An Open Letter

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray + UV Copy]

Dear 20th Century Fox, Amazon and LG

I am writing an open letter to all three companies as I have no real idea who is responsible or who is to blame and I am unsure of how this can be resolved.

For Christmas I received The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Blu-Ray, this had been purchased from Amazon.

I unwrapped the Blu-Ray and put it into my LG BD360-P Blu-Ray player. However it did not play, I got an error message saying “Check Disk”. I did check the disk, and there did not appear to be a physical issue with the disk.

I checked the firmware on my LG Blu-Ray player and it was up to date. I also turned everything off and back on. Still no joy, I was still getting the “Check Disk” error.

I did a Google search and it was apparent that I wasn’t alone, other people were having the same issue with the same Blu-Ray disk and the same LG Blu-Ray player. According the online information the problem is with the encryption used by 20th Century Fox on The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Blu-Ray disk, this means that my Blu-Ray player can’t read the disk.

As a result I am now unsure and confused about what I can do as a consumer.

As far as Amazon are concerned there is no fault with the disk and probably wouldn’t accept a return this long after purchase and the wrapping has been removed.

20th Century Fox won’t replace the disk with one that works, as far as they concerned the disk isn’t faulty and they would only replace it with the same disk with the same encryption issues. They will probably blame the Blu-Ray player manufacturer.

As for LG, they are no longer updating the firmware for what is now quite an old Blu-Ray player and would probably point me back to the company that released the disk.

So the end result is I have no idea where to go and I have a Blu-Ray of a film I am unable to watch.

Kind Regards

James Clay

So do you have any idea? Maybe I should have bought it on iTunes.

Getting Bigger

Phablets by Maria Elena

You have probably noticed that over the last few years mobile phones have been getting bigger, and tablets, such as the iPad have been getting smaller. Almost a convergence in terms of size between phones and tablets.

Doing some internet research for another article I found this comment I made on Brian Kelly’s blog post (from 2008) on what devices we would be using in 2013. My main comment was wondering if devices (such as phones) would get bigger!

James Clay said
7 February 2008 at 1:16 pm

I believe that the key difference will be is that the storage capabilities will become less important, as connectivity improves allowing easy access to information and content whenever and wherever you are.

I wonder if the devices will get bigger rather than smaller?

Think about phones, the Nokia N95 is a BIG phone compared to the compact small phones of a few years ago.

The iPod touch screen is so much bigger than the iPod video screen.

Bigger and thinner possibly?

Though for me the downside of all the functionality is battery life and I wonder if there will be minimal improvement in functionality, but a huge leap in the battery life as technology improves the power efficiency of the chips and memory.

As with all things rather than look five years in the future, look five years in the past.

In 2003 I had a phone which could play music, video, had an in-built radio, could surf the net (slowly on a GPRS) connection.

In 2008 I can do all those things but in higher quality and I know where I am (GPS).

In 2013…

I thought it would be interesting to see what said then and see how things have changed and also look forward a little more.

I said back then “I wonder if the devices will get bigger rather than smaller?” well in 2013 we saw the first large phones or phablets. The iPad mini had been released the year before and we had played around with the iPad since 2010, but now we wanted smaller tablets.

Now in 2015, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been released by Apple and as with many Apple devices, and as I predicted, these are bigger and thinner than the phones we had in 2008.

Connectivity is much better with most new devices able to access 4G speeds, but not all of us can afford to be connected at those speeds.

These larger screens, more powerful connectivity have large power requirements compared to older devices. Back in 2008 I said

I wonder if there will be minimal improvement in functionality, but a huge leap in the battery life as technology improves the power efficiency of the chips and memory.

Manufacturers have improved battery life for their devices, still for most people there is a requirement to charge every day, but at least the battery does last most of the day. I remember having a Nokia N95 and too often the battery would only last half a day as I did use many of the different functions on the phone.

One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the first post was battery life, but I commented on in the following post.

Upon reflection I realised why I carry multiple devices around. The key reason is battery life.

If my phone has GPS, plays video and/or music, internet, acts as a 3G modem for my laptop, oh and makes phone calls; then even with a large battery I don’t expect it to last the day.

Spread the functionality over multiple devices and suddenly I can ensure that I can do all of the above, over catching the 6.30am train to London, all day in a meeting or a conference, and back again to reach home at 7.30pm.

I have multiple devices as a single device can not last for the time I need it.

The one change from 2008 that is much more apparent is the decline of the specialist device and the move to a multi-function device. No longer are we carrying pocket cameras, dedicated music players, video devices, e-book readers; our larger phones now do all that for us and then some…

So what will the device of 2020 look like?

Well that’s more difficult to predict, what do you think?

Image Credit: Maria Elena

Google Glass is Dead, or is it…

Google Glass is Dead, or is it…

Yesterday Google announced that they were to halt sales of Google Glass Explorer Edition. It’s only been on sale in the UK for less than seven months, and many expected that it would be followed by a full consumer launch. Another expectation was that the existing Explorer Edition of Glass would be replaced with an updated, cheaper retail version.

