MacBook Pro gets hot | How to keep your MacBook cool

MacBook Pro gets hot

My MacBook Pro gets hot at times, usually when I’m trying to do something which requires a lot of processing power. As I’m typing this article it’s perfectly fine, but as soon as I run iMovie or Garage Band and start doing something heavy, the Mac gets very hot, especially just above the F keys. I’ve also noticed that the black strip at the bottom of the screen also gets very warm (it’s directly in front of the air vents).

Why a MacBook Pro gets hot

Unless it’s a hardware issue, the MacBook Pro gets hot because it’s having to do a lot of things at the same time. This is a common issue with any computer equipment. In my case I know for certain that there is no hardware fault as I’ve taken the computer apart and checked.

How to prevent a MacBook Pro getting hot

Whilst you’re going to want to keep on using your Mac for producing great movies and music, you’re going to want to keep it as cool as possible. Presuming that you’ve ruled out any hardware problems, you might want to consider the following ideas for keep your MacBook cool:

  • don’t use your MacBook directly on your lap – the heat from your body will prevent it from cooling and clothing may block the air vents required for cooling
  • never use your MacBook on a duvet or bed clothes
  • use a laptop tray to place your Mac onto – you’ll also find this more comfortable when using your MacBook
  • consider buying a laptop cooling tray – they run little fans on USB power and are excellent at cooling down any laptop when it’s working hard (and they can be used as a stand)
  • make sure the air vents are clear of obstructions and dust to keep your MacBook cool
  • if you’re handy with a screwdriver, have a look at the internal fan and make sure it’s not blocked with dust as this can considerably reduce cooling capability (refer to your warranty before doing this as you may void it)
  • don’t charge the MacBook whilst carrying our processor intensive activities like watching a movie or exporting large files

The benefits of keeping your MacBook cool

Overheating computer components reduces their lifespan, so keeping you machine cool will help prolong it’s life. If you keep your MacBook cool you’ll find it lasts longer.

Cooling the components also help the processor to deal with information faster, and whilst you probably won’t notice a difference in general use, your MacBook will export videos and music much faster.

Best NAS of 2017 – Network Attached Storage comparisons

best NAS 2017

If you’re here it’s because you’ll already know the many benefits Network Attached Stoage (NAS) can bring to your home or small business, but choosing the best NAS can be a minefield. So what is the best NAS of 2017?

Editors note: to save you time you can go straight to what we believe to be the best NAS of 2017 – the Synology DS715 with 2x3TB Seagate hard drives. Not the cheapest, but the best network attached storage system pound-per-pound. It’s solid, with good firmware, excellent cloud and mobile apps and supports multiple backup methods out of the box.

How the NAS comparison works

There are many different factors to consider when buying a NAS, from storage capacity to firmware. It would be far to complicated for the majority of people if we were to go into every minute detail, so for the sake of this article, we’ve concentrated on the most common.

RAID? Cloud software? Maximum capacity Wireless capability? Works out-of-the box? Processor Read/Write speed Cost
Synology DS715

best NAS 2017

All versions Yes (including mobile apps, grouping, security and Dropbox sync) Unlimited Yes (with additional USB dongle, not supplied) Once hard disks are installed (not  included) 1.4GHz Quad Core 216.1 MB/s reading speed and 142.5 MB/s writing speed from £249
TerraMaster F2-220

RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, SINGLE No (but can be synchronised with Dropbox) 8TB No (ethernet only) Once hard disks are installed (not  included) Celeron 2.41GHz with 2GB RAM 100MB/sec from £159.99

WD My Cloud

Unknown (not advertised by manufacturer) Yes 8TB No (ethernet only) Yes Unknown Not advertised from £109
Buffalo LinkStation 200 0/1/JBOD No 4TB No (ethernet only) Yes 800MHz ARM with 236Mb RAM No clear information  provided from £95

Why we believe the DS715 is the best NAS of 2017

When comparing the NAS available it was clear that there way a huge difference in the software options available. The DS715 hosts a huge number of installable applications, including web server, media server, remote access, cloud access, databases, MySQL and PhpMyAdmin. All of these options, plus it’s dual ethernet sockets and USB 3.0 (making external hard drives another option) make it by far the best NAS of 2017 in our opinion. This is a NAS that can be used at home or for small businesses. In fact, there’s no reason a small business couldn’t completely ditch their old file server and use the DS715 as a full solution; it really is that good.

