Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Payleven Mobile Payments at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 4:39 PM on April 27, 2014

Payleven Chip and PINOne of the common problems facing start-ups and small businesses are the costs associated with taking credit card payments. The transaction costs can be high for small turnovers and point-of-sale machines are expensive with a monthly rental fee. To counter this problem, Payleven offers a low-cost mobile payment solution for European businesses using a Chip’n’PIN card reader that uses Bluetooth to communicate with both Apple, Android and Amazon smartphones and tablets. The Chip’n’PIN unit costs only GB£60 (ex-VAT) with a transaction charge of 2.75%. Payleven have partnered with GoTab to offer a complete solution for around £250 including a tablet and the card reader.

The approach is similar to US-based Square, but as Chip’n’PIN is only beginning to be required across the pond, Square’s reader unit is a simpler card-swipe device that plugs straight into the smartphone. Having a full Chip’n’PIN card reader in Europe is a necessity but the independent unit makes the transaction look much more professional anyway.

Simon from Payleven tells me about their solution and takes me through some of the features.

Posting a Negative Review Could Harm You

Posted by JenThorpe at 7:05 PM on December 9, 2013

b1keyboard02What happens when you receive bad customer service? For many people, the answer to that question is that they go online and post a negative review of the company that treated them badly. It turns out that, in at least some cases, doing so can result in harm to the person who posted the negative review.

KUTV.com and CNN both have written about a situation where a woman was fined by a company that she wrote a negative review about. One might consider it a cautionary tale about what can happen if you don’t read the fine print (or if you end up dealing with a less than honest company).

John Palmer bought his wife a Christmas gift from a particular website. The gift never arrived. The company sent the money back to John Palmer’s Paypal account. His wife, Jen Palmer, wrote a negative review of the company on Ripoffreport.com.

Three years later, the company sent an email to the couple that stated that they would be fined $3,500 if their negative review was not taken down within 72 hours. Long story short, the Palmers could not simply take down the review themselves (because it wasn’t posted on a website that they owned or had control of).

The couple refused to pay the fine. The company sent it to collections agents. The Palmer’s have now had their credit score damaged as a result of the situation. There may or may not be legal battles regarding what happened, but I will not speculate about that.

This holiday season, make sure you take a close look at the fine print before you make an online purchase. Some companies are including a “non-disparagement clause” in customer agreements. It is this clause that is being used by some companies to silence negative reviews.

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Ring for Service with Wirelesswaiting

Posted by Andrew at 5:31 PM on January 5, 2012

WirelessWaiting LogoIn my experience of eating out, it’s all too frequent for the waiting staff to disappear once the main course has been cleared away. By the time a waiter or waitress does eventually re-appear, any desire for dessert or coffee has gone and all I want is the bill. Not only has my evening been spoilt, the restaurant has lost money that I might otherwise have spent with them.

Wireless Call ButtonRecently, I was dining at Olio in Belfast and this restaurant seems to have found a solution to the problem with Wirelesswaiting. On each table, there was a small call button to alert staff that attention was required and I found the system worked well. Perhaps the best example was when ordering. Rather than the staff checking to see if we were ready to order and having to go away when we weren’t, once everyone was ready, we pressed the button and a waiter appeared within seconds. Also, when we needed some more drinks, again a quick press of the button and the waiter was back.

I contacted Wirelesswaiting for more information on the product and I was surprised at how inexpensive it really was. A 32-button receiver is £500 ($775) and each wireless button itself is £40 ($60). Obviously installation is straightforward, with only a power socket required for the receiver, as the wireless call buttons are battery powered. From their experience, customer spend typically increases by around 10% and Wirelesswaiting points out that this additional spend is usually on high margin items such as drinks, teas-and-coffees and desserts.

Obviously, this isn’t a perfect panacea as inattentive staff will always be inattentive staff and I suspect that I would be an even more annoyed customer if when I pressed the bell, no-one appeared. Overall though, it seemed to be a good idea that improved the dining experience. Apparently these systems are commonplace in Asia but this was the first time I’d seen the system in the UK so it will be interesting to see if it appears in more restaurants and diners. I can also imagine applications in other service areas, such spas, clubhouses, nursing homes and hospitals.

