A Lifestyle, Grooming And Technology Blog

Monday 6 July 2020


It’s July, which means, hey everyone, we’re only about three months away from getting our hands on a new iPhone! In mid-September, Apple is expected to introduce its latest and greatest, the iPhone 12, in a host of price points and designs. No one knows for sure what they will look like, except that they will be built for working on the new, super-fast 5G wireless networks. But this we do know: the home screen is going to be very different, your apps will be gathered in a way they’re not now, making calls and scrolling through texts will be more visually interesting and you’ll be able to turn your car on and off with an iPhone. Maybe.
Those new features are part of iOS14, the latest update to Apple’s mobile operating system, which will be released in September, usually a week before the new iPhones are released. The new iOS provides the new look for the latest iPhones and works on older phones as well. 
Let’s run those features down:

1. Improved Home Screen

The Home screen redesign is to “give you more info at a glance,” says Apple, which means that in addition to your apps, you can also see, for instance, a ticker tape of news items, your calendar items or the weather. Savvy Android users know this feature has been available to them for several years but it'll be interesting to see how Apple and third party developers are able to integrate these new widgets into the iOS ecosystem.


2. The App Library
We all have too many apps nowadays, and they’re spread across multiple pages and folders with the most unused apps normally sitting a good 2 to 3 pages deep into the home screen pages. We've been able to manually sort them into folders for years. Now Apple is going to auto organize them into like-minded categories, like entertainment, social and shopping.

3. Translate

The Translate app is quite simple and there is not much you need to know to use it. Once you open the app, all you have to do is choose the language you want to translate and the language in which the content will be translated to. 

You can type text to be translated or use the dictation feature to translate what you say with your voice. iOS can read the translation with the correct pronunciation, which can be great not only for communicating with other people, but also for learning a different language. 

Users can bookmark the translations to check back later and the app also keeps a history of recent translations. The app works in 11 different languages, which are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

4. Starting Your Car

The most intriguing iOS 14 feature is called CarKeys, which lets you turn on and off your car from your iPhone, or even share the feature with a friend or loved one. “Hey Dad, can I borrow the car?” Just send him or her a text. However, the feature only works with new BMWs produced after July, 2020, so it's going to take a long time to get to your driveway. But worth salivating for, right?

You can check out all the new features of iOS 14 here.

Fancy taking part in the developer beta? You can download the new software here


Friday 17 April 2020

6 Car Maintenance Tips

Taking care of your car is an important skill to save your money on major repairs and to keep your car in good condition for longer. It’s obviously important to take your car to the garage for emergencies, but also for regular maintenance. It’s just as important to develop some simple habits for keeping your car in the best shape.

1. Never miss a service. Your car’s service is very important and should never be skipped. When your car is serviced, a mechanic will check it thoroughly and will find any small issues and correct them before they develop into bigger, and more expensive repairs. Get Fixed Price Servicing at Harwoods.

2. Keep an eye on the fluids. Keep the motor oil, power steering fluid, and coolant topped up as an easy way to maintain the performance of your car. To find out how to check and maintain your fluid levels, check your owner’s manual.

3. Get to know your owner’s manual. Take the time to look over your owner’s manual from time to time. There’s a lot to remember about taking care of a car, and you won’t be able to remember it all. By checking your manual, you can refresh your memory and make sure you know how to do everything properly. If you are buying a second-hand car, make sure you get the manual.

4. Pay attention to warning lights. Cars have a lot of systems of sensors and warning lights that will let you know all kinds of things, from whether you’ve forgotten to replace the gas cap to whether your tires are low on air. Learn what the different warning lights on your car mean and what you should do if one comes on. If you can’t fix the problem yourself, take your car to a mechanic if a light comes on.

5. Check your tire pressure. The right tire pressure is essential for helping your car to handle properly. It also reduces the risk of premature wear and tire failure. Tires lose air every day. Most cars have a tire pressure warning system, but these only come on when the tire pressure drops to a dangerously low level. To stop this from happening, check your tire pressure monthly and add air if needed. Your owner’s manual can tell you how to determine the correct pressure. Never overinflate your tires, as this is just as dangerous as leaving them underinflated.

6. Pay attention to how the car feels. You should know how the car feels to handle when it’s is operating as it should be. Once you can do this, it will be easier to notice when something is wrong. You might notice a vibration, shudder, jerk, bump, or hesitation, which is a sign that something has changed. If you notice anything strange, make a note of the time and conditions when the symptom happens so you can tell your mechanic.

By knowing how to manage basic maintenance on your car, you can keep your car running at it’s best. A well-running car is cheaper and more enjoyable to run.

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Timeless Pieces All Gents Need In Their Wardrobe

Your wardrobe should not be a shrine to the latest fashions and trends. In fact, it should be stuffed full of timeless pieces that will make you look smart and well put together, no matter what combination you choose to wear them in. With this in mind, there are a few essential pieces that every gent's wardrobe should hold. Read on to find out what they are.


An overcoat is a very special thing. In fact, if you find just the right one, you will have a piece that will last you for years, and enhance a whole range of different looks. From something more casual such as a shirt and jeans to your best office attire.

Of course, a good mens overcoat will do more than just help you look the part. In fact, it will also keep you warm while you are outside and stop the nip of the wind getting to you as well. Although for it to fulfil all of these essential functions, you do need to choose the type and style carefully.

