A Dumb Phone in 2017 – LG B470

When I was planning on myself and Splinters honeymoon this year, there was something that I was adamant about, and that was that I was going to be as tech-free as possible. I was not going to take my smartphone with me (at least, not my daily driver) and I was going to take a hiatus from all forms of social media and internet dependency.

This leads to a couple of issues while travelling; firstly how were you going to get from place to place if you couldn’t book a Lyft to the airport, and when you get to the airport how were you going to get through security without your boarding pass? These were all challenges I was going to have to face without having a handset on hand to do all of these tasks for me that I would have just taken for granted. What I learned is that I certainly do take these things for granted, my iPad served as a grading surrogate for a lot of these unusual tasks. However, it all got done, and our honeymoon went relatively unhindered as a result.

For the honeymoon, myself and Splintor went travelling a fair bit of it. We went to New York to see some of the Pocketnow crew for a few days, then we went to Orlando for five days to go and look at the parks and finally a week in Cancun to rest from all of the running around of the week prior. It leads to a fundamental problem – how am I going to call people or arrange to meet people while I’m over there? If myself and Mark are going to book a reservation for a restaurant, how are we meant to do that completely phone free? Turns out that bit, we can’t.

medium03So, we had to come to some arrangement. How could we remain connected and disconnected at the same time? The solution to that question came in the form of the LG B470, a dumb phone surviving in 2017.

As an AT&T exclusive, it’s not got the highest specs in the world, nor does it have the best camera.

Summary
Screen Size 2.2 inches
Screen Resolution 220 x 176 pixels
Battery Capacity 950 mAh
Camera Resolution 1.3 MP
Processor
Memory
Storage
Carrier AT&T
Other Features Text & Multimedia Messaging, Mobile Web, Text to Speech
Series B470

Though, as laughable as the concept may be for $25 per handset including the prepaid credit that was already on the phone it served our needs perfectly. We could make calls, tell the time, (an unexpected hindrance of continually being attached to a smartwatch. When you don’t bring the smartphone, you tend not to bring the smartwatch either!) and text people were required.

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I remember trying to walk out of Best Buy to text Jules to see which Starbucks near Central Park we were meant to meet and struggling tremendously with the concept of T9. Stopping in the middle of the shop, swearing under my breath as this was something I hadn’t done since my early teens and it had escaped me. I felt like I’d blasted to some point in the future when technology will at some stage get away from my grasp, and I had the confusion I see in my elders. It hit me with the full force of that knowledge, and I was angry that I’d lost that part of my ability. I remember being able to text without looking under my desk in class (Sorry, Mam) and being able to write perfect messages because I had everything down to muscle memory.

It slowly came back, like riding a bike, and over those few days, I discussed with my tech Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 03.15.18friends the concept of reverting to something like this for the two-week process. People were curious how were we going to document our experiences without something there always at hand for us to use. There was a sense of nostalgia looking at a flip phone like this and lamenting for a simpler time.

I don’t think that lamentation is misplaced, and it is a simpler place to be. A simpler place to sit. A simpler place to just exist. I found myself not wanting to be anywhere else except where I was. It gave me an opportunity to be present and with the people who were around me. That’s not something that I get to feel in everyday life; there is some much that is around us that calls for our attention regularly. So, for me at least it was a beautiful gift to give not just to myself but for the people around me. It was what I hoped to get from spending my time being disconnected from the digital world for a bit.

I would highly recommend it, even just for a little while. To force yourself to tune out and turn off. Give yourself and the people you love the time just to be. It just goes to show that sometimes, going a few steps back can push you a few steps forward.

Should You Care? People Edition – Part 1 (2017)

Here is a list of people who are doing really awesome stuff that should be aware of!

I’ve had the privilege in the last while of being around some incredibly talented and wonderful people who I don’t get enough love. So, I’m going to do something to change that. If you’d like to get on this list, feel free to tweet at me what you’re doing or drop me a comment down below.

Needless to say, none of these is sponsored or in any way paid for. These are just some people and causes that I believe are worthy of your notice.

With that out of the way, let’s get to it!

Gaming

Final Horizon – Terror Beyond the Stars

 

My friend and mentor Alan O’Dea have created a Patreon for his new game Final Horizon – Terror Beyond the Stars. Think of it as a cross between FTL + Darkest Dungeon had a twisted nightmare spawn child. Alan is someone who gives a lot of himself and a lot of his time to the Dublin community both regarding his presence with startups and his gaming and designs influence.
You can be guaranteed that something that comes from his brain will be well worth investing in.

Patreon

The Bears Black Heart

Developed by Abban Dunne (one of my fellow members of ITC) in Unity with art by Bob created in Affinity Designer. This 2016 Wizard Jam game is slowly taking the indie world by storm, gaining the attention of big Youtubers like Markiplier. Needless to say, this story of a bear who is just trying to survive the winter is a roguelike that all ages can enjoy.

