The clock that cost its inventor millions

One of the world’s first digital clocks, which was made by a man in his shed, has been sold at auction. Thomas Bromley, an engineer and amateur inventor, created his Digitron Electric Clock in 1961 at his home in Hull.
He held the patent to the design for three years but chose not to renew it – potentially costing him millions. The prototype sold for £460 to a UK buyer, more than the £400 it was expected to fetch, when it went under the hammer in Beverley, East Yorkshire… More here.

That appears to be a very low price for something so significant.

Conflicted about retail

I spent some time in Waterstones today with my wife. It’s a beautifully presented shop and the experience is always welcoming, friendly and educational if you have a question.

We spotted two books that would make good Christmas presents and so we went to purchase them. The price was not cheap at £50 for both books so I said to my wife that I would check Amazon just to be sure they were not too expensive. I didn’t want to as I love Waterstones and she didn’t want to either, but when you see £24.97 for both with free delivery and arriving tomorrow what are you to do?

As much as I love the bookstore and as much as I worry about many aspects of Amazon (workers treatment etc) there is a harsh reality that hits home quickly when you realise that you are about to save £25.03 with no extra hassle.

Sorry, but how is the bricks and mortar store going to survive when even loyal customers have to go elsewhere?

Apple only accepts complaints by ‘letter’ (update: and by email?)

20th November: I should update this article following a call from Apple Executive Relations today. Apparently you can ask for a complaint to be logged without sending a letter, which I sent this morning as it happens, and the lady who advised me that the Apple Watch was ‘very fragile’ will be spoken to (I feel bad about that). Anyway, I have to send photos of my wife’s Apple Watch and we will see what happens from there. Must say the lady I spoke to today was very professional and allayed some of my concerns, but I remain skeptical about the strength of my wife’s particular series 4 watch.

My word. I have spent many £1,000’s on Apple products over the years and have had the occasional problem with iPhone and Macs, but on the whole the support I have received has been way above what I have experienced from any other company.

A tipping point over the weekend, however, was reached when I was advised that to get a response to a complaint I had to write a letter. Yes, a letter has to be sent to the biggest tech company in the world to achieve any kind of response. For those of you who are unaware of what a letter is it would involve typing or writing some words on a piece of paper, folding up the paper, putting it in an envelope, buying a stamp to stick on the envelope, finding a postbox (that is a red thing that you may see very occasionally) and then putting it through the slot at the top. At this point it will be collected by the Royal Mail, driven to a sorting office and it will then presumably find its way to Apple where someone has to open the envelope, read the letter and then move it to the correct department. The biggest technology company in the world…

My complaint surrounds the problem my wife is having with her series 4 Apple Watch, detailed here, and the fact that to return the watch I have to pay up front (£269). This presumes that the reason the watch has broken is definitely user error and that it could not possibly be a failure of this particular device, or what is in my opinion a design fault.

My anger was not helped by the support agent I spoke to repeatedly telling me that the screen is ‘very fragile’ and that it will break if dropped. I am sure that she was trying to make me feel better, but it had the opposite effect. It should not be fragile and especially as Apple touts the use of Ion-X strengthened glass. No other watch, not one that I have owned and I have owned many, would break in the same circumstance and so I remain perplexed as to what Ion-X strengthening really is. I guess it sounds good in the marketing, but I am seeing little evidence of the benefits.

The end result is that I am returning my stainless steel Apple Watch, scared to wear it now if I am honest and won’t pay AppleCare+ for the privilege, and my wife’s watch will sit on a shelf until it is needed for freelance etc. It’s sad, but my faith in Apple has been knocked in a big way.

Drop your Apple Watch from 2 feet and the screen smashes

As you may know I have owned a lot of watches and one thing that they have all had in common is the ability to survive life. Whether they have been £10 or £1,000 I have never had a watch crystal break from a fall, and I have accidentally dropped a few of them.

My wife, however, made the mistake of dropping her series 4 Apple Watch from 2 feet onto the bathroom floor, onto the little rug around the toilet, and look what happened-

It appears to have landed on its edge and cracked the entire screen from end to end which I would argue is ridiculous. Just look at how the screen is attached to an Apple Watch and you can see where the problem is-

The screen is raised way above the case which makes it prone to damage from a variety of incidences, large and small, and in my opinion is an impractical design which is open to damage.

Add to this the fact that the Apple Watch is not heavy and that Apple touts the screen toughness, I cannot understand how it could break so easily.

Anyway, I started a chat with Apple and-

Alejandro
Thanks for contacting Apple Support. My name is Alejandro. Please give me a moment to look over your information.

Alejandro
Hi Shaun! I hope you are enjoying your day so far. I see that you need help with your Apple Watch?