Video’s Streaming Future

Posted by tomwiles at 9:34 PM on November 10, 2011

Many people are likely familiar with the radio/television on-air personality Glenn Beck. His television career included both CNN and the Fox News Channel. On Fox News, Glenn Beck had the most-watched nightly show of any of the cable TV news networks.

Recently, Glenn Beck left Fox News to form his own online streaming television network, GBTV, available at http://www.gbtv.com.

About a month ago, after viewing a few of the free Glenn Beck highlight clips from his two-hour nightly streaming television show, I took the plunge and subscribed.

I am very impressed with the production quality. GBTV, LLC currently has 120 employees. This is a genuine, highly-professional high definition television network that has a spectacular set and world-class production facilities that is just as good if not better than anything that Fox, CNN, etc. are capable of doing. Like any genuine television network, live streaming shows start and end right on time and incorporate a number of regular breaks. GBTV is creating genuine television programming that is broadcast directly to the Internet as opposed to satellite or cable distribution. As such, it removes the filter between the content creators and the end viewers, yet high broadcast standard production values are maintained throughout which lends what GBTV is doing an aura of genuine excitement. Real multi-camera live HD broadcasts can be sent directly to subscribers, thus eliminating the cable/satellite middleman.

There are a variety of subscription plans, including monthly and yearly plans. One can subscribe for $4.95 per month, or $49.95 per year. I subscribed to “GBTV Plus” for $99.95 per year, which includes the 6 camera HD shoot of the daily Glenn Beck Radio Show along with other streaming television programs that are coming onto the streaming service. GBTV is in the process of becoming a full-fledged streaming television network that has ultra high production values along with impressive content. Subscription plans include a 14-day free trial.

GBTV currently can of course be viewed on a computer. Other devices include the Roku, as well as iPad and iPod/iPhone apps. All programs remain available for streaming any time for a period of 30 days before dropping off.

I cut the satellite cord more than a year ago, because I felt I wasn’t getting $100 dollars per month worth of value out of my satellite programming. I am more than willing to pay for good content, but I want it on my terms, on a variety of devices, and on my schedule. GBTV offers a tantalizing glimpse at the future of high production value TV content.

BlogWorld and “New Media Expo”?

Posted by geeknews at 9:18 PM on October 4, 2011

My company will be exhibiting at BlogWorld and News Media Expo. As I sit here tonight, after reviewing the conference sessions I see that there are 22 separate tracks that have about 10 session each in them.

Only 2 tracks “Digital Broadcasting” and “The Business of Blogging and Podcasting” have any semblance to New media.

Looking over the 2 tracks I see no sessions in “The Business of Blogging and Podcasting” that has anything to do with Podcasting or New Media, they should rename that one to “The Business of Blogging”

The Digital Broadcasting track is made up of “one” Streaming Media Session (good) , Two or Three YouTube tracks, some video tutorial tracks but no tracks to really do with Podcasting and or New Media that the majority of content creators can use.

I would expect that this conference would have had a significant number of new media tracks to attract new media creators. We are but a month away from the show, and I am not sure how to get New Media folks to the show. Time is tight and with nothing on the agenda for New Media folks it has me worried.  With nearly 20 focused blogging tracks, to only have 2 so called new media tracks makes me shake my head.

My company represents over 9,500 “New Media” creators who we want to go to this conference, but how do I sell it to them? Their are only two tracks that slightly appear to support New Media. The conference is called BlogWorld and New Media Expo.  Where is the Beef aka New Media?

While Podcamp LA is being held on the convention floor during afternoons of the conference, they have not published an agenda yet?  So I really have no way of promoting this to our New Media creators. If Podcamp LA is like most of the recent Podcamps it will be focused on Social Media and not New Media time will tell how this turns out but they better get their schedule published in the next couple of days or my head is going to explode.

There are over 50,000 active podcast/new media creators today, and the conference of the year that would be best suited to attract them to the show has essentially made it not worthwhile to attend.

