Cell phones illegal while driving – Transport Authority wants a review

Oops, that turned out to be a bit of a backfire.

Transport authorities are re-thinking whether it’s alright to use mobile phones in cars.

A 2009 law change made it illegal to use phones behind the wheel, and police have since raked in millions of dollars in fines.

But a new transport strategy will consider whether mobile devices could actually help to make our roads safer.

The Safer Journeys Strategy is calling for a review of legislation by the end of the year to identify “unnecessary barriers” to the use of technology, including accessing road safety information safely on mobile devices in vehicles. ? Read more »

Turn your damn phone off

It is the holiday season and there is evidence that constantly checking your emails on your smart phone may be doing you some damage.

The secret to happiness is to turn off your smartphone email app according to psychologists, who warn that constant updates have become a “toxic source of stress”.

Technology that puts people at the continuous beck and call of their emails has created a culture where people feel they must be constantly available for work, according to research.

As a result, an “unwritten organisational etiquette” has become ingrained in the workplace and employees have developed habits which are bad for their emotional well-being.

Studies have found that continuously checking and reading emails due to a “push notification” feature, which alerts users to new messages even when they are not in their Mail app, produces tension and worry. Experts recommend that switching off the Mail app on your mobile device will alleviate anxiety. ?? Read more »

How many people use a smartphone as a phone? [POLL]

The results of this survey confirm what appears to be happening

Making a call is now only the sixth most common use for a mobile phone, a study has found.

Sending and receiving text messages, reading emails, browsing the internet and using the phone?s alarm clock have all overtaken actual conversation.

In fact, almost four in ten smartphone users believe they would manage without a call function on their handset at all.

The study, by taxi app Hailo, found the average person uses their mobile phone for an hour and 52 minutes a day.

Most of this time is taken up with texting, emails and surfing the web, but around 20 minutes will be spent making an average of three calls.

The survey of 2,000 people found that social media apps, calculators, calendars and cameras were also seen as particularly important functions.


What is your primary use for your smart phone? ? Read more »


Enter a comp, win an IRD audit!

Inland Revenue is running a competition for a budding app designer to come up with a design for their smartphone app.

You can even win $10,000 and a contract to work on the app build.


Inland Revenue is looking to build better solutions for its small business customers.

Inland Revenue, in collaboration with Creative HQ, is calling on New Zealand’s entrepreneurs, designers, software developers, creative businesses and others for mobile app ideas.

The App4IR Challenge invites you to come up with a mobile app that will simplify transactions and services between Inland Revenue and its small business customers.

The App4IR Challenge is open to all individuals, teams, businesses and organisations in New Zealand.

The Challenge winner receives $10,000 for Inland Revenue’s right to use their concept and the chance to collaborate with Inland Revenue on the app’s build.*? Read more »


Bye Bye Blackberry

I used to own several Blackberry devices…I really liked them especially their secure communications…however they lagged and lagged and lagged behind the technology curve and eventually they were stuck in the middle of a fast highway with pedal car solutions…they just got run down.

BlackBerry Ltd.?will cut 4,500 jobs, write off more than $900-million (U.S.) worth of unsold phones and abandon parts of the consumer wireless market in an attempt to save a business in freefall.? Read more »

WhaleTech: Cool apps for your Android TV Box

Following the considerable interest in last week?s post about Android TV boxes, I thought I?d share some of the top apps I use on mine.

Bear in mind at the outset that the apps I like may not be ideal for you; that?s the ?wonder? of smartphone ecosystems. The millions of apps available on Google?s Play store (or Apple?s App Store?and to a lesser extent, Microsoft?s Windows store) provide the flexibility for you to get your device working like you want it to.

While I’ve included YouTube, I’ve left out some other ‘major’ but obvious ones, like Facebook, Twitter, Google Earth, Chrome, etc, as these are, well, obvious.

Worth noting too, is that an Android TV box is based on a smartphone, but it isn?t a smartphone. That means some apps which work well on a smartphone, won?t work well (or even at all) on an Android TV box. After all, it doesn?t have GPS, a camera or a gyroscope ? and it?s primary purpose, at least how I use it, is to access and display media.

Right,?on to those apps.

YouTube1.?????? YouTube?

Yes, it seems trite, since YouTube is probably something we all use every day anyway. The reason this makes it as a top app is because in addition to endless FAIL collections (people doing stupid things and getting it on camera), you can watch a huge collection of old full length movies. As someone who thoroughly enjoys wasting time watching FAILarmy (to the annoyance of my wife) and old movies, this is enormously valuable. You could just access YouTube in your browser, but the Android app makes it easier to navigate. As a bonus, sign in to Google on your PC, your notebook and your Android box and your activity on any and all other devices is synched (ie find fails faster).

