Anthony Pillage Wins ‘Coventry Sporting Hero’ Award

Anthony Pillage Wins Sporting Hero AwardAt The Coventry Telegraph Awards on Friday 21st February our client Anthony Pillage won ‘The Pride Of Coventry & Warwickshire Community Awards – Sporting Hero”.

Tony set up The Way Of the Spiritual Warrior Martial Arts School in 2003 and since then has had hundreds if not thousands of students through his door. Each one is treated as an individual. Students (and indeed families) come to Tony with their problems – not just martial arts based problems – and Tony takes time to talk to them and try to help.

He mentors all – from disadvantaged young adults with no direction, to mothers at the end of their tethers with their lives and situation.

We were privileged to witness the awards and capture the winning moment to share.  Using an iPhone and a little post production the triumphant moment was captured then shared via the various channels we use to promote the business. Social media and Facebook are for Tony and The Way Of The Spiritual Warrior really important channels. Having built up a following on the Facebook page with engaging content, regularly updated within a few days the captured winning moment was seen by over 2,600+ people and still counting.

Congratulations on the award Tony and a great example where content captured can be shared with those that are interested in your business.  A social media win-win all round.

The Winning Moment

Central Electrics Light Up Christmas

Central Electrics Create A Stunning Christmas Lightshow For Zoe’s Place – Baby Hospice In Coventry

Four weeks ago Central Electric’s boss Steve Friel came up with an idea to put a Christmas smile on some very deserving faces. For the past few weekends Steve and the Central team have created something that will share a little Christmas magic at Zoe’s Place, a baby hospice in Coventry.

It’s a Christmas light show like you’ve never seen before using the entire front of the building as the light stage and then beautifully choreographed to music. It runs for 30 minutes and will display everyday from 14th December at 5pm up to Christmas. Its free to come and watch, there will be hot chocolate and mince pies on offer so get there early.

Taking on such a project meant a lot of hard work for the Central Electrics and to see the smiles on the children’s faces as they marvel at the Christmas lights is what Christmas spirit is all about and well worth doing according to boss Steve Friel.

For his business as well, it’s a win-win, highlighting what services Central Electrics has to offer and they are indeed a great choice to do business with. TalkingComs helped capture and share the moment by filming but one song in this festive sound and light extravaganza.

Christmas Fun Created By Coventry’s Central Electrics

National Get Safe Online Week : 28th October

It’s national Get Safe Online week, so we thought we’d share some helpful tips on how you can stay safe online, especially in the run up to Christmas courtesy of Capital One.

1.    Be careful when clicking on links in emails.
Some fraudsters try to impersonate companies by sending you an email that looks like it’s from your bank or an online store, asking you for personal or financial information. This is called Phishing. If you’re not confident that the email is genuine, the best thing to do is go to the website you know directly to carry out your business.

2.    Have more than one username and different passwords for online accounts.
This way if one of them ever gets compromised a fraudster will not be able to access more than one of your online accounts.

3.    Check your credit card and bank statements regularly.
Always keep an eye on the transactions that show on your statements. If you’re ever unsure whether you made the transaction then contact your bank or credit card provider and let them know straight away.

4.    Know that we’ll never ask you for account details in our emails.
When we credit card companies email you, they never ask you to submit personal or account information. They always address our emails to you personally and include the last four digits of your card number. This way you can be sure it’s real.

Who is tracking you?

Ever wondered how your information is being shared. Firefox has a plugin called Collusion and it shows how your data is shared. I’ve got only three pages open, LinkedIn, Ebay and Amazon. Each dot represents sites that are exchanging your information. There’s quite a lot of dots. Is it good and helpful or tracking to far?

Collusion - A Firefox plugin reveals tracking information

The New iPhone 5 and Me.

LiPhone 5et me say something at outset. I is an Apple man. It took me a number of years to come over to the dark side but now I have I wish I had done it long before. Yes their kit is more expensive and you kind of have to join their club but it’s a good club.

The kit works, designed with me in mind, lasts a long time and has a great second hand value. That said I need to decide if this new phone is a mover or a shaker.

This is will be my 4th iPhone in a row. Although I’m not mad enough to go queuing on the day of release I did pre-order so I could have one asap.

The thing with Apple is there are so many rumours  and until they actually show off what they’ve got on announcement day you don’t really know what’s coming.  I kind of like that. So here goes, the new iPhone 5 has been in my possession for a week now. To talk about it I need to frame it in two ways. Hardware and the software.

Hardware, bottom line. Bigger screen but not as big as a Samsung Galaxy S III, the main competition. It fits in my hand nicely and feels nice.  It’s also a little taller for the extra screen real estate.  It’s thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4. This means it feels nicer when in my pocket. It’s not flimsy though, it still feels a robust piece of kit. Its design is ‘proper’ nice. Ergonomic and easy on the eye. I chose a white one with 64Gb. The more space the less future irritation.