Runner up of the best NAS of 2017

The position of second best goes to the TerraMaster, which offers a lot of the options of the DS715 but on a budget. It’s reasonably fast and can be upgraded to 8TB as your data needs increase. It’s not the best NAS of 2017, but it’s definitely a runner up.

You get what you pay for

As a user of the DS715, we know how excellent the manufacturers, Synology, are at updating firmware. They are regularly releasing new security patched and updated the built-in antivirus software.

If you can afford it, go for the DS715. Unless you’re a homeowner, we recommend you avoid the Buffalo and LinStation options.

The Marmite Factor | Meaning, Origin & Example uses

The Marmite Factor

‘The Marmite Factor’ is a colloquial phrase used in the English language, mainly in the United Kingdom. It is used to explain someone or something which splits division firmly one way or the other with no middle ground.

Origin of the term ‘The Marmite Factor’

Marmite is a spread made from yeast extract (a by-product of beer brewing) which has a salty, bitter and very strong flavour. As a result, Marmite is a product which splits opinion. Most people either like or dislike Marmite; there are very few who find themselves in-between. In fact, the slogan for the product is “Love it or hate it”. It is due to this distinction that the phrase ‘The Marmite Factor’ exists.

The origin of the term is unknown, but it is a relatively modern phrase. It is believed to have been coined around the mid 1990s when Marmite launched an advertising campaign based on the love/hate perception.

Example use of ‘The Marmite Factor’

As the term is colloquial, it will often be used in conversations to describe a person. For example “Have you met the new salesman, John? He’s very Marmite”.

How to deal with cold calls in the workplace

Cold calls in the workplace can be annoying, and at worst can stop you answering the phone to genuine customers. Companies are using increasingly technical methods of getting through to the ‘right’ person, so how to deal with cold calls in the workplace?

How to deal with cold calls in the workplace

Most of the time the cold caller doesn’t actually know the name of the person they want to speak to. They’ll usually try and get the name of someone responsible for a particular role, because once they have the name, it’s much easier to get through to them in the future. Here are some scenarios and what you can do to prevent them.

“Can I speak to the person responsible for the companies energy bills please?”

We get at least one of these a day. They are almost always companies trying to get you to change your gas or electric tariff, or to get the next date of your switch so that they can hound you nearer the time.

Best way to get rid of these callers is to say “Sorry, it’s our company policy not to provide this information over the telephone”.

“Can I speak to the person responsible for the companies mobile telephones please?”

Just like the energy companies, anyone who calls you and asks this question is trying to get names and dates. Again, reply with the same response: “Sorry, it’s our company policy not to provide this information over the telephone”.

Sometimes you’ll get an aggressive seller who will ask you why not. Simply respond with “sorry, we don’t discuss that over the telephone. Feel free to write to us with any questions”.

“Before I say anything else, I just want to let you know I’m not selling anything”.

This is almost always a lie. When someone starts the call with this line, they are almost ALWAYS calling to sell you something. The moment you get any suspicion they are selling something just hang up – if they can be rude enough to lie to you about their intentions, you are entitled to repay their rudeness by handing up.

Business Telephone Surveys

These are some of the cheekiest of calls in my experience. A company calls you, want you to spend 10 to 20 minutes giving them loads of information which they will then use to sell to other companies.

If you’re not careful, your employees may give away important (sensitive) information about your organisation. Make it a policy not to answer telephone surveys and instead invite the caller to write to you.

Start a procurement system

Large organisations have a procurement system and starting your own is a great way of dealing with cold calls in the workplace.  By adding a procurement system to your new supplier processes you’ll weed the wheat from the chaff as decent companies will make the effort to fill out your forms and supply you with the information you require to consider them as a supplier. Poor quality companies will rarely bother with this process.

