Tag Archives: technology

Eero, 3 days in

I have to say that even though I’m only 3 days in, I’ve got no regrets about picking up the Eero 3 pack. I’ve not had any spots in the house where I can’t get a signal, it’s super fast everywhere, I’ve not had to restart the router once and the app is great.

If you’re looking to improve the WiFi then you can’t go wrong with picking up this at £149 at the moment.

Here’s my affiliate link if you’re interested in supporting my blog.

It’s ok not to have new products the day they come out

I’m digging around for an Xbox preorder a lot and it dawned on me, it’s fine not to have it on day one. In fact it’s probably a good thing. I’m seeing a lot of anxiety around getting a new console on launch and it’ll be the same when the new iPhone comes around. Fear Of Missing Out is totally normal and I suffer with it too but in 2020 I’ve got a new perspective on this having new stuff mentality I’ve had. This year especially when I can’t even fund the blog for much longer I’m sitting out new tech for a while until I get my income sorted with a new job. But in general even if you have a job it’s ok not to have the latest and greatest on day one.

For me it’s also been about being able to talk to you about my thoughts and if you should buy product X or Y on top of just loving gadgets. But as I’ve gotten older I’m more interested in the software than the hardware. Most products these days are more than capable it’s how you use them.

So before you press that preorder have a think if you really need it this year.

Tempted by the Withings ScanWatch

I’m becoming less and less of a fan of tracking absolutely everything about myself and therefore the Apple Watch but I’ve been reading a lot about the Withings ScanWatch and I have to admit I’m tempted.

I love traditional watches but also need some motivation to exercise and this one might be the perfect combination.

It looks great has 30 day battery life and I’m very very tempted.

It looks to work with both iOS and Android should I switch to the Pixel 4a next month so would fit into any ecosystem I choose.

I’ll keep you posted on my decision to purchase one to review but if Withings happens to come across this please reach out to me as I’d love to review one.

Saving money on your technology

I’m really needing to watch my finances now and it’s so easy to forget about or not frequently review your monthly outgoings when it comes to technology if you’re anything like me. When I knew exactly what I’d be having coming in each month I was a bit too relaxed about but in these current times I’ve done a review and saved quite a bit just by looking at my tech.

Your phone call plan

I’d been paying £25 a month for unlimited data and calls etc but when I looked at my usage I’m only around 5GB a month. I managed to switch to an 8GB a month plan for £9! Saving me over £15 a month. Have a good think about your actual usage and see if there’s a better deal out there.

App and cloud subscriptions

This is where I was spending the most. I’ve recently switched over to Google services more and more so this had potential. I’d been paying for lots of apps and have cancelled everything apart from Todoist, which I paid yearly for and have it running for a couple more months.

I moved all of my photos from iCloud to the Google Photos free storage option. This is fine as you get 16GB per image and 1080p for video. I’m not planning on printing anything large or publish any video. This has removed the need for a £6.99 a month iCloud plan and dropped it to 0.79p, nice saving there of over £6.

I’m not currently in a position to support any membership schemes currently.

Music

I’ve cancelled Apple Music as this was £14.99 a month. I’m still deciding what to do but I think I’ll most probably play my Music I’ve bought via the music app and use free Spotify. I’ll have to see how this one pans out when my subscription runs out. There’s also Google Music but I have no idea what’s the current state of play with that service, something to add to my to do list.

TV

I cancelled Apple TV+ already, nothing on there for me and wanted to make sure I didn’t get charged.

Netflix was cancelled ages ago and don’t really miss it.

Prime also cancelled and don’t miss it.

Disney+ has been paid up front for the year but with my love of Star Wars and the upcoming Obi Wan series this’ll continue. I’m excited for all of the Marvel and Star Wars content coming more than the films so will be a must.

NOWTV has been cancelled. This one was £33 a month to watch my favourite sport – Formula 1. In the UK we don’t have many options thanks to SKY but I’ll have to go back to BBC Radio coverage and highlights on C4.

