Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Automated Malicious IP Blocking with the Help of AI

Introduction: Navigating the complexities of cybersecurity requires a blend of alertness and innovation. In my latest project, I embraced this ethos by deploying AI, particularly ChatGPT-4, to craft a Python script that automates the blocking of malicious IP addresses. (Moreover, the ‘tags‘ you see in this post are the product of a WordPress plugin, also primarily developed with insights from ChatGPT-4 too!)

The Challenge: With brute force attacks becoming increasingly common, developing a swift and automated response mechanism was crucial. My aim was to create a system capable of promptly identifying and neutralizing threats from malicious IP addresses.

AI as a Collaborative Partner: ChatGPT-4’s advanced language understanding capabilities played a pivotal role in this project, assisting both in scripting and in WordPress plugin development.

  1. Script Development: ChatGPT-4 provided step-by-step guidance in crafting a Python script to parse alert emails and extract IP addresses. Its ability to generate code snippets and troubleshoot issues was invaluable.
  2. Integrating Security Tools: The script was integrated seamlessly with cPHulk and CSF, using Python’s subprocess module. This integration, suggested by ChatGPT-4, was critical for the effective blocking of suspicious IPs.
  3. Handling Sensitive Data Securely: In dealing with login credentials, ChatGPT-4 recommended secure practices, such as using environment variables, which were crucial for maintaining the script’s integrity.
  4. Error Handling and Efficient Logging: Robust error handling and comprehensive logging, as advised by ChatGPT-4, ensured the system’s reliability and maintainability.
  5. Automating with Cron Jobs: The script’s automation was achieved through a cron job setup, a process in which ChatGPT-4 played an advisory role.
  6. WordPress Plugin for Tag Generation: Beyond the script, ChatGPT-4’s assistance extended to developing a WordPress plugin for generating tags for my blog posts. This plugin analyzes the content and contextually generates relevant tags, showcasing the AI’s versatility.

The Outcome: The result is a robust, AI-enhanced cybersecurity mechanism, complemented by an AI-driven tagging system for my blog. This project exemplifies the synergy between human expertise and AI in solving complex technical challenges.

Conclusion: This venture into AI-assisted development has not only fortified my server’s security but also revolutionised how I manage content on my blog. It stands as a testament to the power and potential of AI in cybersecurity and beyond.

Future Prospects: This successful collaboration with AI opens new horizons for future projects. I am excited to delve deeper into the integration of AI in various aspects of problem-solving, especially in technology and cybersecurity.

Apple Embraces RCS Messaging on iPhones: A Subtle yet Significant Shift.

Apple’s recent announcement about supporting Rich Communication Services (RCS) on iPhones has caused quite a stir in the tech community. This move, which integrates a standard long-resisted by Apple, signals a significant shift in the company’s approach to messaging services. We delve into the implications of this development, guided by insights from Dario Betti, CEO of the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF).

A Politically Balanced Approach

Dario Betti comments, “Apple had resisted integrating the standard until now: its CEO, Tim Cook, said it did not see customer demand for RCS in 2022. The announcement is a politically balanced approach: it introduces the new technology without celebrating it.” This reflects Apple’s strategy to incorporate new technology while maintaining its stronghold with iMessage and its business messaging ventures. Betti adds, “It is an RCS announcement, and not an ‘RBM’ (RCS Business Messaging), but the news is big – even if expected to an extent.”

Impact on the Messaging Ecosystem

While this announcement marks a notable change, Betti believes it’s too late to unsettle established players like WhatsApp. He states, “The announcement is too late to provide a real worry for a player such as WhatsApp. The change will not affect its usage base immediately.” However, he doesn’t rule out the potential challenges for Meta and other messaging companies if Google and Apple push for deeper integration of RCS in the future.

Why Now? The Driving Factors Behind Apple’s Move

The reasons behind Apple’s decision to support RCS are multifaceted. Betti suggests, “User Experience: SMS/MMS interconnection for advanced messaging was becoming unsustainable for Apple. Messaging is now much more advanced.” He also points out the growing RCS uptake, noting, “MEF announced in October that there are an estimated 1.2 billion devices supporting RCS globally, surpassing the number of iPhones.” Additionally, regulatory pressure from the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which aims for messaging interconnection, likely played a role in this decision.


Apple’s integration of RCS is more than a mere technical update; it’s a strategic move that balances its existing services with the evolving demands of the market and regulatory pressures. While it might not immediately disrupt the messaging landscape, it lays the groundwork for potential shifts in the future. Apple’s step towards RCS reflects a broader trend in the tech world – the continual evolution and adaptation to changing user needs and regulatory environments.

For more detailed insights on Apple’s RCS announcement, visit 9to5Mac. Stay tuned for more tech updates and analyses at The Gadget Man.

