Recently, I joined Autocar Magazine at the Paris Motor Show, to report on announcements from Spanish car giant SEAT.
As well as getting a first look at the SEAT Ateca X-Perience concept SUV, I spent some time with SEAT president, Luca de Meo and presented a stand tour film:
These quick-turnaround shoot-edit videos were destined for the SEAT-sponsored Autocar Paris Motor Show 2016 blog, alongside photos and regular news nuggets from the show.
In today’s Metro tech section I shed some light on Li-Fi, a flashy new wireless tech that uses your living room light to help you browse safer and faster.
In a nutshell, Li-Fi is just like Wi-Fi except it uses visible light from domestic LED light bulbs to carry data, instead of invisible radio waves from a Wi-Fi router. As I put it in the Metro story, think Morse code on steroids.
Of course, using visible light does raise a few questions: many of us do not have our lights switched on during the day, some of our connected devices may sit under a desk in the dark, and rapid flashing or flickering is known to provoke headaches or worse.
I spoke with Professor Harald Haas, the luminary behind Li-Fi (here’s his TED talk on Li-Fi), who is well-practised at batting away these concerns as well as speaking of the technology’s benefits in terms of security, speed and even health:
Professor Haas is the co-founder of pureLiFi, the Edinburgh firm attempting to turn the technology into a viable commercial proposition. Its latest product, the pureLiFi-XC, features a USB adapter the size of a thumb drive with drivers certified for Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS and Linux. Android and iOS smartphones and tablets are not supported yet, but pureLiFi hopes one day its technology will be embedded into all devices, just as to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are now.
Li-Fi-enabling our light bulbs may prove more of a stumbling block, however. Each LED light that supplies a wireless data stream must be controlled by a Li-Fi access point which, in turn, must be network-connected. pureLifi may need to provide more ingenious ways to minimise the friction of installation if it is to muscle-in on Wi-Fi’s patch, particularly if it is to make waves in the domestic sector.
Nevertheless, if growth in connected smart-home and internet of things devices means that demand for radio frequency bandwidth exceeds availability – the so-called ‘spectrum crunch‘ – then technologies like Li-Fi will certainly have a place in our homes and offices of the future.
The new series of Rip Off Britain – series nine! – began on BBC1 this month and once I am on-hand as its resident technology expert.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Angela about how high-tech car criminals are able to hack their way past current keyless security systems. I also shared a few tips that may help concerned viewers prevent their cars being stolen. Here’s a quick taster:
Car crime has largely moved on from the coat hanger and hot-wire days of old, with crime rates decreasing by 80 percent since 1993 according to the Office for National Statistics. However, a new wave of tech-savvy car criminals is now making easy work of making off with many makes of car.
I’ve been following the high-tech car crime trend closely, trying to understand the ways in which criminals are able to bypass or subvert car keyless security systems – whether through signal amplification, wireless jamming or keyless code capture. Criminals often steal to order, targeting high-value vehicles that are driven to so-called ‘chop-shops’ and sold on for parts.
Next week I travel to Glasgow for BBC Rip Off Britain Live. I find the live shows particularly enjoyable because we are able to be responsive to news stories as they break. As such, I can’t say yet exactly which stories I’ll be covering, but I believe we’ll be discussing how the Internet of Things has made our homes vulnerable to hackers.
In this week’s Metro newspaper I share my top turntable picks.
The ‘vinyl revival‘ is a term coined to describe the resurgent interest in records and record players that dominated the musical youths of me and many others over 35. In fact, record sales recently hit a 25-year high.
Technically obsolete behind the CD, MP3 and now online streaming services, vinyl has nevertheless maintained mindshare with those who value the tangible side of owning music – not least the album art – alongside the much vaunted ‘warmth‘ vinyl brings. Indisputably, nostalgia plays a big part of this; cost and convenience? Perhaps not so much.
I can tell you that the first 7-inch singles I bought were You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon and For America by Red Box (wasn’t 1986 a great year?), but they were pre-dated in our house by shelves of my parents‘ discs – an eclectic mix of folk, country and pop, plus Hancock‘s Half Hour radio comedies like The Blood Donor and (my favourite) The Radio Ham.
I have now taken the reigns of its Inspect-a-Gadget column, where my remit will be to cover where emerging technology meets with business IT. Or, less elegantly, what the latest gadgets and consumer tech mean for the workplace.
Among my recent stories there, I have looked at how the all-new Bluetooth 5 standard ups the ante for the Internet of Things, got an early hands-on with the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry KEYone smartphone, and visited London Tech Week to meet a UK startup that claims to have cracked Siri for the office with its UMA conversational AI:
Earlier this week, I began looking at some new entries to Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2017.
David McClelland joins the BBC X-Ray team for a photography summer special.
As regular visitors here may know, I’m a photography nut. Naturally, I was very excited to be asked to be part of the BBC One Wales X-Ray Summer Special on how to make the most of your camera. I was pleased too that a primetime TV show had dedicated its slot to talk about photos – after all, with smartphones in almost every pocket now, snapping photos is something that many of us do all the time.
On a blustery afternoon in late-spring, I arrived by train into the picturesque Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth. Heading first for the seafront, and then to the Arts Centre, I spoke with presenter Lucy Owen about all manner of issues that might arise when taking pictures and sharing them online — even how to back them up:
The show also looks at how to take better pictures with your smartphone, how to get great footage while safely flying a drone, and how the National Library of Wales preserves its priceless collection of photos.
UK licence fee payers can watch the whole BBC One Wales X-Ray episode on BBC iPlayer.
I turned the internet’s air blue as I guested on this week’s Smashing Security podcast.
I’ve been listening to and enjoying the Smashing Security podcast since it began late last year.
So, I had no hesitation when Graham asked if I might appear as a guest on the show. I suspect he may hesitate before asking me again though…
Tasked with covering some of the week’s news, I quickly rounded on three sex stories:
- how the UK government plans to enforce age verification for sites serving adult content by April 2018
- how the owner of the Ashley Madison website has set aside $11 million to settle with disgruntled users following the 2015 data leak
- how one online adult service has introduced biometric authentication for male members
Needless to say, we covered the news with a professionalism befitting the material. Well, mostly. Hear for yourself:
To check out further episodes of the show, and to subscribe, visit the Smashing Security website.
Will, Geoff and I chat about being content creators and the tech that we use (with no apologies for geeking out on that part). What’s more, because we don’t like doing things the easy way, Frackulous is both a video and an audio podcast.
For his latest project, Geoff has been visiting all 2,563 UK mainland train stations, so recording has been a little sporadic of late. But with this latest episode, we’re back on track.
Here is that latest ep. After the gap.