“But they’re only doing their job”

Of course this is true, and there’s nothing wrong with someone trying to earn money. But cold calling is a cheap and outdated method of getting  custom. It’s an old fashion version of spam email.

Decent companies invest in a long-term strategy for marketing. They invest in their sector and want to keep their customers happy. They gain new customers by recommendations and by building on quality service. Cold calling is not quality: it’s random, time-wasting and annoying.

That cold call might have just cost you money!

If you’re a small business or a sole trade, that cold caller may be holding up the telephone line from a genuine customer with money to spend. Learning to deal with cold calls in the workplace is vital to preventing you from losing money.

Thank you, Steve Hewlett – legendary present dies at 58

Steve Hewlett

I’ve just heard Eddie Mair announce to the nation’s Radio 4 listeners that Steve Hewlett died this morning at the young age of 58 after a short battle with cancer of the esophagus.

Those who listen to Radio 4’s PM program will be used to hearing Steve talk about his experience with presenter and friend Eddie Mair. It’s no secret that his treatment failed and for the last few weeks his voice has been audibly weaker.

Steve was diagnosed wih cancer around the same time at my father was diagnoised with throat cancer and learning of his death left me stunned. Luckily for me and my family, my dad looks as though he will recover in full. Sadly not the same for Steve Hewlitt’s family.

I never met Steve Hewlitt, but like thousands others I felt like I had. He had an ability to explain any situation perfectly, and elegantly. Steve Hewlett was an incredibly loved and authoritive journalist, who had a long standing career with the BBC and a great sense of humour.

“At no point did I feel the diagnoses crushing me” said Mr Hewitt during an interview with Eddie Mair when he first started to explain his journey with cancer. He hoped that his experience would help other people talk about cancer and how to deal with it. He certainly gave a very descriptive account of how he was treated which many cancer sufferers will related to.

Steve Hewlett’s voice was unmistakeable. He will be missed. His family has asked that any donations be made to the Royal Marsden Hospital, where Steve was treated.

Lima Cloud Storage Review | Could be much better

Lima Cloud

Lima cloud has been touted as the next best thing for those looking at a cloud solution on a budget. So is this new cloud solution really as good as it sounds?

The manufacturers of Lima, Lima Technology Inc., claim that Lima will “will protect your files and make them available to you on all your devices remotely”. The device was produced using a kickstarter campaign

However, after hundreds of reviews on Amazon, it appears Lima isn’t as straight forward to use as the manufacturers would have you believe. In fact, on the day of writing this post, 39% of reviews gave Lima just one star. Common complaints including the device failing to recognise drives, poor customer service from Lima and connection failures.

Advantages of Lima

  • one-off cost with no monthly subscription
  • your data is kept by you, so no chance of data mining
  • easy to upgrade storage capacity
  • Apple Air Play and Google Chromecast compatible
  • it’s small

Disadvantages of Lima

  • there is only one backup of your files (unlike more expensive cloud solutions which offer two hard-disks working as a RAID solution)
  • if the hard drive connected to your Lima is damaged, the files are unlikely to be irretrievable
  • No support for Linux

Suspicious advertising?

When I first looked into Lima cloud, the official website claimed that the waiting list was already 97% full and I needed to enter my email address quickly or risk losing the chance to sign up “due to high demand”. Meretriciously, the next day I received an email telling me I was one of the lucky people that had been selected to buy Lima. Two weeks on, the website still says the same. Mmmm……

I’m also concerned about some of the claims made by the manufacturers on the Amazon page. One selling point of the device claims “both your computer & smartphone can hold up several terabytes!”. Actually, that not true. Whilst your phone may have access to terabytes of data (subject to the size of the hard drive you attach) your phone doesn’t actually store the data; it just retrieves it.


At $99 Lima seems expensive, especially for the problems that many users have reported. The concept is good, but Lima doesn’t seem ready for prime time just yet.

To truly improve, the company will need to up its game in terms of customer service. An additional USB port to allow RAID would also be an improvement as would wifi capability.

My recommendation

Whilst more expensive, Synology offer some of the best NAS devices with cloud storage available. The hardware is quality, especially when combined with Western Digital Red hard drives. The apps are all very stable and the software provided is top quality.

