Episode 323 Steffan Powell / The Rizen Producers

Turning A Smartphone Into A Driver’s Best Friend

We’re not encouraging that anyone spends more time looking at their phone rather than keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the steering wheel. However, smartphones are becoming versatile tools with apps to seemingly fit any situation and that includes when you’re on the road as well. Here, we’re going to look at some of the coolest, most convenient, and even most helpful apps that can help you drive safer, cut costs, and even deal with an emergency.

Don’t choose between tunes and data

This might not seem like the most vital of tools, but when it comes to using apps on the road, a lot of people are going to discover the limit to their data very quickly when they first hit it. Rather than cutting off your access to half your apps thanks to data-draining apps, there are ways to make it stretch a little longer. In particular, if you listen to music or podcasts on the road there’s a good chance you use Spotify to do it. Spotify Lite is a slimmed down, efficient version that can keep those tunes, but without burning through your data.

Balance your fuel budget

Sick of paying more than you think you should for gas? There are other apps that can help you manage your fuel efficiency, but Fuel Map is all about one thing only: helping you find the most affordable gas stations closest to you. By comparing and listing the current prices of stops across the country, as well as how far away you are for them, it can help you make a real dent in the fuel costs that can make your car more expensive to own than you might like.

Be ready for any situation

There are apps that can help you when you’re in a true pinch, as well. If you’ve been caught in a car accident, then after the dust has settled, you’re going to need a replacement car. Apps like Compass Car can help you get a replacement delivered quickly to your location and pick it up wherever you like whenever you’re done with an app that shows you where the delivery is in progress as well. Rather than simply downloading, you have to apply to the service to get the app, but it can be truly helpful in a tight situation.

Never have trouble finding a spot again

Particularly useful for urban dwellers, Parkopedia is an app that’s designed to help you find a parking spot much more easily, highlighting where the open spots currently are. It doesn’t yet reach across the whole country, but it is steadily expanding to include more locations. If you’re having trouble finding spots consistent, you should check the site to see if it’s in the city in which you live.

While often the cause of accidents when misused, smartphones can be a lot more helpful to drivers than you might imagine. The above-mentioned apps are some of the most useful out there, but there are plenty more worth taking the time to discover, as well.

 

Classic Car How To Kill An Hour

8 Awesome Customizations And Modifications For Your Ride

Classic Car How To Kill An Hour

For pretty much everyone nowadays, owning and driving a car seems to be more of a necessity than just a nice luxury to have. With the number of people that own them, you could miss out on a bunch of different things in life if you are without one. If you don’t have a car, it seems that you’re in the minority.

 

As for car owners, we all want to be sitting in the most comfortable and most convenient place possible for when we’re behind the wheel. Thankfully, we don’t have to settle for the bare minimum all of the time when it comes to this – we can add, remove, customize and modify an awful lot of things with our motors – with help from professionals or even with our own work. As we said, there are absolutely loads of things that can be done, but let’s take a look at a few.    

 

Paint Job

 

If you’re not exactly digging the current color scheme of your ride, then you can head on down to a paint shop and have a little talk with the guys and gals there about what might be the best course of action for you. When you get your car sprayed a new colour, you get to choose a bunch of different styles. If you want the entire car done, then, of course, that’s possible. You can also have different areas of the car painted – for example, if you only want the hood or trunk to be changed, then that’s possible, too. If you want to add anything like flames or stripes, then that’s something the pros could do for you, also.  

Seats

 

When changing up your interior, there are a whole host of different things you can do. One of the most significant changes you can make is to switch up the seats – you’re going to have your backside on them for a long time, after all. You can buy custom seat covers that will make things a little more comfortable or you can go all out and get them replaced entirely.

 

Engine

 

If you want to upgrade your car’s performance, then you can do so in a multitude of ways. A good way to get it performing better would be to improve the engine. There are a few modifications that a mechanic can sort out for you, like adding an air filter or a supercharger. They can also replace the entire engine for a few bucks.     

 

Suspension

 

The suspension keeps the car running as smooth as can be. It’s the middle-man between the wheels and the driver. A good suspension will absorb any shocks or any bumps that you’re likely to encounter, so if you’re feeling as though you’re driving in quite a rough motor, then you can head down to the shop and have a talk about upgrading the suspension.  

