An unexpected holiday surprise #MakeItHappen

When Microsoft Lumia heard Lani’s family hadn’t celebrated Christmas together in over 13 yearsthey devised a top-secret plan to help #MakeItHappen. Flying both Lani and her little girl Evolet home to the US, Microsoft Lumia orchestrated a surprise reunion with a twist, sothat the entire family could enjoy the Holidays together for the first time. 

This month, Microsoft Lumia are helping people around the world to #MakeItHappen, by fulfilling 31 resolutions in 31 days. 

Share your resolution now and Microsoft Lumia could hellp #MakeItHappen http://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/make-things-happen/

About Lani
36 year-old Lani O'Brien, an American living in Lancashire, has never managed to make it home to see her family at Christmas since moving to the UK 13 years ago. 
Lani’s husband Dean is also an expat, living away from his family based in New Zealand, so the tight-knit family rely on regular Skype conversations to stay connected. 


Lani and Dean had their first child Evolet three years ago, but financial circumstances have meant Lani’s family in Chicago, Illinois, have only met Evolet twice and have never spent the Holiday season with her.  
A nutritious by trade, Lani is now a full-time mum but also works supporting her husband Dean who his building a child entertainment business after unexpectedly losing his job when Evolet was just six months old. 
With Dean travelling throughout December for work, Lani hoped she might make it home to see her family in the US so she and Evolet were not alone during the Holiday season. Unfortunately, the family were simply unable to afford the costly travel expenses. 


Lani submitted her resolution to the #MakeItHappen campaign and Microsoft Lumia was so touched by her story they decided to #MakeItHappen. 
T
he film itself follows Lani and Evolet’s journey home to Chicago to surprise their unsuspecting family for the Holidays. 

About the soundtrack
“Footprints in the Snow” is a new track from singer/songwriter Scott McFarnon.

A Grammy Award and Golden Globe nominee, Scott has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Beyoncé and Mark Ronson and in 2007 Daniel Merriweather had a global hit with his version of Scott’s song ‘Red’. Now launching a solo career, Scott’s incredible voice and unique sound will be available to the world in early 2015 with release of his debut album, Crazy Heart

Listen: www.soundcloud.com/scottmcfarnon

Website: www.scottmcfarnon.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/scottmcfarnonmusic

Credits

Campaign: Microsoft Lumia #MakeItHappen http://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/make-things-happen/

Agency: Mission Media http://www.thisismission.com/

Film Production: We Are Films http://wearefilmsny.com/

Directors: Alex and Aaron Craig http://wearefilmsny.com/

Music: Scott McFarnon ‘Footprints in the Snow’ www.scottmcfarnon.com


Love, Language and Lumia #MakeItHappen

When Microsoft discovered that Ed, a 28 year-old accountant from London, wanted to learn Spanish to deliver the groom’s speech at his wedding in Mexico, they came straight to his rescue. Track Ed’s journey as he embarks on a crash course in Spanish; all to surprise his family and friends in a heart-warming video.

Every day this December we’re helping people #MakeItHappen, so share your resolution with us to get involved http://lumia.ms/makeithappen

Why Wouldn't You Share Your Own Videos?

Technology changes very quickly and I remember back to when I published that first video on my YouTube channel recorded with my 4 megapixel Canon PowerShot camera. The video quality in comparison to what is possible nowadays was very poor, but the content was more than acceptable. 

My first YouTube camera … the Canon PowerShot A80

My first YouTube camera … the Canon PowerShot A80

That was over eight years ago and the advancements in technology, during such a short time, is simply quite amazing. I experienced compact cameras that gave us 720P video, soon followed by the same small photo snappers delivering 1080P video. Conventional camcorders giving up the ability to not only record in full HD, but also in 3D. Tiny little action cameras, that one could mount to a car, surf board, your body or even your pet dog. If we fast forward to the current day, all of these wonders of technology can now dazzle our visual senses with even more detail in 4K resolution. 

Throughout my journey of creating visual content to share online, I have helped many others with questions and product recommendations. One of the most common questions, or for want of a better term, "excuses" is that many people want to create videos, but use their lack of "expensive" camera as an excuse.
Emails I receive are often like this (what follows is part of an actual email I received)… "Hello Dave, I really want to start my YouTube Channel but need an amazing camera and microphone setup. Can you suggest something around the £1,000 to £1,500 mark. Once I have saved enough money I can then start producing videos like you". 
The perceived need for the so-called "best camera" could not be further from the truth. Look at how I started … with just the family point & shoot compact camera. Also, consider how smartphone technology has also evolved, with many capturing awesome 1080P and some even managing to deliver a crisp 4K experience too. So why wouldn't you share your own videos. Now is the time to use the technology you already have in your pocket or bag and share your story. We can no longer make the excuse that we do not have a great camera, 

Throughout December, Intellicig are running a competition to give away a £200 Red Letter Day experience for two. Check out their #WhyWouldntYou campaign here.