Gear

As of now I’ve got two things on my shopping list, a Nest WiFi and Pixel 4a and I’m not sure if I’ll order depending on how my finances are looking. As I’m getting older I’m getting less interested in getting the latest and greatest. I won’t be dropping £1000 on an iPhone 12 or whatever it turns out to be this year. I have problems with Apples current bullying tactics and to be honest no phone is worth that. I’m more interested in the mid range as there’s a lot to take a look at. My plan here is to not go iOS this year and to pick up a Pixel or Android phone of some sort so I can gain some more perspective into a different ecosystem. I also think it’ll give me something different to write about.

I’m glad I bought a 2020 iPad Pro before my job situation changed, I’m all sorted on that front.

My current Apple Watch is a Series 2 and hardly use it so that’s not a concern for me.

What tips do you have around your tech savings?

Using Google apps on the iPhone

I’m really experimenting with my setup at the moment and with me losing some faith in iCloud I’m making use of the Google Drive space I got for free to help me save some money. Now I’m in a different position work and money wise I’m really looking at using free services and Apple services are suddenly looking out of my budget for the time being. I think I got a free 10 GB with helping maps or something but either way I’ve got 15 GB to use.

The apps seem good so far and unlike the Microsoft ones I tested I could log in on the first try.

The plan is to put my photos into Google Photos via my Mac then start to let my iPhone upload.

Sheets and Keep are good Pages and Notes replacements for my use.

The Google Calendar widget is why I use that app.

Hangouts is where I chat to all my Android friends.

Todoist is on its way out as a way to reduce my subscription costs.

Finally seeing the benefit of USB-C (and thoughts on my setup)

I’ve had the MacBook for a few years but not really seen the benefit of USB-C until now, it’s a strange thing to write but it’s finally clicked for me. My day job is home based and for a while I’ve had a DELL hub that I haven’t really tried for long periods, I simply plugged my work issued DELL laptop into my DELL 34” widescreen monitor. On thinking about my setup now I have the MacBook I decided to give it another go.

I took the DELL hub and plugged in my screen, a mouse, keyboard and power into it. Coming out was a single USB-C cable, ok here we go. I took this single input cable and plugged it into the work laptop, it all worked – stage 1. I then took my single port MacBook and woohoo it worked too all in the best resolution on my large screen. This single cable connects all my inputs, powers and has USB ports to spare for plugging in drives etc… 

I’m really happy that this one hub has enabled me to use one setup on my desk.

What I’m wondering now is if I get myself a Magic Trackpad 2 and the 11” iPad Pro with USB-C how great this setup could be to cover everything. I have no experience of using an external display with the iPad but given I’m in the market and general prefer the smaller form factor (coming from a 10.5” iPad Pro) I’m thinking I might skip the new magic keyboard completely and just put the money into the trackpad 2 and the iPad itself. This way I have portability of using the iPad in tablet mode when I want, if I want a bigger display I can just dock it into this hub and go for it. The enhanced mouse support with my trackpad should make it a great setup. Now I’m using my MacBook then I also have the option of taking it from the desk and using it with trackpad etc… The thing I haven’t enjoyed about using my MacBook is the fact that I can’t use it comfortably on the sofa and of course I miss using the pencil. I can get the trackpad and pencil for the less than the cost of the new Smart Keyboard cover so I’m very tempted to go this way.

Anyone used the iPad with a large external display by any chance?

(Having a spare USB-C power cable is also handy for plugging into the Nintendo Switch I have on the desk!).

Use the technology that works for you

With the iPad turning 10 this year I’m seeing articles from people like me that celebrate it’s existence and from those that are clearly Mac first and bemoan the way it works based on their to be frank lack of day to day use of iPadOS. I know they have the ear of Apple and I hope that this time Apple aren’t listening.

