Fitness Room, Gym Review: Park International Hotel, Kensington, London

In this series, I will review gyms in Hotels that I have stayed in around the UK. I am writing this series as it is very hard to know what a hotel means by a fitness room when booking. I have often arrived at a hotel with a gym to find a tiny room with a treadmill and 3 mismatched dumbbells. The ratings are based on what I’d expect from a hotel gym. I mainly do strength training in a gym. As I prefer to do aerobic work outside, this may slightly bias the ratings.

My Visit

I visited the Park International, Kensington, London during the snow storm of February 2018. I stayed for one night on 27th February 2018.

TLDR: small, hot,¬†ūüĎé.

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watchOS 4 on Series 0

Over 880 days ago on 24th April 2015, I received my original Apple Watch (recently dubbed Series 0), I have worn it every day since. I use it mainly for fitness and media playback control, but nothing else.

The main reason is that my Apple Watch was too slow to use any apps and even the ones that I do use had some performances issues, e.g. the timer in the workout app struggling to display smoothly on screen.


watchOS 4 has been a huge improvement –¬†performance seem so much better, apps launch quicker, the interface is more fluid, everything seems much more reliable. As an example, my app Departure Board launches more faster, and it even updates its location using the GPS on the phone much quicker. I’d even argue that it has crossed the threshold from unusable to usable. watchOS 4 has really given a new lease of life to my aging, scratched watch.

Media Control

Since I got my AirPods in December and I lost the ability to control the volume on my headphone (I had been using Jabra Revo Wireless for years), I have been hoping the Now Playing screen would be available as a complication. The Now Playing screen lets you control the device volume with the digital crown. Having it as a complication would let me access it with a single tap, rather then pressing the side button and scrolling to find it, then selecting it.

With watchOS 4, Apple went one step further and displays the Now Playing screen whenever media is playing on your iPhone. As soon as I start media payback on my phone, the watch face is replaced with the Now Playing screen.

What’s next?

I was almost convinced that I would be upgrading at a Series 3 with LTE this year. However this performance improvement may help me defer this purchase for another year or until Series 4. In addition to this my carrier, Three, is not supported yet and podcast playback over LTE is also not available yet as far as I know.

The Shelf is now available on App Store

In August, I announced The Shelf, which allows you to import, via drop or copy, many kinds of data into it to hold until it is needed later. Check out the original article for full details and a demonstration of The Shelf.

It is now available to download on App Store.

New Features

During beta testing, I received many requests for PDF support, I was able to add this in time for release.


During App Review, I was told by Apple repeatedly that The Shelf was an unacceptable app type for Auto-Renewing Subscriptions. As a result, I have changed the business model from yearly subscriptions to a one-time IAP to unlock unlimited items in the App. I hope that this will cover the cost of all further development and as a result I will not need to charge for anything else in the future, but  I cannot guarantee that at this stage.

Get it now

Download it now from App Store Рit is free to try.

The iPhone Pro Won’t Be Great for Video

The rumours for the as of yet unannounced iPhone Edition / Pro seem to suggest that it will feature a 5.8″ 2800 x 1242px screen.

Using a bit of trigonometry, widescreen videos on this unannounced iPhone Edition / Pro will only be 104% the size of the regular iPhone 7, whereas the 5.5″ screen on the current iPhone 7 plus displays a video ¬†137% the size of the¬†regular iPhone 7.¬†This can be seen graphically below.

This may be a huge issue for me, as I use my iPhone 7 plus a lot to watch YouTube.

Full Resolution

Introducing The Shelf

Before Apple’s annual developer conference this year, WWDC 2017, Federico Viticci and Sam Beckett created a piece on MacStories titled¬†iOS 11 : iPad Wishes and Concept Video.¬†This¬†included a concept¬†they called¬†Shelf for iPad in iOS 11. The whole premise of the shelf was centred around system wide drag and drop to “serves as a holding place for bits of content without an immediate destination”.