With that in mind, those of us that are broader in the chest may benefit from a single-breasted coat. While, for those of us with a slimmer build, a double-breasted overcoat is usually the way to go.  Although trying some on beforehand is always the best way to see for certain.

Dress Shoes

No man's wardrobe is complete without at least one pair of decent dress shoes. Unfortunately choosing the right pair can be something of a minefield. After all, there are so many styles, and materials to select from.

Fortunately, there are a few guidelines you can keep to if you want to get your dress shoe selection right. The first is that they absolutely have to match your formal suit.

Secondly, simple is always better so if it's a choice between patterns or brogues and plain, always go for the latter. Finally, leather or an excellent vegan leather substitute is the only material your dress shoes should be made from. Therefore if you have any at the back of the wardrobe that are plastic, you have my permission to throw them away! Right away!

Casual Slacks

Finally, when it comes to pieces that all guys should have, the casual slack is an absolute essential. In fact, a few pairs of well-fitting and good quality slacks can get you out of all sorts of trouble. Such as what to wear to a dress down day at work. Without looking like you have just rolled out of bed!

Slacks are also an excellent option for an informal date, or a get together with friends too. The added benefit of wearing them is that they will keep you far more comfortable than the pants of your fancy suit.

With that in mind, invest in a navy pair, and a cream or khaki pair as an absolute minimum and team with chunky knits and cardigans, or a tie and a V neck for the ultimate smart -casual look.

Saturday 4 January 2020

Google Stadia - 6 Weeks Later

Google Stadia Controller

I’ve had Stadia Premiere Edition for just over 6 weeks now since launch in mid November. I was hooked on the idea of Stadia ever since the original announcement from Google earlier this year, but pre-ordered pretty late as I wanted to be sure that there were going to be some worthwhile launch titles for the platform that I could play on day one. Luckily that patience paid off!   I’ve been a keen gamer for years now and bought the Xbox One X in 2017 to be able to play the likes of Call of Duty and Forza Horizon 4 in the best possible quality. I usually buy my games digitally these days so the idea of Stadia instantly appealed to me with a completely digital experience. No need to purchase an expensive console, controller or any Andrew are at all if you just want to play on a PC or Mac you already own. Literally just subscribe to the service and instantly get access to purchase any of the library of games on offer.  

In this post, I thought I’d cover some of the most popular questions I’ve had since getting my hands on Stadia:

Does Stadia actually work?  

Short answer - Yes! To get the most out of the service you’re going to need a substantial internet connection as the quality of the stream depends almost entirely on broadband speed. Google recommends anything over 10mb/sec should enable 4K quality but in our area we’re able to access speeds of over 350mb/sec so I’ve had absolutely no issues with input lag or stream quality. My entire experience has felt like I’m playing a new console rather than anything cloud-based.   I’ve been playing at home mostly but have taken my PC to my local Starbucks and managed to get a pretty decent connection with only a few blips in quality. You can also use your phone as a hotspot to use mobile data, although unless you have unlimited data i wouldn’t recommend it as Stadia will use around  

What’s the deal with Stadia Pro?  

Stadia Pro is the subscription element of the platform and what many thought would enable Stadia to become the “Netflix of video games” by offering customers complete access the library of games for one monthly price. In actual fact, the service gives users access to 2 free games a month (chosen by Google) which are accessible as long as you keep your Pro subscription active. Destiny 2 was the main launch title for the Pro service but as soon as you decide to unsubscribe you loose access to the game. It’s nowhere need what people were expecting but for £8.99 it’s actual a pretty good deal given the quality of the games that Google are giving you.

Aside from the Pro service, you can buy access to games in a similar way to the Microsoft and Sony digital stores, with prices on Stadia currently quite competitive. My main concern around Stadia Pro is Google’s ability to keep adding must-have games every single month to keep users subscribed. So far games like Tomb Raider and Farming Simulator have been welcome additions and were probably games I otherwise wouldn’t have picked up had they not been included, but in 2020 Google will need to add some pretty impressive titles to keep users locked into that monthly fee of £8.99.  

Final Thoughts  

If you’re in any doubt as to whether Google Stadia is for you then I’d recommend waiting for the base version of the experience to launch - currently touted to be sometime in “Early 2020”. This will enable you to give the service a go without investing in any hardware at all so just create an account and purchase whatever games you like to play on PC or Mac. If you’re looking to play through your TV however, you’ll need a controller and a Chromecast Ultra which will currently set you back the best part of £120 as part of the Premiere Edition set up.  

The success of Stadia ultimately relies on 2 things - The quality of the games that Google can entice developers to add to the platform, and how well the service copes when thousands more customers sign up early this year when the base version becomes available. Stadia will need the likes of FIFA and Call of Duty to name but a few to join the service if there can be any longevity to the platform. I’m already pretty convinced that Stadia will replace the need for me to upgrade my current console when the new XBOX arrives in December, again assuming that triple A titles make there way onto the service. It makes way more sense to me to pay the £120 to get set up on Stadia and never worry about lack of performance or visual quality than having to pay £400+ every few years for the latest and greatest hardware.  

Have you tried out Stadia yet or have any questions about the platform?  
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