On Friday I spoke to Jenny Kendall-Tobias on BBC Radio Guernsey about children carrying mobile phones in classrooms.
This followed an interview in the Daily Telegraph two weeks ago with Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture. He gave his views on the use of mobile phones in class by children and what he believed headteachers should be doing to tackle the issue.
“Technology makes being a parent much harder. And schools have a big role too. I enthusiastically support using technology for teaching. But we also need to teach children how to stay safe with technology. Why do young children need phones in schools?”
“There are a number of schools across the country that simply don’t allow them. I believe that very young children don’t need to have access to social media. While it is up to individual schools to decide rather than government, I admire headteachers who do not allow mobiles to be used during the school day. I encourage more schools to follow their lead. The evidence is that banning phones in schools works.”
“Studies have shown mobile phones can have a real impact on working memory and fluid intelligence, even if the phone is on a table or in a bag.”
Following this article, I was asked to appear on Jenny’s show to discuss my thoughts on children carrying mobile phones in classrooms.
You might be surprised to hear that I don’t think mobile devices have a place on the classroom. They are an enormous distraction and I think they pose a very real safeguarding issue within the school where they could be used inappropriately and there is also a very clear issue of peer pressure, with device cost stretching to £1000. There is also a problem with children carrying extremely valuable devices to and from school, which again exhibits a danger of theft.
If you feel differently, please let me know if the comments and of course you can listen in to the interview by click on the link above.
It is always particularly interesting to test technology that has been developed by leaders in their particular sector, so I was very excited about visiting Orbitsound in London to have a demonstration of their ONE P70W Speakers.
Orbitsound was founded by Ted Fletcher, the inventor of Airsound™ technology. Ted has been working for many years as a musician, audio engineer, electronics designer and studio designer, to give the listener a more realistic, more immersive sound experience. These years of experience in the industry led to the release in 2017 of the Orbitsound ONE P70, the worlds first multi-orientation speaker, meaning regardless of where you stand, it sound remains the same.
The P70W is designed in such as way that it can be shelf or wall-mounted. It has a narrow design (700mm wide x 173mm deep x 77mm high), this allows for comfortably mounting below a flat screen television or on a wall as a ‘party’ speaker. It’s built from wood and steel and can be purchased in matte black, bambo or bone white weighing in a 5.1kg.
Sound is provided by two (front and top) 2″ ‘Orbitsound MK4 drivers’, a Sub-bass low-profile 5.25″ driver and 2X2 Airsound Orbitsound MK4 drivers. By positioning the main speakers both front and top mean that sound production is maintains regardless of how the speaker mounted.
Connectivity is provided by Bluetooth, Optical cable, 3.5mm stereo jack and the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi feature is the most impressive as it allows streaming of audio from a variety of sources without the loss of quality associated with Bluetooth, effectively allowing for uncompressed playback of music. It also allows for multi-speaker / multi-room playback with perfectly synchronised sound and zero delay. This is achieved by using the Orbitsound Smartphone app (Android and iOS) which supports streaming providers and internet radio stations and allows you to ‘group’ sets of speakers to create one virtual speaker. When I was given a demonstration of this at the Orbitsound offices, 3 separate speakers, both wall and shelf mounted were grouped together using the app. I was then asked to close my eyes to try and decide where I thought the sound was coming from. It was unearthly as it sounded like it was coming out of thin air, very impressive!
The app currently supports TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Tidal, Napster, Apple Music (iOS only) and of course your own device stored music. If you are absolutely focused on using other services such as Google Play Music or Amazon, then you can of course stream using Bluetooth. I used the speak in conjunction with my Amazon Dot, as well as my iMac and Xperia XZ Premium, all worked flawlessly.
I was also able to connect the speaker to my Freesat HD box using the supplied optical cable. This worked great, although the Freesat box had a bug with Netflix which meant it would only broadcast Dolby sound. This was a simple configuration on the Freesat box and all was working again.
The speaker comes with very nicely designed remote control and you can also use you own remote control using the speakers ‘learning mode’. I was able to control the speaker using my TV remote within a couple of seconds of setup.
The people at Orbitsound definitely had the environment in mind when they designed the P70W as it is built to power-down components that aren’t used, but power up instantly when required.
Quite a bit of thought has gone into small details on the P70W with the inclusion of reversible LED information display and Orbitsound badge. This might seem small things but they count as you really wouldn’t want to be showing off your new speaker to friends and have the badge upside down. integrated wall mounting and 200mm VESA bosses and bolts are included to allow you to get going straightaway with unnecessary visits to AV stores to buy mounting kits. There is also a protective sleeve for the speaker, to protect it when not in use.
The speaker also comes with a standard power cord, aux cable, quick-start guide and safety and warranty information, all packaged up in a very smart box. The useful inclusion of a carry handle was helpful too, as I carried a demonstration unit to the train station.
The Orbitsound P70W feels like a speaker that can fit many needs, be that as a Sound-bar for your TV, a party speaker for gatherings of people and the facility to extend your listening experience to multiple speakers. The smart design of the speakers means that it they would sit very comfortably in a professional or public environment. The whole family has really enjoy the quality and versatility of the speaker and we’ll be sad to see it go.
At £399, the Orbitsound P70W is great value for buyers looking for a richer smoother sound regardless of their position in the room.
For the first time just about any computing device can be used to program games and apps, control robotic devices, interact with sensors and experiment with electronics. The FUZEBOX doesn’t care if you have Windows, OSx, iOS, Android or Linux, or if you are using a phone, tablet, laptop or PC. It simply connects to your device via USB, Bluetooth or WiFi and allows you to get coding straight away.
