Gadget Man – Episode 121 – Too Much Smartphone Part III

As we enter the final year of the second decade of the 21st century, the smartphone will surely be considered the most revolutionary gadget of the last 10 years.

Our phones are now firmly ingrained in our lives, joining us at home, at work, at play, at the dinner table, in bed, they come with us everywhere! Our lives are documented in detail, where we go, what we do, what we think and what we eat. We’ve now become news gatherers, critics and voyeurs all without realising it was happening in front of us.

Too Much Smartphone III
Too Much Smartphone III

The use of mobile phones stretches to every age group, from the elderly to the very young and with this comes concern as to the use of these devices. Should young people be allowed to use their phones at any time of the day OR night? Does it reduce conversation? Are we become LESS social?

I have now covered this subject twice in the past, you can read a listen in here and here, however now reports are informing us that phones DON’T cause our children harm, listen in to the podcast, where I talk to Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk about this latest contentious report.

As ever, if you enjoy listening in, Like, Share, Subscribe and Comment, I will see you soon!

Matt Porter
Gadget Man

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 120 – The Resurgence of the Cassette

As the new year dawns, we again look back, but this time it’s more than 30 years to yet another audio format resurgence. Now that Vinyl has once again become freely available to the masses after being all but condemned by CD’s, MP3’s and then streaming music, another format becomes the trend of choice. Yes, we are now being encouraged to revisit the Cassette Tape! Another Hipster trend or is there more to it?


HEAD’S UP!! You can listen in to me talking on BBC Radio Suffolk with Mark Murphy about my memories of cassette tapes, don’t forget to Like, Share, Subscribe or Listen directly.


For me, it’s difficult to understand how revisiting this format has any real appeal. The audio quality was mediocre, to say the least. Unless of course, you could afford $2,500  ($5000 in today’s money) for a Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Deck which in 1991 was widely considered to provide the best audio reproduction available.

Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Deck
Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Deck

For those of us unfortunate enough to be devoid of 5000 bucks, we instead looked at more portable alternatives, either in the shape of your unfriendly neighbourhood ‘Ghetto Blaster’ or the even smaller ‘Sony Walkman’. Whilst our aspirations for these two devices may have been the popular ‘break dancing’ movies of the era, we would have to face up to lesser versions of both.

Ghetto-Blaster or Boom-Box
Ghetto-Blaster or Boom-Box

The giant Ghetto-Blasters we dreamed of with 20 D-Size batteries, would, in fact, end up with less bulky and much less ‘blasting’ boom-boxes.

Sony Walkman Professional
Sony Walkman Professional

The incredibly sleek Sony Walkman’s would also be too expensive and thus instead we ‘made-do’ with cheaper and much poorer alternatives featuring tinny headphones and literally all DSP (digital signal processing) technology removed to either keep down costs or avoid licensing fees being paid by the manufacturers.

Tape Cassettes did launch the car and personal stereo experiences,  which went on to launch the digital experience that we all enjoy today. So just for this alone, we should be thankful. It does not, however, mean that cassette tapes sound any better than anything else that is currently available. We now don’t need to arduously fast-forward or rewind to our favourite tracks and we most certainly do not have to spend hours fiddling around with pencils to re-tension cassettes, it’s now so much easier. So maybe they should stay consigned to charity shops and eBay.

Matt

The Gadget Man – Episode 119 – Technology to look out for in 2019

Another year passes and as we move into 2019 we can look forward to another year of unstoppable advances in technology.

If I was able to predict upcoming tech, I’m happy to suggest that my number one for 2019 will be the folding mobile phone with potential devices from LG and Samsung already breaking cover in various forms.

Both companies have already demonstrated their flexible display technologies and with the Mobile World Congress in February coming up soon, we should expect demonstrations of foldable, rollable or bendable screen tech from these companies.

Artificial intelligence is sure to continue its unstoppable march towards self-awareness (I jest!!), but all the same, we should be seeing multi AI ‘bots’ training directly with each other very soon! Who could forget the Facebook AI bots which invented their own communication language shortly after being switched on! More of this in inevitable, hopefully with the necessary safeguards in place.

The big 3 tech companies continue to advance home-based smart technology with integration into every part of our lives, add to this more AI and who knows what we should expect from the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple.

Holograms are a little way off, but augmented reality is making leaps and bounds with more advanced filters on spectacles providing with illusionary-holographic images a reality soon.

Phone batteries continue to provide us with more and more screen time and further advances in battery and charge technology will give us even more excuse to distract ourselves on a daily basis.

This year we look forward to the beginnings of the 5G roll-outs, giving us impossibly fast download speeds, but also extending decent internet speeds to rural areas of the UK.

