Social Distancing Signs edges ever closer to 20,000 sign downloads!

At the end of March, we decided to start producing Social DIstancing information signs that could be downloaded for free and printed for personal use.

Initially, it was a single sign; Social Distancing Saves Lives. Over the following days and weeks, we added more posters in different languages and with a variety of messages

Customisable Social Distancing Saves Lives Free Downloadable Sign plus it can now be ordered online

At first, the signs were aimed at the general public, to display outside their homes to remind visitors to practice Social Distancing as a new concept to limit the spread of Coronavirus. It soon became clear, the businesses, schools and local authorities were downloading the signs and we quickly expanded the functionality to allow for customisation and with the help of local businesses began offering sign making and floor stickers commercially.

Keep Your Distance Stay Safe Posters – Design and Buy (Pack of 10)

I was never sure how many of the signs would be downloads or indeed the level of traffic the website would receive, now, just over a month since I started counting, the Social Distancing Sign website is nearing 20,000 sign downloads!

It’s been a smashing success and a much-needed service for businesses and schools who have struggled to find the budgets to pay for expensive physical distancing and safety signs.

Social Distancing Customer Information Sign
Social Distancing Customer Information Sign

We’ve had plenty of positive messages from lots of schools telling us how useful they have found the site and that alone has been extremely heartening to read.

Keep on using the site!

https://socialdistancingsigns.uk/

Matt

Easy Ways To Stay Entertained During Lockdown

Since working from home for the last few months, a lot of us have struggled to stay focused and not end up watching tv or doing odd jobs around the house. 

Whether you are furloughed or still working from home during the pandemic, there is a lot of free time where you will be bored and in need of entertainment. We want to help you stay entertained today with some simple ideas. 

Here are some of the things you can do to keep yourself occupied during the lockdown. 

Upgrade the TV 

Now and again the TV will need an upgrade, and during this pandemic you will want the best TV has to offer. This is why trying a Fibre Optic Network is a good idea to ensure you have access to all of the channels and streaming services you could possibly want. 

Download Disney Plus 

If you want some amazing films to watch as well as a healthy dose of nostalgia during the lockdown, Disney Plus is a must. It has all the Disney and Pixar classics, older movies you love, as well as The Simpsons, Star Wars and Marvel. There are so many things to watch using this service that you’ll easily get lost using it. 

Use Playstation Plus 

If you are a gamer and looking for something new to play online during lockdown, PlayStation Plus provides you with what you need. When you purchase this service you’ll get access to Call Of Duty World War II, and the online features of this game are amazing. From War missions to Team Deathmatches and Zombies, you’ll be kept entertained for hours as you play alongside people from all corners of the world. 

Download Audible 

If you have been spending a lot of time doing housework, gardening, or DIY during lockdown a great idea is to download Audible. Audible gives you access to thousands of books in audio form and you can listen to a compelling story while working on whatever project you want. It is a great way to keep the mind engaged and will give you some fun things to learn about and fantasy worlds to visit. 

Host a Zoom quiz 

Zoom is a staple for communication at the moment and everyone is using this service to keep in touch with colleagues and friends. If you are looking for the perfect way to stay in touch with your loved ones, Zoom allows you to share your screen and have quizzes. Create a PowerPoint with questions and picture rounds and enjoy spending some time with the people you love. 

Try technology-free games 

If you want to go a bit old fashioned during lockdown, there are plenty of games you can play without using technology. If you want to keep your brain active and working you can try building a jigsaw. You could play monopoly with your family, and there are lots of other board games to enjoy. 

Don’t be bored this lockdown and enjoy trying some new things! 

Is Your Productivity Tanking While You Work From Home?

A lot of us have been working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, and a lot of us have been finding it comes with its own set of challenges. For some, those challenges are all a matter of mindset or environment. You might be finding it difficult to get used to the fact your coworkers aren’t nearby or have trouble dealing with family and work at the same time. However, a lot of people initially find that it can be a challenge to get as much done from home as they might get in a better catered professional environment. Here, we’re going to look at five technological solutions that can ensure you’re a more productive and efficient worker.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Know what you’re doing 

First of all, if you’re not certain where to start with your workday, then it’s time to take a strategic look at all of your current deadlines, responsibilities, and projects. Take the time to list out everything you might have to do. Then you can use tools like the https://appfluence.com/productivity/prioritization-matrix/ to see which you should do first. This tool lets you take your to-do list and quickly measure it by which tasks are most crucial and which are most urgent. As such, you won’t be stuck wondering what you should be doing at the start of the day. Five minutes can help you quickly layout the tasks you will be taking care of for the day.

Know when you’re doing it

Once you’ve effectively prioritised your tasks and you know what you’re doing for the day, then it’s all about knowing when you should do it. Workflow management software can help you set aside blocks of time so that you know when you’re going to be working on one thing and when it’s time to move onto the next. It ensures you don’t get stuck on one task for ages but rather you give everything the time that it needs and deserves.

Automate and streamline what you can

If you have any tasks that you have to do on a regular basis or that threaten to become monotonous, it’s important to find a way to standardize them efficiently. If you’re simply chipping away at them bit by bit, it can reduce your engagement with your work in total, making it harder for you to focus even when you get onto another task. There are plenty of tools designed specifically to automate your work, such as https://www.templafy.com/document-automation-software/ that can help you quickly format and standardize documents before you send them off. Look at your most regularly performed processes and see what you can do to automate them.

