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    Ireland AM: Gadget Guy

    Tv3 Ireland AM, Thursday 2nd March, 2017: Retro Gadgets

    With the recent announcement by one-time Mobile Giant Nokia that they would be bringing back the retro simplicity of the classic 3310, the simple ubiquitous mobile of a generation - 17 years ago to be exact, I thought I'd look at what else in technology casts an eye back to the good old days! The New 3310 boasts a revamped colour screen, standby time of up to 30 days and even basic web connectivity. Just no APPS! Good old fashioned buttons and a frame that will most likely withstand smaller bomb blasts. Check it out here..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg5BBwB50J0

    ION Motion LP Vinyl Player: 
    Dam fine piece of kit if youre into this kind of thing, I don't get the fascination with old Vinyl but I guess it's each to their own and as Mark said, I AM a philistine. We put together, sounds pretty good on it's internal speakers and is rechargeable and therefore totally portable. A USB port connects it right into a computer so you CAN digitise your old records if you fancy. It's good kit for €99
    See: http://www.thegadgetstore.ie/ion-motion-lp.html

    Retro TV Games:
    Tiny little device that manages to contain 200 simple, retro 80's style games. Controller itself feels solid enough given the price tag and although I recognise maybe 10 of the games, there's some nostalgic gems in there even if it will never win any awards for stunning graphics! Not bad fior 20 quid!

    Roberts R1 Streaming Speaker:
    Build quality, speaker quality and design is as retro as it is premium quality, the R1 sounds great and works wirelessly on your wifi network to play either your content from your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. No battery is a bit sucky but As long as you don't need to move it around too much it's a lot of quality sounds for your buck. The "undok" app its designed to be controlled by works with all streaming radio stations and either a spotify or Apple music account.
    See: https://www.robertsradio.com/uk/products/r-line/wireless-speaker-systems/r1

    Check out the show here!

    Tv3 Ireland AM 27th April 2017: Small Business Hacks

    This morning I was all "business". We've been at it a fair while in business ourselves, and given our love of tech, myself and the crew are often asked to come in and advise businesses of all shapes and sizes on their use of tech. This morning, I covered 5 of my top hacks- simple solutions that more often than not- people have no idea are in existence. Not least how much money and time can be saved.

    First is Google. Yes, it's the master of all, the supermind we turn to with every unanswerable question. Some of us use it's awesome Gmail email facility but so many do not realise the power beyond Gmail. Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are Google's slap in the face to Microsoft as their some-would-say better versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Easier to use, totally cloud based through your browser (with free local apps if you like) and the clever ability to work TOGETHER accross the web on documents and even track the changes. Free for non-professional use and keenly priced for larger scale operation. I'm a raging fanp- mostly because it really doesnt matter where I am or what machine I decide to work off- my stuff is just there in front of me once I log in.

    Invoice2go: From invoicing on the go to keeping track of paid and unpaid invoices and customer statements- classically you needed some form of office clerk to churn them out and maintain a semblance of order. Invoice2go puts all the right in your pocket, from around 20 euro per year upwards, It's an inexpensive system that runs on your smartphone, tablet, PC or all of them together. Custom invoice templates and totally flexible to the user, it's easy to use and even allows the customer receiving the invoice to pay online immediately via stripe or paypal.

     Sum Up: For as little as €20 you can take delivery of this powerful little credit card terminal that works wirelessly through your smartphone or tablet - no up front or monthly fees - just a slick, easy to use little terminal with a pin pad letting you take all manner of credit and debit cards. Fees are a little below 2% so pretty competitive for the smaller user.

    Canva is a genius of a facility. Finally, something that takes the mystery out of "Photoshopping", a simple and intuitive cloud based design and graphics program. Sign up for free, upload your logos or pics and use a host of free templates and tools to create anything from a Facebook Banner to a Poster Campaign. For a small business like ours- its made us LOOK so much more professional without costing us a penny. It's actually hugely enjoyable to use.

    Genius Scan: Simple scanning app for your smartphone that quickly and smoothly captures your paperwork- receipts, book pages, letters and receipts. You can categorise your files into nice, searchable folders and then have them automatically backed up to dropbox or google drive.

    Check out the video here....


    Tv3 Ireland AM 8-5-2017 Picnic Gadgets

    Well I figured with the weather over the weekend it was high time I got the picnic basket out and used the excuse to go find some appropriate gadgets for the job.

    Thanks to the Outdoor Adventure Store for giving me some decent, lightweight picnic stools to sit on!

