iPhone 6. The Rumour Mill – Likely Models, Versions and new Features

So we wait with baited breath to see what the next iteration of the Apple iPhone will be. With the competition putting out ‘iPhone killers’ Apple Bitealmost daily and nibbling into Apples market share, it seems time for something dramatic from the innovative tech Company.

Whilst still very much at the rumour mill stage, here is what the available evidence and info is strongly suggesting.

The next version of the iPhone is widely and will almost certainly be called the iPhone 6. It is scheduled for release in September of this year.

If the huge orders Apple has been placing in Japan with Sharp and in South Korea with LG, is anything to go by then the anticipated increase in screen size will become a reality. Initial reports and information leaked from those factories suggests we will be looking at two versions. The current models 4” screen will be scaled up into 2 new versions sporting either a 4.7” or a 5.5” screen. It goes without saying that this will be the high end resolution liquid crystal versions.

We can expect the iPhone 6 to be a far more powerful beast with an uprated processor and according to some sources; a major Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer has started a production run of these next generation A series ‘Apple A8’ chips. First reports are emerging of a very fast 2.6GHz chip.Apple Chip

As well as the increase in screen size we expect the iPhone 6 to be far thinner than it is now. Here at G&D we have read more than one report suggesting it could be as little as 5.5 mm, which is quite a significant change to the current design.

So what about that screen? It seems Apple may well be moving to an Ultra-Retina display with a pixel density pushing 389ppi. Design features will also include a durable Sapphire screen at long last. All this coupled with the larger screen sizes adds up to a mouth-watering combination that some would say is long overdue.

Other rumoured features that have been floating around cyber space,

Significant improvements to the camera with major changes to the aperture size and possibly moving to as much as an 8-megapixel camera. Some sources are even suggesting Apple has decided at last that the camera is an ever important aspect of a smartphone and Powerful iphone 6 cameramay go all out with a 10 mega-pixel version with an f/1.8 aperture complete with interchangeable lenses.

There is also a lot of hype about Apple going with a bezel-less display or at least playing with the iconic design feature to make it less prominent.

Personally, I’m a little worried that Apple may be finding it necessary to do battle with competitors on screen size. Once a smartphone doesn’t fit into my trouser pocket, it’s no longer a phone in my eyes. However if they can squeeze every available mm of front facing space into being a screen, that would be the way to go!

The Apple App store is also set for some changes and improvements but details are sketchy so far.


News: Motorola announces new smart watch Moto 360 – and it’s a beauty

One of the most interesting areas of development in the consumer technology industry is wearable tech. The segment is in its infancy and no one quite knows whether it will prove to turn out damp squibs or cash cows (if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors). Top manufacturers are jostling for space with arguably premature “me too” gadgets that amount to little more than technology previews. There are even technology expos dedicated to this new sector.

Galaxy Gear - not great
Galaxy Gear – not great
When Samsung brought out its Galaxy Gear, I thought “we might have something here”. But the price was all wrong. I know the company can’t expect to ship many units at this stage in the game, but the opening price of £300 for a bleeding-edge, partially-formed lifestyle accessory kept all but the most dedicated technophiles firmly at bay. The Gear has failed to capture the public’s imagination and I think I know why. Putting aside the unconvincing claims that the Gear “connects seamlessly with your Samsung smartphone to make life easier on the go“, there’s one very big problem with this, and almost all other smart watches: it’s ugly.

Watches long since ceased to be simply pedestrian tools that tell you the time. They are fashion accessories. They express our individuality. Who wants to walk around toting one of these half-baked forearm carbuncles?

So I noted with interest Motorola’s announcement yesterday that the company is getting ready to launch the new round-faced, Android Wear-powered Moto 360.

Motorola D811 - stylish DECT answerphone
Motorola D811 – stylish DECT answerphone
MOTOACTV - ugly duckling
MOTOACTV – ugly duckling
Somewhat like Apple. Motorola has a reputation for adding its own design twist to everyday technology. I have a DECT cordless answering machine from Motorola, chosen largely on the strength of its looks, in a market where most of these devices have very similar capabilities.

