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Garmin’s Head-Up Display – how cool is this!

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Garmin HUD – Image courtesy of Garmin.com

Garmin recently launched their Heads-Up Display (HUD) to be available in August (at least in the US ).  The inner geek cannot wait to get this.  It seems very reasonable at €129.oo for what it offers.  It is hugely practical and so much better than trying to look at the phone or other device for directions.  I have seen some head-up displays in high-end cars (unfortunately not mine) but this stand alone device makes so much sense!  Its independent of the car, can be updated easily (or at least the app on the iPhone can) with latest maps updates, improvements etc.

I wonder if there is any thought to linking it to your phone in other ways like having it show who is calling you, call duration, etc. especially for when active but not specifically being used for directions.  What else could it be used to display? I have already started putting a few euro aside for it!.  Looking forward to seeing it in the flesh and putting it through its paces.  Expect another more in-depth blog post ;-)

LinkedIn – Where do I start?

It can be daunting for many of us to start putting our professional life out there for all to see. Where do I start?  Below are my thoughts….

Step 1: Setting up your profile – The Basics

  • Start by taking some time and updating your resume before touching your LinkedIn profile.  This gives you a good template to work from based on your recent experience, skills, education and interests.
  • Turn off ‘Activity Broadcasts’ for the initial time period when you are setting up and editing your profile information.  This just means that as you add connections (or they add you) they are not getting blasted with alerts with every little change to your profile.  Once you are satisfied with your profile and its complete (or mostly) you should turn it back on.  At this stage changes to your profile will be new, real time relevant and worth sharing such as promotions, education, projects etc.  Go to ‘Account and Settings’ (place your mouse pointer over your profile pic in the top right hand corner of the screen) select ‘Privacy and Settings’ then under Profile> Privacy Controls select ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’
  • Spend a little bit of time understanding the different sections available to you on the basic page such as Home – Profile – Network – Jobs – Interests
  • Use your resume as a guide to start filling out all the relevant information under your Profile page.
  • You MUST include a profile pic. Not up for discussion! (and not a drunken one from a recent wedding!)
  • Be aware before you go searching for (not necessarily to connect to!) past boyfriends and girlfriends or old colleagues that these people will often get an update that you have viewed their profile! This is not like facebook!
  • Once you have your resume fully entered you should now take some time to start expanding on the information associated with each section.  We are limited in the information and experience we can include in our resumes as we target them for specific jobs and\or make choices as to what is more important to include to keep size  down.  Your LinkedIn profile is where you can start to expand on your story, include more detail on experience and projects you have worked on and also delve into detail on specific skill sets.
  • Take some time to fill out a full set of Skills and Expertise – these are what people will endorse!
  • Share your profile with some trusted colleagues and friends for feedback and input.  I have found this invaluable.
  • Use the Network features to start linking with your colleagues past and present. LinkedIn has nice tools to use your contact lists, find alumni or just add individually contacts you may have.  Personally I usually only link with people I know.  That could be from business dealings, past work colleagues, friends, etc.  I don’t necessarily agree with linking just because people are in the same industry or have the same job title.  That is what groups under Interests is for!
  • Under Interests take some time to follow a few companies of interest and see if there are groups that have similar interests that you may have and where you could learn from or contribute to.
  • If you have a smartphone or tablet download the LinkedIn app.  Its an easy way to use, interact and update your profile
  • That is it… the basics!

Step 2: Time to get uncomfortable !

