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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Sony AS100V

Drift Stealth 2

******BEST*******

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)******BEST*******

Dazzne P2

Xiaomi Yi

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
DDPai M6 Plus (My Pick)Vantrue N1
XiaoYi Yi
G1W Budget 1080p Cam

A118 Wedge Cam
DrivePro 200
Transcend DrivePro 220
Transcend Drivepro 520
MINI CAMERAS
(The Mobius also works as a dashcam)
Mobius
Polaroid Cube+
Mobius
HTC Re

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about and experienced too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. 

NOTE - Some cameras work more reliably with Class 6 Cards as a Maximum (The Mini 0801 is an example). A lot of cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB - so don't just buy the biggest card you can - read the specs in the manual first. 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links go to the product, but not necessarily to the Amazon Direct supplier. I recommend selecting from Amazon themselves not the reseller storefronts..even if it costs a bit more. 

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

CLASS 10 CARD

 

CLASS 6 CARD

 

 

            

Friday
Aug262016

Netgear Arlo Wireless Battery-Powered Camera System

For the last few years I've been experimenting with different security camera setups to monitor my front and back garden. I'd like to be alerted when the parcel man arrives, if anyone is messing with the car, or if someone has hopped over the fence in the back. I need day and night shooting ability and the camera has to be waterproof and small enough not to draw attention.  I've tried a number of alternative solutions without getting the results I wanted.

A big issue was that I didn't want to drill holes through the walls or run wires along the outside of the house and even a wireless WiFi camera still needs to have a wired power supply.

After trying a few different and unsuccessful ideas, I discovered the Netgear Arlo - the only system on the market that uses 100% wire-free cameras. In the video below you can see the setup process and the results that I get from this compact battery-powered camera system.

If you like the look of the Netgear Arlo system and think it can work for you, the affiliated links below will direct you to the product on Amazon. 

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Amazon DE

Amazon IT

Amazon ES

Amazon FR

Saturday
Aug202016

120V 60Hz from a 230V 50Hz power supply

I really wanted to bring you something more interesting - but a number of equipment failures and DOA devices has resulted in me making a video about something that I'll be using in the future to attempt to more interesting videos than this one. 

The problem is as follows - I need a 120V 60Hz power supply to make old devices imported from the US work properly, however I'm in the UK, where the power supply is 230V 50Hz.

I expected that you could buy a simple all-in-one converter that could turn 230V 50Hz into 120V 60Hz, but unfortunately it's not as easy as that (or at least I couldn't find something that worked that way).

In the video below you can see my solution to this problem. It's definitely not elegant...but it works.

Purchasing (UK links)

5-15V DC Variable power supply is the PS201ADJT and can be bought here 

12V DC to AC 120V 60Hz Power Inverter was imported from B&H Photo in the US

 

Wednesday
Aug172016

Magnetic USB Cables

Recently I've been seeing a increasing number of companies selling magnetically attachable USB and Lightning cables. To find out what the big attraction was (deliberate pun) - I purchased a number of different cables..and in the video below you can see which performed the best. 

 

You can buy my preferred cable manufactured by WSKEN from one of these links which take you to both their Lightning & Micro USB B cables
UK  US   CA   DE    AU    NL  
The SweetLF Micro USB B magnetic Adaptor can be found below

 

 

Monday
Aug152016

This 1972 Panasonic RS296-US music machine plays with history

Imagine a device that can store twenty playlists containing songs of your choice that you access at the press of a button. A device that could play music for over thirty hours without repetition.

It really doesn’t require any imagination nowadays as most people already own a pocket sized gadget that can do just that, but what if you had to make this device using only the technology that was available in 1972.

If you did, it would probably look something like the fantastic machine in the video below. 

It's interesting to note that the 2.5 days of music that Panasonic quoted on their advert is roughly similar in play time to the 1000 songs in your pocket that the first 5GB Apple iPod boasted twenty four year later in 2001. However to play tape for 60 hours would require fragile 180min cassettes, so a more realistic play time using twenty 90 min cassettes would be half that.

The Antikythera Mechanism I mention at the beginning* is a 2000 year old computer that has been in a number of documentaries - someone has uploaded a BBC video about it here

You may have spotted two special cassettes in the video - a Back to the Future Replica "Edward Van Halen" tape and a Guardians of the Galaxy "Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1" - both were provided by my good friend Hugo from Walkman Archive - you can find more info on his tapes here:
Back to The Future         Guardians of the Galaxy

My Akai "Auto-reverse the hard way" video can be found here

Friday
Aug052016

Assembled Nixie Clock Shootout

I've spent the last few years looking for a ready-made nixie tube clock that is well constructed, affordable and produced in sufficient quantity to make linking to it worthwhile. In the video below you can see how I got on.