In June, Apple held WWDC and did indeed announce APIs and support for system wide drag and drop in iOS 11 on iPad. Unfortunately, Shelf as envisaged by Federico and Sam was not included in iOS. Fortunately, the public APIs allowed the concept to be created as a standalone app by a third party developer. The new and improved Slide Over in iOS 11 also means that such an app can always be one swipe away at all times.

I decided to spend my spare time this summer making such an app.


The Shelf

The Shelf is my new app designed and built for iOS 11 on iPad. (It is pretty great on iPhone too.) The Shelf allows you to import, via drop or copy, many kinds of data into it to hold until it is needed later.

Data Types

The Shelf supports a handful of data types at launch:

  • Map Locations1
  • Emails2
  • Images
  • URLs with rich previews
  • Links to apps
  • Attributed Text
  • Plain Text

Data that is represented as one of these types 3 can be imported into The Shelf to store for later. When needed the data can be exported, dragged or copied, from The Shelf.

Dynamic Data Export

When data is dropped into The Shelf it often has many representations, for example:

  • when an extract of a website, is imported into The Shelf from Safari, it can be represented as Attributed Text 4, Plain Text or the URL of the page containing the extract
  • when an image is added from Safari, it can be represented as the original image data¬†or the URL of the image

The Shelf will intelligently recognise and store these alternate representations of the data, even offering them to the receiving app when exported. The individual representations¬†can also be viewed and exported out individually, creating an incredible powerful and flexible app.¬† The Shelf can also export data¬†via the iOS Share Sheet –¬†allowing Workflows to be triggered.

Feature Roadmap & Pricing

Developing The Shelf is a side project, something I work on alone in my spare time around my day job. Continuous ongoing development of The Shelf is essential to allow support for more data types to be added; as 3rd party apps support dragging, comprehensive dropping support can be including in The Shelf.

To justify and help finance further development, I need help from you. If you subscribe, you will help pay for more data types to be supported and development of new features for The Shelf. To use The Shelf, at first there will be a small 5 yearly subscription. This cost may increase over time as I add more features, but I never increase your subscription.

The more subscriber there are, the faster that I can add features and data types. A subscriber count and provisional list of subscriber needed and planned features can be seen here. ¬†It’s a bit like Kickstarter except instead of backers and strech goals, it’s subscribers and app features.

Beta Testing

As The Shelf is a new app, I am sure there are some bugs hiding in the edge use cases. I would love help testing, if you are interested, let me know via email or twitter.


Look out for it in the App Store on the day  that iOS 11 launches.

Sort & Filter Pack

Reaching this goal will produce enough income for me to spend the time to add the following features to The Shelf as part of the Sort & Filter Pack:

  • Search Items
    • Add a search bar to¬†The Shelf to search for items
  • Sort & filter Items
    • Sort and Filter by keyword, type, date added, flag, etc.
  • Folders
    • Home screen style folders to group multiple items in one folder
  • Flagging
    • Flag important items to help with sorting and filtering
    • Option to put flagged items at the top
  • Multiple Shelves
    • Add multiple shelfs to segregate and store your data, if needed.

Once the goal is reached, this will take approximately 3 months to add to The Shelf. I also cannot guarantee that all features will be added, as the feasibility of each has not been fully defined.

Power User Pack

Reaching this goal will produce enough income for me to spend the time to add the following features to The Shelf as part of the Power User Pack:

  • Keyboard Support
    • Add the ability to navigate¬†The Shelf using your keyboard
    • Add the ability to view items on¬†The Shelf using your keyboard
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
    • Add the ability to copy items to the clipboard from The Shelf using your keyboard
    • Have any other ideas? Let me know.
  • URL Scheme Support
    • Allow items to be imported and exported from a URL scheme to allow automation

Once the goal is reached, this will take approximately 3 months to add to The Shelf. I also cannot guarantee that all features will be added, as the feasibility of each has not been fully defined.