 

Number Plate

 

It’s a fairly low-key change relative to the paint and the interior, but if you wanted to add a little bit of extra personalization to your car, you could change up with number plate. As long as it’s not offensive or anything like that, then you can have whatever you like. If you don’t know exactly how to remove and replace a number plate, then you can click here and follow the instructions to figure it all out. Some people might see it as a silly little option to have, but many enjoy them, so it’s worth a think.     

 

Exhaust

 

Upgrading your exhaust might be something that you’d like to think about. The exhaust helps with the engine flow, so the better the exhaust, the higher your car is going to perform. Again, this will be something that you will let professionals mull over. While it’ll improve your car’s performance, people also like to have a big fat exhaust to enhance aesthetics.

 

Gearstick

 

Another low-key modification to the look of the car. If you’re not overly bothered with something as small as this, then perhaps you won’t even think about it. But there are a lot of people out there that want this customized as they’re going to have their hands on it a lot.  

 

Steering Wheel

 

You can change up your steering wheel if you want to. It’s another part of the car that you’re going to have your hands on a lot of the time, so why not think about making it perfect for you. You can have it completely switched to something better for you, or you could add covers to it.  

Episode 322 Jazzy Jeff

Bring Your Banger Up to Date in Five Steps

While many covet brand new cars, there are plenty of reasons you’d go for an older model. Sure, there might be more miles on the clock, and more wear technically means they’re less reliable, but if you have a particular type of car you love then it might be the older version you’re after. Even old bangers can be brought up to date with a little care and some new features added, here are some of the ways you can go about it.

 

Sound system

Newer cars almost always have great tech and sound systems built in, meaning a vehicle lacking these features will be a huge giveaway of its age. But you don’t need to settle with an out of date stereo as there are so many third party models on the market that can be installed into your existing console without too much hassle. Apple Carplay and Android Auto stereos are some of the best on the market. You can also find models with built in dash cams, reversing cameras and navigation too.

 

Plates

You can spend time and effort modernising your car inside and out, but one thing that’s always going to to give away its age is the number on the plates. Not only are private plates a great way to personalise your vehicle but disguise the age of it too. Companies like www.theprivateplateco.co.uk offer this.

 

Paint

Unless the car you’ve purchased has been looked after extremely well, chances are there will be some level of damage or wear to the paintwork in the form of minor rust, scuffs or scratches. A full respray can be really expensive, and often isn’t worth the investment unless the car is rare or something you plan on keeping forever. If only one or two panels are damaged you could look into having them repaired separately. In other cases, you might be able to correct damage such as fine scratches and swirl marks which are a result of improper washing using polishes and compounds. This can take years off the look of the paint. Ceramic paint coating is gaining in popularity, this hard coating is more durable than wax and protects it from scratches, dirt and chemical contamination. A proper ceramic coating will need to be done by a professional, but there are some products out there you can apply yourself if you have the time and patience.

 

Wheels

Updating the wheels can really change the look of a car. If yours don’t suit the modern style you’re aiming for, consider replacing them. If they’re fine as they are but are just in need of some TLC, have them refurbished. Lots of companies offer this, if you want to change the colour of them this can be achieved with powder coating.

 

Security

Keyless entry might seem like a new feature, but it’s been used on some cars right back from the late nineties. But as convenient as it is, it opens up your car to thieves who can amplify the signal and access your car. Security features like a Faraday cage block the signal and increase security.

Red Bull World Championship 2019

Slovakia Wins Red Bull Escape Room World Championship in London

22 elite escape room teams flew in from around the world to take on the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship. The rooms were some of the world’s most challenging  never seen before escape rooms. It say a Slovakian team called Brainteaselava take the number 1 spot!

Brainteaselava and Croatian team TG 170 defeated 21 of the best teams from around the world in difficult qualifiers on the Friday before going head to head in ‘Omni’s Escape‘ which was deemed the world’s toughest escape room. The room was built specifically for he championship by escape room mastermind Dr Scott Nicholson and his team. Brainteaselava pipped TG 170 to the post by completing the room in 27mins and 16 seconds, 10minutes faster than their Croatian counterparts.

Red Bull World Championship

Teams from over 20 countries including UK, Australia, Germany, India, Estonia, USA and Brazil, all competed for the trophy. They qualified for the championship in unique qualifier events in their respective countries last year. The Semi Final saw teams undertake three custom built 10min challenges. These challenges were designed to determine who were the two fastest teams. These two teams would then go on to the final ‘Omni’s Escape’. Which was designed to take a look at players problem solving skills: creativity, logic, visual thinking, musicality, memory and strategy.

