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Star Trek TOS Communicator hands-on review

By on Jul 1, 2016 in Technology | 0 comments

I got the chance to spend some time with The Wand Company’s newest gadget, a beautiful replica of the Star Trek Communicator from the original series. It’s a bluetooth speakerphone, but flipping your wrist opens the grille makes the iconic sound and allows you to speak to your friends. It’s breathtaking if you’re a geek like me, watch the video below:

I’m no longer accepting deliveries from DHL – here’s why

By on Aug 27, 2014 in Blog, Rant | 6 comments

  I have discovered a pretty good way to annoy people. Send them something from overseas via DHL and wait for the carnage to begin. There is an inherent problem with the way DHL handles VAT on packages that it ships through international borders. I’ll explain. When a package comes into the UK – and probably any country – there is a chance that it will need to have VAT (or other import duty) levied upon it. This is distasteful, but part of modern life. The problem is not that those charges exist, but how they are applied and how DHL deals with it. VAT is applied based on an item’s value, and what it is. So, in my case I was sent a phone to review (which was later sent back). Customs didn’t, to the best of my knowledge, open it, but they looked at what it was and the weight and applied a VAT amount. But because DHL sells delivery based on speed, it...

Michael Bay and his CES stage fright

By on Jan 7, 2014 in Blog, General, Technology | 1 comment

At CES 2014, Michael Bay was invited, and one presumes, paid to make an appearance on the Samsung stage at its press conference. He was to talk about a new TV and his directing work. When he got on stage, he got lost on his prompter and then couldn’t get back on track. Mostly, the Internet laughed when he made his excuses and left the stage, but one friend of mine, Nate Lanxon, suggested that it might have been a panic attack. Of course that’s true, although I don’t think it was that. Bay doesn’t really have of value to add to a discourse about technology. Sure, his films end up displayed on a TV, but that doesn’t mean he understands technology any more than I understand filmmaking. But, if it was a panic attack, does that mean we were wrong to laugh? Well, perhaps, but consider this. Michael Bay makes movies that Mark Kermode described as leering....

The great British porn filter

By on Jul 23, 2013 in Blog, Rant, Technology | 1 comment

“No sex please, we’re British” couldn’t be more appropriate, as David Cameron and his conservative loonies decided that the best way to “think of the children” was to block porn for a whole nation. I’m going to stick my neck out here though, and say that all men with an interest in sex have watched porn online. That may not be all men, but I’m going to bet it’s pretty much all of them. I don’t know about women, I am not one, but I imagine lots of them have watched porn online too. For all I know, it might be just as many. Based on that, blocking all porn for all people means that somewhere between 50 per cent and, let’s say, 99 per cent of all adults in the UK will now no longer be able to access something they like, without admitting they like it to their ISP. I can think of hundreds of reasons this is bad. I can think...

Publishing topless photos of Kate Middleton is assault

By on Sep 23, 2012 in Blog, General, Rant | 4 comments

Was the publication of images showing Kate Middleton topless a sexual assault? I think so. I’ve seen some people argue that, if you display your naked body in public, then you deserve to have it splashed across Euro-trash magazines. This is perhaps the worst argument for anything ever. Let’s assume for a moment that Kate, or anyone else for that matter, took the decision to go to a nude beach. This would be unwise given her status, and the constant press photographers that trail her, but it’s certainly her right as a human being. Does her decision to sunbathe naked mean that she loses the right to control where her body is seen. She has, after all, decided to display herself to those people on the beach. But, she is also able to see those people naked too. So there is, if you like, a sort of trust between them all. That trust is that they will all behave well, and...

It’s not piracy, it’s really not

By on Aug 16, 2012 in Blog, Rant, Technology | 1 comment

It bothers me that the entertainment industry has hijacked the word “piracy”. In fact, it really bothers me. I don’t really have a problem with entertainment firms seeking money for the product they’ve produced. But, for me to have any respect for it at all, it has to be called something other than piracy. What it is, in fact, is copyright infringement. But the industries won’t call it that, because it doesn’t sound serious. And that’s because it isn’t. Sure, music firms, movie studios and the like can claim it’s costing them billions, but the fact is in these industries, profits are up. You can’t really say what copyright infringement costs, because any number arrived at comes from the amount of (trackable) times a product is downloaded. So, if you were looking at every single torrent site, both public and private, then you...

Blocking The Pirate Bay is very, very silly

By on Apr 30, 2012 in Blog, General, Rant, Technology | 3 comments

There’s one thing that I promise will get more people downloading movies and music, and that’s blocking The Pirate Bay. Here’s why: 1) When you tell people, especially young people, what they can’t do, they usually go and do it at the first opportunity. We were all young once, I’m pretty sure we all did this. 2) Blocking a site will make it cool, desirable and a challenge to use. No one likes a challenge more than bored people with a computer, and internet connection and loads of free time. 3) Banning something gives it more publicity than ignoring it. When I learned today that a judge had ruled that The Pirate Bay must be blocked in the UK, I hit the roof. The entertainment industry has finally bought enough meetings with David Cameron to have the legislation changed in this country. We are now no longer free to browse any site we want, instead we –...

Don’t sign up for LA Fitness gym membership

By on Feb 2, 2012 in Blog, General, Rant | 143 comments

  Don’t make my mistake, learn from my foolishness. Don’t under any circumstances sign up for LA Fitness¬†membership. It’s what I’m calling “a scam”, although it may not be a scam, in the legal sense of the word. But I think it might be on the edge. Here’s my problem – and it’s not unique to me – I was offered a three day trial membership. This part is almost certainly a scam. There is no trial membership. You call up to arrange an “appointment” with one of the trainers. What happens here is, you’re given a sell. A hard sell.It is at this point that the promises, the encouragement and the dealing starts. During this process, you will be bullied in to joining. Can you get the three day pass during this time? I don’t know. I never found out, because I was bullied in to signing up. The bullying is...