For me I’ve always gravitated to technology that I enjoy using and works with my brain. I’m not Mac is bad and iPadOS is good, I just use what works best for me. I don’t care what your devices of choice are if they work for you that’s great. I’m also not wedded to Apple gear, if something better comes along I’ll give it a go.

I don’t write articles that bring negativity against something I don’t like, I just show my perspective.

You should use what you want to use and ignore those that tell you otherwise.

My favourite gear in 2019

I’ve actually not bought that much stuff this year but I wanted to share new gear that I’ve enjoyed and the ones that continue to serve me well.

iPad Pro 10.5″

It’s over 2.5 years old now and still my number one daily computing device I own. As you most probably know I use it with the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. I have looked over at the new 11″ Pro with envy at times but once I look at the total cost with a new keyboard and pencil it stops me making the purchase. I’ve seen them on sale several times but I’m really content with with my 10.5″. It’s still fast on the latest version of iOS and does everything I need.

Casio F-91w

I’ve been dipping back into the world of watches and my go to has been the Casio F-91w. It looks great, reminds me of my first watch and is comfortable. I like to take breaks from Apple Watch from time to time and this is my favourite one to use.

iPad Mini 5th generation

We still have a 2nd generation in the house but I wanted a smaller iPad I could take with me to client site and use like a field notes book. It’s been a great little device, since iPhone 11 Pro I’ve used a bit less but it’s still my favourite way to read comic books or just browse.

Yamaha practise amp

Probably my favourite purchase this year. It’s light, sounds great and can be plugged into my Mac for recording.

iPhone 11 Pro

Without doubt my favourite iPhone and biggest upgrade. For the improved camera and battery life alone it’s been a great upgrade. I’m still not completely satisfied with night mode but that’s more on me than the camera I think. In day to day use it’s replaced my DSLR more than any other iPhone and I’m constantly amazed with how great the image quality is.

AirPods Pro

A fairly new addition but I wouldn’t be without them now. I’ve always liked my AirPods but was itching for noise cancelling and my preferred in ear silicone tips, I got both and am completely happy. They are more expensive than standard AirPods but when compared to Bose QC I think they are well priced. The noise cancelling in my experience so far is on par and sometimes better than Bose. I can’t recommend these highly enough.

Fender Eric Johnson Thinline Stratocaster

I’ve not bought a new guitar for years but when I saw a big sale on this model I couldn’t resist. I’ve been wanting a semi-hollow body guitar for years and seeing this one from one of my favourite artists I jumped at the chance to own one. Now I’ve setup to my liking I can’t put it down. It’s light, sounds great unplugged and the neck carve is very comfortable for me. The only downside is the nitro finish is very tacky still so I already have wear and tear but I love the lived in look anyway.

What’s some of your favourite gear?

Can you set parental controls per user on Nintendo Switch?

Now my daughter has gotten into playing the Switch I needed to start to look at parental controls. In my eyes I should be able to restrict access to the game content on a per user basis.

So basically if you want to have restrictions per user then they need their own Switch. This shouldn’t be the case and now means I can’t let my daughter play on the switch without me checking up on her. Now she’s at an age where I can trust her to play the games she likes but means when she’s away or wants to borrow it for an extended period she can’t, come on Nintendo this should be a basic functionality of the console.

Note that an iPad is the same, no user login so you need an iPad per person.

Is it just me yelling at a cloud or do you think this functionality should be present?

Going back to using a point and shoot camera

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I’m using my devices. I’m trying to use my iPhone less and be more intentional. This coupled with the fact that the screen on the XS is starting to bother my eyes made me rethink my whole setup. The conclusion I came to was that the main reason I upgrade my phone each year is for the camera.

This gave me an idea, if I got a small point and shoot I was happy with I wouldn’t have to fret over the iPhone camera upgrade each year.

So, I’ve picked up a Sony RX100 and an iPhone 7 (jet black, my favourite iPhone to date) to see if this new setup with a portable comfortable iPhone and great small camera will be all that I need.

I’ll report back in a few weeks on this one.