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
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.
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.
Find a comfortable chair and if possible sit near a window so you can get fresh air while you are working.
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’
Get dressed, you don’t go to your place of work in your pyjamas, so again, getting dressed gets your prepared for work.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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
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.
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.
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.
This morning was the final of my Mix Tape tracks played by James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk. I’ve attached the YouTube playlist yet again below which will play the interview followed by the track.
Two Tribes, by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, is a truly incredible track which absolutely blew the music scene away back in 1984 and launched the band into super-stardom.
“From the railway station in the distance came the sound of shunting trains, ringing and rumbling, softened almost into melody by the distance.” – H. G. Wells – War of the Worlds
Transcript of the interview is below.
James Hazell: The mixtape all this week has featured Matt Porter, our very own gadget guy from Matt Porter web design. We’ve been chewing the cud of technology all this week and the fascination with gadgetry and life in the future. Is there one thing, Matt, we talked yesterday about, uh, where the technology may have gone down the wrong route.
Is there one area where you think it might be behind and needs to pick up? The pace of it? Is there. A strand of life that technology
Matt Porter: has yet to improve. I’ve got very poor eye sight to where we’ll go out very thick glasses for years and I now wear contact lenses and therefore when I use things like a virtual reality headset, so when I play with them, unless I’ve got my contact lenses in, I can’t because I’ve got a pair of glasses that get away in all of this sort of stuff.
And it seems like a first world problem. I think that they’ve, there have just been developments made in. Putting displays on building displays into a contact lens, and when that finally becomes mainstream, that would just be amazing. I mean, I’ll wear contact lenses and have anyways on use to put in them in my yard.
James Hazell: It’s odd, isn’t it? Wearing glasses does seem very. Victorian almost way beyond that. We’re still doing it. That can be, I’m not, all right. You can have a call, Tina Mark three air filter over your face like they haven’t stopped. Yeah. Yeah. Apart from that,
Matt Porter: Yeah. I think that it’s, that would be super, but I think that you know, I absolutely love the fact that I could, um, uh, shut my eyes and watch your film.
James Hazell: Um, it feels like it’s a natural extension to the smartphone.
Matt Porter: I mean, I, I was, I had a, a virtual reality headset on. I can a head-up display. I had a hit. I actually had a headset on, um, a couple of years ago, and I was looking for stuff that supported it so you could turn your head around and it would. Turn your head around and it would, um, uh, move accordingly.
And, um, and I was watching these things and YouTube supports it. If you say you’ve got a headset on, it’ll show you stuff. So you can see it will move things around. And I remember sitting there and, um, suddenly. It was a, it was someone doing yoga and I didn’t know what could do with myself and where to put myself because suddenly I’m looking like real.
Yeah. I’m looking at this woman in some strange yoga position and I couldn’t cover my eyes because they were covered by this. Certainly. If it’s done well, you know, it’s fantastic. And yes, so contact lenses with built-in displays would be, that’s the future
James Hazell: Right there. Alright. We’ll wrap up with a set of questions, which we may have borrowed from a certain TV show.
We don’t need to go into that. So, Matt Porter, uh, your all-time favourite word.
Difficult. Yeah. We never tell guests about these questions.
Matt Porter: Um, sarcasm. Sarcasm.
James Hazell: Okay. Your least
Matt Porter: a favorite word or least favourite phrase is “This One”. Really? Yeah. Everybody seems to be putting pictures on social media and saying had a lovely afternoon. People
James Hazell: refer to
Matt Porter: people as this, this one. Yeah.
James Hazell: What would you say was your best
Matt Porter: quality?
I’m very caring. Very caring.
James Hazell: Good for you, and your worst quality.
Matt Porter: Um, I don’t pick up some social cues when it’s time to stop and go. Yeah. So from around someone’s house. Yeah. Don’t get that social cue that it’s now they’re standing there in their pyjamas, within the lights out,
James Hazell: and I’m still
Matt Porter: talking like that.
James Hazell: Uh, ‘Trek or ‘Wars. Careful how you answer.
Matt Porter: Well, isn’t it? Isn’t it? It’s so divisive because they are so entirely different.
James Hazell: They are entirely
Matt Porter: Different because in fairness, Trek is, is utopian.
James Hazell: Trek is a nice place.
Matt Porter: Yes, utopian, clean air, pleasant, a bit more space, that’s why Star Wars is all kind of dirty and used.