Make sure you can get what you need from your team

Of course, you’re not going to be doing all of your work, yourself. Most people are going to need to rely on their team at some point and, to that end, quick and effective communication is possible. A decent team collaboration app such as is going to be the basis of many a remote team’s communications. It gives you a centralised space to check your messages, talk about projects, or request help when you need it. If it’s not centralised, then it becomes all too easy to lose track of. After all, people have different communication preferences, be it by using IMs, sending emails, calling directly or otherwise. By centralising it, you get everyone using the same tools and following the same standards, reducing the chances of missed messages and miscommunication.

Get rid of any type of distraction

When it comes to distractions, there are two main types: external and internal. For the external, such as outside noise, you need to make sure you secure the work environment and ask that your family (or whoever you live with) respects your need for privacy and alone time when working. For internal distraction, you need to know what you’re most prone to be distracted by and to block it off. When it comes to working on digital technology, it’s usually the internet. However, there are plenty of tools like https://selfcontrolapp.com/ that you can use to set permissions, blocking your access to websites and social media within work hours. You can even block them entirely on your work device if that would make you feel more comfortable.

The above tech tools should hopefully help you get much more engaged and better organized with the work you do from home. Sometimes, the solution isn’t technological, however, so you need to take a better look at your work environment, too.

Edifier Announces TWS6 Now Available in the UK

Ultra-high Clarity Balanced Armature Driver In-ear Headphones with Bluetooth 5.0, 32-Hour Battery Life and IPX5 for water and sweat resistance.

Edifier® International, prominent designers and award-winning manufacturers of consumer audio electronics, announce the availability of the new TWS6 in the UK. The TWS6 won an iF Design Award 2020 for consumer electronics by the Hanover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH.

The Edifier TWS6 Earbuds feature outstanding sound quality in a compact, ergonomic 12mm design. With built-in balanced armature drivers from leading manufacturer Knowles, paired with an electroacoustic structure, vivid, high-resolution sound is delivered with exceptional clarity, enriching every detail of the sound.

With clear Voice capture (cVc) noise cancellation technology, sound clarity is improved, producing an immersive listening experience and excellent call quality. Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, Qualcomm aptX audio and the Laser Direct Structuring antenna, the TWS6 offers fast transmission with ultra-low latency and a range of up to 10m (33ft). The touch controls also offer easy playback.

The IPX5 water resistance will protect the earbuds against sweat or rain, making these the perfect partner for a gym workout. The interchangeable earplugs come in three different designs – foam, silica and ear wings – for maximum comfort. Varying sizes of each provide the user with an excellent and stable fit for prolonged and secure wear.

The TWS6 provides up to eight hours of playback in a single charge, and the efficiently designed, 22mm charging case is easily portable. The case allows for three extra charges, totalling 32 hours of use between mains charging.

Edifier does not sacrifice aesthetics for sound quality. The TWS6 earbuds have been created with the LG scratch-resistant finish, ensuring your earbuds stay in top condition. Along with being durable, this finish is also environmentally friendly, avoiding the need for paint, electroplating and post-production surface treatments. With the seamless and sleek design of the earbuds and charging case, comfort, style and great technology are at the user’s disposal.

Main Features:

  • Built-in Knowles balanced armature drivers feature, reacting to weak signals, enriching each sound and producing exceptional sound quality. 98dB sensitivity.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with Qualcomm aptX audio and Laser Direct Structuring antenna offering fast transmission and ultra-low latency.
  • Up to 32 Hours of Playback; with one charge providing eight hours of battery life and the slimline, wireless case providing three additional charges. USB Type-C charging also available.
  • IPX5 water, sweat and dust resistance, perfect for intense workouts and sport activity.
  • Lightweight, ergonomic design including a variety of earplugs and wings to ensure a comfortable fit.

Price & Availability:

The Edifier TWS6 is available at £89.99 from Amazon:       https://amzn.to/2WpWJ1k

The Gadget Man – Episode 165 – How to get going with video calls with Rob Dunger from Felixstowe Radio

Today, I spoke to Rob Dunger on Radio Felixstowe about getting going with video calls using Zoom, Houseparty, Skype, Messenger or Google Meet!

You can listen to the segment via the attached file or read the

Is was great to catch up with Rob after so long!


Matt Porter: [00:00:00] Well, we, we start with, I think familiar, tools that we might already be using. So we’re a Facebook user. We can use messenger and that will allow us to have video chats on a one to one basis. We can also do that in, FaceTime if you have an iPhone or an iPad. But if he wants to talk to more people, then there are other options such as zoom and Houseparty.

[00:00:32] And both of those allow you to have, a number of people in a chat. At the same time, Google also unlocked their, group video chat functionality, which I believe can give up to a hundred people at a time. Into into, into a group chat or a mix. I’m not sure how well that would work.

[00:00:51] Rob Dunger: [00:00:51] I can imagine the

[00:00:53] Matt Porter: [00:00:53] same time.

[00:00:55] Rob Dunger: [00:00:55] Do they have individually advantages and the different zooms and the Skypes and these sort of things?

[00:01:00] Matt Porter: [00:01:00] Yeah, I think, Oh yeah. Skype. For instance, he’s very well known, so it’s a trusted brand in a sense. It’s the same as zoom. Lots of people are talking about zoom at the moment. it’s getting lots of positive press, some negative, but it’s a familiar brand, so people are more likely to trust that it’s a safe place to go.

