Friday, June 15, 2018

iPad or Kindle Fire

iPad & Kindle Fire
I don't often do product reviews or comparisons but I recently bought a Kindle Fire HD 8. That will surprise people who know me as I'm a huge Apple fan. Between my wife and I, we have 9 Apple devices at home. However, I've also always been aware that the Kindle is an excellent e-book reader (my wife and father-in-law have them). The Kindle is light, has excellent battery life (weeks) and its e-ink screen is great in bright conditions. But, the Kindle Fire is different to previous Kindle's; it's not just an e-book reader, instead, it's a fully functional tablet, just like the iPad.
I decided to buy a Kindle Fire to compare it to my iPad partly because it's so cheap. The Kindle is $59.99 (USD) compared to an iPad for $329 (USD). In other words, the iPad is 5.5 times more expensive than the Kindle! In fact, you can buy a Kindle for less than the iPad's optional cover! So how does the Kindle compare? Well, the Kindle isn't as fast as the iPad, the touchscreen isn't quite as responsive and its backlight isn't quite as bright. The battery life is fine easily lasting a day of use.
Amazon has its own app store for the Kindle, but it doesn't stock all of the apps that the Apple app store or Google Play for Android devices stock. However, Amazon doesn't advertise this, but since the Kindle is running Android as its OS you can quite easily (5 mins) install Google Play on your Kindle (just Google it) and then you have access to all Android apps. This means you can install all the productivity apps and games you are familiar with.
Finally, although the Kindle has less built-in memory than the iPad, 32GB max vs. 128GB (add $100 to the iPad's price for this) you can easily upgrade the Kindle's storage by using a micro SD card ($38.20 for a 128GB card). In conclusion, the Kindle Fire is a perfectly usable tablet. If work was paying for my new tablet I'd insist on the iPad, but if I was paying myself I'd buy the Kindle Fire and spend the $269 I'd save on something else.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Tips to improve your online privacy

Since the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal a few months ago online privacy has become a popular topic. The New Zealand Herald recently published some very practical tips you can use to improve the privacy of some popular apps. Read about the tips here.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Yet another GDPR email

You may have noticed that in the last week your inbox has been flooded with emails from almost every company you've ever interacted with online. All of them wanting to update their terms of use and privacy policy. Many companies have been resorting to humour to try and get us to open these emails. However, as The Guardian has pointed out "... legal experts have argued that many of these emails are unnecessary, and may even be illegal under the new data protection laws." If you don't know what has caused this burst of email activity it's due to a new EU law - the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Can we be friends with robots?

Associate Professor Elizabeth Broadbent, Department of Psychological Medicine,  University of Auckland, University of Auckland is giving a free public lecture this Thursday, May 24.

Social robots are now being made to assist us in our daily lives in our homes and workplaces. These robots typically look humanoid and are designed to display signs of attention, cognition and emotion. This lecture will discuss research on how people feel about living with such robots, and the benefits and harm robots may bring.

The talk will draw on a series of New Zealand studies examining how people respond to robots in their own homes and in healthcare settings for long periods. People’s attribution of mind to robots and their feelings of companionship with robots will be a particular focus.

Drinks and nibbles will be served from 6pm at 260.088 Level 0 Foyer, Owen G Glenn Building University of Auckland. The Lecture commences at 6.30pm. 

Find out more information about the Gibbons Lecture Series.

If you cannot attend the lecture you can watch it live or later here.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Will robotic vision ever fully replace human vision?

Associate Professor Patrice Delmas from the Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland is giving a free public lecture this Thursday, May 17.

In this talk, Patrice will introduce the topic of computer vision, its current status and the many challenges that have been faced. He will then discuss some parallels between human vision and computer vision, and the major differences in capability.  Finally, he will lean on his experience to describe a wide range of real-world problems, attempted solutions and ensuing failures or successes, in the context of the New Zealand economy and environment.

Drinks and nibbles will be served from 6pm at 260.088 Level 0 Foyer, Owen G Glenn Building University of Auckland. The Lecture commences at 6.30pm. 

Find out more information about the Gibbons Lecture Series.

If you cannot attend the lecture you can watch it live or later here.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Robotics research in New Zealand - free public lecture

Mike Shatford, Managing Director of Design Energy Limited, Christchurch is giving a free public lecture this Thursday, May 10 at 6:30pm. Mike's talk aims to close the loop between academia and industry; reporting on successes – where, and how, robotics is serving our target market, and where there are gaps and opportunities for both the originators of new technology and the end-users it will serve. 
Drinks and nibbles will be served from 6pm at 260.088 Level 0 Foyer, Owen G Glenn Building University of Auckland. The Lecture commences at 6.30pm. 

Find out more information about the Gibbons Lecture Series.

 If you cannot attend the lecture you can watch it live or later here.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Robotics research in New Zealand - free public lecture

Professor Bruce MacDonald, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland will give a free public lecture on May 3rd 2018 at 6:30pm, Venue: 260.092 (Owen G Glenn Building 3), Level 0, University of Auckland.

Bruce says: "We are constantly being told that robotic technology is soon going to dramatically change our lives. Indeed, it is true that robots, AI, machine-learning and automation have become much more affordable and capable in recent years. With less fanfare, at the same time, farms, factories, homes and offices have felt a strong need to automate some tasks that are currently done manually. As well as machinery, this may involve measurement and monitoring, helping humans make decisions or taking over some parts of decision-making. This presentation will describe international trends and some of the ongoing work and future directions for robotics research in New Zealand."

Drinks and nibbles will be served from 6pm at 260.088 Level 0 Foyer, Owen G Glenn Building. Lecture commences at 6.30pm.
Find out more information about the Gibbons Lecture Series.