So it’s difficult to say, Oh, I’ll say Trek at the moment, because there’s a particular because a Picard’s just come on and it’s nice to see it back.
James Hazell: You’re right. Yes. A sound that you love?
Matt Porter: Trains Passing in the Night in the Distance! That’s a great noise! Oh my God!
James Hazell: Always loved the reference in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.
Uh, trains, uh, in the distance, softened almost into melody by the disc. that’s a lovely phrase.
Matt Porter: I used to hear the trains at night when I was young and I think I did actually look it up. And apparently it is a ‘thing’, most people find than the sound of trains passing in the night calm.
James Hazell: It is a thing. Yeah. Most surprising.
A sound or noise that you hate. That ‘dong’ that windows used to make when something went wrong.
Matt Porter: The Blue Screen of Death. Yeah.
James Hazell: Uh, and if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates. Do we need a website?
Matt Porter: No, God. Oh no! That’d be the worst thing! I’m glad you are here. My computer’s got a problem. Yeah., I think, um, uh, you’ve done a great job.
James Hazell: You are a caring guy.
Matt Porter: Welcome and great. Yeah. Yeah. Brilliant. Yeah.
James Hazell: Matt Porter. Great to catch up. And you will know that, again, beyond the show with us talking technology as the weeks go by of Matt Porter Web Design, final song. is an app salute stonker, it’s Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Two Tribes, for what reason, Matt?
Matt Porter: Um, when Frankie Goes to Hollywood, appeared, it was in 1984, 83-84. That time was quite frightening for people. Eh, you know, we have scary now because we’ve, it’s all to do with the doomsday clock, and we’re closer than ever now.
But back then there was a real, uh, it seemed like it could happen. There were broken down relationships between the Soviet Union and the United States. Reagan had just come in and he was quite boisterous at the time. Um, and. It was a scary time. It really felt I think there were a few movies came out, threads the day after they all kind of nuclear war movies, which are quite frightening.
Threads were very, very scary because it was so much more real. Um, so there was this feeling of impending doom that we really didn’t have much time. summed it up, some great lyrics in it. Um, and. I, it was a tough time around that time for me. You know, I’d have, we had a bereavement. My sister died a year or so before.
And, uh, it was pretty tough going and, and you kind of become involved listening to particular music and really, really enjoying it. So it was kind of a bit of escapism listening to this band. So. It was, and this track, you know, it was one of the first ones to be sort of heavily remixed and different versions.
James Hazell: 4 different mixes?
Matt Porter: Different 12” version, Annihilation, Carnage, Hibakusha and Cassette and things like that.
It was a fantastic, fantastic track. Nine weeks at number one, and I actually speak to, a couple of the members of the band as well now. Yeah. Um. Holly Johnson, not so much now. I used to have a bit of communication with him on Facebook. Brian Nash, the guitarist, he’s a real, real, real nice guy and had a few conversations with him as well.
James Hazell: Interesting. Mark O’Toole. He was another one was
Matt Porter: Mark O’Toole was the bass player. He lives in America. He’s kind of quite out of the public eye now. It doesn’t really have much to do with anything social media.
Paul Rutherford was the backing singer. He lives in New Zealand. Yes, Ped was the drummer who lives in London. I think I’m friends with him on Facebook, but he doesn’t say very much. His son’s quite an avid, surfer.
James Hazell: But back in the day, they all got together with the help of Trevor Horn of course.
Matt Porter: Trevor horn, who
James Hazell: did a remarkable job.
Matt Porter: I went to his house, actually. Yes. So to his house for a Christmas party, 27 years ago. Yeah. So, one of my friends, her uncle. Worked for Stiff Records, right. And stiff was bought by ZTT Records, which was owned by Trevor Horn and Jill Sinclair, they were invited to his Christmas party, which was a place called Hook End Manor in Oxfordshire, right, which was owned by Dave Gilmore, he had just bought it from Dave Gilmore.
James Hazell: You hang about with all the big guys don’t ya!
Matt Porter: They said, we know you’re a great fan. Will you drive us? My friends and her family said, you drive us and you can come along. So, I did. I drove. I drove out, and it was, um, Wendy and Lisa were there from Prince and the Revolution.
Yeah., and Wendy, I think Wendy or no, Lisa Coleman has got a twin, so she was there as well. So there were sort of two Lisa’s and then there was Lol Crème.
James Hazell: They are big mates.
