The Genie is now officially out of the bottle! We use our smartphones too much!
Most of us will already know this though, how could we miss it? You only have to travel on buses, trains and planes to see myriads of people sitting quietly staring at their smart phones, glued to Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter, scrolling through the latest news.
In restaurants alongside the place settin will sit a smartphone, ready at a moments notice to be snatched up and used to photograph a plate of food of a group selfie.
At rock concerts, the crowd is now lit up by mobile phone screens at they live stream or record a band whilst watching on those same screens, perhaps forgetting to watch and enjoy the band live rather than by proxy.
In homes across the world, millions of people are sitting scrolling through their devices, then standing and walking into the kitchen, the phone still in front of their faces, then to bed, when finally after another 10 minutes of messaging, the phone is plugged in to finally rest and recharge, it’s peace only broken in the middle of the night as a hand reaches out to grab it and check Facebook.
As morning breaks, a sleepy hand reaches out, slowly grabs the device and the day begins again.
This information overload is affecting peoples brains, our bodies are fooled by the blue light from an LCD screen and now we believe it is daylight 24 hours a day. We are conditioned to rely on our devices for everything, for affirmation from our friends, to give that affirmation back in a pre-formatted ‘Sending Hugs 🤗🤗🤗’ .
So, have we forgotten how to communicate? Are we now so reliant on our smartphones, that we no longer feel the need to use it for it’s original purpose? That of speaking to people and conveying our true feelings without relying on pre-programmed ’emotions’ invented by clever people in California.
Time will tell, but no amount of intervention by software giants will put that Genie back. We as a race have to take that step.
I spoke to Mark Murphy at BBC Radio Suffolk about the obsession with smart phones this morning. Listen to the stream above, I would love to read your comments on the subject.
I was back on air this morning with Mark Murphy and James Hazell to talk about drones and the immense rise in their popularity.
With popularity comes a degree of public worry and a much larger degree of press coverage. Should drones be licensed? Should people need to take a proficiency test to use them? All of this was covered on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning along with interviews with The Civil Aviation Authority and local pilots.
Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and can range in price from £10 to literally thousands. Many of the more expensive semi professional drones have ‘Geo Fencing’ which stops the drones from flying in banned areas or ‘No Fly Zones’.
Of course it is possible to build your own drone. Kits are widely available and many people have built their own drones from scratch using light weight computers such as the Raspberry Pi. In this case, no licensing is going to stop the production of these kinds of drones and increasingly advanced techniques such as GPS ‘way point’ route planning means that the pilot does not need to be in radio contact during the flight and therefore distances of 7km possible before battery charging is necessary.
Currently in the UK, I can’t see how any ‘proficiency’ testing can be brought in being, it would be far too costly and reliant of the purchaser of the drone. Tracking the drones is equally difficult without elaborate (and expensive) tracking transmitter/receivers being added to the drone.
Consequently, it lays with the manufacturers of these devices to ensure that their equipment is safe, easy to use, legal and abides by any global no fly zones.
I will be reviewing the Parrot Bebop 2 camera drone very soon, so stay ‘tuned’.
This week Matt was a G.O.G. (Grumpy Old Git) on Mark Murphy’s Morning Show on BBC Radio Suffolk.
The subject matter still had technology subject matter as well as poor sound quality on broadcast TV, the perils of being computer savvy, the date of Easter, do children still go out to play and does riding an electric bike count as exercise?
Featuring Matt Porter, Mark Murphy, Rev. Andrew Dotchin and Neil Bowles.
You can listen to the stream, by clicking the play button above.
With the summer suddenly returning last week, it was lovely to have another electric bike to review. I’ve reviewed the Granite Pro from Batribike last year, so it was really exciting to get to check out their newest addition to the ‘stable’ in the shape of the MTB style Storm.
Listen in to the stream to find out all about this amazing e-bike and keep an eye on the website for a full review coming soon.
Thanks to Sue from Batribike for personally delivering the bike to me!!
Great fun was had this week as I was out on about testing one of my favourite forms of transport! Yes, I was testing an super electric bike from those clever people at KTM.
I even brought the bike into the studio to show everyone and nearly managed to run over a musician in the green room.
The KTM eStreet P is a really nice electric bike which makes great use of pedal assistance with the 250w motor giving you up to 400% assistance. I’m really impressed with the bike and I will be reviewing it in full later this week. For now listen in to the stream and find out about this very nice eBike.
Massive thanks to Louise Johnson at KTM Industries UK for all her help in getting the bike to me.
It’s been a great year reviewing such a wide range of gadgets from smart watches to high end sports cars. It’s been quite a ride, I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience, so thank you to all involved from BBC Radio Suffolk to the PR agencies and companies that have been so generous allowing me to try out all the wonderful tech!
This morning I spoke to Mark Murphy about my favourite gadgets of the year and the Gadget which won the gadget of the Year.
