Tag Archives: technology

Weekly news round up (18 October 2017)

Here’s a summary of interesting stories I’ve seen over the last week. I try to concentrate on the stories which aren’t necessarily mainstream.

Technology

The five biggest announcements from Amazon’s hardware event were:

  1. The Echo alarm clock (spot)
  2. Echo plus (a home hub)
  3. Cheaper echos in a three-pack
  4. Echo buttons
  5. BMW integration
  6. New Fire TV.

Hmmm… that’s six products. The big question: does a houseful of echos make an echo chamber? https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/27/16374254/amazon-event-2017-news-recap-echo-spot-fire-tv-hardware

The new GoPro Fusion 360 degree camera. It looks outstanding, even if it makes your hand look a little odd on playback. Watching it again, I cannot believe the video quality of this tiny device:

Continue reading Weekly news round up (18 October 2017)

Weekly interesting news round up

Here’s a summary of interesting stories I’ve seen over the last week. I try to concentrate on the stories which aren’t necessarily mainstream.

Banking

Let’s start with some good news! ING ran a trial of contactless charity donation boxes. The trial resulted in average donations doubling old-fashioned cash collection tins. I think the new donation box design could be improved, but it still encourages generosity to charities. .

Apple is close to launching their person to person payments service. It’s purely proprietary – which means only Apple users will be able to send and receive payments. I predict Apple Pay Cash will have a bigger cash stockpile this time next year than many high street banks. This is because users will keep their received cash on their device, simply because it will be easier than transferring it into a bank account. https://t.co/agcKxKigJx Continue reading Weekly interesting news round up

Smart IoT 2016 Day Two

Today was the second and last day of Smart IoT London. Read here for Day One’s report.

The presenterless presentation... a very odd presentation at Smart IoT
The presenterless presentation… a very odd presentation at Smart IoT

I went to a few of the presentations, but only two of them are worthy of any mention (one, which I won’t name, didn’t have a presenter… the technical support guys simply played a video in the theatre – it was one of the oddest ‘presentations’ I’ve seen).

I recommend the organisers arrange fewer presentations next year, aiming for quality over this year’s huge quantity.

And please, supply more power sockets for visitors to recharge their phones and laptops (especially to help visitors cover Smart IoT on social networks). Continue reading Smart IoT 2016 Day Two

Smart IoT 2016 Day One

Smart IoT 2016 exhibition panoramicI went to the Smart IoT (Internet of Things) event today in London’s Excel centre. The programme of presentations over the two days looked great, so I signed up a while ago. This post is to share with my colleagues and for anyone else who couldn’t make it today.

I’ll start with a summary and then go into detail, because I made lots of notes during the presentations.

Summary of Smart IoT 2016 Day One

On the content:

  • There were some thought provoking content (which I’ve covered below) mixed in with some below-par presentations.
  • I didn’t see any presentations where payments were discussed. I.e how IoT devices will transact with one another/ a service/ a person.

Continue reading Smart IoT 2016 Day One

Reading list for 12 October 2015

Kids playing cards
Yes you can play cards on an iPad, but kids don’t enjoy it as much as the real game

In between all these links I’m currently reading LEAN Enterprise – I’ll provide a full review if/ when I manage to finish it.

In the meantime, here are some of the more interesting links I’ve visited over the last week:

Mobile leads first half digital ad surge| warc.com – Ad spend on mobiles increased 51% to £1.08bn during the first half of 2015. Is it a bubble or a natural trend? Continue reading Reading list for 12 October 2015

How Insurance will use Internet of Things technologies

In October I’m giving a keynote speech at an insurance event and I’ve been asked to speak about new technologies and trends. Separately, one of the readers of this site, Doug, recently emailed me asking whether I had “any insight into the insurance sector, and company’s use of Internet of Things technologies?

Here are some thoughts which I’ve been thinking about for a while.

In its truest form, Internet of Things, or IoT for short, applies to an electronic device which has Internet connectivity capability – i.e. it can send data to, or receive data from services on the Internet. Continue reading How Insurance will use Internet of Things technologies

The Goldman Sachs Headline event at London Technology Week 2015

The Goldman Sachs Agenda at London Technology Week 2015
The Goldman Sachs Agenda at London Technology Week 2015

You may have seen some publicity recently how a megazillion people in the UK, especially London, all work in the FinTech sector. This publicity stems from some research commissioned by London Technology Week, a series of events taking place in London around FinTech.