Matt Porter: Stephen Howe from, Yes. Was there, there was a few other people’s, Seal was meant to be there, but he didn’t come. Um, same record label. Of course. Yeah. He was, yeah, he was time. Uh, yeah, it was, it was, it was
James Hazell: It was a great night that was?
Matt Porter: Day. Yeah, a whole day thing. Yeah. Well, playing table tennis in the recording studio and played pool and snooker.
There you go.
James Hazell: Final song from Frankie goes to Hollywood with the genius of Trevor Horn behind it and Matt Porter on the mix tape. Great to speak to you, Matt. We’ll speak soon. Thank you.
“I think that there are great ideas which sometimes are rolled out by the wrong people.”
This morning was the third of my Mix Tape tracks played by James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk. I’ve attached the YouTube playlist again below which will play the interview followed by the track.
This is a track which I find I go to when I need to wind down and relax. It’s great reflection music, good to chill out to.
Transcript of the interview follows.
James Hazell: The mixtape. All this week featuring Matt Porter of Matt Porter Web Design our gadget guy, who regularly is on the show talking about technology and the like. We spoke yesterday about, cars and autonomous vehicles and, and changes in our attitude to technology. Matt. It’s everything. Is every advance in technology, in your perspective being a welcome and violence?
Are there routes that we’ve gone down that have not sat come to me with you?
Matt Porter: It’s a very interesting question. Rarely. Yeah, sure. I think that,
James Hazell: right. Obviously medical technology is always to be applauded and you know, any technology, I guess that makes our lives easier. I just don’t know if it’s all been..,
..in the right direction.
Matt Porter: I think that there are great ideas which sometimes are rolled out by the wrong people.
James Hazell: That’s a good response.
Matt Porter: They don’t necessarily understand what the implications of fact technology is or the decisions about which equipment to use may not have been made for the. Right reasons, rather than our thought maybe a financial reason.
So you might not be getting the best results that you could be because of their strengths of budgets and other things. So
James Hazell: You think of the gaming, which is massive in this country, in many countries in the world, the gaming profession, which it is. but many people are now citing that. As the reason behind obesity in children not getting exercise and daylight and friendships.
Would that be an example of where technology has let us down a bit?
Matt Porter: I think so. I think one of the things that. Many of us would agree with that, although they’re all seem to be a double edge sword to everything and smartphone technology, mobile smart technology is an amazing invention. However, the, negativity, negative sides of, there are so many people becoming so antisocial through something that’s meant to make you.
So it’s almost as if you’ve channelled your…
James Hazell: Towards bringing out personal something in us rather than the technology itself
Matt Porter: into something and like, yeah, so you’re sitting there with a phone stuck against your face, ignoring people whilst talking to somebody else who’s a hundred miles away or a thousand miles away, and it’s actually caused this seems to have caused people to become less social.
People are less happy to pick a phone up and speak to you. They’d rather message you, or they’d rather send a, a text message. And I did actually watch it. It was a documentary or a piece of a news piece about, the traditional telephone effect that people aren’t using plugged in landline, no, no phones anymore.
And they interviewed people and, and people were, people were saying, well, actually making phone calls makes me anxious, so I’d draw this and now what happened there? You know where I think it
James Hazell: Probably always has. Some people just don’t like going on the telephone and do the button. So if there’s, and I don’t suppose there ever was a real alternative, so they had to do it.
Matt Porter: I think that now there is that telephones are fantastic. Voice communication is fantastic, that you don’t have to have this tech tennis match of emails and texts me example conversation. You can hear somebody how they actually mean something. You don’t have to look at it and try and read into what they’re saying.
And then through
James Hazell: Arguments in the workplace are caused by, so, you know, text, not conveying a smile.
Matt Porter: Communication beats. Exactly.
James Hazell: Yeah. Okay. When you see documentaries about the future and obviously into Sci-Fi stuff, there’s always a dystopian kind of future that we seem to be headed for. Because we become slaves to technology.
Do you think that’ll ever be the case where we become so entwined with it that
Matt Porter: Actually without it, we stop
James Hazell: Functioning as a, as a species?
Matt Porter: I mean, you
James Hazell: Could argue that
Matt Porter: That day is already around you. I was going to say, I think that we, I think we might’ve even passed that tipping point now where we become so reliant on, on this technology that we would struggle
James Hazell: to without,
Matt Porter: without it, that a dangerous place to be.
I think it probably, yes, I think he is. I think
James Hazell: That one CME from the sun, all the power goes off and we’re back to the stone age. Well, that’s very
Matt Porter: True! And we’ve seen that to a smaller extent where you have power cuts and we had a power cut last year and trains stopped running. Everything just stopped running.
