Category Archives: Matt Porter

The Gadget Man – Episode 101 – WannaCry – WannaCrypt – Eternal Blue – What Happened and What to Do?

Following my previous post which can be found here, I talked this morning to Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk about WannaCry and the effect it has had on the NHS, what needs to be done to stop it happening again and what we can do to protect ourselves.

To read and in depth article on how to protect your computers from such attacks, click here

PLEASE ensure your computers have all their updates installed and make sure you have Anti-Virus software installed.



Edifier MP280 – A New Generation of Portable Speaker

Lighter evenings are upon us at last! We can start to look forward to getting out in the fresh air again after hibernating over the winter months. As always when I start thinking of spending more time outside I begin looking for gadgets that I can take with me.

I’ve recently been sent the Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker something that is clearly marketed to outdoor enthusiasts.

Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker
Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker

I’ve always found Edifier really high quality and the MP280 checks that box, it feels solid and well made with special silicone material and metal. The speakers are wrapping around the cylindrical design and give 360 degree sound along with professional grade DSP chips to give exceptional sound quality.

Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker
Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker

The MP280 comes with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, microSD and Aux sockets. There is the added bonus of a USB out port which means you can use the speaker to charge your phone or other USB device when you are out and about. The speaker can be charged using a standard micro USB socket and when fully charged, the lithium ion battery should give 10 hours of constant playback.

Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker
Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker

The on/off button is placed on top of the speaker along with the Bluetooth pairing button. When switched on, the speaker plays a pleasant tune to let you know it’s working and to demonstrate it’s lovely sound quality. On the side is the volume controls and also a button used play and pause music which can also be used to display the current battery charge status which when pressed for 2 seconds displays the battery status using 3 green LED’s.
At the bottom of the speaker is the power / status light and just above this is an NFC contact point. If you have an NFC (near field connection) compatible phone you simply tap your phone on this and it sorts out the connection for you.

Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker
Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker

As a smartphone user, I am constantly faced with battery anxiety, where I might struggle to the end of the day without having to plug my phone into a charger. The MP280 can remove this anxiety by doubling as an emergency recharge station to give your phone a boost and continue to play your music whilst charging it up again.

Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker
Edifier MP280 Portable Speaker

The speaker will operate up to 10 metres away from your phone using Bluetooth 4.0 technology and the really useful and it also doubles as a hands free device with it’s in built microphone!

If you fancy going for a hike with your friends or family, you can attach the speaker to your backpack using the inbuilt carabiner clip. Again this is feels high quality too.

There are no shortage of portable bluetooth speakers on the market at the moment and the MP280 certainly sits at the top end of this with a well made, high quality product ideal for your camping trips in the coming months.

The Edifier MP280 is available for £79.99 at the this link

The ASUS Transformer Mini T102H Review – Is it a Laptop or a Tablet?

For the last few weeks, I have been testing the ASUS Transformer Mini, a device which can be a laptop and tablet depending on your mood.

ASUS Transformer Mini T102H
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

The idea of a tablets with keyboards is not a new one, these were generally add-on keyboards for iPads or Android tablets which worked well, but seemed out of place on a device that was designed to be operated without one. There have also been laptops with detachable keyboards which in turn felt out of place running software which was designed for one.

The key change is the introduction of Windows 10 which can seamlessly transform itself from a keyboard and mouse centric operating system into a touch and swipe based tablet and back again, simply by detaching and reattaching a keyboard,

ASUS Transformer Mini T102
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

ASUS have been in the ‘transforming’ tablet market for some time and the Transformer Mini T102H brings a very useful addition to the table with a 10.1″ LED backlit HD screen which uses ASUS’s ‘Splendid’ and ‘Wideview’ Technology to give great viewing angles.

ASUS Transformer T102H
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

Powered by the Intel® Atom™ x5 Processor and 4 GB of RAM. The hard disk is in fact Solid State memory and gives your 64GB of silent running. Everything on board is low power and there didn’t appear to be any internal fans to cool the device.

The graphics are fast and snappy helped by the integrated Intel HD Graphics processor and there’s also an inbuilt 2 megapixel webcam for Skype or other video chat applications.

The great thing about Windows tablets is the number of connectors, the Transformer has a 3.5 mm combo audio jack, USB 3.0 and Micro USB ports, a micro HDMI socket, Fingerprint reader for login, volume controls and micro SD card slot.