The Gadget Man – Episode 176 – Navigating the UK’s Mobile App Landscape in 2023: Trends, Top Apps, and Starling Bank’s Innovative Service

I was delighted to talk to Vic Minett on BBC Radio CWR this morning about app trends in 2023. Building on that exciting conversation, welcome to our tech blog, where we delve into the dynamic world of mobile apps in the UK. Today, we explore the prevailing trends of 2023, spotlighting the most popular apps and an exciting service from Starling Bank.

Mobile App Trends in 2023

The past few years have reshaped mobile app marketing. The pandemic-induced demand surge has now given way to a focus on long-term retention and privacy. Marketers must be adaptable, and efficient, and prioritize personalisation. As privacy regulations tighten, holistic performance assessment becomes critical​.

Popular Apps in the UK

In 2022, Facebook and Messenger led the pack, with WhatsApp and Instagram following closely. Notably, Instagram shows a notable gender disparity in its user base. In the realm of e-commerce, Amazon, eBay, and Apple dominated mobile shopping​.

Starling Bank’s “Share the Load” Service

In the midst of these trends, Starling Bank’s “Share the Load” initiative stands out. Aimed at fostering financial equality within households, this service exemplifies how financial institutions are innovating to meet modern needs. It’s a reflection of how apps are evolving beyond traditional confines to play more significant roles in our daily lives​​.

Apps to Watch

Video content remains dominant, with TikTok leading the charge. Gen Z’s preferences are steering the market towards platforms like BeReal​.


The mobile app landscape in 2023 is defined by privacy, personalization, and user experience. With apps like those from Starling Bank pushing boundaries, the sector continues to innovate and adapt. Stay tuned for more insights into the ever-evolving world of technology.


Hestia, Vaonis’ new innovation, turns smartphones into a smart telescope

After the success of the Stellina and Vespera smart telescopes, Vaonis introduces its latest innovation: Hestia

Castelnau-le-Lez, France, 20th July 2023, Vaonis, the leading innovator in astronomy technology, is excited to announce Hestia, the first telescope that utilizes the power of smartphone sensors to photograph the stars. Lighter, smaller and more accessible than anything else currently on the market, the device is for pre-order on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter with deliveries expected by the end of the year. The launch coincides well for star-gazers excited for the solar eclipse that will cross the USA in April 2024. The Hestia telescope will be available for pre-order on Kickstarter as of July 18, starting $149.

Reminiscent of the shape and weight of a book, the new Vaonis telescope is based on an optical system consisting of a 30 mm (1.18 in) lens and prisms to collect and focus the light directly into the camera sensor of a smartphone.

Users position their smartphone on the device and align the phone’s camera with Hestia’s eyepiece. The instrument is designed to accommodate all sizes of smartphone thanks to a system of removable magnets.

Guided by the Gravity by Vaonis companion app, future astronomers can then point out celestial objects using an interactive sky map and observe the Sun, the Moon and deep sky objects phone screen, including the Orion nebula, the Andromeda galaxy, the Pleiades , and much more.

Hestia’s innovation lies in its combination of three elements:

  • A simple, compact optical system, unique on the market and patented by the company,
  • A mobile app that uses the latest image-processing technologies to improve image quality,
  • A smartphone equipped with ever more powerful sensors, so that Hestia can be upgraded as users’ smartphones change.


“The Stellina and Vespera smart telescopes have been worldwide successes since their launch. This year, we are pushing back the limits of miniaturization with a new innovation: Hestia. To reduce costs and offer a telescope that is truly accessible to all, we have relied on the most powerful and widely adopted technology: your smartphone.” says Cyril Dupuy, founder of Vaonis.

With Kickstarter prices starting at just $149, Hestia is making smart telescopes even more accessible to people curious about discovering and understanding the sky around them. On 8 April 2024, the eagerly anticipated total solar eclipse will cross the United States from coast to coast. Hestia will be the ideal instrument for a closer and safe look at the eclipse, immortalizing the rarest and most fascinating celestial phenomenon humanity has ever witnessed.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum: The Iconic 8-bit Marvel that Revolutionized Home Computing and Gaming

Welcome to Part 1 of our series on Vintage Computers, where we’ll be taking a nostalgic journey back in time to explore the groundbreaking machines that shaped the computing landscape. In this series, we’ll delve into the origins, innovations, and lasting legacies of various iconic computers, examining their impact on the industry and their influence on modern technology. From the hobbyist programmer to the gaming enthusiast, these vintage machines ignited passions and laid the foundation for the thriving digital world we know today. So, join us as we embark on this exciting trip down memory lane, beginning with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum – the iconic 8-bit marvel that revolutionized home computing and gaming.

