FIVE AUTUMN GIFTS #1 – Casio Edifice EQB-501TRC

Casio has come up with the sporty and classy Edifice range that will attract millennials and more.


casioCasio, for those of us who remember the heady days of using a calculator for the fist time, will always be rooted in the 1970s, but the intervening decades have seen this Japanese company branch out into all kinds of technology products, not least watches.

Its Edifice range is a case in point. This reviewer hasn’t haven’t worn a watch since 2005 when my 18-month son dropped my Zenith-wedding-present watch from an upstairs window, but I can see why people wear them… as well as telling the time.

So, somebody sent me a sample of the Casio Edifice EQB-501TRC and I said I’d review it; the first time in nearly two decades that I’ve sent back a sample after reviewing. Things clearly aren’t what they were.

This review, therefore, is completely clean as there is no tacit deal to write a positive one in return for the ‘gift’. No false review here.

The watch looks wrist-made for so-called millennials. It looks expensive and it weighs well on the arm. More importantly it is solar-powered, can connect to Bluetooth and could be described as a ‘half-smartwatch’, although nothing like the real thing.

Personally, I like classic design so the multi-dials and over-features didn’t go down too well, but as I said, it looks expensive and I wasn’t against the feeling of wearing it.

In many ways it felt like wearing a wedding ring for the first time. A bit weird, but something that would be easy to get used to.

At around £400, it’s not cheap (it’s certainly not as much as my Zenith cost) and I fancy many a young person will like the ‘ironic’ ostentation and will buy it for being a watch, not a smartwatch.

As for me, I’m about to put it in a pre-paid envelope and send it back to the company. Even if they had let me keep it, I don’t think I would have started wearing watches again, but I don’t think I’m the market.

Good watch, well made.

Crypto takes giant step with new UK property exchange

A new global exchange crypto platform means UK property can now be bought and sold with Bitcoin.


cryptoCrypto is the new Klondyke, Bitcoin a new type of currency and the blockchain a new type of mint… all of which are probably the future of money.

This attitude has been reinforced now that blockchain applications company TrustMe has created a peer-to-peer platform and UK property can become a globally tradable asset.

The company says it is ‘revolutionising the global real estate market’ by allowing the fractional trading of individual properties using ‘asset-backed certificates’ on linked and Bitcoin-denominated global property exchanges.

TrustMe’s Whitepaper allows homeowners to trade shares (‘property certificates’) in their property on an open market as a new type of tradeable asset-class. Clients on the property exchanges will be able to purchase up to 49% of the value of a property or residential home with Bitcoin or fiat currency, while the 51% owner-occupier continues to live in and manage the property.

The first crypto exchange will be rolled-out in London in October, with parallel TrustMe Property Exchanges launching shortly in Toronto and New York. The company will announce other cities over the next three months and will establish regulatory compliance in each region it operates in.

London is the first choice for the location of the initial exchange as it has a buoyant £2 trillion property market and well-established property laws, rights and processes. TrustMe wants to ‘democratise’ ownership by removing the capital threshold that had previously restricted the owning of property to a privileged few.

“The London property market has long been prohibitively expensive and needs to be democratised. Our Property Exchanges will allow existing homeowners to unlock the value of their own house or properties and to use these assets as a form of stored liquid wealth, similar to a 30-90 day bank account, by trading as much or as little of their asset as they wish in an efficient, transparent and auditable manner,” said Antony Abell, Co-Founder & Managing Director of TrustMe.

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a permanent digital public ledger of transactions and to share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to add to a record on the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority.

Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to ever change it or to remove it. When someone wants to add to a record, participants in the network run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction.

If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid (that is, identifying information, timing, location etc… matches the blockchain’s history) then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.

For those with access it provides a permanent and secure record of ownership of all registered items for all parties who use it and it can provide automated systems to remove significant cost overheads in physical and transactional distribution systems.

58% of UK parents hide online behaviour from their kids

As kids become more tech-literate, a new survey says parents are more worried about their own online posts than what their kids are posting.


parentsParents are good, parents are bad. The woman in the image accompanying this piece probably isn’t bad, but she’s certainly stupid.

So it is with digital personae and online personalities. Parents, especially those who use tech to distract young children, are having to lock down their devices as their children become more tech savvy, a new study by cyber security and online surveillance experts Online Spy Shop reveals.

* 70% of parents scaled back gadget access as kids got older

* 58% of parents cover their online tracks by deleting browser history or locking their kids out of shared devices

* Dads are more likely to hide browsing history from their kids – half have done this at least once

* 28% of parents have changed the passcode on their phone to lock out kids

* 20% of parents say they only locked out their kids to keep something a surprise

The majority (88%) of people who participated in the study said they’ve given their children access to their phone or computer to keep them entertained. But of those, 80% (70% of the total) say they’ve had concerns about their own privacy as their children got older.

On average, dads are more likely to cover their tracks than mums.Two-thirds said they had concealed their online behaviour from their children, compared to 49% of mums.

“Depending on the device, there are ways to restrict access and protect your own privacy without completely locking children out. So it’s not a surprise that some parents are now ‘covering their own tracks’ to keep their kids away from unsuitable content,” said Steve Roberts, Director of Online Spy Shop.

I blame the parents. Sic transit gloria mundi.

European VC fundraising reaches highest level since 2007

Fundraising in Europe is on the up because of its experienced fund managers, developed ecosystem to carry and VC-backed success stories.

fundraisingEuropean venture capital fundraising last year hit €6.4 billion — the highest level since 2007, according to a report from Invest Europe.

Nearly 10% of this capital was from North American institutional investors as Europe’s growing economies, thriving investment ecosystem and the unprecedented rise of its tech industry make it an attractive investment destination, reveals The Acceleration Point: Why Now is the Time for European Venture Capital.

Europe represents the world’s largest single market, with GDP growth of 1.8% at the end of last year according to the European Commission. All economies are seeing growth, boosted by the corporate sector, increasing investments and job creation.

Invest Europe’s data shows VC fund sizes are rising, with 13 funds raising in excess of €100 million last year. This is set to be boosted further this year thanks to a new €400 million European Union-backed fund-of-funds to facilitate more investment from large institutional investors.

“Anyone who has ever played Angry Birds or searched for flights via Skyscanner is benefiting from Europe’s highly talented entrepreneurs — not to mention the fintech and life sciences start-ups leading the way in their sectors. Backed by Europe’s experienced VC fund managers, these companies can rival the best in the world for returns to investors,” said Nenad Marovac, Managing Partner of VC firm DN Capital.

Of the €4.3 billion total venture capital investment in Europe last year, fund managers invested 44% into companies specialising in information and communications technology. The second highest amount, 27%, went to biotech and healthcare.

Businesses in this sector have a strong track record in Europe, such as Switzerland’s Actelion and Denmark’s Genab with their marketed cardiovascular and cancer products. The remaining capital was invested into companies focused on energy, financial services, consumer products and business services, according to Invest Europe data.

Venture capital-backed companies created in Europe include the Swedish music service Spotify, the UK’s travel comparison site Skyscanner, Denmark’s customer service software maker ZenDesk, Germany’s online sales platform Auto 1 Group, France’s car sharing service Bla Bla Car and Finland’s gaming pioneers Rovio, King and SuperCell.

To download a FREE copy of The Acceleration Point report, visit Invest Europe’s website.