    First off is music. This comes even higher than food in my picnic priority list. Not necessarily being able to rely wholeheartedly on the weather, I was needing something waterproof and loud. Something with decent battery life too. This came in the form of two offerings from Speaker giant Nyne. Their Rock model is a beast - at €299, and about the size and weight of an 80's boombox, its no pocket warrior, but it crams some serious oomph both in terms of volume, bass and even battery life. (about 10 hours of playtime). The chunk of tunes links wirelessly to your phone and even lets you take calls through it. Their AQUA unit is smaller and not quite the noisemaker its more expensive brother, but it provides effectively the same function for only €149 and is not only water resistant, the thing is designed to float in water, even safely submerge. Not sure why youd want tunes underwater but there you go.

    Minipresso NS: €59
    BCool Gadgets

    Coffee is mandatory. Personally, it bothers me when I can't get a decent one, purely because I'm miles from anywhere on a picnic blanket in a field. The Minipresso GS solves the issue, pour in hot water and some coffee, squeeze the plunger and there it is. All from a machine the size of a coke can. 

    Bushnell Solarwrap: €90 from 53 Degrees North in Carrickmines

    I'm a big fan of solar, although it's still a long way from replacing batteries and traditional power, it's about the cleanest and cheapest source of energy. Not until now did I realise panels could be made to be entirely flexible. The solarwrap is a roll up solar panel designed to charge your devices when all other means are out of the question. (Because you're in a field!)

    Black Diamond Moji Lantern from 53 Degrees North: €80

    Another portable charging station, but this time with an incredibly bright lantern thrown in - it's a newer type of LED that is even MORE efficient than we've known before, so gives DOZENS of hours of bright light AND charge time for your devices.


    Pet Gadgets! Ireland AM 24th of May, 2017

    So this morning I got to bring my fluffy friend Loxie on air. All under the sneaky guise of talking tech for pets! Loxie and I had a fair bit of fun "testing" what was on offer!

    I rang around a whole pile of pet stores and whereas so many said "we don't really do gadgets..." the most incredibly helpful and creative turned out to be my own local pet store in Glenageary, if you love your pet the way I do - get into them. They are as passionate as they are knowledgeable. 

    By the way- I got all my items this morning "Pete approved" by my good friend Pete the Vet. He always gives out to me when I feed Loxie the wrong things and saves me from unwittingly making her sick.

    1. Kippy Vita Pet Finder: €199 
    The smallest real GPS tracker I've ever seen - it fits neatly to your cat or dogs collar and with minimal setup- you can follow their exact location on your smartphone- even tracking their activity during the day and receiving notifications if they go beyond a digital boundary you've set. Clever and safe as houses.

    2. Foobler Treat Ball: €39.75
    Remarkable little dog toy/ball that drops treats automatically every 90 minutes (you can vary this) 
    The thing emits a beep when it does so and the dog needs to nose it around a bit to get them out. Loxie gave it her paws up!

    3. iFetch/Hyper fetch tennis machine: €125 Loxie's a bit scared of this one but I thing she used it wrong. Your dog drops a ball in the top and it randomly shoots it across the room, until, hopefully, your dog pops it back in the top again to start the whole cycle anew!

    4. Trixie Memory Trainer: €75
    Prety high tech- I know I'd love this one if I was a dog! The base unit emits a treat when the wireless control button is pressed. Simple for a dog to press and because it's wireless you can place it anywhere around the room or even in another room. Great memory training!

    5. IP Videochat Camera: €99 
    Carl in our Bray branch has these, (bray@backfromthefuture.ie) or 014757177. The cheapest Wireless two way chat, pan and tilt internet cam I've seen. Easy to set up and monitor/chat to your pet from your smartphone - anywhere in the world!

    as always- ask me anything: colin@backfromthefuture.ie


    Tv3 Ireland AM 11.07.2017 Dashcams!

    Today we were looking at the growing demand for the "silent eye-witness" that is the Dashcam. Video and audio recording cameras in vehicles. Primarily for full time recording of the events and goings on during your driving experience. Borne out of Russia and the need to protect citizens from invalid accusations from sometimes corrupt law enforcement, they are now being used globally to vindicate or indeed prove right or wrong the driver in the event of a mishap. Thanks to advancing video storage and quality, along with reduced costs of such tech, it's getting easier, cheaper and more effective. 

    Today we were looking at the Garmin range, my own Garmin Dashcam 35 was the unit I had in studio but I got my hands last week on their latest models, the 55 and 65. Tiny, set up in minutes and high quality, they not only record but intelligently analyse the road in front of you. The cam can alert you to red lights, speed limits, stationary traffic and even lane change. displaying the speed and location right on the recorded video, it might become your best friend in the event of an accident. 


    the three other dashcams were missing the more advanced features but also missing a chunk of the Garmin's price tag so its horses for courses. 
    They can be purchased over at our friends in Bcool in Jervis or in Dundrum Shopping Centre.