Want to follow us on the trip?

From Belfast to Norway and back again.

Well, using the followmee app on my iPhone, I will enable live tracking from next Tuesday onwards, so every 10 minutes (as long as we are moving) it will update the map on this page.  It’s not enabled yet (hence showing me in Edinburgh) but I will tweet it every morning we are on the trip.

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Dash4Dosh – 1 week to go

Advance Notice:  The next month or so is bike related.  If you fancy reading up on motorbikes, preparation, failure, rain, tents, Scandinavia, rain and rain, pay attention.  If not, thanks for stopping by.  There are many wonderful things on the internet.  Just don’t be a dick.

About a year ago, Sean Cull and I got talking about taking the bike trips to another level.  I’m pretty sure there was alcohol involved, but we hatched an idea on taking bikes up past the arctic circle and back.  Making it a challenge and pushing ourselves a bit more than we usually would.  We discussed charities, basic plans, dates, the Dander4Dosh crowd and tying in with that somehow.  All sorts of things.

Well in a blink of an eye a year has passed and in a week I head on a 5,000km (or so) trip to North Norway passing through the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and back on the Dash4Dosh .  As trips go, it is daunting and my trip starts on the 20th May getting to the UK.  From there, I will meet Roy and Chris and then in Denmark meet Gregg, Vladimir, Thomas, Arvid, Christian etc.  and start the trek.  All the prep details and abuse are on the facebook page, which has served the team well.  Also twitter plays a part.

Preparation has been a challenge, along with moving house and the most work-intensive 6 months I can remember, having free time to even *think* about the trip was/is a struggle.  But in the best tradition of ILUG (remember them?) we had random skype calls and dropbox plans.  Then we pretty much made it up as we went along.  The trip dates are set, ferries booked, meets and greets scheduled, and we are all getting ready.

My bike and gear has slowly come together for touring.  Buying most of what I need online for touring/camping the cost has been high, but for a “you will only do this once” trip, necessary.  My VFR full loaded looks like this.   It is *heavy*.

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My temporary home, looks like this:

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The sponsor drive for MacMillan charity has been amazing.  I cannot thank everyone enough.  As much for the positive vibes, likes and good wishes, to the cold hard cash put forward by so many people from around the world.   It reenforces a point brought home to me by the recent tragic death of Tim Tripcony.  This community consists of some of the finest souls I have ever met.  We had a fantastic run and many arguments.  But there was, and always will be a sense of family there.   Anyways, I best get cracking with the endless to-do list.

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The graveyard…

phones

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Gadget Review – Doorbot

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As part of our house move, I wanted to avoid missing knocks on the door in future.  Be it travel or just being too far from the door.  Gab and Tim had purchased a Doorbot in the past, and were quite pleased, so I decided to make the jump.

First of all, the doorbot is shipped from the USA, so if you are in the UK, expect a Customs Charge if you are unlucky (I was).  The device is nicely presented and comes with all tools needed to fit an install on your door/wall.  Compared to a standard doorbell, it is chunky, but security bells are typically larger in my experience.

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Installation is simple.  Everything you need to complete the installation (screws, hex screw, screwdriver etc) comes with the device.  The physical installation requires you to drill a mount plate for the doorbot.  You can connect “real” doorbell wires to this plate, which will be used then to interact with your internal doorbell (if you have one).  It also keeps the doorbot charged for you.  After you have the plate fitted, you hook the front piece (the camera and button/speaker) to the plate and secure using a hex screw which is supplied.

The software installation requires you to download the app (google play or App Store).  Download the app, then press the button on the device, it will create a wireless network and you join it to your real network via the interface.   You can invite multiple users to the device so  notifications are sent to whichever users you wish once the bell is rung.

Once installed and configured, once you ring the bell, your doorbell rings as normal.  Also your devices get notification.  From there you can choose to ignore the notification, see who it is or “push to talk” to the person.

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So… The Good

The device looks well, albeit big.   Personally I would like a more subtle, square design, but that is my taste.  Installation is easy and it feels secure and rugged.  The battery in the device will last for a year and you can recharge via usb, OR it will take charge from the bell wires if you have them connected.  Vision is good, audio is good.  Night vision is good.

The Bad.

The mobile apps need work.  Notifications are slow (about 7 seconds on average from doorbell ring) and then it takes more time for the screen to open so you can hold to talk or see the person ringing.  Newer versions are needed.  If bandwidth is an issue, the “hold to talk” button should work before video is there so I can at least speak to the person.  Additionally there should be desktop software for Mac and PC.

