GNC #1202 Facebook Tentacles



Took two tries to get the show out tonight. Tricaster rebooted on me five minutes into the show. So no video tonight. But I dig deep into what is being termed Facebook Tentacles. Plus the story behind the missed show on Monday. Off to Japan no show on Monday be back with you next Thursday.

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OnePlus 5 Incoming…



The OnePlus hype machine has been in full flow over the past few weeks, with a steady drip feed of news for the forthcoming OnePlus 5. It’s arguable that they’re third only to Apple and Samsung in the social noise OnePlus makes. Personally I’m a big fan, having purchased both the One and the 2, but I skipped the 3 and 3T, so I’m looking forward to the 5. There isn’t going to be a OnePlus 4 because 4 isn’t a popular number in parts of Asia. Bit like 13 in US and Europe, I guess.

OnePlus have all but confirmed the 5, but in preparation for its arrival, stock of the 3T is being run down and won’t be available in the UK and Europe from the end of June. Grab one for GB£399. For the curious, the 3 is long gone…

Teasing some of the new features, OnePlus have teamed up with DxO “to enhance your photography experience with our upcoming flagship, the OnePlus 5“. DxO have years of imaging experience and expertise, both for professional cameras and for smartphones, and perhaps are most well-known for creating the defining photography benchmark, the DxOMark. So the camera should be good then.

Since March, OnePlus have been running a competition for marketing students to plan and execute an exciting, on-brand marketing campaign to raise OnePlus’ brand awareness in the UK. The competition is entering the final stages and the public vote for the last five is on. There are 17 proposals to review and choose a favourite. Good luck to all the teams – the winners get to intern over the summer in the European HQ.

That’s the OnePlus news summary for now and I’m looking forward to seeing what the 5 brings.


JAM Card Gives People Time



It’s a fast paced world out there and you need all your faculties to keep up. Take too long, and it’s “Next please!” while you’re still standing there. Imagine how much more difficult it is if you do have a learning disability or condition such as Asperger’s and you just need a little more time.

To help people in this situation, the NOW Group has created an app that asks people for “Just A Minute”. The JAM Card app shows staff in retail outlets, transport and other areas of public life that the person needs “Just A Minute” of patience and time when interacting with them.

The smartphone app is based on the original concept of a plastic card and was the idea of people with a disability who said they often felt under pressure when they were out and about in everyday life. They wanted a discreet way of letting people know that they needed a little extra time.

The app is available for both Android and iOS (search for “JAM Card”). At present the app only caters for four specific conditions though they hope to extend it to more over time. The app also allows users to score retail stores and transportation for their helpfulness towards people with disabilities.

For more information, listen to my interview with NOW Group’s Jayne at NICON 17.  If you like what the NOW Group are doing here, you can vote for them over at Digital DNA and help them become a partner charity.


SolarGaps Launch on Kickstarter



SolarGaps combine venetian blinds with solar panels to keep interiors cools and generate electricity. Easily mounted on the exterior of a property over windows, the SolarGaps smart blinds are a clever solution that’s available to all homeowners, not just those with roofs.

Todd interviewed Erik from SolarGaps at CES this year and as predicted, the products are now on Kickstarter for delivery in September. The campaign seems to be going well, with nearly 95% funding and 23 days to go – I think they’ll hit their target. There are different sizes available but for indicative purposes, a 3′ by 3′ blind costs US$390, which is 50% off the suggested retail price.

As smart blinds, the SolarGaps can do clever things, such as altering their angle to maximise sunlight on the panels, or automatically opening if someone comes into the room. SolarGaps integrates seamlessly with smartphones, Google Home, Amazon Echo, and the Nest Thermostat. It can either feed electricity back into the grid or into a battery system like the Tesla Powerwall. The SolarGaps generate about 100W per square metre.

Looks like a great “gen 1” implementation.


GNC #1201 Wearable Glucose Meter?