Whereas, you know, there was a time when there were power stations running specifically to back up the electricity on the railway and the underground systems in London and things like that. Purely for that reason, that reason. and we had a situation where people just suddenly didn’t know what to do.
And the first. The alternative they had was to be angry and upset and stamp their feet and say, why am I late home now? This is not on. Well, it’s what would happen if there was a, an outage which wasn’t quite as easily read. It didn’t have such an easy remedy as, yeah, it’s a failure in some, protects, it was a test that went wrong and shunned down.
So, yeah. How would people cope without these things? I think we would struggle. I guess
James Hazell: We are the last generation who can remember life before the internet.
Matt Porter: Yeah. So we could
James Hazell: Probably just about, you know, go back to our child. I think, well when we were child children, this is what we did.
Matt Porter: Yeah.
James Hazell: But children now have no idea of life without the internet.
And it just worries me that they’re not such suggesting for one moment that it will ever all go off. But you don’t know. You know, that could be a major, massive fault one day, and all of a sudden. It’s off for a week and you wonder how people are going to cope.
Matt Porter: I always, always think of the Truman show.
Yeah. The film, the Truman show where if anyone hasn’t seen it, where it’s like a giant, almost like a world, a town-sized, version of big brother really isn’t aware whereas someone’s born and grown up in a, in a reality show and doesn’t know they’re in that reality show. But has, I, I think.
Feeling they might be. but the thing that always made me chuckle is at the end of that, then effectively, it finishes and that’s the end of the show. They switch it off and everybody just carried back to something else. Went back to their normal lot. Alex
James Hazell: Is on the telly. Yeah, exactly. Oh, right. A song choice for this Wednesday.
Matt Coldplay. What if for what reason?
Matt Porter: This is, Interesting one, because I used to take our children to nursery when they were younger, and one day, I particularly liked the album that this distracts on. but I remember dropping them off one day. My wife taking them in and I was standing outside the car and it was quite a sunny day and the doors were open on the car, and then this came on and it kind of grew.
Echoed around the street where we were parking, but it was kind of quite a nice, it was a lovely, lovely song. and this particular verse in that, in this song, which is really thought-provoking, you know, it, it’s one of those songs where you could read into your, something out. You could put something out of your, something that’s happened to you in your life, and maybe draw it out of this song.
“Every step that you take
Could be your biggest mistake
It could bend or it could break
That’s the risk that you take
What if you should decide
That you don’t want me there in your life
That you don’t want me there by your side”
I think it kind of encompasses everything. And my son James has a sleep disorder. bless him, terrible trouble getting him to sleep since he was born and he’s nearly 10. We used to have sleepless nights over and over again. And one of them, if I look at my playlists on, on my phone, I, it shows which track has been played the most.
We used to play music, all kinds of music, but this one, this one’s just this one has been played about 796 times or something to him. it’s a great track. Yeah. “What if?” by Coldplay? Brilliant. Yeah.
This morning was the second of my Mix Tape tracks played by James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk. I’ve attached the YouTube playlist again below which will play the interview followed by the track.
This is probably one of my favourite pieces of music ever, I don’t know quite where I first heard it, but it is a very, very, very popular dance track.
I went on holiday with my parents and some friends in Portugal. We had a villa and I brought this CD that someone had lent me, which was free on the front of Ministry Magazine, Hooj Choons.
I took that with me and it was a beautiful Villa and I went in and dragged the stereo system out beside the pool and put this on and had it blasting out sitting by the pool, and it was, it was like being in Ibiza when I was 20. It was fantastic!
This doesn’t include the abrupt ending broadcast today on air!!
Below is a playlist which includes the track after the interview.
Motor manufacturer, Kia, have today released a report detailing two pieces of customer research in November 2019 and January 2020, speaking to 3000 UK residents between 16 and 60 about their views on moving to Electric from Petrol or Diesel cars.
The research revealed that almost half of those interviewed admitted to over-exaggerating their green credentials to family and friends on subjects such as going ‘plastic-free’ and adopting zero-emission vehicles.
It transpired that 65% of parents make green decisions after pressure from their children, with 46% of parents saying they felt pressured by them to go green.
However, only 60% of Brits say they are ready to make the move to fully electric cars.