Motorola’s previous attempt at a smart watch, the MOTOACTV, is frankly no supermodel. But if the MOTOACTV is the acne-ridden, orthodontic braces-sporting ugly duckling, the Moto 360 is the fully grown, airbrushed to perfection swan.

The Moto 360 in all its glory
The Moto 360 in all its glory

Just look at it. Now we’re onto something. Now we’ve got a watch where I wouldn’t have to spend all day persuading myself it’s pretty. Quite the contrary. I’m not that bowled over by the leather strap version, but in metal bracelet guise, I think we’re looking at a genuine designer item.

Pricing is yet to be announced, and no doubt it will be a long time before it’s stocked in UK stores. But this Geek hazards a guess that it will be worth the wait. Until it’s available, the only smart watch that comes close in terms of style in my humble opinion is the Pebble Steel, which is a little hard to come by, this side of the Atlantic.

Action Camera Comparison – GoPro 3 vs. Ghost Drift HD vs. Garmin Virb HD

I am an amateur film maker and my chosen subject is Land Rovers driving Green lanes on UK expeditions. I guess you could say I have quite specific requirements from an action camera but crucially I think, my filming is about as severe a test as you can get. Rough terrain, extreme weather conditions, impacts and even the occasional underwater dunking.

These are the conditions under which I need my action camera to operate. If I’m honest I don’t care what the manufacturer says the camera can do. I don’t care about the popular myths or if it’s the market leader. I want to know how they actually perform in the real world. To do this I am going to compare them in a number of critical areas with the only starting factor being that they must all be in a similar price bracket. In this case this is in the region of £250.

So the 3 cameras emerging as top dogs in that bracket are Garmins Virb HD, Drift’s Ghost HD and the market leading GoPro 3.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I’m finding increasingly that action cameras in this price bracket are packing themselves with features that you just don’t need. Let’s just concentrate on what’s important shall we? First up the quality of footage. On paper the Virb HD has the lens capable of shooting the best still and video footage. In reality, if you crank these cameras up to their highest settings you eat battery life and memory cards and your action footage, if fast moving, just looks weird. They all boast apps and phone connectivity, which is essential to the feature poor GoPro 3 as it doesn’t have an integral screen?!? Feature-wise it’s quite Ghost Drift HD remotetough to separate the Virb and the Drift Ghost HD. Both are very similar but I’d probably give it to the Ghost because of its fantastic multi-purpose remote control unit. The fact I can conveniently flick it on and off also means my editing time is dramatically reduced.



My big issue with action cameras has always been construction of the standard camera. Far too many claim to be impact-proof or waterproof but when you check, that’s only true if you put them in a case – usually a case that blocks sound, steams up and generally makes the camera harder to use.

pdp_image_HERO3Plus_black_cluster1Comparing all three cameras, the GoPro 3 immediately stands out as the poor relation again because of its traditional and I’d say, old fashioned design. It’s square and bulky and to be honest feels fragile. In comparison the bullet style, rubberised finish of both the Ghost HD and the Virb scream ‘ACTION! Go and film something dangerous!’


What’s the point in going to all this trouble to create an action camera if it doesn’t shoot quality footage? Obvious you would have thought, right?

All 3 cameras need some tweaking in the settings to get the best out of them. The GoPro 3 is the market leader and I find myself desperately trying to find something that sets it apart but again its picture quality proves to be a let down. If I’m honest all 3 are pretty damn good but if I were to grade them I’d say the Ghost Drift HD tops the chart, the Garmin Virb HD takes second place and the GoPro – well I can only assume it was designed for the brilliant sunshine of California because it doesn’t like dark British country lanes!


As I’ve mentioned previously, a simple fact of shooting HD footage is that it eats power; an action camera by definition is usually small and takes a small battery. You kind of have to accept this and move on. What becomes more interesting is the price and availability of spare batteries and how easy they are to swap out.

