Archive for 2017

Choosing a Camera to Suit your Pocket

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Choosing a camera used to be a fairly straightforward matter, you’d choose a budget and then look at the two or three options that were available. However that has all changed and now there’s literally hundreds of options at most price levels. What’s more you’re choosing more than a camera in many instances because many allow you to shoot video too, sure it won’t be as good as streaming the BBC News like this, but it’s something to consider.

Finding the right camera, the “best pocket camera of 2017”, will be hard to do since so many are available to purchase. It can be difficult to figure out which one of them is actually worth your money and your time. Can you really discern whether or not a camera is the best pocket (or point and shoot) camera available today? You read articles like this one. Before choosing a camera, you should evaluate different criteria along the way.

In the following paragraphs we’ll talk about them. Giving you a few options we will discuss a couple of the cameras on the market right now. To find your next camera, continue reading this article.

The weight of the camera is something you need to consider. Most do not realize how heavy a point-and-shoot pocket camera can actually be. Cameras like this are sometimes heavy because of how much stuff is in the camera. Much more durable than DSLRs, pocket cameras are designed to last. So make sure you actually lift the camera before you buy it. You really don’t want your pants falling off when you put your camera in your pocket. This is a consideration you need to take seriously. A camera that can take great photos, and is lightweight, is what you’re looking for.

Sensor size is something to consider. On small sensors, some pocket cameras try to cram way too many megapixels. Not a good idea! The sensors in pocket cameras are small and trying to do too many megapixels causes a bunch of problems. Shooting in low light is actually a problem. It also makes the differentiation between colors quite stark, instead of gradual. You can, however, look for a much more powerful zoom on the camera that has these features. This difficulty with pocket cameras has almost always existed. To zoom longer distances away, the sensor size is indicative of its capabilities.

One very popular and well-engineered pocket camera is Canon’s Elph 110 PowerShot HS point and shoot. It doesn’t have the greatest zoom range, but it does work well for sharp and wide angled shots. The zoom is a little noisy, but the Canon take pictures fast. The photo is taken the instant you press the shutter button. There is no delay. This Canon is also good for those of you who like to shoot continuously. If you’re at a sporting event, or any event that is very active, continuous shooting is a big plus. This is a feature that many point and shoot cameras don’t include. Including this feature, makes the Cannon PowerShot Elph 110 HS a contender for best pocket camera for 2012.

There are so many pocket-size cameras available, you need to really think long and hard before purchasing one of the best pocket sized cameras of 2012 in stores today. Choosing the right camera for you has to do with using the shopping techniques presented in this article, and finding a camera that fits your needs. You will discover many different cameras in your research, and a great deal of criteria to keep in mind. You have to do this research before you go shopping just to be safe. This article has provided you with strategies to consider when buying a camera. Hopefully, they will help you in some way.

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IP Addresses are Different

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Many people are under the illusion that an IP address is just a string of numbers and that’s it.  Unfortunately it actually tells people a little more than that and it is data which is actively used when you visit any major web site.  So what does it say?  Well first of all an IP address determines what country you are in, so you can be categorized as a French web surfer or an American surfer and so on.   Further this location can be more detailed, easily to the specific town you are in and in many cases even more specific.

Yet there’s more, you see IP addresses are also classified into categories based on use.  So you can determine whether an IP address has been assigned to a commercial organization, an educational establishment or a home user.   This information is also used to categorise you even further, for example in advertising or restricting access based on your situation.    So to summarise that meaningless number that allows you to access the internet can identify your exact location and whether you’re surfing from home or not.  Compiling this information together with everything you do online soon builds up a very accurate picture of a person, their likes, employment, political and  social status.

This information is obviously used to target people with online advertising and to customise the products you might see in an online store. You imagine that everybody sees the same web pages when they visit but that’s not true.  All this information is used to tailor the major web sites to an almost individual basis.  It’s also used to restrict access, for example try getting the BBC News streaming abroad, unfortunately if you’ve got a non-UK based IP address and that’s not going to happen.  The BBC restricts access not based on whether you have a TV license or not, merely if you happen to be in the United Kingdom when you try and use the site.

