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I’m inherently lazy……that’s why some gadgets work for me

May 2017 - Gadgets Blog

The trick is choosing the right gadget, not just buying it because it’s the latest thing.

Let’s take my Apple Watch as an example.  What benefit is it to me?

Known to being partial to buying a new gadget and usually favouring an Apple gadget people were surprised when it took me almost 2 years to buy an Apple Watch.  In fact because I always carry my iPhone I’d even stopped wearing a watch.  Now I have one on my wrist every day, and to be honest it doesn’t even look like a watch, which was one of the things that originally put me off.

So why now?  What changed?

My sister-in-law bought one and after ‘playing with it’ I was hooked and bought mine a week later.

There are two major benefits so far:

  • The activity rings
  • The ease of using RunKeeper as my fitness tracker

As with all gadgets their usefulness is down to the user, and how they interact with it.

The Apple Watch, Fitbits, Garmins are all great in their own way, and all measure and prompt you to do various things really well.  But, they can’t make you actually do them, so you have to be susceptible to being prompted.

I’ve noticed a number of advertisements about the Apple Watch’s 3 activity rings over the past few months.

Apple Activity RingsThey’re a prime example for me.   The watch’s 3 starting goals are:

  • Burn 400 calories by moving every day
  • Do 30 mins of exercise every day
  • Stand for a minute every hour 12 times a day

I’ve been known to sit in front of my computer working for hours on end, not taking regular breaks.  As a result I’ve been a regular client at Knots Away Massage Therapy and In Touch Therapies due to pain in my shoulders.

As much as I know I should stand up and move away from the screen every so often I don’t, yet when the watch prompts me I actually do it.  So is there a link between me not having so much pain in my shoulders over the past few months?  If this continues then the watch will have paid for itself by the end of the year 😄

As an added bonus, having been in London for a couple of days I found the ease of using my Apple Watch as a means of contactless payment was great.  No longer did I have to have my phone out and ready, or a contactless card in hand.  It made getting off and on the DLR and the Tube so much easier!

It’s interaction with with Runkeeper means I can start tracking my runs and cycles by simply using the watch.  My phone sits in my armband and I no longer have to mess about trying to set the activity off when it’s already strapped to my upper arm.

What about other gadgets?

What other gadgets do I spend money on because I am too lazy to do things myself or to prompt myself?

Honeywell EvoHomeBritish Gas’s Hive – lets you switch the heating on and off whilst you are away from home.  Honeywell’s EvoHome does the same thing but also allows you to add individual radiator controls so rather than setting one temperature for the whole house you can control individual rooms.  The individual controls let me heat rooms only when I’m actually using them.  When I turn the heating up because it’s turned cooler I’m too lazy to go into other rooms and turn the radiators down, even though I know I won’t be using those rooms for a few hours.  With EvoHome I can turn up the temperature in just the room I’m using.  It took just 18 months for me to save enough on my heating bills to cover my initial investment.  Since then everything is a saving.

WeMoWhat else?  Using WeMo allows me to remotely switch on the light at my front door when I’m heading home after dark, no longer do I switch the light on in the daylight when I go out knowing I won’t be back until dark.

I replaced my kettle with a tap ‘gadget’ that provides instant boiling water.  I no longer get up to make a drink and then get distracted when the kettle is boiling so that in the end I’ve  boiled the kettle 2 or 3 times before I actually make that drink.  This gadget will probably take longer to pay for itself, but knowing I’m easily distracted then it’s perfect for me.

So, as I said, with all the gadgets out there, the trick is knowing yourself and buying the gadget that works for you, not just because it’s the latest craze 😉

 

 

Windows 10…… Should I?

ParadigmIT-Blog-Windows10

We’re coming to the end of the free offer period from Microsoft.

Should you partake of their free offer and get Windows 10 onto your desktop or laptop?