The camera is the same as before and it takes some cracking pictures. Have a look at the butterfly I snapped with it. The screen to boasts the retina display and both video, games and pictures look fantastic.

The headphone socket is now on the bottom rather than the top and there is a new connector. These two things I’m annoyed at. My armband I use when running is now redundant unless I punch a hole in it and the connector change means my docking stations need a new adapter. There are not cheap either with Apple charging £20. EBay will answer that no doubt.

Sometimes things need to change for good reason but I’m yet to read a good one for the connector.

While I’m talking hardware it was also disappointing that there were no Apple cases or bumpers available for the phone at release and to date none are on the Apple store. I want a bumper like I had on the iPhone 4. They stop the bashes while not hiding the pleasing aesthetics of the design whilst avoid adding unwanted bulk.

The phone is faster than the iPhone 4 and the battery lasts longer. Quite a bit longer it seems. That’s a real positive improvement.  It seems to charge quicker as well.  There is much talk of 4G but for me that’s ‘Emperors New Clothes’.

I can get all the content I want over the 3G network quickly. But a good 3G network is not always available.  For the stuff that takes a lot of downloading I use Wi-Fi. And that said imagine if you do have a good 4G connection. I don’t fancy sitting on the bus watching the game or some blockbuster on a 4 inch screen when I can do the same in the comfort of my own front room on a much bigger LCD panel. It’s horses for courses. Surely.

That’s the hardware, lets talk software.  The phone is only as good and the software it runs after all.

IOS6 is the operating system Apple uses for mobile devices. It was really good. It worked really well but on the release of this new version there are a few annoying bugs. Wifi issues mean I cant connect to certain Netgear routers. Both on my phone nor the iPad. Yet.

Auto-brightness doesn’t work either. In the middle of the night I look at my phone and feel like someone with one of those million candle torches has mugged me.

These are small niggles I know but I expect Apple things to just work. That said the new IOS6 has some new features and integration and lets me share with Facebook and Twitter easily. Being a social tour de force is a click away.  It is a really good system.

Maps, you must have heard about the maps. They are nowhere near as good as Google Maps. Yet. In fact some places are nowhere either. Yet. I can still use Google Maps. So no biggie.

All in all, is it worth the upgrade. Yes. It is because I know the niggles will be worked out. But had Apple, been the Apple I thought they were, the niggles wouldn’t have been there at the start.

In the words of Mr Bond, my experience with the iPhone 5 to date leaves me shaken but not stirred.

IOS6 and Wifi just don’t connect

A few days have passed since IOS6, the mobile platform for Apple was released as well as the iPhone 5.  All is not quite right though. All is not quite, Apple.

Today while at a clients I tried to connect a new iPad 3 to the wifi network. I tried my newly updated iPhone 4S as well. Both were running IOS6. I couldn’t connect. I could before with my phone when it ran IOS5. Other devices that had been upgraded experienced the same problem. With IOS 6 running I could not connect to the wifi networks there with an error message stating so. “Unable to connect to this network”.

I set up a wifi that was open with no security. “Unable to connect to this network”.

We toggled wifi, reset network setting and set the device back to default IOS6. “Unable to connect to this network”.

Time to phone Apple? It’s a question because it took a while to get through. they seem to be quite busy.

Apple Support are good but in the end of explaining to a fellow Brit I was put through to there second tier support, a lady in the US who explained. “This is a known issue and our engineers are working on it…” “It effects some devices on IOS6…” “You see,” she said, “IOS6 is much quicker, and it may be too quick to connect to some networks”.

To quick??? Perhaps Netgear who make the Prosafe Access Points we use might have a view on this.

They confirm its been worked on now. How long will it take? They are not sure.

Well with a little time on my hands I thought I’d compare an Apple Map with a Google Map of a place we visited in Swansea, Wales a few weeks back. If I’d seen the place on Apple Maps prior to booking I don’t think I’d have gone. All is not quite, Apple.

Right, time to check again if I can connect to the Wifi….

“Unable to connect to this network”. Oh.



Evernote – A cut and paster’s best friend

I love Evernote. Its great for collecting bits and pieces, notes and articles. You can organise the snippets by type, for example project, useful or funny. My favourite feature is being able to right click and Send To Evernote. If you cut and paste its highly recommended and free.


Go to for more

The Olympic Torch

Olympic Torch - Richard Barnes with the Olympic Torch belonging to Norman Butler

Richard Barnes holding the Olympic Torch belonging to a real hero, Norman Butler, inspirational fund raiser who rowed across the Atlantic in a DIY plywood boat, took him 80 days.I bumped into him on Saturday at the Cotswold Water Park. What a real gent and inspirational figure. It was a real privilege to meet Norman.