Written in collaboration with Intellicig.

HTC Do Not Support the Re Camera

I was excited about the Re Camera when it was announced. Yes, I had my concerns and yes it does need some work, but HTC tried something new, which is always good in this fast paced tech world that we live in. 

My first experience with the Re Camera will be shared with you on the Geekanoids Channel later today. However, I would like to share my second experience here and my dismay at the TOTAL LACK OF SUPPORT offered by HTC. I will let the screenshots below tell the story and welcome your comments. Please click the images to expand to readable size.

Chat Support Window

HTC Re Camera Chat Support Page

The first screenshot is of my chat transcript, where I was in a state of amazement at the responses. The second screenshot shows the HTC Re support page from where I accessed the chat support window.

What Is Inventory Management Software?

As any new business grows, one can quickly find that sales, orders and deliveries become too much to handle with a simple spreadsheet. Sooner or later you need a more advanced system to keep track of what comes in and goes out - which is where inventory management systems (IMS) come into play.

There are a number of IMS to choose from and finding the right option for your business depends on a range of factors, namely, the size of your business, how much stock you typically have coming in and going out on a daily basis, your current IT network, and your budget.

What does inventory management software do?

Inventory management software is an application that helps you keep on top of your stock by tracking sales, orders and even material costs (for service-based businesses). The concept is quite simple: You never want to run out of stock, or order more than you need. However, in practice this can be much tougher than it sounds when you have surprise bulk orders, supplier issues or defect products come in.

Inventory management software means you always know what you have in stock, what is coming in, and what is going out. Let’s say your customer makes a bulk order for your biggest selling product. You don’t want to accept the order and then have to explain to your customer that you don’t have enough in stock. Or, worse, sell to another customer in the meantime after the goods have already been paid for.

With inventory management software you know exactly what stock you have on premises and when the next order is due. You can also set items aside as they’re sold, so you never have to worry about running out or selling the same product twice.

How to choose the right software

The right inventory management software for your business depends on your specific needs as a company. There is a wide range of free and paid options available, each with a variety of features to help you keep on track.

Some accounting packages like Quickbooks include inventory management features, while dedicated inventory applications like Inventory Pro focus entirely on your in-store stock. More advanced systems often include barcode/RFID scanning, custom pricing models and transfer management - but how useful these are depends on the nature of your business.

It’s not just about features when it comes to inventory management software, and just like any application, you’ll want a fine balance between features and efficiency. The whole point of this software is to avoid mistakes with your inventory so you don’t want a confusing or difficult system. And when you do run into difficulties you want to know you have a good support team available 24/7.

A system for every budget

With a wealth of inventory management software options available there is a package for just about every budget. The most expensive option isn’t always the best so check independent reviews before you commit to buy. And if you’re on a tight budget, just remember that investing more now could save you more in the future.

What is the Best 4G Network for Roaming Abroad?

From the dreary days of dial-up through to the ultra-slick broadband of today, the communication networks around the globe have continued to evolve at a rate of knots that makes them unrecognisable from their predecessors.

All the while, the mobile phone industry has kept steady pace with its own giant leaps from the painstaking days of WAP-based browsing to today’s incredible 4G experience which now promises speeds of up to 10 times faster than the 3G of yesteryear. However, whilst 3G can be found in the majority of our planets nooks and crannies, 4G has, and still does require, a big upheaval in infrastructure to accommodate the faster speeds.

With this in mind, consumers are faced with a conundrum when it comes to deciding between the two major players in 4G roaming – Vodafone and EE. Although other networks are currently working on plans to develop and enhance their own offerings, these two giants of the mobile world are leagues ahead of anything else, but with some key differences between each of them. With 42 million trips now being made each year from the UK to 4G-enabled roaming zones, here’s a handy reference guide so that you can find out for yourself which of the big two could be best for you.

Vodafone

If you’re regularly jet-setting across the globe then one of the major factors in selecting an appropriate network is going to be the sheer number of countries that are covered. Whilst 4G is still in its relative infancy as nations look to integrate the new technologies that are required, there has been a behind the scenes battle between Vodafone and EE as they compete for the greatest roaming coverage. As recently as October 2014, Vodafone announced that a further 19 new destinations had been added to its available destinations list, totalling an impressive 23 countries in all.

