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Review : Casio Ediface Smart Watch

Review : Casio Ediface Smart Watch

Posted on 15 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Recently Casio sent us over one of their new range of Smart watches to check out – the Casio Edifice EQB-500DB. Here what we thought after a week’s use.

First of all the Edifice isn’t what I would call a traditional smart watch, actually it has more in common with a traditional watch but with a little tech built in.

The Edifice has a striking blue analogue face with a steel bracelet and outer case making it look very much in place in a professional environment. Some smart watches would like a bit out of place with a suit on, no problems here.

 

The tech inside has some interesting uses, the main one being its solar powered, so no need to change the battery or stick it on charge which amazes me for something with a Bluetooth connection.

Second – and my favourite feature – is the Global time sync. The watch automatically syncs the time to the time zone you are in so perfect for someone that travels a lot.

Talking of time zones, there is actually a second dial on the watch to set up with your preferred zone so you still know the time at home, again ideal for globetrotters.

Alarms can be setup on the watch via the connected app on your phone (both IOS and Android are compatible) and once set and sent to the watch you don’t need your phone nearby for the alarm to work. I found this particular handy in meetings when I had left my phone on my desk but the watch reminded me when I had to wrap things up.

All in all the Edifice is a solidly built watch that has some cool ‘smart’ features while retaining that classic look. Perfect for travellers and techies alike.

The Casio Edifice EQB-500DB has a rrp of £325.00  for more info head over to www.edifice-watches.co.uk

 

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Cloud computing – What is it and how it works

Cloud computing – What is it and how it works

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

Thanks to Cloud computing and the way in which it revolutionized public communication, interaction and exchange of information on a global scale, we no longer need to rely exclusively on our computers’ hard drives (or external storage drives) to save and store information. The ‘Cloud,’ as it is commonly referred to, allows us to upload any file (of any format) onto a server connected to the internet through the many Cloud computing services available on the world wide web. All your digital media can now be stored exclusively on the internet and accessed simultaneously through any digital media device, from laptops to smartphones, tablets, iPads and more. This also has the enormous advantage of facilitating the sharing of files across all your portable or PC digital devices, without having to copy them from one device to the other—or saturate the CPU memory of your computer to the max, which would require constant memory upgrades and one or more high capacity external hard drives to keep up with the volume of stored data. At the same time, all the information you keep on the cloud can also be accessed by others if you so choose, who can then download the specific information from the same server.

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The high advantages the Cloud carries for companies and the business world in general are evident: Cloud technology increases the level of employee efficiency and company productivity by promoting faster data integration and analysis through a shared collaborative effort; one based on a higher level of communication among company departments, as well as between the employees and the managerial levels. This is all made possible thanks to the fully accessible online Cloud servers that store company and business-related information, and which –along with the implementation of other software solutions like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and Knowledge Management Systems—can help a company to filter through and condense all the pertinent and specific data on subjects deemed vital to their business strategies and activities. Subsequently it reduces the bureaucratic process and reorganizes the structural and organizational make-up of the business, granting the company a higher degree of competitiveness to increase their market presence and visibility and face the challenges of a highly competitive marketplace. The old formula ‘time=money’ is more valid today more than ever before—especially in the midst of a deep recession like the current one, and its most obvious benefit is that the Cloud essentially saves time. The same is true for government agencies, for which it is a valuable asset in reducing bureaucracy and accelerating data integration and analysis across all departments, thus promoting faster decision-making and policy implementation, and in the process saving the taxpayers a lot of money. As far as excellent job and career opportunities go, there happens to be a high and growing demand by companies for Cloud computing experts who possess the necessary skills to implement this technology along with all the required safety measures. According to a recent poll, 42% of US and UK companies are seeking to employ experts in Cloud computing, and 43% of these same companies are having trouble finding them due to lack of professionals with the necessary expertise.

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The various Cloud services available today include Dropbox, which is the most popular one, with a free account that lets users upload up to 2GBs of files, and lets you connect and synchronize with other devices that can access the same information. OpenDrive, Box and Safesync are some other popular services.  Sites like YouTube or any other on-demand video channels also utilize Cloud computing and would not be able to do what they do had there been no Cloud. Soundcloud, Google Drive and Google Music (which lets you store up to 20,000 songs), Apple’s iCloud and Amazon are some other major brands that are on the forefront of the Cloud movement. Amazon’s ‘Amazon Web Services’ (AWS), in particular, is one of the fastest growing Cloud services, with over one million users in 190 countries. Its fast-expanding global influence is due to its multiple services, which include providing web applications, Big Data processing software to handle massive volumes of data, built-in encryption back-up & storage options and many more solutions for businesses or other organizations (quite often governments). The company also offers specialized Amazon AWS training courses to acquire the necessary skills in Cloud technology, but there are also many other services external to Amazon which provide AWS training for anyone interested. Furthermore, the enormous success of Amazon’s AWS is also due to the many employment opportunities these services offer for any IT or business professional—from software engineers, Account Managers , Product Managers, Support Engineers, Solutions Architects to Designers, System Engineers, and many more.

