Apple AirPods

While I might be a committed apple fan boy these days I have never actually queued up for a new product on launch day. That is until the AirPods were released. I’m not sure what attracted me to them most but I was certainly fed up of of tangled and snagging wires enough to make an early morning trip into town. I wasn’t the only one either but I was the first! Turns out it was just as well I did get there early as the Apple Store in Reading only had three for launch day.

Of course they were … Read the rest

Pebble Time vs Apple Watch

As regular readers of this blog will know I am a huge fan of the Pebble smart watch. So it was a great disappointment when the the company collapsed and the assets were bought by Fitbit. Pebble did at least return the money that had been pledged on Kickstarter for the next generation and, due to currency fluctuations, I actually received marginally more back than I put in. However, that’s not much consolation for not getting what was looking like a great watch.

For a few months I persisted with the Pebble Time but as time went on it … Read the rest

Google Cardboard. VR – the Future or Passing Novelty?

A friend of mine turned up recently with a Google Cardboard a, well, cardboard phone holder that allows you to watch virtual reality content. I was interested to have a go but skeptical as to the longer term possibilities of the technology.

As you can see from the picture above the box has a place to put your phone which is held a few inches in front of a couple of lenses. You need specific apps in order to see the content which create a sort of stereoscopic effect. Although this is made of cardboard it is pretty robust although … Read the rest

Connecting an iPad Pro over Ethernet

So it has been a fun few first weeks with my iPad Pro and I am really loving the portability, the keyboard and pencil and the update to iOS to make it more suitable as a work tool. However, it was while I was on holiday that I came across a feature that I really could have done with – ether-networking. The wifi was poor where I was and it would have been good to connect over ethernet and upload more.

Turns out ethernet networking is possible with the iPad Pro and a few (costly) dongles. The major deal breaker … Read the rest

Bringing Handwriting to the 21st Century

Over the years I have had all manner of tablets and writing devices but I have never come across one that did the trick for me. Most styluses either have a big fat end which is fine for replicating your finger but no good for emulating handwriting. Or there are the more “active” styluses that only work with certain apps, or have calibration issues, or have terrible palm rejection. In most cases they suffered from all three issues.

And then along came the Apple Pencil

I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical about how accurate the Pencil … Read the rest

Adding MicroSD Storage to a Laptop

I have, amongst other things, an Acer Chromebook which I really love but it is a bit tight on storage at 16GB. I know that Google wants me to store everything in the cloud but that just isn’t possible when you are disconnected and want to watch a movie.

My requirement was to have something with a reasonable amount of storage but didn’t stick out too far from the machine so I could leave it connected all the time. I somehow stumbled upon this
Micro SD USB Card Reader adaptor which pretty much does what it says on the tin.… Read the rest

Pebble Health Review

As I have said a couple of times before I use a Fitbit to record my steps and have toyed with Misfit on my Pebble when that became available. My issue was that the gap in number of steps recorded was too great. So when Pebble Health was released I was keen to see whether this might finally be a replacement for my faithful Fitbit.

Pebble Health is a native watch app that does all the same step and sleep tracking as other fitness trackers such as Fitbit and the on-Pebble Misfit. Difference being that as this is developed by … Read the rest

Raspberry Pi GPS tracker – Connecting Without a Network

All articles to date have been about getting the GPS working with the Raspberry Pi and converting the original Python code to PHP. All of this works well (for me) but what if you want to make changes to the settings or download the log file while you are out and about and away from your home network?

Normally what happens is that you configure your device to connect to a known network but as you are going to be using the GPS/Pi combination away from known networks you need a way to access anywhere without having to connect a … Read the rest

Raspberry Pi GPS tracker – Converting Code to PHP – Part 2

In the last post I looked at converting the original Python code to PHP. This all ran without issue but I quickly found that because the Pi wasn’t connected to the internet the date and time of the device never got updated. This meant that the log files always had the wrong timestamp when they were created making it difficult to find the one I needed.

Turns out that there is a simple answer to this problem. As the GPS satellites include the current date and time as part of the detail that is sent along with the location we … Read the rest

Raspberry Pi GPS tracker – Converting Code to PHP – Part 1

Last week I looked at getting the hardware up and running for a Raspberry Pi GPS tracker. However, as I said I was using some Python code and I don’t speak Python so I wanted to convert it to PHP. So this week I am going to look at what I did.

Before I could even begin to look at the converting the code I had to see if it was even possible for PHP to access the serial port. Turns out this is exactly what Direct IO (dio) is for but it isn’t included as standard so you … Read the rest