The events range the full spectrum of FinTech technologies, and as a result we have clients travelling from the US over to London for LTW (London Technology Week). Most of the events are free, and even the charging ones were under £20.

I’ll be attending a few events with some colleagues going to events which clashed. I’m also speaking at Tuesday’s CSFI round table on crypto-currencies, which I think is just a coincidence that it happens to fall during LTW.

The first event of LTW15, or the headline event as it was known, was at Goldman Sachs called “Goldman Sachs Engineers – Solutions to Complex Problems at Scale”. Here are some brief notes. My apologies for speed over brevity – there will be a lot to cover this week.

Continue reading The Goldman Sachs Headline event at London Technology Week 2015

Apple Watch update

Well, the Apple Watch is here. You could have been forgiven for not noticing. Official sales figures haven’t been released yet, and won’t be for some time because Apple will bundle the Watch sales numbers with other devices in its next quarterly report.

Since its first announcement last year, I’d pretty much forgotten about the Watch being released. I thought the press announcement was smart – an announcement without a timescale and sent the share price even higher. So when I was with my son on the Tube recently and he whispered to me that the teenager sitting opposite us had “THE WATCH!” it served as a timely reminder (pun intended). Continue reading Apple Watch update

21st century support

Bradbox WordPress error
A frustrating way to finish a weekend

If you’d visited this blog over the weekend, you’d have received a WordPress error message. I only discovered it on Sunday evening when I checked the site for feedback. Google Analytics revealed the outage started from about 1am on Saturday morning.

I tried fixing the problem. I tried everything I could to fix it. One limitation I faced was that I have been brought up on Microsoft technologies (.net and SQL Server) and not php and MySQL – the technology that this blog runs on.

Frustrated, I went to sleep on Sunday night knowing the site was still unavailable.

After work on Monday I returned home and tried a few more things. I reached out to a WordPress guru I know. He offered some advice but I’d already tried everything suggested.

And then I came across one of the new types of one to one support websites where specific experts help other users.

I’ve always been interested in this area of consumer support. Graduating in Computer Science a couple(!!) of years ago earned me the natural honour of fixing anything within my extended family that had electricity flowing through it. Since my degree I’ve been asked to ‘programme’ the clocks in various cars, fix a microwave, tune in a TV and set up speakers – my university course appears to have been highly practical from an external perspective.

When family or friends call for help with real computer issues such as domain names, broken hard drive, email configuration, or Google Apps, I wonder who people call if they don’t have access to a friend or family member with a technical computer background.

So there I was on Monday evening, urgently wanting my site fixed, on Wizpert.com. I thought I’d give it a try. The sign up process was fast, and within a few seconds I was talking to a friendly chap from Romania (yes… I wondered whether there was an Endava link too, but no there wasn’t) who was one of their WordPress experts. At first we were chatting on Wizpert’s chat screen, and then I offered for him to remote on to my screen using Chrome Remote Desktop.

Naturally I was sceptical, and thought at some stage he might try to install some spyware somewhere, or change some passwords for access at a later stage. I watched carefully as he moved around my virtual server.

Just under two hours later he had fixed the issue and after thoroughly testing the solution I was a happier man.

The issue wasn’t straightforward, and required two types of solutions. We were still puzzled at the end about how the problem had started on the Saturday night at 1am – our assumption is that one of the WordPress components ‘auto-updated’ and broke the MySQL installation.

Not everyone uses Amazon Mayday for support
Not everyone uses Amazon Mayday for support

Wizpert is one of a number of new support models arising in the peer Internet age such as Amazon have with the Mayday button.

On Wizpert, payment to the expert is discretionary.

If you do decide to pay, users buy ‘coins’ using a credit card or PayPal, and then send these coins to the expert who helped. There are recommendations during the chat process “Most users who this expert helped gave x coins to thank them”.

I doubt these support models will be used for enterprise clients, but as devices and applications become more complex – and certainly more essential to our daily lives, end-user support will transform from the current model of phoning anyone you know with a Computer Science degree, to being able to ask someone sitting a few thousand miles away for some help and advice.