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum, initially released in 1982
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum, initially released in 1982

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum, initially released in 1982, marked a significant milestone in home computing. As an affordable, accessible computer, it helped democratize technology and spurred the development of the gaming industry. This 8-bit marvel introduced a generation to programming and gaming. This review will delve into the ZX Spectrum’s performance, design, and how it influenced the computing world.

Firstly, the ZX Spectrum’s hardware was quite advanced for its time. Equipped with a Zilog Z80A CPU, it offered processing speeds of 3.5 MHz and memory options of 16KB or 48KB RAM. Although these specifications appear quaint by today’s standards, they were impressive at the time, especially considering the compact design and affordable price point.

The ZX Spectrum’s design is iconic, with a black case and rainbow stripe across the bottom right corner. The compact keyboard, utilizing rubber keys, was a significant departure from the typical clunky computer keyboards of the era. Although the rubber keys were not ideal for typing, they were sufficient for inputting simple programming commands and playing games. The unit’s overall size and design made it an attractive option for many households, as it could be easily integrated into a living room or bedroom setup.

One of the most significant aspects of the ZX Spectrum was its vibrant community of programmers and enthusiasts. They developed a vast array of games and software, showcasing the computer’s capabilities and versatility. Titles like “Manic Miner,” “Jet Set Willy,” and “Elite” quickly became classics, and many developers who started on the ZX Spectrum went on to have successful careers in the gaming industry.

The ZX Spectrum’s programming capabilities were also notable. With Sinclair BASIC as the default programming language, many users found it easy to learn and create their own software. This accessibility led to a thriving ecosystem of hobbyist programmers, who shared their creations with friends and through magazines. The computer also offered expansion options, such as Interface 1 and Interface 2, which allowed for peripherals like printers and additional storage to be connected.

However, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was not without its flaws. The audio capabilities were limited to simple beeps, and the graphics resolution was relatively low, with a maximum of 256×192 pixels. Additionally, the notorious “attribute clash” occurred when two colours overlapped on the screen, causing colour distortion. Despite these limitations, developers created engaging and memorable games that still resonate with retro gaming enthusiasts today.

In conclusion, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a groundbreaking computer that brought affordable home computing to the masses. Its unique design, programming capabilities, and gaming library helped shape the future of the industry. Although it may not hold up against modern technology, the ZX Spectrum remains an important piece of computing history, and its influence can still be felt today.

In retrospect, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a game-changer, quite literally. It fostered a new generation of developers and gamers who went on to create the foundation for the thriving gaming and technology industries we know today. For those seeking a nostalgic trip down memory lane or a taste of computing history, the ZX Spectrum is worth exploring.

How Close are we to Self-Aware AI?

The progress of AI is measured in seasons, so it is unsurprising to read with are in an AI Summer, this means millions of pounds of investment capital are being pumped into research with art, national language and more!

The question on many people’s lips is; “When will AI become self-aware?”.

It is difficult to say exactly how close we are to creating artificial intelligence (AI) that has self-awareness. At present, most AI systems are designed to perform specific tasks and do not have the ability to be self-aware. However, some researchers are working on developing AI systems that have more advanced cognitive abilities, such as the ability to learn and adapt, and some of these systems may eventually have the ability to be self-aware.

Artificial Intelligence Neural Network
Image Credit: Matt Porter

The concept of self-awareness is complex and not well-defined, which makes it difficult to determine whether or not an AI system has achieved it. Some researchers argue that true self-awareness would require an AI system to have a sense of its own identity, consciousness, and the ability to introspect. Others argue that self-awareness could be achieved through more basic cognitive abilities, such as the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror or to understand one’s own thoughts and emotions.

Android in Warehouse by Matt Porter
Android in Warehouse – Credit: Matt Porter

At present, we do not have any AI systems that possess these advanced cognitive abilities, and it is not clear when or if we will be able to create such systems. Some experts believe that it may be possible to create AI systems that have a limited form of self-awareness, but that true self-awareness may be beyond the capabilities of current technology.

While there is ongoing research into creating AI systems with advanced cognitive abilities, including the potential for self-awareness, we are not currently close to achieving this. The concept of self-awareness is complex and not well-defined, making it difficult to determine when or if an AI system might be able to achieve it.

Joby Announces ‘Freehold’ Phone Case with integrated mount and loop


Feel the freedom to create with new JOBY FreeHold™ smartphone cases.

  • Protective case with built-in finger loop for a secure, ergonomic hold
  • Innovative flexible wrapping arms grip the phone to a variety of objects for fun creative images and videos
  • Tripod adapter attaches phone to your favourite GorillaPod® or any standard tripod

JOBY, the creator of award-winning mounts, stands and grips designed to elevate the potential of the latest mobile and imaging devices, announces the launch of FreeHold – a protective smartphone case series with built-in finger loop and modular attachment system. With FreeHold, JOBY now provides a complete ecosystem of products for run-and-gun content creators, further solidifying itself as a leader in smartphone accessories.