Shaun McGill
Yes, it’s my wife’s Apple Watch series 4. She dropped it on the floor from about 2 feet and the screen smashed. How much is a repair for an incident like this?

Alejandro
Let me go ahead and help you with that

Alejandro
May I know in which country are you located?

Shaun McGill
UK

Alejandro
The out of warranty service fee for your Watch model it’s £286.44

Alejandro
You can double check this here: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/watch/repair/service/pricing

Shaun McGill
wow. Didn’t realise it would be so much and that it can break so easily from a 2 foot drop. OK, thanks for the information

Alejandro
It has been a pleasure Shaun! I really hope you are satisfied with my service and the information provided

Shaun McGill
Not really

£286.44!

Quick Transfer Revolution

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to quickly copy any kind of media, document or file from any Mac or PC to iPhone and iPad in exactly 2 clicks? No iTunes syncs, without iCloud, and for free?

Well, today we’re announcing just that. It’s called Quick Transfer and it’s now available with no restrictions in the free version of iMazing… More here.

The promise is great. I do hope it works as good as it sounds.

How to be right about the EU and snowflakes

I have now finished How To Be Right: … in a world gone wrong by James O’Brien and it has proved to be a hugely enlightening read. 

He covers a variety of topics including-

Snowflakes – a word I hate which is often used by right-wing people to describe those of us that care about racism, any form of political correctness and so many other human attributes such as common decency. He turns it around beautifully and kind of proves that right-wing people are the biggest snowflakes of all (because they get upset by everything in 2018).

Being gay – you have to read this part to truly understand the craziness of those who believe it is a sin.

Brexit – oh yes indeed. The event that he states was great for his career and bad for his soul. He strips it down perfectly and evidences why the hardened Brexiteers are what they are. 

I ended up buying the audiobook as well as the Kindle edition so I could get through it quicker on my daily commute and it will stay with me for some time. Sadly, the people it needs to have an effect on are impervious to common sense, decency and facts, and are too far down the path of believing what they have been told for decades, but for the rest of us it is a fantastic read from a person of sensibility in what increasingly feels like a world full of fools.

The reason they have been hoodwinked can be displayed in the following two links-

See 20 years of FAKE NEWS about EU by UK press

Fake news to influence the UK public to vote for Brexit has mostly come from our very own so-called professional journalists right here in the UK. Here’s a list of fake news by the UK press over the last 20 years. Every single story here has been debunked as fake news. It’s hard to pick just one but my personal favourites are ‘Euronotes cause impotence‘ by the Daily Mail and ‘EU puts speed limit on children’s roundabouts‘ from the always entertaining Daily Express.

Euromyths A-Z index

Myth: Curved bananas have been banned by Brussels bureaucrats, with shops ordered not to sell fruit which is too small or abnormally bent.
Sources: The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express (21 September 1994)

Truth: Yes … and no. Curved bananas have not been banned. In fact, as with the supposed banning of curved cucumbers, the Commission regulation classifies bananas according to quality and size for the sake of easing the trade of bananas internationally.

The evidence is there and in millions of places on the web and in the real world, but so many people do not want to see it, or they can’t because they have believed the bullshit for too many years and they will continue to do so. It’s tragic.

Kindle Paperwhite 2018 first impressions

Photo 12-11-2018, 16 32 40

Buying a new Paperwhite is a bit like buying the one you already own. Not much changes and the overall experience feels so familiar that you are left wondering what you spent the money on. It is, however, a product that many, including myself, feel nailed its intent from the very first release and if it ain’t broke…

The latest release adds serious water resistance (IPX8 rated) which is ideal when on holiday and a must have feature which is long overdue. For such a simple product I am surprised it took this long.

It is also lighter (182 grams) and slightly smaller (167 x 116 x 8.2 mm) than the previous generation and this is noticeable at first. It doesn’t take long though to forget that and to feel that the new Paperwhite is just the size it should be. The only other noticeable hardware change is the flatness of the display with no bezel ridges anymore. Theoretically this is an improvement, but for me I kind of like the dip in the middle.

You can now pair it to Bluetooth headphones to listen to audiobooks which is a nice bonus and of course your place in the book is synchronised whether you are reading or listening, a feature that still impresses me to this day.

Photo 12-11-2018, 16 33 38

There are also some software adjustments including the ability to save settings for multiple people which makes it a useful reader for the whole family and besides that it all feels, as I said before, very familiar.

The fact that I cannot write much about the new Paperwhite is a compliment. It has always been my preferred reader of choice, even above real books, and the latest version is a subtle improvement that keeps it high up in my list of products that are worth every penny. I only bought this because my current Paperwhite was damaged in a fall and it had served me perfectly for many years and many many books. I fully expect this new Paperwhite to be just as good and truth be told I don’t really want it to change much.