  • Now that you have a profile set up you need to enhance it and build on the basics.  If you have taken the easy way so far and only connected to immediate colleagues now is the time to get uncomfortable (or at least from my introvert state!).  Start thinking about past bosses, colleagues, companies, etc and search for and reach out to connect.  Since a couple of sessions I gave on LinkedIn a number of colleagues have come back to sing its praises as they have restored contact with old colleagues that they just lost track of over time. Contacts that will help endorse skills, build their network and provide valuable recommendations.
  • Think about those around you that you work with who are on LinkedIn, their skill sets and start endorsing them.  Please only endorse people you know, can stand over the endorsement and are skills you have personally witnessed and understand.  Specifically with technical skills people can end up endorsing you for skills that you have listed but don’t really know you posses!  Be genuine and don’t accept endorsements on skills that people suggest for you if you are uncomfortable with it!  Once you start endorsing a few people many will start reciprocating and help build out your profile.
  • One of the hardest things to ask for is a recommendation.  However a genuine recommendation from someone who can easily expand on the information if they are contacted is invaluable.  Think about a few people that you trust to give you a good recommendation.  (Please note a glowing recommendation on your skills from a golf friend or drinking buddy that you have never worked with on a professional basis is pointless – don’t do it!)
  • Take a look back at your Projects section.  Are their past projects worth noting that you have not included? Put together a narrative and get them up there.  This is all about your story, showing your adaptability, broad exposure and skill set and distinguishing yourself from the crowd.
  • Did you find some groups under Interests that you joined in Step 1? Can you contribute or learn from them? Look at participating in some of the conversations either to share your expertise or simply ask questions.  Its amazing the contacts, learnings and ideas that you can garner from these groups from just a little bit of time spent with them.
  • Think about sharing in LinkedIn using status updates and sharing any interesting articles you read on the web relating to your skills, interests and expertise.  Share a training you are taking or a conference you are attending (be selective and share useful relevant information… this is not twitter! Start sharing junk and people will hide you and your updates!)  Spend a little time on your newsfeed on the home screen to review articles.  Like, comment and share where appropriate.
  • Obviously if job hunting use the Jobs page to search for new jobs! That after all for many is the reason to be in here!

Depending on your current state 1) happy in a job, 2) in a job but looking or 3) seeking employment will determine the amount of time you spend (have to spend) on Step 2.  Obviously when job hunting there are many more methods to finding a job so while LinkedIn should not be your only focus neither should it be ignored.  It is an environment generally that needs very little work to keep up-to-date after the initial profile work. Some regular house keeping and updates can keep your profile fresh and current and may just lead to your next career move.

The DRACO iPhone 5 bumper case – give your iPhone a distinctive look

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DRACO iPhone 5 Bumper Case

It would be great to be able to do without a case on the iPhone. No extra cost and no extra weight or size. Plus the iPhone looks pretty damn great just as it is. That is not our reality. The devices cost so much we have to protect them in some shape or form. Personally I have never been a fan of the cases that cover the device surfaces completely. I want to leave something of the iPhone visible. For that reason I have generally gone for a bumper case with screen protector. I was looking for something a little more that the standard bumper and I found the DRACO.

There are a few videos available on how to assemble with detailed close ups on fitting it to your phone so I am not going to get into that level of detail and pics here. Video of DRACO assembly and review by Milkerz5. What I will say is that it is superbly made, you continue to have access to all ports and buttons while the device is wrapped in a superb piece of aircraft grade aluminium. It adds a very unique look to your device while providing excellent protection for a bumper case. So far it has attracted quite a lot of attention and I like the distinctiveness of it. Not too bad on the price either for this high grade product. Really like it.

DRACO iPhone 5 Case - rear

DRACO iPhone 5 Case – rear

DRACO iPhone 5 case - bottom

DRACO iPhone 5 case – bottom

The Logitech iPad Bluetooth Keyboard – well worth the investment!

 Logitech iPad Keyboard


Logitech iPad Keyboard

I have tried a few keyboards over the last couple of years for the iPad.  Most of them in some type of iPad case\cover incorporating a keyboard but a couple that were stand alone type fold up versions.  The case type primarily bulked out the iPad size and did not provide a good enough typing experience to justify the extra size or were completely separate devices so there was the feeling of carrying 2 items around.  I also somewhat felt that if I wanted to use a proper keyboard I should just grab my laptop.  However, after trying out the Logitech keyboard it has changed my point of view. The feedback and general feel on the keyboard is excellent. It’s slick design, look and feel make it seem that it was always part of the iPad. This aesthetics and fitting in with the look and feel is generally very important but especially so when it is an Apple product.  Yes it does bulk out the size a little and it adds some weight but in my opinion the screen real estate you get back by no longer having the keyboard on the screen and improved usability of the iPad more than compensates for this.