Fortunately this is relatively simple to spoof, however it get’s more and more difficult depending on how much information they use.  For example a company which has a very extensive web presence is the media giant Netflix, however they also have a complex tax to deliver their service.  They have to license shows on a per country basis, so a movie may be available in USA Netflix for example but not in UK or French Netflix.  To enforce these restrictions they initially relied on the location of the IP address, however millions of people managed to bypass these.

Within a few weeks there were many workarounds, you didn’t have to look far to find a a post with the title – How to Change IP Address to USA for Netflix. Which basically explained how to use a VPN or proxy to hide your real location and watch whatever version of Netflix you wanted.

Digital Marketing on the Internet

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

I was reading a story the other day about a chap from Ireland called Jonny Ward, who had managed to visit every single country in the world.  It had taken him nearly ten years and it was a fascinating tale which inspired both jealousy and some wanderlust!  However there was one aspect of his adventures that I found most surprising which was how he had financed this travels.

watch bbc outside uk and travel

There’s probably many people, like me, who are desperate to travel but always find an excuse not to.   Mortgages, kids, jobs and responsibilities are usually at the top of my list, yet there’s probably one common to us all and that’s money. Travel after all costs money, not only the physical moving about, but accommodation and probably loads of other costs you leave behind you.   If you tally up how much money you’d need for even a year or so’s travel then it starts looking like an impossible dream.

Yet it’s not always the case and there’s a particular lifestyle which easily lends itself to this sort of travel – digital marketing.  You see our friend from Ireland had no real money behind him either, but what he did do which enabled him to continue was start a travel blog of his adventures.  You can find it here if you’re interested – and it’s the story of not only his travels but how he earned over a million dollars whilst doing it.

This simple blog was the key to him completing his adventures, in fact without it he’d have probably ended up stranded in some dead end job somewhere ringing his parents for the air fare home!  He made money from promoting products in the blog which earned hm commission and advertising slots.   It’s quite simple to set up, and if your readership grows the money starts to flow pretty easily.    You can find examples of these sort of sites all over the internet, of course the crucial aspect is that you need traffic without people reading your blog there will be no income.

It’s an illustration of what the internet makes possible though, if you spot it’s opportunities.   The beauty of making your money in this way is you have no boss, no schedule to keep and of course no physical ties.  There are certain things you do need to make this work of course, a working internet connection fairly regularly is a must but that’s not hard to find nowadays.  You can invest in little tools to assists as well, most travellers buy a VPN service to keep their connection secure and allow them to keep in touch.  This tool I use mainly to watch BBC iPlayer in France, yet it also works all across the world.

However the difficulties are all relatively simple to bypass if you put in the effort and take the risk.  There is no real need to tie yourself down to one place, most countries have a reasonable internet or cellphone network which is enough for a blogger to cope and devices like tablets and laptops are relatively inexpensive and easy to carry around.


Any Hope for a European Digital Market?

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Can you imagine buying a laptop from your local Walmart and then while on holiday in France being told you can’t use it because it was not bought there.  It would be ridiculous, yet this is the situation we are finding ourselves in more and more because of outdated licensing laws and profit maximising media companies.    The digital market is often being portrayed as a brave new world for global economies yet it’s growing despite some last century laws.

This situation with the laptop sounds extreme yet it’s the sort of thing that happens every day for millions of people with regards to digital goods and services.  The prime culprit is of course the media companies who expect us to follow their ridiculous 20th century copyright laws.  The web is awash with digital goods and subscription services which only work in the country you bought them in, how stupid is that.

I live in the UK and every year pay a not insubstantial amount of money in a mandatory license fee to fund the BBC.  I have no problem with that as in my experience the BBC is one of the best broadcasters in the world, it’s easily worth the money.   It is also an innovator, being one of the first to stream all it’s TV live across the web and also for some weeks after through the BBC iPlayer.  It’s wonderful, yet if you travel outside the borders of the UK then it all stops working.

It doesn’t matter that I’m a license fee payer, it’s my location that’s important.  It’s incredible that I even have to ask the question does BBC iPlayer in Ireland work? You’d think so,  but read here, you’ll find it doesn’t without some intervention.   It’s not restricted to a particular company or country, in fact pretty much every single media company of any size follows this model.  None of the fantastic US media sites work outside the US, use Pandora to listen to music – not if you travel outside the US borders you won’t.

