Category Archives: Information

Post Truth



As the events of 2016 unfolded with the subsequent impacts on 2017, I’ve been thinking about the phenomena that has been dubbed as “post truth” and the sacrifice of critical thinking in return for likes and retweets. Those thoughts have taken me back to my school days and an enlightened English Literature teacher who encouraged us to challenge and critique the information presented to us.

As a naive schoolchild, one imagined that newspapers, magazines and television spoke “the truth”. It was a revelation that this was not the case but simply comparing the same news story in two national newspapers, say, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, it became evident the political tendencies of each broadsheet became written into the narrative, and there was no such thing as objective truth.

And I will never forget the propaganda of news reporting during times of conflict. Our military are “heroes” or “liberators” whereas the other side are “jack-booted stormtroopers” and “thugs”. We launch “pre-emptive strikes”, they have “cowardly sneak attacks”. Once you know about it, you’ll see it in much war reporting, particularly if the news organisation is from a country involved in the conflict.

But of even greater value is not to ask, “Is this true or false?” but “Why do they want me to know this?” Substitute in the government, organisation or web site of your choice, and this question will serve you well.


Quarter of Card Payments Contactless in UK



Fresh figures from the UK Cards Association shows that a quarter of card payments are now contactless in the UK. With 325 million purchases made using contactless debit and credit cards in November 2016, this accounted for 25% of all card payments.

Contactless payments are growing rapidly in popularity as it was only in August 2016 that the 20% barrier was broken. It’s impressive growth and no doubt helped by the 102 million credit and debit cards in the country. For comparison the contactless payment rate was 11% in November 2015, more than doubling in a year.

Interestingly, the average payment was GB£8.95, which reflects the convenient use for low cost items. The maximum for contactless payment is GB£30. Anything above that requires a PIN.

On a personal note, two out of my three regularly used credit/debit cards are now enabled for contactless payment and it is convenient, though I have to admit that I never saw putting in a PIN as very onerous or time consuming; it takes longer for the receipt to come out….now that would be a service improvement – imagine you could tie your email address to your card and that instead of printing a receipt, it was emailed directly to you. Genius!.

The UK Cards Association is the trade body for the card payments industry in the UK. The full press release is here. Safe PIN Entry image courtesy of UK Cards Association.


It’s Decluttering Time!



After the excess of Christmas, guilt often brings us round to New Year’s resolutions. It goes without saying that I’m going to lose weight and become fitter (I’ve a new Fitbit Blaze to help); spend more time with my family and friends; and not be late for events or appointments. All laudable goals.

In addition to these stalwarts of January, I’m going to commit to de-cluttering my life as much as possible. I’m not aiming for full out austerity but if there’s something that I’m never likely to use again it’s going. Boxes, bags, clothes, toys, tech, whatever. If it’s taking space without giving value, it’s time for it to find a new home outside of mine.

I have crates of old tech for that possible future when I resurrect a couple of 90s-era PCs to play Star Wars: X-Wing v Tie Fighter in head-to-head mode. Serial cables, gender changes, 10base2 network cards, floppy drives. Seriously, it’s never going to happen. Time to dump the lot and stop hoarding.

In addition to the physical, my digital life needs a good tidy too. My inbox is full of adverts and promotions from shops and stores trying to sell me more stuff which I don’t need. I’ve had enough. Instead of wasting twenty minutes of the day deleting unwanted emails, I’m ruthlessly unsubscribing and unless I’m actually going to read the email, it’s gone.

Social media…..what a time sink! For starters, all notifications are going. If I log on (at a time of my choosing) and see new pictures, great. Otherwise, I don’t want an email, alert or other distraction imploring me to DO IT NOW. Whatever it is, it can wait. Sorry Google+, Ello and Pinterest, but I’m slimming down on my social exposure and you’re out of here.

Finally, having a OnePlus 2 with 64GB means that in well over a year of use, I’ve never had to worry about running out of memory or storage. The downside is that my smartphone is full of apps and media, many of which never get any screen time. Some apps haven’t been used in months, so it’s time to uninstall those and reclaim the launcher space.

It’s a digital declutter! What are you going to do differently this year?


GNC #1167 Autopilot Good or Bad?



What am I doing talking about airplanes Autopilot, well listen in and see. Just a few more shows before I head to Vegas for CES. I give you an update tonight on how it’s going.

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Pro-Vision Trademark of Bodycam Demand Letter



On Friday of last week, I received a certified letter in the mail from the law firm of Price Heneveld LLP representing Pro Vision Inc. on the use of the word Bodycam which Pro-Vision holds a registered trademark in reference to a single article on Geek News Central from 2015 which covered the introduction of the PMD-901V by Marantz which they had a issue with me refering to the product as a Body Cam.

This is the first time I have received a demand letter over using someones trademark in an review article and asked that it be changed. It is obvious that Pro-Vision Inc. is doing their best to suppress and minimize companies like Marantz who have a competing camera product from being found in Google by going after sites like mine and demanding we change the editorial content.

Personally I am of the opinion that Pro-Vision should have never been given that mark, and am actually surprised that the Trademark office actually approved their Trademark back in 2014 as the use of the word Bodycam has been used by the media for a very long time.  Sending demand letters to sites like mine must keep their law firm busy, and able to submit a lot of billable hours. Good on Price Heneveld LLP for securing this legal representation.

I fully understand a companies right to protect their Trademark, it just surprised me that they would be so aggressive. I checked on the Marantz Site, and they must have also received the same letter some time ago as they now refer to their product as a wearable camera. For those interested I have scanned and linked the legal firms demand letter of my Marantz PMD-901V story.

