Brave Browser and Basic Attention Tokens (BAT)

Brave Browser - blue explosion

Brave Browser, a new era in browsing

I’ve installed a new web browser called Brave and it offers users the ability to transfer BAT coins to the browser. You can distribute those coins to creators/publishers and the Brave Browser will allocate the coins respectively based on watch/view time. You have full control over who gets what and you can delete specific creators.

Brave also blocks ads and tracking scripts so you can view websites faster and not have companies watch your every move.

Problem with ad blocking

Say you have a favourite website that you regularly visit. You have an ad blocker installed which is great for you. However, your favourite website is no longer being supported by your views. They are losing money and therefore losing out on chances of creating better content for you. They become disheartened about the lack of money and you become disheartened by the lack of content or lack of quality of content.

You then stop viewing this person’s website, and so do a horde of other viewers. That creator then stops all content and wonders why no one would support him. The thing is, you probably would have if you had more options than just viewing ads.

Enter Brave, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking that Brave blocks ads and is also apart of the problem. Well that’s where you’re wrong, because of Basic Attention Tokens. Every time you view that person’s website, they earn a percentage of your purchased tokens. Other people using Brave can also take part and donate their tokens to this person’s fantastic content.

It’s a fantastic use of Crypto Currencies and anyone can get in on it. If you’re a creator or publisher, you could gain support from your fans and your fans can gain privacy and the ability to block ads.

If you would like to learn more, then just check out the Brave website. You could even help support me by clicking this link and using the browser actively for 30 days (I earn 5 BAT every time someone does this).

Barclays has fixed Windows 10 – Creators Update app issues

Today, Barclays fixed some major issues which it had with Windows 10 mobile devices running on the creators update. First issue it ran into when this update was released was a message saying “Sorry, Barclays Mobile Banking is not supported on jailbroken devices”.

I thought that as I was running on the insiders update, it may have been some new measures to ensure the app was being run securely. I tried coming off the Insiders updates, reset my phone and was still received with the same message. My fiance who wasn’t on any insiders ring, had updated her phone to the creators update where she was met with the same message.

Barclays then proceded to text her (not me for some reason) to apologise for the inconvenience and said they were working on a fix (great news). We then waited a week, then tried the app again. The message had disapeared and we thought it was back on, but when we entered our pin, the app would just exit with no explanation. I tried on both mine and my fiance’s phone and the same thing was happening.

Now, after a good few weeks, we have received the very welcoming text that the issues have been fixed and we can use the app as normal. It has and I thank them for their support on this.

I really wish other banks were this responsive and they really need to take a page out of Barclays book and learn from them. Banks such as Lloyds, Halifax and TSB have all removed their apps from the Windows 10 store and are no longer supporting Windows 10 which is sad and I hope this changes in the future (especially considering they were just mobile wrappers anyway).

They could all make our and their lives easier by creating a UWP app and bring in new features which I really hope they are looking into this for the future.

Xbox One Elite Controller Review

I recently had this given to me as a Christmas present and I think it’s time to give it a review. This controller is a beast and I doubt I have yet to use this controller to it’s full potential. It has so many knobs and triggers that you feel a bit lost when using it for the first time.

However, after a few rounds and a bit of customisation, you really begin to love it and find that it can work to your advantage really well. I have played a lot of Gears of War 4 using this controller and feel like my aiming has improved quite a bit (I won’t say dramatically as it’s been a short amount of time). My deaths however, probably hasn’t improved much, but I’m sure this will change as time goes on.

If you are looking for a professional grade gaming controller, then I highly recommend this one. I doubt any other company can come close to the sheer comfort and quality of this device and you will be glad you spent your money well, when you can see a clear improvement on your gaming.

[Click here to see the whole range of elite controllers](

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Windows 10 Creative Update Event Overview

Thursday night I sat watching the Windows 10 event, and I have to say, they blew everyone away…

## Surface Studio ##

Lets start with the biggest announcement, the surface studio. This product is purely beautiful and should be every creators dream. The zero gravity hinge which enables you to angle the screen where you want with just the press of a single finger means you can get the correct angle any time. When you push it all the way down, you can lean against it and put quite a bit of your body weight onto the screen.