ASUS Transformer Mini T102
ASUS Transformer Mini T102

The detachable keyboard was really easy to use and attaches using a powerful magnet and always seemed to line up properly and was responsive to use with the inbuilt trackpad. My Transformer also came with a stylus which is battery powered and looks and feels like a real pen, it was great for drawing and painting using the bundled apps and can also be used to write on-screen sticky note.


ASUS Transformer T102H
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

I really enjoyed using the Transformer and it makes a great device for people who are comfortable with tablets, but also need a real keyboard for their work, possibly an idea for students? At £449 it is reasonably price too.

Facebook swamped with FAKE supermarket voucher codes AGAIN!

Another weekend in the UK and Facebook users are both being SWAMPED  and are SWAMPING the web with fake voucher codes AGAIN!

Despite repeated warnings by supermarkets and trading standards across the country, there seems no let up in the social sharing of these codes along with the very high chance of having identities stolen or at the very least being added to email spam lists.

The method of sharing these scams are by using ‘Social Engineering’, ie. Friends and Family share them and add legitimacy to an other wholly illegitimate fraud.

By clicking on these fake vouchers and accepting what appears to be a vaguely official looking terms and conditions, people are effectively handing over their personal details in return for absolutely nothing…

So, what are the giveaways?

  1. An example FAKE voucher

    The vouchers contain an expiry date in US date format

  2. The barcode is the same for each voucher, these would need to be unique.
  3. The issuing store is ALWAYS Greenhithe.
  4. It can ONLY be redeemed with your original receipt
  5. All of the vouchers seem to mention ADSA Direct rather than the store they are supposedly issued under.
  6. The domain name is suspicious to say the least, The URL has not relation to Morrisons other than a VERY DUBIOUS domain name.

All of these would lead me to be extremely suspicious of the validity of the offer. So let us look at the domain name

For starters I see no logical reason for any large company to be using such a cryptic URL for anything, but lets look at where this website lives. We do this by using a common command call ‘ping’.

PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=49 time=31.111 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=49 time=31.736 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=49 time=32.421 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=49 time=30.546 ms

We are returned an IP address, this is the physical address that this voucher code lives at, in the case of this voucher code it resolves to

We can then lookup the IP using and it gives the following results

  1. The host (or computer holding the web site is located in France. This makes the tracing of the owner much more difficult as it requires international law enforcement cooperation
  2. This shows that 30 other websites are located on the same server. I would suggest these are probably variants of the web address, possibly other store names.
  3. This is the ‘abuse’ contact for this IP address, in this case it is [email protected] . This is the email address people should contact to report unlawful behaviour. Worth noting.

We now have the contact details of the host in order to report unlawful behaviour.

OK, we can now lookup the domain name to find out it’s owner. In this case it is using subdomains, so we can comfortably ignore the morrisons and hieroglyphics and concentrate on the TLD or Top Level Domain

  1. GRABINN.US is the domain name used to host the voucher
  2. NAMECHEAP is the registrar (or company holding the domain name)
  3. Lisa Alex is the registered owner of the domain (probably a fake name)
  4. This is the registered address of the domain owner (probably fake too), it doesn’t look like a valid address and the telephone and fax numbers are also fake looking.

So, by the look of everything, we have a domain name that cost 99p to register using a LOW COST registrar, hosted on a server that charges £1.60 per month on a  LOW COST server by a fake name at a fake address in Pakistan (supposedly).

Now, YOU need to ask yourself the following question,

Would a multinational company employ a person to run it’s national voucher system whilst sitting behind fake credentials on low cost hardware? Or would they use their own existing IT infrastructure?

Why not spend the time you might have spent being duped by reporting these people to the ‘abuse’ email address and help STOP this kind of thing from continuing.

If you live in Suffolk or Norfolk, we now have our own Cyber & Serious Crime Department which can be contacted by dialling 101. I have spoken to several officers working in this division and they are all very professional and take cyber crime very seriously.

Gadget Man – Episode 99 – Hackers, Spammers and Scammers

This morning I was interviewed by Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk about what makes me grumpy?

At the moment a lot of my time is spent securing websites and investigating hacking attempts, so this felt like a legitimate ‘grump’.

If you own a website, don’t assume it’s secure, make sure it’s secure.

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

Forget BST and GMT, All you need is Matthew Mean Time!

