Vauxhall Insignia Mats: £11.84 Delivered!

Posted: 19th August 2014 by icraigt in Automotive

Yeah I know, not that exciting but at £11.84 delivered I just had to share this one!

The mats are supplied with fixing points for the front and an additional heel pad for the driver side.  All 4 mats fit perfectly and were just £11.84 delivered!

They were purchased from Value Car Mats with the discount code “iwantadeal”.



2009 Vauxhall Insignia SE 2.0 CDTI 160

Posted: 19th August 2014 by icraigt in Automotive

’tis my new baby 🙂


Click the photo to enlarge it.

Pebble app update brings better BT stability

Posted: 20th May 2014 by icraigt in Technology


The latest Pebble app release brings with it improved Bluetooth connection reliability.

That’s something I hope makes good inroads into the issues of connecting to Pebble after a shutdown.

From fitness trackers to fashion accessories, it seems like the wearable technology industry has gained momentum on the market.  Thanks to these gizmos, we now have better ways to share information, analyse our health and add style to our outfits.  Currently, the most popular items out there are Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

But apart from these, are there any other wearable gizmos that are as trendy and nifty as them? Let us find out in this article.

Sensoria Socks


Photo courtesy of Nicola since 1972 via Flickr Creative Commons

To help runners veer away from injuries, Heapsylon developed an activity tracker that can identify running styles that are dangerous for athletes.  Unlike other gizmos that count footsteps or distance, it calibrates the weight distribution on your feet while walking, running, or standing.  With a custom-designed app, it will coach runners with the proper footwork to reduce the risks of getting injured.

Because of its analytical features, it is an ideal accessory for a device like the iPhone 5S.  According to O2, Apple’s latest handset is now equipped with an M7 coprocessor that continuously measures data coming from the device’s gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass. With these two gadgets, users will have a holistic analysis of their walking and running patterns.


Photo courtesy of wilbertbaan via Flickr Creative Commons

For those who are enthusiastic about honing their skills in golf, Golfsense is a swing analyser that you attach to your golf glove.  Using an iOS or Android app, you can determine how much you have improved over time.  Its sensor records the way you swing the club, your tempo, backswing plane, wrist release, and other factors that make you hit or miss the ball.  It also has this Cloud Synchronization capability that lets users share their results on the internet and analyse their improvements.


Photo courtesy of this_is_id via Flickr

Photo courtesy of this_is_id via Flickr

Overseeing your activities at night, Larklife is a smart wristband that has the ability to determine how much sleep you are getting using an app.  For insomniacs, this gear is very beneficial because it picks the right time in a sleep cycle to wake them up, thus improving their sleeping patterns.  Furthermore, it replaces noisy alarm sounds with a vibrating action.

NFC Ring

Photo courtesy of Tech_Glam via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Tech_Glam via Flickr

This simple accessory has two built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) transmitters for sharing public and private information. It can lock or unlock NFC-enabled doors and smartphones without physically touching them. It can also be used to share data like Wi-Fi passwords, website links, photos, and contacts with other users.

GER Mood Sweater

Photo courtesy of SENSOREE via Flickr

Photo courtesy of SENSOREE via Flickr

GER stands for Galvanic Extimacy Responder – a technology which was based from the classic lie detector test. It analyses the emotions of the wearer and presents them as an interactive light show on the collar. A tinge of aqua represents a relaxed and calm composure, while a red tone expresses exhilaration or nervousness.

These are just some of the highly recommended fashionable wearable gizmos that one should check out in order to be updated with today’s technological trend. We are certain that other wearable devices will soon be launched on the market, but so far, feast your eyes on the ones we’ve mentioned above.

Do you other fashionable tech trends in mind?

About the Author

Jennifer Birch is a freelance tech writer with a strong passion for consumer gadgets, wearable devices, and industry news. She commonly shares her ideas on Techie Doodlers. Connect with her on Twitter: @WrittenByJenni.

USB Laptop Light – Better Than Nothing

Posted: 12th August 2013 by icraigt in Technology

I bought a light that plugs into the USB port on the Chromebook/laptop.  It was a £2 / $3 affair off eBay which I bought for those odd times when I’m trying to work on the Chromebook and I can’t / won’t have a mains lamp or light on.

