31-Aug-2014 Deja Vu

Posted August 31st, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

Answers to last week’s question (no one got it right): Evernote and Riffstation (two of our must-have, most-useful programs/apps).

You know the saying, “Out with the old, in with the new” – we do quite a lot of in with the new, but not so much out with the old. And so, this week has seen us balancing things with more out with the old. A 32″ Panasonic TV, a Pioneer DVD player and a Roberts radio/alarm clock will be transported to our local municipal waste management and recycling centre (colloquially known as ‘the dump’). However, the TV has been replaced with a 24″ TV/monitor that will be the central display device for our media conversion centre – huh? What’s that?

We are often commissioned to design websites, songbooks, posters, make videos, record albums, fix PCs, printers, tablets, home networks and all manner of stuff… we have a reputation for being techno-geeks – and so we get quite a number of requests to salvage, convert and/or repair old media. In the past this has been pretty much one-off ad-hoc connecting old bits of kit temporarily to achieve the desired result. The past week has seen us moving kit around and re-assembling it in a more permanent and easily accessible way. This has meant throwing out some old gear, bringing some of the spare gear out of retirement and even buying some new stuff (hence the 24″ TV/monitor).

mult-remoteAt the centre of it all is Jimmy’s 15 year old Yamaha RX-V1000RDS A/V receiver which has more than enough inputs to cope with audio from many different analogue and digital sources, playing it out to a couple of fine Mission floor-standing speakers as well as routing it to a PC/Netbook to create a digital copy. Cassette, vinyl and mini-disc players are all hooked in as inputs. Add to that VHS conversion to hard disc and DVD and throw in a Blu-Ray player for leisure playback of CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays and you get the picture (unintentional pun, but it worked… sort of) of our dining room setup. And the picture? Well, we needed a reasonable-sized display which can handle numerous inputs and the one we bought has sockets for PC, SCART, Component and HDMI so we can keep everything permnently connected.

Of course, this brings with it a veritable plethora of remotes (6 at the last count)… but, but, but… technology to the rescue. We’re having fun merging the commands into a multi-remote for use on our phones (and Note tablets too!).

Reminder to self: Rest occasionally, lie down, sleep.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)
www.jiva.co.uk


24-Aug-2014 Answers On A Postcard, Please

Posted August 24th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

2-icons

What do these two pictures have in common?
And how are they relevant to jiva?

Answers on a postcard, please…
but, as you probably don’t have our postal address,
a comment on the blog will do just fine.

 

 

Jimmy & Val (jiva)
www.jiva.co.uk


17-Aug-2014 Does Size Really Matter?

Posted August 17th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

You may well ask – well, it’s like this.

When the original Samsung Galaxy Note phone was released with a 5.3″ screen and a stylus Val treated Jimmy to an early birthday present in 2012 – needless to say he was delighted. Then for Val’s birthday that year Jimmy bought her a 10.1″ tablet (Samsung Tab 2 10.1)… it was so good that Jimmy was soon hankering for a 10.1″ of his own too, and with Christmas being just around the corner a Note 10.1 was duly purchased. Soon afterwards Val got a smartphone which had a somewhat larger screen than her Samsung Galaxy S2 – the aptly named Mega 6.3. Wow, a real crossover device, somewhere between a phone and a tablet. The Note 2 didn’t seem worth the expense of upgrading so we held back until the Note 3 became readily available for Jimmy with a good phone and data package in early 2014. And then we bought a Note 8 for Val which, with the addition of the TomTom app, was pressed into service as our SatNav in the car. By this time an updated version of the Note 10.1 had been released but we resisted the temptation as the upgrade wouldn’t offer us anything that couldn’t be done on the original Note 10.1. But but but, along came the Note Pro 12.2… a gargantuan A4-sized powerhouse that would be even bigger and better for taking handwritten notes (ideal for songwriting and taking notes at meetings with clients for the various projects we’re involved with).

Val’s phone contract came up for renewal and we were disappointed with the performance of the network provider (they increased the data allowance to ‘unlimited’ but, in reality, the reliability of actually being able to get on line slumped to almost useless – and they didn’t allow tethering), so we cancelled early and had a bit of a fight with them over what the early repayment charge should actually be. We took out a new unlimited calls, text and data plan with tethering included and treated Val to a new phone – she now also has a Note 3 and quickly became accustomed to the stylus on both phone and tablet, so much so that her ageing Tab 2 10.1 was starting to lose its appeal. Guess what? Yup, we bought Val the 2014 updated version of the Note 10.1.

So there we are, both sorted.

Sizes

You know how we like order and consistency? Well, Jimmy is chuffed that at last (after a few near misses) he finally has matching cases for his mobile devices (Note 3 phone, Note 10.1 tablet and Note Pro 12.2 tablet)… we are thankful to two German companies (Leicke and Stilgut) for their excellent products and customer service, and to Amazon for their unmatched returns policy for lesser items that did not fit the bill. Val has not been so fortunate – we’re still looking for matching cases for her devices – have you any idea how many shades of purple there are? Jimmy’s were easier – black is pretty much black (unless, of course, you’re submitting artwork to printers for CDs or for leaflets etc… but that’s another story).

So, in the picture above you can see, resplendant in their black cases:

  • Note 3 (5.7″)
  • Note 8 (8.0″)
  • Note 10.1 (10.1″)
  • Note Pro 12.2 (12.2″)

And what’s that whopper 22.0″ ?

That would be telling… Life is good, and getting bigger all the time.

 

Jimmy & Val (jiva)
www.jiva.co.uk


10-Aug-2014 Time And Time Again

Posted August 10th, 2014 by jivauk and filed in jiva

It’s been a techno-centric week, filled with all manner of stuff related to gadgetry, apps, security, reminders, productivity and all such stuff. It’s all too easy to become consumed by the technology – how so? Well… let’s see…

There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, and some things inevitably end up at the back of the queue (and keep getting pushed further and further behind schedule) – the more often this happens the more likely it will become routine to overlook these items. Sometimes this results in an important item/opportunity being missed or maybe rearing it’s head as suddenly urgent when the realisation sinks in that it really must must must be done, and NOW (which, in turn, moves everything else further back in the queue!).

time-management-mind-mapSo, what to do? How about getting organised? And how best to do that? Post-It notes? Scraps of paper? Notebooks? Diary? Wallchart? Personal Organiser (paper or electronic)? How about using technology – after all, isn’t technology meant to help us be more productive, get more done, etc? That’s the theory – but often the reality is that we don’t get more done, but we do get more busy. It’s not so much that using technology to be organised consumes more time than we save, it’s the seemingly never-ending cycle of discovering different ways of keeping track and prioritising… and the nagging thought that maybe the newly-discovered method might be slightly better than how things were done before. In order to find out, you have to try out the new method, and that takes time to learn and perfect, which in turn means that the time previously reserved for doing has been spent in experimenting.

Where are we going with all of this? Good question! Having settled on what we currently think will be the best way, Jimmy promises to try and not discover ‘the next best thing’ – at least not until we get properly organised with how we intend to organise and prioritise. In the meantime must get this into Evernote… synchronise it across PCs and tablets and phones… port it to Life Reminders… share with Awesome Note HD Calendar… synchronise with DropBox… add to backup schedule… post on jivacoustic blog site… publicise on Facebook ‘band’ page… share on Facebook personal timeline… share on Twitter… stream to jiva website… update reminder for next week’s blog so we can do it all again.

Crikey! I need a lie down… let me check the diary and see if there’s a vacant slot… nope, no time for rest or sleep.

 

Jimmy & Val (jiva)
www.jiva.co.uk