I sit here after reading debate after debate on the need for BST or British Summer Time and it has brought back some fond memories with my own personal battle with time keeping aged 17 – 22 years.

In 2016 there is no reason to EVER be late for anything. We have electronic gadgets to remind us by phone, text, email, popup reminders and our wrists now buzz with the wide variety of wearables. Simplicity is supposed to be the key, we can now set alarms then pause (or snooze) or even postpone them completely. Of course everything is now synchronised on all manner of electronic equipment connected by WiFi, 4g, 3g and bluetooth, it now seems we don’t have any excuse to be late anymore, we can even ask our gadgets to do things without actually physically interacting with them. With the advent of a new generation of ‘smart speakers’ such as Amazon Echo and Google home we won’t even need to remember when it’s time to go to work because these devices will already know. It truly is the dawn of artificial intelligence and machine learning. We are now standing on the precipice of self aware technology.

Sam Fox 1986 Calendar, popular in the 80's
Sam Fox 1986 Calendar, popular in the 80’s

Now… let us take a step back 30 years to 1986 where things were oh so different.

Smartphones? What the hell are they?. Bluetooth was a long lost King of Denmark and email was something people at Berkeley University used to send to each other between classrooms. Calendars hung on walls, normally fixed on one particular month if you happened to own the 1986 Sam Fox Official Calendar.

The master of timekeeping was sitting next to your bed, a wonder of technology who’s sole purpose was to ease your from sleep to awake in an instant, an efficient mechanism which could wake your either brutally with a ear piercing beeping noise or with the assistance of DJ Mike ‘Smithy’ Smith (Rest in Peace) gently coaxing you from your golden slumber, easing you into realities of Monday mornings.

What ‘Gadget’ do you speak of? What mastery of 80’s technology could this be?

Of course this invention was the ‘Digital Clock Radio’.

Mine was your ‘bog standard’ affair, equipped with Radio or ‘Beep’ alarm with the addition of snooze. An amazing invention to be ignored, paused and sworn at for many years until 1993 when lack of sleep and long hours of work forced be to put my fist through it early one Sunday morning!

There was however a big problem with my digital clock radio, a VERY big problem.

My boss enquiring as to my expected arrival time at the office.
My boss enquiring as to my expected arrival time at the office? Bosses in the 1980s provided workplace based motivational encouragement under a dark cloak of unpleasantness and aggressive threatening undertones.

The device only only allowed one alarm to be set at any one time of the day. This would work fine if every morning you had to rise at 6:50am. During the weekend you would switch the alarm button to OFF, allowing you a short lay-in on a Saturday or Sunday morning (what are they???) and making sure the switch was placed in AUTO on Sunday evening to avoid that ‘Where the HELL are you? call at 10.50am from your boss the next day!

Setting the alarm on a clock radio
Setting the alarm on a clock radio. A strange contortion of finger and thumb was needed to alter the alarm time.

However, my work hours weren’t regular back then. Sometimes a project needed completing early and the alarm  would need to set a couple of hours earlier for the next day. The radio didn’t allow for setting the alarm back a hour, it required repeatedly clicking one button whilst holding the other in order to advance the alarm 22 hours to set it from 7am to 5am, the buttons were never that comfortable or ‘ergonomic’ thus 22 hours of clicking would mean a cricked thumb and sore fingertips. Setting the alarm forward two hours was obviously much less painful. Things got more frustrating when you ‘missed’ an hour whilst cycling past it in haste,  causing yet more endless clicking until the desired hour was found (lets not even get on to minutes!).

It came to me in an instant, the solution was obvious
It came to me in an instant, the solution was obvious!

it was while advancing the alarm through this 22 hour period that it suddenly hit me like a bolt of lightening!! A solution found my accident, by the slip of a thumb, an accidental advance of time rather than alarm! There was no need to go through this tedious task at all! Setting the alarm back 2 hours was easily achieved by simply advancing the main clock forward 2 hours and leaving the alarm where it was, 8pm became 10pm, then the alarm would be shifted forward an hour, the ‘real’ time remaining still, time adjustment was always achieved by setting alarm or time forward, there was not tediously clicking needed anymore.

Thus on that fateful day in 1986, MMT was born, but this wasn’t the internationally recognised Myanmar Mean Time, no this was my personal time zone named Matthew Mean Time, a constantly moving time zone designed to allow me to get into work on time without sore fingertips!

