Category Archives: Reviews

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

Book review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The original WhatsApp conversation with Ben Innes' "selfie"
The original WhatsApp conversation with Ben Innes’ “selfie”

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a fast paced, easy-to-read book that highlights the power of group behaviour on social media.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is the latest book from Jon Ronson, the journalist from the Guardian. Jon Ronson is the English equivalent of America’s Malcolm Gladwell, combined with Louis Theroux’s modus operandi. Jon Ronson’s books cover those sections of society that are either taboo or push us slightly outside of our comfort zone, and it’s here that Ronson often defends those people the most.

The book is about the public shaming that some people have been subjected to on social media. He provides some case studies of people whose lives have been significantly changed by a single post on Facebook or Twitter. These individuals aren’t always celebrities – some had just a couple of hundred followers. These case studies set the context of the post right up to modern day consequences for the user. Continue reading Book review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Robot Assistants: Google Inbox v. Microsoft Office 2016

The infamous paper clip - the first robot assistant (we just didn't know it at the time)
The infamous paper clip – the first robot assistant (we just didn’t know it at the time)

Last October, one of Gartner’s predictions for the digital future was that we will have robot assistants helping us perform work – not mechanical work, but office-based work such as content creation:

By 2018, 20 percent of business content will be authored by machines.

This is a bold claim – two years isn’t a long time, and 20% of office productivity is a lot of… documents and spreadsheets and presentations.

I’ve long been a fan of Google Inbox, the alternative interface to Gmail. Inbox recently announced that 10% of email replies using Google Inbox are now written by the built-in SmartReply feature – probably the biggest current implementation of a robot assistant. Continue reading Robot Assistants: Google Inbox v. Microsoft Office 2016

Watching TV in the Howard House

Chromecast - the best bit of kit on our television
Chromecast – the best bit of kit on our television

Like many households in the UK, our TV viewing habits have changed in the last few years, and continue to change.

To set the scene, we have four kids, ranging from 9 to 14 years old (plus Mrs H and I).

Our TV package consists of the following, each of which I’ll then describe:

  • Sky TV
  • Netflix
  • BT Sport
  • Now TV
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • And recently… an Amazon Prime Trial

Continue reading Watching TV in the Howard House

Friends Reunited: 5 reasons why it went so wrong

Friends Reunited - 5 things that went wrong
Friends Reunited – 5 things that went wrong. One of which was this poor design

Friends Reunited, one of the UK’s Internet stars, announced yesterday that it will be closing in a month’s time.

In the UK, Friends Reunited was the Internet version of Woolworths – it’s a site which we all had some affinity to, but didn’t use, and are sad to see depart. How could this household name fail to succeed?

There are five reasons why the site couldn’t compete with later social networks. Continue reading Friends Reunited: 5 reasons why it went so wrong

My Favourite Gadget, Book, App and Award in 2015

Every year I list my favourite gadget, book and app from the last twelve months, so here they are:

Favourite gadget

Gone are the days of opening Word. Now its a case of "Which Word?"
Windows 10 – a second placing for new technology of 2015

In early December my trusty Samsung S4 finally died. It had a few battle scars from daily use (read: abuse) yet worked well. One day it decided not to charge its battery any longer and despite changing a few components it was time to replace it. I had the offer of an iPhone but chose a Samsung S6 (you should have seen the look on my kids’ faces at the prospect of turning down an iPhone) – and I love it. It’s fast, big (almost tablet like) and stable. It’s the best phone I’ve owned.

Another contender is Windows 10 (OK, not really a gadget, but new technology). Continue reading My Favourite Gadget, Book, App and Award in 2015

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

Sitecore EMEA Partners Summit 2015 – conference notes

Today was the Sitecore EMEA Partner Summit 2015 at the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in London. We, Endava, are a Platinum Sitecore partner and I’ve often considered Sitecore’s partner programme one of the best developed technology partnership programmes out there – and certainly one that other companies could learn a lot from.

These notes were taken at the conference using OneNote and a stylus (or perhaps it should be called a Microsoft Pen ha ha!!) – which I then quickly converted to text. I’ve had a quick read through, but if anything looks out of context, it probably is – please comment at the bottom of the post and I’ll correct it.

Continue reading Sitecore EMEA Partners Summit 2015 – conference notes

Reviewing the new Google Play Movies Second Screen Experience

Last night I sat down with Mrs H last night to watch Kingsman (an except film, highly recommended) on Google Chromecast. The film was pay per view, which was selected on my smartphone and then ‘transferred’ to Chromecast.

Kingsman - a great film, and the real life gadgets are almost as good as the fictional ones
Kingsman – a great film, and the real life gadgets are almost as good as the fictional ones

I noticed a new feature last night – while the film was playing I looked at my phone and the screen showed the characters and actors currently on the TV screen, as well as the music soundtrack. It was like Shazam on steroids!

How many times have you been watching TV and wondered who a specific actor was? If this happens to you regularly, you’ll love the experience.

Continue reading Reviewing the new Google Play Movies Second Screen Experience