• The pretty wallet that can protect you from card fraud

    by  • August 25, 2015 • 0 Comments

    HALO portable charger and RFID card wallet in Navy Polka Dot | QVC | girlabouttech.comWhat can your current wallet or purse do? Hold your cash, cards and a tatty wedge of receipts you really need to sort through? Look pretty? That’s about it? Well, you’ll get a lot more for your money – in every sense – with this HALO card wallet from QVC.

    I say card wallet – it’s more like a techy Swiss army knife. Its in-built, ultra-slim charger will power up your phone when it’s run out of juice. There’s also a mirror for quick beauty touch ups, and something called RFID blocking technology that protects your credit and debit cards against electronic identity theft.HALO portable charger and RFID card wallet in Floral | QVC | girlabouttech.com

    Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are contained within each and every one of your bank cards. They contain your bank details, and are the reason why you can make a payment either with a quick swipe of your card, or through a contactless tap. Unfortunately, criminals can quite easily obtain a RFID reader and keep it in a bag. Then, as they walk down the street, they can scan your card while it’s tucked away seemingly safely in your purse or wallet. RFID blocking will stop any fraudsters from accessing your cards in this way.

    The HALO wallet is available in six styles, including black, navy polka dot and floral, and comes with three leads to charge devices via Micro USB, 30-pin connector (for older iPhone and iPads) and 8-pin Lightning connector for iPhones 5 and up, the iPad Air, etc.

    Incidentally, the 3,000mAh battery will give you enough power for 14 hours talk time on an iPhone 6, 9 hours on an iPhone 4, 11 hours on a Samsung Galaxy S5 and 3 hours of web use on a iPad mini.

    You can buy one now for £24.50 at QVC.

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    So you need a new home phone…

    by  • August 23, 2015 • 0 Comments

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s the end of the line for the landline. According to a recent survey by Relish Broadband, 35% of us ignore our home phone when it rings, for fear it’s a nuisance call, and three in four adults believe they’re a ‘thing of the past’.

    But I’m not ready to call time on my landline just yet – they’re still handy if your mobile reception is a bit dodgy, and offer better audio quality than many a smartphone.

    They’re also great in emergencies as you and the kids will always know where in the house your fixed line will be, it’s easier for ambulance, police and fire services to track to your location, and who knows if your mobile battery might be dead? Plus it’s useful for calling freephone numbers and premium rate numbers that would cost oodles more on a mobile.

    That’s why, when Gigaset came to see me this week with their latest clutch of home phones, I was – pardon the pun – all ears. I’ve picked out my favourites among their new releases. Thanks for holding…

    Gigaset Sculpture GO home phone | girlabouttech.comFor design divas: Gigaset Sculpture GO, £69.99

    I’d been complaining that there aren’t enough pretty modern home phones, but like buses, a few have since come along at once, including the Sculpture GO. Its Champagne metallic insert is totes on trend, but can be easily swapped for a silver or a zebrano wood-effect panel if that works better with your decor.

    This phone is completely future-proof as you can use it to make Voice over Internet Protocol calls (think Skype), should fixed lines ever become a thing of the past. You can add up to six numbers and you’ll be able to make free calls worldwide between them – something to think about if any relatives live abroad.

    Its nuisance-call blocking technology should stop sales people from getting through, too, and it will be available later this year from Amazon.co.uk

    Gigaset E630A home phone | girlabouttech.comFor clumsy callers: Gigaset E630A, £99.99

    While I don’t condone calling from the bath (euw!), this IP65 water-resistant handset willl survive a quick dunking if you drop it in the tub or a sink. The shock-resistant rubberised casing will protect it if it takes a tumble on dry land, too, and if you’re worried about dirty callers (as opposed to dirty calls…) the wipe-clean, sealed keypad can’t be infiltrated by sticky little fingers, muddy gardening hands or greasy garage thumbs.

    Parents will love this phone, and not just because it’s accident-proof. You can set it to automatically lower the ringer volume at night, so it doesn’t wake the kids. In fact, it doesn’t have to ring at all – alternately, a flashing LED light can alert you to incoming calls instead, which is also really useful if you have hearing problems.

