Half Price Alert! Vodafone V-Multi Tracker, a Multi-Use Lightweight GPS Tracker with Bluetooth and Data Connection

This is a bit of a heads up for those of that are prone to putting things down and forgetting them, those that might be carrying around valuable items and usefully, those who are flying drones and would like to be able to track a fly-away!

Vodafone V-Multi Tracker
Vodafone V-Multi Tracker

The Vodafone V-Multi Trackers keep an eye on your possession using a simple iOS or Android app. I reckon the current price of £22.50 + £2 per month for your data plan is a no-brainer.

The tracker also gives you speed alerts if your things start moving and will notify you through the app on your smartphone.

There’s also an emergency SOS button which can be set up to notify a loved one of the trackers current location.

At just 39mm wide, 12mm high and weighing less than 20g, it can be attached to items using the variety of included accessories, such as USB charging cable, Hard case, Carabiner, Pouch, Clip and built-on V-Sim.

Setup was reasonably painless using Vodafone’s V app and TrackiSafe’s app.

I’ve tested it and can confirm it will send the current location using the built in Vodafone data connection and will use with GPS, WiFi or Cell Tower triangulation to get the coordinates, which it sends back to the app and shows on an interactive map.

You can purchase the Vodafone V-Multi Tracker for £22.50 (until the 31 January 2020) using this link or the link below!

Gadget Man – Video Podcasts, Vlogcasts or just Vlogs from the past 3 weeks

I’ve been very lax in uploading the last three Podcast episodes which feature me chatting to James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk. I will upload these as audio episodes to keep the Podcast in order.

During this time, I have been experimenting by recording the interviews on video and in some cases, adding additional links within the videos.

This is incredibly time-consuming as the audio from James is lost if using the sound from the cameras and is lower quality. Thus in some cases, I have used a mix of both the BBC stream and camera and when I’m recording at home, I can also use a recording from a Blue Snowball Microphone.

For those interested, I’m using a Sony Xperia 1 stabilised by a DJI Osmo 3 Mobile. In the case of the third video, I also recorded the interview on a second static camera using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

The first two videos are 1080p using the Xperia 1 front-facing camera and the third uses both phones rear-facing cameras and thus is rendered in 4k.

I hope the video recording add value to the interviews, I would be very interested to hear your views?

 

How To Be A Part Of The Smartphone Revolution

Each day the average amount of time a person spends on their smartphone increases, and now we have reached a stage in which some young adults spend upwards of 6 hours mindlessly scrolling. Getting involved with this from a business perspective can cause you to gain a considerable amount of profit, as you can join the smartphone revolution with your own unique company concept and become a great hit! Figuring out exactly how you can become a part of the mobile industry doesn’t have to be a difficult task, as there are a few unique ideas that may just be the perfect choice for you. So, if you want to know more about how you can cash in on modern societies smartphone obsession, then read on for some of the greatest pathways that you can take to reach ultimate business bliss in no time at all.

How To Be A Part Of The Smartphone Revolution
Image Source – Pexels

Get Creative With Applications 

One of the best things about smartphones is that you can download and play a seemingly endless amount of different games that can be tailored to suit your own specific likes and dislikes. The App Store contains a wealth of different genres for you to make the most of, whether that means education, socialising or just plain fun and games! If you have some knowledge regarding programming and previous technical experience to base your project on then feel free to dive straight in and code the algorithms yourself, as you will be able to get the most unique application that’s individual to your company. If you struggle with electronics then there’s no need to worry, as you can find bespoke iOS application Development teams that can do all of the hard work for you – simply approach them with your plans and explain your goals for the future so that they can fully understand your requirements. 

Repairing & Refurbishing

Despite the seemingly limitless selection of cases on offer today, so many people end up dropping, smashing or generally breaking their smartphones. It’s common to see a young person sporting a cracked screen, as it would seem that smartphone related built-in obsolescence has one of the shortest life cycles ever. As a result of this, getting into the repair business will ensure that you always have a job to do – people are always going to be clumsy, and smartphones will always be made just well enough for you to experience them in their prime for no longer than a couple of months. Sourcing old smartphones that can be refurbished into working models is also a good route to take, as you can buy parts for a very cheap price and make a full phone that can generate a nice profit. 