There is a little hope, the European Union have identified that this situation is restrictive and unfair and are pushing to try and create the world’s first single digital market.  The idea being that if you pay for some subscription service or movie download in one European country, it will still work when you travel to another.  The internet doesn’t really have geographical borders so it seems crazy we’re trying to implement them.

My New Travelling Companion

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

I had to go and work in France a few weeks ago, and it was an incredible experience.  However one of the difficulties I had was being a single (and slightly disorganised) person I found it very difficult to keep my domestic life running smoothly.  I had presumed that the internet would make managing my affairs more straightforward, things like paying bills, utilities and subscriptions could all be done online.  However this actually wasn’t as straightforward as I initially thought, for one very simple reason.

This is the situation that what you can do online from an American home is not always the same as can be achieved from a French hotel. The reason is a technology called region locking which restricts access to various websites and services based on your location.   My first problem was a direct result of this, when I couldn’t access my online banking in order to pay some bills.   It turned out that as an anti-fraud measure my banking site was only available to someone connecting from the USA.  Any access from a foreign country e.g France was blocked in case it was fraudulent – sensible but extremely inconvenient.

It wasn’t just this, a myriad of sites I discovered either didn’t work properly or certain features were disabled because of my location.  Even simple things like my Netflix subscription didn’t work properly as I got redirected to the French version (with lots of French dubbed movies!).  I did figure this out in the end by using a US IP address for Netflix  which was a revelation to me.

Using a VPN like this turned out to be the solution, if I needed to use US only websites then I merely connected through my US VPN service.    The site would think I was in the US and my online banking worked and lots of other sites too.   It made life much simpler and gave me that link back to home that was being denied me because of all this region locking.   I also discovered that using the VPN actually made sense security wise too, it ensures all your data is encrypted whilst connected protecting it from anyone who was eavesdropping!

For anyone in the same situation I can recommend using one of these services. They’re relatively inexpensive and can normally be subscribed on a monthly basis which is useful for people who travel occasionally.

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Dangers of Using Torrents

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

When you first see a torrenting client being used it’s pretty impressive stuff, search for a movie, click a button or two and a little while later it’s sitting on your hard drive.   There is no need for any technical knowledge, no special skills or coding required other than installing one of the many BitTorrent clients on your computer.  It’s simple to see why they are so popular when you can get a copy of a brand new DVD downloaded at no cost whatsoever.

Unfortunately there are risks and these are growing greatly all the time.   The problem lies mainly on the transparent nature of these clients and how torrents actually work.  When you load a torrent file into your client, you aren’t actually downloading anything at that point – it’s simply information regarding a set of files which may be downloaded.  These files don’t actually exist on a single server, they are shared among thousands of computers which are actually downloading the file , known as ‘the swarm’.   When you start downloading your computer joins this swarm and shares the files on your own computer as you download.  The idea is that all the computers help download and share the file, people are expected to stay in the swarm for some time after completion in order to keep sharing the content.

It sounds great in theory, however the open manner leads to numerous issues.  First the sharing, the bitTorrent client is actually sharing out a section of your hard drive with complete strangers.   This is never a good idea in any context, although direct exploits against torrent clients are relatively rare – uploading viruses and malware is extremely common.  It’s basically a simple way to spread a virus because you are automatically given rights to save files on a stranger’s computers.

The risk of infecting your computer and data while using torrents, has always been around but there are greater issues to using this method too.  The problems comes with the complete lack of privacy while using these clients while downloading.  While there is a way of doing this safely not many people bother, this article has more information – best VPN for torrenting.  Imagine this, when I try and download a ripped copy of the latest Hollywood Blockbuster – in the torrent screen I will see the IP addresses of thousands of other people illegally downloading the file too.  Now imagine you’re the copyright holder, this is a list of people who are infringing your copyright.   Every single person on that list is identifiable through their IP address and could potentially be sued for damages running into thousands of dollars.

It’s easy to see how the media firms are attracted to this method, targeting those users with legal action has two main effects:

  • Brings in huge amount of revenue in fines and damages.
  • Acts as a strong deterrent for copyright infringement.

It’s already happening in the US and across Europe where individuals are receiving threats of legal action because they’re internet connection has been used to downloaded pirated content. It’s incredibly lucrative as most people will inevitably settle out of court when threatened.  IF you’re using these torrent clients to download files then you should make sure you protect your privacy whilst doing it.

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