Monday 26 March 2018

Anger often comes to us, but more often we come to it

"Very many men manufacture complaints, either by suspecting what is untrue or by exaggerating the unimportant. Anger often comes to us, but more often we come to it. Never should we summon it; even when it falls on us, it should be cast off."
Seneca, On Anger (English translation by John William Basore)

Wednesday 7 March 2018

March 2018 gadget list for TRE Talk Radio Europe

Here's the technology I mentioned in this month's TRE Talk Radio Europe 'gadget guru' conversation:

Nokia 8110 4G mobile phone

Some people may remember the original Nokia 8110 from its nickname, the banana phone, because it had a slight curve. And some may remember it from its starring role in The Matrix, although the phones in the film had been modified.

What we have here is an update to the original Nokia 8110 phone, now from HMD Global. It still slides open to reveal the keypad and to answer calls – and you can still slam it shut to end your conversation.

Unlike the version from 1996, this new Nokia has some apps, so you can use Facebook, Twitter and Google. It has a 2.4-inch screen, it comes with a version of the classic Snake game, there’s a 2-megapixel camera and it’ll even take care of your contacts, calendar and email. Colour choices are Black or Banana Yellow.

Battery life is up to 25 days of standby time from a single charge. The phone’s expected to go on sale from May, priced at around €79 without a contract.

Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile phone

Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S8 and the bigger S8+ have been replaced by the Galaxy S9 and the S9+.

Physically, they’re still similar sizes with a 5.8-inch screen for the S9 and a 6.2-inch screen for the S9+. One of the big differences for 2018 is in the camera. The S9 has a Dual Aperture lens with a choice of f1.5 or f2.4 apertures, so it can let in more light for clearer photos when it’s dark. The S9+ goes one step further – one step closer, you might say – with the option of a telephoto lens as well. The cameras can also record extra-slow-motion video.

They run the latest version of the Android operating system and should go on sale at the end of next week; expect to pay around £739 / €849 without a contract.

Eyeball security camera

Eyeball cameras are different from most security cameras. To start with, they’re supplied in a pack of three, they’re wireless, they detect movement, they detect noise and each has a rechargeable battery that can run for around 12 hours. They’re very much designed to be taken with you when you travel, perhaps on holiday or on a business trip, and used in conjunction with a smartphone.

So – you go to a hotel. You put one of your cameras on the bedside table. You can connect it to WiFi but even if you don’t, there’s a memory card slot for recording in 4K quality. When someone walks into your room, the motion detector spots them and you can get an alert on your phone. You can then watch a video stream on your phone if you want.

You can use them at home as well. The cameras are smart enough to know when you’re there – it’ll detect your phone using the WiFi – so you’ll only get alerts when an unauthorised person is there.

Eyeball cameras are being offered via the Indiegogo crowd-funding platform. Special offer pricing is currently $229 excluding delivery for a pack of three in the carry case, with availability expected in October.

Google Clips camera

Google Clips is different sort of clever camera. It was announced in October last year and has recently become available, although it’s still not officially on sale in Europe.

The camera itself is just two inches square. You point it at your subject. (If you’re not sure about the direction, you can use a mobile app to check.) Then you turn it on and leave it. That’s when the clever stuff starts. This camera is designed to capture special moments that might otherwise be forgotten. It uses technology – artificial intelligence, you might say – to work out what the interesting moments are and then to show them to you. It saves a collection of short video clips that can be saved a regular photo, as a video or as an animated GIF.

There’s 16GB of built-in storage and a battery that’ll last for about three hours non-stop, although the camera will go into standby mode if nothing seems to be happening. Pricing is $249.