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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

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 too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
Wednesday
Nov162016

HP-01 In 1977 HP invented The Best Watch Ever*

I’m a middle aged man. At least I am if I live to be in my 90s. I do middle aged man things, like go on cruises for my holidays. In truth, it's the only way I can get abroad since I’m no longer able to use air travel (health, not terrorism related). There’s a weird aura that permeates cruise ships, it’s a presumption that the passengers are wealthy. There’s always a high end jewellers shop on board selling watches that cost thousands of pounds, the ships dock in towns where every other shop sells luxury jewellery and watches to accommodate these deep pocketed visitors.  I’ve never understood why things are this way, it all seems like theatre to boost the ego rather than an accurate reflection of reality, as the average cruise ship passenger is anything but wealthy. When you work out the cost per day including meals, a cruise is often as cheap if not cheaper than going to a mid range hotel in Mallorca. 
   
Anyway I digress, the reason I mention this is that years of looking in the windows of expensive jewellers (often just to kill time) has programmed into me a desire to own a quality watch. I’ve been obsessed by timepieces all my life, however when I do kick the bucket, there’s no Rolex to bequeath in a will, but there’s plenty of Casios for someone to put in the bin. 
   
I recently decided that I owe it to myself to own one quality timepiece in my life. However I soon realised that none of the watches I could afford appealed to me. If I’m spending serious money then it has to be something that I would really cherish. 
    
So after looking at watches that cost thousands of pounds but didn’t excite me, I ended up buying a watch that cost a few hundred pounds, but one that means a lot more to me than just the money. The Hewlett Packard HP-01 is a unique and fascinating piece of history. Watch the video below to learn more about this amazing timepiece.
 
Below are some links you may find useful.
 
PURCHASING 
HP-01 watches regularly come up on ebay here
 
LED Museum (The ultimate HP-01 resource) 
 
HP's own Journal PDF Magazine Dedicated to the HP-01 
 
Hodinkee (these are the chaps who suggested it was the first smartwatch - if you disagree, please argue it out with them..I'm merely passing on the info) 
 
Old Argos Catalogues can be found here
 
If you like to look at beautiful pictures of LED watches - you'll like this
 
If you like to talk about digital watches, be sure to visit the Digital Watch Forum 
   
Please don't write in to inform me the Triangle is a Delta - this video has been made and cannot now be changed. When you hear the word triangle if you want to translate that to Delta, or belly-button, or whatever word you prefer in your head then that's entirely your call. 
   
*it is as far as I’m concerned. As someone who likes 1970s LED watches, calculator watches, and values technical achievement.... this for me is the BEST WATCH EVER. If you prefer watches that have a waving Mickey Mouse on them...you will probably have your own choice of 'Best Watch Ever'.
Tuesday
Nov082016

LaMetric Time - WiFi App Enabled Smart Clock

The number of internet connected household devices keeps increasing and many of these these devices communicate through notifications sent to a smartphone. For example a security camera will send an alert if the motion sensor has been triggered. 
  
There are many people who walk around head-down constantly looking at their phone like a Star Trek away-team crewman scanning a planet for anomalies. I'm not one one those, my phone might be on the table, in a pocket or most likely - on charge, so if a connected device sends a ‘notification’ to my phone, I have to make an effort to get the phone to read it.
   
The sci-fi visions of the future I remember enjoying as a child always involved information being presented to a person wherever they were. A mirror in a bathroom would remind the protagonist to pick up cat food after work, the television wall in the lounge would show when there was a caller at the front door. In none of these scenarios would the person just hear a beep and then have to go and pick up a small device, then press a button on it in order to see what that initial beep indicated, only to discover it was just another email.
  
The LaMetric Time is more like the future I wanted, glanceable information visible across a room. The video below explains a bit more about what this device can and can’t do and there are links below the video that you might find useful. 
 
LINKS
The LaMetric time can be purchased from Amazon UK or Amazon US  as well as directly from the manufacturer (where it ships from Hong Kong). I must stress how important it is to look through the apps currently available to see if any suit your needs. I also have no idea how much ongoing support this will have, and like all internet connect devices that's really a vitally important component.
 
