This weeks review centres on a product that is aimed at safely carrying your gadgets or in particular your laptop computer.
For the past few weeks, I have been testing the STM Myth 18 L Laptop Backpack. STM Goods were founded 20 years ago when the founder Ethan Nyholm realised that carrying his laptop around in a padded envelope whilst hiking wasn’t a lasting solution! He teamed up with Adina Jacobs and together they have been making fashion-conscious tech-carrying gear.
The Myth is available in three colour schemes, Granite Black, Slate Blue and Winsdor Wine, min was the latter.
Unlike most laptop bags which are simply foam-padded, the Myth utilises a proprietary technology called ‘SlingTech’ which features extra padding and gapless corners and actually ‘suspend’ your laptop away from the edges of the bag and thus out of harm’s way.
Aside from this ingenious protection, the bag also boasts a ton of features including music-centric CableReady systems, AirPod pocket and Earbud keeper. It also has a PassPort feature which allows you to securely attach other luggage whilst travelling, this is integrated with lumbar support, which made carrying the bag very comfortable. Helped by the Air-Channel back-panel which promotes air-flow and keeps you cool, so no more sweaty backs!
Aside from the standard back-carry straps, there is also a TPU coated webbing hand which is riveted in place. This allows you to carry the bag and the solid constructions keep it from banging off your legs.
Inside the bag is a myriad of storage, plenty to carry up to 16″ laptop and associated printed material. There are also several internal pockets for pens, plugs and accessories. It also has a fleece-lined sunglasses pocket!
The outside of the back is Water repellent and the outer zippers use reverse-coil zippers to protect the teeth and keep moisture and dirt out.
The bag is made from 100% polyester with dimensions of H 17.7 x D 11.4 x W 5.9 in / H 45.0 x D 29.0 x W 15.0 cm. The bag weighs in a 2.2 lbs / 1.0kg (without the laptop!).
I’ve been using this as my main laptop bag for a few weeks, my 15″ Macbook Pro slides in effortlessly and when fully unzipped the bag doesn’t just fall open, it feels like it is opening on a hinge and means the contents aren’t going to just spew out all over the place.
The bag feels extremely sturdy and very very comfortable to wear. The added back support is welcome and the flat base means it isn’t falling over when you place it on the floor. I can see many commuters finding a back like this very useful indeed and it has plenty of storage space inside.
If you fancy trying out the bag yourself, you can download STM’s App and use the AR Tag printed here. Once you get it going, it’s quite a bit of fun to play with and you can see how their bags look before purchase. https://www.stmgoods.com/stm-app2/
Finding the right business phone is absolutely crucial if you want to be able to conduct business while you’re out and about. The right business phone will allow you to use the internet on the go, call and even video call your clients and team members and have plenty of apps that help you to keep track of things like business expenses.
Below, you’ll find the steps you need to take in order to find the right business phone. Take a look:
1. Assess Your Budget
Start by assessing your budget so that you can make sure you’re getting a phone you can afford. Even if you can afford the newest and best iPhone, that doesn’t mean you have to go out and get it. Look at the best iPhone deals first and see what’s out there. You might be surprised at how cost-effective some of the older models are, while still being feature-rich and perfect for what you need.
2. Consider The Features You Really Need
Make sure you consider the features you’re going to need in your business phone. Does the camera really need to be super clear? Do you really need the highest amount of memory you can purchase? If features aren’t all that important to you and you just want to be able to send messages, make calls, and use the internet, then looking outside of the Apple range may be a good idea. However, there’s a reason so many business people do choose Apple. Ultimately, it depends on what you need and what you prefer.
3. Test Them Out In Person
Testing phones out in person is always a good idea, so go to a physical store and see what feels best in your hand. Some of the newer smartphones are huge, and may not be the best choice for you when travelling – especially if you have other devices and things you want to take with you, too. Testing them out in person will give you a better idea of what feels right to you. You might even find that you prefer a bigger phone with a larger screen for business purposes. It all depends on what you’re going to be doing.
4. Ask For Recommendations
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from your team or friends. See what you get the most recommendations for and make a shortlist this way. You can read all of the reviews online that you like, but at the end of the day, you don’t know who wrote it and how much they were being paid. If somebody was given a free product for review, they may be a lot kinder than they need to be.
5. Consider How Long You’d Like To Have This Phone
Would you like to keep this phone for 2 years, or perhaps even longer? If you want it to last a long time, buying a newer model is a good idea, as software updates won’t have slowed it down yet.
I was hugely excited to be invited to London yesterday to take part in the Hyundai Drive Different Test. During the day, I had the opportunity to drive both a Petrol and Electric powered Hyundai Kona around the streets of Finsbury Park and Highgate.
You can watch the video below or listen in to the podcast episode!
During the test, my eyes and head were tracked by specialist cameras, my heart rate was measured and the pressure-sensitive steering wheel was monitored. The cars themselves had custom-built computers on-board monitoring the vehicle itself and all this data was fed back to Hyundai’s servers to give me two driving scores for the petrol and electric cars.
