The Nissan Self-Parking Chair Brings Tech Into the Meeting Room

The use of technology for technology’s sake to provide solutions to problems that do not exist is a trap that many start-ups fall into. However, Nissan has taken this a step further with their self-parking chairs.

Despite years of evolution, it seems we are still guilty of leaving meeting rooms in a mess and fail to clean up after ourselves. Thankfully technology is on hand to help us all channel our inner Mary Poppins by clapping our hands and watching in amazement as chairs park themselves before our very eyes.

The science bit that makes it all possible is simply a handful of wall-mounted cameras and a Wi-Fi connection. The chairs themselves are over engineered to perfection with motors, wheels and batteries to solve what can only be described as a first world problem.

The new technology certainly gives the traditional game of musical chairs a 21st-century upgrade, but will ultimately leave many questioning our over-reliance on technology. There is little point subscribing to gym memberships or counting our steps on fitness trackers if we can’t even be bothered to push our chairs back under a desk.We have smart phones, TV’s and will soon have smart homes, so maybe it’s not beyond the realms of possibilities to have our very own meeting room that comes complete with smart chairs.

We have smartphones, TV’s and will soon have smart homes, so maybe it’s not beyond the realms of possibilities to have our very own meeting room that comes complete with smart chairs.

“With this innovation in office technology, Japanese businessmen are now freed from the troublesome task of arranging chairs,” Nissan advised with a hint of sarcasm.

As with most big news stories these days, these self-parking chairs are actually a gimmick of sorts to generated interest in Nissan’s plans to deliver a self-parking car in the near future.
Maybe we can concentrate on parking our “outrage” at a world gone mad and take this story to exactly what it is and secretly admit to yourself that you muttered the words “cool” under your breath.


‘The Walking Dead’ Intro Recreated Using Shoppers

We often forget that George Romero’s seminal Zombie movie Dawn of the Dead  is actually a satirical film about consumerism via a good old fashioned metaphor. Just in case, the 1978 version was a little too subtle for your tastes, Marca Blanca created a video called ‘The Buying Dead’ and recreated the Walking Dead intro to hammer home the similarities of zombies and consumerism.

The next time you shake your head in disbelief when witnessing the worst aspects of human behaviour as shoppers fight each other for items they want but don’t need, I guarantee you won’t forget the parallels between consumerism and those ubiquitous zombies again.

Andy Serkis Helps Coldplay Go Primal For Adventure of a Lifetime Video

Chris Martin and his bandmates are playing chimp versions of themselves (resist the urge for easy joke folks) for their new single Adventures of a Lifetime. The band turned to the Mat Whitecross who you may remember directed Andy Serkis in the movie biography of Ian Dury called Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.

Andy Serkis has carved out a niche with his realistic characterizations of primates or CGI based characters in Planet of the Apes, King Kong and as Gollum of course in Lord of the Rings. Thankfully Serkis took the call and was keen to add chimp in a Coldplay music video to his growing CV and the rest, as they say,was history.

Even though Coldplay often divide music fans, this stunning video of a jungle dance party inspired by Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey’ that also took over six months to make is well worth a look for its technical wonder alone. Assuming you can forget the non-to-subtle product placement of a Beats Pill portable speaker of course.

This is Coldplay’s first single off their seventh album entitled A Head Full of Dreams and features guest appearances from Beyonce, Noel Gallagher, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tove Lo to name but a few. Whether we will see a future supergroup forming with the Gorillaz remains to be seen, though.

Are Facebook’s 8 Billion Views the Result of Freebooting?

Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed that Facebook is now generating 8 billion videos views a day from only 500 million people, and if you are proficient with numbers, you will notice that these figures don’t quite stack up. Most people scroll down their Facebook timeline with the mute button on their device while navigating away from auto-playing videos and are blissfully unaware that after only 3 seconds this is classed as a view and allows advertising income to be gained from the video.

Over on YouTube, a video has to be playing for 30 seconds for the view count to be recorded. Many are starting to notice that there is a billion dollar industry emerging known as “freebooting” where people can steal YouTube content and promote via Facebook creating unreal view counts and forced virility as Facebook videos are automatically prioritised over YouTube videos.

However, a video is currently going viral and receiving widespread support after pointing out the struggles for content creators suggesting that Facebook is purposely “rigging” their algorithm for their own personal gain.

Very often the original creator of video content will obtain a few views from their own YouTube channel whereas the video can achieve millions of views on Facebook, which generates advertising income for the social media behemoth rather than the content creator(s) who rely on revenue for advertisements.

Primarily the content creators are not receiving money or recognition from these videos whereas Facebook and the video stealing accomplice receive the returns.