I just hope we have enough New Media creators at the event to talk with and do business with.

TP-Link AV200 Powerline Adapter

Posted by geeknews at 3:28 PM on May 30, 2011

I have been testing a TP-Link AV200 Powerline Adapter now for the past 2 weeks. I have had experience with Powerline adapters from other companies in the past and for this test I really wanted to see how effective it would be when I re-located my kids Xbox to the Garage.

The distance from the Wireless router to where the Xbox is setup in the Garage is about 40 feet. The signal strength was not sufficient for some reason there to make the Xbox Live experience a good one. My son kept telling me he was getting killed in the games due to the lag on the connection. So I plugged in one powerline adapter in the Garage to regular wall jack and the other one in my office to a power strip (not recommended) a connected the lan cables up to the router and the Xbox.

Immediately the Xbox connected and my son was a happy camper. Knowing that you usually should not hook up a Powerline device to a power strip, I wanted to see what the speed difference was. Hooking up a laptop I did some speed test hooked up to wall connections on both devices and then with one hooked up to a power strip. The results were no different so I did not feel bad leaving the router side hooked to a powerstrip.

With limited powerplugs in the room my router was in this worked out well. Overall great speed through these TP-Link Powerline devices they are rated at 200mps for data transfer, can go as far as 300 meters. have 128bit encryption and are even green and save up to 65% power in their ability to power down when not in use. Great for wiring up set top boxes and taking the internet in your home where it currently is not available.

Here is the best part, unlike their competitors the price on these start at around $75.00 on most retail outlets compared to other companies PowerLine product pricing this is a great deal!

 

D-Link Wireless Day/Night Home Network Camera

Posted by geeknews at 3:04 PM on May 30, 2011

I have been using a D-Link Wireless day and night home network camera DSC-932L for the past month or so. This is a great camera when you want to keep an eye on the house, talk with kids, let grandma login and chat with just a web browser.

I set my camera up in my studio and used it quit a bit when I was on travel. My wife was having trouble with her iPad and I could not understand what she was talking about so I told her to go to the office and hold the iPad up in front of the camera. I logged into the D-Link website “mylink” and saw what she was talking about and walked her through the issue. But where I think this camera could really be worth it’s weight in gold is you can have one of these in a living room, or baby bedroom and you can monitor the baby sitter or just monitor the baby in bed.

I was able to access the camera via my iPhone/iPad and they also have a Android app as well. If your in front of your computer you can get to it via your private security enabled login.

Setting the camera up took about 10 minutes and it is connected via wifi to my wireless router. The camera as a night mode as well. I will say the night mode of the camera is not as good as the night mode on my home security systems.  You can find this camera at all the major retail outlets as well as online from $99,00 to $139.00 the model number is DCS-932L.

So if your looking to get a camera that you can access via the web, iPhone, iPad, Android powered with D-Link mydlink service I think you will be pleased with this camera.

Digital Innovations Digital Maintenance and Repair Kits

Posted by geeknews at 2:49 PM on May 30, 2011

Several weeks ago the review team here at Geek News Central received a package of goods from Digital Innovations that can be best described as a Digital Repair kit. We received the SkipDr for DVD and CD Repair, SkipDr for Blu-Ray 3 Disk Repair, ScreenDr electronic Screen cleaning System and two Laser lens cleaners one for Blu-Raw and one for DVD. Our policy here at GNC is to actually use the products in real world conditions.

Test and Review of SkipDr Disk Repair – We received a couple of DVD’s from Netflix and when we played one of them, it was skipping really bad. I did the typical wipe the disk off trick that most of us probably do but it really did not help the skipping. I unpacked the SkipDR Disk Repair cleaner and cleaned the DVD with the cleaner and was pretty impressed the disk going in looked pretty bad and coming out it looked a 100% better. In fact it looked like I had just unpacked it from the store.

I took the same opportunity to run the lens cleaner on the DVD player as well. When I stuck the disk back in, and played it there was no skipping any longer on the chapter in question, and my wife said that the picture actually looked better. While my eyes could not discern that big of a change I know that the DVD player has never had a cleaning disk installed. Since that first test we have had several other DVD’s arrive from Netflix that have had some skipping issues and we have cleaned each of those with the SkipDr and had fantastic results.