This was following research by Hyundai which revealed that there are 36,750 different ways to drive a vehicle!
The company got together with University of Warwick’s Dr Mark Hadley and driving expert Gary Lamb in which they devised the Drive Different Test (DDT). The test was to mark the growth that Hyundai has made in the alternative fuel marketplace of hydrogen, hybrid and pure electric vehicles.
The test compares a variety of driving styles in a range of vehicles including alternative fuel models. By using pupil tracking, facial recognition and of course artificial intelligence (AI), the test can accurately measure drivers skills under different conditions.
Hyundai researched 2000 drivers habits and have produced a report that identifies common styles with the top five listed below.
Confident – 28%
Fair and measured – 24%
Calm – 19%
Nervous – 7%
Aggressive – 7%
Men were more likely to label themselves as confident drivers (31%) than women (25%), while women were more likely to describe themselves as ‘nervous’ behind the wheel.
The survey also looked at AFV owners specifically, and their attitude to driving, and found that;
92 per cent say they never beep at another driver
Over two-fifths (42%) slow down and let buses move in front of them
Over one third (37%) always ensure they thank other drivers on the road
But it wasn’t all generosity and courtesy on the road for AFV drivers. One fifth (20%) ‘amber gamble’ and speed up on an amber light to get through the traffic lights.
Gary Lamb said: “There are many things that impact someone’s driving style, their technical skill of course but also confidence, experience and even the music they listen to and until they actually get behind the wheel you can never predict which way it will go. Over my 25 years as a driving instructor, I’ve seen them all. What’s interesting now is that alternatively fuelled vehicles are also affecting our driving style.
“As 2040 draws nearer, and our cities and motorways fill with zero-emission capable vehicles, I’m excited to see how the way we drive will change, hopefully for the better.”
Sylvie Childs, senior product manager at Hyundai added: “Our research, along with the growth in sales figures, shows there is a real appetite for low and zero-emission vehicles in the UK. With this campaign, we hope to educate the public on how they can drive cleaner and more efficiently, whether they keep their current petrol vehicle or are in the market for an electric model like the KONA Electric or IONIQ Electric.
“We’ve found we all drive differently, with thousands of different styles, but we all can be united by a common cause of driving cleaner and preparing our cities for a zero-emission future.”
Digital imaging devices mean that we do not even have the flash anymore, let alone the bang. Things truly have come a long way. In fact, even after around 200 since the first camera was created, the imaging device industry is showing no signs of slowing down. With many new digital developments and trends being available to the general public. The most important of which you can read about in my post below.
First of all, let’s take a look at the current trends in digital security systems. Of course, digital CCTV has been around for a while now. However, with more powerful cameras on the market at a much lower price, this technology is becoming available to a much broader demographic of people.
In fact, you can walk into just about any high street stores and pick up a good quality CCTV system like Arlo Ultra 4K UHD Wire-free system to take away. Ready to install the same day if you like, for a very reasonable price indeed.
In terms of specific developments in this area, there is one big one that really stands out. Facial recognition and social uproar associated with it is no small thing! After all, this technology has the potential to recognise the person it is filming and track their movements. Something that is excellent news for a homeowner that wants to catch a burglar, but not so wonderful when in the hands of a totalitarian regime, as Hong Kong will testify. Then there are all the questions of personal privacy that comes along with the issue of facial recognition too.
Luckily, we don’t have it here in the UK yet! Except we actually do because some businesses have started to use in public places such as St Martins Square In London. Of course, all of our identity data is securely encrypted and is not currently being compared to national databases unless we are involved in wrongdoing. Yet, the unease with the possibilities for misuse in this area may not outweigh the home security benefits its offers to provide.
Additionally, another development to be aware of the areas of security systems is the introduction of digital doorbell technology with imaging built-in. The benefits of which are you can screen your visitors, and check the comings and goings in your home. You can even use them to appear home when you are not. The latter creating a security advantage, as burglars are very unlikely to try their luck in a property that is occupied.
There are quite a few new trends in the area dash cams that you need to be aware of. One, in particular, that is worth knowing about it, a development called dual mirroring. A feature that allows dash cams to continue recording not just up to an accident but during as well. This being something that has two main benefits. The first of these is that it has obvious applications for establishing blame after an accident has occurred. While the second is that it can also encourage other road users to drive more safely as well.
Then, there is the fact that many dashcams are now being built with touch screens, something that makes them vastly more comfortable and more convenient to use. Lastly, it’s worth noting that some models such as the Campark R10 are now being offered with high-resolution night vision include. Something that should help to keep the image they produce crystal clear, day or night, and so make identifying any wrongdoing on the roads that much easier.
One area in which developments in digital imaging devices are leaping forward is Smartphones. Although, with many of us having them on our person at all times, it really is no surprise.