Being a part of the smartphone revolution has never been so simple when you can take the ideas detailed above on board. Whether you decide to get creative and develop your own app or do something hardware related such as repair and refurbish old models – there are so many choices you can choose between.

STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L

This weeks review centres on a product that is aimed at safely carrying your gadgets or in particular your laptop computer.

For the past few weeks, I have been testing the STM Myth 18 L Laptop Backpack. STM Goods were founded 20 years ago when the founder Ethan Nyholm realised that carrying his laptop around in a padded envelope whilst hiking wasn’t a lasting solution! He teamed up with Adina Jacobs and together they have been making fashion-conscious tech-carrying gear.

STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L
STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L

The Myth is available in three colour schemes, Granite Black, Slate Blue and Winsdor Wine, min was the latter.

Unlike most laptop bags which are simply foam-padded, the Myth utilises a proprietary technology called ‘SlingTech’ which features extra padding and gapless corners and actually ‘suspend’ your laptop away from the edges of the bag and thus out of harm’s way.

Aside from this ingenious protection, the bag also boasts a ton of features including music-centric CableReady systems, AirPod pocket and Earbud keeper. It also has a PassPort feature which allows you to securely attach other luggage whilst travelling, this is integrated with lumbar support, which made carrying the bag very comfortable. Helped by the Air-Channel back-panel which promotes air-flow and keeps you cool, so no more sweaty backs!

STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L
STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L

Aside from the standard back-carry straps, there is also a TPU coated webbing hand which is riveted in place. This allows you to carry the bag and the solid constructions keep it from banging off your legs.

Inside the bag is a myriad of storage, plenty to carry up to 16″ laptop and associated printed material. There are also several internal pockets for pens, plugs and accessories. It also has a fleece-lined sunglasses pocket!

STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L
STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L

The outside of the back is Water repellent and the outer zippers use reverse-coil zippers to protect the teeth and keep moisture and dirt out.

The bag is made from 100% polyester with dimensions of H 17.7 x D 11.4 x W 5.9 in / H 45.0 x D 29.0 x W 15.0 cm. The bag weighs in a 2.2 lbs / 1.0kg (without the laptop!).

I’ve been using this as my main laptop bag for a few weeks, my 15″ Macbook Pro slides in effortlessly and when fully unzipped the bag doesn’t just fall open, it feels like it is opening on a hinge and means the contents aren’t going to just spew out all over the place.

STM Myth Backpack
STM Myth Backpack

The bag feels extremely sturdy and very very comfortable to wear. The added back support is welcome and the flat base means it isn’t falling over when you place it on the floor. I can see many commuters finding a back like this very useful indeed and it has plenty of storage space inside.

If you fancy trying out the bag yourself, you can download STM’s App and use the AR Tag printed here. Once you get it going, it’s quite a bit of fun to play with and you can see how their bags look before purchase. https://www.stmgoods.com/stm-app2/

STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L
STM Myth Laptop Backpack 18L

Finding Your Next Business Phone in 5 Steps

Finding the right business phone is absolutely crucial if you want to be able to conduct business while you’re out and about. The right business phone will allow you to use the internet on the go, call and even video call your clients and team members and have plenty of apps that help you to keep track of things like business expenses. 

Below, you’ll find the steps you need to take in order to find the right business phone. Take a look:

1. Assess Your Budget 

Start by assessing your budget so that you can make sure you’re getting a phone you can afford. Even if you can afford the newest and best iPhone, that doesn’t mean you have to go out and get it. Look at the best iPhone deals first and see what’s out there. You might be surprised at how cost-effective some of the older models are, while still being feature-rich and perfect for what you need. 