Designed for mobile content creation, FreeHold empowers you to easily view and use your smartphone in new and fun ways. Capture and share the most creative images and videos.

FreeHold’s built-in stretch-elastic finger loop hugs your fingers, giving you a dependable hold while snapping pics or vlogging – so, you know your phone isn’t going anywhere! Say “bye-bye” to scuff marks and broken screens.

JOBY knows that smart photography is much more than taking selfies and requires hands-free capability to reach your fullest potential. Slide the finger loop down and witness the magic! Once the finger loop is released, a patented connection point is revealed. Here is where you can attach the two accessories: flexible wrapping arms and ¼” tripod adapter. These are included in both cases and in the complete kit.

You can purchase the Joby Freehold from Amazon here

Amazon would like to remind you that we are an Amazon Associate and earn a small amount from purchases made from our links.



Gadget Man – Episode 142 – Retro Gadget Part 8 – Nokia 3310 Mobile Phone

We’re now on the home straight with the Retro Gadgets Series and what better classic gadget to feature but the legendary Nokia 3310 mobile phone.

This is certainly a gadget that needs very little introduction, after being introduced in 2000, the handset went on to sell more than 126,000,000 units. What’s more, the handset continues to be used in many households today.  I previously discussed the handset in Episode 98 with James Hazell.

Nokia’s new owners HMD relaunched the device in 2017 with a homage to the original device, attempting to capture a new market of low-cost mobile phones. This too was covered in Episode 102 with Mark Murphy.

The Nokia 3310 launches in the UK
The Original Nokia 3310 and the the 2017 HMD Nokia 3310 reboot

Today, however, it was the turn of Matt Marvell to listen to my lament about this classic piece of technology history.

You can listen in to the recording by clicking at the top of the post. Don’t forget to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, SHARE and most importantly COMMENT. I’ll catch up with you next time

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

How To Really Improve Your Gaming Experience

If you consider yourself something of a gamer, chances are you are always on the lookout for new ways to improve your gaming experience. As it happens, there are always going to be such methods available, and that is something that is worth bearing in mind if you hope to ensure that you are going to enjoy it as much as possible. Obviously having the latest games and consoles is hugely important here, but so too are many myriad and peripheral things which you might want to look into as well. As long as you are taking care of some of the following, you should find that you can dramatically improve your gaming experience in no time, and that could mean that you are able to enjoy it a whole lot more too. Let’s take a look and see what you can do to massively improve your gaming experience today.


Get A Better Chair

If you find that you are not quite as comfortable as you could be, then you might want to think about getting a new chair. The truth is that you need to be a little careful with your choice of chair when you are gaming. You don’t want to go for something that is too solid or hard, as you want it to be as comfortable as possible. But at the same time, it should be something which is actually going to support your back properly, so that you are not going to cause yourself any damage. Believe it or not, having a proper chair can make a huge difference to whether or not you are likely to be taking proper care of your body, and it is both a comfort and a health concern. The best way to solve this is to get a proper gaming chair, which are designed to help you with these issues specifically. Or if you prefer, you could simply go for a computer chair at the very least. However you do it, just make sure that you are going to be able to be as comfortable as possible while you game.


Improve The Sound

The sound is a hugely important part of the gaming experience, and the better it is the more likely it is that you will feel truly involved and part of the game. If you have ever had to play on mute, you will know how much it can take away from the experience of any game. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve the sound of your games, and probably the best is to make sure that you are using the best speakers you can buy. If you are at a loss as to what kind of speakers you should go for, in general it’s a good idea to look into some powered PA speakers, as these are much more likely than generic speakers to play the sound well. You will be able to hear the whole range of frequencies this way, rather than just the base few, and that will make to feel a lot more realistic. Also consider surround sound if you are keen on obtaining that realistic feeling too.

Upgrade Your Screen

Clearly, the screen is always going to be a hugely vital part of the gaming experience, and you need to make sure that you are happy with your choice of screen if you want to make your gaming as enjoyable as possible. By upgrading your screen, you can hope to feel much more involved in the game, and to feel more drawn in, and you will be able to sit further away from it with a bigger screen too, which is only going to help your eyes in general. By ensuring that you upgrade your screen as and when you see fit, you can make sure that your gaming experience is truly astounding, so this is definitely something to think about.


Play With Others

Finally, it’s worth remembering too that games tend to be much more enjoyable if you are playing them with others, and that the more of a social thing you make of gaming, the more likely it is that you will be able to enjoy it all the more. You can do this online, of course, or preferably you can do it in person, and either way you are going to find that you have a lot more fun than if you are simply playing alone. This is worth bearing in mind, as it is a simple but effective means of making gaming more fun.