A nonsensical time to visitors
A nonsensical time to visitors who remained befuddled and annoyed at the clocks apparent state of incorrectness . Interference commonly threatened the  consequence of unplanned, unexpected  and unwanted early morning awakenings.

The nonsensical mess of time displayed on my Digital Clock Radio that mean’t so much to me, the protector of timekeeping, the barrier from verbal and written warnings for repeated lateness at work mean’t absolutely nothing to visitors who remained confused and befuddled by the meaningless number displayed on my bedside clock. Some would bring the ‘error’ to my attention even offering to correct it for me. On one occasion a friend adjusted the time to GMT for me whilst I was out of the room and thus cause the alarm to sound at 2.30am the next day! But still MMT continued until 1991 when it travelled with me to live in Harrow but was deemed unacceptable by my partner and it’s use immediately ceased.

Although a good idea, MMT was sometimes met with confusion and derision
Although a good idea, MMT was sometimes met with confusion and derision. Frustration led to attempts to correct the time which in turn had drastic implications.

Whilst I sit here writing this article, the day after the clocks have ‘gone back’, the end of British Summer Time 2016, with the inevitable drag of darker, colder evenings, I lament at the demise of MMT and it’s five year reign in my life, along with the repeated “What the HELL is wrong with your clock Matt?” and it’s proud reply…

“Oh that? Don’t worry, that’s just Matthew Mean Time”

Happily the need for such amateurish horology related hokum is unnecessary in todays world. Altering your alarm time is now as simple as uttering the words ‘OK Google’ and crossing your fingers.

Gadget Man – Episode 89 – Star Trek 50th Anniversary – Fantasy Gadgets that are now Reality

uss_enterprise_ncc-1701-aToday we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek which first aired in 1964! Amazingly the series only ran for 3 series before being cancelled NBC. The show was an instant hit with a core group of fans now called ‘Trekkies’ or ‘Trekkers’. Star Trek went on to be shown on repeats or reruns many times over the years.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock. Image courtesy Wikimedia

Star Trek went on to spawn 13 motions pictures starting in 1979 with ‘Star Trek – The Motion Picture’ and 5 subsequent televisions series including The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise. As well as the ‘Animated Series’ and a planned ‘Discovery’ planned for 2017. Along with all of this visual entertainment comes an enormous library of novels, audiobooks and reviews and in depth analysis of all of the above, it’s almost breathtaking!

William Shatner as Captain James T Kirk. Image courtesy Wikipmedia

Star Trek is now surely etched in science fiction folklore possibly (and arguably) only surpassed in popularity by the monolithic and multi billion pound Star Wars franchise

What makes Star Trek so attractive is it’s almost prophetic vision of gadgets of the future. Today in the 21st century we can make use of gadgets and technology first shown a half a century ago.

From sliding doors, universal translators, natural language conversations with computers, tablets computers, personal communicators, virtual reality to food replicators and more!

So, what do we have to look forward to in the next 50 years?

Well, personally I can’t wait next movie instalment and next years TV series, but moreover, I REALLY looking forward to Warp Drive, Matter Transporters and Interstellar Space Travel.

In the words of Mr Spock (and spoken in the language of Mr Worf:-

qaStaHvIS yIn ‘ej chep

(“Live Long and Prosper” in Klingon)

Earlier I spoke to Mark Murphy at BBC Radio Suffolk about how these devices now form an integral part of our lives, so listen in don’t forget to comment below.

qaStaHvIS yIn ‘ej chep

Gadget Man – Episode 88 – 500,000,000 Yahoo accounts stolen in Worlds Biggest Hack

Yahoo HQ
Yahoo HQ – image credit Yahoo

On Friday, I spoke to Mark Murphy on the Morning Show on BBC Radio Suffolk about the breaking news story concerning the massive data breach at Yahoo, possibly converning over 500,000,000 user accounts and by far the largest leak in history.

Listen to the short interview where I explain what I think happened and what Yahoo users should do to ensure their accounts are kept safe and secure from now on.

Yahoo has released a statement concerning the breach, we can be read here

Featured image credit Can Pac Swire on Flickr

Grumpy Old Gits – 9th September 2016 with Matt Porter, Neil Bowles and Tim Edwards

Grumpy Old Gits came to an end a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the episode from 9th September 2016 with Matt Porter, Neil Bowles and Tim Edwards all kept in order by Mark Matthews!!

Queuing, a very British passtime
Queuing, a very British passtime