[00:01:22]so. Yeah. There’s, there’s, there’s good and bad on all of these things. Houseparty I’ve used a little bit. you do have to lock the door on that. Effectively. There’s an option to lock the door to stop people just wandering into a conversation, which I believe you can do on that. I

[00:01:37] Rob Dunger: [00:01:37] didn’t know that.

[00:01:38] Zoom. Zoom is private, isn’t it? Is it just your own, your own group or can anyone join in your

[00:01:43] Matt Porter: [00:01:43] conversation? There was discussions about potentially people can, jumping to conversations. I’m still not entirely clear how they go about doing that sort of malicious way, and I believe that it’s been locked down, but generally you would.

[00:01:59] With zoom, you’d be sent, you know, set your own meeting up and then send out an invite to your, your friends, trusted friends, and then they can use that invitation code to join the meeting. Or even just add them in. if you have them set up those contacts within zoom so you can aggregate group of people that you trust, that you add to a, add to a meeting or to a conversation.

[00:02:21] Rob Dunger: [00:02:21] A lot of people trying this for the first time and they’re, they’re learning by like, I do like making mistakes. For, for novice, what do we need to do? What’s the equipment we need? If they’re just someone, say, a retired person now and they’ve got a computer, what do they need to have?

[00:02:37] Matt Porter: [00:02:37] Ideally, they need to have a relatively modern computer.

[00:02:41] Say the last five or six years old needs to have a web cam. Many laptops or notebook size computers have built in webcams. that can be beneficial because the software will generally. recognize them, from the start so you don’t have to mess around trying to configure things. and you need to have something that could, it’s got the pair of speakers on it.

[00:03:02] Normally, again, laptops, notebook type computers will have speakers on them. Or you can use an iPad or a tablet, because it’s going to have a reason to be decent size screen and decent sound and microphone and everything.

[00:03:14] Rob Dunger: [00:03:14] There’s no special connection you, you need for this, just so it’s just on your ordinary internet connection.

[00:03:19] Matt Porter: [00:03:19] Yeah. When we say ordinary internet connection, I mean, yeah, it’s broad band. you know, reasonably high speed. I think most, most households appear to have this. I know there are some that don’t. but yeah, broadband, 30 megabits per second or something like that would be sufficient to have a video conversation because your video is actually going out to another server and then being served back to you using complicated things so you’re not having like 20 people connecting into your computer or anything.

[00:03:46] It’s all done from a centralized set of servers based on whichever provider is is you’re using.

[00:03:55] Rob Dunger: [00:03:55] But as an ordinary user, we don’t have to be bothered with those things. Do we? With the governance that goes on behind and let you let you boffins do it like that.

[00:04:03] Matt Porter: [00:04:03] Oh, that’s right. I think simplicity is the key.

[00:04:06] And if these things are too complicated, then that’s the stumbling block. People become frustrated and they out of what they’re doing. And I have to be honest, I find that sometimes I use a piece of software. Someone says to me, try and try this out, and I just think, what is going on here? Why is nothing.

[00:04:22] Where it should be. This is really difficult to use and you know, people’s concentration or their patients, especially at a time like we’re going through at the moment, it’s low. So it needs to be simple to set up. Funnily enough, the, the phone and the tablet apps tend to be much easier to use, in my opinion, than the, PC based.

[00:04:43] I think it’s because they’re simplified. From the start anyway, so they can’t get too complicated. So there’s a lot of swiping to the left and right to get options or stuff like that, but it’s fairly easy to use.

[00:04:55] Rob Dunger: [00:04:55] Okay. Take me through like a typical couple. Today in Dover court or in , they’ve got their PC and they want to set up a zoom meeting.

[00:05:02] What do they need to prepare.

[00:05:05] Matt Porter: [00:05:05] I think they need to find somewhere where they’re going to be comfortable, where there’s not going to be glare glare on their screen. And consequently, if there’s glare on the screen, it’s probably going to glare on there. A camera as well, and obscure the other person’s, view of them.

[00:05:25]and also what’s kind of useful is if you’re going to have something like this running, is to try and position. Is the device that you’re going to be looking at sort of as close to head height as possible. otherwise, because you really, you get better results, you get nasal hair picking up somebody’s nose.

[00:05:49]And, and it, and it’s a lot more, and it’s a lot kinder as well. You know, you don’t, even if you don’t have a double chin, if you have, the, the camera too far down, it will extend you those kinds of things as well. So you, you know, this is why you see lots of selfie photographs where they’re holding them up high and looking down.

[00:06:08] It’s because it has that slimming effect on them.

[00:06:11] Rob Dunger: [00:06:11] So if you put your laptop on your table and probably put it on some books and have it higher up, so almost.

[00:06:18] Matt Porter: [00:06:18] Yeah, I mean, if I’m, where I’m sitting at the moment, I’ve got, a like a scanner printer and I could effectively lift my laptop up on top of that and that would lift it up by six inches and give a nice, a nice, pleasant framing of me if I was on a video chat.

[00:06:34] So yeah, just a couple of books, a couple of big books, so it’s nice and stable and that would just lift it up if it’s a, and again, if it’s, if you’re using a device, you don’t have to hold that device in your hand. You can lean it up. Against something, you know, or secure it somewhere so it’s nice and steady and then you can, you’ve got your hands free to, to be comfortable.