Ultimately, we are not about to be overrun by killer robots and 2019 will be bringing some pretty astounding new technology, strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride.

I talked on air with James Hazell from BBC Radio Suffolk about my predictions for the coming year. Have a listen and don’t forget to  Like, Subscribe, Share and Comment and I will see you very soon.

Matt

 

The Importance of Software for Your Small Business

When you run a small business, chances are that you thought up an innovative product idea and were certain that it would sell to the consumer market. You’ll have invested a whole lot of hard work, time, effort, and money into developing these products, conducting market research to determine price points and potential improvements, curating advertising and marketing campaigns, and either setting up a brick and mortar store or creating an online Ecommerce store. This is a whole lot to do! But once it’s all complete, your professional journey isn’t over. You don’t just get to sit back and relax while you see the profits roll in. Believe it or not, you’re going to end up spending a whole lot of time familiarising you with things that you would never have initially connected with your business. Things that you wouldn’t have had a clue you’d eventually need to learn about. Software is one of these things. Without software, chances are that your business would never have made it off the ground. So, it’s importance that you understand different types of software that could prove beneficial to your business’ success and progression! Here are a few software related pieces of information that could really benefit you and your business in the long run!

Standard Software

There’s plenty of generalised software out there that you can use. It will help you to complete a whole host of day to day professional tasks. Some will automatically be installed on your devices when you have them. Some will need to be purchased. Sometimes you will receive a disk, but more often than not nowadays, you will have some sort of product key like a windows 10 product key or you will have to log in to some sort of subscription service. Make sure to check whether there is a free trial available before purchasing any particular software. There often is and it’s worth checking that the software meets your needs before investing any money in it.

Custom Software

Now, standard, widely available software can be extremely useful. But as your business grows and expands, chances are that you’re going to need something a little more specialist. This will help to iron out complications in your current process and can help you and any employees that you may have to complete work faster, more accurately, and more efficiently. Now, custom software can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a programme that can be incorporated into your manufacturing process to mass produce particular items. It can be software that helps you to manage and maintain your mailing lists, sending out regular correspondence. It can be software that monitors your employees checking in and out to determine whether people are on time or not. Whatever it may be that you want, you should get in touch with custom software developers. They will be able to bring your dreams to reality! Sure, this may come at a higher cost that standardised software, but it’s generally more than worth it!

Software Updates

Whatever software you do decide to use, make sure that you run regular software updates. Sure, it can be tempted to click “ignore” or “remind me in an hour” when you are prompted to update your software. But make time for it. Software updates have various benefits. They generally offer you better software that has been improved, is easier to use, is more aesthetically pleasing, or is more functional. Next, software updates make you less prone to being hacked by cyber criminals. The longer a particular piece of software has been running, the longer people have had to figure it out and try to break into it. If you have the latest version, fewer people are going to be able to tap into it.

Hopefully, the above information has helped to familiarise you with some of the different types of software available to you and how to best maintain it once you have invested in it! Sure, this may seem like a relatively new area, or an area that you don’t need to fuss about, but it does play a massive role in your business’ ability to function. So don’t underestimate its importance!

Staying on Top of Tech: Is The Newest Really Worth it?

Those of us who love new tech gadgets will, undoubtedly, feel a bit gutted when we see the price of the latest releases. Sure, someone will always be able to afford it and can flaunt their newest gadgets around while the rest of us watch in envy – but is it really any point in always buying the latest?

Image by: Pexels

Here is a quick guide to those who would love to pre-order every new smartphone each year but who, sadly, will need to wait for the price to drop a bit. It just makes it a bit easier to stay on top of the latest tech even if you can’t afford it – and it may even take those expensive gadgets off your mind for a bit.

It won’t make you rich overnight, that’s for sure, but at least you’ll be able to enjoy the tech you already have and perhaps even afford the newest ones if you know where to look.

First: You’ll often get what you pay for

When it comes to technology, the newest does tend to be better than the gadgets we were playing with a year or two ago. The world is constantly evolving, after all, and we will be able to enjoy more powerful software and slicker-looking hardware; the difference may not always be that huge but it should be an improvement with each passing year unless we’ve started to go backwards again.

This doesn’t mean that an upgrade to the absolute latest is always worth the money, though. If you have been using an iPhone X, for example, and can’t stop thinking about the iPhone XS, you might want to hold on for a while before buying it as the difference isn’t really that big – going from an iPhone 7 to an iPhone XS, on the other hand, will definitely be noticeable.

Consider the technology you already have and whether or not it’s actually as outdated as you think it is before you head out to buy something that’s still slightly overpriced.