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Lastly, as all users are aware of, there are some risks associated with the use of the Cloud, ranging from cyber-hacks to industrial espionage— which may make one want to reconsider exposing all their personal or company information on an online server—and government restrictions, user fees, as well as higher cost of bandwidth use as the memory capacity grows. Not to mention how online Security and privacy are the most important issues for any user, and especially when one decides to implement Cloud technology. Fortunately, this is the very reason why there is such a growing demand among companies for professional Cloud/IT experts who can implement the technology in collaboration with other specialized IT departments while keeping into consideration all the necessary security and legal measures. It is also the reason why there are so many training courses available offered by professional institutions that can help one acquire the necessary skills to become certified and enter the career world of one of the fastest-growing job fields in the IT/computer industry.

 

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The Bike Lock Industry: An Entirely Novel Approach

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

A Vomit Inducing Bike Lock – The Ultimate Deterrent?

 

How confident are you that your expensive, brand new bicycle lock is going to stop anyone really determined to steal your most prized and indispensable possession?

SkunkLock

It’s a sad fact that protecting your bike from theft is almost impossible these days.

Until a new and innovative security device called the SkunkLock hit the scene that is.

“After witnessing first hand and becoming victims of bike theft ourselves, we realized that people don’t need a bigger, stronger lock, we needed a lock with a fundamental deterrent.” said Daniel Idzowski from San Francisco, one of the inventors of SkunkLock.
SkunkLock
Along with his co-creator Yves Perrenoud, Idzowski has created a device with an advanced disc-cylinder tumbler lock that’s as formidable as some of the most expensive bike locks out there.

But this is no ordinary lock. It comes with a secret weapon.

“SkunkLock is a hardened medium-carbon steel U-Lock that’s as difficult to compromise as the strongest U-Locks, and comes with a surprise.” continues Idzowski.

“It’s pressurized inside with a noxious chemical deterrent that slams the would-be thief with noxious chemicals. The chemicals are so disgusting they induce vomit in the majority of cases, and elicit an instinctive response to run away immediately.”

 

This means that if any thief attempts to saw through the SkunkLock, as soon as they hit the hollow interior it instantly releases a cloud of the vomit producing chemicals towards them.

This concoction codenamed ‘formula D-1’, also ruins the clothes of anyone close to it or any protective gear they are using.

Describing just how effective it is, Idzkowski said “At two feet it was pretty bad. It was absolutely vomit-inducing in 99% of people.”

The team behind SkunkLock are now looking for funding on Indiegogo. Pledge $99 and you should receive your lock by June 2017.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/skunklock-the-only-bike-lock-that-fights-back-bicycle

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Samsung Note 7 Overheating: Still No Answer

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

On October 10 2016, Samsung immediately stopped production of its newest release, the Galaxy Note 7. They also asked consumers who had bought the device to return them to the store. This was the second time that the Galaxy Note 7 had been recalled, due to the fact that the phone was unexpectedly heating up and then catching fire. The reason behind it is believed to be that of a flaw in the battery. Today, it would sadly appear that Samsung are no closer to finding out the reasons behind why this is happening and re-releasing the Note 7.

Note 7 Overheating

This failure in the company’s technology, and lack of knowledge as to why it is happening, has also had a knock on effect for the rolling out of their next phone, the Galaxy S8. The Wall Street Journal labelled it as their flagship phone. The engineering work behind the Galaxy 88 has been delayed until the root cause of the overheating is found.

In a press release, Samsung stated that when they originally recalled the Galaxy Note 7, they were unable to give a reason as to why the phone was overheating and, that they are still unable to do so. But, they are firmly committed to finding out why it is happening. They also wanted to assure customers that all of their devices are 100% safe.

Note 7 Overheating

The Galaxy Note 7 hit shelves mid August and was seen by many in the industry as being Samsung’s best phone to date and, the one that would make them globe leaders in the mobile phone world. Sadly, this did not happen. Due to the discontinuation of the Galaxy Note 7, the company are set to lose an estimated $3 billion. What will happen next, and if they will ever get to the bottom of this technical glitch, is yet to be seen.

