Friday, 1 September 2017

Best Tech Podcasts (mostly UK) September 2017


Really recent bits in blue

First of all thanks to all those creative people making the podcasts listed below.
However good or bad I claim the podcasts reviewed below to be, their creators are doing something I couldn't do; which is to make a podcast.

The 361 Degrees Podcast

http://feed.361podcast.com/361Degrees?format=xml

Ben Smith, Ewan MacLeod, Rafe Blandford

This podcast is having a short break, well a rather long short break, all right then a very long break. It used to be one of the best podcasts about tech and I realize now how I long for all those news flashes that it’s getting dark in Copenhagen.
Please come back. We didn’t mean it. Honestly.


All About Windows Phone

http://rss.allaboutwindowsphone.com/media-feed.xml 

Steve Litchfield and Rafe Blandford and others
Hats off to Steve Litchfield for his dogged defence of the indefensible (Microsoft). I admire his forbearance in treating Microsoft as if they cared tuppence about the Windows Phone platform and not like a company whose mobile phone policy has looked for years as if it was designed by its competitors. There are only ever scraps to talk about but Steve and his guests make the most of the tiny crumbs that can be found.

The Phones Show Chat

http://stevelitchfield.com/sshow/sshowchat.rss 

Steve Litchfield and Ted Salmon

Still going strong and deservedly so. Two good-natured and authoritative presenters with the occasional guest. Apple is given its just deserves with praise for the good things it does and disapproval for the bad things it does. Apple fanboys won’t enjoy this podcast much.  
CNET UK Podcast

http://feeds.feedburner.com/CnetUkPodcastmp3?format=xml
On the up these days I think. A nice mixture of urbane and informed tech chat. There is the occasional welcome visit from the knowledgeable Katie Collins, a bonus for any podcast.

Tech Talk UK podcast

http://techtalkuk.com/ttukpodcast.rss 

Kevin Wright and others (sometimes)

Wow. By the time you read this what I am writing will be already out of date. I do not understand why I still listen to every podcast. But I do listen to every podcast. Steve Litchfield commented once that its chief and now sometimes only presenter has a good voice for radio and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a compelling listen which is all the stranger because I do not agree with most of what is said. Apple always seems to get a good press but Android phones or more particularly Samsung phones yo-yo in and out of favour at a truly bewildering rate and one can only admire the valiant attempt by the presenter to set a some kind of personal record for the number of phones he has bought and returned. This podcast died briefly then came back and remains a good listen. 

Wired.co.uk podcast

James Temperton and others

http://www.wired.co.uk/rss/podcast

Really, very good these days. Its themes are a little more varied than in days gone by so you can hear forecasts for inter alia the Premier League, er, bits about Game of Thrones and items about UK porn blocks and, well, all sorts really. The bubbly and brilliant Liat Clarke is sometimes a presenter, which is a real bonus.
Tech Tent

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01plr2p/episodes/downloads

Rory Cellan-Jones

I have tried and tried to listen to this. It remains the BBC’s idea of what a tech podcast should sound like and sad to say it feels like a tech podcast made by the team who made Blue Peter. Not for them the rumours about the new iPhone; at time of writing its depressingly ever-worthy main subject is “Diversity Row Hits Google”. 
Android Central Podcast
http://feeds.feedburner.com/AndroidCentralPodcast?format=xml
Yes, yes, I know it's Canadian?-American  (but it does have occasionally a knowledgeable Brit on) and the usual presenters have the extraordinary ability to talk engagingly for more than an hour about the tiniest, microscopic details of mobile phone technology. If you want to listen to people talking impossibly entertainingly about say a mobile phone button for 35 minutes at a time give it a whirl; it’s worth a listen.

The Tech Addicts Podcast

http://mobiletechaddicts.libsyn.com/rss

Gareth Myles, Jay Garrett, Gavin Fabiani-Laymond and Ricky West

Oh, I can’t listen to this anymore. The problem is not with its content which is variably good to very good but with the sound which fades out THEN COMES  BACK then fades out again THEN COMES  BACK then suddenly  it is as if someone appears to be wrapping the microphone in crinkly paper and... 
then I give up. 

If ever they sort this out I’ll be back.

They did sort the sound out this week and, it’s a very good listen. It can be a little more acerbic than some of the other podcasts here but it has good content.