2. Consider The Features You Really Need 

Make sure you consider the features you’re going to need in your business phone. Does the camera really need to be super clear? Do you really need the highest amount of memory you can purchase? If features aren’t all that important to you and you just want to be able to send messages, make calls, and use the internet, then looking outside of the Apple range may be a good idea. However, there’s a reason so many business people do choose Apple. Ultimately, it depends on what you need and what you prefer. 

Credit: Pexels

3. Test Them Out In Person

Testing phones out in person is always a good idea, so go to a physical store and see what feels best in your hand. Some of the newer smartphones are huge, and may not be the best choice for you when travelling – especially if you have other devices and things you want to take with you, too. Testing them out in person will give you a better idea of what feels right to you. You might even find that you prefer a bigger phone with a larger screen for business purposes. It all depends on what you’re going to be doing. 

4. Ask For Recommendations 

Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from your team or friends. See what you get the most recommendations for and make a shortlist this way. You can read all of the reviews online that you like, but at the end of the day, you don’t know who wrote it and how much they were being paid. If somebody was given a free product for review, they may be a lot kinder than they need to be. 

5. Consider How Long You’d Like To Have This Phone 

Would you like to keep this phone for 2 years, or perhaps even longer? If you want it to last a long time, buying a newer model is a good idea, as software updates won’t have slowed it down yet. 

Which phones are on your shortlist? 

Gadget Man – Episode 153 – Talking about Dashcams

This morning I spoke to James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk about the benefits of Dash Cams in cars.

During the interview, we discussed both the negatives and positives of these devices and how they can be used as an Independent Witness of an accident or other car-related crime.

I’ve been reviewing the Nextbase 422GW Dash Cam over the past two weeks, which will be published soon.

In the meantime, listen into the stream via my podcast link above or by playing the embedded video below.

Enjoy this episode and see you next time!!

Matt

Gadget Man – Episode 152 – Hyundai Drive Different Test – Radio Interview

This week I travelled to London to take part in the Hyundai Drive Different Test. In my previous post, I provided details on the thinking behind this initiative.

Today, I spoke to James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk about my experience and what I think made driving each car different.

Listen to the stream above and view the cockpit videos below to see some of what I experienced during the day.

Hyundai Drive Different Results for Matt Porter
Hyundai Drive Different Results for Matt Porter

 

 

Gadget Man – Episode 151 – Hyundai Drive Different Test in London

I was hugely excited to be invited to London yesterday to take part in the Hyundai Drive Different Test. During the day, I had the opportunity to drive both a Petrol and Electric powered Hyundai Kona around the streets of Finsbury Park and Highgate.

You can watch the video below or listen in to the podcast episode!

During the test, my eyes and head were tracked by specialist cameras, my heart rate was measured and the pressure-sensitive steering wheel was monitored. The cars themselves had custom-built computers on-board monitoring the vehicle itself and all this data was fed back to Hyundai’s servers to give me two driving scores for the petrol and electric cars.

Kona Electric
Kona Electric – Photo Credit: Hyundai

This was following research by Hyundai which revealed that there are 36,750 different ways to drive a vehicle!

The company got together with University of Warwick’s Dr Mark Hadley and driving expert Gary Lamb in which they devised the Drive Different Test (DDT). The test was to mark the growth that Hyundai has made in the alternative fuel marketplace of hydrogen, hybrid and pure electric vehicles.

Hyundai's Drive Different Test
Hyundai’s Drive Different Test – Photo Credit: Hyundai

The test compares a variety of driving styles in a range of vehicles including alternative fuel models. By using pupil tracking, facial recognition and of course artificial intelligence (AI), the test can accurately measure drivers skills under different conditions.

Hyundai researched 2000 drivers habits and have produced a report that identifies common styles with the top five listed below.

  1. Confident – 28%
  2. Fair and measured – 24%
  3. Calm  – 19%
  4. Nervous  – 7%
  5. Aggressive  – 7%

Men were more likely to label themselves as confident drivers (31%) than women (25%), while women were more likely to describe themselves as ‘nervous’ behind the wheel.