[00:06:55] Rob Dunger: [00:06:55] And how far away should it be? I mean, we, we can see a tiny little picture of herself, but often we forget that picture and we forget that. What’s what they’re looking at other people looking at. That’s important, isn’t it? That we look good.

[00:07:07] Matt Porter: [00:07:07] Yeah. If you’re too close, then the camera on these devices going again is going to make you, cause they’re quite wide angle.

[00:07:13] You see going to get a bit of a fishbowl effect if you’re not careful. If you’re too far away, then you’ll get your, your sound is going to be affected as well. So you kind of need to be in a comfortable sort of position. I know maybe a foot two foot away from whatever you’re looking at. Just a. You know, you don’t want to be completely filling the, the frame, but you also don’t want to be so far away that you’re just a little tiny spot on someone’s screen because these chats, systems will have multiple people on the screen at the same time sometimes, and therefore they’ve got to recognize who you are.

[00:07:48] So, yeah, you just got an experiment really, and get comfortable and feel comfortable with what you look like, or it sounds like we’re being super, Obsessed by how we look, but you’ve got to be comfortable if you’re going to do these things because it can be scary to people, you know, when they first start using them.

[00:08:05] Rob Dunger: [00:08:05] When I’m watching interviews on tele, I love looking in the background. That’s important as well, isn’t it? Make sure you tidy up and puts, put certain things away. Don’t leave Matt on show for everybody to see what you’ve got.

[00:08:15] Matt Porter: [00:08:15] This happens to me all the time. I do quite a lot of video stuff where I’m recording myself and I’ll sit there, set myself up and record and get everything set up, and then I’ll suddenly realize that there’s a clothes dryer in the background with a pair of underpants hanging out or something, and you’re suddenly rushing around trying to move everything out of the way.

[00:08:36] So have a think about where you’re going to sit. You can actually, with a lot of these systems, you can actually pick her back. Ground, which it uses a bit of trickery the last it lasts you to get to effectively get out of shot. So we can just see the background and then it takes a kind of picture of the background, and then there’s like a blue screen effect on it so you can put some other background behind you, but that’s, sometimes it doesn’t work at great.

[00:09:02] If you’ve got long hair and things like that, you’re, you can find your hair disappears. And reappears again. but if then you can do that if you want to, if you really want to completely disguise where you are, you can put your own backgrounds in.

[00:09:14] Rob Dunger: [00:09:14] I’ve tried that. I was on the beach last week, and that looked really good, but it’s sounds should be careful as well, because we’re on at the moment.

[00:09:21] I noticed when I was on the air today, I’ve got a really creaky chair and you can hear that. So again. Watch what sounds you’ve got and watch what counts, what a surface you’re working on, because you can hear, you can hear every knock. Got you.

[00:09:32] Matt Porter: [00:09:32] I’ve got exactly the same problem. The chair that I’m sitting on at the moment.

[00:09:35] Every time I move, there’s a nice little Creek.

[00:09:39] Rob Dunger: [00:09:39] so that was back

[00:09:42] Matt Porter: [00:09:42] when it was really, so you know, again about those, some of the things, it’s really about what I tell one of them. Big issues is that when you get into these conversations, I saw it yesterday. I was somehow started watching, a competition where these people had to eat a particular biscuit.

[00:10:02] How  did you say? And, yeah. There was a one guy on there, they did say, can everyone mute their microphones, please? And this one guy hadn’t. And you could hear him, him clattering around in the background. And of course what happens with especially zoom is that it’s triggered by sound and motion. So if you make a noise or if you speak, it gives you the floor, if you like.

[00:10:26] So you become center stage. And because this guy was clattering around quite a bit, he kept. Jumping to him. so yeah, be aware that all the noise you make around your computer is going to be picked up by the microphone.

[00:10:38] Rob Dunger: [00:10:38] It can be quite inappropriate sometimes when you’re watching the church service.

[00:10:42] Matt Porter: [00:10:42] So can you imagine,

[00:10:44] Rob Dunger: [00:10:44] and of course, make sure that.

[00:10:46] Other people in the household know what you’re doing, so they don’t shout out to you, your dinner’s ready or walk, walk in or that. That’s fun as well.

[00:10:52] Matt Porter: [00:10:52] Yes. I was on zoom the other day, which was a blue shot at six other people were in and normally we’d meet up. But this was the first time that they tried to do it remotely and there were grandchildren walking in, in the background asking for a drink.

[00:11:08] There was someone knocking on the door and getting up and all of these kinds of things were going on. And I think we started out with about seven people, and by the end of the meeting, there were about three of us left because everyone else had acted off and do all these other things. So yeah, make sure that you sort of apply yourself or you’re going to go and do it, especially if you’re hosting it, you know?

[00:11:26] Don’t try not to get too distracted.

[00:11:29] Rob Dunger: [00:11:29] It’s fun though, isn’t it? I mean, unless it’s a business beat in which it’s different, but it’s fun and it’s a different way of communicating and it is crucial this time that we have something like this. It

[00:11:39] Matt Porter: [00:11:39] is, it’s incredible where we’re, it’s such a drastic, time in all of our lives.

[00:11:46] We’re so lucky that technology has. In some way saved us from, a much worse fight in as much as we have all this technology, all these ways of doing things that we didn’t have 20 years ago. So we, you know, we can order our food, we can do all of these, I think, and we can communicate with our loved ones, which is really, really important.