The PC Pro Podcast

Darien Graham-Smith, Tim Danton and Barry Collins 

https://soundcloud.com/pc-pro?feed=rss2

As you might expect from the name you hear a lot more about PCs and desktop stuff than on some of the other tech podcasts. The presenters should imho not take so much notice of the live commentary stuff, whatever it is, from listeners and go with their own opinions more. This is one of the podcasts that deserves a wider audience for its genial presenters alone. The Phone Show Chat, Tech Talk UK, All About Windows Phone, the TechBox are more interconnected and share guests from time to time but this stands apart. Perhaps it would benefit from the occasional guest? I don’t know. It would certainly benefit from having a better recording system. The recording is never as bad as that of The Tech Addicts Podcast but there are still ethereal squeaks and judders.

Tech's Message

http://rss.acast.com/techsmessage

Nate Lanxon, Ian Morris

Been on holiday since 3rd July.

The TechBox

https://www.thetechbox.net/podcasts?format=rss

David Rich, Richard Yates, James Honeyball and Andy Hagon.

The new kid on the block and it’s great. They are still finding their feet, so to speak, but this has an engaging panel of presenters and is good.

All About Android (MP3)

Jason Howell, Florence Ion, Ron Richards et al

I don’t know how I could have missed a tech podcast that is so LONG for so long but I managed it. It rambles here, it rambles there, but in a good way and inevitably so; the episode I caught came in at a whopping 1 hour 41 minutes. Loads of triviality but entertaining. Mostly Americans or Canadians but other accents are available.


Thursday, 31 August 2017

Moto G5 Plus Review


I was interested to hear a review on TechTalkUK http://kevwright.podbean.com/ of the MotoG5 Plus and especially interested to hear it getting a pretty good review.

The Moto G5 Plus has become strangely one of the best-kept secrets in the 2017 mobile phone world and it is a bit difficult to understand why because for its price it has few if any competitors.

GSMArena http://www.gsmarena.com/ is a well-known go-to site for phone reviews but even today at time of writing you cannot find the Moto G5 Plus featured in the Photo Quality Comparison section for the simple reason that it isn't there and the camera just wasn't tested. (The Moto G4 Plus camera features here amongst the latest test results and is universally acknowledged as having 'an excellent camera' - the G5 Plus camera is better by the way. Curiouser and curiouser.) 

CNET https://www.cnet.com/products/motorola-moto-g5-plus/review/ got it just right about the
Moto G5 Plus

As did Trusted Reviews http://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/moto-g5-plus

Anyway here goes with my twopenneth.

I bought a "Fine Gold" version from Amazon.de. 

The Moto G5 Plus comes with a ‘turbo charger’ plug and my it really does charge quickly. Wow. That's ironic because the battery life is superb. It uses the Snapdragon 625 chip. At the time of writing it is one of the best chips made for a smart phone if you balance up the factors of speed, cost and battery life. The 800 series chips are faster but there are trade-offs. Although the 625 chip will be superseded later this year ANY phone using the 625 chip is going to be worth a look for a good while.

If you are coming from the G4 Plus you will see an improvement in every area except for the absence of laser focus on the G5 Plus. So, the build quality's better and although the screen is a bit smaller you can hide the on-screen navigation buttons and use the brilliantly functional fingerprint sensor as a tiny touch pad instead for navigation. The fingerprint sensor is immeasurably better than the one on the G4 Plus. If you use fingerprint security the phone will open as fast any flagship (there's that 625 chip again).

The phone is mostly stock android and has no bloatware whatsoever. The Phone is on Nougat 7.0 out of the box. It has nice Motorola (now Lenovo) features like 'twist phone about' to launch the camera. This method works about as fast as you would wish it to. In terms of performance the camera has dual pixel auto focus and electronic image stabilisation. Neither are as good as laser focus or OIS but they work well and it is worth remembering e.g. that the Google Pixel doesn't have OIS and uses EIS too.

In almost every real-life situation the camera gets EXCELLENT results. You can see on various YouTube videos how excellent the results are from the mere fact that its camera is often compared with the ones in the iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy 7 Edge. The most revealing thing is how well it performs compared with these expensive cameras and that is why the reviewers have had to reach for the most expensive competition to assess the G5 Plus camera. The lens stops 'down' to f1.7 and uses the same camera sensor with the large light-gathering cells as that in the Galaxy S7. The camera software is not as good as Samsung's so you don't get exactly the same results as for that flagship but if you are coming from any Android camera from even a couple of years ago the image results are impressive indeed.

It is always worth remembering that you could buy two or three G5 Pluses for the price of one of the "flagships". If you are in the market for buying a flagship (this isn't and I wasn't) then good.

It costs £229.99. Worth repeating, it costs £229.99.