Norman has committed to various volunteer roles including: project manager (British Trust For Conservation Volunteers), supervisor (Gateway Club – a social club for people with learning difficulties), school governor, mentor (SMASH Youth Project – mentoring vulnerable young people aged 13-18 on 1-2-1 basis) and Territorial Army. He is always giving up us time up for others.In addition to these hands on roles Norman has undertaken numerous fund raising activities to raise thousands of pounds for the NSPCC, SMASH Youth Project and National Asthma Campaign.

Events include: rowing across the Atlantic unsupported in a self built plywood boat (had never been to sea), bungee jumping (scared of heights), running the London Marathon dressed as a Pink Fairy (used to smoke 40 a day and couldn’t run to bottom of his garden), triathlon (had to learn to swim), a boxing match (doesn’t like hitting people), a parachute jump (had to be pushed out of the plane) and original stand up comedy routine at a local club (for a shy person such as Norman not so easy).

The Benefits of Hindsight

Coventry University’s Lanchester BuildingThey say, whoever ‘they’ are, with the benefit of hindsight you can predict almost anything.  I’m sure that’s an oxymoron akin to those that explain such things away so easily.

“The clues were there”, “how did you miss that?”

Hindsight is a great thing but a bloody great cop out for the, ‘I told you so’ brigade who say such things.

The reverse of hindsight is jigsaw building. Set out before you are the pieces, take time to turn them all face up then sort the straight edges and corners. And there they are, all the bits that will make the picture. Think for a moment, imagine looking down at the pile but you have no guiding picture, the box lid is missing.

Reverse hindsight is the pile of upturned pieces. They’re all there but what can you make of them?

In the online world there’s been a few happenings that will be big pieces of a jigsaw that will change the picture of our world.  These game changers come from world big players, Apple, Microsoft, MIT, Harvard Universities and my local telephone exchange.

Here are the pieces

Ipad vs Microsoft Surface

Superfast fibre broadband

 Top US universities put their reputations online

The ‘I told you so’ brigade will use this as rich fodder in time to come to ‘big up’ their own perceived opinions. They may even write about them and put the links in an article.

Let me set before you some jigsaw pieces and create some reverse hindsight.

Piece One

Apple success of the iPad continues a pace. In fact I’m surrounded by bemused and weiry travellers on the 17:39 out of New Street Birmingham, my iPad collects these musing, suggests instant corrections for my misplaced keystrokes/dodgy spelling and secretly stores them in the cloud should the unthinkable happen.

I might run out of battery or 3G connection. God forbid both happen at the same time.

They’re everywhere. No long the bastion of geeks like me, early adopters and fickle trend setters. Not anymore. Even my dad has embraced this revolution. Even my Dad.

They make Apple a fortune every second of the day.  Microsoft have watched with green eyes and want a piece of this pie. They realised that Windows needed polishing  and they enter the battle with the Surface.

I would have loved to have been at the brain storming session for naming it a Surface, a fly on the wall to witness the moment when the consensus proclaimed, “By grief, I think you’ve got it.”

With more competition for the tablet market it cant be a bad thing, Windows owners will welcome the way Windows 8 will (should) work seamlessly between desktop and tablet.

Tablets for everyone. Everywhere.

Piece Two

300Mbs broadband is rolling out across Coventry, West Midlands and the UK. Openreach are putting in the cables, I saw them stuffing down the manholes, all very technical. The Openreach workers looked at me with bemused concern when I stopped the car and shouted across, “Is that for the fibre… yes… when… FANTASTIC.”

This leap will make all online experience fast and fluid. To put it in context, your DVD player can deliver HD pictures to your telly at 6Mbs. Why will Blockbuster/HMV/Game need stores?

Piece Three

The world’s top universities with some of the brightest minds teaching courses are now free. They are free after large donations from philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates.   The very same courses are online as students pay $30,000 per year to attend. There are plans to mark your exam papers. What you don’t get at the end of the course is the accreditation and the chance to wear a silly hat and black gown on graduation day.  (Yet.)

What you do get is the knowledge that demonstrates to potential employers you can do the job or for your own entrepreneurial benefit. This is a game changer and a big jigsaw piece with massive potential for the advance of education for the masses worldwide.

Why run up a debt at university when you can learn from the rich vein for free?

Lets put those three pieces together and postulate the potentials. The picture on this jigsaw box is likely not to be something seen before with wide ranging implications.

Here’s just one thing to ponder. I bet you can think of loads more.  My local University Library building cuts an impressive outline. Coventry University’s Lanchester Building, opened in 2000 is also one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the country.

Will there still be a need for it to be a library in 10 years or less? Will students need to go there to get a book, research and search for a reference? Will students need to go to a university building?

Reverse hindsight suggests not.

O2 Mobile Network Problems

O2 phone network is playing up. I had no connection at all then switched from 3G to the 2G network. It works now. On the iPhone its in Settings, General then Network. How worrying was it to have no reception.

Can you imagine, I might have had to use a phone box to make a call. A bit like in the old days. has the details