[00:12:09] And especially when we’re being honest. Try and distance ourselves from people. Keep socially distance. You know that by being able to have that interaction with our family and friends via video is great. Friend of mine has had quiz nights with his family where they actually set up quiz boards and they all sit in there and asking questions and answering questions.

[00:12:32] It’s incredible how inventive and creative people have become with something that probably wasn’t initially designed for this, for this, this kind of thing. You know, it was intended for business meetings and stuff like that, but actually the family gets together is great,

[00:12:49] Rob Dunger: [00:12:49] and it’s not scary to try the first time, try it with some friends or family or, or maybe some coffee mates to bring them up and say, Oh, to Skype him or zoom and say, should we ever go?

[00:12:57] It’s worth trying, isn’t it? Yeah.

[00:12:59] Matt Porter: [00:12:59] Of course it is. And you know, I was trying out with my dad the other day and he was talking to me and I ended up bringing him on the landline and saying that, you’ve got your microphone muted. Can you just unmute it? Well, we’re doing that then. So I’m trying to talk him through unmute and his microphone so I could hang up on him and him.

[00:13:18]I think it was face-time actually at the time, but yeah, it was fine. You know, if you’re doing it with people that your family and friends and you should be comfortable enough to, to. You know, take, take direction from them and everything like that without feeling daft. And it’s great fun. I know that there’s lots and lots of people involved.

[00:13:36] I, I’ve noticed a lot of church services actually. I’ve started doing zoom, church church services, which I think is great. I did ask my mom the other day, I said, are you standing in the living room singing the hymn? but she didn’t, she just, she thought I was joking.

[00:13:52] Rob Dunger: [00:13:52] Allegations are bigger on the, on the, on the, FaceTime and zoom than ever they had in the church. So it’s just good. It’s a new way.

[00:13:59] Matt Porter: [00:13:59] It is a new way of doing things. And, and we seem to be able to find a way around these difficulties. And that seems, this seems to be one of the amazing things. And it’s also interesting to see how, TV, programs have now started using the same technology and how you can see the.

[00:14:17] They’re used to doing things a particular way and they’re suddenly having to use a new technology. And somehow, sometimes it doesn’t work that well because you don’t get that audience feedback that you would, they would only be used to. Whereas you have the people that are used to using YouTube and most those kinds of platforms all the time, they’re much more comfortable with that whole thing, and then they come across bear.

[00:14:42] So it’s a very interesting time.

[00:14:44] Rob Dunger: [00:14:44] This is only part of what you do. You’re your gadget mad, aren’t you? Absolutely addicted to gadgets.

[00:14:49] Matt Porter: [00:14:49] All kinds of things. Technology and gadgets, everything. Yeah.

[00:14:53] Rob Dunger: [00:14:53] What are you working on at the moment then? What sort of things?

[00:14:56] Matt Porter: [00:14:56] well I’ve, I’ve still got a business to run and I’ve still been doing things relating to that.

[00:15:02] I’ve been lucky that. my customer base hasn’t been terribly affected so far by what’s been going on. So that’s been going on as normal. But I’ve also been doing lots of different pet projects at the moment. I started, a few weeks ago building a website to give people the ability to print signage for social distancing and, and, and information, and it’s all free and things like that.

[00:15:27] And it’s turned out, but, it’s become really, really busy. I’ve got. At any one time I’ve got 10 or 11 people all tying to make their own signs on the website. So, that’s been really, really challenging. And also from just having some, basic posters that I designed myself, now people can go on there and design their own and put their own texts on there and then download it as a PDF, print it and put it on their walls or wherever else they need to.

[00:15:53] So that’s kind of trying to give it back, give something back to. Community and society, you know, rather than, find a way of making money off the back of it, but actually do something that’s creative and good for

[00:16:10] Rob Dunger: [00:16:10] skills that we can learn at this time. It would take for us when we, when we do eventually get better times.

[00:16:15] Matt Porter: [00:16:15] There is, yes, I’ve been bit, I’ve also made some, some gadgets, some, some electronic gadgets and, and built, cameras, which can, do film, film stars and things like that and all kinds of different things I’ve done since. Just because I’ve had the time to do it. I’ve always wanted to have these things, for other reasons.

[00:16:35] But because there’s been so much spare time to be able to sit, and it’s an excuse, you can kind of excuse yourself. So don’t you worry about what there’s lots of people,

[00:16:44] Rob Dunger: [00:16:44] don’t you worry about Australia and on inside your head.

[00:16:48] Matt Porter: [00:16:48] I tell you lots of things. You know, I, the other day I, I, I made a, built a very, very simple website that could, generate.

[00:16:57] 1980s t-shirt slogans like Frankie, say, relax or choose life, but have all the text align correctly and resize in a site there for our evening doing that and and able to do it, you know? And then you can look at the logs to see what other people might be doing and you find out that they are all making their own t-shirt slogans.

[00:17:17] Yeah, it does worry me really why I thought that was an important thing to do, but I’m sure I tried to find an excuse for. Doing that project to solve another problem on something else.

[00:17:27] Rob Dunger: [00:17:27] You better tell people where to find you, then

[00:17:30] Matt Porter: [00:17:30] yes, you can go to the gadget man.org.uk, which is my gadget review site.

