03/11/2015

Misfit Shine2 - it's not shiny

Misfit have produced the prettiest wearable for a while, the original Shine tracked steps and was one (if not the) first to do automatic sleep tracking. It was a small disk (27.5mm across and 3.3mm high) which contained the electronics and a changeable CR2032 coin cell which lasted for about 6 months. It came with a silicon strap and a silicon magnetic clip so it could be worn on the wrist or clipped on to a t-shirt, bra, shoes, trouser pocket or wherever suited the user. It's also possible to buy socks and t-shirts with a dedicated Shine pocket and a necklace too. It links back to the Misfit app (Android and iOS) using Bluetooth 4.0.

Now the Shine2 is out it's bigger (it's 30.5mm across and 8mm height) and comes in matt black (carbon back as Misfit describe it) and rose gold. It's also 50m water resistant. The original Shine had 12 white LEDs around the edge and the have been upgraded to RGB LEDs, there's also a 'buzzer' inside that can notify you of various things. The battery is still a CR2032 which should last for around 6 months and Bluetooth is now 4.1 which allows for faster data transfers.

The Shine2 can now wake you up by its buzzer (you set the time in the app), the original Shine had the smart alarm feature, but you'd need the phone by your side. It can now also notify you of calls and texts.

The strap and clip unfortunately don't feel as well made as the smaller ones with the original Shine, but then there'll probably be a slew of new accessories for you to spend more money with Misfit.

Having used the Shine2 for a day, sync'ing definitely seems faster, though you definitely notice the size increase.

Still a very pretty wearable compared to most.

It retails for $99.99 from the Misfit Store (they do ship to the UK using DHL so add shipping costs and import duties/VAT).

02/11/2015

Ofcom tackles Pirate Radio

Ofcom, the Super regular has published a report on how it has worked with Haringey Council to remove equipment used for Pirate Radio broadcasting from buildings operated by the council. 19 stations were closed in 2014.

Ofcom and Haringey estimate that this has saved the council £90,000 in enforcement and maintenance costs. Ofcom is meeting with other councils on the 3rd of November to report their findings from the Haringey cooperation and if this is rolled out across London could save councils £1m per annum.

Though Pirate radio is illegal it can form a basis for community radio, unfortunately it can cause real issues and NATS has reported 55 incidents of interference from Pirate station. There have also been complaints from emergency services and licensed commercial users.

There are schemes in place for local broadcasters to legally broadcast and Ofcom has even allowed DAB stations to be set-up using off-the-shelf hardware and open source software which means a DAB station can be set-up for around £6,000. These use Linux and efforts from OpenDigitalRadio and commercially available software defined radios.

Pirate radio has been groundbreaking in the past and it will be a shame if all Pirate radio stations disappear, but if Ofcom genuinely allow more open access using local commercial DAB multiplexes maybe it won't matter.