This morning, I spoke to motoring expert, Quentin Willson, who has been an electric car advocate for over a decade. He spends time lobbying the government to provide greater incentives to move to zero-emission vehicles and also has led way in getting fairer fuel charges for drivers.
You can listen to the interview in full, by clicking the play button above. You can also read the transcript of the interview below.
Matt Porter: Welcome to The Gadget Man Episode 156 – Is Society Ready to Adopt Electric Cars?
This morning I’m going to be speaking to Quinten Wilson, motoring journalist, TV, presenter and parent, and find out what his views on whether we are ready to adopt electric cars. the first question I have is from Maniel. He is concerned that if he buys an electric car, it will be less eco-friendly than his diesel because of the manner in which the electric motor is manufactured.
Quentin Willson: Well, that’s, that’s kind of nonsense really. and there’s a lot of myths surrounding this and, and the, the key research, pick this up that. People don’t know enough about electric cars, and there’s an informational issue here. But if you’re talking about mining in a democratic Republic of Congo, cobalt and things like that, it’s not brilliant, agreed. But electric cars are made usually in green factories. With renewable energy, and your, your diesel car will have been made in a factory that it’s power probably, or was prior, probably by coal and, and, and, and very intensive. Then you’ve got to get the diesel out, the ground, the oil out of the ground.
You’ve got to refine it. You’ve got to then ship it. You’ve got to transport it to the station. So. The idea that that, an old diesel or petrol car can be greener than a, an electric car is just nonsense. I mean, the numbers, it worries me that I possess his information. But over 80,000 miles, a petulant diesel car will emit 32.2 tons of CO2.
And, an electric car over the same mileage age, we’ll do 23 tons of Sierra, and that’s before you cost in all the transportation and refining of petrol and diesel. So, sorry, Maniel, it just, doesn’t apply.
Matt Porter: Yeah. He, what he started is, is as, as is quite common, with, with these kinds of forums is he cited a report which is on a, a website, which is difficult to, confirm.
The validity of it. So he’s talking about German, battery manufacturer, which is being powered by coal. but far as I’m aware, Tesla’s plans, for instance, are to build a Giga-factory in Berlin, which I assume will, their aim is to make it, from using renewable energy.
Quentin Willson: Oh, completely. Yeah. And I mean, look, if Elon Musk knows one thing, he knows how important it is, but you can’t replace, pollution and put it in another place by powering electric cars, by coal-fired power stations, that’s impossible.
Then he’s on the absolute Vanguard of all this with the solar and everything. So, it’s interesting though that we’ve got these myths being almost propagated and there is this kind of. Strange. Now fake news thing about electric cars that, you know, you can’t use them in car washes. That’s just so duff and the fact that, you know, the batteries are going to be a toxic hazard for generations to come. Where does this sort of thing come from? And I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but there’s quite a body of, of, of pushback against the whole, the whole industry. And it, it, it does worry me that this stuff still has credence.
Matt Porter: Yeah. Is a concern. I have been driving and testing electric cars, alternative fuel cars for the last five or so years myself. And I find it difficult to understand where these, where this information comes from as well. So, I’m, I’m with you on that. Chris has asked, “Do you think that the technology such as the autopilot type technology is likely to roll out into, electric cars, as a standard in the next, in the next few years, or will it be restricted to high-end models?”
Quentin Willson: I think it’s all about cost and I think, the autopilots OK, but the idea that we’ll all be driving around in autonomous cars, that’s a long way down the road. And that’s what people really think autopilot is, is, is the precursor for even Musk says, it’s at least 10 years away.
I think everybody, I talk to it all the, all the car companies say it’s probably longer, 15 years, and then you’re going to get the idea, the infrastructure worker, you can’t have rubbish signs and, and poor lines on the ground because the LIDAR and the radars have got to kind of pick all this stuff up.
So, I don’t think we’ll see autonomous cars for a long time yet. And I think, you know, your, your autopilots will, they’ll percolate down. Sure. But I don’t think there’ll be as Musk.
Matt Porter: Thank you. Graham has as asked “He lives in a terraced house with no drive or off-road parking. How is he going to be able to reliably charge his car, on a nightly basis if there is nowhere for him to plug into in his own home?”
Quentin Willson: This is a great question, and it concerns 30% of people in the UK. It’s 70% in London. if you haven’t got off-street parking, or garaging, then, you can’t really have an electric car.