Demand Letter from Pro-Vision Inc Legal Firm over Trademark of BodyCam

 


BEDDI – Intelligent Alarm Clock



beddiFor the past couple of weeks I have been sleeping with my first new alarm clock in 30 years (not kidding), and the experience has been refreshing. The folks over at wittidesign sent over their BEDDI – Intelligent Alarm Clock for me to review.

This is not your normal alarm clock this is one of the first Intelligent Alarm Clock’s that integrates with your mobile phone to give you a refreshing daily awakening or go to sleep experience.

Here is a short list of the features. Spotify Integration wakes you up to music, and for those of you that rise before the sun comes up like I do, a soft wake up light with multi-color mood lights for evenings. Has a two USB charging ports to hold and charge your cell phone with an extra USB port to charge another devices. If you have an Amazon Dot like I do  in the bedroom you can even us the BEDDI as an external speaker for your DOT..beddi2

Worried about traffic or weather for your morning commute get an immediate update with programmable touch smart buttons. All programmable with their multi-function APP that syncs everything together. Ready for work and need a Uber you Beddi simplifies your ride request as well.

More than an alarm clock whether it be white noise at night to help you get to sleep, or some FM drive talk in the morning your BEDDI can step in and be the perfect Intelligent Alarm Clock to get you going in the morning or put you to sleep at night..

Oh and yes of course wake you up in the morning.  My 30 year old school Seiko alarm clock has finally been replaced by a modern looking device that fits in with today’s decor.

Priced at $99.00 this is the perfect gift for the couple that needs an alarm clock upgrade.

beddi3


TIME’s 100 Most Influential Images



Time 100 PhotosAs it’s still early Advent, it’s not quite that period between Christmas and New Year where “The Best of 2016” features grace the front page of every media outlet. Still, that hasn’t stopped TIME announcing its 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. Fortunately, TIME has done a much better job than most and this feature explores the background and impact of iconic photographs, from “The View from the Window at Le Gras” by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce to “Alan Kurdi” by Nilüfer Demir. These are the images which define the human experience for nearly two centuries; too many of the pictures show suffering and pain, but others will reassure and confirm the amazing achievements selflessly done for the benefit all.

Pillars of Creation

Pillars of Creation” by NASA / ESA / STScI / Arizona State University

Take some time to review the pictures, dig into their history and understand how that captured moment changed the world and perhaps directly affected you.


Choetech 50W 6-Port Desktop USB Charger Review



Choetech LogoIt’s a real first world problem – finding enough USB charging points to keep your gadgets powered up, especially for families with multiple phones and tablets. Fortunately there’s a solution in Choetech’s 6-port USB-A desktop charger which combines two QC 3 ports and four smart ports that will deliver up to 2.4 A for charging thirsty smart phones and tablets. Let’s take a look.

Choetech 50W 6 port charger

This is the Q3-4U2Q model and the packaging follows the standard Choetech style of branded outer sleeve with plain cardboard inner box. Inside the carton, there’s the 6-port charger, desktop stand, USB-A to USB-C cable, power cable, instructions and help sheet. The instructions are largely superfluous other than to confirm the charging voltages and currents for the USB ports.

Choetech 50W 6 port chargerTo be clear, the Q3-4U2Q is only a USB charger: it’s not a USB hub and won’t connect a mouse and keyboard to a PC. There are two Quick Charge 3.0 ports for devices that support the QC standard and will deliver the higher voltages required.The other four smart ports will charge up to 2.4 A at 5 V and the charger will deliver 50 W across all six ports. The tongue inside the QC ports is helpfully coloured blue and an LED lights up to show that the charger is powered on.

Physically, the charger is about the size of a fat pack of playing cards – it’s roughly 9 cm x 7 cm x 3 cm. The charger is covered in a soft rubber coating except for the back panel and a small area at the rear. There’s a figure 8 two pin power socket on the back. The Q3-4U2Q fits snugly into the desktop stand which does make it look much neater than if it was simply lying on the desk.

Choetech 50W 6 port chargerIn use, the Choetech charger performed as expected – devices seemed to charge at their maximum rate, whether that was 1 A, 2 A or QC, and was able to provide power to all the connected tablets and smartphones regardless. For transparency, I wasn’t able to test this with a QC 3 device but it worked fine with a Galaxy S6 (QC 2). At one point I had a OnePlus 2, two Nexus 9s, a Motorola Xoom 2, a Chromecast and a USB battery pack all running off the charger. It got a little warm at full pelt, but certainly wouldn’t describe it as hot.

Overall, the Choetech Q3-4U2Q is a competent six port charger with QC 3 support. While I liked design and feel of the charger, there’s no single feature to mark it out from the many competitors. QuickCharge support is good for the latest phones, the stand is handy for a desktop charger and it seemed well enough made, so it’s definitely worth considering. If interested, the Choetech Q3-4U2Q is currently for sale on Amazon for GB£20.99.

Thanks to Choetech for supplying the Q3-4U2Q for review.

 


International Podcast Day – September 30th



This coming Friday Sept 30th is International Podcast Day. Todd and the Blubrry team will be participating during the event catch them on Friday for their sessions.

  • 10am PST- Blubrry – From Branding To Promotion
  • 8pm PST – Todd Cochrane – Podcast Audience Engagement and Metrics that Matter
  • 11pm PST Todd Cochrane – Closing Hour with Steve Lee found of International Podcast Day

There will be a host of other luminaries during the 30 hours of coverage that kicks off on Thursday! The live event will happen on Firetalk so join us.