Loaded with sensors such as heat, humidity, light, pressure, a microphone and camera, infra-red, gyro and more, you can transform the FUZEBOX into almost anything. For example, a thermometer, weather station, games controller, TV remote, motion sensing camera, spirit level, tilting maze puzzle game, synthesiser keyboard and much more – you write the code, you make it happen!
Passionate about coding, the FUZE team have designed the FUZEBOX to make coding accessible for anyone. Schools teaching coding now don’t need separate computers for the children to use, all the need to do is plug in the FUZEBOX to existing equipment. The language used with the FUZEBOX – FUZE BASIC, provides the perfect stepping stone between Scratch and Python, and puts sensors right at children’s fingertips so they can interact with the sensors and code they have written themselves.
Not just a cool coding gadget, the FUZE team want the FUZEBOX to inspire our younger generations to understand and love coding.
This morning I talk to Mark about the Motorola Moto G (3 gen) handset. At £169 sim free it represents fantastic value for money with excellent build quality and specification. To hear more about the phone, listen in to the audio recorded today on BBC Radio Suffolk.
Thanks to Three for the loan of the device, they always go above and beyond the call!
If you live in the UK, you will have noticed the sudden change in temperature over the past couple of days, whilst this time a few of weeks ago we were basking in warmer than normal October, are now plunged into the depths of winter.
Recently, I have taken to cycling to work on an e-bike and aside from a decent coat, hat, waterproof trousers, spare set of clothes and shoes, in this weather; gloves are a MUST!! These days however, gloves get in the way from our obsessive use of touch technology!! Not so, it would seem. Gloves no longer obscure the use of mobile phones and cause breakages with their slippery surfaces, not when they are Touchability Grip Gloves from touchscreengloves.co.uk.
The gloves I tried were standard knitted type with the addition of silver woven in. The silver gives conductivity and allows the electrical signals from your fingers to travel through the glove material onto your touch screen device. Not only that, the palm side of the gloves had rubber dots attached meaning that even the most slippery phone would stay secure in your hand.
Listen into the stream to hear what I thought of the gloves and head over to www.touchscreengloves.co.uk to see the Grip gloves and their full range of products.
This week I have been able to sample the audio delights of bluetooth streaming with the Edifier MP211 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with NFC. This is a very nice wireless speaker solution for people looking for a mobile solution to playing their music quickly and easily.
Listen in to the stream to find out all about it, full review of the product coming up shortly.
When you wear something every day, you want to be sure it really works for you. That’s why Android Wear offers countless design choices, so you can find the watch that fits your style. Want a round watch with a more classic look? Feel like a new watch band? How about changing things up every day with watch faces from artists and designers? With Android Wear you can do all of that. And now, Android Wear watches work with iPhones.
Android Wear for iOS is rolling out today. Just pair your iPhone (iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2+) with an Android Wear watch to bring simple and helpful information right to your wrist:
Get your info at a glance: Check important info like phone calls, messages, and notifications from your favorite apps. Android Wear features always-on displays, so you’ll never have to move your wrist to wake up your watch.
Follow your fitness: Set fitness goals, and get daily and weekly views of your progress. Your watch automatically tracks walking and running, and even measures your heart rate.
Save time with smart help: Receive timely tips like when to leave for appointments, current traffic info, and flight status. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions like “Is it going to rain in London tomorrow?” or create to-dos with “Remind me to pack an umbrella.”
Today, Android Wear for iOS works with the LG Watch Urbane. All future Android Wear watches, including those from Huawei (pictured above), Asus, and Motorola will also support iOS, so stay tuned for more.
Dr. Seuss once said: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” We agree. So whoever You are, and whatever You like—Android Wear lets you wear what you want.
This week I talk to Mark about a bunch of amazing products supplied to me my D-Link. Specifically the myhome suite of products.
D-Link have taken a very intelligent view of home automation by not only providing a plug that can be controlled via a phone app from anywhere in the world, but also by adding sensible features to the product allowing you to monitor usage and also set switch on and cut off times via a schedule.
When used in conjunction with the Motion Sensor and Home Monitor, the smart plug can be programmed to switch on or off based on events triggered by motion (Motion Sensor and Home Monitor) and also sound (Home Monitor).
The Home Monitor is a very able HD streaming camera which as I have mentioned can be programmed to trigger other devices within your personal home network.
They are really very good devices and I would like to personally thank D-Link for sending the very helpful Robert to our offices to fully demonstrate their capabilities.
We will be fully reviewing the devices online shortly
This morning we very briefly discussed securing your mobile device, so in the event of it getting into the hands of a thief, the information stored on the device is safe and it is sufficiently locked down to make it nearly valueless.
Listen in to the stream above and below you will find some useful tips to help you keep your phone and data safe.
The most important points raised were:-
Switch on the pin-code or similar security feature on your phone
If possible set the phone to encrypt your data to this pin-code
Don’t save passwords in web browsers on your phone
Make sure you log out of websites after purchasing items on your phone.
Enable ‘Find my phone’ or similar functionality, this will enable you to remotely ‘brick’ your phone if you have it stolen.
Don’t wave it around in public places.
Make SURE you have adequate insurance to cover the replacement of the phone and other ‘expenses’.
If you are unlucky enough to have your phone stolen, you should immediately:-
Contact your phone provider, do this before anything else as you won’t have to pay call charges made after you have reported it stolen or lost.
Contact the police and get a crime number, this will make insurance claims easier(!).
Log into your ‘Find my phone’ on a computer and see if you can track where the phone is. If you can’t find it or there is no chance of retrieving it, disable it (brick it) straightaway. This makes it nearly useless on the black market and it will only be used for parts.
Take steps for the first set of points, so this doesn’t happen again!!