed badly, even for something as basic as browsing more than one website tab at a time!

The future

I have a strong feeling Apple have pushed out the iPad 2, to keep ‘in the game’ as it were, and have more to come.  I think the iPad 2 will keep iOS gamers happy and new users will love it. The iPad 3, will be the one to watch, and may persuade me to upgrade. But for now I am happy with my current iPad. And let’s not forget iOS 5, hopefully later this year!

Will you buy the iPad 2? Let us know in the comments!