I have been a bit of a doubting thomas over the years with these types of gadgets. But I am pretty convinced that the folks from Digital Innovations have hit the nail on the head with this one. We were in Best Buy yesterday and saw there products spread throug the store and I asked a salesman if the units work, knowing full well that they did and he mentioned that he had one himself and that they have been pretty popular. So next time your in Best Buy grab a SkipDR from Digital Innovations.

Living in Hawaii we have this horrendous Red Dirt problem, while the weather is always beautiful the Red Dirt dust gets everywhere including computer screens. I gave the ScreenDR a run for it’s money on my computer sreens and was really impressed. The innovative packaging comes with a micro fiber cloth in the cap which drapes over the spraying mechanism. This gurantees the cloth will stay with the cleaning solution. You simply spray the cloth and wipe the screens. It works great on iPad and iPhone screens as well and appears to me to help prevent smudges from building up so quickly.

Overall I am very impressed with their entire cleaning and repair product line. The CD/DVD/Blu-Ray cleaners and repair kits start at $39.95 with replacement kits when the cleaning element needs to be replaced at about $13.00 the ScreenDr product comes in a variety of sizes with the largest retailing at $20.00. To check out their full line of products visit the Digital Innovations web site to see their full line of products and services.

The only suggestion I have is that they package a small carrying bag / case for the SkipDr so that you can keep the cleaning fluid , cloths and cleaners together this would make sure that the kit would be kept together as in the ScreenDR

Global Caché Controlling Your World

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 1:02 PM on February 14, 2011

Andy McCasky spoke to Josh of Global Caché.  Global Caché creates modules that connect to the local network. They can send an IR blast , RS 232 signals or close contacts to control devices. They allow you to control electronic products from a smartphone, tablet devices or laptop.

Global Caché  uses an open architecture and an open API so developers can easily design applications that work with it. They have already partner with several companies who make the applications that can be installed on a smartphone, tablet or computer that use the Global Caché.  Josh showed some smaller single purpose units that run around $170.00 for wireless devices and $100 for wired. They also offer rack mount multifunction units that start around $400.00. They have a line of sensors that sense voltage, video, contact closure and give you feed back. The units have a discovery beacon, so you can just plug it into the network and it will show up. You do need to know computers and how a network works to install it correctly. Because of this Global Caché works mostly with professional installers, one of their biggest projects so far was when they were installed in the Miami Dolphin Stadium.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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Do not Sell your site to the Text Link Farmers!

Posted by geeknews at 12:08 PM on February 14, 2011

Every single day, I get at least 2-3 emails from companies looking to buy text links on Geek News Central.  To date non of them have come from what I would term a valid vendor, most of them are poker sites, or some site looking to boost their page search rank. It has become so common that I send the following email in response.

“I understand your desire to purchase as you describe them targeted text links on this highly valuable website, and because you have taken the time to email me, I would like to inform you of our rates for text links. The cost is $10,000 a month, per link, with a 12 month minimum run payable in advance. All links will have the nofollow tag plus will be put in an area of the website that clearly indicates a sponsored link. Here is my paypal address to make payment”

This is usually enough to get them to go away, but some are persistent and will come back with a counter offer of $100-$500 for a 90 day run.  I ignore these responses do they really think I’m stupid.  What’s sad is that I am sure a lot of sites would sell them text links for that kind of money.

Google has specific policies for link schemes and a site risk being de-listed from the Google search engine for participating in those types of activities. Now I am not sure how I would react if someone actually took me up and deposited the money in my paypal account but at what point will link farm agents start advertising legitimately instead of wasting time trying to get me to risk all the work I have put into this website.

With the news this weekend of JC Penny getting busted doing this, it does not surprise me that 3000+ website owners sold their soul for a few bucks to help JC Penny have a banner sales season during the holidays.

So while the lure of money is great, don’t sell you soul to the text link farmers.