“It’s amazing. We haven’t been world champions yet so it’s a great feeling. It was really exciting across the whole two days, we didn’t know what to expect….We weren’t sure how well we did and the other team was really strong, but in the end it turns out we were faster, and the fastest!” Emil Haas from Brainteaselava.

“We are pretty satisfied with the results. We came up short but it doesn’t matter, we had a lot of fun and they deserved it, they were a better team than us for sure” Dominik Erbeznik from TG 170.

“With the World Finals this year we tackled an ethical question, does AI have rights? Omni is an AI agent that wants to leave White Hat Laboratories and we hope that players will think about this when they order their devices around! We also worked very hard this year to reduce the cultural bias around the escape room so that everyone had a chance to win.” Dr Scott Nicholson. 

Red Bull World Championship Timings

Red Bull Escape Room World Championship Finals Times:

  • 1- Slovakia – 27:16:85
  • 2- Croatia – 38:06:25

Red Bull Escape Room World Championship Semi-Finals Times:

  • 1- Croatia – 21:57:23
  • 2- Slovakia – 23:26:19
  • 3- Belgium – 23:34:91
  • 4- UK – 23:42:63
  • 5- Estonia – 23:42:98
  • 6- Greece – 24:09:61
  • 7- Latvia – 24:25:85
  • 8- France – 24:44:23
  • 9- USA – 25:06:98
  • 10- Wildcard – 25:44:74
  • 11- Brazil – 25:51:62
  • 12- Switzerland – 26:08:06
  • 13- Germany – 26:34: 20
  • 14- Portugal – 26:36:07
  • 15- Ukraine – 27:31:26
  • 16- Lithuania – 27:43:93
  • 17- Slovenia – 27:58:80
  • 18- Austria – 28:03:13
  • 19- Turkey – 28:04:05
  • 20- India – 28:32:08
  • 21- Australia – 20:08:41
  • 22- Russia – 29:38:93

More about Omni’s Escape here!

Follow the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship: Facebook, Twitter, Official Website

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Phase Wireless DJ Controller

Phase is a brand new wireless DJ Controller, the first of it’s kind. Allowing you to control tracks from DJ software. Without needing turntable needles of timecode control vinyl. Two audio remotes capture the turntable rotation information. Then it will wirelessly transmit the information to a receiver. The receiver will then process the information and send it to your DVS setup.

It’s very easy to use and offers unprecedented communication, quality and reactivity. It will not be affected by external disruptions that affect common DJ equipment.

Technologically Advanced

The Phase wireless DJ controller is more stable and accurate than any other digital system. Furthermore it offers an incredible level of reliability of DJ’s. As it is incredibly intelligent. Rotations are detected and records even the smallest of rotations. That information is then instantly sent to the software offering real time audio control with pinpoint accuracy. Consequently guaranteeing seamless signal quality in any situation.

The patented technology of Phase Wireless DJ Controller is unaffected by external perturbations, such as rumble, defective turntables or any other common DJ equipment issue.

Precision

Phase gives you the sensation of mixing on standard audio records without giving up the comfort of a digital controller. Perform on a digital controller as you would on standard audio records. It works easily and smoothly with any DVS DJ setup thanks to 2 stereo RCA outputs. Software that’s compatible is Serato DJ Pro (& lite), Virtual DJ, Traktor and Rekordbox.

Ease of Use

Phase has immense charge. One single charge gives you up to 10hrs of mixing per Remote. The Phase is also built to last allowing it to resist daily usage and hazards that it may encounter. Phase comes with 2 extra remotes too, allowing you to charge two and use two. Allowing you to not stop DJ’ing.

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Amazon workers allegedly have a chat room about ‘amusing’ recordings?!

Bloomberg have a report out that highlighted the human labour that goes into manufacturing and improving the Amazon Echo. Amazon have contractors and full time employees working on the Amazon Echo. They’re all over the globe and tasked with reviewing and transcribing clips. Clips that are of conversations between users and Alexa. According to the report from Bloomberg, humans are said to annotate interactions to help identify phrases. Phrases such as “Taylor Swift” that might otherwise be meaningless to the software.

“We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone.