Finally on the camera and turning to another point which some reviewers labour (and it is here that things get a bit odd) this phone has only medium performance on "auto" in VERY low light. This is true. The G5 Plus camera has the same low-light performance as the G4 Plus camera turns in and the G4 Plus is universally described as having a "great camera!"

If you turn off HDR on the G5 Plus and turn on the camera's pro settings (which some reviewers didn't seem to find) you will get good results even in low light too.

Dual sim works a treat and the dedicated MicroSD slot ditto. I was pleased to see that when I put a transparent case on it (I think from Sparin) it balances up the Moto Z-looking camera bump so you can place the phone flat (with its lens protected) on a table without any wobble.

It has some kind of nano coating on the screen, I think, which reduces smeary fingerprints nicely.

No overheating problems at all. It has NFC. (Bad luck USA. Your version hasn't got this.)

The sound is clear from a front speaker and through headphones and is better than that on the G4 Plus. A little nudge brings up the time and battery percentage on the lock screen.

Best features: probably that nifty fingerprint sensor doubling as navigation widget (real fun) and the lovely camera.

It gets a good and well-deserved review on TechTalkUK, https://kevwright.podbean.com/feed/ which is worth a listen.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Best UK (mostly) Tech Podcasts September 2017


Updated bits in blue

First of all thanks to all those creative people making the podcasts listed below.
However good or bad I claim the podcasts reviewed below to be, their creators are doing something I couldn't do; which is to make a podcast.

The 361 Degrees Podcast

http://feed.361podcast.com/361Degrees?format=xml

Ben Smith, Ewan MacLeod, Rafe Blandford

This podcast is having a short break, well a rather long short break, all right then a very long break. It used to be one of the best podcasts about tech and I realize now how I long for all those news flashes that it’s getting dark in Copenhagen.
Please come back. We didn’t mean it. Honestly.


All About Windows Phone

http://rss.allaboutwindowsphone.com/media-feed.xml 

Steve Litchfield and Rafe Blandford and others
Hats off to Steve Litchfield for his dogged defence of the indefensible (Microsoft). I admire his forbearance in treating Microsoft as if they cared tuppence about the Windows Phone platform and not like a company whose mobile phone policy has looked for years as if it was designed by its competitors. There are only ever scraps to talk about but Steve and his guests make the most of the tiny crumbs that can be found.

The Phones Show Chat

http://stevelitchfield.com/sshow/sshowchat.rss 

Steve Litchfield and Ted Salmon

Still going strong and deservedly so. Two good-natured and authoritative presenters with the occasional guest. Apple is given its just deserves with praise for the good things it does and disapproval for the bad things it does. Apple fanboys won’t enjoy this podcast much.  
CNET UK Podcast

http://feeds.feedburner.com/CnetUkPodcastmp3?format=xml
On the up these days I think. A nice mixture of urbane and informed tech chat. There is the occasional welcome visit from the knowledgeable Katie Collins, a bonus for any podcast.

Tech Talk UK podcast

http://techtalkuk.com/ttukpodcast.rss 

Kevin Wright and others (sometimes)

Wow. By the time you read this what I am writing will be already out of date. I do not understand why I still listen to every podcast. But I do listen to every podcast. Steve Litchfield commented once that its chief and now sometimes only presenter has a good voice for radio and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a compelling listen which is all the stranger because I do not agree with most of what is said. Apple always seems to get a good press but Android phones or more particularly Samsung phones yo-yo in and out of favour at a truly bewildering rate and one can only admire the valiant attempt by the presenter to set a some kind of personal record for the number of phones he has bought and returned. This podcast died briefly then came back and remains a good listen. 

Wired.co.uk podcast

James Temperton and others

http://www.wired.co.uk/rss/podcast

Really, very good these days. Its themes are a little more varied than in days gone by so you can hear forecasts for inter alia the Premier League, er, bits about Game of Thrones and items about UK porn blocks and, well, all sorts really. The bubbly and brilliant Liat Clarke is sometimes a presenter, which is a real bonus.
Tech Tent

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01plr2p/episodes/downloads

Rory Cellan-Jones

I have tried and tried to listen to this. It remains the BBC’s idea of what a tech podcast should sound like and sad to say it feels like a tech podcast made by the team who made Blue Peter. Not for them the rumours about the new iPhone; at time of writing its depressingly ever-worthy main subject is “Diversity Row Hits Google”. 
Android Central Podcast
http://feeds.feedburner.com/AndroidCentralPodcast?format=xml
Yes, yes, I know it's Canadian?-American  (but it does have occasionally a knowledgeable Brit on) and the usual presenters have the extraordinary ability to talk engagingly for more than an hour about the tiniest, microscopic details of mobile phone technology. If you want to listen to people talking impossibly entertainingly about say a mobile phone button for 35 minutes at a time give it a whirl; it’s worth a listen.

