Buy a sound bar

One does not realise just how bad the internal speakers of a TV is until one hooks up a sound bar or stereo. During this last Christmas holidays I hooked my stereo combo as a treat for the kids. Only then did I remember just how awful th sound quality had been all this time.

I opted for a sound bar for a couple of reasons. One a friend had just bought one for his new TV. Intrigued by it I had connected the idea that with the ubiquity of Bluetooth this would mean my sound bar could play music as well. Turning my lounge into an entertainment area was one goal. But better still I realised that the Apple TV hooked up to my computer was better served with the TV. That move was a game changer. Since I set this all up I can play music, watch YouTube and movies with the best sound possible.

The change in technology had been something hanging around my neck for a while. I simply did not know how to deal with it coming from the late twentieth century. With everything connected – the IoT – it means we no longer live in just a physically bound world. Or rather the way we bind to things is different. There was a shift in the paradigm. This was something I have had to struggle with and only now is beginning to make sense.

All track pads are equal. Some track pads are more equal than others.

A track pad is a track pad is a track pad. Not.

Take the Apple MacBook Pro 2015 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 2018 – they both have touch or track pads. But on the MacBook pad is fixed. This might sound ridiculous and unusable but really it means that there are less moving parts and less likely to break. The workaround for this is an incredible haptic feedback system which taps back against your finger making it feel like some kind of movement. The illusion is simply quite amazing. The Surface Pro still uses a traditional traditional track pad. While it has become multitouch like most of today’s devices it still means it feels old. The verdict – MacBook‘s track pad is simply an experience. Unless one uses tries similar but different things one does not know the subtle differences between them. Direct experience is important, in every sense.

Why I care about the new iPhones?

So Apple announced its new products today. Why do I care? Considering the amount of time I spend on my phone, the amount I use it for photography, productivity, entertainment, etc, it makes sense that I invest in it. It is the primary technology I use because if its usefulness. It is my main camera and Filofax. I blog from it more than I blog from my computer. I entertain myself with chess and watch live broadcasts from it. I reply to emails and messages from it because it is more convenient and efficient to do.

The new iPhone Xs and Xs Plus is nice but it isn’t worth a replacement for my X. The Xr however is worth it as a replacement for my wife’s old iPhone 6s, which was originally mine. It looks like Apple is moving towards to phase out Touch ID in favour of Face ID by not introducing iPhone 8s at this time.

While I can see that they will probably bring out the 8s later as their low end model (phasing out their iPhone 7), eventually they will do away with it also. Furthermore, people still love the Touch ID. It is a slick piece of security that had little fault. I liked the fact that multiple fingerprints of more than one person can be registered. I had access to my wife’s phone by registering mine. I couldn’t do that with Face ID, which allows only one face as ID.

Overall, the Xr is a good replacement/upgrade for the 8. Keeping the LED display, but upping the camera, security features, size and a new A12 Bionic chip (which is supposed to be much faster than the previous A11 Bionic chip in the X).


I guess we are in a new era in technology where the internet is no longer dominated by PC-based access but that of the iPhone and smartphone. Can it be better described than with the term SmartWeb?

From wood to plastic – new technologies

This morning’s NHK News featured a story on the opening of a factory which can produce plastic from wood (in Japanese) bypassing the need to use petroleum, the usual resource for its production.

This could be the start of the decline of our reliance on oil but it is still early days yet. The production is labour intensive and costly for now but it is a start.

Could this be the ‘golden bullet’ for CO2?

Scientists have reported that they are now able to selectively remove CO2 with a newly synthesised material. Click here to read more.