YouTube’s copyright infringement system seems to be quite stringent by comparison, and it seems clear that Facebook’s is turning a blind eye to protect their cash cow while the video stealer appears to get away with a lucrative swag bag every time with no threat or fear of any consequences.


Apple TV and the Rise of Periscope

Our digital world seems to throw yet another ‘next big thing’ on our timelines every few weeks and is probably the main reason that I have been quite wary of the real-time video platform Periscope. I will be the first to admit that I just didn’t get it at first as I’m someone that prefers to sit in a room tapping away on a keyboard rather than being charismatic on camera, so I quietly hoped this latest digital fad would fade into obscurity.

For the uninitiated, Periscope allows its users to stream live video from their iOSor Android app and broadcast their life in real time across the world. Twitter followers will receive a notification when they begin broadcasting and your audience can engage with you directly by asking questions, commenting or even sending appreciation via heart icons.

When the broadcast is over, it can be made available to replay for 24 hours and after this time the recording is gone forever. Periscope was acquired by Twitter in Jan 2015 and launched on in March. Despite a close run-in with rival appMeerkat, within five months, the founders announced they had reached 10 million accounts and that the amount of footage watched cumulatively added up to 40 years a day.

In the beginning, it quickly became apparent that Periscope was an excellent platform to broadcast political protests not covered by mainstream state-controlled media outlets and gave the people a voice again. Meanwhile, quick thinking boxing fans who didn’t want to pay $89.95 to view the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight back in May were able to watch the countless number of streams available on Periscope.

It’s interesting to see how more and more users are becoming self-aware of how much of themselves is being left online via their digital footprint. This online savvy generation is embracing the likes of Snapchat and Periscope where they can live in the moment but equally be comforted by the fact that the content will disappear and will never be seen again.

When your favourite artist is playing a gig on the other side of the world, Periscope also enables music fans to tune into the performance and sample the atmosphere via someone else’s smartphone.

Traditional content is often edited to perfection, and even reality TV shows begin to feel scripted and fake which prompts audiences to question everything they see and hear. Digital native users are increasingly craving authenticity and real people that they can relate to or engage directly with and in real-time.

In the UK, the television channel ITV tapped into this latest trend by broadcasting backstage of the X-Factor on Periscope to engage with their audience and make them feel part of the show. In another modern twist to an old tale, many will be finding out just how scary a live online horror experience can be when they tune into Periscope’s first ever interactive live horror film on Halloween.

Despite my initial reservations, there is no doubt that Periscope is becoming a massive game changer that allows anyone to build their own community or digital tribe in a more visual real time manner that even podcasts cannot compete with.

However, the big news is that Periscope will now be bringing this live streaming experience to the latest model of #AppleTV which is released today and offers a glimpse into our future as TV finally arrives in the 21st century.

Apple’s Tim Cook famously said “We Believe the Future of TV Is Apps” but the success of Periscope suggests that it could be tuning into each other’s living rooms rather than traditional TV channel hopping.

As live television becomes more and more produced, it can also become less genuine. This is what excites us about bringing Periscope to the Apple TV — the notion that you, your friends and family, can share what’s happening in the world right now, together – Periscope

We often concentrate at how technology is responsible for disconnecting ourselves from our humanity and spend more time looking screens than each other. However, there is a strong argument that we are turning our back on a fake world of photoshopped magazine covers that promote dangerously unhealthy expectations for young women and replacing with a pure and unedited content that allows us to learn from other people by viewing the world through their eyes.

Traditional media has long contributed to the perpetuation of stereotypes through bias or political leanings and in many ways it’s fantastic to see people from all over the world breaking down these preconceptions by engaging directly with their fellow global citizens.

Sure, there is no shortage of inane and narcissistic streams, but I am comforted by the fact that technology is actually bringing people together. Regardless of location or time zone, people are using technology to communicate in real time, in a genuine, authentic and unedited way. This can only be a great thing and illustrates a change in consumers habits that businesses will need to start thinking about sooner rather than later.

Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.


Tech or Treat! Technology Brings Halloween Into the 21st Century

You might be a high-flyer with a mountain of emails to wade through and countless meetings to attend this week, but in the back of your mind is the impending doom that you need to think of something original for Halloween or lose your cool parent status forever in this modern nightmarish tale.

I am always fascinated by how people use a combination of innovative ideas and technology to bring something a little different to age-old traditions. The pressure for families to outdo their neighbours by adding something unique to their annual Halloween celebrations and deliver the ultimate scare factor is here once again.

The days of simply carving a traditional pattern to your pumpkin are gone, and there are now a wealth of patterns and stencils available online to ensure you secure the cool factor with your friends and family. However, the latest hair-raising trend of ghost droning has raised the stakes for anyone wanting to bring All Hallows’ Eve into the 21st century.