Tests indicate that, at what I consider the optimal filming rate for an action camera – 720 at 60fps, you get in the region of 3 hours of film time from all these cameras. In reality what I find is that because the Ghost HD is remote controlled, I’m more inclined to switch it on and off and subsequently I get a good 2 hours+ extra battery life. A quick scan of replacement battery costs and the GoPro 3 has the cheapest batteries at £6.77 (Yeah GoPro 3!) with the Ghost Drift HD replacement battery costing £6.89. The Virb is a relatively new product and the Virb HD replacement batteries are an eye watering £25 so you aren’t likely to pack 3 or 4 of them in your spare kit.Ghost Drift Open

All are a nightmare to swap the battery. If you have an image of balancing precariously on a ledge in driving rain while you flick open a compartment and slot in a fresh battery, think again because they are all fiddly to get to.


What I find consistently in the area of accessories is that almost without exception they are shocking. I won’t claim to have tested or researched every one that is available but the ones I have used or seen for all 3 cameras just doesn’t have the quality feel I want, when I’m attaching a couple of hundred quid to it and bouncing it through forests and rivers. This is a slight digression but I won’t use anything but these VacMounts for action cameras, which are bullet proof and beyond compare!

GHOST DRIFT – 4.5 out of 5

drift-hd-ghost-hero[easyreview title=”Dummy rating” icon=”dummy” cat1title=”Ease of use” cat1detail=”To get the best results, you need to spend 10 minutes with the manual. Menu isn’t the most intuitive.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Features” cat2detail=”It has everything you need but that remote is simply brilliant.” cat2rating=”5″ cat3title=”Value for money” cat3detail=”It is the most expensive of the 3 tested.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Build quality” cat4detail=”Tough rubberised coating and waterproof seals. Solid.” cat4rating=”4.5″ summary=”This is where the smart money is. A genuine GoPro killer”]

GOPRO 3 – 3 out of 5

GoProHero3[easyreview title=”Dummy rating” icon=”dummy” cat1title=”Ease of use” cat1detail=”Having to extract it from the case to access the features is annoying.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Features” cat2detail=”It’s got everything the others have, except a screen…” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Value for money” cat3detail=”Newer models have meant dropping prices and bargains can be found.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Build quality” cat4detail=”I just don’t trust its build quality. Without its case I’d say it was fragile at best.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”I genuinely have no idea how the GoPro is the market leader. It’s adequate but no more.”]

GARMIN VIRB – 4 out of 5

garmin-virb-hd-action-camera-27[easyreview title=”Dummy rating” icon=”dummy” cat1title=”Ease of use” cat1detail=”Nice clear menu structure. Buttons easily accessible.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Features” cat2detail=”Has all it needs to have. If only it had a remote.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Value for money” cat3detail=”It’s fresh on the market at a low price. Great as long as you don’t want a spare battery.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Build quality” cat4detail=”Identical to the Ghost HD” cat4rating=”5″ summary=”A very close second to the Drift Ghost just pipped due to the lack of a remote control.”]

5 Minute Review: Dash Board Non Slip Vehicle Mat Mount for Car Sat Nav Tomtom GPS

I love these cheap little odds and ends that transform how you use a piece of tech.

The problem? I’ve never been very happy with the way my car’s satnav mounts. Inevitably it ends up on my windscreen leaving a tell-tale circle on the window for thieves to see and generally making the screen dirty.

GPS Vehicle mount matEnter the very simple and very cheap non-stick car mount mat. I’m sure you’ve seen them advertised and I have looked at them and scoffed about how unsuitable they must be, especially given the textured dashes in most vehicles or the configuration of air vents resulting in a lack of flat surfaces. With the recent purchase of a TomTom Start 25M, I tagged on one of these fairly generic mats. (I did find a Car Sat Nav TomTom GPS version of the mat – perhaps there are some specific properties unique to TomTom?)