Next: Look for better deals

Those who enjoy saving money and would like to have a bit more of it to spend on other tech gadgets know that good deals can be hard to come by. Some of them may even just be incorporated in your phone deal and you can’t really take advantage of it unless you already have it – while others are hidden around the web instead.

Start by having a look at this, to begin with, and consider if a later version of a refurbished phone is right for you rather than paying half a paycheck on a brand new smartphone. This might not be for everyone but it can definitely help you to get the latest tech if you really want it.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to keep in mind that some technology can be bought a bit cheaper without compromising its quality. While smartphones are not one of them, you may be able to get a high-quality Bluetooth speaker without pawning your most valuable belongings first.

When it comes to excellent tech gadgets, waiting for the price to drop is definitely the best way to go if you’d like to save money. Prioritise what you need to have right away and what you can wait for, in other words, and you might be able to avoid the temptation of every new deal out there.

How To Really Improve Your Gaming Experience

If you consider yourself something of a gamer, chances are you are always on the lookout for new ways to improve your gaming experience. As it happens, there are always going to be such methods available, and that is something that is worth bearing in mind if you hope to ensure that you are going to enjoy it as much as possible. Obviously having the latest games and consoles is hugely important here, but so too are many myriad and peripheral things which you might want to look into as well. As long as you are taking care of some of the following, you should find that you can dramatically improve your gaming experience in no time, and that could mean that you are able to enjoy it a whole lot more too. Let’s take a look and see what you can do to massively improve your gaming experience today.

 

Get A Better Chair

If you find that you are not quite as comfortable as you could be, then you might want to think about getting a new chair. The truth is that you need to be a little careful with your choice of chair when you are gaming. You don’t want to go for something that is too solid or hard, as you want it to be as comfortable as possible. But at the same time, it should be something which is actually going to support your back properly, so that you are not going to cause yourself any damage. Believe it or not, having a proper chair can make a huge difference to whether or not you are likely to be taking proper care of your body, and it is both a comfort and a health concern. The best way to solve this is to get a proper gaming chair, which are designed to help you with these issues specifically. Or if you prefer, you could simply go for a computer chair at the very least. However you do it, just make sure that you are going to be able to be as comfortable as possible while you game.

 

Improve The Sound

The sound is a hugely important part of the gaming experience, and the better it is the more likely it is that you will feel truly involved and part of the game. If you have ever had to play on mute, you will know how much it can take away from the experience of any game. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve the sound of your games, and probably the best is to make sure that you are using the best speakers you can buy. If you are at a loss as to what kind of speakers you should go for, in general it’s a good idea to look into some powered PA speakers, as these are much more likely than generic speakers to play the sound well. You will be able to hear the whole range of frequencies this way, rather than just the base few, and that will make to feel a lot more realistic. Also consider surround sound if you are keen on obtaining that realistic feeling too.

Upgrade Your Screen

Clearly, the screen is always going to be a hugely vital part of the gaming experience, and you need to make sure that you are happy with your choice of screen if you want to make your gaming as enjoyable as possible. By upgrading your screen, you can hope to feel much more involved in the game, and to feel more drawn in, and you will be able to sit further away from it with a bigger screen too, which is only going to help your eyes in general. By ensuring that you upgrade your screen as and when you see fit, you can make sure that your gaming experience is truly astounding, so this is definitely something to think about.

 

Play With Others

Finally, it’s worth remembering too that games tend to be much more enjoyable if you are playing them with others, and that the more of a social thing you make of gaming, the more likely it is that you will be able to enjoy it all the more. You can do this online, of course, or preferably you can do it in person, and either way you are going to find that you have a lot more fun than if you are simply playing alone. This is worth bearing in mind, as it is a simple but effective means of making gaming more fun.

2018s Best Gadgets for Gamers

There are far more gadgets now than there was at the beginning of the year, much to many gamers delight.  It can be hard to keep track of all this new technology. PC gamers are generally keeping their software and hardware up to date with the latest versions, but what other gadgets have been introduced in 2018 to make their gaming experience even better?

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950x

This high-end processor will be on the wish list of most gamers. It is known to be the most powerful processor ever made for gamers. It has 16 cores with 32 threads, 40 MB of cache memory with a 4.2GHz superfast clock speed. It also has quad-channel DDR4, which gamers will love.  This is likely to replace Intel processors over the next few years, although great progress is also being made with those as well.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX Graphics Card

This product is about to change gaming. Boosted by the latest NVIDIA Turing GPU and the new and more powerful RTX platform, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics card delivers a performance that is amazing. It combines artificial intelligence with real-time ray tracing and programmable shading. It has been called the king of all graphics cards and is proving to be a gamers dream.