 

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Facebook To Change Their Post Removal Policy

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

Facebook is going to change its post removal policy. The news was announced by two of its co-founders, Justin Osofsky and Joel Kaplan. In their joint statement, they stated that the company are going to allow more posts to be visible to the public, even if they violate the social network’s standards, and if they are deemed to be of significance and newsworthy.
Facebook Policy
This bold move by Facebook comes after many charitable organisations, news agencies and other large social groups, criticised the social media platform for removing posts without any warning and without consulting those who were concerned, so that they could appeal the decision. The backlash was further heightened when a Norwegian newspaper posted the famous image of the naked Vietnamese girl running along the road during the Vietnam War, alongside one of their news stories. This was subsequently removed – sparking huge condemnation from the news agency concerned and other Facebook users. What was even more controversial, was that following the removal of the image from the site, the writer in question was also suspended, which then led to the Editor-in-Chief of the paper contacting Mark Zuckerberg directly, to ask him about Facebook’s censorship policy.

A month after this incident, Facebook removed a post that was related to a news article posted by Le Monde, on the subject of breast cancer. The reason was that it showed an image of nipple. However, after following several complaints, including those from the newspaper concerned, the post and image were finally reinstated.

Following Facebook’s recent announcement that they will now consider the public interest surrounding a post, as well as that of its newsworthiness, it would appear that the social media network will now fully reflect the opinions and values of the Facebook community. In order to do so, they have committed to work more closely with law enforcement experts.

 

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Artificial Intelligence in the Business World

Posted on 23 September 2016 by Chris Ford

Artificial Intelligence in the Business World
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the ability of machines to effectively do what human beings do in order to make our lives easier. AI can help save time and resources in every field, from household chores to the business field.

 

History of AI

AI has always been of interest to humans since ancient times, but it is only in the 1950s that the technology seemed to be even remotely within reach. Breakthroughs had given scientists a lot of information on how the brain worked in the 40s and the 50s, thus giving rise to the possibility of creating an electronic brain or a thinking machine. The term “artificial intelligence” was first used in the US in 1956 at a conference in Dartmouth. This conference is the key point at which the field of artificial intelligence was formally created and is credited as being the birth of AI.

AI in business

Artificial intelligence software solutions, such as those offered by Expertsystem for instance, are being used more and more in the business field. Though originally the technology was too expensive and difficult to obtain for most companies, that has changed with time. Now most middle-level companies can afford to use AI to make their businesses more cost-effective and efficient. For example, the automobile industry has made ample use of AI by embedding them in vehicles to produce driverless cars. Another example of widespread use of AI is how data is processed in marketing by analysing consumption patterns.

Achieving the best from AI systems

One major drawback to the way AI is currently used in industry these days is that it is not holistic. There is often a lack of integration between different entities due to lack of resources and knowledge. In order to obtain full benefits of AI, it is important that the complete data is input and integrated. Goals must also be very clear because no matter how intelligent, these systems remain machines and are programmed to think in linear ways.

Threats of AI

AI has contributed to many scares in governments, industries, and the general public. One of the biggest fears of common people is that if everything gets automated, then humans would become redundant, and by extension, there would be mass unemployment. And then, there is the Frankenstein-like creature, ever ready to devour humans and destroy our cities. There is also fear of some jobs being wiped out altogether.

Conclusion

But despite these worries, the fact remains that the fear mongering regarding AI is but a natural resistance to change. AI will definitely force a social change and some people will not like it. But in the end, this too will be giving us a social change in the same way as the invention of the reviled pill in the early 1900s completely changed the life of women everywhere and forced a major social change. Thinking of providing solutions to these possible problems will require a shift in our collective thinking.

 

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Panasonic TV

The Future Is 4K

Posted on 23 August 2016 by Chris Ford

Panasonic TV

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years then you have probably noticed the term 4K popping up everywhere. 4K, also known as Ultra HD, refers to a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. That’s four times the 1920 x 1080 pixels found in a full HD TV. The extra resolution of 4K images adds better definition and clarity to the picture. The result is images that look incredibly life-like, more like looking through a window than watching TV. 4K is especially effective on very large screens – so ideally you’ll go for a 65-inch set or even bigger. Let’s just say it is like having a cinema at home.

If you are thinking of going 4K then the Panasonic 4K TV range is an outstanding selection of next generation televisions with cutting edge features and designs for the ultimate in home cinema entertainment. From the 4K Ultra HD which delivers 4 times the picture resolution of a normal HD TV, to the curved CR730 with refined build quality and striking lines, to the just released 4K Premium Pro – with its Professional Cinema Display for outstanding colour, clarity and brightness, as well as a beautiful sleek Art & Interior Design, it truly is a masterpiece in television. Oh, it is tuned by Hollywood filmmakers.

4K has well and truly landed and it might well be the perfect time to jump aboard the spaceship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smanos W100i Alarm System Review

Posted on 28 July 2016 by Chris Ford

Moving to a new flat in East London from the quite comforts of the West of the city I rightly or wrongly was concerned about security so when we moved in one of the first things I wanted to do is setup some kind of alarm system.