It’s a 4.5k screen and just looks incredibly beautiful and detailed, you even have the option of changing colour profile so you can get the most accurate range of colours. I would never need a computer like this, but damn would I want one anyway which just goes to show how sought after this device is going to be.

## Surface Book ##

The surface book has had a huge overhaul with a better dedicated GPU with 2GB of dedicated GPU RAM. This is meant for gamers, but they didn’t quite go into detail on how well it will perform for most modern gamers. This is something I kinda wish they went into more detail about.

However, it just looks insane and I think it could make a lot of people happy, especially if they were on the lookout for an upgraded SKU. They have managed to push a lot more inside, yet the form factor is still pretty much unchanged which is spectacular

## VR AND AR Devices ##

Last year we saw the Hololens, a great augmented reality device which really pulled all the punches, having virtual objects scattered across your room look really fun. This year, they showed it in even more detail alongside the new Paint3D (more on this soon).

They showed that you can view an online community of 3D created models which you can pull into reality and place wherever you like, they also showed a proof of concept where you can go shopping in Edge and pull out the products into reality and check if it works within your room.

This is truly the future and is something we will all be keeping a close eye on. They then showed their new VR headsets starting at $299 which is cheaper than what’s currently out now. You could picture yourself in other countries without even having to travel, this means you could easily plan your holiday before even flying over.

## Windows 10 Creative Update ##

Now for the actual software updates, there has been so much packed in to this update and I believe it’s enough to excite any creative user. From 3D paint which allows the user to create any 3D model and even import models scanned from real life objects.

They showcased a sandcastle on a plinth which was scanned in from the HP x3 and then imported into the Paint application. Then a little holiday memento was created including a little 3D emoji with sunglasses. This looked spectacular, they then took this 3D object and placed it into real life using the hololens.

There are new broadcasting options using Microsoft’s newly purchased Beam which will be competing against Twitch. Beam offers zero latency streaming between the broadcaster and the viewers which seems like a great win. I have noticed that Twitch can have a good couple of seconds latency between the broadcast and users.

There are even rumours that the Paint3D app will be UWP and will somehow work with Windows mobile devices, but we will have to wait and see how this actually works.

## Full video of the event ##

Goodbye Microsoft Band 2, hello Fitbit Surge

6 months ago, I had been given a Microsoft band 2 as a loving birthday present. I thought it was a great device which had so many great features, but unfortunately the wear and tear of the device eventually let it down.

The microsoft band 2 is definitely a sought after device with lots of great features such as GPS, UV sensor, a multitude of reminders and a fantastic alarm clock. After setting the device up, I would go for a so many walks and speak to others around me about how fantastic this device was, one of my friends had a fitbit and we would always compare our sleep and steps which was just great.

I could control my music straight from my wrist and rarely would I have to pull out my phone from my pocket again. The first device I had lasted around 3 months, and thereafter, it would die on my, the only way to wake it up would be to charge it.

I recorded all my workouts at my Crossfit gym, sleep, steps and even when I went for a run. The GPS was great, I was happy with the results from my workouts and at this point, I thought there was no other device quite like it.

Two months later, the band started tearing at a very noticeable point. Luckily, I had it insured so I walked down to Argos and got yet another. My large version started getting loose on my wrist at the tightest setting anyway so it was a good chance to go to a medium. I could fit this one all the way too, but it was more comfortable to use.

At this point, Summer had arrived and I started using the UV reminder. Every 30 minutes it would remind me to cover up with Sun cream and would recommend the UV protection of my Sun cream. This device could literally do everything you needed it to and no other device can quite compare.

A month or two down the line, the band starts tearing yet again. I replaced it with another medium thinking nothing of it. Carrying on with recording my workouts, steps and sleep. This one then only lasted a month and a bit, until it started to tear.

I read online that if you have it on the tightest lock, then it’s more likely to tear which was happening to mine. I then thought that if my band goes to the tightest setting, then I could probably happily switch to a small.

