Wednesday 22 July 2015

TRE 'gadget guru' technology for July 2015

The technology I talked about in July as ‘gadget guru’ for Talk Radio Europe is…

New Apple iPod

It seems that the iPhone and the iPad haven’t killed off the iPod. Apple has announced a new version of its iPod touch, with a new range of colours, improved cameras and the Apple A8 chip, which makes it more powerful and better at tracking your movement.

The 16GB model costs £159 or €229, depending on where you’re buying it.

Marshall London mobile phone

Amplifier maker Marshall – well, the part of the company that makes headphones – has said it’s going to make an Android-powered phone as well.

It’ll be called the Marshall London and, as you might expect, has a focus on music. There are two speakers on the front and there’s a separate music processor inside, which should improve the sound quality. It’s also capable of playing more types of music file than other devices. There’s a button on the top that takes you straight to your music and it’s got two headphone sockets to let you listen with a friend. In addition it has a decent stereo microphone in case you fancy doing your own recording.

Other specs include a 4.7-inch display, an 8 megapixel camera and 1.2GHz processor. It’s being made by a Swedish company called Zound, which has licensed the Marshall brand – and that explains why it’s being launched in Sweden.

Pricing is expected to be around €540 SIM-free when it goes on sale.

Coolpeds Briefcase Electric Scooter

When you’re tired and you’ve had a long flight, there can be nothing worse than dragging your suitcase through the airport – and then dragging it through the streets as well.

Now there’s an American company that reckons it might have solved the problem. Coolpeds makes electric scooters – and they’ve now taken that technology and built it into a suitcase. So instead of having a case with wheels that you drag behind you with the handle; a little platform folds down for you to stand on and you use the handle for steering.

It weighs about 7.9kg including the case, will run for up to 10km on one charge and can reach a speed of up to 20kph.

The price is currently $599 (around €550 or £385) – but is being promoted for less on crowd-funding site


This is described as a Military Grade Fish Finder Sonar that fits in your pocket. It’s about the size of a cricket ball – it’s round with a point sticking out of it – and it uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your phone, that’s the same wireless system as a hands free headset.

When it’s in the water it sends out high frequencies to work out the depth of the water, the temperature of the water, the contours of the bottom of the lake or wherever you’re fishing, if there’s any weed below the surface – and, most importantly, the location of any fish. All this then appears on the screen of your phone.

So – you switch on your phone, switch on the FishFinder, attach it to your fishing rod and cast it into the water. And because there’s GPS built in as well, you can tell it to remember your favourite spots.

It runs for up to 8 hours on rechargeable batteries and costs £129 (around €185)

Thursday 16 July 2015

Looking for a connection

I could well be breathing the same air as my great-grandparents. I've walked the streets of Tenterden, where they once lived, and may even be enjoying the same type of lunch my great-grandfather regularly ate. (It's a cheese-and-pickle roll, accompanied by a half-pint of Kentish bitter, since you ask.) In fact, this space between the bar and the fireplace in the William Caxton pub might have been his favourite spot. The pub was called the Black Horse back in 1891, when great-grandfather was listed as 'innkeeper' on a census form, but I'm sure he'd recognise the place.

St Mildred's church, TenterdenResearching your relatives is pretty easy if you're only looking back at the past hundred years or so. Thanks to online records, I've found the pub where great-granddad Richard once lived. (It's also where my grandfather lived for a while, perhaps unsurprisingly.) However, innkeeping wasn't a career that Richard followed for long. Although he was at the Black Horse in 1891, ten years later he appears to have followed his father's footsteps into the building and decorating trade.

Sometimes research can make you feel closer to your relatives. In this case, despite my proximity to the historic Richard Bridge, I'm not feeling any emotional attachment. Time to move on. I've already had a wander round the graveyard of St Mildred's church without any success, so I'm going to visit Cranbrook Road cemetery. It opened in 1887 and is at the same end of town as the pub, which fills me with some hope.

Much to my surprise, I discover a double-width plot that contains Richard, his wife Kate and two of their children. Four deaths in ten years. And a few rows back, I discover a headstone for Richard's parents, my great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandfather. A passer-by tells me that Ashford Borough Council are very good at providing information about the location of burial plots. On this occasion, I didn't need anyone else's help. I reckon that's a family trait... and maybe even the lineal connection I'm looking for.