Category: Technology

May 27th, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline

searchVODAFONE started to roll out its 4G network in East Grinstead this week as part of a £1billion investment on network and services across the UK.

The arrival of Vodafone 4G in East Grinstead means all customers with compatible devices and bundles will be able to connect to the internet more quickly, more reliably and in more places than ever before.

4G services will help businesses improve productivity by enabling employees to work where they want to, when they want to.

The arrival of 4G also brings Vodafone customers the ability to take advantage of a wide range of entertainment whether at home or on the go, offering music, sport, movies and TV through Vodafone’s leading content partnerships*.

Vodafone has now extended its 4G coverage to 546 larger cities, towns and districts as well as thousands of smaller communities across the UK. Vodafone plans to provide coverage using 2G, 3G or 4G services to 98% of the UK population.

The rollout of 4G services is part of approximately £1 billion Vodafone is spending across its network and services in the UK this year, with a similar amount spent last year. This includes network improvements across its 3G network aimed at both indoor and outdoor coverage and the nationwide provision of HD (High Definition) Voice technology on its 3G network.

The Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal programme is also aiming to bring 3G coverage for the first time to 100 remote communities across the UK.

Posted in News, Technology Tagged with: , ,

April 1st, 2015 by eastgrinsteadonline


APRIL 1st and everything is not quite what it seems. Google, as usual, has a number of April Fool’s day jokes and Easter eggs hidden in its Websites and services today.

Go to Google Maps at,-0.0162869,13z and click on the Pacman icon in the bottom lefthand corner of the screen and you can control the famously hungry video games character around the streets of East Grinstead avoiding the ghosts and eating those power pills.

Try and everything will seem somewhat back to front.

Stay on your guard, because not all you read today will be normal, although this has been the case in Middle Row for some time now 😉


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August 16th, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline


by Barney Durrant

AMAZON’s latest idea of shortening delivery times and adding convenience for its customers means they will soon be putting in collection points at mainline railway stations in the UK.

As a long-time daily commuter this idea sounds perfect and in the era of click and collect from all the major clicks-to-bricks high street chains, something Amazon needed to do to keep up with the competition.

It already has lockers and deals with some other stores to help its customers collect their goods at the most accessible place of their choice.

However as I thought about the possibilities of this move and how I can quickly get a CD, book or gift as I hurried through my daily commute, it struck me that there was a massive opportunity in one particular area which Amazon is starting to exploit in the US.

Wouldn’t it be a fantastic service, if you could sit at your desk with a laptop at say 3.30pm in the afternoon, have a quick browse of the Internet and order your dinner, a bottle of wine and maybe some milk and bread?

Come going-home time, a couple of hours later, the ultra-efficient ecommerce website would have delivered your groceries to the station you were due to pass through and you would effortlessly pick up everything you needed for that night’s meal.

In our time-poor world, wouldn’t a service like that resonate with the many professionals frazzled at the end of a long day and heading home to an empty fridge?

In our ever-connected life, maybe the fridge could cut out the middle man, email your order and all you would have to do is get your dinner from the station-based space.

Hour or less delivery times would make this super-fast and super-convenient – and  a massive success for whichever ecommerce player does it first.

So come on Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado and Sainsbury’s, don’t let Amazon steal your lunch this time.

Barney Durrant is the owner of Bluebell Digital, a local digital marketing consultancy.

Posted in Digital Life, Technology Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

August 9th, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

358c52b Fantastic VoyageDIGITAL Life,  our new column, will cover the latest in technology and digital innovation, and all the developments from the big players including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.

by Barney Durrant

WEARABLE technology is the latest trend, as Google releases a brand new version of Android at its I/O conference aimed at capitalising on the new wave of devices that are being developed to closely interact with our bodies and senses.

A range of smartwatches is already available to pre-order and Apple are rumoured to be working on a watch for IoS.

Google Glass has just gone on general sale in the UK, following on from the US, so the breadth of available devices looks set to explode in the coming months.

It’s always fun to look at current trends and think about where they may ultimately go, as miniaturisation, storage and software improve and evolve.

Musing on wearables led me to recall the classic sci-fi film, The Fantastic Voyage. If you are of a certain generation, you have probably – like me – seen this movie many times as a child on afternoon TV and wondered at the sixties-style futurology of it all.

Isaac Asimov wrote the script, so the tale of a mission inside a submarine which has been transformed into something the size of a blood cell, is maybe more predictive than some of the other tall tales churned out by Hollywood at the time.

The team travels through the body of a comatose, defecting Russian scientist trying to heal him and thus unlock his miniaturisation secret formula to be used for the benefit of the West.