[00:17:39] And from there you’ll be able to link to the other websites as well, which is. tshirtslogans.uk and socialdistancingsigns.uk

Gadget Man – Episode 164 – Debunking the COVID-19 / 5G Conspiracy Theory

Yesterday myself and industry expert, Dario Talmesio, Principal Analyst & Practice Leader at Omdia spoke to James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk about the COVID-19 / 5G Conspiracy Theory.

You can listen to the stream above or read on to find out more.

5G has been under attack by conspiracy theorists for as long as it has existed. Every conceivable disease, illness or cancer has been blamed on the technology. It has been open-season for several years.

During this time, every single theory has been repeatedly debunked by teams of scientists and experts throughout the world, but still, it prevails.

Enter Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the highly infectious disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) first discovered in December 2019 Wuhan, China.

At the time of publication, COVID-19 has infected more than 1.36 million people in 184 countries. Sadly, resulting in the death of an excess of 76000 people. This virus has become a global killer on a scale not seen since the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.

Dario Talmesio
Dario Talmesio Principal Analyst & Practice Leader
Country UK – Image Credit OMDIA

At a time when our highly advanced telecommunications networks are one of the saving graces of the crisis, the last thing we need to hear is that people are beginning to try and link COVID-19 to the building of the 5G network. Worse, there are now acts of vandalism being enacted upon the newly installed equipment, damaging expensive equipment and putting peoples lives at risk.

This damage and continued encouragement from high profile celebrities have resulted in the UK providers issuing a joint letter to customers asking for the damage to stop.

Frankly, I continue to be exasperated by the need for every single thing that happens on our planet to be blamed on technology, government or secret societies! The sooner we knuckle down and work together to defeat this appalling virus in every way we can, the better!

Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives

Open Letter to Customers from EE, O2, 3 and Vodafone
Open Letter to Customers from EE, O2, 3 and Vodafone

Don’t forget to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, SHARE and COMMENT.

See you next time, Stay Safe

Matt

The Gadget Man – Episode 163 – Improving Broadband Speeds and Setting up Video Calling

The Coronavirus / Covid-19 crisis continues to affect the entire world. With the newly introduced restrictions of movement of people in the UK, today I spoke to James Hazell at BBC Radio Suffolk about how such a large increase in people at home can affect our Broadband Speeds and what we can do to get the best out of our connections.

In the second half, I talked about how to keep in contact with your family and friends using the likes of FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype and Zoom.

Listen in to the audio stream and let me know what you think?

Don’t forget to like, share, subscribe and most importantly stay safe and healthy

To raise the awareness of social distancing, download our free ready to print A4 or A3 posters by clicking here and remember Social Distancing Saves Lives

Social Distancing Saves Lives
Social Distancing Saves Lives

The Gadget Man – Episode 162 – Working From Home During the Coronavirus / Covid-19 Crisis

Such are the strange times we live in, many of us now face working from home for the first time along with caring for our children.

I have worked from home extensively over the past 20 years and I thought I would try and share some tips on how I have been able to work effectively in a home environment.

This morning I spoke to James Hazell at BBC Radio Suffolk about the trials and tribulations about working from home. Listen in to the stream to hear what I had to say and especially the advice at the end.

Stay Safe and Healthy

If you have been given a laptop to use at home, then there is a danger that you may find yourself sitting in an armchair trying to work and you will soon find this isn’t going to work well.

  1. Set up a work environment in a spare room or even your bedroom where you can away from disturbances and distractions as best as possible.
  2. Find a comfortable chair and if possible sit near a window so you can get fresh air while you are working.
  3. Set up your computer, so that is a semi-permanent environment and will allow you to separate work from home and give you a place to ‘go to work’
  4. Get dressed, you don’t go to your place of work in your pyjamas, so again, getting dressed gets your prepared for work.
  5. Take plenty of breaks. If you have children at home, you will need to be able to give them attention. If you can set specific times during the day to stop work, get up and walk around and make yourself a drink.
  6. Try to begin and end your work-day as you would if you were going to your place of work. Let your employer know that these are your work times. Setting these boundaries will mean that you aren’t on-call 24/7.
  7. Most home-working requires an internet connection. Over the coming months, our communications links are going to be under a great deal of strain. The video streaming services are going to be used extensively and this will put a great deal of pressure on internet connection speeds. Home internet is very different to work internet due to what’s called ‘contention ratios’, so you should be prepared for slower than normal connection speeds.
  8. Ask your employer to provide you with a mobile device that can be used as a ‘tether’. This means that should traditional broadband experience issues, you can fall back onto connecting to the internet by connecting via a ‘personal mobile hotspot’.
  9. Make sure all of your internet-connected devices are up to date. This means ensuring anti-virus is updated where applicable and any operating systems updates on your computers, set-top boxes, TV’s, IpCams etc are updated
  10. Keep all of your battery-powered devices charged up, but don’t leave mobile phones plugged in all of the time as the batteries don’t work as effectively if they all continuously charged.
  11. Use a trusted VPN connection to secure your broadband connection further. I recommend Ivacy VPN. Using a VPN or Virtual Private Network secures your connection.

Finally, regardless of whether you are working at home or not, you WILL find the number of scam calls you receive will increase, mainly because you will find yourself at home so much more. NEVER give out any personal bank details over the phone including PIN numbers or passwords. Ignore all automated calls and just hang up. These people care little for the health or financial wellbeing of their victims. If in doubt, speak to a trusted friend or member of your family before taking any action that will cost you money.

