Tuesday, 27 October 2015

iPhone's Mighty Accessory

The one for all remote!
One of the reasons why I am still holding on to my Android phone is it's ability to change channel, control DVD's, Sky box sets, and even apple TV's. This is because of an old piece of technology that has been forgotten by most mobile manufacturers, specially apple, the infrared blaster.

It could be an aging human interface device but it is still the most common type of controlling the basic on and off operations of  almost all appliances, specially those we love the most, the entertainment equipment. Why did apple did not bothered to squeeze this in their devices when this is truly very useful specially when you want a controller for all of your entertainment package, which I am proud to say can do with my Note 3!

A company, however, might have been hoping to bring back the old zapper to mobile devices have come up to an idea that bridges the gap of inability to all mobiles and similar devices so that they can perform even just the basic on and off operation of our entertainment systems. It has introduced an accessory as a stand alone controller but also with a little twist, it can also be controlled by a mobile device through bluetooth.

One For All URC8810 Smart Remote Control Zapper for Smart Devices

The One For All Smart Zapper is a handy table top zapper for quick access to everyday functions such as changing channels and volume. And with the  free Nevo for your smartphone or tablet, it communicates with the Smart Zapper via Bluetooth and the Smart Zapper changes these commands into infrared for controlling all of your Audio and Video devices.

Setup is super easy, just download the NEVO App from App Store or |Google Play,  then pair it with your Tablet or Smartphone and start controlling your devices.


It works with Bluetooth Smart compatible iPhones, iPads, Android Phones and Tablets like;

Apple iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, 6, 6 plus. Apple iPad 3, 4, Air and Mini.

Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5, Galaxy Note 2, 3. HTC One 2013 and 2014. Google Nexus 4 and 5. Motorola Droid Mini, Droid RAZR HD, Droid RAZR HD Maxx, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, Moto G and Moto X.

Requires Android 4.3 or higher.


Buy it from

 From £24,  see more details..

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Common Problems With the Selfie Stick

This accessory is a must for the trigger happy traveler. Gone are the days when you need a dedicated camera to snap something interesting. Gone are the days of composing a scene before snapping a photo remembrance. Anyway interesting bits throughout your travel happens in a spur of a moment, unplanned adventures and random scenes. This is why you need a point and shot snapper, but of course you want yourself to be in the scene as well, that's why a £7(or less) investment of a selfie stick is not that bad idea at all..

Although simple, it also comes into different models and different minor disappointments. This post will give you a head start on what to expect using the different models and hopes to help you decide which one to go for.


  • Compatibility of the wired trigger stick.

With the two main operating systems, android and iOS, the later is a bit primadonna, not every stick is compatible to apple product. This is because of the 3.5mm male socket of the stick. It somehow can not activate the volume sensor inside the iPhone's 3.5mm input.

So if you have an apple product, be sure to test it in the store, or if you are not allowed to do this, try it as soon as you pass the door so it is easier and faster to return or swap for another product.

If in case you have bought it and could not exchange it for any reasons, you can keep it and just use your remote earphone (volume control -/+) to control the camera button.

  • Bluetooth trigger blues.

With the above problem, you might be contemplating of just buying a bluetooth trigger stick. This is also not bad, but in my experience of pairing, turning on the bluetooth is  a hassle for me. Plus the fact that bluetooth transceiver on both devices uses power and it could affect specially the phone's stamina. Another problem when you are running low on battery is the phone swithes to power saving mode and this usually turns off the unnecessary connectivity of the device, bluetooth included. The stick might go low bat as well adding to your disappointment.

In case this happens, setting up the timer could save the day but a little fiddly, or just use the remote earphone!


  • Smooth model.

Unstable holder rotating to either the right or the left is a design flaw. If you have this problem, 100 percent you are using a stick with a smooth body. When new, this is still tight and can hold your mobile phone in place, but because of wear and tear, it becomes loose. And depending on the weight of your mobile phone, heavier ones are more affected and it's position to the center, it will rotate either each side when you extend the stick to adjust the subject's position. This is so far the most annoying problem and this is the time to upgrade to a grooved model.

  • Grooved model
The grooved model has not given me as much annoyance as the smooth one. You just need to choose a sturdier model though. Specially when you have a heavy phone, you will be better off with a bigger diameter barrel. Using it most of the time with the barrel extended to its maximum can bend the stick and positioning it too much at an angle can also misaligned the trigger button from the protective sleeve, causing a miss shots. But this is easily corrected by manually rotating the sleeve to correspond to the triggering  mechanism!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Problem With the Selfie Stick and the iPhone

Since the introductiion of the front facing camera on mobile phones, a new word has been coined in the dictionary, a new past time has been added to social media fans, and a new business opportunity has opened to those with creative minds, the selfie,taking selfies and the selfie stick!

Innovation with the selfie stick has evolved as well, from the simple attach and go to the latest with cabled or wireless  remote controls.  Though these new sticks do not cost that much specially with the wireless remote, do we really need them? Or if you already have the earlier version of the stick, is it worth to upgrade?

I am not a big fan of taking self portraits and I really feel awkward when involved doing it but I admit it is actually a good tool when you are on vacation with family and friends. Most of my friends do it, and all my family enjoy doing it, so yes, we really need to get one to satisfy the selfie trigger happy finger. We do have the very first built, just the stick with no remote at all.

It would be nice to have a remote controlled one, as my wife finds the bad combination of the apple device, which do not have a native self timer with the iPhone5, and the regular selfie wand to be a pain when she takes pictures.  Second party camera applications can settle this discomfort but still the trouble of touching the screen to set it up when the view is perfect is also annoying. The other stick with a built in cable remote do not work with apple though it works with android.

If you have the same problem as my wife then I guess you are contemplating of dipping into your pocket for the wireless remote controlled selfie stick.

But before you splash out some cash,  there is a simple solution to this using an accessory that comes with the iPhone, the earphone.

How it works?

 It can act as a remote to take photos when the camera application is active. It is so easy to use, just plug it in to the earphone jack, start the camera application, position your phone to the selfie stick, then when ready to take a photo, just press either the up or down volume button.

How to set it up?

With the iPhone 5 and later models, you do not need to set up your phone. Plugging the earphone to the 3.5mm jack activates the volume control of the earphone to act as a trigger. I am not sure about the earlier versions, but you can find this out easily. If it can take pictures when you press the volume button of the phone, then the earphone should work! Happy snapping!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

How To Watch Regionally Restricted Streaming Coverage

For those who've missed the video streaming FIBA championship between China and Gilas Philippines because they are trying to view the game outside the Philippines and just contented with the twitter updates could have not missed the action using a browser extension. I have seen tweets asking where to get the streaming link and when they get the link, others are complaining they can not view it. This is because the streaming site has limited it's audience to regionally restrict to Philippine viewers only. And this is made possible by the ISP's filtering web IP addresses.

 To get round to this, masking your IP address by spoofing your location as in the Philippines usually "unrestrict" you from viewing it. There are many softwares that promise this functionality when you ask google, but these could only get you malwares when you are not careful. A better option is to get a browser extension that installs itself to the browser you are using is safer. Though there are many selections as well, HOLA has not failed me to let me watch regionally restricted videos and streaming broadcast yet. Here's where to get and install HOLA for your browser.

In this post, I used firefox. Download and install HOLA from https://hola.org/ .

You need to allow it's access to your browser when prompted and one installed, you'll notice the hola icon at the top right side of your browser(1). Click on it and click on more(2) to spoof which country you want to "view" the streaming video from, which in this case, Philippines.

 After choosing the country(3), the blank screen with the error message changes into a clickable player window.

Now enjoy the video in full screen!


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