Expensive, yes. But then when you consider the price of your data, how much is too much?

On a budget? Then check out the WD 3TB personal cloud solution.

Is your child a Gadget Gremlin?

Gadget Gremlin









I first experienced my child turning into a Gadget Gremlin when he was around 7 years old and wrote about why it is important to limit your child’s screen time. His grandparents had bought him a gift of a Nintendo DS for Christmas. My wife wasn’t too keen on the idea what with him being so young, but I thought it was important that he had some kind of experience with the technology which would surround him as he grew into a young adult. However, we quickly began to notice a pattern of bad behaviour when he was separated from it.

What is a Gadget Gremlin?

A Gadget Gremlin is a child or young person who usually displays good, placid behaviour, but who turns angry, violent or rude when removed from technology. Such as technology includes (but is not limited to) tablets, games consoles, cell or mobile phone or PC’s.

What causes a child to turn into a Gadget Gremlin?

The exact cause of bad behaviour as a result of technology withdrawal isn’t fully understood, but there are lots of studies which have show that the brain can experience similar withdrawal that to drugs.

One study found that students could experience “symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts trying to go cold turkey” when turning off mobile phones, avoiding the internet and tuning out of the television. The doctor in charge of the study, Dr Gerodimos of Bournemouth University, believes that technology is changes the way our brains work and rely on it.

Technology may be damaging your child’s development

There’s no doubt that advancements in technology can be extremely useful, but can also have a detrimental effect on your child. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, you may already have a Gadget Gremlin in your home:

  • does your child cry, scream or hit out after being removed from technology?
  • is it difficult to get your child to participate in exercise?
  • does your child often wake up during the night to play electronic games or watch online videos?
  • has your child ever wet/soiled themself before making it to the toilet whilst playing on a games consol or compute?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, you have already have a child addicted to technology

How you can avoid raising a Gadget Gremlin

There are a number of steps that you can take to prevent your child becoming a Gadget Gremlin. These include:

  • limiting your child’s use of technology, perhaps to 1 hour a day (there are many applications with can help with this including Microsoft Family and Norton Family)
  • banning your child from technology for at least 3 days if they display bad behaviour when withdrawn from it (following through with a punishment is vital)
  • ensuring that your child is only using content relevant to their age group (allowing a 10 year old to play 18 rated games is asking for trouble – they are rated for a reason)
  • ensuring that you know what your child is doing online at all times

Controlling your child’s use of technology will undoubtedly result in improvements in their behaviour. This is something that me and many friend have experienced with our own children.

Do you have any advice or tips to prevent Gadget Gremlins? They new sure to leave them in the comments below…and good luck!

Grain Brewery Slate review | Possibly the best porter ever produced

Grain Brewery Slate review

Last night my wife and I visited a new real ale pub for us, the Old New Inn in Colchester. It was a first time at that pub and our first time trying Grain Brewery beers. Introduce Grain Brewery Slate – which might just be the best porter ever produced.

I realise that’s quite a claim, especially given the competition from beers such as Old Growler, so beer with me here (yes, a deliberate typo).

Grain Brewery Slate has some serious things going on.

What the brewery say about Slate

I’m always a bit nervous about discussing brewery tasting notes. It kind of makes me feel like the brewery is telling you want you should taste, and lets be honest, taste is very subjective. There are a lot of people who will tell you they’re experts in real ale tasting, but fact is half of them are waffling.

Grain describe Slate as “A deep, dark and rich smoked porter, brewed with a complex blend of malts”.

What I say about Slate

Actually, the first thing I could taste was a subtle undertone of chocolate. If anything, the smokiness took a back seat. But the thing that struck me the most about Grain Brewery Slate was how smooth it was. I didn’t remember to get a photo of the pint (too busy raving about it!), but it had a very slight head to it which seemed to have appeared naturally, rather than because of how it was poured. Almost like the crema on a decent cup of coffee. Yes it had the malty flavours (what porter doesn’t) but this one was so complex with so many different flavours coming through; like no porter I’ve ever drunk before.