    (The Amazon UK link is in the paragraph above) 
  

 

Tuesday
Nov082016

Behind the scenes - how to make a 5 second channel ident

I made a behind the scenes video for the Patreon contributors as a thank-you for their continued support. I'm also posting it here, however it's not going public on youtube as I don't feel everyone could cope with the fly-on-the-wall nature of the production. 

Wednesday
Nov022016

Dashcam Review: Viofo A119 - Simple Capable Capacitor Camera

The A119 does everything that many people need a dashcam to do. It records high quality video at resolutions including 1440p30 and 1080p60. It has great low light performance, uses a capacitor rather than a battery (more suited for hot countries) GPS is optional and the camera can be neatly mounted at the top of a windscreen.
Watch the video below to see the review.
    
If you like the look of this camera you may want to consider ordering one from the links below
    
Amazon 
  
 
    
ebay 
  
UK   US   DE   CA   AU   NL 
   
Manual, Specifications & Firmware available here 
  
My guide to Dashcam Basics
   
You can download sample clips here - Do not try to stream them, there is no point as the streamed re-encoded videos look awful....these are just for downloading and playing locally on a computer. 
  

Note - links are affiliated. The long term reliability of any items reviewed cannot be assessed. This dashcam has been in use for three months with no problems.

Tuesday
Oct252016

I love a good bad idea - and the Sony Ruvi was one of the best

Sometimes you don't realise how far you have come until you look back over your shoulder. While 1998 doesn't feel like ancient history to me, in home video camera terms it was a completely different era. 

Watch the video below to find out about what has to be one of the worst ideas that Sony brought to market, eighteen years ago. 

I've collected the pictures of the inside of the video cart into a zip file. It seemed a shame to just delete them. You can click the image below to download the photos.

Click this to download a zip file


Friday
Oct212016

Budget Flip Clock Flip Out

Here's a video about cheap flip clocks. 

Here's some links to buy flip clocks.

White clock (cheapest) Amazon US     Amazon UK

Large clock  Amazon US     Amazon UK
 
eBay (general Flip Clocks)
UK  US  CA  DE  AU  NL

Sorry can't hang about - have you seen the time, I've got to get straight on with making the next video.

 

 

Wednesday
Oct192016

Handheld Re-Chargeable Wireless Scanner

I bought a scanner recently to use in making another video. I thought it would be prudent to make a quick video about this. However if the comments on youtube are to be believed I would have been better off opening the gates to hell and unleashing something that killed everyone's mother. Here's the offending video.

If you want to buy one, here's some links

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2erSRZP
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ecMNVr
Amazon DE: https://goo.gl/Ojich9

I'm just going to be making videos, upoading them and moving straight on to the next one for a while. I won't have time to read or respond to any comments while I catch up on a large amount of outstanding projects. 

Thursday
Oct132016

The Master Tape - Beans, Bond, Beatles & Beyond

It’s an unusual experience to know that a man-made thing you hold in your hands is the only one in existence in the world. Of course it happens all the time in nature, pick up a rock or a leaf and it’s unique…but when it comes to a master tape containing recordings heard by millions, it's not something that happens every day.

When you consider the time and the people involved in making it, the writers, musicians, recording equipment…all used just to get one good recording on a few feet of tape on a reel...you'd think this would be priceless, but we'll just call it £40 (plus postage).

One of the benefits of assembling a HiFi that can play a large number of recording formats is that whenever an opportunity arises to buy an unusual recording off eBay, I'll happily put in a bid…and that’s how I came to own this master tape of advertisement jingles from the 1960s.

I bought this more out of curiosity than anything. I was hoping that there would be some interesting jingles that I could use in future videos and I also wanted to find out how well a 2-track recording would play back on a 4-track machine.

It was only when I looked into the history of the tape that I found out it was one degree of separation away from many important pop culture events from the last fifty years. So in this video I'll be playing back some of the contents of the tape and explaining it's cultural significance along the way....you might even hear a couple of familiar voices from yesterday.

LINKS

If you want to read more about CTS Studios - this is an excellent resource.  

The Heinz Soup Advertisement heard in the video can be watched here.

