Retail's Slow Suicide

Every couple of months, it’s the same story here in Cork. City officials try to change how things are done in Cork, and the retailers are up in arms, foaming at the mouth at the very concept that someone would DARE to make a change that might possibly affect them in a negative way. This is usually followed up by some local bigwig trying to boost his popularity ratings by spouting some empty phrases about „buying local“, and how e-commerce is killing local retail. I usually throw up in my mouth a little when I read that, something which is regularly followed with a full-on outburst when I read the usual nationalist drivel in the comment sections below the respective press articles. There certainly appears to be a small but noisy part of the local population that has long since flushed their last remaining brain cells down the drain. Snarky comments aside, the appearance of online platforms such as Amazon has turned out to be a real challenge for many high-street shops, both independen…

He's completely mad now! - Review B&O Play E8 Truly Wireless Earphones

I cannot live without music. It’s my greatest addiction, and the one I am the least ashamed about. In fact, I’m proud of it. I’m sure any somewhat perceptive reader of my blog has copped on to that simple fact by now, given the amount of headphone and speaker reviews. Well, today a new set of earphones joins the group, and they’re the smallest ones yet. A few years ago, a small start-up called Bragi launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new model of wireless headphones. The Bragi Dash was supposed to take the concept of wireless earphones to the next level by eliminating the physical link between the two earbuds, and replacing them with a wireless connection. Despite some initial hiccups, the new concept soon took root, with numerous companies jumping on the bandwagon, including Apple with their hideous AirPods.
True premium manufacturers initially kept their distance, waiting to see how this new technology would play out. However, they have since come onboard as well. Sennheiser…

Peak Smartphone - Why are current smartphones so boring?

Part of my daily routine consists of browsing through sites like 9to5Mac, its sister site 9to5Google, The Verge, German language IT portal heise Online, and similar platforms. Hey, any self-respecting geek has to stay up to date. Unfortunately, the reading there has been getting a bit repetitive over the last couple of years. Granted, Apple is unlikely to make any major jumps within their product portfolio, instead perfecting and smoothing out what they have, however over recent years, the Android world appears to have entered a stage of stagnation as well. In fact, most of the middle class and higher end devices look suspiciously similar to iPhones, and any changes appear highly superficial. The biggest difference lies in the software, and even there the differences will most likely be too small for most users to recognise them at a glance.

That wasn’t always the case. Back in the early days of the smartphone revolution, Android devices were decidedly more adventurous. While Apple w…

The Bicycle Wars

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I have a very keen interest in urban mobility, and especially in the bike-rental sector. If you’re not a regular reader yet, you now know that as well. More and more countries and municipalities are coming to the conclusion that these systems play a vital role in providing a sustainable public transport offering. The fact that Ireland and its population have significant difficulties in following suit is very telling indeed, but also not the subject of this article. As these systems become more and more popular, more and more companies are trying to jump on the bandwagon and profit from this popularity. While this is generally not a bad thing, there are definitely downsides to it, not least because it has lead to a series of „bicycle wars“ in a number of cities, a battle of systems and philosophies.  On one side, you have the „classic“ station based bike rental systems. As the term suggests, these systems are built around permane…

Suddenly Sonos - A Review of the Sonos Play:3

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m a bit of a geek. I love my tech and my gadgets, be they drones, cameras, tablets, headphones, and whatnot. However, one group of devices never really caught my attention, namely the so-called connected speakers, or speakers that access streaming services directly via WiFi or ethernet, without having to go through a smartphone, tablet or another similar device. I was a late convert to streaming music anyway, and for a long time, my „musical land mine“, the B&O Play A1 by Bang & Olufsen, was more than enough for my needs.
Until this week, that is. 
You see, I work in a business development role, and as part of that role, my employer regularly organises competitions or giveaways to „encourage“ the front line agents to score more deals. Normally, when I see something like that, my brain just switches to „transit mode“, meaning that those words go into one ear and come straight back out on the other side. Don’t get me wrong, I still do my j…

Annapolis is Everywhere!

Annapolis, Maryland. A small city on the shores of Chesapeake Bay In many ways, it is just one of your typical small American cities, and apart from the US Naval Academy located there, has little to set it apart from myriads of similarly sized cities between the Eastern Seaboard and the Pacific Ocean. Yet, on June 28th, 2018, this city was suddenly and horribly thrown into the harsh, unblinking stare of global publicity, when a lone gunman entered the offices of Capitol Gazette Communications, publisher of the local daily newspaper The Capitol, and began opening fire on the journalists, killing five of them in the process. The gunman was later arrested. It now appears that the attacker, Jarred Warren Ramos, was motivated by personal reasons, namely supposed “defamation” by The Capitol with regards to his guilty plea in a criminal harassment case in 2011. Following the initial report, he had bombarded the company with a plethora of threats, and repeated lawsuits, all of which had been…

Review Apple iPad 2018 - Thanks Apple, I'm running out of good puns for the headline!

Apple and cheap – Now there’s two terms you rarely use in one phrase. Even affordable is stretching it, as a quick glance at the price tags in the Apple Online Store will surely tell you. That being said, in recent years, Apple has made moves towards more affordable devices, at least with some of its product lines. The latest effort in this is the new 6th generation iPad that was released in April 2018. It is the device that finally got me to upgrade from my old iPad mini 2.  Now before I get into the review itself, I need to be upfront about a few things. I am a former Apple employee, although I left the company in 2016. I did not receive this device from my former employer, however, and I did not get it at a special discount either. I paid the regular Irish retail price for the device, as well as for the Apple Pencil. My review may occasionally stray from a purely objective path due to this past, so be aware of that. Why mention the pencil, you ask? Well, you’ll have to read the re…