Tech fans have created a fusion of old and new methods to deliver the ultimate fright night by adding traditional scary costumes to drones that were originally designed for aerial filming. Those who have a fear of clowns might want to stay indoors next Saturday if these videos by @djlilraz are an early indication of what to expect.

Who are you gonna call when an apparition of a terrifying flying clown haunts your neighbourhood?

Technology is also on hand to ensure you do not find yourself in the ghastly position of arriving at a party in the same costume as one of the other guests. Google Frightgeist helpfully allows you to to see what costumes are trending in your neighbourhood obtained from Google Trends 3-billion searches. Predictably Harley Quinn and anything Star Wars related will be incredibly popular this year as fans get their geek on.

The ubiquitous selfie and the sticks that accompany them will be hitting the streets in full force, and there are a few apps such as Vampire Me that allow you to capture your inner bloodsucking vampire. However, the fact vampires do not have a reflection seems to have been conveniently left out of the app description.

When it comes to the afterlife, vampires might seem a little lame to zombie obsessed millienials but thankfully there is no shortage of apps for fans of the Walking Dead to quite literally zombify yourself for the ultimate Halloween selfie.


Meanwhile, GhostCam allows you to spice up your photos by placing ghostly figures in the background to add a little authenticity to those late night spooky stories.

Scare Cam allows you to trick your friends into performing an eye test only to flash a scary pic on-screen and film their reaction to share their lack of nerve on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

If you wanted to add a 21st-century angle to the spooky stories around a campfire, there are a wealth of ghost story podcasts available on Stitcher that will certainly be responsible for a few sleepless nights. Meanwhile gamers might prefer to enter the world of Silent Hill with the lights off or sample one of the many scary titles at their disposal.

Halloween might be an ancient tradition, but it’s our love of technology that will ensure this year’s parties bring something a little different to the table. Although these are days of selfies, flying drones, mobile apps and online trends. The truth is these are also just more tools at our disposal to up our game this Halloween.

As a society, we have evolved so much over the last 2,000 years and yet fundamentally we are exactly the same trying to scare each other with the same old ghost stories whether it be by a campfire or via a podcast.

However, if you feel that the whole day is complete nonsense, you can point your telescope to the skies and watch an asteroid larger than the Empire State building hurtling past the earth aptly named ‘Spooky

It seems that when the darkness falls across the land, it’s technology that will be bringing people together whatever you choose to do on October 31st.


Bodyboarding in Croyde Bay With a GoPro Hero

People often ask me where I find my inspiration and energy. As a guy that spends far too much time staring at a screen and tapping away at a keyboard. I think it’s getting out and about in the great outdoors that helps me maintain a very positive outlook.

My two favourite places in the world would be the Glastonbury Festival of contemporary performing arts where I can go completely offline and lose myself for five days soaking up over 1,000 different acts across a 900-acre site. My second favourite place is Croyde Bay in North Devon where I can hit the beach armed with a cheap wetsuit from eBay and a £20 bodyboard.

Sure, learning to surf properly is high on my bucket list. However, a distinct lack of time, money and water near my home makes it quite difficult, but one day I live in hope of spending my final days as a Johnny Utah style character in Croyde.

Until that day, it was time once again to hit Croyde Bay in October to store up my last shot of vitamin D to get me through the winter. And recharge my mojo by catching a few waves in my favourite place.

This year I borrowed my son’s GoPro Hero camera to try and capture some of our antics and also see how this much cheaper model handles the sea. I have to say that this £90 model seemed to capture just how much fun we had and presently surprised at the HD quality.

For anyone that is wondering if the cheaper and original GoPro Hero offers a high enough level of quality, I hope this video helps you make a decision.

No more trips are planned for 2015, but once again I have been fortunate enough to have made some amazing memories and enjoy the company of my friends and family. Although, I am back in front of the screen, it won’t be long until I am scouring Holiday Pirates for my next cheap flight.

The Soundtrack to Life Lessons and Thought Leadership

Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king ain’t satisfied until he rules everything

Sure there was the cynical realisation in the lyric, but ultimately the underlining message I took from Badlands is if you want to make anything happen then you have to create goals and form your own path to make it happen.

Aerosmith cemented the theory of turning negatives into opportunities with their line “You’ve got to lose, to know how to win” in their hit Dream On, many years before Eminem sampled the chorus to deliver the same message in his own unique way. Meanwhile, Bob Dylan taught me not to criticise what you can’t understand and Ice Cube kept me grounded by booming ‘You better check yo self before you wreck yo self’ into my ears.

