Category: Features

Home Active – Carol Vorderman offers her services for free

The Maths Factor was set up by Carol Vorderman a decade ago, and – for about £2 per week – you get a website which will help unlock every child’s confidence in maths. The maths tutoring site is for 4-11 year olds. It follows a 5-step philosophy – …

Home Active – Free audio books for kids

I’m properly annoyed with the amount of companies profiteering out of the coronavirus crisis. I’d like to see far more companies doing their bit. Audible has stepped forward with a good gift for the kids – free streamed audio books. Their website states that.. For as long as …

Home Active – Daily PE lessons

We covered some free fitness lessons just recently but, if you want to keep a schedule going, Joe Wicks has setup a live daily workout on his YouTube channel. As I type there’s nearly a million viewers watching his daily 9AM workout, which he’s broadcasting from his home. …

Home Active – Lessons online

With schools closed down and kids spending more time in the house, parents will all have the same concerns. First, we’ve already hit the point where kids simply can’t go to each other’s homes. We’re also at the point where kids are sat all day playing on a …

Home Active – Church and cathedral services online

During the cornavirus crisis, we’re continuing with our mission to keep you mentally and physically fit. At times like this, many will look to religion to cope. However, with the UK government advising against “social gatherings”, it’s going to become more difficult to run these. So, it’s good …

Home Active – Keep fit at home for free

We’ve started our “Home Active” feature as a way to keep you mentally and physically strong through these very strange times. Stuck at home, or limited on what you can do outside of home, we’re looking at the options that are available. Today this one comes courtesy of …

Sky – Yes, you can now pause your Sky Sports subscription

After a raft of criticism, Sky appear to have changed their tune slightly. Before, despite not being able to deliver the expected live football, golf, rugby and other sports events, they were refusing to refund those who had paid the additional Sky Sports subscription. This, though, is something …

Netflix notches down the video quality

We’re certainly living in very strange times at the moment. As most of Europe enters a prolonged lock-down period, internet usage has shot through the roof. Indeed, Vodafone got in touch with us to state that their network has seen a 50% rise in usage. This strange and …

Sky Sports and BT Sports – No sport, no refunds

Recently I’ve written about Sky subscription prices and leaving Sky. What has also popped up though is that fact that those paying for the rather expensive Sports packages aren’t getting the sport they were promised. The reason, as you may know, is the fact that lots of tournaments, …

Home Active – Carpool Mixing and Raving

As part of our quest to keep everyone in a good mood during the coronavirus closures, we’re doing everything we can to keep you healthy, happy and sane. We’re calling it “Home Active” and, although we can’t pretend to fix everything, we’ll hopefully make the time pass a …

Home Active – Sky delivering movies on the same day as the cinemas

With the coronavirus closing leisure activities, restaurants, pubs, coffee-shops and cinemas; we’re all spending a lot more time at home. So, with TV, radio and the internet our connection to the outside world, Sky have bit of good news for us. I actually decided to cancel Sky TV …

Everything is changing..

Just a few short days ago I doubt we knew quite how life-changing this situation would be. The coronavirus outbreak has become a massive health and economic emergency across the globe. Now, today, we’re coming to terms with the hard realisation that nothing will be the same for …

Ditching Sky, rejoining Sky and ditching Sky again

Over the last few days, my article about leaving Sky and rejoining again has been looked at more than the front page. My plan was to cancel and go with Freesat, supplementing it with various streaming services, but I rejoined because Sky did me a deal after I …

Ditching Sky and .. rejoining Sky

This was meant to be a feature about how I cancelled Sky TV and instead switched to Freesat. Why? Well, the truth is that even the “slightly hidden” Freesat from Sky website states that there’s over 240 channels available for free. Yes, 240+ channels for nothing. So why …

Home Office / Gaming Room Project – Part 6. The Finale!

The task seemed simple. Sort the box room out and make it into a place where my son could do his gaming and his homework. The requirements seemed easy enough, but doing it “without any cables showing” and a minimalistic finish? Well, that was a bit of a …

Wait, what? 5G caused the coronavirus?

On Monday Ofcom published the results of 5G testing which proved that radiation levels in the UK were at “tiny fractions” of safe limits. However, this testing comes against a backdrop of conspiracy theories, critical stories on click-driven newspaper websites and totally unsubstantiated claims on Facebook. The latter is …

Find your local mobile mast – 2020 Edition

Update – We’ve recently posted an additional update to this story here. Many years ago, mobile networks gave the location of their masts to Ofcom. That was back in 2011 though, and after a bit they ditched it. Mobile companies didn’t have to map the location of masts, …

How much data does your radio app really consume?

