7th January 2016


timely. interesting. quick.


A teen’s $2,000 phone bill has been blamed on the new iPhone Wi-Fi Assist feature. It is easy to dismiss such stories and to blame the individual concerned, but I believe that Apple was far too carefree with this feature and that the company did not adequately explain what it does, and what the consequences are. The full story is at CBS News, but as an example I managed to go through 5GB of mobile data with Wi-Fi Assist turned on when I first received my iPhone 6s in just 2 days, which meant that the vast majority of my allowance had been used up. To add to this, I have good Wi-Fi at home and decent Wi-Fi in the office, but it appeared that the iPhone decided that my 4G connection was better and so it used that instead. Ironically, when I phoned Three to ask about an unlimited plan, it turned out that it would be cheaper to move to that (go figure?) and so I left Wi-Fi Assist on. For anyone else who is on any kind of limited plan, I believe that Wi-Fi Assist could be very expensive and Apple has gone nowhere close to explaining what can happen in a transparent way.

Casio has announced the Smart Outdoor Watch (WSD-F10) which looks like an ideal fit for a company that has thrived in the digital era. With obvious leanings towards the outdoors person, it includes direction and altitude measurement, a tide graph, specific focus for activities such as cycling, fishing and trekking, and a moment setter+ app which allows you to set up certain settings on your phone. It also boasts a lovely rugged design and 1 month of battery life when in timekeeping mode. This is the first Android Wear watch I have seen in which the OS looks like a good fit for the design of the product.

The Kangaroo portable PC has been demoed at CES and boasts Windows 10, an Intel Atom chip, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage in a device you can fit in your pocket. The promise of full PCs that you can carry anywhere has been alive for many years and I still have my doubts, but for some it may be the perfect portable computing solution. Only $99 as well.

CES is far from easy to keep up with at times due to the sheer volume of announcements and new products, but following @gadget_magazine on Twitter will help you to catch up on what is important. The coverage so far has been succinct, informative and very well timed. A bit like TiQ;)

The launch of the HaierPad 971 Android tablet sums up some of the problems facing Android. First up the manufacturer has chosen to call Android 4.4 KitKat the ‘latest Android OS’ and the specs are surely likely to disappoint many buyers in real-world use, no matter how cheap it is. The subject of Android OS versions has also come back thanks to the latest Google numbers which show just 0.7% on Marshmallow, 32.6% on Lollipop and 36.1% on KitKat. I’m not convinced that this level of fragmentation is as big a problem as some iOS-centric journalists would have us believe, but it can cause problems for people who buy budget devices which will be limited in longevity.

everything else

The New York Public Library has uploaded more than 180,000 new images for you to peruse at your leisure. It’s a virtual treasure trove of imagery and you may find it difficult to stop once you start exploring what is available.

There is little doubt that the Skyacht One will be beyond the means of the vast majority reading this newsletter, but a look at the official page shows just what you get for $83 million. The plane is described as a ‘yacht that can fly’ and even though I am no fan of flying, I would love to take a trip in this beauty. This snippet will give you a taste of what the manufacturer is aiming at- “Our directive—Innovative Luxury—permeates every detail in the cabin. The first impression is no exception. A planetary Clock lies embedded in a marquetry mural inspired by the 15th Century Ducal Palace’s Studiolo of Italy. The rug is Fornasetti, and the Galley is appointed to evoke the portable luxury of the British Campaign style. Custom hardware sets off the personalized embossed leather. On closer inspection, the bulkhead walls are planked and pegged as on a Yacht. The closer you look, the better it gets.  Why should real luxury be confined to the ground or the sea?”

You cannot deny some of the good the internet has done for the world, but there are times when I wonder if some of us have too much time on our hands. A live stream of a puddle in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK has so far received many thousands of viewers and the number is growing all of the time. Yes, it is merely a puddle, but as Time says- “The viewers of #DrummondPuddleWatch are also using a chatroom alongside the stream to cheer on pedestrians trying to avoid getting wet.” I looked at the live stream and only watched it for… about 10 minutes. Yes, I really did.

Creep, by Radiohead, is one of those rare songs that can be covered in a variety of styles that bring out different parts each time you listen. Personally, I prefer the original, but Esquire has posted two covers by Courtney Love and Scala & Kolacny Brothers. If you can make it all the way through Courtney’s version, I salute you! It’s terrible.

The Science of Stale Coffee is an informative article which looks at what actually makes the taste of coffee. I am a heavy coffee drinker and often wonder why I like it because I know that I shouldn’t really. It doesn’t seem to give me a physical or mental high and doesn’t taste particularly nice, but my word I really do love my coffee.

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