The Tech Addicts Podcast

http://mobiletechaddicts.libsyn.com/rss

Gareth Myles, Jay Garrett, Gavin Fabiani-Laymond and Ricky West

Oh, I can’t listen to this anymore. The problem is not with its content which is variably good to very good but with the sound which fades out THEN COMES  BACK then fades out again THEN COMES  BACK then suddenly  it is as if someone appears to be wrapping the microphone in crinkly paper and... 
then I give up. 

If ever they sort this out I’ll be back.

They did sort the sound out this week and, it’s a very good listen. It can be a little more acerbic than some of the other podcasts here but it is an enjoyable listen now they’ve fixed the sound.

The PC Pro Podcast

Darien Graham-Smith, Tim Danton and Barry Collins 

https://soundcloud.com/pc-pro?feed=rss2

As you might expect from the name you hear a lot more about PCs and desktop stuff than on some of the other tech podcasts. The presenters should imho not take so much notice of the live commentary stuff, whatever it is, from listeners and go with their own opinions more. This is one of the podcasts that deserves a wider audience for its genial presenters alone. The Phone Show Chat, Tech Talk UK, All About Windows Phone, the TechBox are more interconnected and share guests from time to time but this stands apart. Perhaps it would benefit from the occasional guest? I don’t know. It would certainly benefit from having a better recording system. The recording is never as bad as that of The Tech Addicts Podcast but there are still ethereal squeaks and judders.

Tech's Message

http://rss.acast.com/techsmessage

Nate Lanxon, Ian Morris

Been on holiday since 3rd July.

The TechBox

https://www.thetechbox.net/podcasts?format=rss

David Rich, Richard Yates, James Honeyball and Andy Hagon.

The new kid on the block and it’s great. They are still finding their feet, so to speak, but this has an engaging panel of presenters and is good.

All About Android (MP3)

Jason Howell, Florence Ion, Ron Richards et al

I don’t know how I could have missed a tech podcast that is so LONG for so long but I managed it. It rambles here, it rambles there, but in a good way and inevitably so; the episode I caught came in at a whopping 1 hour 41 minutes. Loads of triviality but entertaining. Mostly Americans or Canadians but other accents are available.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Sexism in Silicon Valley





I would like to make a comment on your discussion of “Sexism in Silicon Valley” in the wired.co.uk podcast of Friday 7th July.

At the outset I would like to state that I believe sexism in the workplace is unacceptable and indefensible.

However, turning to your discussion of the matter you appeared to take this big target and proceed, unsurprisingly given its size, to hit it over and over and over again.

Please, if you have time, give your podcast another listen and hear yourselves flying lazy circles over the points raised, while counting the times the same point is made. 

I am loath to criticize anyone in the creative industries because it takes a talent I don’t possess to be creative but this was journalism at its laziest and gave me the horrible feeling that each member of the team was simply grandstanding how right they were and stumbling over themselves to agree with the others.  Radical stuff it wasn’t with such an easy target to hit. Playing whack a mole on the same mole meant also that the balance skewed badly along the lines of, women hooray: men boo!

There is more depth to discrimination as a general topic than any of the presenters were prepared apparently to acknowledge. 

At one point to general chuckling a presenter said that all discrimination was wrong but white straight males didn’t seem to suffer or to need protection (or something to that effect). 

I beg to differ. Have a butchers at this.



If you are pushed for time let me just copy/paste some stuff from the home page for you.
  • At least one in three victims of family violence is male
  •  One male is a victim of domestic homicide every 10 days
  • Almost one in four young people are aware of their mum/stepmum hitting their dad/stepdad
  • Male and female victims of reported domestic assault receive very similar numbers and types of injuries
  • Men who have experienced partner violence are 2 to 3 times more likely than women to have never told anybody about it
  •  Post-separation, similar proportions of men and women report experiencing physical violence including threats by their former spouse
Oh yes, and on a less extreme level I imagine that it was an average week in the family courts in England and Wales this week as children of divorcing parents were horded, by and large, to their mothers’ arms and homes and fathers who love and care for their children began a long process of forced separation and slow estrangement from their children irrespective of their parenting abilities.

If you need a quiet, sleeping, institutionalized discrimination story to investigate and discuss you could do worse than choose this, I think.

Bad journalism this week, folks.