On Sunday the 7th of April, I went to the Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham. It was a really great day, and I want to share the experience with you, I just haven’t had time to finish this post!
First of all I must give thanks to British Gas, who were very kind to give me tickets to the sold out event. As you may know, thanks to a collaboration between Technology Bloggers and British Gas, I have been able to step into the future of smarter living, and experience how technology has the potential to improve our lives. The technology I tested was of course their Remote Heating Control system, and I got to try it a few months before the national roll-out; I reported my findings via a series, which British Gas later posted on their website.
The day was very good fun, and I live tweeted from the event – take a look at our Twitter account and you can find some of the Tweets.
There was a lot of technology on show, some of which was cutting edge stuff, just being brought to the market.
I had tickets to the ‘super show’ which was an event in which the three presenters of the Gadget Show: Jason Bradbury, Pollyanna Woodward and Jon Bentley, showcased exciting gadgets, offering various prizes to members of the audience. The show was good, however it did feel slightly commercialised, as pretty much every third word was plugging a product!
After the show, the first stand (there were hundreds!) I visited was the British Gas stand. They had been kind enough to send me to the event, so I thought it only fair to pay them a visit!
They had designed their stand to look like a home, and had equipped it with all the very latest smarter living technology. Their Safe and Secure security system, Remote Heating Control and smart meters were all on show. It was very well designed and the complimentary Stuff magazine was appreciated!
A tweet I posted about the Gadget Show, had attracted the attention of the team at Microsoft Windows UK, and they invited me to check out their stand, and to use their bloggers lounge.
As the main sponsor of the event, Microsoft got a pretty big stand – making it hard to miss!
On their stand, Microsoft were showcasing many of their different software and technologies, including IE 10, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Surface, Bing, 3D scanning software and a real time, 3D webcam!
There was quite a lot on display, and the amount of technology was quite impressive, that said, as the event was so busy, they needed it all, as their stand was quite crowded at times.
I got talking to the person manning the 3D printing section, and was then offered (as a blogger) to go to the bloggers lounge. There I met some great guys from the technology giant, including the faces of @IE_UK and @WindowsUK, and the Senior Product Manager for Windows at Microsoft UK. I was given a tour of Surface and IE 10, and got to test them out for myself. I was quite impressed.
I love Windows 7 and don’t have any problems with it, so I have never really thought about upgrading to Windows 8, however having been given a Windows 8 license, I am going to test it – expect more soon!
There was some really innovative technology on show this year. One example was AQUAdue‘s toilet system, when you need to flush, a tap which runs into a basin on top of the loo, starts to run. Use this to wash your hands, and it fills up the toilet for the next flush. What a great idea to save water and space!
3D printed TARDIS cufflinks.
The 3D printer Microsoft were using on their stand was an Up! 3D Printer. On another stand there was a firm called Denford Ltd there, who were showcasing the capabilities of a 3D printer. Probably the best giveaway I got from the event were some 3D printed TARDIS cuff links – as a techie, and a Doctor Who fan what better freebie could you get?
The technology has been around for a few years now, however it’s now starting to become mass market. Fancy a 3D printer? Well they aren’t as expensive as you might think, here’s a link to somewhere you can buy an Up! Mini 3D printer for less than £1200!
An Up! 3D printer and some printed objects, included a printed TARDIS, castle and Yoda.
Microsoft were also using the Up! 3D printer to showcase their 3D scanning technology. You could get your head scanned, and then a miniature version printed out, right there and then – how cool is that! Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury seems to think so too, as he went to get his head scanned and printed! Take a look below.
The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury gets a 3D scan and print out of his head.
It was a really great day, and there was far too much there for me to talk about it all. Some of the best bits I have mentioned above, there’s loads more that I haven’t mentioned, mainly because I don’t want to run too far over 900 words – people tend to switch off after that!
I think from the number of tweets and images in this post, you can see that there was a lot going on 🙂
This post was going to be entitled “Why you should stop using Internet Explorer” however I didn’t think that was a strong enough title, so I changed it to the direct instruction you see above this text: Stop using Internet Explorer.
You have a choice. You can use Google, Bing, Yahoo! or Ask. You can buy Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS or Ubuntu. You can go with Apple, Samsung, Sony or RIM.
Although Google dominate the search market, there are still many other search engines out there. Microsoft dominate the computer market, but you can still choose from a [reasonable] selection of other, popular operating systems. You could argue that Samsung now dominate the global smartphone market, but there are still many other companies you can go to to get a smartphone.
You also have a choice as to what browser you use. The internet is arguably now the main function for any computer, so surely you should devote some time then to choosing which browser is right for you?
If you have tried more than three different browsers before, for a considerable length of time and have after weighing up all the pros and cons of each, have chosen your favourite, well done you. If you haven’t, read on.
If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), stop. Okay, well you can finish reading the article, but then stop using it. A simple instruction, which could do wonders for your internet experience.
Reasons To Not Use IE
There are many reasons not to use IE. Here is a list of what I think are the strongest arguments against the heavy, slow and outdated browser.
Lack of Security
IE seems to constantly be in the news for its security issues. Much of the malware out there on the internet is only made possible by bugs and holes in Internet Explorer! Need proof? Check out this section of IE’s Wikipedia page.
In recent years Microsoft have been really working on making Internet Explorer faster, and IE 9 is much faster than IE 6 or 7 were; granted. That said, it is still much slower than the competition. For example, loading Technology Bloggers from cold (hard refresh) in Firefox, Chrome and Safari took 3 seconds, Opera took 4, while Internet Explorer took 7 seconds.
Lack of Features
Without a doubt, for features, add-ons and extensions, Firefox and Chrome are miles out in front. Safari and Opera also have a reasonable number of things you can add to your browser to customise/improve it, but Internet Explorer has only really started to embrace such features since IE 8. Apart from toolbars, Flash, Adobe Reader etc. IE 6 didn’t really do add-ons.
How IE rendered the same code (our social buttons) on three separate page loads – neither is correct.
Take a look at the three images to the right.
Each of the images is a different variation of the social buttons on our sidebar that IE rendered. The screen size remained the same, and the loads were seconds apart.
IE managed to render three completely different versions of the same code. How does that work?
In the first image it didn’t even attempt to load the social buttons before declaring it was finished. It took a better shot in the second image, whilst in the third image it didn’t bother loading Twitter and threw Google+ to the bottom. Why?
Upon loading the blog in Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera, I saw the exact same result. Each browser displayed them as they are meant to be displayed, every time – Internet Expolorer didn’t.
Lack of Compatibility with Modern Code
Code is advancing all the time, and a good browser will keep up to date with changes, and make sure it is able to interpret and display modern CSS, HTML, PHP etc.
When the blog snows at Christmas, IE doesn’t show that, IE also doesn’t like the ‘modern’ code which makes our search box work, or the code we use to add shadows to text.
Lack of Compatibility with Older Operating Systems
IE 9 doesn’t work with Windows XP, or any Mac OS or Linux system. Only Vista, 7 and 8 support IE 9. IE 10 only works with Windows 7 and Windows 8. According to StatCounter, in the last 6 months, 26.55% of all computer users used XP, whilst 7.13% used Vista and 7.46% use MacOSX – that’s 41.14% of the market that Microsoft are isolating straight away, and Windows 7 and 8 don’t even own all of the 58.86% share of the market that is left!
Microsoft have recently undergone a quite extensive advertising campaign for IE, to try and shake off its bad reputation. They state how ‘lightning fast’ it is compared to how it used to be, which I can’t dispute. What they don’t however say is how it compares to Chrome or Opera. They also try to reassure users that it is now secure, although that is still debatable!