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International Business Times

Reporting on IFA and Apple announcements for International Business Times UK

September is one of the busiest periods in the technology calendar as manufacturers race to announce and release the consumer products they hope will make their Christmas a happy one.

Not only a great time of year to be working in technology but a great time to be reporting on it too. Over the last few weeks I’ve joined the technology desk at International Business Times UK to report on breaking news from Apple, Samsung, Sony and more.

Alongside announcements of new smartphones, tablets and watches I wrote about topics as diverse as Virtual Reality video and fallen enterprise mobile player Blackberry and its attempts to remain relevant.

However, I want to share a couple of video stories here. First up is my bite-sized take on the major announcements at IFA 2015:

New smartphone announcements by Apple are a highlight for many tech-watchers but, frankly, they do go on a bit. I produced an extremely cut-down version of the Apple press conference revealing everything you need to know in roughly three minutes - saving you about an hour and forty minutes of your life.

bbc one logo

Public Wi-Fi Safety in Rip Off Britain

A new series of Rip Off Britain begins on BBC1 today, Monday 14th September, from 9.15 to 10.00am.

Julia Somerville, Gloria Hunniford and Angela Ripon

Julia, Gloria and Angela are back to host series seven of Rip Off Britain this September

The popular consumer affairs show starring Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville is now in its seventh series of helping viewers tackle rip offs and scams. I’m delighted to have been involved for the last four as a digital consumer champion across everything from cybersecurity and nuisance calls to mobile roaming and online safety.

For one film this season I took a detailed look at how safe we are when using the Public Wi-Fi hotspots increasingly found in coffee shops, airports and hotels. Even I was staggered at just how much information hackers can see on wireless networks with relatively little equipment or, frankly, expertise. This information can include unencrypted usernames, passwords and other sensitive details that can easily be used to execute identity fraud or phishing attacks.

This ‘digital eavesdropping’ might be the perfect crime, with coffee shop surfers quite unaware of a fraudster syphoning off valuable personal data on an adjacent table. The first they might realise something is amiss is when they get locked out of their social networking accounts or their email inexplicably starts spamming their address book.

During research for the show I uncovered some shocking security holes from well-known online and high-street retailers who really should know better. I also discovered how I wasn’t immune to sharing sensitive and valuable data by accident too.

Rip Off Britain airs every weekday on BBC1 for four weeks from Monday 14th September at 9.15am; see here for episode information and iPlayer links to watch on demand. 

The Metro

Avoid ‘Crash for Cash’ Scams with these Dashcams

Yup, it’s official: dashcams are now a thing.

Metro Logo

Famously popular in Russia, these windscreen-mounted cameras have enjoyed an impressive boost here in the UK too, with analysts GfK saying dashcam sales figures have skyrocketed by 918% in the last year alone.

What’s more, with so-called ‘crash for cash‘ and ‘flash for cash’ scams on the increase (not to mention malicious car-keying incidents) UK insurance companies are now beginning to offer substantial discounts to dashcam owners.

Writing a piece in The Metro newspaper last Friday I went hands-on and researched a glovebox full of dashcams from a variety of manufacturers. Eventually I whittled them down to my top three, highlighting a budget, mid-range and feature-packed high-end device.

Dashcams Metro

I’m no sooth-sayer but I do predict dashcams will feature in many Christmas wishlists this year; I also expect to see dashcam features integrated into many new high-end and mid-range cars before too long; and that we will see dashcams being given out for free by insurance companies to entice new customers.

BBC Radio 4 You and Yours

Have You Backed Up Your Smartphone Snaps?

Earlier this week I appeared on BBC Radio 4 consumer affairs show You and Yours to talk about how to keep your smartphone photos and videos safe and secure.

Following a post on the BBC CBeebies Facebook page, a disturbing number of parents reported pictures had been lost through theft, accident or a broken device.

I say ‘pictures’, but often these are precious, irreplaceable family memories.

Here’s a clip from the show:

Estimates suggest we shared one trillion pictures from our phones in 2014. When smartphone photography is so simple that it requires almost no thought, it’s easy to take the snaps we take for granted.

But that becomes a big problem if when phone begins to run out of storage space, or worse if it gets lost or stolen. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to back up your photos and keep them safe.

The simplest backup of all is to store them in ‘the cloud’, what I often describe as a giant USB stick somewhere on the Internet.

Both of the major phone families – iOS found on Apple’s iPhone and Android installed on Samsung, Sony and HTC handsets among others – provide methods to back up your settings and app data along with photos and videos.

Apps such as Dropbox (and now Carousel), Flickr and Microsoft OneDrive provide seamless background image copy; Google Photos offers unlimited free cloud storage for images up to 16 MP and videos up to FullHD 1080p, more than satisfactory for most smartphone users.