In short…… it’s crap. The output is too narrow and focused. It really needs to be a more spread out light and ideally from over the top of the display and not the side like this one (the flex / lead isn’t long enough to loop it over the back of the display so it has to sit off to the side which means that your own hands cast shadows and defeat the whole purpose of buying it….. I guess it’s better than nothing).

What really needs to happen is for ALL keyboards to be backlit.


This is the droid you’re looking for

Posted: 19th June 2013 by icraigt in Technology

I couldn’t resist!




HP Pavilion 14-c001ea Chromebook

Posted: 27th May 2013 by icraigt in Technology
Tags: , , ,

I’m into the Google eco system in a big way. Although a long term Apple fan, I have always enjoyed the Google eco system, making the final jump from iOS to Android early this year with the sale of my 4S and the subsequent purchase of the Nexus 4. I’m so glad I jumped ship.

The Google eco-system, in my eyes, offers me more than Apple. I love the ease of collaboration in Google Docs, the online lifestyle and, of course, the excellent social networking platform that is Google Plus (you can find me here).

I use Chrome on the desktop and have a Nexus 4 with me wherever I go. I have been wanting a device that sits between the two, and definitely something that offers me the full and immersive Google experience. A tablet seemed the obvious choice.

I have been hanging my nose over a Nexus 7 for some time, finally getting a prolonged “play” with one a few days ago. While I love the form factor, I decided it didn’t offer me enough over and above the Nexus 4 (the display isn’t that much bigger than the N4 in reality). So, I decided to look at different options for enjoying the online lifestyle.

I’ve been intrigued by the Chromebook for a long time. The only factor keeping me away thus far being that of performance. Yes, they are cheap, that’s the whole point, but the hardware has always been that little too underpowered in my opinion. I’ve been looking at both the Samsung Series 3 (ARM based) and the Acer C7 (Intel based), arguing myself in and out of each. The Samsung offers silent operation (as it is ARM based, there’s no need for a fan) and very fast boot times (SSD FTW!). However, I’ve always maintained that the ARM processor just doesn’t offer up enough grunt. Yes, it’s a browser based OS and it doesn’t need a lot of processing power but I’v always felt it would struggle given certain use cases. So, the C7 then. It has an Intel processor. Ok, it needs a fan to keep it from cooking itself but it offers up that additional power to make the whole experience that little bit more special. The downside? A hard drive. That means a slower boot time and additional noise.

Enter the HP Pavilion Chromebook.

The spoiler….. cutting to the chase, I recommend this Chromebook. I’m pleasantly surprised with the performance, the display is nice and bright and the built in Altec Lansing speakers, especially given the price point of this Chromebook, are very good. So, to the detail….

HP have a detailed specification page for the 14-c001ea here.

In summary it has:

  • Intel® Celeron® 847 with Intel HD Graphics (1.1 GHz, 2 MB cache, 2 cores)
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16GB SSD
  • 14″ 1366 x 768 200 nits LED display
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • HD webcam (5.7MP)
  • Gesture enabled touchpad
  • 3 x USB ports
  • HDMI out
  • RJ45
  • Headphone / Speaker out
  • Card reader

The Hardware
The hardware is capable (obviously not blistering fast) and pages scroll through at a reasonable pace. The display is nice and bright (200 NITS) and offers clear and crisp text and graphics. The display does have a gloss finish which means plenty of reflections but I think gloss versus matt display overlays are a personal preference thing. I don’t dislike the gloss finish and, to be honest, the reflections don’t seem to get in the way.

The HP Chromebok has an integrated HD webcam, microphone and, given the price point, surprisingly good Altec Lansing speakers. While the speakers may lack the depth and bass of a larger or more expensive laptop, they are among the best I’ve heard on a mobile computing device. I was actually very pleasantly surprised.

The casing is gloss black (dust magnet) and the build quality is very good for such a budget device. It doesn’t feel flimsy at all. Weight comes in at 1.8Kg.

The keyboard is full sized, with function keys along the top as you’d expect (but they don’t behave as you might be used to on a traditional OS/laptop – see below). Navigations and editing keys (page up/down, home, end and delete) are arranged in a vertical column on the right hand side of the keyboard. They are in a less traditional layout but that’s just a minor adjustment to get used to.