Employees do not have direct access to information that can identify the person or account as part of this workflow. All information is treated with high confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption and audits of our control environment to protect it,”an Amazon spokesman told Bloomberg.

Amazon Echo Chat Room

According Bloomberg, as a result of collating all this data, Amazon workers have a chat room. This chat room is intended for asking for help if they can’t make out a word or phrase. However, allegedly, they also share “amusing” recordings. Furthermore, an Amazon worker, told Bloomberg that each member of the team will listen to as much as 100 clips a day. Clips that Alexa has mistaken or unintentionally activated. Bloomberg have reported that one of these workers will review as many as 1,000 clips in a day! (A full 9hr working day shift)

In cases where the Alexa has tripped unintentionally, there has also been some serious recordings. According to the report, two workers who have spoken to Bloomberg. Who believe they heard a sexual assault taking place. Furthermore another two workers told Bloomberg that they were given guidance not to intervene. As Amazon didn’t consider it the company’s place to intervene in cases like these.

Full report with Bloomberg here

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best pool gadget

Best Pool Gadget?!

Summer’s going to be right here in the UK eventually which means lots of BBQ’s and using swimming pools! However, we think we have found the best pool gadget! A motorised inflatable pool lounger, thats MOTORISED!!

The Splash Runner Motorized Inflatable Swimming Pool Lounger by Poolcandy is a pool lounger that you’re able to move about on by pressing a simple button. This genius invention has two motors on the bottom of it. Therefore allowing it to glide across the swimming pool. The lounger even has joysticks on each side of it. This lounger, the best pool gadget ever, is available for $199.99 and is deemed “the most feature-rich pool lounger ever made” by its official website.

The technical parts now and the motor runs off simple 12D Batteries and can hold people up to 300lbs. Aswell as having joysticks the best pool gadget has a cupholder on it. So you can glide around in the pool without even having to hold your drink. Being able to move around means you can easily get a top up too without having to move a muscle.

Unfortunately the sunlounger is only available to buy in the US. However, if you’re in the US you can buy one by clicking here!

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sunset straight road - how to kill an hour

What Gadgets Make Your Car Journey Comfortable?

When you’ve got a long journey to go on, and you’ve got only your car to rely on as you go, then you’re going to need to outfit it with plenty of gadgets to keep you happy and comfortable. Sure, you can stop off at service stations whenever you get the chance to, but there’s still going to be hours in between!

 

Let’s make sure you’ve got just the right tech on your hands to make sure any future road trips or simple long haul work journeys are going to be a lot more fun and cozy. Here’s a few recommendations for you to consider.

 

sunset straight road - how to kill an hour

 

Grab a Dash Cam

 

Dash cams have a variety of purposes, and anyone who is anyone will have one in their car. So whether you’ve got useful something more affordable from the Hilton Car Supermarket, or you’ve just made a deal to drive the new electric mini, it’d be useful for you to have a dash cam on board.

 

They can be used to record first hand footage of a car accident, which can both help you in court and with your insurance company. You’ll also have an upper hand over anyone who’s acting dangerously on the road – it’ll be much easier to report someone speeding in the rain on the motorway if you’ve got footage of them doing so. All in all, it’ll make your long journey safer, and that is the number one thing to put a driver’s mind at rest.

 

A Versatile GPS

If you’ve got a SatNav in the car, good on you. It’ll make the drive you’re on a lot smoother, and quite a bit faster, and you’re never going to have to pull over to break the map out. If you’re someone who travels a lot for work, this can be a Godsend in making a meeting on time!

 

But your GPS needs to be versatile, in the modern day and age. It needs to be updated with all the new roads, and traffic information as it happens, and that means it’s going to need an internet signal as well. Which is why it’d be better to turn your phone into your onboard GPS, and then add on another gadget to give you a bigger display to work off of, and to keep you totally hands free. Something like a HUDWAY Glass allows you to watch the virtual road, as well as control the music you’re listening to and recieve your texts as normal, all at the same time.

 

Something to Monitor Your Tires

 

A quick little recommendation to finish off – have a piece of kit in your cockpit that’ll keep track of everything your tires are going through. Take a look through a few tests of the top kits on the market currently – it’ll stop punctured tires from being a surprise, and tell you when you next need to stop to top up the pressure.

 

So, how many of these gadgets do you have onboard? You’ll need them!