This was my next and final band, it lasted longer than my previous one, and I was hopeful until just a couple of weeks ago I could see a tear. This time, it was on the opposite side of the band (near the Windows logo). I kept a close eye on it and could see that it wasn’t tearing any more. I was happy to keep it going until come Friday (14/10/2016), it stopped reading my pulse.

This was the last straw for me, and I just couldn’t find myself to carry on using it. If I knew there was another band device coming (such as the 3), then I would have probably replaced it for another band and then upon release of the new version, I would the replace it for that one.

I had read that Microsoft reinforced parts of the band which were most likely to tear, but I didn’t want to risk it any more. So, that weekend, I replaced it for the Fitbit Surge. I could have gone with the Garmin, but I think the Fitbit ecosystem is the next best ecosystem to get in to.

The fact that you can earn badges and challenge friends is a bonus (I can even challenge my fiancé :D).

Let me know what you think in the comments, what has your experience been? Have you replaced it? If so, what did you replace it with?

The power of AI and bots

I have started seeing the sudden increase in AI and bots and I am so excited to see where this is heading. First we had Microsoft introduce Tay the Twitter AI which unfortunately saw it’s demise when it got turned into a racist drug dealer. Tay displayed just how powerful their AI could be even if it turned against the rules set to keep it at bay.

Next, we saw Microsoft give a centralised API for Microsoft apps which is a pretty neat. Then Facebook decided we need to chat to robots in order to find what we need and when we want it. This is another API which businesses can tap into and again, it could go far once the AI is trained and giving out results.

One showcase which Microsoft has recently showed us is their bot which can take better pictures than the every day photographer on the iPhone. If I had an iPhone, I would be downloading this right now just to see how well it performs, but unfortunately, they can’t really showcase it on Windows Phone where there is a lack of market (keeping my fingers crossed mind).

Google even thinks that bots are something which need to be tapped in to and they have in fact brought out their own chat bot which looks to perform just as well as the Google search engine and maybe even better than Facebook’s messenger bots.

[Windows Central]( even believes that one day, bots could replace apps as you could end up asking the bot to order you food, or even order your groceries or anything you could wish for. Maybe one day, these bots could predict what you need and when and even order all of it for you without the need to lift a finger.

This is especially true when you think about the plethora of smart devices coming out. Washing machines, fridge freezers, televisions (even my TV is starting to suggest what I switch over to at certain times). All of these smart devices could one day connect to each other and communicate with a shopping list which could then be ordered and delivered on a day you’re in.

What do you guys think about this and are you excited for the future of AI?

Why did I pick a Windows Phone?

Windows Phone

Forever alone…

In my office, I’m the only one who fully supports Windows Phone as an operating system. My fellow colleagues disagree with me and would rather have either an Android phone or iPhone. I would like to make a quick post on why I chose Windows over Android and Apple and why I think Windows phones are the winners.

Like Android, Windows has been able to get it’s OS into many phones, which I think is fantastic because it gives the user more choice and is why I would choose it over Apple any time. Apple, however, does have a very solid OS and phone, but the fact you can only get 2 variations limits it, I mean surely the more phones you have your OS in, the better. Why? Because it gives people more choice and choice is great.

Android, although it has been implemented to a lot of phones, it lacks in being able to be kept up to date for each phone manufacturer and each company implements the Android OS in different ways because of how open source it is.

Windows has managed to make it open, but not too open that it contains loads of bugs and makes the experience different on every device. It has rules which each manufacturer has to abide by which means that no matter what phone you choose, you always have the same or similar experience and any bugs which get found are updated across all platforms. I like the fact that Windows says to each company “You can add whatever you like onto your phone as long as it doesn’t change the experience too much”. This is perfect, it means more choices on hardware and no matter what phone you use, you will always be up to date.

The choice between open and non-fragmented

I would also like to add that I do like Android and the iPhone, but you have one which is way too open and doesn’t give you the same experience across the board, then you have the other one which gives you a nice experience, but absolutely no choice.

Windows has managed to overcome this by controlling what happens, but not too much that it closes it down too much. And this my friends is why I choose a Windows phone over any other phone.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, whether you agree or not.