Stay Well and see you soon!

Matt
www.thegadgetman.org.uk

Gadget Man – Episode 161 – Phantom Calls – Zombie Bots – Hair Straighteners – VAT Free eBooks

In this week’s Gadget Man, I talk to James Hazell about phantom phone calls when phones are set to silent, Zombie Bot Networks, Dyson Hair Straighteners and VAT is finally removed from eBooks!

You can listen to the stream (above) or play the video (below)

James Hazell: [00:00:00] It’s time. We looked at technology, several things to discuss, not least of which can scammers really make your phone ring when it’s set to silent cause mine just did that is find out more from the gadget guru Matt Porter of Matt thought a web designer. Hi Matt.

Matt Porter: [00:00:23] Hi,

James Hazell: [00:00:24] good to speak to you. As always, my friend.

Now I’ve just read this and I don’t know if it’s true or not, but my phone, Jeff definitely just rang in the middle of an interview and it is set to silent and this particular website says, Oh yes, banners can do that. They can make your phone ring even if it’s on silent. Is that true, Matt?

Matt Porter: [00:00:44] I’ve certainly heard of strange things occurring with phones and things like that.

there are. I think particular codes, which can override these kinds of silent system so that you are contacted if necessary, in an event of an emergency. What happens

James Hazell: [00:01:03] despite it said, yeah, emergency call. but it was just an ordinary number, some, you know, a one, three, three or something. So, you know,

Matt Porter: [00:01:12] interesting.

It’s,

James Hazell: [00:01:13] yeah.

Matt Porter: [00:01:14] It’s similar to the traffic. the traffic alert system on cars that even if you have them switched off, there are certain, instances where they will switch on even if you don’t want them to. So then you can, the idea of being, you can be alerted to something that’s very urgent.

James Hazell: [00:01:30] Well, I guess what we can learn from this is that if your phone rings.

And it’s set to silent and you don’t recognize the number. Then as every Bob possibility could be spat, but then if I go say that people won’t answer the emergency calls, so ignore that advice.

Matt Porter: [00:01:44] Well, this is the problem yet.

James Hazell: [00:01:46] Yeah. Okay. anyway, look, yesterday the budget and that map included a VAT scrap.

On eBooks and newspapers. It’s quite specific that,

Matt Porter: [00:02:00] yeah, this has been something that’s been going on for quite a while where, the, the, I mean there’s, it’s very contentious, the sale of eBooks and things like that, or eat publications. But the fact that we. don’t have to pay VAT. If we buy newspapers, books, journals, magazines, et cetera.

It’s VAT exempt, I believe, but eBooks and eat papers and all of those other things aren’t. This has been, now overturned or, or abolished so that from the 1st of December, we won’t have to pay VAT on our eBooks, magazines, et cetera, which is. A great thing. What it doesn’t cover, unfortunately, is audiobooks.

So you still pay VAT on audiobooks, the nib set. That was disappointing.

James Hazell: [00:02:40] Yeah. They, have, issued a statement to say that they find that very disappointing. Is this, do you think an oversight? Because I, I can’t imagine any politician is going to want to deliberately upset a group of people such as the IB.

Matt Porter: [00:02:55] It, it surely must be an oversight, I guess. and I, I, I listened to audio books all the time. I’m not disabled. However, I’m still having to pay a 20% premium on my audio book that I wouldn’t be if I bought the book from a store. So I think that maybe it needs to be looked at. we’ve got a bit of time before this comes into effect of the 1st of December, so hopefully it will be.

but yeah, I don’t see there’s any difference between, reading something online or reading in a book form. In fact, it’s probably. Less, environmentally damaging to read it online, hopefully.

James Hazell: [00:03:27] Yeah, absolutely. And that’s the basis behind this a VAT Carson environment thing, right? Yeah.

Matt Porter: [00:03:34] Hopefully. Yeah.

Gotcha. Alright.

James Hazell: [00:03:35] from

Matt Porter: [00:03:36] the bedroom

James Hazell: [00:03:37] to the bathroom and specifically hair straighteners and something new from Dyson.

Matt Porter: [00:03:43] Yes. Dyson, wanting to be the forefront of all things, domestic with their vacuum cleaners and all kinds of other things. Hand dryers, they’ve now, announced a cordless hair straightener, which apparently, requires less heat, so it’s less damaging on, on the person’s hair.

And it also. apparently the straighteners are 65 microns thick, which is the width of a human hair. And thus, can effectively, from what I understand, it almost straighten each individual follicule or each individual hair individually so you don’t have to keep going over and over and over and over the hair repeatedly and thus damaging it.

so it’s made from. Ah, goodness me. I did write it. And McEleney manganese, copper alloy. It’s slightly flexible as well, guys. Yeah,

James Hazell: [00:04:32] they, I had no idea how important has straighteners were until quite recently. Actually. I failed to

Matt Porter: [00:04:40] pack them

James Hazell: [00:04:41] and then I said, why or what do you need those for? Put them in the bag now won’t go anywhere without the hair.

Straighteners

Matt Porter: [00:04:48] wow. We live in a, we live in a world where looks and appearance are very important to people. And you know, some people, it helps them with their self confidence. So you can’t really argue against these things. If it makes people feel better, I’m sure they feel delighted to know that this is around 400 pounds less hair straightener but 400 pounds.