So why have Google pulled Glass, there are probably many reasons for this, the official line from Google, according to BBC News is:

The company insists it is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product, but will stop producing Glass in its present form. Instead it will focus on “future versions of Glass” with work carried out by a different division to before.

You can interpret this response, that this was a planned approach to Google Glass by Google. They had always planned to stop selling Google Glass at some point. There is the possibility that there is a planned consumer or retail edition of Google Glass. However the way in which Google Glass has been “killed” by Google does make me think the possibility if this is very unlikely.

You can of course also interpret this, that with all the issues that Google were facing with Glass, they decided to pull the product and in order not to annoy those people who spent their cash on Glass, placated them with talk of support and future products.

There are many reasons that Google have stopped selling Google Glass. Though they’ve not been too open about these reasons, we can speculate about the cost, privacy and looking downright weird!

One reason is cost, at a £1000 per pair and the additional cost of £500 for a smartphone to work alongside it. This wasn’t a product that could be considered an impulse purchase, or a “nice to have”, for most people this was a significant investment. Though Google Glass was an innovative product that had lots of benefits, was there £1500 value in those benefits? We don’t know how well or how badly it was selling, what we do know that it wasn’t been sold on the high street in retail chains akin to other high value devices.

Another core reason was the negative response that Google Glass got in terms of invasion of privacy, there was lots of press and comment on how the use of Glass would invade people’s privacy, though how was this was that different to the use of cameraphones. Yes using mobile phones is more in your face, than Glass, the look of Glass wasn’t that prominent, you could mistake it for a pair of reading glasses, however after all the negative press, those people who were worried about privacy knew exactly what Glass looked like.

The “you look weird” reason has to be up there near the top. One wearable technology that has been around a while has been the Bluetooth headset for mobile phones, but though an useful technology, the reality is that for most people they would never wear a Bluetooth headset and those that wear them all the time, well, they look for a lot of people either geeky or just plain silly. Similar arguments can be had with those wearing and using Google Glass. It’s one thing to use it an environment such as a workshop or a tech conference, it’s something quite different to wear it on the tube home.

Another reason is what did it bring to the party, that a device we had already, couldn’t do. Maybe a mobile phone wasn’t as clever or as smart as Google Glass, but it could take videos, it could take photographs, it had web access, it notified you, it had a better battery life and you didn’t need to wear it. Yes there were scenarios where not holding a phone and wearing Google Glass would be advantageous, but for most people or most of the time their mobile phone was probably easier.

As I said above, the the in which Google Glass has been “killed” by Google does make me think the possibility of a new consumer retail version of Glass very unlikely. It also raises the question of whether the attraction and functionality of wearables such as smart watches, Google Glass, Apple Watch and other similar devices will have a strong enough pull with consumers to make them a commercial success? What do you think?

iPhone Syncing Issue

iPhone Sync Cable

I rarely synchronise the iPhone with my Mac, since unlike earlier phones there is so much you can do over the air these days.

Syncing it last night I was slightly confused over why it wasn’t syncing. I unplugged and replugged the iPhone into the Mac. No luck.

A quick search on Google found that sometimes problems arise if you have an USB drive plugged into your Mac. I knew I had plugged in a USB 32GB stick into the Mac, I unplugged it and removed it, and then the iPhone was able to sync no problem.

Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling

I have in previous blog posts looked at QR Code implementation and how some companies implementations of QR Codes have worked or not quite worked.

Sitting down after munching some Cadbury Twirl Bites I noticed a QR Code on the back of pack and I had my phone with me, so I thought, well why not scan it.

Cadbury Twirl Bites QR Code

Using Qrafter on the iPhone I scanned in the code. It took a while to scan in the code as the foil packing and colours used on the QR Code made it difficult to capture the code. It reminded me of the chocolate QR Codes that the University of Bath made for the QR Codes project we did a few years back. Generally QR Codes work best when they are black on white.

Once I finally managed to scan the code I was surprised initially that I wasn’t given the choice to open the URL that was encoded into the code.

Qrafter Screenshot

I had to copy it and paste it into Safari manually. The reason was that the URL though correct, Qrafter didn’t recognise it was it started with landing. rather than www.

landing.cadburydairymilk.co.uk/qr/twirlbites/100

This is partly an issue with Qrafter not recognising a non-traditional URL and partly Cadbury for not putting http:// into the URL before encoding as a QR Code.

So

http://landing.cadburydairymilk.co.uk/qr/twirlbites/100

would have worked.

Having put the URL into Safari you are then faced with a mobile site for Cadbury.

http://tech.jamesclay.net/?cat=150

Swiping as directed results in a video of a chicken crossing a road.

a chicken crossing a road.

No I don’t really get it either, no idea what the connection is with chocolate!