3 Uses Of Drones We Can Expect To See Soon

Drones are a technology which have been gaining a lot of traction in the media over the past few years, for good and bad reasons. There is a lot of controversy around drone use, and as they become cheaper and cheaper and more commercially available, so too do they become more of an intrigue from people around the globe. As well as personal uses, there are many infrastructure and business uses for drones, and it looks as if there are going to be many more in the future too. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the uses of drones which we can expect to see some time soon, which might well change many aspects about our world overnight.

Delivery

In some places, companies like Amazon have already started using drone to deliver goods to people’s’ homes and places of work. The main benefit of this is, of course, the incredible speed of delivery, and what they are hoping for is that one day soon they will be able to have one day delivery on almost all items, or at least smaller items which you might have delivered. This is certainly exciting, although many people are worried about the prospect of Amazon drones flying around everywhere. In order to get to grips with some of the concerns, take a look at this article on what you need to know about flying drones: you will see that there are many considerations that need to be considered.

Defense

In many respects, the army is already using drones, and has been for longer than we have known about them commercially. But increasingly, they are using smaller lightweight drones to enforce our home security, and that is a relatively recent trend which is nonetheless going to continue in an upward trajectory for sure. Defending airports is a good example, and these days one of the main things that they are defending against is other drones. This kind of usage of drones is clearly very important, and it’s already the case that when you catch a plane you are being defended by drones without knowing it.

Photography

While some events are already being photographed with the use of drones, again this is something that we can hope to develop more in the future, and it is likely that such technology will get better. Part of this will mean that the drones can get further away without breaking out, and that will encourage us to be able to find footage of far out places which would otherwise have been unreachable. This is not just exciting from a photography viewpoint, but also from a scientific discovery one. Who knows what kinds of things we might uncover just by making use of some great drone technology.

However we use them, one thing is for certain: drones are going to continue to be an important part of our lives, probably increasingly so.

Gadget Man – Episode 129 – Gadgets in the Home

It was great to be on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning, talking with Wayne Bavin about Gadgets used in the home.

Following the first episode of Hard to Please OAP’s on ITV1, I spoke to Wayne about Gadgets which are used regularly and less regularly in our homes.

It was fun to chat about Soda-Stream, Amazon Alexa, Sandwich Toasters, Waffle Irons and all the good and bad tech now found in our homes.

You can listen in to the latest podcast to hear what I had to say and also how I managed to link this to watching an old episode of Terry and June.

Enjoy listening and don’t forget to Like, Share, Subscribe and I will see you next time!

Matt

Gadgets Featured in this Podcast on Amazon
Gadgets Featured in this Podcast on Amazon

 

It’s Time We Had A Chat About Router Channels

Granted, router settings aren’t the sexiest of topics. But when you consider the merriment that a router in good working order can bring to your life, you soon discover that spending a few minutes reading something turgid on the subject is probably worthwhile.

Channels are signal bands that different devices use to connect to your router to tell it that they are there. Your laptop might link to your router on one channel, while dear old Amazon Alexa might on another.

Most routers have three independent, non-overlapping channels that don’t interfere with each other, 1, 6, and 11. Devices transmitting on these channels will, therefore, carry on communicating to your router, oblivious to the fact that other devices are also sending information too. That’s what you want.

Channel Setting Problems

The problem comes when the automatic settings on your router lead several devices to connect to it using the same bandwidth. Two or three is usually okay, but the more devices you add to a particular channel, the less stable your connection. In the worst case scenario, some devices won’t connect at all while others are in use on the same channel.

Rather than spending hours fiddling around with internet settings and getting nowhere, it usually pays to go into your router settings and look at which devices are connecting on which channels. If you find that you have a bunch of devices all running through channel 6, then consider moving some of them to 1 and some to 11. Doing that will help to spread the load, reduce interference and, hopefully, restore reliable internet connectivity.

Neighbouring Networks

Okay, here’s where things get a little trickier. Even though the data being sent by neighbouring networks is encrypted, and even though you can’t use their router to send and receive data to the internet without a key, their signals can still interfere with yours.

