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Nigel Whitfield

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Coffee Festival Brick Lane

London Coffee Festival: Caffeine, tech and martinis on show in Shoreditch

As many Reg readers will know, between the start and end of a project there’s often an awful lot of coffee. However you make it, a coffee is essential for many of us. It’s become such a part of our life – in many places supplanting the good old cuppa – that there’s a huge industry of coffee shops, roaster, machine makers and so …
Nigel Whitfield, 02 May 2015

High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Breaking Fad Whether you’re a fan of the Internet of Things (IoT) or just a user of home technology, for many Reg readers IP connectivity is something that you probably want just about everywhere in your home, whether it’s to WhatsApp from the bath, or for things like media streamers and smart TVs in the living room. Compared to five years …
Nigel Whitfield, 30 Apr 2015
LIZARD WEARING A TOP HAT SITS ON A BRANCH.  Brett Weinstein pic - ALTERED BY JUDE KARABUS - licensed under  CC 3.0

E-voting and the UK election: Pick a lizard, any lizard

Feature On Thursday May 7, the UK goes to the polls for a General Election. For those from elsewhere, we use the First Past the Post voting system, with each MP representing a specific geographical constituency. So, a majority of one is enough to win a seat, and the party leader who can command a majority of votes in the House of …
Nigel Whitfield, 29 Apr 2015
Record Store Day 2015

Go for a spin on Record Store Day: Lifting the lid on vinyl, CD and tape

Feature Today, Saturday 18 April, is Record Store Day. Partly a celebration of vinyl, and partly a keen marketing drive to remind people that there are still places to buy music that don't involve massive offshore companies. No doubt there will be busy queues outside venues like Rough Trade East in London, and, alas, speculators buying …
Nigel Whitfield, 18 Apr 2015

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Breaking Fad Among my collection of radios, I have a couple of DAB sets, a 1940 Pilot Twin Miracle, a 1950s Ferguson that needs a bit of repair, and a rather long-in-the-tooth Marantz tuner as part of the living room hi-fi. It's a while since I powered up the Pilot, but it still more or less worked, which is not bad going for something that …
Nigel Whitfield, 01 Apr 2015
NHM Coral Reef Aquarium

Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea exhibition – life beneath the waves

Review There's an undeniable fascination to coral reefs and the creatures that inhabit them, whether it's tales of shipwreck on tropical islands surrounded by a lagoon, romantic snorkelling adventures, or captivating documentaries about the Great Barrier Reef. Underwater Camer Underwater cameras have captured over 800,000 images of …
Nigel Whitfield, 29 Mar 2015
Pocket Kodak

Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

Feature Digital cameras are cheap and convenient. But some people feel they also lack soul, or encourage us all to often to experience life through an LCD screen, firing off hundreds of shots we'll probably never look at, rather than absorbing our surroundings. Film, on the other hand, according to some, can lend itself to a more …
Nigel Whitfield, 22 Mar 2015
Retro room lighting

How many Androids does it take to change a light bulb?

Breaking Fad For an awfully long time, there have been just two types of lights, more or less. There were ordinary incandescent bulbs and there were fluorescent ones. Sometimes, there were fancy circular fluorescent ones, but that was about as complicated as it got – save for fiddly things like the battle between weirdo continental screw …
Nigel Whitfield, 05 Mar 2015
Panasonic TH-103PZ600

Telly behemoths: Does size matter?

Feature This month, the fabulously wealthy owners of houses with curved walls will be delighted to know that the world's largest curved TV arrives at the Knightsbridge tat-palace Harrods. With a 105-inch screen, LG's new set, the snappily named 105UC9V boasts a 21:9 aspect ratio, and all the latest technology. LG 105UC9 105-inch 21:9 …
Nigel Whitfield, 01 Mar 2015
Trackr Bravo

Be your own Big Brother: Covert home spy gadgetry

Feature Ah, lurve. The sweet strains of Barry White, the bouquets of flowers, the boxes of chocolates. That was Valentine's day. Now it's a week later, and perhaps the nagging paranoia is starting to set in. Why haven't they called? Is your phone still working? Go on, pick it up again and check. On the Street Where You Live On the …
Nigel Whitfield, 21 Feb 2015
Hughes Products 1960s videophone concept

Ofcom can prise my telly spectrum from my COLD, DEAD... er, aerial

Breaking Fad Ah, nostalgia! How often people round these parts wax lyrical about the days of the ZX Spectrum. And how quickly, if some get their way, we may be waxing lyrical about the spectrum that used to provide us with terrestrial TV. Yes, a bare few months after I suggested Reg readers might like to make their thoughts known to Ofcom …
Nigel Whitfield, 06 Feb 2015
BOLIVIA, UYUNI, 17 SEPTEMBER 2014 - Internet and mobile communications in Uyuni, Bolivia, South America - pic via shutterstock

'Boutique' ISPs: Snub the Big 4 AND get great service

Feature As we've seen in recent weeks, broadband in the UK is far from perfect, and in some areas is still disappointingly slow, and with a limited number of choices. Much of the market belongs to a handful big companies such as BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media. Like big companies in every market, they adopt a particular approach: …
Nigel Whitfield, 31 Jan 2015
1950s style illustration - Smiling woman talks into rotary phone

Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Feature For a huge number of Brits, mobiles have become our primary way of communicating, even when we're at home. When a call comes in, we know it's ours. We can reply with a text, or use apps like WhatsApp to communicate with friends abroad. Increasingly, we don't rely on our landline phones and, thanks to lax policing of the …
Nigel Whitfield, 25 Jan 2015
Alcatel Speedtouch USB ADSL modem

Future imperfect: A UK broadband retrospective

Feature It's astonishing how fast the world changes. It's not so long ago that my internet connection at home was a 64k KiloStream, with an ISDN line that was used for backup, or channel bonding if I wanted to download something at a whopping 128kbps. It was fearsomely expensive, but since I was writing about the net a lot back then, it …
Nigel Whitfield, 17 Jan 2015
CES 1978

CES 2015: The good, the mad and the POINTLESS

Breaking Fad Fresh from digesting the gadgets we got for Christmas, the thoughts of tech lovers everywhere turn to Las Vegas. Since it's CES, what happens in Vegas doesn't always tend to stay there, and the annual product-fest is awash with shiny, gleaming tech that could be destined for a living room near you later this year. CES 1978 …
Nigel Whitfield, 08 Jan 2015
Mamod steam traction engine

Ghosts of Christmas Past: The long-ago geek gifts that made us what we are

Product Roundup It's fairly well accepted that events and things from our past help to make us the twisted, misanthropic people we are today. Or perhaps that's just Team Register. It being the season of festive excess, we wondered if there were perhaps some geeky gifts that, as a kid, helped you explore science, tech, and similar areas, and …
Nigel Whitfield, 25 Dec 2014

Lonely this Xmas? Nerds, n00bs and no-hopers' guide to dating apps, Pt.1

Feature Missed out on a date at the Christmas party? So did we ... but as the joke in the cracker said, "Why is a smartphone like a milkshake? Because it brings all the boys to the yard." Online dating has changed a huge amount in recent years. Not so long ago, even some of the big names in dating had sites that hadn't significantly …
Nigel Whitfield, 21 Dec 2014
EE TV Freeview PVR

Four tuner frenzy: The all-you-can-EEat TV Freeview PVR

Review Television's a lot smarter than it used to be, and there's an ever-increasing number of ways that the basic experience can be enhanced, whether it's by providing extra Over-The-Top (OTT) content with services such as Netflix, or convenient features, such as the ability to set recordings when you're out and about, using text …
Nigel Whitfield, 15 Dec 2014
Ollie by Sphero

Are you a Geek Dad/Uncle/Mum/Aunt? Ten Techy Gifts for kids this Xmas

Product Roundup It's that time again. Get ready to dig deep into your pockets, and spend your hard earned cash on gifts for the kids, the nieces and nephews, the neighbour's sprog and just about everyone else who's flung their arms round your knees and cooed "Unkle" appealingly. If you're torn between bankruptcy and a whole string of people …
Nigel Whitfield, 13 Dec 2014
The Rugby Tuning Coil

The Information Age: A day out for grown-up children?

Exhibition Review The Science Museum's new Information Age gallery opened in October to great fanfare. Most of that fanfare, however, was concerned with an elderly lady having sent a tweet, rather than the substance of the exhibition itself. Youtube Video So, with the Christmas holidays upon us, and a pressing need to find things to fill up …
Nigel Whitfield, 06 Dec 2014
The Trax app gives you an 'augumented reality' view to help find the kids

Be your own Big Brother: With the help of Apple, Facebook ... oh, HANG ON

So far in this series, we've looked at ways of monitoring specific things, but this time round, people are the topic. There are, the media would have you believe, dreadful things out there – predators lurking behind every corner, dreadful accidents waiting to befall the unwary. The Trax app gives you an 'augumented reality' …
Nigel Whitfield, 30 Nov 2014

Festive streamers caught in Vulture's claws: Gadget-ogle for audiophiles, video geeks

Breaking Fad What was your first streaming device? Over recent months, there has been a glut of them, but the first to find a space on my network was a Roku SoundBridge (or, more accurately, Pinnacle SoundBridge HomeMusic, as it was known in the UK). Soundbridge Streaming devices have come a long way in a short time Soundbridge Streaming …
Nigel Whitfield, 28 Nov 2014
Monty Python dead parrot sketch

BAD SANTA: Don't get ripped off this Christmas

Feature The season of horror and expense will soon be upon us, and with it lots of gift guides telling you what you should be forking out for. But before we get stuck into that, how you should buy it is just as important. Youtube Video As the recent collapse of Phones4U showed, even something as simple as choosing the wrong way to …
Nigel Whitfield, 16 Nov 2014
Koubachi plant monitor

Be Your Own Big Brother: Going to pot

Feature A lot of the tech we've looked at so far in this series has been for safety – like monitoring seniors – or curiosity, like pet tracking. Another very useful area is productivity... and we don't mean the sort that involves management jargon. We're talking horticulture. With the right tech, even the least green-fingered of us …
Nigel Whitfield, 09 Nov 2014
Charlie Chaplin The Cure (1917)

Making an entrance: Remote door-opening tech

Breaking Fad For a lot of Reg readers, home automation is probably an internal affair – that is, if you're using technology, it's probably to control things inside the home, like heating, lighting and so on. And indeed, that also makes up the bulk of what's available when it comes to the major suppliers. Youtube Video One area that's …
Nigel Whitfield, 30 Oct 2014