The keyboard is easy to use and I seem to have adapted to it very easily, suggesting that the layout is both dimensionally and ergonomically a good fit (for me at least).

Function Keys
F1: Back
F2: Forward
F3: Refresh page
F4: Switch between maximise and restore
F5: Task (window) switching
F6: Decrease brightness (takes the brightness all the way to zero – black screen)
F7: Increase brightness
F8: Mute
F9: Decrease
F10: Increase volume
F11: Doesn’t appear to do anything (I was expecting full screen mode – which worked on the demo model I tried at the shop but apparently does nothing on my machine).
Update: After forcing a USB restore the HP is happily updating itself to the latest version of Chrome (which also brought with it full screen mode via F11)
F12: Invokes the source/terminal window
F13: Long press locks the chromebook (back to the log in screen

Shift + F4: Toggles full screen mode (what I expected F11 to do)
Fn + F13: toggles the wireless on and off

The Pavilion provides Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n, 3 USB ports, HDMI out, media (SD) card slot, RJ45 port, power socket and headphone jack. The obligatory desktop lock aperture is also provided.

I’ve connected a Logitech wireless mouse (nano transceiver) and it worked perfectly. The settings in Chrome recognise when a mouse is plugged in and offers up specific settings for the mouse in addition to the touchpad (speed, button swap etc).

The touchpad is ok in size (a little larger would have been welcome) and provides reasonably precise control of the pointer. The touchpad incorporates gesture based controls, allowing two finger scrolling (all directions), two finger tap to invoke the context menu (right mouse click) and the obligatory tap / double tap.

The battery is a 4 cell Li-Ion fully detachable unit (great for hot swapping to give an additional 4 hours of usage). Battery life seems to be in-line with the quoted 4 hours or so. I’ve used the Chromebook from full to empty and estimate the usage time to be around 4-4.5 hours.

Boot time
The SSD, Intel processor and 4GB RAM combination allows for impressive boot and shut down times. I clocked the boot from cold at around 6-7 seconds (to the log in screen) and the shut down time at 3-4 seconds. Wake from standby is near instantaneous.

I’ve not used the webcam in anger yet but dialling in to a quick hangout with myself (yeah, I know!) the quality looks good. Similarly, I haven’t been able to test out the microphone but will add an update once I’ve had time to jump on a hangout.

As shipped, the version of Chrome on the HP Pavilion is:
Version 23.0.1271.92
Platform 2913.200.0 (Official Build) stable-channel butterfly
Firmware Google_Butterfly.2788.39.0

I’m hoping this triggers an update soon. I have switched to the Beta channel in the hope that it triggers an update but it would be nice to force or manually invoke an update to the latest version (my understanding is that the device updates every six weeks or so).

Update: After forcing a USB restore the HP is happily updating itself to the latest version of Chrome

I made a good purchase. This is a very capable machine, offering good performance, great speakers and an overall form factor that is both easy to use and pleasing on the eye. I haven’t tried the Samsung Series 3 or the Acer C7 for any length of time so I can’t offer up a comparison. However, I would highly recommend the HP Pavilion 14-c001ea.

Check the gallery for a few photo’s I took (not the greatest quality but that’s the Nexus 4 for you).

Runkeeper now supports Pebble!

Posted: 7th May 2013 by icraigt in Technology
Tags: , ,

This is great news!

One of the reasons I bought Pebble was the promised Runkeeper support. Not the only reason but a significant one.

Just need my Pebble now!

Sticking with the colour Pebble, despite my impatience

Posted: 14th April 2013 by icraigt in Technology

I’ve been contemplating reverting back to a black Pebble watch in order to get it sooner but have talked myself back into waiting patiently.

I really think the colour Pebble options will help differentiate it from, date I say it, something more 80s Casio 🙂

I have to admit I’m getting quite impatient though.

New Tumblr Android app

Posted: 8th April 2013 by icraigt in Technology

Been playing around with the new Tumblr app and really like it.

I’ve no real intention of maintaining a Tumblr based blog but I had to give it a try.

I do use the Tumblr blog as a means to display my Instagram posts though.