So what we need to do, and again, I’ve been pushing hard, with the government for this is EV hubs that you have, in communities, in schools and supermarkets. These rapid charging hubs that people who don’t have the on-street a charging facility can take their car, plug it in for half an hour, 40 minutes, and then it’s ready to go and they can have batteries, large batteries, the size of shipping containers as well. So, you can modify the demands of all this kind of infrastructure technology. It’s there and it, you can, you can string it all together, but we just need the political will. And here’s the thing, the understanding Matt, from government ministers that we need to do this and that for me and, and, and the care research picked us up as well.
The democratization of the electric car, which is so important. We cannot carry on having them as a middle-class plaything where you’ve got your electric car and then you’ve also got Range Rover for long journeys. Everybody must have the right and the ability to drive a zero-emission car. And I’m absolutely adamant on that, and at the moment it’s skewed.
You know, really, to large income earning people. And we need to bring it right down to communities who want to be, you know, zero mission and help the environment.
Matt Porter: Do you think that that could be achieved by, government, grants or more, generous group government grants? I know there was the plugin grant, which was reduced, wasn’t it? Which was a real shame. but do you think, that needs to happen as well, or do you think it’s not affordable by the government to do that?
Quentin Willson: You can’t have it both ways, Matt, you, if you want, you know, this fantastic electric car revolution, then you’ve got to understand that it’s going to cost a lot, and we may be talking about in hundreds of billions.
Matt Porter: A bridge from Scotland to Ireland perhaps?
Quentin Willson: Yeah. Maybe two!
What we want to certainty the public wants certainty. Comment of fractures wants certainty. I want certainty. I want to know that they are going to build an infrastructure fit for the 21st century. That is future proof for the bigger, larger car batteries that are coming. A 100 kilowatt, 150 maybe even 200-kilowatt batteries and they aren’t marooned with this kind of poor thinking. The biggest problem I have with, with the government is that not enough people drive electric cars. I’ve been in a House of Commons, meeting in the House of Lords when I said, “Right, okay, how many people here actually drive an electric car?” And there’s nobody. It’s just, you know, me and a little Baroness, who, who’s always in the slow lane because she’s afraid of running out of juice!
So. I get that understanding is so important and Kia have really flagged this up in this research, which is 3000 people and it’s robust that, you know, we are anxious about this and we do want to have much more certainty and security from the government and they’re giving us these cliff edges. Choices, you know, no more new cars, petrol, new vans, or, or, or diesel cars by 2035 or maybe even 2032 will give us an option, you know, give us, give us a reason to change our behaviour and then we will.
But the two most significant things in this survey are. Your fear of not having an infrastructure and your fear of running out of batteries. So that proves that despite all the virtue signalling, the government has to do better than this
Matt Porter: There also seems to be, from what I can gather from again, from my questions, is a lack of understanding about what this switchover will be, that people.
I get the impression people tend to think that they’re going to have to suddenly stop driving their existing cars on a particular date. When the, if you like, the band comes in into, In into, into policy. And it, you know, even though when I’ve explained that no, you can carry on keeping your own car.
And then we also have people that are saying, but it’s surely going to drive the price of petrol up. It’s going to be expensive for us to keep our existing cars at that point, but too expensive to buy new ones. So we’re stuck in a rock and a hard place. So there is this kind of the whole mix of concerns.
Quentin Willson: And it’s not being properly explained to people.
Absolutely. Right! The ban, and here, let’s do this for the record, Matt. The ban concerns new Vans and cars powered by diesel and petrol after 2035 or earlier 2032 you will still be able to drive your petrol and diesel car. Nobody’s going to stop you. There may be an increase in fuel due to discourage use, but then that’s another thing I do with my “fair fuel” campaign and that that affects the cost of living and we need to keep the cost of living right down. The thing that worries me is that the government have said that they are not going to permit the sale of hybrids after that cutoff date. And I think that’s wrong-headed, but, what, what do I know?
So, people must feel that, you know, they don’t have to stop driving their cars, that you will be using these petrol and diesel cars for decades to come. Probably. and you may even see a spike in their values. Who knows? Electric car values have certainly gone up secondhand ones because of demand.
Matt Porter: The certainly seem to retain their value.
Quentin Willson: Absolutely. You look at some of the market-leading ones, and they’re up 17% in January, I think. 24% in February so far. So yeah and there’s another myth that they cost more. than petrol and petrol and diesel.