At 6% it might be a little be stronger than some might like, but with decent ABV comes great flavour. The pint was at the perfect temperature, too. Not too cold.

Grain Brewery Slate might just be the best porter ever produced

To me, this porter was perfection in a glass. It has everything I look for in a porter and more. I’m not a fan of smokey drinks, and this one was nthing to be scared of. I just can’t explained strongly enough how smooth this beer is. If you like the black stuff, you need to try this.


DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles in crackdown on law breakers

DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles

DVLA Clamps Untaxed VehiclesDrivers are being warned as the DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles at the roadside of the road if they fail to pay for Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax).

The DVLA and Local Authorities are carrying our sweeps of major towns and cities across the UK as they look for vehicles where drivers have failed to pay road tax. These photos were capture on Mersea Road, Colchester, Essex, on 17th February 2017.

Vehicles fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology are being utilised by the DVLA quickly identify vehicles which are untaxed. The vehicles are then clamped with bright yellow wheel clamps; both serving as embarrassment to the owner and a warning to other drivers.

The move comes as a result of millions of drivers failing to tax their vehicles since the tax disc was abolished for an online only system in October 2014. As a result, the number of untaxed vehicle rose to over 560,00 in the summer of 2015.

The DVLA Clamps Untaxed Vehicles where drivers have tried to dodge VED

Seemingly, some vehicle owners believe that the lack of a tax disc displayed in the vehicle means that they can get away without insuring it. However, the modern ANPR system can tell officials if a vehicle has tax or insurance within a matter of seconds by querying the DVLA and Motor Insurers databases.

The real cost of driving without road tax

The DVLA clamps untaxed vehicles and then charges to have the impounded vehicle released. There is a £100 release fee plus the price of the road tax. A vehicle not taxed within 24 hours may be removed and destroyed after 7 days.

The clamps can be fitted by the DVLA, the police, local councils and VOSA.

The message is clear: if you can’t afford to tax your vehicle, it shouldn’t be used on the road. Sooner or later you’ll be caught.

Another vehicle which was clamped by Colchester Borough Council or the DVLA on Mersea Road, Colchester


YouTube is a Trolls Paradise

YouTube is a Trolls Paradise

YouTube is a Trolls Paradise and something needs to be done. At a time when cyber bullying and Internet Trolls are in the headlines, it seems odd that YouTube still make it to easy for Trolls to sign up for new accounts to spread their hate, seemingly anonymously.

YouTube, which has been owned by Google since 2005, allows new users to sign up for an account by opening a Google Account. Opening a Google Account is a very straight forward process with almost no security checks made whatsoever. Once created, a Troll can easily open a YouTube account and start posting comments.

Anyone who uses YouTube regularly will have probably found themselves subject to abuse at some point or another. Last week, I made a simply comment on a video, only to be abused by numerous Trolls who didn’t agree with me. As well as various vulgarities, I was attacked personally about my appearance and even my family. For me it’s water off a ducks back, but for many it becomes very personal.

YouTube is a Trolls Paradise – but why?

If you’ve ever tried to report Trolling on YouTube, you’ll know it’s extremely difficult. First of all, the process of reporting it unnecessarily long and clunky. Half the time you’ll get a response from YouTube saying “We’re unable to identify a violation of our Community Guidelines within your recent report to our Safety and Abuse Tool”.

There are a number of methods that YouTube could adopt to prevent Trolling. Google use some of these already, so should alreadybe experts at implementing them on YouTube:

  • telephone verification – make a new user link their mobile or home phone to their account (people are much less likely to troll if they know they can be traced)
  • link the account to something personal – such as a bank account

Whatever the answer, more needs to be done to prevent trolling on Youtube. YouTube is a Trolls Paradise and in 2017, that’s just not acceptable.

Dealing with YouTube trolls effectively

According to, there are 4 main things to do when dealing with YouTube trolls:

  1. Never, ever say something hateful back
  2. Find a way to be funny without (obviously) cutting the other person down
  3. Agree with them in a humorous way
  4. Let your fans handle it

The main thing is not to allow yourself to get dragged into their hateful rhetoric. Remember that some of these people have real psychological problems.