Master Tapes can sometimes be found on eBay

 

Friday
Oct072016

Laserdisc Wall Art (Take 2)

I have a few ideas that wouldn't be suitable for one of my full length videos, but might be interesting in a sub five minute clip. I decided to try this out by re-visiting an idea I used in a video a few years ago.

Since so many people ask questions about the wall art behind me I thought I could kill two birds with one stone  and explain the art as well as show how to make your own. 

Most vinyl frames are cheaper than the ones I used, however these allow you to swap out the sleeves in seconds. If that's not important to you, you can pick up basic vinyl frames in Ikea as well as some bargain shops and record stores. 

A few links:
Japan Laserdiscs on eBay
All Laserdiscs on ebay 
Vinyl Art Frame... Amazon UK   USA
This seems to be a cheaper alternative UK USA 
The frame I used in a 2010 video that displays the disc as well as the sleeve (but mounting is permanent) 
Wednesday
Oct052016

Two faulty SX-64s vs one man with half a plan. 

I have a love/not-so-much-love relationship with old computers. I love some of the old designs, but when it comes to actually using one...they don't really do a lot. Unlike a classic car that can take you down to the shops on a sunny day, or an old hifi that can play new music...an old computer just sits there looking retro-cool, but doing nothing. 

Without high speed graphical internet access to any of the services I need, they're just a dumb beautiful piece of history. "But", I hear someone cry, "ACTUALLY..." (my most disliked word to start a statement with) "actually....you can get an old computer to tweet after installing a serial to ethernet connector combined with a custom o/s and an accelerator board, and a new rom chip, now you can't view pictures or gifs or videos or play mp3s, but I think you'll find that it does work, actually so ner..".... or I could just use my phone.  

The old computer designs I like the most are the Mac Classic and the Apple //c with it's Monitor and stand...in fact anything with a small purpose built monitor. I think it's because the monitor is the thing you look at...so it's out there in front of you. Attach an Atari ST to a new flat panel TV, and most of your experience is coming from the TV, you could put the ST in a cabinet then you're just watching a new TV...the retro part of the experience has been hidden away (apart from the lack of modern internet based usefulness, which is plain to see). So in effect you are getting a new TV experience combined with old computer usefulness...which is probably the worst of both worlds when it comes to retro-enjoyment. 

One of the first computers I remember seeing in a shop window was the Osbourne 1 and the idea of carrying around a computer with a built in screen fascinated me. The Commodore SX64 reminds me of the Osbourne, but with the added benefit of a catalogue of hundreds of games, colour display, joystick ports and a massive community of enthusiasts. 

Whilst 1980s people in the US were paying the equivalent of £40 for a 2K game Cartridge for their Atari VCS, and later the NES...people in the U.K. were paying £5.99 for games on tape. There were hundreds (thousands?) of games realised for the Commodore 64 and they can all now be had for the price of a £40 SD card reader...and a machine to play them on. Yes of course you could play these on an emulator...but getting back to my 1980s retro-computer experience package, by using an emulator you're turning that retro dial way down, so all you'd have left is old games that don't look too great on a brand new machine....with Twitter just a click away. 

So in this video, I get to experience the trading-places alternative 1980s that a much richer version of me would have lived with a Commodore SX-64 and all the games I could ever want. However dreams don't come easy....'if you want games, then games cost, and right here's where you start paying...with sweat'. 

Thursday
Sep292016

The Laserdock - The laser show for your home

If you've subscribed to my youtube channel for a while you'll have seen that I have an attraction to music visualisation. I've made a number of videos featuring different sound-to-light devices and the positive feedback I received from my recent SAE Oscilloscope Tuner video shows that there are a lot of other people out there who also enjoy having some visuals to go along with their audio.

The Laserdock takes the idea of music visualisation and turns it up to 11. It's a projector that anyone can use to generate coloured laser-drawn patterns synchronised to music. The images it displays are impressively bright, sharp and responsive.

The visualisation software for the projector resides on a Windows or Mac computer - and the more advanced users can use various software packages to create their own custom animations and laser shows. I'll be interested to see what applications are created for a home laser projector. I'd love to see an emulator for the Cinematronics style Vector arcade games. Just imagine playing the Star Wars arcade game...on the wall of a house.

Watch the video below to see the Laserdock in action. The hardware shown is the finished version however the software is an early beta.

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