Cause actually if you factor in all the tax breaks, the benefit in kind the fact that you, if you’re a company, you can claim 100% of the cost back against the corporation tax and profits, and salary sacrifice, then the money you’ll save on fuel and, and servicing. I think we passed a watershed moment where an electric car could even be cheaper than a petrol or diesel car. Nobody’s really done the sums cause of that depreciation thing that the way you see these cars hanging on to their value and the replacement cycles are much, much longer. You keep your electric car for four, five, six, seven, eight, nine years. then I think it’s really interesting, some to have done if you look at currently.
Matt Porter: one thing is that my wife, Highlighted to me was that with hybrid cars, that there seems to be this whole mix of hybrids that are now being promoted. So, we have mild hybrids, Plugin hybrids, Self-charging hybrids. Do you not think that in some way that might confuse people that, okay, I want to buy a hybrid in there in the short term, or lease a hybrid, but, hang on a second, I’m being told that there are a whole number of different hybrids that I can have. do you think that that makes it slightly unclear to people when they look into buying a car that, are they buying the right kind of hybrid?
Quentin Willson: Absolutely you’re right, people don’t understand enough and you know, the point of sale of where you buy your electric car isn’t the right place.
Usually, the salesman wants to sell you a diesel. So, we, we really do need, as a society and as a government to start communicating these messages better and getting people to understand which is the best, the best car for you. And everybody’s needs are different and there is no charging infrastructure in certain areas.
So why would you buy a battery-powered car or buy a hybrid? And that makes perfect sense. But getting this stuff across, I think he’s really important. And yeah. Here’s the irony. Kids seem to know much more about this than parents. They really, in this research there, they are, they at the if you’ll pardon the pun, the drivers behind this, this, this moment of change.
And, and parents are reacting to the pressure from their kids. And I get it from mine. that, you know, you’ve got to do something and you’ve got to be as green as possible. And then in a way, that’s that. That’s great. Really, because it comes from innocence and our generation have kind of used up the resources of the world.
So profligately. And, and, and these kids want to change it all. And that’s, I think, a great social force that we mustn’t ignore.
Matt Porter: That’s right. there was one final question I mustn’t miss, which is important to most people, which is, Grant has asked me, “So if we all move to electric cars, how on earth will the infrastructure cope with the demand for electricity?”
Quentin Willson: Well, I, I’ve spoken to the National Grid at length about this because it’s an obvious question. and they say, when you get to say 50% penetration, we will still be okay because we will have grid management. And don’t forget that there are offshore, wind is now. Renewables is probably 55% of electricity generation.
You will need to, rebuild what is known as the ‘local circuits’, which are the wires that come into your house and into your lamppost on the streets. And that’s going cost quite a bit. That’s going to cost about 4 billion quid because they will need to take much more power. They will be able to generate enough because if we spend enough to, to, to have more renewables, more offshore, and a couple more, nuclear power stations, yes, but that’s kind of a long way off.
100% EV utilisation may never happen. Matt, it’s going to be a slow transition just because it is. and I see 30, 40, 50% by maybe 2040 and then as we get to 2050 zero-carbon, you might get 60 70% EV penetration. It just depends how we roll up the infrastructure, but everybody in the electricity generating industry and their district network operators say that we can cope if we kind of just regenerate some of the old wiring, the old substations.
Matt Porter: I think that is really important as well for people to understand, that the responsibility rests on our shoulders as much as it does, government shoulders and the, you know, if by simply looking at installing a solar panels on our homes and battery storage in our homes as well there where we can hold, we can re, we can charge three, we can hold our own power, to charge our vehicles ourselves. Or we can run our households. We’re not putting the strain on the grid at these high peak times ourselves because we’re storing energy ourselves. I think that’s a really big thing that people need to start thinking about is it’s battery storage really in their homes and solar energy.
Quentin Willson: Oh, I agree. My 21-year-old son, he never stops talking about it and showing me pictures of battery walls and, and the fact that we can, we can be completely independent of the utility companies that the big villains. And I think that’s absolutely right. And they’re all people who have these battery walls and the solar and are, are just, you know, completely pairing their house and their car on renewable energy and, Whoa, that’s just such a great goal.
Matt Porter: Quentin, thanks ever so much for your time this morning. It’s extremely interesting and I know my listeners will be happy to hear those answers and yeah, thanks ever so much for your time.
Quentin Willson: Pleasure Matt.
Matt Porter: So that was Quentin Wilson giving us his views on the impending adoption of the electric car in the next 15 years.
So, until next time, this is Matt Porter, The Gadget Man signing off.
This morning was the first of my Mix Tape tracks played by James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk. I’ve attached the YouTube playlist below which will play the interview followed by the track.
