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Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

14-Feb-13 Version wars!

In Blog, BYOD, Consumerisation, Personal, Technology on February 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm

This year could see yet another mighty battle in the consumerisation version battle ground, as Apple, Google and Microsoft try to generate more demand for their products.

The first major event of the year could be the K release of Android, which is code named Key Lime Pie. According to the rumours on the web, this could be aimed for a release around May.

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Google are certainly not holding back in their releases, as the paint is still drying on Jelly Bean (4.2). Although it’s difficult to assess what the new key features will be, it would be great if a built in video application was delivered and also you could sync between different makes of devices. Both of these would open up better integration to trouble the Apple world!

Later this year, IOS7 is expected. Although a number of folk think a major redesign of the operating system is due, it is unlikely to be this year, as it would make sense for them to deliver a major redesign with a new device.

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Is there is one feature I’d like to see, its the concept of multiple profiles on one device, as certainly our tablet device is used by multiple folk and it would make a custom experience for everyone. Unlikely to happen I suspect, as Apple still see these as very personal devices.

Of course, the other major fix has to be the map functionality. Although bringing back Google is unlikely, a solution for TomTom needs urgent fixing!

The final platform is Windows. Bizarrely it is rumoured that there could be a release around the summer called Windows Blue. It is not clear whether this is a service pack (Microsoft don’t seem to want to do these any more), a feature pack or something completely different.

Its difficult to say what might be in this release, even if it is true, but one view is that it would go a stage further to standardising the Windows platform across tablet, mobile and desktop devices. Watch this space…

11-Feb-13 Ring main streaming!

In Blog, BYOD, Consumerisation, Personal, Technology on February 11, 2013 at 7:08 am

As I touched on in my blog a few days ago, I have been very impressed by these devices that can extend your network at home by using your existing electrical sockets (and ring main).

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Unfortunately most people don’t have the luxury of Ethernet (PC) cabling in your home meaning that it can be very challenging to extend the wireless or physical reach of your network. Especially if that smart TV is in a remote room of the house, where the wireless signal is poor, as in my case, or you want to connect up another computer or even a printer.

The Powerline adaptors can overcome these issues and are not only simple to setup (plug and play), you can be make these work with your budget, as they come in a variety of speeds from a number of providers.

Amazon search for providers.

I went for the 200mbps ones, as more than sufficient considering my broadband, like most people, is limited to below 100mbps.

There is just one key point to note. These devices require the sockets being used to be on the same ring main. Naively this is something I found out the other day, as my kitchen and its sockets were part of an extension and therefore on a different fuse board! Unfortunately it took me over an hour to realise this!

I have to say that I was surprised at the quality; especially considering the noise I would have expected to be omitted from the power cabling.

These devices have no additional limitation to the ring main issue that I have found so far. If you need more sockets in one room, just simply buy more adaptors or use a mini hub.

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06-Feb-13 Technology does work!

In Blog, BYOD, Consumerisation, Technology on February 6, 2013 at 7:41 am

After my fun and games with my smart TV on Monday, last night was all about overcoming this technology challenge.

Although one of the issues was the digital coverage in my kitchen, this was less of a concern, as at least standard television viewing could be used. The biggest issue was the wireless connectivity to my broadband router, which meant the smart TV applications kept buffering. Added to this, the built in web browser just kept updating when being run.

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The web browser issue was quickly overcome. For this application, smart TV provides a reinstall option which I took.

On to the buffering. Well for some time, I’ve had doubts about the positioning of our wireless router. It was moved by the engineer when BT fitted the new fibre connection for Infinity, as it needed to be next their unit in the hallway, so using my Power line Ethernet adaptors, I moved the wireless router to a different room and bingo, all of a sudden, reception across all our wireless devices was much better and no more buffering on the TV. Yippee!

I have to say these Power line adapters are fantastic extending your Ethernet wiring through your electrical plug sockets by simply plugging and playing!

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As I was on a role, I decided that I would attempt an update of my phone to the new Windows mobile 7.8 version. Although this has now been officially released by Nokia and gradually being rolled out, there is a method to force the update, which I read on the Internet yesterday.

Although dubious, I gave it a go, and much to my surprise, the updates started working; exactly as outlined in the forums I had read.

As I write my blog, I am now using the new tethering (mobile hot spot) feature and I’ve already had a play with the new mobile 8 customisations. Happy days….

04-Feb-13 TV is smarter than me!

In Blog, BYOD, Consumerisation, Technology on February 4, 2013 at 9:33 am

I’ve just made my latest investment in computer technology. Before you ask, its not another Apple or Google device, but this time a product from Samsung; a 22″ smart TV device.

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Now I’ve already made a previous investment in a smart TV from Samsung, but I have to say that this one has some fantastic features built in!

Yes, it has all the normal things I’d expect smart TV’s to now have (BBC iPlayer, YouTube etc), but I was impressed that it has wireless capability now built in, as well as being Skype ready (if you add a camera).

Well I was impressed until I started setting it up!

The first problem I experienced was the digital reception. Now we hardly live in the back end of beyond, so I was startled that the reception in our kitchen would be that bad. After all, if I was on the roof, I’d be able to see Crystal Palace in the distance!

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After all the neatness of a wall mounted LED, it is now accompanied by the biggest indoor aerial I could find to get digital coverage! Surely there has to be a better way to fix this?

The second problem I experienced was the wireless speed. This was noticeable when playing BBC iPlayer by the constant buffering (as you will know from a previous blog, my BT broadband connection was upgraded a few months ago to Infinity).

As any techie would do, I referred to the manual for any obvious settings that were wrong and then the web site for any latest patches, but everything appears correct and up to date.

As I write my blog, the TV is doing an update after attempting to load the built in web browser. A fix that the Samsung web site suggested. This update has now been running for over an hour! Is digital really the future?

03-Feb-13 No more Janathon!

In Blog, charity, Personal, Sports on February 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

On Thursday, after my final blog of Janathon, I promised an update the next day; well here’s that update two days later, as I’ve quite enjoyed not having to press out a blog or run for that matter!

My final Janathon total was 100.57 miles, which I ran in just over 20 hours; I ran every day, apart from one day, when I was restricted to Just Dance on the Wii!

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In one week I ran / walked a marathon, whilst over the month, I completed nearly 4 marathons! The longest run in any one day being 6.05 miles,

It’s now all about the money. As I write my blog, we have now raised £693 across our multitude of sites. If you’ve been inspired by our Janathon feat, enjoyed our blogs or just want to support a very worthy cause, please donate just a small amount today on our charity website, as everything we raise will be doubled by SThree.

Our original aim was to raise £1,000, but with SThree doubling the amount, we now have a great chance of raising £1,500. So please please dig deep and donate anything you can. It will be much appreciated.

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This is our main charity page. http://www.justgiving.com/sthreeplc

From today, although I am going to continue running (3 / 4 times a week), I will start going back to blogging about technology and specifically things that are enabling consumerisation (tablets, mobile and applications).

Saying that, Janathon has truly inspired me to not only keep fit, but also to try and support more charitable causes this year. Whether that be organisations like SOS Children’s Villages or underprivileged children in other areas who would love the opportunity to develop their skills or just work!

I’ve already got plans with some work colleagues for a big walk in the summer; more information to follow over the coming weeks, plus I’m hoping to continue with my goals and complete an half marathon at some point.

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