People who live in flats, for instance, often find that their internet connections are unstable. Blaming the overall internet speed probably isn’t correct, but blaming your neighbours might be. Signals from your neighbour’s devices interfere with your own, causing your channels to become thick with interference, leading to dropped internet connections.

So what can you do about it?

You’ve generally got two options: you can either spend hours manually conducting experiments to see which channels work and which don’t, or you can use special programmes that automatically scan current channel usage in your vicinity and then tell you the optimal one to pick.

When boffins came up with the modern router, they didn’t envision just how many different signals would have to cram into such as small space on the electromagnetic spectrum (used for WiFi). But as the proliferation of devices continued, and more people used high-bandwidth broadband, people are going to have to learn much more about channels, including how to troubleshoot problems.

Knowing about channels can save you potentially hours wasted looking for a solution in the bowels of Windows 10 network settings and simple deal with the problem on the router itself.

Gadget Man Episode 128 – The World Wide Web turns 30!!

It only seems like yesterday when I was talking about the World Wide Web turning 25 years old and now before we know it, it’s now 30 years since the first HTML web page was authored and published by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The Web is, without doubt, the greatest invention of all time. It has made our planet smaller, brought together people from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe. It has made the world a much more accessible place, we can reach out to our idols and they can communicate back to us. We can transverse the globe and watch sunrises on opposite sides of the planet as they happen.

It truly is a modern wonder of the world. Cheers, Sir Tim!!

Sir Tim arriving at the Guildhall to receive the Honorary Freedom of the City of London - Image Credit - Paul Clarke
Sir Tim arriving at the Guildhall to receive the Honorary Freedom of the City of London – Image Credit – Paul Clarke

To find out how Sir Tim Berners-Lee is working towards a better Internet, visit his website.

To find out how CERN is celebrating, visit the World Wide Web at 30.

With the wonders of the web brings ‘Smart Assistants’, they are on our phones, computers and now independently as ‘Smart Speakers’, another true wonder borne from the internet, serving our every need and answering the answerable. These ubiquitous electronic pucks offer a gateway to enormous artificial intelligence-driven knowledgebases that are themselves learning as well learn from us, Machine Learning is driven by millions of users.

Of course, every now and then our assistants flicker or make strange noises, we might wonder if these are simply glitches or the first sparks of self-awareness?

I spoke to Mark Murphy at BBC Radio Suffolk about both Smart Speakers and the 30th Anniversary of the Web. Listen in above and don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE. See you next time!!

Gadget Man Episode 127 – What happens to my passwords after I’ve gone?

Who would have believed that at the dawn of the World Wide Web 30 years ago that almost all of our lives would be controlled via logins and passwords exchanged over the internet?

Whilst it is incredibly convenient to be able to access our bank accounts, insurance policies, email, social networks, discussion forums and many many other services. It is also very important to remember that ALL of the services require user names and passwords.

So, what happens when suddenly the owner of all these credentials passes away or becomes unable to continue to access the services independently?

On this episode, James Hazell discusses just that with both myself and a solicitor to explain what can be done to avoid all of our lives being locked away indefinitely.

You can tune in to the podcast above or subscribe via your favourite Podcast app. If you enjoy what you hear, don’t forget to Like, Share and Subscribe and I will see you next time!

Gadget Man – Episode 126 – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were DOWN!!!

For the last 24 hours, there has been collective panic across the digital world! Was this panic caused by the continued disaster that is the Brexit negotiations and repeated House of Commons votes?

No, it was because the worlds largest Social Networks were failing all around us. Literally MILLIONS of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users were panicking at the loss or at least interruption of their services.

There are many reasons for these failures, Facebook has denied DDoS attacks, but there is a myriad of other reasons, software corruption, network failure or hardware issues. There has even been the discussion of AI being involved in the problems!