Prepariing to set out on Hyundai's Drive Different Test
 “We’ve found we all drive differently, with thousands of different styles, but we all can be united by a common cause of driving cleaner and preparing our cities for a zero-emission future.” – Sylvie Childs, senior product manager at Hyundai – Photo Credit: Hyundai

The survey also looked at AFV owners specifically, and their attitude to driving, and found that;

  • 92 per cent say they never beep at another driver
  • Over two-fifths (42%) slow down and let buses move in front of them
  • Over one third (37%) always ensure they thank other drivers on the road

But it wasn’t all generosity and courtesy on the road for AFV drivers. One fifth (20%)  ‘amber gamble’ and speed up on an amber light to get through the traffic lights.

Gary Lamb said: “There are many things that impact someone’s driving style, their technical skill of course but also confidence, experience and even the music they listen to and until they actually get behind the wheel you can never predict which way it will go. Over my 25 years as a driving instructor, I’ve seen them all. What’s interesting now is that alternatively fuelled vehicles are also affecting our driving style.

 “As 2040 draws nearer, and our cities and motorways fill with zero-emission capable vehicles, I’m excited to see how the way we drive will change, hopefully for the better.”

Sylvie Childs, senior product manager at Hyundai added: “Our research, along with the growth in sales figures, shows there is a real appetite for low and zero-emission vehicles in the UK. With this campaign, we hope to educate the public on how they can drive cleaner and more efficiently, whether they keep their current petrol vehicle or are in the market for an electric model like the KONA Electric or IONIQ Electric.

 “We’ve found we all drive differently, with thousands of different styles, but we all can be united by a common cause of driving cleaner and preparing our cities for a zero-emission future.”

Flash, Bang What A Picture! (The Latest Digital Imaging Device Developments You Need To Know About)

Digital imaging devices mean that we do not even have the flash anymore, let alone the bang. Things truly have come a long way. In fact, even after around 200 since the first camera was created, the imaging device industry is showing no signs of slowing down. With many new digital developments and trends being available to the general public. The most important of which you can read about in my post below.

 

Security systems 

First of all, let’s take a look at the current trends in digital security systems. Of course, digital CCTV has been around for a while now. However, with more powerful cameras on the market at a much lower price, this technology is becoming available to a much broader demographic of people. 

In fact, you can walk into just about any high street stores and pick up a good quality CCTV system like Arlo Ultra 4K UHD Wire-free system to take away. Ready to install the same day if you like, for a very reasonable price indeed. 

In terms of specific developments in this area, there is one big one that really stands out. Facial recognition and social uproar associated with it is no small thing! After all, this technology has the potential to recognise the person it is filming and track their movements. Something that is excellent news for a homeowner that wants to catch a burglar, but not so wonderful when in the hands of a totalitarian regime, as Hong Kong will testify. Then there are all the questions of personal privacy that comes along with the issue of facial recognition too. 

Luckily, we don’t have it here in the UK yet! Except we actually do because some businesses have started to use in public places such as St Martins Square In London. Of course, all of our identity data is securely encrypted and is not currently being compared to national databases unless we are involved in wrongdoing. Yet, the unease with the possibilities for misuse in this area may not outweigh the home security benefits its offers to provide. 

 

Additionally, another development to be aware of the areas of security systems is the introduction of digital doorbell technology with imaging built-in. The benefits of which are you can screen your visitors, and check the comings and goings in your home. You can even use them to appear home when you are not. The latter creating a security advantage, as burglars are very unlikely to try their luck in a property that is occupied. 

Dash Cams 

There are quite a few new trends in the area dash cams that you need to be aware of. One, in particular, that is worth knowing about it, a development called dual mirroring. A feature that allows dash cams to continue recording not just up to an accident but during as well. This being something that has two main benefits. The first of these is that it has obvious applications for establishing blame after an accident has occurred. While the second is that it can also encourage other road users to drive more safely as well. 