Cost is always going to be a major consideration of the phone buying public and Vodafone seem to be erring on the side of caution when it comes to what they charge. If travelling to a specified Vodafone “EuropeZone” country, then you can access your UK minutes, texts and data for £3 per day without any other hidden costs. If you’re travelling to a “WorldTraveller” Zone then it goes up to £5 per day, but that will allow you to call any UK numbers based on your standard tariff, including your free allowances. Phone Shop by Sainsbury’s offer one of the most transparent guides on the impact that roaming and international calling can have on tariffs if you’re still unsure of the details.

As an overview, Vodafone 4G roaming is now available in the following countries:

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.

N. America/S. America: USA, Canada and Brazil

Asia/Oceania: Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand

EE

The country’s largest mobile network operator sat at the centre of the launch of 4G back in 2013 when a contract worth over £500m was agreed to allow them to pioneer the service in the UK. With all that experience under their belts, they certainly know what they’re doing.

However, since this spritely launch they have been overtaken by Vodafone in terms of their reach, but still cover an impressive 16 countries after their initial successes in France and Spain.

EE has decided to continue with its acclaimed bolt on packages as, like Vodafone, they are keen to avoid their customers accidentally racking up astronomical bills and damaging consumer trust. Rather than splitting their qualifying regions into zones, EE will allow you to purchase a 50MB EE data add-on pack for £3 per day. This can be topped up depending on usage, but in effect it achieves the similar result to Vodafone in limiting the overall spend.

EE is available in the following countries:

Europe: France, Spain, Norway, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia and Switzerland.

N. America/S. America: Canada

Asia/Oceania: Saudi Arabia, UAE and South Korea.

Plans were announced last year by the European Union to end roaming charges from mobile providers. The debate got underway this week in Italy as to how to implement this new strategy. The coming months may be the last opportunity for providers to make a quick buck from roaming customers, so use it to your advantage by targeting the countries that you’re likely to travel to most over the next year as it’s unlikely to be an issue beyond 2015.

Video Mask Challenge

Here's something freaky & geeky for you. A fun challenge for Halloween or indeed any time over the next two weeks. 

Below you will find a link to a JPEG of my face. The challenge is as follows;

1. Download the JPEG.
2. Print out my face (whatever size you want). 
3. Make a video up to two minutes long of you or someone wearing the mask (be creative).
4. Upload to your YouTube account, with "Geek out with Geekanoids" somewhere in the title.
5. Put a link to - Check out http://www.youtube.com/geekanoids - in the video description.
6. Tweet the video out & @geekanoids in the tweet so I see it.

That's it … after the closing date of 14th November 2014 I will choose my favourite video and award a surprise gift, which I am sure you will love. 

Download my Face

Download my Face

Please note; Anyone can enter, any age, any country. No correspondence will be entered into with anyone other than the selected winner. The winner and gift will be chosen at Geekanoids discretion. There will be no cash alternative.

Geek Out with Geekanoids 001 - No Edits Here

Many years ago I used to encode some of my videos to a podcast format and upload to iTunes. Well, the time has come to give you audio without my face !!! There are certain times of the day when I listen to podcasts … whilst driving, cooking and relaxing in the evening, to name just a few. So if it works for me, it might work for you too. Enjoy & give me some feedback if you would like to.

Note: This first audio treat is on Soundcloud only at the moment. Once approved, this and future Geek Outs will also be available to subscribe to on iTunes.

GoPro Introduces HERO4 – The Most Powerful GoPro Lineup, Ever

September 29th, 2014GoPro, Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRO), enabler of some of today's most immersive and engaging content, today unveiled HERO4, the highest performance line of capture devices the company has ever made.  HERO4 is available in two editions, HERO4 Black at an RRP of £369.99 and HERO4 Silver at an RRP of £289.99. GoPro’s Emmy® Award-winning imaging technology combines with enhanced ease-of-use and powerful new features such as 4K30, 2.7K50 and 1080p120 video capture (Black) and built-in touch display convenience (Silver), to make it easier than ever for consumers to self capture and share stunning, professional quality content of their favourite experiences.

HERO4 Black delivers 2x the performance of its best-selling predecessor and now captures cinema-quality 4K video at 30 frames per second (fps), 2.7K video at 50fps and 1080p video at a blistering 120fps, virtually eliminating rolling shutter in most scenarios while allowing for time-bending slow motion effects. HERO4 Black also features an entirely redesigned audio system that captures high fidelity sound with 2x the dynamic range of previous models. Additional enhancements include improved image quality, low light performance, highlight moment tagging and an improved user interface that allows for easier discoverability and access to key features and controls. The HERO4 Black is simply the highest performance GoPro yet.

HERO4 Silver delivers the same professional image quality as HERO4 Black less some of the higher performance video capture modes including 4K30, 2.7K50 and 1080p120. HERO4 Silver includes a brilliant built-in touch display for those who value convenience and ease-of-use over the no-holds-barred performance of the HERO4 Black.

