Saturday, July 15, 2017

Technical Ecstasy 12 month review

Martin Solveig: All Stars

Subtitle:  What got us Hot in the last 12 months

Having all the money or all the Technology in the world will not necessarily make you happy or fulfilled.   But we do find the latter, i.e. carefully chosen Technology can considerably ease our lives and existence. Some products and life changes that we made in the last year follows:

S530 Headphones

Still the most economical and toughest in ear headphones I know.  At less than 6GBP including postage, with a music runtime of about 3 hours and a variety of colours to suit all tastes, they are an absolute winner.

COB Bicycle Lights

Super bright, less than 3 GBP including postage, rechargeable via mini/micro USB, waterproof.  We use them on every cycle making us seen and hence safer.  What is not to like?

The Garmin Smartwatch

Both Marcus and Agata are Garmin advocates.  With daily exercise often lasting several hours it's no understatement to say that we rely heavily on our Garmin Smartwatches and step counters. 

Our garmin reviews are here

Suffice to say

- Garmin products we've found to be reliable
- Their Garmin Connect website stores our activity data safely and allow us to see what our friends who also use Garmin are doing
- They have a broad range of poducts including step trackers and a bevy of watches with integrated heart rate monitoring for 24x7 analysis
- Numerous good design points such as button designs, not touch screen, so can be operated in races (panic mode) and with gloves
- In our experience good quality and product replacement on failure/glitch  (replaced rather than repaired)

Our Smartphones

Marcus and Agata are both extremely happy with our
Huawei P9 Plus and Apple iPhone 6S smartphones respectively. For Marcus the Huawei with its Dual Lens camera setup has transformed the way we take photographs.  Except for special occasions our Full Frame DSLR camera is now pensioned off and we shoot everything on our smartphones, even Videos.

There is now no single more important piece of technical equipment that Marcus insists on carrying whenever possible.  It's my Camera, Torch, Telephone, Video Recorder, Internet Portal,  Music Streamer.  Basically everything.   

Microsoft Keyboard

A great keyboard.  So compact, and the US version we use has all the keys in the expected places.  Even works on a Mac and Raspberry Pi/Linux.

Microsoft Arc Mouse

Stylish, reliable, just works.  Oh and it folds flat and auto power off.

Samsung Washing Machine
Follow the above link.   This Samsung washing machine is used at least once per day.  It's quiet, washes well, and have great programmability   (of which of course we use but a fraction!)


We almost fully made the transition to a diet based on beans and unprocessed food.   We no longer eat meat, unless a social situation demands it and the reasons are not just for health but also for reasons of ethics and energy (conservation) .

Salomon Sonic Shoes

We have both made the transition to thinner, front foot striking, ultra light weight running shoes.  They are necessarily more fragile than say an Asics Gel Kayano  (still possibly the ultimate cushioned running shoe), but faster for point point races, and, oh so comfortable.

Some Let Downs
However brilliant a device must be whilst working, if it fails prematurely then we can never call it excellent regardless

The Dyson Vacuum Cleaner

In 2016 we had 2 Dyson failures, the Unit itself and then in November 2016 the 40 GBP 12V mobile charger.

What I particularly object to is the lack of Dyson standardisation. For example, the difference in design between nozzles, battery voltages and now even chargers (with the Dyson V6 absolute for example)

The Nexus 5X

This was a great phone until I had 2 failures in 6 months.  And the second failure was not repaired by the supplier Digitec or their repair company.  I moaned about it here.  

Reliability issues aside this is a great phone and the last sensibly priced Google phone.  The current Pixel range is too expen$ive.

Nespresso U

We owned a Nespresso U for just under a year when the thing went and died on us.  Luckily Nespresso repaired the machine for us the process took under 2 weeks end to end.  Since the Nespresso model is to build a quality machine, probably at or under cost, and then make money from the capsules I had my expectations set on a new machine from them!  Ah well.

It is back working now, but the irony is that now only Agata is drinking coffee, as Marcus has been advised 100% abstinence for health reasons.  Until my breathing difficulties pass then Agata is the only coffee drinker.

And finally

The Internet

We don't regard ourselves as weird, just visionary.  Our whole lives are boosted, assisted and totally transformed by fast Internet Access.

When we want to check the validity or debunk some claim.  For ordering our shopping.  For Cloud Storing our offsite backups.  For our financial transactions.  For Music Streaming.  For News and Entertainment.

One day soon,  and I mean within 10 years in Western Europe, you will be totally and utterly screwed if you don't have decent 24x7 Internet Access.   You have been warned.