We have a lot of fun reviewing some smart wear. We reviewed the Samsung Gear 2, Sony Smartwatch 2 and Sony Smartband. My favourite was the Gear 2, purely for James Bond features. However we have been asking to review other watches, but none have been sent out. Let’s hope this improves next year.
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 – Wearable of the Year 2014
Sony Smartwatch 2
Smart Phones and Tablets
We were never short of phones and tablets which is not surprising given the size of the marketplace. HTC, Samsung, LG, Asus, Nokia and Motorola all supplied us with review units. HTC phones exhibited the best built quality and screen sharpness. LG had the best screen of the two Quad HD displays (the other being the Galaxy Note 4). Motorola was the best value for money with it’s Moto G.
Overall, our favourite handset started and remained the Nokia Lumia 1520. A six inch incredibly vibrant screen, superb battery life and exquisite camera. Although very large, it was by far the nicest of the all the handsets we reviewed
We also reviewed three tables, the Samungs Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2, the Nokia Lumia 2520 and the Asus Transformer. The Tab Pro 12.2 was our favourite with massive 12.2 inch screen with better than HD quality, the Nokia 2520 with Windows 8.1RT on board was close behind.
HTC One M8 HTC One Mini 2 Nokia Lumia 1520 – Smart Device of the Year 2014 Sony Xperia Z2 Moto G Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet Nokia Lumia 630 Asus Zenfone 6 Asus Transformer LG G3 Asus Zenfone 5 Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung Galaxy Alpha Samsung Galaxy Note 4
We reviewed a number of cameras this year, as expected the GoPro models come ahead of most others for their durability and quality of movies and photos. The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 was excellent and was a fully functional Android device to boot. The Sony Actioncam was good, but kept fogging up which spoilt most of it’s footage. The Autographer was…. weird.
GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition – Camera of the Year 2014 Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 Sony Actioncam Autographer BT Homecam GoPro Hero Selfie Stick
I loved reviewing the electric bikes this year. I started out with the mindset that electric bikes would be a welcome relief from simply reviewing mobile phones for a year, but I ended up extending my ‘E’ vehicle reviews to cars. It was thoroughly interesting and liberating to get out in the Suffolk countryside and off the beaten track to test out these bikes. The Sparta is not really designed for off-road, but was capable and fast used for travelling to work. The Smart Ebike was fabulous and I loved every minute of using it, especially off-road. The Batribike was excellent in every area, I only marked if down for off-road use, but this was a little unfair as it had road tyres.
Sparta Ion/RX+ Smart Ebike – Ebike of the Year 2014 – Joint Winner Batribike Granite Pro – Ebike of the Year 2014 – Joint Winner
This was an amazing experience from the beginning. The Renault Twizy was small and exciting to drive, but really only designed to replace moped type use. The Renault Zoe was an excellent car, out of all, this was the one car which could truly offer and alternative to fossil fuelled cars both in size and price. The BMW i3 was interesting and very fast. Design wise it hardly resembled an standard BMW but it was high spec and beautiful to drive. The BMW i8 was outstanding to look at and drive. It was like sitting in Red 5 at the end of Star Wars Episode IV, and the most exhilarating drive so far (electric car wise). I didn’t get to test the Tesla Model S this year, but in a week or so, I am looking forward to reviewing it.
I also got to experience 3 AMG ‘normally’ aspirated vehicles. I say normal, there was nothing normal about these vehicles. I experienced the G63 (G Wagon), the S63 and the C63 Edition 507. The C63 was simply mind shattering. When a manufacturer electronically limits to the top speed to 171mph, you know something is afoot.
BMW i8 – Car of the Year 2014
I got to test out other gadgets and gizmos, ranging from domestic gadgets to toys and drones. The drones were fun, but in some cases difficult to control. The Ankidrive was fun and the Samsung Smart TV with Soundbar was very cool indeed. However, by far the best gadget we tried out was the iRobot Roomba 880. This is a fantastic vacuum cleaner and has remained in use at least three times a day since July this year. It does a brilliant job of vacuuming up just about any type of debris on any surface. It was fantastic!!
iRobot Roomba 880 – Winner Samsung Smart TV and Soundbar Ankidrive Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Parrot Jumping Sumo
Overall Gadget of the Year 2014
We’ve certainly tried and tested many gadgets this year. Some were disappointments, some were surprising successes. But at the end of the year, you simply have to hand the Gadget of the Year award to a recipient that deserves it for providing above and beyond expectation. With this in mind, we simply have to award the Gadget of the Year Award 2014 to iRobot Roomba 880. It’s a fantastic piece of equipment which has genuinely helped us around the house.
This week we talk about Matt’s seven days with the Smart Ebike from Mercedes. The bike is built from the ground up to be an pedelec bike, with futuristic looks and amazing features. A true ‘gadget’ for the 21st century.
Special thanks to Carl Beer at Ipswich Mercedes for arranging the loan of the bike and for being incredibly helpful and informative prior to picking the bike up!!