    The E630A available now from Amazon.

    Gigaset E550A home phone | girlabouttech.comFor elderly relatives: Gigaset E550A, £59.99

    Actually, I’m not ruling this phone out for fat-fingered folks like me, thanks to its extra large buttons. The font can be set to be bigger, too, so you don’t have to squint at the screen to make out the number you’re dialling.

    Its BIG selling point, however, is the SOS function. At the top of the handset, you’ll see four key marked A, B, C and D, which you can set to speed dial four different phone numbers. In an emergency, if you press the bright red illuminated SOS button, it automatically calls the preset A with your pre-set emergency message. If there’s no answer, it then calls B, C and D in turn until someone picks up.

    There are also corresponding A, B, C and D buttons on the charging base, so even  if you can’t find the handset, you can still make a handsfree call to those numbers.

    The E550A is also hearing-aid compatible so you won’t get any pesky feedback, and has extra-loud ringtones – so loud, they made me jump! It’s available from Ligo.

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    How to keep your kids safe online

    by  • August 21, 2015 • 0 Comments

    How to stay safe online | girlabouttech.comWe all want to protect our kids from things we’d rather they didn’t look at or people they shouldn’t be talking to, but it’s becoming impossible to supervise their web sessions 24-7, particularly now that so many devices in our home are connected to the internet.

    “If your child is online via a games console, they can play against anyone, anywhere in the world, even engaging with strangers on a live web-chat,” says Rob Wells, senior director at Netgear. “So it’s not just a case of monitoring your child’s internet use on the family computer – you also need to consider their mobile phones, tablets and consoles.”

    That’s why it’s crucial  to create a safer internet and TV experience at home by restricting the content your kids can see and when they can see it. But don’t worry technophobes – it’s easy if you follow my simple guidelines.

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    5 clever ways to hide your TV

    by  • August 14, 2015 • 0 Comments

    As you’d probably expect from a technology journalist and her cameraman husband, the TV takes pride of place in the Girl About Tech living room… but apparently not everyone likes it that way. Now, I could just sulk about this state of affairs, but I’m feeling charitable, so I’ve come up with a few ways that you can – and I can’t believe I’m typing this – keep your TV hidden until you want to watch it.

    1. Put it in a cupboardNew Hampshire television armoire | The Dormy House | girlabouttech.comOne obvious way to make sure your set doesn’t play the starring role is to hide it in a cabinet. This New Hampshire television armoire from The Dormy House (above) is almost guaranteed not to date thanks to its Shaker look. It costs from £565 depending on which of the 10 finishes you choose, although it will only accommodate screens up to around 37in diagonally, or a little bit larger if it a a super skinny bezel.

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    The pattern that every ’80s kid will remember is back!

    by  • August 11, 2015 • 1 Comment

    Every decade has its iconic china. In the 1990s, it was all about Villeroy & Boch’s New Wave, then Black Toast by Emma Bridgwater. More recently, we’ve obsessed over the beautiful dip-dye look of the Royal Doulton 1815 range, and Sophie Conran’s gently ribbed white crockery for Portmerion. But back in the 1980s, there was only one dinner-party favourite – good old Eternal Beau by Johnson Brothers, with its trail of pink flowers and green foliage, intertwined with champagne-cream ribbon.Eternal Beau crockery | Cake Stand Heaven | girlabouttech.com@CakeStandHeaven

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    The £250 washing machine you don’t have to wait around for

    by  • August 9, 2015 • 0 Comments

    EWD81482WUK MyTime washing machine | Indesit | Amy Cutmore | girlabouttech.comCall it a first-world problem, but I hate hanging around for the washing machine to finish. I’m convinced my machine knows when I’m in a rush to leave the house and goes slower to taunt me. Then, just when I think the cycle might be over, it whirrs into life again. Occasionally, I’ll lose patience and storm out with the drum still spinning, only to return hours later to a very creased and slightly smelly pile of ‘washed’ laundry.