Of course, the most apparent development here is the new iPhone 11 with its two rear-facing cameras rather than the usual one. In fact, this new dual-camera system that is equipped with night modes, and ultra-wide is the foundation on which Apple is building their marketing campaign.
However, smartphone photography and videography enthusiasts will be doing themselves an injustice if they do not also consider the alternatives on the market as well. In fact, you can get a thorough lowdown of all the latest developments on close iPhone rivals such as the Google Pixel 3 and HTC U12+ by reading posts such as New Phone? Dare to be Different, before you make your purchase. Something that it is well worth your time, especially if you are looking to keep the price of your smartphone down, but still get some fantastic images.
Robust and waterproof, action cameras such as the GoPro are built to be used out of doors. Of course, you will find that the tech is being continually pushed and developed in this area as well. In fact, one recent development in particular that many people will be interested in is the ability to live stream from such devices. This being something that will appeal to YouTubers and social media aficionados especially.
Finally, when it comes to digital imaging tech, the webcam is a common feature in most homes. Whether it is for catching up with relatives that live on the other side of the world or creating your latest vlogging masterpiece to be uploaded on Youtube.
However, until very recently, using a webcam was a very static affair. That is, you could only film within the cameras limited range when it was placed in a particular spot. However, that is all about to change with the advent webcams that track movement as you cross the room.
Now, this might not sound like that much of a big deal, but it actually is. The reason being that as a viewer, you can a much more immersive and encounter with these types of digital devices. While those filming know that they do not have to concern themselves with manipulating the camera and can instead relax into a much more natural experience. Something that makes this digital imaging device trend, one that we are likely to see a lot more of in the future.
Apparently using your Laptop in a Cafe at the weekend is no longer a ‘thing’. According to the Daily Mail, a cafe owner in Belsize Park has placed a ban on the use of laptops during weekend hours because it takes up valuable space during busy periods.
The ban has caused a regular customer to accuse the owner of bullying. Francesca Specter said, “the ban amounts to bullying of those who want to spend time alone”, she continues ‘I live by myself and part of my weekend routine is I go and get some headspace and enjoy breakfast and brunch by myself at one of the local cafes. The owner took one look at the iPad I was reading my paper on and said you can’t do that in here. I thought it was a situation where I was being bullied and I was by myself so I was in this minority. I had to leave and haven’t been back since.’
The owner, Mojgan Mohajer said ‘My cafe is quite small,’ she explained. ‘I received a lot of complaints from customers during the weekend that lots of people were coming with a laptop and sitting and they couldn’t have a table.’
Computers and tablets are used widely, in fact anywhere you can find somewhere to sit, be it train, bus, park bench or cafe, you will find staring at a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Personally, I’m siding with Mojgan. She does have a small cafe and although during the week she would like to attract people to her establishment at quieter times, the weekends will be much busier and she, of course, would like to maximise her income on the busiest day.
With regard to the bullying accusation, I’m speechless.
You can listen in to my chat with Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk where we talk about using devices on public WiFi hotspots.
Welcome to Episode 149 – It’s all go again with the mobile phone market in the UK, the confusion surrounding Mobile Virtual Network Operators and actual network operators becomes confusing again! Virgin Mobile is currently carried by EE which in turn is owned by arch-rival BT, so now Virgin is moving to Vodafone. It shouldn’t affect your service, but you should check your coverage as EE and Vodafone may differ!
Britbox has now launched in the UK, although it was launched in the USA some time ago. Britbox offers BBC and ITV material and will also offer Channel 4 and Channel 5 stuff to in time. It becomes confusing when much of the material is still offered on BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and My5, you can even pay for some of these services to remove the adverts with ITV Hub+, 4+. I’ve signed up to check it out, so more on this later. I’m not terribly sure it has room to operate alongside global players such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV. Time will tell.
UK Drone registration is now compulsory for anyone flying an aircraft over 250g. Operators have until the end of the month to register their drones. It requires the payment of a £9 annual fee and you must affix your Operator ID to any drones you choose to fly.
Xiaomi compares the photo quality of the Mi Note 10 to that of professional high-end DSLR systems and allows users access to quality not seen before on Smartphones.
The Penta-camera setup includes 108MP primary camera, 20MP ultra-wide-angle camera, ultra-telephoto lens, 12MP 50mm portrait lens and macro lens. It also supports ‘Super Night Mode giving soft-lit, sharper images in low-light. Alongside are dual soft light and dual flash.
The display is a 6.47 inch AMOLED hyperboloid screen curved to fit the body of the phone and making a beautifully comfortable grip with an embedded in-screen fingerprint sensor.
Inside, the device packs a Snapdragon 730G with Adreno 618 GPU with AI capability. Memory is plentiful with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage. NFC and infrared remote control are included as is the standard headphone jack and 1216 superlinear speaker.
Power is provided by a 5260mAh battery supporting 30W fast charging. Xiaomi suggests 30 minutes charging to 58% and 64 minutes to 100%.