Category Archives: Covid-19

Gadget Man – Episode 172 – The Worlds First Antibacterial Phone Interview with Tim Shepherd

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of talking to Tim Shepherd, Senior Director of Bullitt Group. Bullitt is the sole manufacturer and license holder of CAT Smartphone and Feature-phones.

The S42 can be cleaned with soap and water
The S42 can be cleaned with soap and water

During the interview, Tim talks in-depth about the the ‘Anti-Microbial’ CAT S42 Smartphone which is the worlds first Anti-Bacterial Phone.

You can listen in to the interview in full and if you would like to read about the new device, read out blog-post here.

The CAT S42 is currently available to purchase for £229 directly from CAT Phones and the new Anti-Microbial version will be available in early 2021.

You can also purchase from Amazon from the link above, we may earn a commission from sales through this link.

 

Cat S62 Pro Smartphone Reveals Potential Fire Risks from Working from Home

The possible electrical dangers faced by Britain’s army of home workers are today revealed with the help of mobile thermal imaging technology.

For millions of us, our homes are now our offices, but very few of us are aware of potential electrical safety hazards in our home-office setups or how to ensure we safely accommodate the equipment we use every day.

Laptop and Phone (Thermal)
Laptop and Phone (Thermal)
Laptop and Phone (Thermal)
Laptop and Phone
Laptop and Phone

These images, captured with the new Cat S62 Pro thermal imaging smartphone, show the fire risks that poorly thought-through domestic office setups can cause.

Bullitt Group, the makers of the Cat S62 Pro, have partnered with Electrical Safety First to highlight the issue and offer tips and advice on how to make your home office set up safer.

The gallery of images, captured in a home working environment, shows the varying levels of heat invisible to the naked eye that is produced by different electrical setups and devices. The images show common habits including:

  •      Charging laptops and phones on flammable surfaces
  •      Stacking equipment due to lack of space
  •      Daisy-chaining extension leads because you’ve got more to plug in than usual
  •      Overloaded sockets
  •      Routers covered with office materials / or boxed in
  •      Extension cables covered with household items

Working from home is now commonplace but little thought is given to the set-up of our temporary work desks, many just working wherever there is space.

New research commissioned by Bullitt Group, shows electrical safety checks by employers have dropped by nearly half (a decrease of 46%) since lockdown.

The research, compiled by Censuswide using a 2k sample of people working at home due to COVID, also shows:

  •      Many home workers surveyed (41%) operate in cramped workspaces and things often get piled on top of extension units
  •      Over a third don’t have enough plug sockets (36%)
  •      Over a third say that have to daisy chain extension cables to get the length they need (35%)
  •      There is a high level of complacency around electrical safety with more than half (56%) of respondents saying they are not worried about electrical dangers
  •      When asked about where they currently work, more than a third (36%) say they often move their laptop and charger around as they work in different spots
  •      Almost a third (30%) have never considered the dangers of working in some domestic spaces
  •      23% are sharing electrical sockets for work with other domestic items
  •      21% do not have a dedicated workspace at home and 19% feel the quality of work is affected by not having a dedicated workspace

Working closely with Electrical Safety First, Bullitt Group has come up with some simple guidelines to make the home office environment safer.

Key tips include:

  •      Avoid overloading sockets
  •      Do not leave phones or laptops plugged in to charge overnight and don’t charge on a bed – always charge on a hard, flat, non-flammable  surface
  •      Don’t “daisy chain” extension leads. If your cable doesn’t reach, don’t plug it into another adaptor. Move your workspace closer to the socket or use a longer lead
  •      Regularly check electrical cords and extension cords for damage
  •      Only use extension cords on a temporary basis
  •      Do not plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip
  •      Do not run cords under rugs/carpets, doors, or windows
  •      Make sure cords do not become tripping hazards
  •      Keep papers and other potential combustibles at least 1m away from space heaters and other heat sources
  •      Make sure you use the right wattage for lamps/lighting
  •      Only use chargers provided with the product and buy any replacements from reputable retailers you know and trust
  •      Keep your work area tidy and keep drinks away from electrical items
  •      Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Test them monthly and replace the unit every 10 years or as directed by the manufacturer

“When the country first locked down, homeworking was seen as a temporary situation. Now it’s looking more long term, it’s important that both employers and employees are fully aware of the risks and how to mitigate them,” said Nathan Vautier, CEO at Bullitt Group.

“The thermal imaging technology built into the S62 Pro is a quick and simple way to see a world that’s invisible to the naked eye and can improve safety in any working environment.  Tradesmen have used our thermal phones to spot electrical faults and issues for some years, but this is also a genuinely useful tool for anyone who wants to improve safety and monitor what’s going on with electrical equipment in their homes,” continued Vautier.

A spokesman for Electrical Safety First said: “There is simply not enough awareness out there about the possible dangers of poorly set up home office environments. Thermal technology is certainly one way to monitor electrical equipment for overheating issues and the images that Cat phones have created here show very clearly just what is going on and highlight some of the common dangers we regularly warn people against.”

Other survey results:

  • Before lockdown, 40% of respondents’ companies had a procedure in place to regularly check electrical items. This has now dropped to just 22% since working from home began
  • Almost a third (31%) feel their employer should be doing more to provide safety and other guidance about home working
  • Only 19% have received safety advice/guidance from their employer concerning their home working set up
  • Almost half (45%) don’t know when work specific electrical items were last safety checked

The Cat S62 Pro smartphone has an MSRP of £599 and is available to buy from Amazon and multiple retailers and operators.

We may earn a commission for sales from our links

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

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