If you liked this gadget, go check the Blackbox My Car products, they have the best security cameras for the dash of your car so you can feel safe and secure when you are on the road. And speaking about security: should any locking issue appear – contact Kwikey Locksmith Services, INC.

All in all, it is a good device but severely lacking on the software side.

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The pebble experiment ends

pebble

 

Today I turned off my pebble watch.  It has been placed in my “history of tech” pile.  I loved the smartwatch concept since Kickstarter made headlines with the Pebble.  When I (eventually) got the watch I was pleasantly surprised with the look and the basic functionality.  After the recent OS upgrade, it felt like a new watch, with much more features and use cases.    However, the connectivity with iOS always sucked for me.  To this day notifications passed phone/text were very hit and miss. Starting a run and wondering if the Runkeeper App would work irritated.  I tried full re-installs and full application rebuilds but I could never say “it just worked” for me.  And in this day and age “it just works” is the norm for consumer tools.    So, thank  you Pebble for upping the game.  I’m excited to see Motorola’s announcements today and what is to come from apple but I think this is where we end our journey.

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Announcing the Dash4Dosh 2014

Over the past few years, fantastic community members have put in their time for sponsored “danders” in various locations for charity.  Many thousands have been raised and many blisters earned.  A few of us have always liked the idea of going alongside these fine folk to raise money.  But there has been a unavoidable issue.

We hate walking.

So, enter the “dash4dosh” (yes, it’s a facebook page.  Please like and share it).  Myself, Sean Cull, Chris Harris, Gregg Edred, joining some of our friends in Denmark and even potentially a few support cars are doing something silly.

We are riding bikes from our homes past the arctic circle and back to Wales, UK, to meet up with other community members.  The final route is not sorted as yet, but it goes something like this for me.

Belfast->Stranraer->Preston->Harwich->Ejsberg->through Denmark heading east->the east coast of Sweden->Finland->West to North West Norway->South the west coast of Norway->back to Denmark->West through Denmark->back to UK->Wales->Belfast.

Mileage… a lot (no idea on numbers, but roughly 4,000 miles at least) on very little motorway.  We are paying for all of this ourselves, but have setup a joint charity page for MacMillan Cancer Support.  Please support me, or choose anyone else from the team and support them (or all of us,but I don’t want to be mean!).

We are geeks.  You will be able to track us on the trip via a page linked to my iPhone.

Any help is appreciated of course.  I have some ideas to try to get corporates and geeks to throw some cash at it too.  These will follow later.  So please do spread the word, and if you have money to spare, please sponsor.  If not, some good vibes, support and sharing/linking the page would be appreciated.

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As I have been asked a few times (ethical hacking / Domino)

After the BP107 presentation “defending the perimeter” at IBM Connect, I have had a few (quite a few more than I would have expected) queries on if I would run the ethical hacking/domino workshop again.  The answer is the the typical answer of any consultant when asked if they would run a paid workshop again.

“Of course”

Just get in touch.  I have ran it at events and also on customer sites.  You just need to do the paperwork with my pimps.

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Adminblast 2014 slide deck available for download

I have uploaded the Adminblast 2014 deck to my resources page for download.  Many many thanks to Gab Davis for presenting with me and keeping us on track and on time.

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The future of mobile communication.

I remember when my mobile phone bill could have been calculated by the weight of the  posted invoice.  Any international road-warrior with requirements to provide support and be contactable has suffered extensively from roaming bills for calls and data.  I wince at the thoughts of how much I cost my company on the mobile phone for making and taking calls from anywhere,anytime.

This is starting to change.  Three.co.uk have made a brave move.

A few months ago I switched to the Three phone plan for my use from O2.  This includes the “feel at home” data roaming option.  Simply put, once I am in a country that is approved (including USA, ROI, Denmark, Sweden and m0re) I can happily data roam on my phone, or call the UK, all out of my normal plan.  No extra charges.  No selected networks.  Now my smart phone stays smart, without having to worry about the cost.  Hopefully other carriers follow.  IMG_1102

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VMWare acquire Airwatch

Smart move for VMWare to get into the space by acquisition of one of the main players.

VMware will acquire AirWatch, a mobile device management company, in a $1.17 billion cash deal that will give the virtualization software provider a play in mobility. VMware will also pay $365 million in installment payments and unvested stock options.

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