MX Player2.?????? MX Player

If?you have a ?cache? of content (no, I don?t care where it came from, that?s between you and its maker) on a hard drive or even just on your PC and want to watch it on your TV?well, that?s what the Android box was made for. Yes, and a lot besides. MX Player is my choice for playing back movies, old TV shows ? I?m a fan of such things as Magnum PI, 30 Rock, Arrested Development and others ? clips from the GoPro, etc. What makes MX Player stand out is that it can handle just about any file format (and there are lots of them) without a hitch. One thing you don?t want when streaming content, is tech hassles. With MX Player, there isn?t a file I?ve found that it can?t handle.

ES File Explorer  File Manager3.?????? ES File Explorer File Manager

A?comment from JeffdaReff last week alerted me to the fact that many of us are still technophobes; luckily, setting up an Android box and connecting it to your wireless network is really easy. Once it is connected, you will want to browse the network and find your other devices (like the PC or networked drive on which you have that stash of content). ES File Explorer makes this simple; load it up, find the ?LAN? button, click SCAN and every device on the network will appear. Click through and find the file you want, and open it with MX Player. Happy time.

Fast Reboot4.?????? Fast Reboot

Here?s an opportunity for Apple fanbois (hi guys) to get excited. Android does occasionally wind up with too many background processes and apps running, which can clutter things up. Fast Reboot is a simple utility which, at the click of a button (now that didn?t sound like a clich?, did it?) closes any extraneous apps. I place the icon on my desktop and routinely hit it after ?fiddling? to keep my gadget running sweetly. I am aware that the last sentence is potentially ambiguous and potentially incriminating. No matter.

MX Mariner - Marine Charts5.?????? Marine apps, including Predict Wind, NZ Marine Weather, and MX Mariner

I?ve grouped these together just as an example of some of the ?interest? apps you can whack onto your Android TV box. Although I live right next to the sea and a visual check isn?t too much of a mission, it?s always a good idea to get an idea of what?s going to happen later before going fishing. Whatever your interests are, you?re likely to find heaps of stuff on the Play store to keep you busy.

Whaletech: The Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920

This is a review provided by the wife of a long term reader of the blog.

Before I begin this I should point out that we are an iPhone family.

Admittedly my two previous phones from the Apple family have been hand me downs from my partner but I have been amazed at how these phones work, the features and apps available have made life easier and I have found myself able to do most of my online work and leisure through the handset rather than having to switch on the computer.

So it was with some scepticism I received the news that I was to be given a new phone to trial and it was not an Apple. Big boots to fill you could say.

My requirements beyond the usual making and receiving phone calls and texting the kids have grown to fit the modern smartphone world with email, taking photos, Facebook and browsing the web becoming an increasing part of my usage.

The first thing that struck me upon opening the box was the wireless charging. Quite how it works is a complete mystery but surely all rechargeable items will be using a similar method soon. You just lay the phone on the charging pad and hey presto! No more knotted wires, no more trying to plug it in. Just put the phone on the pad and away it goes.? Read more »

What a waste of money

? NZ Herald

A smartphone and tablet application developed for Budget 2012 cost Government nearly $6.90 per download, new figures show.

The NZ Budget app, developed in less than four weeks by Treasury and Wellington company PaperKite, allowed users to read documents including the Budget speech and watch video coverage.

Government today revealed the app cost $59,000 to develop.

It was downloaded 8600 times, at a cost of $6.86 for every download.

Finance Minister Bill English said the development costs would be funded from $100,000 or more in expected savings in Budget printing.

We have always managed to read the budget without a $59000 app in the past.

Be more like Finland – and start going backwards

? Sydney Morning Herald

David Shearer thinks we should be more like Finland…there are some appealing aspects to this…the hot chicks…the naked beer runs…and top rifles they make…but it isn’t all good news out of Finland:

Samsung Electronics has ended Nokia’s 14-year leadership of the global mobile phone market in the first quarter of the year, outselling the struggling Finnish handset maker for the first time ever, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

The poll showed analysts on average expect Samsung to have sold 88 million mobile phones in January through March, surpassing the 83 million which Nokia sold in the quarter.

Nokia had announced the sales total on Wednesday when it warned of losses from the phones business in the first and second quarter. Samsung is due to release quarterly numbers on April 27.

Nokia has struggled for several years in the smartphone race, but its dominance in the lower end of the market has allowed it to keep its rank as the world’s largest mobile maker by volume.

The fall of the Finnish firm has been rapid over the last few months as in a similar poll in January it was still expected to stay far ahead of Samsung.

“After 14 years as the largest global mobile phone maker, getting knocked off the top spot will come as a bitter blow to Nokia,” said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, who has followed the industry since the 1990s.

“In contrast it will be greeted with euphoria by Samsung – they’ll be dancing from the boardroom to the factory floor,” Wood said.

Get your worm app

As you probably already know on the November 21 TV3 election debate they are letting people with smart phones participate with the Roy Morgan Reactor App (the Worm) for people with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

You can download the Roy Morgan Reactor App (the Worm) for people with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch from the Apple App Store.

For those with Android devices you can get it from the Android Marketplace.

Loyal army members with these devices should download in preparation.