My requirents were

  1. something simple to setup that required small to zero DIY skills ( Im a bit useless at all that)
  2. Alerts sent to my smart phone
  3. A one off fee, I don’t want to have to enter into yet another contract.
  4. Reasonable price point.
  5. A Webcam feature to capture the potential culprits in action!

 

With the above in mind and a bit of research I came across the Smanos W100i wifi Alarm and Cam Kit.

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Whats in the box?

1x Control Panel / Box

1x Motion Sensor

1x Door/window Sensor

1x HD Wireless Camera

 

In the box you have a basic kit to get you started and will do for a small flat, but the good news is the system is expandable with the ability to add more cameras and sensor’s to the system over time as you see fit.

 

Setup

Setup was surprisingly simple taking me about 20 minutes from opening the box to annoying my girlfriend with the noise (had to test it!) the unit runs off your home wifi so everything communicated very easily once you have punched your details in.

 

Using the System

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Setting / arming the system can all be done via smart phone app which is extremely handy, this can also be done via the two included remotes but I found they went straight in a drawer as the app is all you really need.

 

If the alarm is triggered you can log into the app and take a look at the webcam to see what’s going on, decide it was just a cat and disarm and reset or call the Police etc.  The Webcam also has a SD card slot for recordings which is a great idea as most camera systems like this record to the cloud , a cloud you have to pay a subscription for and are then stuck with.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a simple yet stylish looking alarm system that is easy to setup and easy to operate when set off then I can highly recommend the Smanos system. This is a beginners set though and I already plan to buy a few more sensors for various rooms in the house but I’m also safe in the knowledge that these will be simple enough to add to the system.

 

Price £224.55 from Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smeg go small for Mothers Day

Smeg go small for Mothers Day

Posted on 19 February 2016 by Chris Ford

Smeg you may know from their big retro fridges, you know the ones that look super cool but
you think is that practical for my one bedroom flats tiny kitchen? yeah those…

 

Well now you can get involved with some awesome retro styling from Smeg no matter how small
your kitchen is as just in time for Mother’s Day Smeg have released a range of cool retro styled appliances whether it’s for an on-the-go mum, cake baker or tea lover, the collection of stylish appliances feature an iconic Italian design, and add class and colour to any worktop.

Smeg Blender – for a quick smoothie fix

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www.euronics.co.uk

£149.99

 

Smeg Kettle – for that essential brew

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www.euronics.co.uk

£99.99

 

Smeg Stand Mixer – for having your cake and eating it

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www.euronics.co.uk

£349.99

 

Smeg two-slice Toaster – for breakfast in bed on their special day

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www.euronics.co.uk

£99.99

 

 

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Antler Delta C1 Case – Perfect Ryanair Companion

Antler Delta C1 Case – Perfect Ryanair Companion

Posted on 13 January 2016 by Chris Ford

For years I only flew with the likes of British Airways and other so-called premium airlines so my only experience with budget airlines were the tales of hassle and hidden charges that I heard from friends and colleagues. This, I thought, I do not need.
Recently though, I wanted to go somewhere faithful BA didn’t fly to, a Czech town called Brno. In fact only two airlines fly there from the UK and Ryanair was who we ended up booking with.

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Having read the Ryanair rules, it became apparent that they are a lot tighter when it comes to the size of bag you can bring aboard than BA. And as I like to travel with hand luggage only this meant I needed a new bag that fit within the Ryanair criteria. Here they are…
You can carry one cabin bag weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, plus 1 small bag up to 35 x 20 x 20 on-board the aircraft. So upon a bit of research I came upon the Antler B1 Case.
First of all the Antler website is very helpful, they actually have a filter which lets you tick the airline you are traveling with and will then display the cases that are suitable which makes things all very painless.

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I selected the Antler Delta C1 case for a number of reasons, I wanted something sturdy that wasn’t going to fall apart after a few trips and Antler offer a 10-year Warranty on their cases which gave me the peace of mind it’s going to last. I also wanted a case with four casters and a combination lock (key locks are annoying and a combo lock allows me to put my valuables in my case in the hotel and feel safe the cleaner isn’t having a nose around my stuff!) Casters – well four means you can just glide the case along the airport floor, which after a long day traveling you really appreciate.

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Above while at the airport I thought I would make sure my case did actually fit the Ryanair luggage box.

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Well now I’m back from my trip I have to say I’m very impressed with the case, it’s well-made easy to transport, compact and I was actually surprised how much I managed to get in there in the end with a bit of clever packing.
The case is really lightweight and made out of high strength nylon that I’m confident can take some knocks.
Finally, the price. Before Christmas the Antler C1 was £136.00 but currently Antler have it in their sale for the bargain price of £67.50. Snap one up while you can!

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