The new HERO4 line will be available from 5th October on GoPro.com and at select retailers worldwide.

“For the past twelve years, our passion has been to make it easy for people to self-capture jaw dropping, professional quality footage of themselves engaged in their favorite activities,” said GoPro Founder and CEO, Nicholas Woodman.  “That passion led us to embark on our most ambitious design and engineering effort ever, and the result is nothing short of the ultimate GoPro—the HERO4 Black.  We can’t wait to see what the world captures with it.”

HERO4 Black – 2x the performance, yet again.
The flagship HERO4 Black builds upon GoPro’s Emmy® Award-winning technology to deliver the next level of GoPro image quality, versatility and performance:

·         Incredible ultra high definition 4K video at 30fps allows for life-like video capture as well the ability to extract 8.3 megapixel video stills to use as photos

·         Faster* high resolution frame rates of 2.7K at 50fps and 1080p at 120fps

·         12MP magazine cover-quality photos at burst speeds of 30 photos per second

·         Updated user-interface with improved discoverability and access to key camera controls

·         50% faster Wi-Fi* combined with Bluetooth® delivers enhanced GoPro App performance and improved power management

·         RRP £369.99

·         For more information visit the HERO4 Black product page

“A common pain-point is deciding between capturing video or photos of an experience,” remarked Woodman. “Each frame of 4K30 video is similar to an 8.3 megapixel photo. The result is that users can simultaneously capture eye-popping 4K30 video and impressive 8.3 megapixel photo-like video stills at 30 frames per second when using HERO4 Black. It’s one of the many wild capabilities of this impressive new device.”

HERO4 Silver – Professional quality capture. Touch-display convenience.

The HERO4 Silver sets a new precedent for convenience and ease-of-use with GoPro’s first built-in touch display:

·         Brilliant built-in touch display allows for easy camera control, shot framing and playback

·         Professional quality video capture at 2.7K30, 1080p60 and 720p120

·         12MP magazine cover-quality photos at burst speeds of 30 photos per second

·         50% faster Wi-Fi* combined with Bluetooth® delivers enhanced GoPro App performance and improved power management

·         RRP £289.99

·         For more information visit the HERO4 Silver product page

The most advanced GoPro cameras yet.

HERO4 Black and Silver share powerful new features that expand what’s possible with a GoPro.

Protune™, now for photo + video.

·         For those who prefer to take manual control of their GoPro to maximize versatility and performance, we’ve expanded our professionally minded Protune mode to include Color, Sharpness, ISO Limit, and Exposure controls for both photo and video capture.

New settings for after dark.

·         Whether you’re shooting the Milky Way or a campfire hangout, Night Photo and Night Lapse allow you to capture stunning images of ultra low-light scenes with customizable exposure settings of up to 30 seconds.

 

Mark your best moments.

·         HiLight Tag enables you to mark key moments with the push of an on-camera button while recording, making it easy to find, playback and share your favorite clips in GoPro Studio or with the GoPro App.  You can also HiLight Tag using the mobile GoPro App or the new Smart Remote accessory.

QuikCapture speed and convenience.

·         QuikCapture makes it easy to power on and record with the press of a single button. When enabled, a single press starts video capture, while a press and hold engages Time Lapse photo capture.

High-performance audio.

·         A totally re-designed internal audio system combines with a state of the art microphone to capture clean, high fidelity sound with 2x the dynamic range of previous models.

Introducing the HERO – The perfect entry-level GoPro.

GoPro is also proud to debut HERO, the perfect entry-level GoPro. Designed with simplicity in mind and built directly into a rugged, waterproof housing, HERO captures high-quality 1080p video at 30fps and 720p video at 60fps. HERO captures the same immersive, eye-popping footage that’s made GoPro one of the best-selling cameras in the world—all in a simplified package that’s accessible to everyone with an RRP of £99.99. For more information visit the HERO product page on GoPro.com.

New Mounts and Accessories that Help You Capture and Share Your World

October 5th also marks the availability of these new GoPro mounts and accessories:

·         Smart Remote – Control your GoPro from up to 600’ (183m) away with the wearable and waterproof remote. Conveniently mark key moments as they happen with the Smart Remote’s HiLight Tag button when paired with a HERO4 Black or HERO4 Silver.

·         The Handler – A compact floating handgrip. Lightweight, ergonomic and durable, The Handler is perfect for handheld shooting during any activity.

·         New BacPac accessories – A new and improved Battery BacPac provides almost twice the battery power over the camera’s internal battery alone. And a new LCD BacPac provides improved touch and swipe performance when used with HERO4 Black.