So the latest is that the new Gear 4 watch won’t be called that at all, just Samsung Galaxy watch – and for anyone who has been living in a cave for some time(I have, but a cave with WIFI) can there be any doubt that this is the best watch in the world?
Personally I am running the Gear S2 (photo on the right) with no urgent desire to upgrade despite spending hours of gadget envy at various stores featuring the Samsung, Apple and other watches here in Spain and in the USA, not to mention dozens of websites) because I prefer the bezel on my 40mm Gear 2 as against the later, larger versions (which are also a little thicker). My view of course may change but up to now I’ve managed to avoid putting any marks on the S2 whatsoever. I have the Black Classic version with decent leather strap. In the past I’ve had lots of expensive “real” watches and no matter what they claim, eventually they get marks on them. I’ve tried really hard to look after this one, so far, so good (2 years down the line).
Here’s what is so special about this watch and its variations… Depending on your mood it can be just about any watch on the planet!! I’ve reviewed many smart watches on this blog, some of which are really great. others not so but the thing they all seem to have in common is limited choice of watch faces.
Once you get used to owning the Samsung, it seems only natural to regularly change watch faces and other apps. The official Samsung App for Android phones (and no doubt iPhone) has countless faces available, many of them for free – but then there is also “Facer” – I just subscribed to their cheap “Premium” version and now I have not thousands but tens of thousands of watch faces and variations available to me, including those of well known up-market brand names and specials designed just for Samsung. I keep dozens on the watch itself at any time.
Check out the Facer App and the “Galaxy Wear” app on The Google PlayStore. It costs nothing to look and it might just lead to a life changing experience. I sometimes waste more time hunting through watch faces than I do on Facebook. And today I figured out how to screenshot watch faces on the watch itself and transfer them to my Pocophone F1 (I’ve already automated phone-to-PC transfers) so that you can see a tiny selection here. Forgive me for not showing examples of Tag Heur, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Cartier. Breitling, Omega and Montblanc, I got tired of most of those, months ago. Give me a few more months and no doubt I’ll end up back with the classics. The “Cactus” face I got this week, rather apt given the weather here in Southern Spain right now. But don’t get hung up on my strange tastes, go take a look elsewhere….https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jeremysteckling.facerrel&hl=en
Updated June 14, 2019:
So many phones out there, so much choice, so much rubbish. When it came to updating my own phone last year, I took advice from my friend Antonio (Mr Shark) and went for the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 and as it turns out, it was good advice as the Pocophone is an absolute winner. More of that elsewhere.
Now it is my wife’s turn and recently we took delivery of the Umidigi F1 phone from Banggood.
The phone arrived here safely in deepest rural Spain, tracked and on time along with a separately shipped glass screen protector. 16/4/2019 - Above image taken this morning with the F1 back camera – no adjustments or enhancements.
My experience from opening the Umidigi package through to actual phone use is that of a high-end model phone – from the boxing and thank-you card from Umidigi themselves through the packaging effort by Banggood and to the phone and accessories, everything looks top notch.
Continue reading The Umidigi F1 Smartphone
You may well have seen plenty of reviews and adverts for the Sonoff S26 WiFi Smart plug so I won’t go into too much technical detail here other than to say this VERY inexpensive wall socket can easily be re-flashed to run alternative software for those not to keen on relying on Chinese servers.
The S26 can be reflashed with nothing more than your PC and an inexpensive FTDI (USB to serial convertor) and can then run the excellent, free Tasmota software (sonoff release). Just be wary that the soldering connections are small.
Continue reading Sonoff S26 Wifi Smart Plug
A minor update for ESP-GO – still working on the Espressif SDK 3.1 version as RBOOT is still not OTA-ing reliably (everything else does)– but the SDK 2.1 version is working a treat – very reliable. There WAS an issue due to some recent updates, with the web setup – this crept in as I use serial to set up boards and didn’t notice a problem – that is now resolved thanks to efforts by Aidan Ruff who DOES use the web setup. See the main ESP-GO blog entry in here and also my Bitbucket repositories for more info on this well-developed and tested ESP8266 general purpose code - especially useful when using "the script" and for example a Raspberry Pi as a home automation centre as I and others do. https://bitbucket.org/scargill/
QC3.0 Fast Charge Multi-port 5/9/12v Smart Travel Phone Charger
The rest of today’s postbag included a great little inexpensive Quick-charge-C wall charger (EU plug). I now only use wall chargers which include a QC-3.0 output (you can never have too many) – as our phones charge much more quickly with this than normal USB output (which no matter WHAT the claimed output current at 5v, will not fast-charge phones).