Yeah. But conveniently just to lessen that blow. It’s available apparently in dark nickel and fuchsia, or purple and black. So that should make people fill out all the holes. It better make one purchase

James Hazell: [00:05:20] a difference. Vic, would you spend 400 pounds on air? Straighteners.

Matt Porter: [00:05:24] Well, Joe.

James Hazell: [00:05:25] Oh my goodness. She’s thinking about an

Matt Porter: [00:05:28] eight.

James Hazell: [00:05:28] I do have a

Matt Porter: [00:05:30] inexpensive pair of straighteners

James Hazell: [00:05:31] and they’ve lasted me

Matt Porter: [00:05:32] years and they are brilliant.

James Hazell: [00:05:33] So I would consider that what? Consider yes hundred pounds on her splints.

Matt Porter: [00:05:39] Yes, but then I would on my own a flight if that much,

James Hazell: [00:05:42] here’s what’s going to be the problem though, Matt. People are going to be straightening their hair like on the bus and on the tube and things like that.

Only now if they are going to be cordless.

Matt Porter: [00:05:50] Maybe, who knows?

James Hazell: [00:05:52] if they do, I’ll start saving. I’ll start shaving. That’s what I’ll do.

Matt Porter: [00:05:55] Yeah. I may be going to have people having, instead of having the expensive headphones stolen on the tube, they’ll be having their hair straighteners stolen

James Hazell: [00:06:02] out. That’ll be the next crime wave.

Yeah,

Matt Porter: [00:06:04] that’s right. You will not, in no way, even in fact, because the  crime straight

James Hazell: [00:06:13] on a crime, which I’m finally in Microsoft have said they are part all they are responsible. for dismantling a large international network of zombie bots that were causing 9 million computers, problems accessing or facilitating crime.

And goodness knows what is this story man.

Matt Porter: [00:06:37] Yeah. This is a, this is something that’s been apparently eight years in the planning with 35 countries, partners in 35 countries around the world. Basically, there were these, automated systems. A botnet is an automated system that does generally unpleasant things.

In this case, it was finding and registering domain names automatically building websites and then uploading. Infected software onto those websites. The emails would then be sent out to people unsuspected saying, please connect to your X, Y, Zed, and reset your password. They would unwittingly click on those, which would send them to these.

Malicious websites, which would then do things such as steel, identity, gain, access to your bank accounts, and all of those kinds of unpleasant things as stinging passwords, sell you pharmaceuticals and all of that kind of unpleasant stuff. what Microsoft managed to do here was they used an algorithm, which I assume was some kind of artificial intelligence, which could.

In advance, predict the domain names that were going to be registered next and block them before in advance so that people actually couldn’t access them at all, which is really, really good use of technology where you’re blocking stuff before even becomes a problem. And apparently this has resulted in the dismantling of this, this zombie botnet.

So they’ve

James Hazell: [00:08:06] obviously had some success. I do worry though, and Microsoft, I’m by no means alone in this, but their product outlook will frequently put emails from my producer Vick into the spam folder. And you know, there’s, there is a, a balance to be drawn. If we’re too strict with all of this stuff, we end up missing stuff.

Matt Porter: [00:08:27] Yeah. Listen, I, I manage, email delivery for, for dozens and dozens and dozens of customers and many, many times I’m having to contact different providers and not pleading with them, but trying to sort of explain to them that this email shouldn’t be put into spam. That’s billions of emails are sent.

Spam emails are sent on a daily basis, and the fact that these systems are in place that can, you know, we would have, our mailbox is absolutely full with rubbish. Yeah. Well more rubbish to the normal. if the systems weren’t in place and he’s just, you know, you’re chasing your tail because you get these folks positives all the time.

And I get them, I get people, I’m fat. I had a company ring up and berating me saying, why did you delete our email when you asked? You told us we were interested, and I go look in my spam and it’s sitting in there.  absolutely. Yeah.

James Hazell: [00:09:21] That’s right. So

Matt Porter: [00:09:22] that is great news that they’re working against these things.

James Hazell: [00:09:24] The advice, never click on a link unless you are absolutely certain it is a genuinely, right.

Matt Porter: [00:09:30] Yeah. These malicious, you know, there’s popups that come up on websites, anything like that, saying, your computer’s infected, all of those things, please, please, please don’t ever click on any of those links. Don’t ring any of those numbers.

They are not there to help you. They’re there to steal your money and they don’t care a jot about what situation you might be in financially or in health. They just want your money. So don’t click on anything like that. Don’t ring any numbers. Just go to go to the, you know, go to your nearest supplier or something and speak to somebody you trust.

James Hazell: [00:10:02] Matt bought it of Matt bought at web design with the tech update for this week. Might have a great week. Thank you my friend.

Matt Porter: [00:10:08] You too. Thanks.

Gadget Man – Episode 160 – Apple Settles for $500m – SSL Issues – Boston Dynamics

This week’s Podcast / Vlog-cast comes from the second floor of Gadget Towers! In this episode, I talk to James Hazell at BBC Radio Suffolk about Apple’s class action settlement regarding the perceived slowing down of older iPhone models.

Running a website with an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt? Check that you don’t need to request a new one as there has been issues with a large number over the past couple of days.

Boston Dynamics are at it again, this time they have their ever advance automation working in warehouses. Watch the videos after the Vlog to find out more.

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

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