Some 9 years ago I performed a test of radio streaming over the internet. I was fed up with the slim choice of very “samey” FM radio station so, with the aid of some cabling (or a smartphone FM transmitter) I fed the audio output of my smartphone …

Using Pay As You Go? Use it or lose it!

Whilst browsing through my tweets I noticed this exchange between Phones Show producer Steve Litchfield and the Vodafone Twitter account. It relates to a Pay As You Go handset / SIM and the fact that it’s been unexpectedly disconnected… The disconnection of an apparently unused line might seem …

My Google “Pixelbook” .. for less than half the money

I’ve gotta admit, I’d love a Google Pixelbook. It’s got an Intel Core i7, either 8GB or 16GB of RAM (depending on the model), a big hard drive and a 12.3″ 2400×1600 (235ppi) panel. Trouble is, despite all my saving, I’m not getting close to affording one. Even …

Home Office / Gaming Room Project – Part 4. Nearly there!

It’s hard to believe that part one of this project was back in October, but hey – life gets in the way and other things have had to take priority. Our aim was to get this done by Christmas and we very nearly hit that date – just …

Cable TV – The origins in the UK are older than you think

A couple of years ago I decided to bin Sky TV, bin my phone line rental and effectively remove most of my “broadcast” TV. The plan was to switch across to just an internet feed and nothing else. I then went ultra-geeky and changed our existing home phone …

Home Office / Gaming Room Project – Part 3. Messy!

A little update on my weekend adventures then, and we’re now at the plastering stage. For those of you who haven’t caught up, check the previous updates in this feature. Basically I’m creating lots of holes in our house in order to put some HDMI, Ethernet, power and …

Home Office / Gaming Room Project – Part 1

Let me tell you a story. My son has long wanted a “gaming room”. We’ve pushed back on this but, now he’s at high school, we’ve started to convert our spare room. He also needs it because we made the decision to stop any gadgets, PS4’s or phones …

Let’s start talking again

Smartphones and technology, as we’ve mentioned before, are stopping us talking to each other. My nephew looked at me in horror at the weekend after I told him that he’d have to actually talk to another human being in order to approve the Apple Pay connection to his …

Smartphones – Changing learning and teaching

Geez I’m old now. I mean, proper old. When I was at school, if our class was given an essay to write or a book to review, there was no easy way. No simple research option. No, you had to read the book, you had to go to …

Don’t just renew your contract. Go SIM only.

You’ll see me writing about SIM only deals quite a bit here. My journey with SIM only started a few years ago, when I reached the end of my contract. I was, like many, fairly comfortable with renewing my contract after 24 months and getting a new phone. …

Changing networks – Text to Switch Explained

Today marks the start of a new method of changing networks. For all too long people here in the UK have had to call the infamous “Retentions Team”. They will try lots of things to keep hold of you as a customer. Sometimes this process has a good …

Making use of an old smartphone. The Shed Project Returns!

Remember my strange Shed Project? I wanted to make use of an old smartphone and thanks to a solar panel and some software, I created a web server which didn’t need external power, then lumped in an API so I could remotely control the camera and check on …

Ezviz CTQ6C Wireless Security Camera – Review

Have a look at most UK homes and there is normally an alarm box situated at the front with the blinking LED. Let’s be honest though, how many of us actually go and investigate if the alarm starts blaring? Truth be told, not many. “Well my alarm sends …

Your car speedometer versus GPS speed. A test.

Over the weekend you may have seen my post about the new Google speedometer. It started me talking about the fact that the speed shown on GPS apps is usually different than the speed reported by your car. The reason? Well, here in the UK at least, cars …

DAB in the UK. Quantity, not quality.

We have, for quite some time, covered a lot of the new and interesting ways to enjoy music and other types of media. Over the years we’ve featured the start of internet radio, streaming internet radio in the car and even the Virgin Mobile Lobster TV phone. Remember …

Compared – 4G vs 5G

There’s no doubt about it, 5G is going to make an amazing difference to your data speeds. The throughput is astonishing and we’ve seen examples of entire movies being downloaded in seconds. There is, though, two very important changes that 5G will cause. The first, rather obviously, is …

Fitness tracker inaccuracy. Storm in a teacup.

I was pretty puzzled by the Which? investigation into fitness trackers last week. With the London Marathon happening today, they decided to run a check on the trackers, which can record your distance, pace, heart-rate and location. Some 118 trackers were tested over a marathon distance – 26.2 …