Download

Tech Books

30 Things Every New Software Tester Should Learn: A Guide To Getting a Kick Start in Software Testing

Heather Reid is one of Ministry for Testings finest, her book is an excellent beginners guide to software testing.  Software testers are always learning but they cannot always quantify it. It’s their combination of skills from learning abouta product to dealing with its stakeholders that makes this guide relevant and practical. At £1.99 on the Kindle Store, it’s a must have for those who are looking to getting into software testing.

Kindle Store

 

Take Better Photos: Smartphone Photography for Noobs!

Juan Carlos Bagnell has been in the photography game for a long time. His expertise now ranges to giving Real Camera Reviews on Smartphones on PocketNow. So this is the guy you turn to when you want to make the most out of the camera of your smartphone. While it can be considered by some to be an essential guide, it goes through all the core elements of how to take good photos. So should definitely be looked out for to get you going, and at $3.93 on the Kindle store, its a no brainier!

Kindle Store

 

Services

Koko Bot

Koko was started as a PhD Students dissertation in MIT Media Lab it is a support network for people using a Twitter DM to the bot. Where they detail out their particular situation and then have to give their most positive thought and negative thought about a situation. This is a discrete way of getting support anonymously through a community of people who offer support through the same system. So, you are never going to get a response by a bot but a member of the community. For full disclosure, I’m a member of the Koko Pro team. What being a member of the Pro team means is there is always a few of us to answer a message every day or two, and it helps the community run smoother. So, for those who are looking for a little bit of support, you can find it here.

Koko Bot Twitter

The Happiness Planner

I have used the hardback editions of The Happiness Planner for years now. For me, it is an excellent way to keep focused on the positives in life.  The Happiness Planner® is a calendar & to-do list app designed to help you cultivate happiness by embracing the power of positive thinking, mindfulness, gratitude, and personal development. Now that there is a digital edition of it I’d encourage you to have a look at it and see if a subscription would be worth the investment for you.

Happiness Planner IOS

Smartwatches – 2017 Edition: What do you need to know?

Should you care about Smartwatches in 2017?

To buy or not to buy?

The world of smartwatches is a treacherous place right now, you only need to check the news to tell you that. Fitbit is buying everything or that projections for the future are grim. There is a lot of variety with smartwatches & even more confusion about what it will do to enhance your life.

It just happened that my very first watch The Sony Smartwatch. It was something that I loved, and while I was working as CEA for an Online company and being full time in college, it became an essential asset for me to keep on top of everything. It enabled me to be able to get away from my phone or laptop and gave me the ability to find time. However there were compromises with the unit, and now that many years have passed since its release and indeed, that particular watch is already on its third rendition – has the technology changed enough to get you into the game? 

 

What would you want it to do?

  • Give you some time back from a busy day – so notify you appropriately if there is like an emergency meeting on Skype. Or if an urgent phone call is coming through. 
  • Limited response features on the device itself – you may like the ability to be able to send an automated message to people calling me to tell them I’m in class or unable to take a call by a touch of a button and not have to stress about missing the call. 
  • Selection of apps – If you want to start using a Bluetooth headset you may want to be able to control the music and volume with it. 
  • You may want it to be both Andriod & IOS compatible – herein seems to lie the majority of the difficulty. 

Can anybody find me, somebody, to love?

Apple Watch

Easily the most expensive option out of all of them is the Apple Watch. Prices ranging from £299 – £15k  (€472) makes it a heavy hitter regarding finances. There was a lot of hype about the watch, and none of it enticed me about it except the built quality. It looks significantly more respectable and mature than some of its Andriod rivals. My biggest gripe about it except from the price point is that average usage is cited as being a day at best. While I have no issues with charging my gadgets nightly, I’d have to have a good enough reason to be sure that it is an “I can’t function properly without this device.” before spending that level of cash on something that I could put down and not bother with. Your mileage may vary of course, but if you don’t like to charge your phone nightly, then you may want to skip on this as an option. 

Pebble (RIP)

Pebble had been a company I’ve been taking an active interest in for a while. Their original Pebble was a fantastic success and something that I had initially dismissed as being a bit crappy with its plastic build and obnoxious buttons. It took me a long time to realise the pure ingenuity behind having something so simple. At a time when the device was €99, it was an enticing prospect for anyone looking to get into the smartwatch game, who didn’t mind the geek-chic that the watch had to offer. One of the biggest things that the Pebble time had to offer was the 7-day battery life. Which would be the main reason why a lot of consumers would be interested in it with the ability to swap between IOS and Andriod the formula is was set to be a winner. Right now, since its acquisition by Fitbit taking it up as a newer investment wouldn’t be wise. However, it’ll be fascinating to see the results of what will rise from the ashes. 

 

Razer Nabu & Nabu X

Yes, before you ask. Razer is in the smart watch movement – sorta. They presently have two devices. Only one is available as the Nabu, and it is something that maintains to be actually rather difficult to get a hold of. Razer says that they’re doing something about demand but time will tell whether or not the peripherals company will manage to pull anything else out of their hat. The Nabu has some unique features, like the ability to swap contact details when you shake hands with someone who also has a Nabu. I can imagine for Gaming conferences like PAX or DreamHack that this would be super useful. It’s also more discrete than traditional smartwatches, with the screen on the inner wrist side it makes for more subtle notification delivery. However, if the Nabu is unavailable, the only option available is the Nabu X, and that isn’t a bad thing. I personally prefer the design of the Nabu X and at the price point of €59 with free delivery makes it a no-brainer for those who are looking for something to keep them going. The three dot display isn’t for everyone, and apps are limited – could be a reason as to why the Nabu X isn’t selling as well as the first Nabu.  This does give someone an option who already is brand loyal a way of keeping connected. 

