The iPad: difficult to type on

Getting people to part with money in exchange for music is a problem that's now as intractable for the music business as getting The Edge to come up with an imaginative guitar riff, but a new website called is the latest to have a stab at it. While the usual solutions involve giving people more music for less money and hoping their gratitude will translate to more frequent purchases, gives us the same amount of music for the same amount of money we'd pay if we were using iTunes – the crucial difference being that half the profits go to charity.

So you can buy the Oasis compilation album but divert some funds to Oxfam, or give to the Red Cross by buying Simply Red. The site probably does more to help charities than the music industry, but at least you can be certain the charities will spend your cash wisely.

Swype helps with smartphone typing – at least if you're prepared to practice

It can be hard to type on an iPad. If I put the thing on a tabletop, I have to stand up and hover over it like a surgeon removing a gall stone. If I sit on the floor with my knees up and the iPad on my lap, typing is thwarted by the fact that I'm fat. Ideally, I'd prop up the iPad with one hand and type with the other, but the "peck-pecking" motion would be so laborious that I'd end up hurling the thing into a Laura Ashley feature wall in frustration.

To the rescue, potentially, comes Swype, a front-runner in the battle to find the best way to input information to tablet computers and smartphones. While screen-based keyboards by the likes of Google and Apple rely on us repeatedly prodding in the vague proximity of keys, Swype – as its name suggests – lets you sweep a single finger back and forth across the keyboard, lifting it up at the end of each word.

A couple of months back, the Guinness world record for texting (yes, I'm afraid there is such a thing) was broken by a Swype intern. Most smartphone keyboards make an intelligent guess at the word we're trying to key in and Swype's no different. As a result it performs particularly well with long words.

I had a go at Swype on an Android phone last week, and I have to say I found it tricky, but the inventor, Cliff Kushler (who also came up with the T9 text system that's employed on most of the world's mobile phones) claims that people can achieve 30 words a minute after an hour's practice.

And, annoyingly, practice is the key. That's why alternative keyboard layouts such as Dvorak never displaced Qwerty, despite being faster to use; we simply can't be bothered to learn a new system. But with Swype appearing pre-installed on new phones such as the new Samsung Galaxy S, and with competing services such as Shapewriter and SlideIt waving their patents about and striking deals, we could be inputting text more rapidly and accurately on all kinds of devices – including the iPad – by the end of the year. Which is good news for me, as I've abandoned technology for the afternoon and am writing this on a piece of lined A4 using a chewed biro.

Foetuses not at risk from mobile phone base stations, British study reveals

Pregnant women living close to mobile-phone base stations are at no greater risk of having children who develop cancer, researchers have found. The first study to examine the effects of 81,000 phone masts across Britain on mothers-to-be has found no link with early childhood cancers such as leukaemia and brain tumours. The study is the most detailed yet of the claimed link between phone masts and childhood cancer.