There are many reasons to take the free offer and update to Windows 10 – least of which is the ability to downgrade and keep your free digital entitlement license if you decide you don’t want it after all – as long as you haven’t run disk cleanup and it’s less than a month since the upgrade to Windows 10 (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-10/going-back-to-windows-7-or-windows-81)

Windows 10 is the upgrade that Windows 8 should have been.  A proper working Start menu that combines the traditional ‘Desktop’ menu from Windows 7 combined with the ‘Metro Block’ interface from Windows 8 just for tablet users – and a pure tablet mode for those user that liked the ‘Metro’ blocky menu (and there surely aren’t many of those going around!)

The upgrade itself is easy to do.  Look next to your clock on your desktop for the white Windows flag icon, click it and follow the instructions – just be sure that your machine (desktop or laptop) is powered up and plugged in, you have at least 8GB of hard disk space free – and that you have anywhere between 1-4 hours of your life to waste waiting on it downloading and installing.

Bear in mind that you’ll only see the flag icon to upgrade if you have a qualifying version of Windows installed:

  • Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home premium versions will upgrade to Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate will upgrade to Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 8.1 Home will upgrade to Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 8.1 Pro & Pro for Students will upgrade to Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows Phone 8.1 will upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile (Check with your provider for upgrade availability)

The Pros

Windows 10 generally runs a lot more smoothly on most hardware – even with just 4GB of RAM (although 8GB is better).  If upgrading an older laptop, I would advise an upgrade to an SSD (Solid State Drive) from your old hard disk.

It has better hardware detection than previous versions of Windows (and indeed, the compatibility tester will tell you of any problems before the upgrade which is nice – thanks Microsoft!)

It’s a much nicer desktop – and will breathe fresh air into your old device

You’ll get the latest software technology for nada!

Networking is (in our tests) generally quicker – if you have a newer laptop (within the last year or so) it seems that throughput in wireless terms is a bit quicker, but this may be due to better driver technology inside Windows 10.

The Cons

I would say that as long as the compatibility tester gives your device a clean bill of health, there aren’t many.

The only problems can be with older external devices like printers and scanners (although there is a very nice ‘add older hardware’ wizard to help with this process which generally works well).

The sum up

It’s worth getting in on the free upgrade from Microsoft whilst you can if your device is offered one.  You can always downgrade again within the month if you feel that you want to.  Windows 10 is a very nice OS and will give your device a new lease of life.  If you need advice about your upgrade, please leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer you!

Have fun upgrading, and remember you’ve only got until the 29th July 2016 to get it free before Microsoft starts to charge!

Read More about the upgrade

Microsoft Windows Upgrade Page

Microsoft help with Windows 10 Upgrade Page

Which? Impartial Windows 10 Review

Expert Reviews page on Windows 10 New Security Features

Introducing ParadigmIT – helping you think outside the box

Introducing ParadigmIT – helping you think outside the box

Being caring, friendly and fair – our vision is to add real value when meeting the needs of our clients.

ParadigmIT was created by Mark Cargill and Angela Dunsire in 2014 in response to an assessment of a growing need in business for cost-effective and pragmatic advice on a range of web and general IT issues for the small to medium sized business sector.

From helping you create that first email address, develop that first website, choose that first bit of tech when your home laptop no longer works for you, to helping you develop your website and ensure that your systems are best suited to the needs of your growing business.

We specialise in providing support and solutions for the small to medium-sized business sector – we make it our goal to understand your requirements, to help you think outside the box, and to work with you to develop your ideas to their full potential.

With over 40 years of experience in IT and over 20 years experience in Accountancy we not only understand  your IT issues but we understand the need for good practical and cost effective advice.  We prefer to remove the jargon, and we understand that the ‘latest thing’ is not always what is best suited to your business.

We understand that web and IT are not always high on the priorities when you are first start your business so have started this blog.  It’s free!  It’s just us posting what we hope are helpful tips and guidance, keeping the jargon to a minimum.  There’s a specific start-ups blog, leading with an article on setting up that first business email address.