Traditional Watch Brands

While the future may be perceived to be bleak, there are a lot of traditional watch makers who are getting in on the action. Most of these watches are running Andriod Wear, for instance, Casio has their own range of smartwatches geared towards the more outdoor activities. With built-in GPS they are watches that are geared towards hiking rather than anything more suburban. Fossil has offerings that are far more traditional in style but has the added benefit of being run on Andriod also. So it just goes to show that in the Andriod Wear space, there is an enormous amount of variety, so it’s very easy to find something that suits your style.

 

What do you think?

Do you have any suggestion? Is there any major player who I’ve missed out on? If you know of any, please feel to drop a comment down below! Keep an eye on Should You Care? YouTube for the video version of this blog!

To C is to believe! (USB-C)

A short blog on the purpose and application of USB-C

2017 has already seen an influx of new technology. The Nintendo Switch, the LG G6 and the Samsung S8 & S8+ all have USB C connectors. So why does this matter? Why do we have to change connections again from what has already been established? After all, I’m sure we all have accessories and adapters that we’ve had for ages that now we won’t be able to use now! 

So what’s the difference?

USB_konektory
Wikipedia – Milos634

Pictures speak a thousand words, so it’s best explained that one of the fundamental differences between USB-C is that there are pins on both sides of the adaptor. Which means that one of the most convenient things about USB-C is no more having the cable the wrong way around! It charges and transfers regardless of what way the cable is plugged in.

USB-C can also be used for displays too, so if you have monitors that take USB-C, you can use this as a direct connection to the laptop (so long as the monitor is plugged in!).

Handy Colour Coding

Now that USB 3.0/3.1 is a standard this means that it can transfer documents, or content at a faster speed. You’ll know if your USB cables are 2.0 or 3.0 by this handy colour coding.

 

Want to know more?

Feel free to check some more detailed BuildComputers.com article on the Differences between 2.0 or 3.0 and How to Geeks article on USB Type-C Explained. As always, keep an eye on the Should you Care? Youtube Channel for the video version of this blog.

Beginners Guide To Battery Packs

This is a quick beginner guide as to what to look out for when you’re purchasing your first battery pack.

Technology. It’s great. You have an entirely digital world at your fingertips. From getting some much-needed work done at home or at the office to capturing those special moments when you’re out and about. If there is one thing we need to help us to stay on the pulse of things around us is power! This is a quick beginner guide as to what to look out for when you’re purchasing your first battery pack.

anker
Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350mAh

Battery Cases

So let’s start with our smartphones. By far these tiny glowing screens are one of the most used things in our modern lives, and the most complained about the problem with smartphones is battery life. Mophie aims to solve this issue with their charging cases, and these are some of the leading ranges of built-in battery packs. They cover a broad variety of devices from the latest iPhones to Samsung’s and HTCs. These cases are a perfect solution for those of us who need a little-added juice!

Battery Packs

Battery packs come in all shapes and sizes, but their purpose is the same. To keep you connected at a time when you need it most! Most battery packs won’t only charge your phone when you’re in a pinch. With the new opportunities that USB Type C introduces (A blog on this will be written soon so keep an eye out!), it’s time to actually start thinking about how these pockets full of power can be used to help you!

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-04-05-33

There are two things you really need to know regarding battery packs which are what size do you need your battery pack to be and what are you charging?

MaH (MiliAmp Per Hour)

Most lipstick style chargers or smaller thinner chargers are only designed with a small battery pack in mind. Smaller chargers tend to be lighter and hold less charge than their bigger counterparts which can often weigh up to a pound! So always be sure to check to see if the battery pack you want is a proper weight for you to be carrying around with you. Always try and get a battery pack that has the charge capacity and form factor that suits your style best.

The Power of Charge

The second thing you need to keep in mind is Amperage or A, you’ll see this on most of the spec sheets you’ll see on your chargers or your technology. As a general rule of thumb (this certainly doesn’t apply to everything but its a good start) 1Amp is ideal for phones and portable games consoles. 2.1 amp is perfect for larger tablets, laptops and things that would have bigger batteries. Typically, think of 2.1 amp for things that would have the biggest

pearl-rose-gold-hero_1024x1024
Pearl: Compact Mirror + USB Battery Pack 3000mAh

battery. Not all chargers would have this as an option, so it is always best to check your options before you purchase any battery packs, so that it suits whatever your charging.  
So what do you think? Are there any battery packs that you swear by? Are there any tips and tricks that you’d recommend to others? Tell us about them in the comments below. Be sure to give this video a thumbs up if you liked what you saw, hit that subscribe button and share this blog on your favourite social media. Keep an eye out for the video version of this blog on our Should You Care – Youtube channel