** UPDATE – 14/03/19 21:59 ***

Facebook has now officially explained the reasons for the issues suffered over the past 24 hours as follows:-

Facebook Datacenter - Image Credit: Facebook Inc.
Facebook Datacenter – Image Credit: Facebook Inc.

Currently, we haven’t had an explanation and as soon as we do (see above), I will post it on this blog, until then, you can listen in to me talking to James Hazell at BBC Radio Suffolk about the problem.

Before I go, make sure you watch The Truman Show, in particular watch the very end, as the show draws to an end, everyone goes back to their normal lives. Maybe, we should too.

Don’t forget to Like, Subscribe and Share using the appropriate buttons.

Keeping Customer Data Safe In Your Business

You’ve got a business, and you’ve got plenty of customers milling in and out of it every day you’re open and operating. Even when you’re closed, you’ve got an ecommerce website that allows people to order what they want from you whenever they want, allowing you to ship out products or services as soon as you’re next able to. It’s a great element to have to your business, and increases your exposure, outreach, and potential sales from these by tenfold.

But that means you’ve got a lot of data to keep track of at the same time. And this data is very important, so you need to keep it safe. So here’s just a couple of details to remember about storing customer data, in the safe and right ways.

 

Always Give Customers an Option

Whenever a customer comes through your ecommerce site, give them plenty of choice over how their details are used. Let them know how their information will be used whilst they’re on the site. Let your customers know they have the option to store their credit or debit details when they use your site, and that they also have the option for the system to forget all about their card. After all, it’s completely up to the person shopping with you whether or not you have their details on file, and you shouldn’t want it any other way.

Move On From Physical Storage

If you’re using physical storage to keep a track of your customer details, you might be missing a trick here. Not only do things like hard drives, USB sticks, and filing cabinets all have a maximum capacity to them, but they’re also quite hard to sort through. Flash drives alone have a huge risk to them, in that the data stored on them can be lost at any moment, and pieces are chipped away every time you log one in and out of your computer. And then you’ll have to look up a guide like https://setapp.com/how-to/usb-data-recovery.

So use cloud storage, or server based storage, instead. There’s a lot more room for expansion, and you can invest in private storage that only you have access to. End to end encryption, as well as the ability to search for the right files in seconds – it’s a real upgrade to have a look into at least.

Keep Outside Connections to a Minimum

If you’re looking to stay safe and secure in the modern day and age, you need to be sure as few people as possible have access to your company files. Especially the customer details you have stored for ease of access on both sides of the screen. So make sure only a select few people have the passwords or keys to the storage, and make sure only secured WIFIs have access.

Customer data is a priority. Security is a big part of maintaining business longevity, so it needs to be something you prioritise in your quest to take your company higher.

Top Surveillance Gadgets for Small Businesses

We are living in an increasingly technological age and there are all sorts of different gadgets that you have probably already considered incorporating into your business. But for now, let’s focus on surveillance gadgets! Sure, Orwell might have foretold that we’d end up living in an age where “Big Brother” is always watching – but surveillance gadgets have proven indispensable for small business owners time and time again. Here are a couple you might like to consider investing in.

CCTV

Top of the list when it comes to surveillance gadgets, of course, is CCTV. CCTV stands for “closed circuit television” and is a form of surveillance camera system that has become commonly used by small business owners, large business owners, and even domestic households alike. Now, CCTV can be used in a very obvious way. It can be placed outside of your commercial property to prevent would-be vandals from defacing your store front, smashing glass, or causing other damage to your commercial property’s exteriors. It can also be placed inside your commercial property, reducing theft (people have been found much less likely to steal when they feel they are being recorded) and general shoplifting. But CCTV can have other benefits too! Studies have determined that many business owners, unfortunately, lose profit from staff theft. So, you could place CCTV in important areas such as stock rooms or overlooking cash registers too. This, again, deters crime, but can also be used as evidence if you find yourself in the sad situation of having to prove a staff member’s guilt. Finally, CCTV can be used to draw up footage if there is ever any incident in your commercial premises. If someone is hurt, the footage can determine whether it was an accident or whether someone was at fault. This could come in extremely useful during court cases. If this interests you, you can find facts about security cameras here.