Despite having a love of technology and gadgetry, I equally appreciate the simple things in life and sometimes you just need to breathe some fresh air and soak up your surroundings. Sometimes, we are guilty of becoming so goal oriented that we forget to live, love, laugh and walk in the rain. However a quick listen of Breath by Pink Floyd ensured a very valuable life lesson was learned sooner rather than later.

Arcade Fire might have sent me a subliminal message to stay on my own path with the line ‘the past won’t rest. Until we jump the fence. And leave it behind‘ but it was the Rolling Stones who poignantly pointed out that ‘You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need’

The risk of becoming selfish or self-absorbed was quickly quashed by the legend Bob Marley who hammered home the importance of helping others on this journey called life with the simple message ‘Be not selfish in your doings, pass it on. Help your brothers in their needs: Pass it on

Maybe we underestimate the influence that music can have on our lives and do not always realise that the songs we listen to can empower us just a much as any self-help book or life coach ever will.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not the guy that sits in a dark room full of melancholy searching for deep meaning in every song that I hear. After all sometimes you just want to shake it like a polaroid picture and I’m likely to find just a much inspiration by busting out a few moves with wild abandon on a sunny afternoon.

My music obsession leads many to think that I’m just a dreamer, but in the words of John Lennon, I’m not the only one, and I know for sure that one day you will join me.

Let me know the songs and lyrics that have inspired you on this journey of life by commenting below.



Hiking to Kjeragbolten and Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock)

Any parent will tell you that the summer holidays can be quite challenging when your tiny children become teenagers. All theme parks have long been ticked off their bucket lists and everything you suggest seems to fall under the labels of boring or too childish.

I spend most of my time writing about the latest technology trends and often find myself conflicted by the benefits and negative aspects of this digital age. I am also increasingly conscious of the amount of time that both my son and I spend staring at screens and don’t want to be the dad who says “in a minute” paying more attention to email than each other.

The older that I get, the more I realise that its experiences rather than possessions that truly make us happy, so decided to take my teenage son on a father and son adventure to Norway. A short 90-minute flight from the UK into Stavanger would allow us to soak up some of the finest scenery that this world has to offer and allow us to spend quality time together.

Our base was the Scandic Stavanger City hotel which ticks many boxes for anyone sightseeing in the Stavanger region. The airport bus drops you across the road from the hotel, it offers an all you can eat breakfast and the all important free wi-fi.


Hiking to Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) simply involves crossing the road and getting on a ferry (pay on board) to Tau, then hop straight onto one of the buses waiting (pay the driver) and begin your hike. Refreshingly you are encouraged to pay on your card rather than using cash on your travels making the whole trip incredibly simple.

Hiking with your dad could still be interpreted as boring to the typical teenager, but I had something special up my sleeve. The plan was to climb to the top of Kjerag and stand on a large boulder (Kjeragbolten) wedged in the mountain’s crevasse for the ultimate Instagram moment.

Although, the photo’s give the impression that standing on the boulder is incredibly scary, it is much bigger when close up and reassuringly nobody has ever slipped or fell off the precariously placed rock. Maybe, it’s a combination of a survival instinct kicking in and the channelling of one’s inner mountain goat that comes to the rescue when the health and safety risk assessment police are nowhere to be seen. (more…)

New York City Second Time Around

I was fortunate enough to visit New York for the first time around 7 years ago and, as a rule, I don’t return to the same place twice because I feel that you are missing out on somewhere else.

However, I had unfinished business with NYC and my first visit consisted of rushing around like a madman trying to see as much as I could racing to the top of the Empire State, Statue of Liberty and the Rock frantically attempting to tick as many things off my bucket list as possible.

Now that Grand Central Station, Central Park, Times Square, Wall Street and Brooklyn Bridge are a fading memory, I thought it was time to return and soak up the other things that New York has to offer at a more leisurely pace with 5 full days for our return visit.


Arriving into Newark on an internal flight at 21:45, we got the train from the airport to Penn Station for only $12.50 which was only a 2 minute walk to our hotel the New Yorker and there were no safety concerns at all and everywhere was very busy despite the arriving in Manhattan quite late.

Day 1

It was time to learn and conquer the New York Subway so purchased a one-week unlimited subway and local bus pass for $30. NYC is a big place, so having the ability to zip around the city without scrambling around for loose change was the best decision I could have made.

Understanding the metro system offered a slight learning curve, but again the beauty of the unlimited pass means any mistakes were quickly rectified when I understood the difference between uptown and downtown or express and local service.

Next to the New Yorker Hotel Tick Tock restaurant is a subway station that allowed us to hop on the A, C or E line downtown to ground zero where the freedom tower has recently opened. Upon leaving the subway station, we were a little disoriented and unsure which direction to take but we turned a corner there it was and the sight takes your breath away. (more…)