Barbury Castle Revisited: This time from the air

Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort that is situated near Wroughton which is a large village in North Wiltshire. Barbury Castle is one of several forts found along the Ridgeway route.

Barbury Castle lies within the Wessex Downs which is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is also an local vantage point, which, with the ideal weather can get a view across to the Cotswolds and the River Severn.

It has two deep defensive ditches and ramparts. The Old Ridgeway runs close by and the modern Ridgeway crosses through the castle which makes it very popular with local walkers.

The site was first occupied around 2500 years ago and was also used during the Roman occupation of the local area.

Archaeological investigations at Barbury have shown evidence of a number of buildings, indicating a village or military garrison around this time.

In more recent times during World War Two, US troops were based there manning anti-aircraft guns.

 

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Bixi: The first touch free remote: Review

The Bixi Box

So a while back on Kickstarter, I decided to back a hands free remote designed to use gestures to do things such as turn lights in and off, answer phone calls while driving and change music on your mobile as while as having input from IFTTT.

Yesterday I received my first Bixi as for some reason they’re sending out my second end one in the second end batch which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Bixi and its packaging

My first thoughts on it was that the box was very nicely done but feels cheap, not really want I expected from a £55 device. The device was nicely presented in a soft foam backing with the outer ring on it and a spare ring which is a nice touch seeing it looks like it can easily be lost when your charging the device. Also it comes with a handy magnet for securing it to other surfaces.

The Bixi

So to the device it self, the build quality is disappointing to say at least. It feels cheap, when you first remove the outer ring to turn it on, you can’t help but to notice the sharp plastic around it. I wish it was dulled a bit. The power button it self is slightly resessed in to the body which makes it a pain to turn on and to turn the device off (more on that later).

The charging port it self is a mirco USB which is kinda nice to see as it’s the most common USB port these days, so your phone charger lead can be used (it doesn’t come with one).

Turning the device on

Turning the device on is easy, you just press the power button and it lights up on the display and you go into the Bixi app and click on ‘find your device’ which then connects via Bluetooth. Very easy and simple.

Using the Bixi

Using the Bixi is a bit of a pain I’ve found, it’s all gestured controlled, you left to play a previous track, swipe right to skip to the next track and so on. The same with lights, or making it act as a trigger for your go pro that is once you’ve connected them to the app which is very easy to do (just your username and password).

The app thro, is very simple and easy to use. As you can see, the device is in the middle showing its name (which you can rename and mine will shortly be renamed after a planet from firefly as all my devices are) as well as the battery level. You can tap the two ‘spaces’ on either side of the device to add task to it such as music or to your smart lights and so on.

Battery life wise, it takes around a couple of hours to get a full charge from empty which is quite good. I’m yet to test to see how long it lasts for and will update accordingly.

Tuning the device off

Good luck on this one, Bixi’s website says you press the power/reset button three times and the display will blink to day its turning off but the unit I have seems like it much rather stay turned on. I’m hoping that it’s a software issues which will be fixed in a update.

Overall

Overall, the Bixi does show promise, the whole idea of a hands free remote using just gestures is a good idea, one that takes some getting used to.

The benefits of having one is useful, like having one in the car is great, it’s just a wave over the device and it answers or declines a call, one on the bike handles to start your go pro recording as well (if you don’t have a go pro remote) to having one simply in the kitchen for when your listening to music and want to skip a track but then again… Alexa can do that (and a much more better job).

So really to sum up, I would save your money, it’s not the best device out there, it feels cheap, hard to get used to and at the moment quite buggy. Whether that is because it’s just come out and new updates will come out and fix these problems or like all new technology, it’s going to take a while to get used to.

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Train Travels

A Great Western Railway Class 43 waiting to leave London Paddington Train Station bound for Bristol Temple Meads
A Great Western Railway Class 150 waiting to leave Bristol Temple Meads Train Station
A East Midlands Class 222 at Leicester Station
A Great Western Railway Class 153 waiting to leave Swindon train station running the trans Wiltshire service
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