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    How to back up your smartphone photos

    by  • August 4, 2015 • 2 Comments

    Over the last decade, the cameras on our smartphones have gone from a gimmick to an indispensible tool for recording our every move. The only problem is all those silly selfies, holiday snaps, etc, take up precious space – throw in a few videos of the cat and you’ve soon hit your storage limit.

    Reach this limit this at the wrong time – say, just as little Johnny is about to blow out his birthday candles or when a baby hedgehog turns up at the bottom of the garden – and in your mad rush to make space, you could hastily delete your only copy of a photo that’s precious to you.

    Then there’s the day you decide to get a new phone. What’s going to happen to all those photos then? That’s why you need a back up strategy. Follow it, and you’ll always be able to snap away to your heart’s content.


    Make a date in your diary at least once a month to back up your photos.

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    The perfect excuse to buy a new iPhone case

    by  • August 2, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Flip iPhone 6 case | Ted Baker | girlabouttech.comOnly time for a quick post today I’m afraid, but hopefully what it lacks in words it makes up for in beauty! I just wanted to give a quick shout out to these foxy new Ted Baker phone cases.

    Called the Rose Gold Collection, they’re made for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and come in two styles. My fave is the protective flip case, above, which opens out to reveal a handy little compact mirror, but there’s also a glamorous clip-on hardshell case, below. Both come in a choice of Nude or white, with a Rose Gold trim.Hardshell iPhone 6 case | Ted Baker | girlabouttech.comBoth styles are available now at tedbaker.com and in store – the hardshell case retails for £34.95 while the flip case costs £39.95. Any takers?

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    Which of Motorola’s new smartphones is right for you?

    by  • July 29, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Like a frazzled parent entertaining the kids on school holiday, Motorola is hoping to keep everyone happy this week… by introducing not one but three new smartphones. So which should you go for? Let me break it down for you.

    For fun lovers with a tight budget: the new Moto GMoto G 3rd Gen smartphone | Motorola | girlabouttechFollowing on from the huge success of the first and second Moto Gs, Motorola’s third reincarnation of the budget, feature-packed smartphone looks to be just as successful.

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    A Mid-Century Modern home phone

    by  • July 26, 2015 • 1 Comment

    M8 DECT cordless home phone | Philips | girlabouttech.comUp until last month, I’d been largely relying on my smartphone to make calls at home, with an ‘honorary’ landline in the form of a restored, pillar-box red GPO phone. It was all working out so well, too… but then I moved to a tiny village far from South London’s reliable mobile reception, where a rotary dial and lack of a touch-tone keypad went from quaint to the height of inconvenience.

    Now I could have replaced ol’ red with a lovely Wild & Wolf number, yet I dreamed of something a bit more ‘Mid-Century Modern’ to match my newly decorated living room – not to mention, some cutting edge bells and whistles. Anyway, it seems someone at Philips was listening, as its new M8 cordlesss phone seems tailor-made for me!M8 DECT cordless phone | Philips | girlabouttech.comThe M8 in white and pale wood, £129, won’t be in the shops until August, unfortunately, but the black version, £100, is available now at John Lewis.

    Both have the same features – an answering machine with up to 60 minutes of recording, 18 hours of talk time and 250 standby time at a push and a 250-name phone book. Philips have put a lot of care and attention into the sound quality, too – even the way the speaker is positioned in the handset is intended to make voices sound as natural as possible.

    Luceo cordless phone | Philips | girlabouttech.comIf Mid-Century isn’t Modern enough for you, can I also introduce the Philips Luceo, £79? Don’t let the price tag deceive you, as it boasts a fair few features that the M8 doesn’t, including call blocking and barring to stop nuisance sales peeps from getting through, and silencing so you won’t be disturbed at night unless a VIP number calls.

    The snazzy display on the base shows a caller ID and a clock, and the sound quality has been engineered further using fancy components and processors. There’s also a 30-minute answering machine.

    Again, you’ll have to wait until August for it, but you can always use the time to decide if you want the Luceo in black and white or simply black.

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