The orange output is Quickcharge, the other two are normal 5v USB at 2.1 amps – total output at any time, 3.1 amps. These units are available in a range of country plug fittings. I chose European 2-pin as I can use them in Spain and in the UK. The Gearbest website details the different types available. Pricing in the UK is 3.83 sterling with free shipping – but as I write this they may be out of stock so check.
QC3.0 Fast Charge : https://www.gearbest.com/chargers-cables/pp_009257816690.html?wid=1433363&lkid=20442601
I also received a tempered glass front protector for my Xiaomi Pocophone F1 phone (don’t even think of using phones like this without a decent protector and these are DIRT cheap at around 2.70 pounds sterling and free postage to the UK and other countries such as Spain, France, Germany, USA etc. The unit comes in a nice box and is called Glass Pro+ XS. As my current plastic protector is scratched, this looks like a great upgrade with black surrounds.
Glass Film Screen Protector : https://www.gearbest.com/screen-protectors/pp_009653463594.html?wid=1433363&lkid=20442601
OCube Case for Umidigi F1 Play – Transparent
And last but not least a new back for the Umidigi F1 and F1 Play – this is a solid (as against soft rubber) case – clear with slightly frosted back – a nice rough finish which should last longer without scratching than many I’ve seen.
The thing is – you can’t beat the price - around 2.30 pounds sterling and free shipping (at least to the UK, check for your region). Please note however that the shielding wraps fully around the sides but not fully over the top and bottom. However, the phone won’t fall out.
Phone Case for UMIDIGI F1 Play : https://www.gearbest.com/cases-leather/pp_009463040745.html?wid=1433363&lkid=20442601
In order to minimise spam, I have removes some email subscriptions where the user names looked automated. This process is nowhere near perfect but is essential to protect valid readers/subscribers.
I’ve also changed email newsletter requests to double-opt-in – that is, if you newly request emails from the blog, you may be asked to confirm your email address. I apologise in advance for any inconvenience to registered blog readers.
While I’m here – has anyone been watching the media coverage of the new folding Samsung phone (and others)? I know this is technically neat but am I alone in wishing manufacturers would concentrate on the things we really want and in some cases need? Improved charging/battery life would be good. Better cameras, by which I don’t mean much higher resolution, but vastly improved low-light performance and optical zoom would be good – even if that means new lens technology. Do we really need higher resolution for selfies? Probably not. Let’s see real innovation, guys.
I just spent ages debugging issue with theSunCalc module used in Node-Red-Contrib--BigTimer.
It turns out that the getMoonTimes module doesn’t seem to handle the alwaysUp and alwaysDown methods the way one might expected – these do not return FALSE if not TRUE – they return undefined – that took some figuring out.
I started with try-catch but that failed also. Simply checking as follows did the trick:
if (typeof moons.rise==='undefined')
date2=moons.rise; moonrise = (date2.getHours() * 60) +
if (typeof moons.set==='undefined')
date3=moons.set; moonset = (date3.getHours() * 60) +
I’m pretty sure this is now fixed as of BigTimer 2.1.7
Thanks to Aidan Ruff for his help in this one.
Can I give the Raspberry Pi any MORE to do? This started off as a plea for help – as I could not find a way to get reliable reporting of changed devices on my network – as you’ll see, now CRACKED thanks to readers and in particular Mr Shark.
I’ve tried Glasswire on PC, Nmap on Pi and Advanced IP scanner on PC… the latter detects devices like ESP8266 on the network no problem – but could I HELL find a way to show JUST devices connected since the last scan.
Continue reading Devices recently connected to the network
Regular viewers may recall I reviewed a rather nice TV Android box some time ago – the H96 Max Plus. I’m particularly choosy about these units, again regular readers will know that I’ve used and tested a number of mini-board level products such as various NanoPC boards and others for use as TV boxes and right now back in Spain I’ve left one such unit in place.
Here in the UK, rather than a board level product, I’ve been using the H96 Max Plus for months now without issue on my 4K 55” TV, producing quality output from Netflix, Amazon TV, iPlayer and much more. UK viewers note that few if any of these units can handle NowTV due to rather childish restrictions from Sky. I use a separate Sky-vendored box for NowTV (produced of course by Roku and crippled for Sky purposes) .
Of course there is much more to quality TV than simply resolution (just as well as very little of the video material out there is 4K or anything like it) and one TINY gripe I’ve been harbouring without knowing exactly where to pin the blame, is black level control. I got very annoyed over Christmas when I went to see a pal of mine as his TV seemed to have more consistent blacks than mine. Which brings us to the A5X Max box.
Continue reading The A5X MAX Android 8.1 TV Box