Cold War themes pervade and I won’t ruin it by telling you what happens in the end – it will certainly bring a tear to your eye. I loved this film as a child and couldn’t get enough of the idea that one day we would advance enough to send tiny people inside each other’s bodies to fix or explore them. This technology certainly seemed a long way away in the eighties.

So is this crazy science-fiction at its hackneyed worst or actually a foreshadowing of the future? Well, today you might try a pair of VR glasses – either Google’s Glass or Facebook’s acquisition, Oculus Rift, strap on a watch that interacts with your smartphone to give you instant updates or wear a fitness bracelet which monitors your physical activity and sleep. Tomorrow, however, these devices will only become smaller and more integrated with our bodies, minds and maybe even emotions.

So, come 2020, maybe you’ll buy the latest smart device from the Web, have it delivered to your home the next day, then pop it under your tongue with a glass of water and take it down in one gulp. Perhaps your doctor will help you place it under the skin of your wrist and then stitch it in.

Swallowables anyone?

Barney Durrant is the owner of Bluebell Digital, a local digital marketing consultancy.

Posted in Digital Life, News, Technology Tagged with: , , , , , ,

July 19th, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline


SCOTT Cinema in East Grinstead, Chequer Mead and the Crawley Multiplex show regular live theatre performances from National Theatre Live, the Royal Shakespeare Company and also live events such as the recent Monty Python shows from the O2.

In the first of a new regular column for East Grinstead Online on technology, Barney Durrant explores the new way to see live theatre.

FIFTEEN pounds doesn’t buy too much these days – a couple of CDs, a sixth of a premier league match ticket, maybe a bottle of whisky or gastro pub meal.

So it seemed like a bargain to go to my local cinema in East Grinstead and pay this for a ticket to see a top class play beamed live from the West End.

Even better, it would be starring two of Britain’s finest actors, the now well-established Bill Nighy and rising star Carey Mulligan and all  for a fiver more than the awful Transformers sequel booming at a multiplex near you now.

It was my first time at a live performance of a play at the cinema and straight away I was plunged into the theatrical atmosphere. The stage is waiting empty on screen and the sounds of the ‘real’ audience play into the speakers giving the impression that you really have joined the London chattering classes for the evening.

However, everything else is reassuringly cinema-like – popcorn is munched, drinks and ice cream bought and everyone settles down to watch the screen.

At the appointed hour – 7pm kick off for this one – the house and cinema lights go down in perfect harmony and the play begins.

It must be an interesting challenge for the actors. I assume they give their usual performance, but in fact the much larger ‘live’ audiences get a more TV like experience, as the camera isn’t fixed and swoops in for close-ups the theatre audience would not see. I could really see the acting breaking out on Bill Nighy’s face at times, as he ploughed through his wordy lines with a great lightness of touch.

I won’t review the play beyond saying it’s a must-see – the acting is perfect and the direction by Stephen Daldry as excellent as you would expect.

David Hare’s play creaks a little at times and shows its age – no mobiles or internet in this nineties world, but the core relationship isn’t suffocated by the more political overtones and it certainly resonates with Britain under the new Tories.

The acting is as intense as you would expect in what is essentially a two-hander although a third actor bookends the action with brief scenes.

Another advantage of the live cinema experience is that you get a presenter, in this case Emma Freud and there is normally some kind of interval entertainment to add to the fun.

We were privileged to hear from the man himself, playwright David Hare, who rarely gives interviews, but there he was, live and direct,  chatting in front of the full house at the Wyndhams Theatre. He seemed relaxed and jovial and answered all the questions fully.

His views on NT Live grabbed my attention – he said that he had made it a condition of Skylight’s revival that it was part of the National Theatre Live programme.

As regional tours of straight plays have declined, he said he loved the idea that the cinema could democratise his work and spread it to a regional audience who were locked out of the limited London runs that a play with such stars would enjoy.

Even many people with access to London would struggle to afford, or even just secure, tickets to a production in such demand.

I am won over.

For a little more than a standard cinema ticket, you can go and see a top class West End production, close up and personal and get your ‘DVD extra’ in the interval.

Adverts ran for Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and War Horse (former ‘live’ broadcasts are regularly ‘encored’ by popular demand), and for upcoming live shows, including the new Streetcar Named Desire starring Gillian ‘Agent Scully’ Anderson and Medea by Euripides.

So old and new clash – an art form with roots in ancient Greece, which is in decline in comparison to musical theatre, is given a shot in the arm by technology.

Shows are listed at your local cinema and are beamed to audiences across the UK and sometimes globally.

Check out what’s next at or go to for listings
or check out Chequer Mead at

As Shakespeare said in As You Like It ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’

Seems the stage is now a little closer.

Barney Durrant (c) 2014

Posted in Digital Life, Entertainment and Arts, News, Technology Tagged with: , , , , , ,