The transcript of the interview follows below.
Gadget Man Mix Tape – Part 1
James Hazell: The mixed tape all this week features the gadget man himself, Matt Porter of Matt Porter web design, our regular guide. You man. Now choosing tunes for us. Matt, great to see you
Matt Porter: Great to see you as well.
James Hazell: How are you?
Matt Porter: I’m alright, I’m good, very good. Thank you.
James Hazell: Now you’re a man. Of course. We know now is very much involved in the latest technology and all of that. You regularly report for us on the latest by way of gadgetry and all that. Have you always been that “guy”?
Matt Porter: for technology, I suppose I have. Actually, when I was at school, I had a Commodore VIC-20. That was interesting because the budget for that present was the Commodore VIC-20 on its own without the tape drive.
So, I would spend a lot of time programming and writing programs to do things. Either leaving the VIC-20 switched on because if you switched it off, it’s gone forever. So, it was a good way of learning to program because you kind of had to memorize a lot of what you did or write it down.
So, when you wanted to do it again, you had to re-type it all in. It was a painful thing. But, we’re not talking about writing a copy of Microsoft Word, there was a very limited amount of memory in a VIC-20, so the programs were never that long, but it was still a good start.
James Hazell: So, what was it, 10 PRINT “HELLO”, 20 GOTO 10?
Matt Porter: With Commodores, it was POKE 36879,22 or something like that!
James Hazell: Yeah. We’ll talk more about this as the week goes by, but we want to find out more about the man himself. So, Matt Porter, who are you? Are you a local? I get the sense you’re not Suffolk born, are you?
Matt Porter: I was born in Hitchin in Hertfordshire. I lived in that area for around 33 years and then I met a young lady on an online dating site called Udate, which is long gone. I met her on Udate and we got to know each other and fell in love.
I then sold my house in Bedfordshire at the time and moved to Ipswich to be with her. We got married and we had two children and we’re still together.
James Hazell: It’s good to hear of an online success story because they can be frowned upon in use by some people,
Matt Porter: Certainly and as usual, I have to jump into something right at the beginning, it was good.
James Hazell: You were one of the first, I reckon, cause I had no doubt.
Matt Porter: Yeah, it was 2002 or 2003
James Hazell: That’s got to be early days. It’s got to be pioneering!
Matt Porter: So there you go, that’s what brought me here.
James Hazell: So your Missus must’ve been on it as well, so I suspect she’s a bit of a tech-head as well?
Matt Porter: She’s not actually, she’s not massively, almost certainly she’s not a tech head. She’s not as enthusiastic as I am, but we run Matt Porter Web Design together.
James Hazell: She won’t go out and buy a gadget just because it’s just been released by somebody.
Matt Porter: Absolutely not. No, she’s not interested. Her smartphone battery will last for days because she doesn’t use it that much.
James Hazell: When you moved to Suffolk, was there a concern with your technology minds that you’re moving to a place it’s not, shall we say, renowned for technology. It wasn’t at the forefront, I guess?
Matt Porter: I guess not. Yeah, it turns out I ended up having an office on, on the BT campus for a number of years, and it’s a super place, not many people know what a vibrant technology community is there.
But when I came here, actually, I handed my notice in for my full-time job in Hertfordshire and sold my house. I came here and started Matt Porter Web Design when I arrived, which was madness. I didn’t know anybody personally or in business.
James Hazell: So, you’ve come here this week to choose some songs for us. You’re going to start with Satellite by The Beloved.
Matt Porter: This track came out in 1996 and at that time I was house-sitting for somebody in Stevenage. During the time of the housesitting was Euro 96, which was England played absolutely amazingly! It was one of the most fantastic tournaments with classic players.
James Hazell: We were supposed to win that one!
Matt Porter: It was an amazing tournament. But I was house sitting there. So obviously I remember, watching the games and every time we scored, I think we played The Netherlands winning 4–1.
Every time we scored, I kept ringing my mate up and screaming down the phone. At that time, they also had satellite TV with MTV, and I was watching that and hadn’t really watched it before. This particular video for Satellite by The Beloved came on and it’s quite memorable. If you ever watch it on YouTube, it’s quite a memorable video, quite groundbreaking I guess, and the song’s fantastic as well. I actually have contact vaguely with Jon Marsh, who’s the singer with The Beloved by being a member of The Beloved Facebook Group. He regularly posts on there. It’s quite geeky, I guess.