Carousel, from Dropbox (Image Credit: Dropbox)

Carousel, from Dropbox (Image Credit: Dropbox)

With any cloud storage security is paramount (as some celebs found to their embarrassment recently) so ensure you understand any terms, use secure passwords and two factor authentication where available.

If you want to find out more about securing smartphone photos and videos drop me a line or leave a comment below.

TechRadar Logo

Mobile Journalism and the UK General Election

Mobile newsgathering has come of age. 

Broadcasters and journalists know it, entertainment and social networks know it, unwitting citizen news-breakers and proud parents catching their 5-yo master their bicycle know it too.

Recently I wrote a feature for TechRadar on how mobile journalism will impact media coverage of the UK general election.

In the feature I speak to key mobile newsgathering practitioners from BBC, Sky News and Trinity Mirror to learn the role of mobile in the newsroom. Contributors (to whom I’m incredibly grateful) include Nick Garnett, Marc Settle, Harriet Hadfield and Alison Gow.

This came off the back of participating in MoJoCon 2015 in Dublin, the first international conference of its kind for mobile journalism and smartphone filmmaking.

Mojocon proved to the industry that mobile newsgathering – in all its forms – is now a primetime tool. It’s no longer a case of ‘why would you use a smartphone for video/audio/broadcast?’, it’s simply ‘why the the hell wouldn’t you?’.

Hosted by the Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ and attended by journalists and filmmakers from across the world, MoJoCon was a celebration of smartphone creativity and newsgathering ingenuity. It was the brainchild of mobile journalism pioneer and activist Glen Mulcahy.

I was particularly involved in the professional smartphone filmmaking stream, including hosting a session in the main hall featuring luminaries such as Neill Barham, boss man and Cinegenix, developer of go-to iOS videography app FiLMiC Pro (in my questioning I successfully ‘outed’ an upcoming and long-awaited Android version of the app); Taz Goldstein, author of Hand Held Hollywood (a book I downloaded when I first began filming on my phone); Newsshooter.com editor Dan Chung, and mobile film directors Conrad Mess, Michael Koerbel and Ricky Fosheim. You can watch the full session here.

Head over to TechRadar to read my feature on mobile journalism and the UK General Election 2015 and keep an eye out on the Mojocon Twitter feed for more details on the next Mojo Conference.

Ginx TV

Planet of the Apps – New Series Alert!

Planet of the Apps is back for an all-new season on Ginx TV!

Planet of Apps with Adam Savage, Lucy Hedges and David McClelland

The fourth series of TV’s top mobile tech show kicks off this Tuesday 21st April.

In the first show Adam, Lucy and I look at whether smartphones are killing the games console, and some of the kicking mobile gaming kit currently making waves on Kickstarter.

Later on in the series we’re delving into virtual reality, flying high with drones and getting ahead with extreme sports tech.

Here’s an item from the third show in the series in which we lift the lid on Virtual Reality:

Planet of the Apps hits your screens on Tuesdays at 7pm in the UK on Virgin Media ch 286 and online at www.ginx.tv.

BBC Radio Cumbria

BBC Local Radio Technology Corner

BBC Radio CumbriaBBC Radio Cumbria first invited me to join them for a weekly technology spot in their morning show in summer 2014 and I’ve been a regular ever since.

In Technology Corner recently I’ve been exploring everything in science and tech from the rise and fall of Google Glass, smartwatches and the latest in wearables, to alternative fuels, eco-homes and upgrade culture.

During the BBC’s WW1 centenary commemorations in 2014 I presented a special item on technology that has changed the world over the last 100 years.

Here’s a clip of an item I broadcast on the Kevin Fernihough show in March 2015 on the emergence of Virtual and Augmented Reality:

You can listen live to BBC Radio Cumbria just here or via the BBC iPlayer Radio app. (I’ll usually post an update on Twitter before I’m on)

Access all areas

Gadget Show Live 2015

I’ve just arrived at the NEC in Birmingham to begin rehearsals for Gadget Show Live 2015.

I’ve worked with the Gadget Show Live team since 2012 and I’m thrilled to be back! This year I’m literally all over the show, presenting a feature on Top Smartphones and Tablets of 2015 with John Mason, as well as fronting my own Wear Next for Wearable Tech (see what I did there?) show.

Here’s a sneak peek of the impressive Gadget Show Live Connect Theatre where I’ll be doing a couple of my live shows:

Gadget Show Live Connected Theatre

On top of that I’m hosting the Gadget Show Live British Inventors’ Project 2015 awards where I’m very much looking forward to interviewing last year’s runner-up Ed Ward from Veglo.

The Innovation Theatre, where the British Inventors’ Project shows take place every day, was a real highlight of last year’s Gadget Show Live so I’m excited to be back getting under the skin of inventors and seeing what makes them and their inventions tick.

The Gadget Show Live runs from Tuesday 7th April 2015 for press and trade, and then from Wednesday 8th April to Sunday 12th April 2015 for public. More info and ticket from the Gadget Show Live website.

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