Voice Recorders

Of course, you can’t just record people without their permission. You really will have to have consent to record conversations that you hold with anyone. But voice recorders can come in extremely useful when you are conducting important meetings with members of staff. Employees, of course, have rights, and it’s extremely important that you meet requirements when dealing with them. But it also serves well to have a recorded copy of important issues that have been discussed in meetings with HR. These can include one to one meetings where progression is noted and targets are set out, meetings where concerning behaviour is brought up, or any other formal discussion that you might need to refer back to at a later date. Just make sure any recordings are stored confidentially.

These are just two different surveillance gadgets that you might want to consider when it comes to running a small business successfully. Having footage of particular scenarios can serve you well in the long run! So, don’t hesitate to look further into these options that you have and invest where you need to!

Technology And Cyber Security

Crimes that are associated with cybersecurity are from being problems created by the digital age as some would have you believe. Things like fraud and identity theft both existed long before the first computer was invented and criminals were finding ways of evolving their plans without the use of the internet. However, it is fair to say that now they have moved their operations on to the digital landscape it is time we are all prepared.

With that in mind, we are going to take a look at some of the tech options available to you so that you can stay safe and secure.

Understanding The Threat

The first thing you should do when it comes to cybersecurity is to build up your knowledge of what the threat actually is. That means learning what the different types of attacks are that might come your way and what form they are going to take. Before we look into these areas it is important to note that while the threat might seem extreme, there will always be people creating tools to help you combat these problems and sometimes common sense is your best line of defense.

Two of the common types of cyber attacks are listed below and the way they are used is also given as a brief description, this information will be critical to your success in staying safe online and in the digital world:

  • Malware

This term refers to malicious software such as:

  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • Viruses
  • Worms

Usually these types of software breach a computer’s security due to the user clicking on a link or downloading them without knowledge. This is where common sense will be a big factor in your security. To avoid having your information stolen through your PC or having malicious software break your home network, don’t click on links from unknown sources.

  • Phishing

This might be one of the terms you are most familiar with. Phishing refers to the practice of sending out communications that are fraudulent such as from a bank or government official that asks for private information. The aim is to steal sensitive data or payment details by posing as a trustworthy source. Once again you should use your own initiative to avoid these attacks where possible.

Software To Help

So, now you know some of the threats you are facing, what can you do? Well, there are some great basic tools that you can use to prevent falling victim to these attacks. The first is to ensure that you have a secure antivirus installed on your device. Companies like McAfee and Norton have been working tirelessly for years to provide you with software that will fight off malware that finds its way onto your computer.

However, sometimes you can get a data breach through alternative methods due to the fact that phishing scams can be highly evolved. Something you can do is sign up to protection services such as https://budgetboost.co/lifelock-cost-review/ that will look for breaches of your private information and secure it up.

Gadget Man – Episode 125 – What to do if you are involved in a car chase

Some 30 years ago, I was inexplicably drawn into a high-speed car chase across my home town of Hitchin.

When I left The Bird in Hand in Gosmore on that rainy night in 1987, I had no idea that the following 10 or so minutes would stay with me until now.

In my case, I managed to ‘lose my tail’, but it has always troubled me how the Police would have viewed my plight at the time. Back then, we didn’t have mobile phones in order to call the authorities, so I took it upon myself to try and outrun my potential assailant. If the same had happened now, I would have driven to the nearest Police Station whilst calling them on the way.

Suffolk Police Officer
Suffolk Police Officer

Now, thirty-two years later, I have my answer (sort of), in the form of a Police Inspector from Suffolk.

In the above audio, you can find out what happened to cause the chase, how I evaded them and what the Police’s view is three decades later.

Don’t forget to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, SHARE and COMMENT, see you next time!!

Thanks to James Hazell for chatting to me about the chase and for contacting the police about it!!

Matt
The Gadget Man

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

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