A wearable glucose meter is a big rumor coming out of Apple today if this is indeed the case the race to the top on this may be won by Apple and this could be an incredible achievement. Other companies are in the hunt for the elusive FDA approval on a wearable device. A whole stack of cool news tonight as well strap in.

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LIFX White Bayonet Bulb Sale



GNC readers from the UK and Ireland may be interested in LIFX’s sale on second generation white bayonet bulbs (LIFX White 800). There’s a saving of US$7.50 per bulb so you can get four bulbs for just under US$90. Although the prices are in dollars, the bulbs ship from the Netherlands so there should be no additional duties to pay.

Unlike most smart bulbs, these lamps use WiFi connectivity rather than Z-wave or Zigbee, so there’s no need for additional controllers and it’s an easy way in to smart lighting with fittings (B22) to suit UK and Irish residents. LIFX works with other smart systems such as SmartThings, Nest and Alexa. I reviewed the colour version of the bulb for GNC last year so check out my report for more info.

Apparently the stock is going fast!


Wileyfox Pops Up in London



Wileyfox have opened a pop-up store next to Old Street station, London, for the next two weeks and it’s a good opportunity to check out this British company and their smartphones. Sitting in the “reasonably priced with decent specs” camp, the Swift 2 starts at GB£159 with their higher end Swift 2X at £219. The latter gets you a 5.2″ screen, 32 GB RAM, 3 GB ROM, Snapdragon 430 and expandable storage running Android Nougat 7.1. Not too shabby at all and there’s a selection of colours for the fashion conscious.

Details of the pop-up shop’s opening times and location below. There’s a contest at the store to win a trip for two to Paris as well.


GNC #1200 Wow



Wow, 1200 episodes that would make anyone tired to think about it. Enjoy today’s show folks not a lot of memory lane but I am often reminded how humbling it is to have you all part of my audience and the journey we have taken together.

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HBO Dropping Shows from Amazon Video Streaming



HBO logoIf there’s one trend that’s become a focal point in the age of digital video streaming it’s exclusivity. This has become very apparent in the way established services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have treated their original shows. Want to watch a show like Orange Is The New Black or The Man In The High Castle? You’ll have to pay for individual accounts on the services responsible for producing those shows. Otherwise, you’re going to miss something.

HBO was hardly on the cutting edge of video streaming when it launched its HBO Now service that allows users to watch HBO shows without a cable subscription. In fact, HBO is as close to a legacy provider as premium paid video gets, with its roots going all the way back to the earliest days of widespread cable television distribution. It was only a matter of time after launching HBO Now that the company would begin to circle the wagons around its own product. And with a recent announcement that HBO will be removing its shows from Amazon Prime Video, the company is doing just that.

If you’re currently getting your Game of Thrones or Sopranos fixes thru Amazon, don’t fret. The move won’t be made right away. HBO shows should still be available on Amazon’s platform until the middle of 2018. But once the change takes hold, the only places HBO shows will still be available will either be on paid satellite TV services or HBO’s official apps.


MailChimp Announces Free Marketing Automation for Everyone



Mailchimp logoThe internet provides a plethora of communications options. Along with e-mail, there’s an ever-expanding array of social media channels that businesses can use to keep in touch with both new and established customers. It can be a real challenge for most businesses (especially the smaller ones) to keep up with. Mailing list and marketing services provider MailChimp recently announced it will be providing automation tools to help users manage their marketing communications:

Automation helps you communicate with your customers exactly how you would, but eliminates the need to create and send every message manually. Think of it as an extra set of hands that help you operate—and grow—your business each day.

And:

Whether you operate an online store, head a nonprofit, or run a creative side project, automation makes it easy to send the right message to the right people at exactly the right time, giving you a competitive edge without burning a hole in your budget.

Our collection of preset automations gives you the power to choose the right workflow for your business, customize its settings, and start sending in just a few clicks. Greet your new subscribers with a welcome message, educate readers about a specific topic, follow up after a purchase, increase brand awareness, and more.

MailChimp is making its new automation tools available to all customers for no extra charge. The company has created a getting-started guide to help users learn about everything this service has to offer.