Very simply, the mat is completely fit for purpose. Even with my textured Audi dash and central vents, which the corner of the mat has to wrap around, it remains firmly on the dash. I say “firmly” – the centre piece that the GPS unit mounts on seems to lift from the dash surface slightly. As a result you can detect slight vibration in the attached device. That said, with some very tight and fast cornering and even an emergency stop, the mat and sat nav stayed resolutely in place.

Geek and Dummy TomTom GPS car dash mountMy TomTom Start 25M weighs in at 216 grams. If I’m honest I think that’s about the maximum weight I’d want to mount on the mat but that’s enough for most modern sat nav devices. I am very happy with the upright mounting of the sat nav and the fact I no longer have a sign on my windscreen announcing ‘there is a sat nav in this car somewhere; break in and steal me’.

I highly recommend you give one of these a try. Cheap as chips and simply brilliant!

Review: Ghost Drift HD Action Camera – The Best Action Camera for Vehicles & 4×4’s


When I was first handed the Ghost Drift HD back in November it would be fair to say it had a lot to live up to – and not in comparison to the action cameras you might expect. The market leading Go-Pro I have always found to be all show and in fact not very much GO. My cheap and cheerful Kodak ZX range cameras are the real challengers, with their almost unparalleled lens quality, integral waterproof housing and cheap, easily changeable batteries. The Kodak ZX is a real hidden gem. So when I picked up the very sexy looking Drift HD with sky-high expectationsh, I was a bit disappointed with the results.

If you read my original review you will no doubt detect the ‘luke warm’ reception I gave it. Just keep in mind that I really did review it like the proverbial Dummy. I unpacked it, stuck in a memory card, mounted it on my bonnet and took it out.Ghost Drift Kit

Well what a difference a few months makes!!

Just before revisiting the Drift HD, let me qualify my review by saying I dislike the GoPro Hero 3 (direct competitor to the Drift HD). To start with, the internet is littered with stories of faulty units. My main beef though is that, since the manufacturer knows it’s considered to be the market leader, it cashes in on the hype with silly prices and expensive optional extras. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned if you need a separate waterproof case to make your action camera fit for purpose it’s just not an action camera!

Back to the Drift Ghost HD. The big selling point for me was the remote control unit and that’s proved to be a fantastic feature – not only because I can switch my cameras on and off from the comfort of the driver’s seat but because the colour coded LED indicators on the remote flash very clearly to tell me the cameras’ current modes. Don’t get me wrong, I keep it simple when I’m filming my green lane adventures but just occasionally I like to select the burst picture mode and take some still images – and the transition is effortless.

In my first review of this camera, I wasn’t a huge fan. So what’s changed to make me such a convert?

It’s amazing what a bit of experimentation can do. First off: mounting the camera. The 1/4″ standard camera thread is on the side of the camera. Brilliant I guess for a helmet cam. Not so much for a vehicle mounted camera. Nonetheless, get the right mounting solution and that little wrinkle is soon smoothed out.1/4 thread on Ghost Drift HD

Next, low light filming. The camera comes with default exposure setting of +0. Initially that gave me disappointing results. It only took tweaking that setting up to +1.0 and oh my word, the camera is transformed! I never thought I’d say this, but the images from this camera in all conditions are now superior to my beloved Kodak lensed ZX range of cameras. They are at least comparable to the very latest GoPro but without the silly price tag and it doesn’t need an extra case. Have I mentioned yet that the GoPro needs a waterproof case…?

It really is just the complete package for an action camera and as with all my kit this has been tested in wind, snow, constant driving rain and even the occasional dunking during a river crossing. I’ve also gained a few handy hints from this experience of using the camera in the field. These should really help you get the best from your Ghost Drift HD.

There is an app for the Drift Ghost HD. It’s quite a fun thing to play with and allows you to see what your camera sees, on your smart phone’s screen. Good fun to play with although I usually just use it to make sure my cameras are positioned correctly.

