Geek, Toxic Custard newsletter

Is Google recording your conversations without you knowing?

You've probably heard about the case of the Amazon Alexa smart speaker that recorded a conversation and sent it to someone. Amazon has been forced to explain how Alexa recorded a private conversation and sent it to an Echo userโ€™s colleague without their knowledge. A Portland woman identified only as Danielle revealed the odd series of events in an interview with local TV station Kiro 7, claimin

Geek, transport

Some phones can read #Myki cards. Could you one day check your expiry/balance on a phone?

For anybody with an NFC (Near Field Contact)-compatible phone (such as my new Google Nexus 5), you can use the this little app -- Tag Info Lite to read Myki cards. Not that it'll tell you very much -- see below. All the actual useful information appears to be encrypted. Apparently in some parts of the world an unencrypted copy of the card balance/status is also stored, allowing apps that


New phone: Google Nexus 5, first impressions

Over the years I've tried to avoid being sucked into buying the latest and greatest technology just for the sake of it. But I must admit being keen to check out the new Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) and Google Nexus 5 phone. What would I need a new phone for? I could put Kit Kat on my old phone! Seriously though, I'd upgraded my old HTC Desire S to Android 4.0, and while it works, it's notice

Geek, transport

How to turn off @MetroTrains Android app alerts/notifications

The Metro app is quite handy for finding out what's happening on the train network, and can send notifications/alerts to tell you when something's affecting the line(s) you use regularly. As previously noted, it's not perfect -- the SMS alerts that it replaced were customised to your specific station, so you didn't have to try and work out if the 7:21 stops at your station -- and at what time.


Every mobile phone I’ve ever owned

Inspired by Andrew's post a few months ago, here's a list of the mobile phones I've had over the years. Ericsson GH198 (from 1994). It had a twirly antenna that could be flat against the main part of the phone, or twirled around and up to make calls. I seem to recall it cost me about $400 plus a 2 year contract I think after that I had an Ericsson GH337 or 338 for a couple of years. Or


New toy: iPad Mini

I was amused when I posted last week about using credit card points to perhaps buy an iPad Mini, the Apple-haters jumped in. The post wasn't really about technology; it was about credit card points! But this post is about tech. The choice of an iPad over an Android tablet was deliberate. Yeah yeah, I've fallen for Apple's marketing hype. Nah... After pondering buying an Android tab


How to reject a call on an iPhone

iPhones are so easy to use. A colleague's iPhone rings on his desk when he's elsewhere in a meeting, and the screen lights up to say you slide to answer. Great! But how does one reject the call? I ask around to my office full of iPhone users. Nobody knows. Hilarious. I'm not just wording the question badly. Last week another colleague asked this specific question when he got a call he


New phone

Well, I finally got a new phone. In the end I decided to "think different" and not get an iPhone. Instead I've got the HTC Desire S, running Android 2.3. As I figure out how it works, I'm blogging about it over on Geekrant: Suffice to say, still getting used to it after the ol' Nokia N95, but enjoying it a lot so far.


I need a new phone. Should I get iPhone or Android?

I'm genuinely undecided as to which I should get. What do you think? Google Forms doesn't stop you voting more than once. Please don't. I'll publish the results in a few days. See below. Disclaimer: Have your say via a vote or a comment, but I won't necessarily go with the majority view. Update 6pm: Here's what I'm thinking so far... On the pro-Android side (for instance, the Samsung G

Consumerism, Geek

Almost new phone time

I'm about due for a phone upgrade. I haven't made my mind up whether it'll be iPhone or Android. Some will have very strong views on these. I'll make up my mind closer to purchase time, but meanwhile there are some other factors I'm considering. Radio waves All phones emit radio waves. Some more than others. The Nokia web site lets you look up different phone models and find out what t