 

  
Purchasing Links
  
MILLCLOCK - This is the smaller, less expensive clock with no alarm
(If this specific model is sold out, see what else the seller has in their store - as they make a few different designs)
Click your Country:
UK   US   CA   DE   AU   NL

CHRONIX - This is the bigger clock with an alarm
(They make a number of designs, so this link goes to the store).
Click your Country:
UK   US   CA   DE   AU   NL 

 

Tuesday
Aug022016

Car Stereo Cassette Adapters - the circle of life

What do you do when new releases dry up for your car stereo's tape format but you don't want to install a whole new head unit? The answer is to buy an adapter.  In the video below you can see two adapters. One that ushered in the compact cassette age and the other that saw them out again 25 years later.

You can find the MP3 cassette player on eBay - but I should warn you that it is a cheap plasticy novelty gadget rather than a quality device. 

UPDATE - 3rd August 

I have been informed that I have STOLEN the idea for this video from a video that until yesterday I'd never seen - here is that video  (I was avoiding reading youtube comments - but this one was tweeted to me).
  
The idea for this video came from a 31/3/16 Tweet from Mike Finnell. I then purchased the items I'd need to make this video  - here's a picture of my ebay order history but it's really no surprise to me that this idea has been done before - after all they sold Cassette to 8-Track adaptors and they also sold MP3 to Cassette adaptors....both are still freely available on ebay so guess what anyone who makes videos about old tech and also owns both adaptors and an 8-track player is going to do. To be honest I expected there would be half a dozen videos on youtube doing this. The fact there is just one other was a surprise.
  
See The Simpsons already did it...for more about how many obvious situations or ideas have been done before.
 
People have been messing with MP3s and 8-tracks for years...here's one video I remember seeing in 2013 when I was first getting into 8-track  - it's from 2010 where a chap has modded an 8-track cart to fit an iPod inside. 
..and here's an earlier article from 2009 about doing the same thing with a different MP3 player.
 
I don't search youtube to see if someone has made a video on the same topics as I am working on, so similar coincidences will very probably happen again....in fact I guarantee that many of the subjects of my videos will have been discussed by someone at some time somewhere.
 
I know that I've seen more than one person making a video about the Commodore 64 and listing the best games for it - I never considered that these people had Stolen the idea for these videos from each other - but perhaps that's because my brain is functioning normally. 
 
I have a room full of old tech, bought just to be used in future videos. I'm sure many other people will also own these same things and may also make videos about them. If the idea of two or more people making videos about the same gadgets from the past is in some way traumatising for you - it may be best to avoid my videos as I can't promise that all my consumer electronics items are unique (because consumer electronics items aren't unique).

 

Saturday
Jul302016

Sample Clips are down...and no it's not a heist.

There is a problem with the video sample download files - the traffic has been too high, too many people want to download the clips. A number of people have brought this to my attention - but there is nothing I can think to do right now. I'm out of options. I have tried for years to find a reliable hosting company for my video sample files. I have tried all the big hosting names*, and they are all restricted in some way, e.g. by file size, traffic, file type (videos are often auto-flagged as potential pirated material), I've had files auto-deleted, companies had closed, blocks have been put on my account - it's cost me hundreds of pounds over the last few years. 

A couple of years ago PCloud offered to host the files - and it was all going well until last week when the 4K samples triggered some kind of high traffic volume flag. Hopefully it will time-out and it will start working again soon - but if you plan on leaving me offensive finger-pointing comments like the one I've pasted below,  please don't.

...I tried to download your sample file and PCcloud won't allow it. It mentions that traffic was too high and suggests that I get a PCcloud account to access it. Why choose a service that is limited and uses your (you the reviewer) resources to get people to sign up for their monetary gain? Is there something in it for you? It seems to be some sort of deceptive round-a-bout advertising going on here. I'm just looking for honest reviews so that I can be informed when I make a purchase - yours I thought was honest until I got to this point.....

So it seems like it's all a scam - I'm attempting to steal your money using a very unusual technique. The trick is to spend a couple of months making a video - then hoping that people who watch the (free) video, try and download optional (free) video samples...when this doesn't work and you are asked to sign up for a free account on a file sharing service...I get a cut of the takings of this deception (which are....zero). 

It looks like I'll have to forget about the sample clips on future videos unless this issue resolves itself, so my apologies for that, but these things just don't scale well. There was always going to be a point where the traffic was unsustainable for any file hosting company except probably Amazon AWS S3, but I can't afford them (I tested hosting a couple of files on AWS one month and the projected total bill was way beyond my means).

*Dropbox, Mega, AWS...are the most recent three I can remember. 

Thursday
Jul282016

The Bluetooth Star Trek Communicator

In this video I'm taking a look at a top quality prop replica that isn't destined to spend its time sitting on a shelf gathering dust. This Star Trek Communicator actually communicates. It might be pushing things to say that it is an essential accessory...but it's certainly not useless either.

Just imagine the reaction you'll get if that familiar hailing beep is heard, you pull a Star Trek communicator from your pocket and proceed to handle a call on it. A definite conversation starter, in more than one sense.

You can find out more on the official website - including details of where to buy one. The cheapest price I've seen in the UK is £115 at Zavvi.