Spare batteries. Now although I found these batteries lasted approximately 5 hours of intermittent use via the remote control, I sometimes go on whole weekend trips; I wanted the flexibility of swapping out batteries. Spare batteries for the Ghost HD are very very cheap – about £11 for 2. Ghost Drift BatteryThat’s a lot cheaper than any of the other action camera contenders, for sure. The only thing I would say is that it’s a little bit fiddly to swap a battery. It gets easier with practice but not something you can do with cold gloved hands!

I run a Pure Sine inverter in my Land Rover so I can power larger devices. I’ve also picked up a great Patona external battery charger for these replacement batteries making the whole process of keeping my cameras running a lot easier and smoother.

Now as for memory cards, as you can imagine, shooting the amount of footage I do, I use about one 16GB card each day in each camera so it can be an expensive thing to kit myself out with enough of them. Well that’s where your friendly neighbourhood Geek comes in because he did a review of SD cards recently and it turns out that one of the cheapest SD cards is the best anyway, so the Samsung SD card is an easy and cost effective choice.

[easyreview title=”Dummy rating” icon=”dummy” cat1title=”Ease of use” cat1detail=”To get the best you need to spend 10 minutes with the manual.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Features” cat2detail=”What else could you possibly need.” cat2rating=”5″ cat3title=”Value for money” cat3detail=”It’s still a bit on the pricey side for me but a lot better value than the market leader.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Build quality” cat4detail=”Tough rubberised coating and waterproof seals. Solid” cat4rating=”5″ summary=”This is where the smart money is. A genuine GoPro killer”]

So you have my advice and you have my opinion now I’ve had the benefit of having used this camera in all conditions. It only remains fr me to show you the latest film I made with this set-up, which should be featured in Land Rover Monthly’s May Edition.

How-to: Clean up audio and remove noise with Audacity

As you may know, here at Geek & Dummy, we’re building up a free library of sound effects, which you’re welcome to use in your own projects. For the best results you really need to use decent quality recording equipment – a microphone attached to your computer will just pick up lots of unwanted noise. We’ve achieved really great results with the Tascam DR-05, which for the price (about £80) packs an amazing sound quality into an easily pocketable format. It helps to pair this with a decent SD card – see our recent MicroSD card head-to-head to see what’s the best value for money in that department.

  1. When recording, make sure your audio sample contains about 2 seconds of ambient noise. This enables us to profile the ambient noise before we remove it from the sample.
  2. Run Audacity. If you don’t have this incredible (but dull-looking!) free software, pick it up here.
  3. Open the sample (File –> Open).
    Cleaning audio 01
  4. Using the selection tool, select your couple of seconds of ambient noise – this “silence” should look virtually flat in the display.
    Cleaning audio 02
  5. On the menu, choose Effect –> Noise Removal.
  6. Click “Get Noise Profile”.
    Cleaning audio 03
  7. Press Ctrl-A to select the whole sample.
  8. On the menu, choose Effect –> Noise Removal again.
  9. This time, click OK. The default settings are probably okay, though you can play with them to achieve different results.
    Cleaning audio 04
  10. Listen to the sound sample. Sometimes noise removal can result in artificial sounding samples. If that’s the case, you can take a noise profile from a different quiet section of the sample and try again, or try with different parameters.
  11. You can now remove silent sections of the audio as required. You can either select the sections and press the delete key, or use the Truncate Silence feature in Audacity (Effect –> Truncate Silence) to do it automatically. Use the zoom tool for precision removal of short sections of silence.
    Cleaning audio 05
  12. We “normalize” the sample to take it to the maximum volume possible without causing distortion. Before normalizing, you may want to find and delete any unwanted loud sections from the sample, in order to improve the effect of normalization.
    Cleaning audio 06
  13. To normalize the sample, ensure it is all either selected or deselected. Then choose Effect –> Normalize. Again there are some configurable settings here.
    Cleaning audio 07
  14. Listen to the sample again to make sure you’re happy with the results. All changes can be undone with Ctrl-Z.