  • Excellent keyboard with an Apple look and feel.  Keys are a hard plastic(resin?) and good enough to touch type versus some of those softer rubber or silicon types.
  • Smart connects\hinges to the iPad just like the smart covers
  • When the iPad is sitting in the slot, the viewing angle is excellent and the device feels very secure even though it is not ‘fixed’ (see pic below)
  • Very easy to connect and set up
  • Excellent battery life in the keyboard (6 months at 2 hours per day before recharge – I usually leave it on all day every day and try to recharge it 1 a week)
  • Analogue on/off switch which I really approve of especially when flying.  Quick and easy off! I am tired of gimmicky digital switches on so many products these days.
  • When closed it fully protects screen as with any cover
  • And finally it looks excellent!

While I definitely recommend it as a tool to enhance the iPad there are just a couple of things that frustrated me.  The charger is micro USB – which means carrying yet another cable around. Instead of a charger\cable in the pack I would have preferred a convertor from iPad 30 pin to micro USB so I could carry just one cable\charger (OK yes for latest iPad you would need a lightening convertor).  I was also a little frustrated that you have to sit it directly on the very nicely finished Logitech base when using it.  There are no silicone feet to raise the keyboard flat base up off a table or other flat surface (even a tiny bit would help hugely) which leaves it prone to scratching and marks and you notice every little spec of dust under the keyboard base when you start typing.  So make sure that surface is clean and Logitech please include those little self adhesive feet that come with many other products and I can chose if and where to stick them!  Other than that an excellent little product.

Logitech iPad Keyboard – side profile

Logitech iPad Keboard

Logitech iPad Keyboard – open

Logitech iPad Keyboard – closed

The Moleskine Reporter Bag – The perfect travel companion

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Many of us carry some form of a bag to work. Over the years I have tried many a different type and packed them with everything I needed to get through a day. Newspaper, books, magazines, laptop, charger, notepad, pens, passport, wallet, documents and the list goes on. Even with only carrying the essentials one can see that the bag might weigh you down. However, as tech has improved and as more content is available online and electronically that list of items has shrunk year on year to enable me to move to a bag with what I believe is the perfect size, at least for now (and of course for me)!

From the above pic you can see some of what I carry on a daily basis:

  • iPad and Logitech keyboard (which replace my laptop, newspaper, book, magazine)
  • Evernote Moleskine Notebook and pens
  • Battery to charge my iPad and iPhone if I run short on power (prefer a battery compared with carrying chargers and needing to look for sockets!)
  • Passport
  • Other items often thrown in include wallet, iPhone and sometimes lunch or the odd book that is not available on Kindle.

I normally spend about 3 hours travelling daily. That entails a mix of transport types – car, train, bus and finally a little walk on foot. A few days a month depending on where I am working those travel times may be 8-10 hours. There are many like me and many that travel more. Thus the smaller and lighter the bag the easier the journey, if only a little. The Moleskine bag firstly is water repellant which is very important considering the value of the electronic, water sensitive, items inside. It is very light. It has a rigid base that both protects contents and allows it to stand even when empty which facilitates very easy loading of items into it. It has a zipped pocket inside. The strap is long enough to go across the body. The bag is small enough to fit comfortably at your feet on train or plane which I prefer to overhead. Also while small and neat, if I really need to, it comfortably fits a laptop (granted of the smaller types and up to 13″). The middle pic below is of a 13″ MacBook Air that fits snuggly with lots of room for charger, notebook, etc.

So while the bag is not exactly a tech item it does help facilitate my tech life! For what it offers and the quality of the product I think its excellent value for money. Anyone out there considering reducing the weight and size of what they drag around daily should take a look at this bag (and the tech ;-) I highly recommend it!

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