Stop blaming Facebook

Reading time: 3 mins
“The next two decades it’s gonna be privacy. I’m talking about the Internet. I’m talking about cell phones. I’m talking about health records and who’s gay and who’s not. And moreover, in a country born on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?” ~ Sam Seaborn, The West Wing. In case you missed the news, it turns out that tens of millions of people have had their Facebook data used by a company called Cambridge Analytics to help skew the last US Presidential election (good summary here). The joys! Facebook privacy has always been a bit of an open secret, at least to those who work in IT. You can control a lot of the …

Continue reading »

I met a spaceman

Reading time: 3 mins
Ground control to Major Tom… Ground control to Major Tom: Lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on! I can still remember the first time I heard Space Oddity. I can recall just how otherworldly it sounded to me and while that was largely down to Mr. Bowie (an entirely other being for sure) it sits squarely alongside a similarly titled book that I’d just finished reading which was, in turn, the very reason I had listened to that track in the first place. I was maybe 12 years old at the time and the idea of space was more Star Wars than 2001 but I was slowly learning about the Apollo program and pages of my encyclopedia were …

Continue reading »

iPhone X

Reading time: 6 mins
Yes. I got THE new iPhone, not an 8 or 8 Plus, but the new shiniest of shiny one. Did you expect anything else? Pre-ordered Like millions of others, I hit the Apple App Store at 8.01 on the 27th October and reserved mine, with a provisional pickup date of the 18th November. So imagine my surprise when an email landed in my inbox on the 2nd of November saying my new iPhone was available for pickup. Surely a little snafu, I thought, but I clicked ‘Select a Date and Time’ presuming it would just confirm the 18th November date. But wait, what’s this… 10am on November the 3rd is available, why that’s tomorrow… that can’t be… click click CLICK! …

Continue reading »

AirPods, finally

Reading time: 3 mins
I’ve held off getting a set off these for some time but as my current ‘commuting’ in-ear headphones (JLabs Epic BT – discontinued) are starting to show their age, both in terms of wear and tear and in how the diminishing battery life is impacting the Bluetooth connectivity. Although admittedly the latter concern is purely based on my perception, but they do seem to drop the connection to my iPhone far more than they used to, even though I logically know that the science behind that thinking is bunkum. I do have another pair of bluetooth headphones – my wonderful Jabra Revos – but I prefer in-ear for commuting as they let in enough ambient noise to keep me aware …

Continue reading »

X or not

Reading time: 4 mins
We’ve had a couple of days to digest the recent Apple keynote, and a few more days than that to pour over the leaked data that basically outlined all of the announcements and almost reduced the keynote to little more than a series of (mostly) slick product presentations. Almost, but not quite. There was certainly no hint about the opening video and tribute to Steve Jobs, which was a nice surprise and perfectly handled by an emotional Tim Cook, and it certainly added to the poignancy of the occasion. The new venue certainly looks impressive but I find I’m still stuck between thinking it’s either ‘over indulgent’ and/or ‘inspiring’ but there is no doubt it’s well designed with an incredibly …

Continue reading »

Apple Watch Calendar Events issue solved

Reading time: 2 mins
Like many Apple Watch users, managing what notifications I get on my Apple Watch is something I keep an eye on. When I first got an Apple Watch one of the early pieces of advice was to cut back on the notifications as much as possible and it’s something I’ve stuck with and now only get notifications of calendar events, emails, and messages (be they SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger), plus the Activity/Health related ones. And, like many Apple iOS users, I don’t use the default Apple applications; I think Fantastical is better than Calendar, Spark is better than Mail, and Spotify is better than Music. YMMV but these are my choices, and annoyingly there isn’t a way to tell …

Continue reading »

LIFX Cloud and BT Broadband Issue – Solved

Reading time: 1 min
LIFX Cloud and BT Broadband Issue – Solved I’ve had LIFX Wifi bulbs since they first appeared on Kickstarter. They are great when they work, but when they don’t you enter the world of Wifi networking and connection issues which is NOT A FUN PLACE. Thankfully the good people at LIFX Support know their stuff, but as I don’t see this nugget of info on their website, I thought I’d share it here. Solution If you have LIFX bulbs and BT Broadband, with a BT Homehub router, check that BT Web Protect (aka BT Smart Protect) is turned off. You can check this by logging in to bt.com and looking at the settings there. You don’t need to make any …

Continue reading »

Why I am not quitting Facebook

Reading time: 4 mins
Sometimes when I’m writing for this blog, it feels like there is a conspiracy going on to make me think about, and write about, a particular topic. So with that in mind I will happily concede that this post was inspired by Lipstick Lori (who is writing some great stuff at the moment!) writing about How I Quit Facebook, Sort Of, my own ponderings around the question of Which Tech Giant Would You Drop?, and this piece by Jason Kottke (uber-blogger) My Social Media Fast. It’s a slow pull, a subtle trick. It starts with a brief desire and is soon a constant drain. They know what they are doing, they’ve spent a long time designing it to be this …

Continue reading »

An iPad is not a computer

Reading time: 3 mins
Last year I bought a 12.9″ iPad Pro to replace an ageing 2012 MacBook Air which, like its owner, is noticeably slowing as time passes. I did my usual round of research before making the jump. I love my MacBook, is does everything I need but the screen is a shortcoming, especially these days switching from iPhone/iPad to the MacBook was jarring. I could’ve gotten a retina screened MacBook but that’s when the second consideration kicked in (our old friend money). For a lot less moolah I could get a gorgeous big retina screen, if I switched to an iPad and having seen pictures of the 12.9″ retina screen I was very tempted. I had an iPad Air and a …

Continue reading »

3 Star or bust

Reading time: 4 mins
Do you believe everything you read? Are you happy to take the opinion of the clearly ill-informed over those who weigh their words and provide evidence both for and against what they are offering? Don’t worry, this isn’t about Trump. I’ll admit that I like to have a sense of whether something is good or bad before trying it and find myself reading reviews on purchases, bars, restaurants, books, movies and, well, pretty much anything I consume or use. It wasn’t something I really considered noteworthy until a friend of mine commented that she always asks me what I think of something because she knows I’ll have researched the shit out of it (she’s classy with words that way). It …

Continue reading »