Then, there is the fact that many dashcams are now being built with touch screens, something that makes them vastly more comfortable and more convenient to use. Lastly, it’s worth noting that some models such as the Campark R10 are now being offered with high-resolution night vision include. Something that should help to keep the image they produce crystal clear, day or night, and so make identifying any wrongdoing on the roads that much easier.

Smartphones  

One area in which developments in digital imaging devices are leaping forward is Smartphones. Although, with many of us having them on our person at all times, it really is no surprise. 

Of course, the most apparent development here is the new iPhone 11 with its two rear-facing cameras rather than the usual one. In fact, this new dual-camera system that is equipped with night modes, and ultra-wide is the foundation on which Apple is building their marketing campaign. 

However, smartphone photography and videography enthusiasts will be doing themselves an injustice if they do not also consider the alternatives on the market as well. In fact, you can get a thorough lowdown of all the latest developments on close iPhone rivals such as the Google Pixel 3 and HTC U12+ by reading posts such as New Phone? Dare to be Different, before you make your purchase. Something that it is well worth your time, especially if you are looking to keep the price of your smartphone down, but still get some fantastic images.

Action cameras 

Robust and waterproof, action cameras such as the GoPro are built to be used out of doors. Of course, you will find that the tech is being continually pushed and developed in this area as well. In fact, one recent development in particular that many people will be interested in is the ability to live stream from such devices. This being something that will appeal to YouTubers and social media aficionados especially.

 

Finally, when it comes to digital imaging tech, the webcam is a common feature in most homes. Whether it is for catching up with relatives that live on the other side of the world or creating your latest vlogging masterpiece to be uploaded on Youtube.

However, until very recently, using a webcam was a very static affair. That is, you could only film within the cameras limited range when it was placed in a particular spot. However, that is all about to change with the advent webcams that track movement as you cross the room. 

Now, this might not sound like that much of a big deal, but it actually is. The reason being that as a viewer, you can a much more immersive and encounter with these types of digital devices. While those filming know that they do not have to concern themselves with manipulating the camera and can instead relax into a much more natural experience. Something that makes this digital imaging device trend, one that we are likely to see a lot more of in the future. 

The Gadget Man – Episode 150 – Should we use our Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops in Cafes?

Apparently using your Laptop in a Cafe at the weekend is no longer a ‘thing’. According to the Daily Mail, a cafe owner in Belsize Park has placed a ban on the use of laptops during weekend hours because it takes up valuable space during busy periods.

The ban has caused a regular customer to accuse the owner of bullying. Francesca Specter said, “the ban amounts to bullying of those who want to spend time alone”, she continues ‘I live by myself and part of my weekend routine is I go and get some headspace and enjoy breakfast and brunch by myself at one of the local cafes. The owner took one look at the iPad I was reading my paper on and said you can’t do that in here. I thought it was a situation where I was being bullied and I was by myself so I was in this minority. I had to leave and haven’t been back since.’

The owner, Mojgan Mohajer said ‘My cafe is quite small,’ she explained. ‘I received a lot of complaints from customers during the weekend that lots of people were coming with a laptop and sitting and they couldn’t have a table.’

Lets all go to the Cafe and moan about our civil liberties being breached because we aren't allowed to use a laptop!
Let’s all go to the Cafe and moan about our civil liberties being breached because we aren’t allowed to use a laptop while we share 1/2 a cup of coffee between us!

Computers and tablets are used widely, in fact anywhere you can find somewhere to sit, be it train, bus, park bench or cafe, you will find staring at a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Personally, I’m siding with Mojgan. She does have a small cafe and although during the week she would like to attract people to her establishment at quieter times, the weekends will be much busier and she, of course, would like to maximise her income on the busiest day.

With regard to the bullying accusation, I’m speechless.

You can listen in to my chat with Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk where we talk about using devices on public WiFi hotspots.

See you next time

Matt

Technology and Gadget Reviews on air, online, in print and in person

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