Gunner Sheadog Computer And Gaming Glasses

Playing games for several hours at a time puts a strain on a gamer’s eyes. If the eyes start to become tired and sore, the quality of the gaming experience will diminish.  These gaming glasses are specially designed to reduce the strain and to block out the blue light. As gamers often play for 6 or 7 hours at a time, protection for their eyes is very important.

Razer Mamba Rechargeable Wireless PC Gaming Mouse

A good mouse if vital for gamers, particularly if they are playing action games. This mouse is known to be ones of the best gaming ones available, and gamers can choose to use it wirelessly or wired in. It does support both options. It has mouse sensors of 16000 DPI and also comes with RGB lighting.  It is a very attractive and desirable gadget for most gamers.

Corsair Gaming K95 RGB PLATINUM Mechanical Keyboard

When gamers have tried a mechanical keyboard they do not generally switch back to membrane ones. The keys are more precise, and the Corsair K95 is one of the best on the market. It has Cheery6 MX speed RGB mechanical switches and 6 programmable G keys that will alter the gaming experience. It comes with a brushed aluminium frame, which enhances the better experience it provides for gamers.

More And More New Gadgets

There are many other gadgets available for all types of gaming, whether it is a PC, console or on digital devices. The choice is enormous, and new ones are being unveiled all the time.

These are some of the best gadgets for PC gamers from 2018. There is no doubt that development in technology will continue, and it remains to be seen what new innovations appear in 2019.

Stay Safe Behind The Wheel With These Handy Gadgets

When you are in the driver’s seat, you need to make sure that you and your passengers are as safe as possible at all times. Sure, the best way to ensure this is by driving safely and following all of the various rules of the road. But that will only get you so far. It’s also advisable to invest in some of the top safety gadgets that are currently on the market. These can help to keep you as alert as possible to the environment around you, as well as making you aware of some not-so-obvious risks. Here are some of the best safety gadgets that you might want to consider for your vehicle.

Pixabay

Satnav

Satnav in a car might not seem like a gadget that can keep you safe, but it actually does have that benefit. If you aren’t too sure where you are heading, driving without a satnav can be quite nerve-wracking. Your nerves could easily leave you feeling very anxious. When we feel like this, it can be all too easy to end up making a rash decision when behind the wheel, and these can put us in danger. For instance, you might end up in the wrong lane, and trying to quickly correct that could lead to a collision with another unsuspecting vehicle.

Dash Cam

Have you ever thought about putting a dash cam into your car? Lots of other drivers are, especially employers who need a truck dash cam in each professional vehicle to monitor their fleet and employees’ driving. Your dash cam can monitor a range of data for you, depending on the type you get, but it can also provide evidence in the even that you are involved in a crash. You will be able to replay the footage to see who really was at fault.

Pixabay

Bluetooth Car Kit

We all know that it is incredibly unsafe to use your mobile phone when you are driving. Not only is it unsafe, but it is also highly illegal. Well, there is a way around all this. You just need to install a Bluetooth kit into the car. These kits allow you to connect your phone to your car via the Bluetooth connection. Then you will be able to safely answer your phone completely hands-free. These kits are so popular now that many car manufacturers are adding them to their new cars.

Blind Spot Mirrors

One of the most dangerous things about driving is the blind spot. This is the spot on the road that cannot be seen while looking in the mirrors or straight ahead. If there is a car in your blind spot, you could completely miss it and might drive into it. These days, there is a solution that can completely get rid of this spot – blind spot mirrors! You just attach them onto the wing mirror, and then you can look clearly into your blind spot.

It is highly recommended that you use most of these safety gadgets so that you are never in any danger while driving.

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 118 – Facebook Hacking Scams Explained

Not a day passes without one of our Facebook friends informing us of the hacking attempts, breached accounts or worse. Most of this information is incorrect, but of course, it is good for people to remain vigilant at all times.

I spoke to James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk about Facebook ‘hacks’ and explained the reality that most of these are false.

A great place to check for spam and chain letters is Snopes, they are a great resource and of course spending 5 minutes investigating whether something is true or not, stops false information spreading.

Snopes has made a very informative video explaining this and many other scams, you can read about it here

Don’t forget to subscribe to our Podcast!

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 117 – The benefits of Dashcams

Dashcams have officially become commonplace in society. As more and more drivers use our roads, the chances of accidents increase and being able to accurately document such unfortunate incidents has become more important than ever, especially with the rise in fraudulent claims.

I spoke to Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk about the use of dashcams and also helmet cams for cyclists and my personal recollections of having to use video evidence to report a motorist.

Image Credit: SWNS

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