Peter Griffin

Peter Griffin is the founding manager of the Science Media Centre and the founder and editor of Sciblogs. Prior to founding the SMC, he was Technology Editor of the New Zealand Herald. He is a technology commentator for the New Zealand Listener, Radio New Zealand and Newstalk ZB. Peter is a member of the senior management team of the Royal Society of New Zealand. x

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Sonos Play 1 - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 25, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 11 If you are looking for a compact audio system for small to medium-sized rooms in your home, the Sonos Play: 1 should be on your shortlist. Sonos has been around since 2002 delivering quality, compact speakers. Its real claim to fame is the way it allows you to easily network speakers together into a wireless mesh network that you can control from one central place – which used to be a remote control but which is now your smartphone. Sonos has a fulsome range of speakers, including soundbars and subwoofers for home theatre. But for simply playing music from multiple different streaming sources, the Play 1 is a great option. It has a small footprint, sitting easily on a bedside table … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Segway MiniLite - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 24, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 10 I once took a Segway tour around Angel Island, a beautiful hilly state park in San Francisco, just across the water from Belvedere. The Segway was super-responsive, powerful and once I’d learned to trust in it, a joy to ride. I immediately wanted one to use back home around Wellington. Then I learned how much they cost – well over$10,000. I didn’t think much more about Segways, occasionally seeing them around Wellington, mainly on the sideline at Westpac Stadium as the Sky TV cameramen adapted them for use keeping up with the action during rugby games. The price never dropped – new Segways sell for $14,000 – $16,000. As such, they are mainly used for security … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: JBL Charge 3 - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 22, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 9 When I went into JB Hi-Fi a few days ago to pick up a wireless speaker to ensure we had a suitable Christmas soundtrack for the staff party, I had to queue to access the wireless speaker section. What is not to like about wireless speakers? You can take them anywhere, they stream music from your phone and some even let you have speakerphone conversations without touching your phone. They are the prefect Christmas gift. At home I have two Sony SRS-X3 Bluetooth speakers that do a great job of giving me stereo sound in my small apartment – and I take them away to my crib up the coast for some relaxed background music while … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Samsung Galaxy 8 - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 21, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 8 Competition is ratcheting up among Android phone makers, but nothing topped the Galaxy 8 this year as Samsung tweaked the design of its flagship Galaxy and increased screen quality and processing power to deliver a winning handset. The Huawei 10 Mate Pro came close – look for that to feature as we round out our 12 Gadgets of Christmas. Recharged There was a lot riding on the launch of the Galaxy 8 and the more recently released Note 8, following the flaming debacle of the Note 7 battery issue. These new phones needed to be great – and they are. The 8’s design masterstroke involved removing most of the bezel around the screen to deliver more … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Nintendo Switch - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 19, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 6 Nintendo redefined gaming with the Wii console and it may well do so again with the Switch, a console that plugs into your TV, but can be reconfigured for gaming on the move as well. Don’t expect the graphics grunt of a PS4 or Xbox One, that’s not the point here. This is convenient gaming that brings a new element to Nintendo classics like Mario Kart. The Switch is effectively a tablet computer with the Joy Con controller which ingeniously splits in two to allow two-player games. The versatility is the Switch’s key asset – it is highly portable and offers enough battery life for a serious gaming stint on the move. Launched in March … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Bose QC35 II headphones - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 18, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 5 I’ve had two decent pairs of headphones in the last decade. First, there were my Sennheiser HD 201-II over-ear headphones which were tough and sounded great and had a ridiculously long audio cable. I make many podcasts and listened to a lot of prog rock with them on. Then they were stolen, from my office of all places. So, a few years ago, I bought the Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling wired headphones in white and turquoise (a bad move as they show up the dirt very easily). I’ve been very happy with those headphones which fold up to fit in a nice little case. When I do upgrade, I’ll likely stick with Bose … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Samsung Frame - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 15, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 4 Last November, during the shaking in Wellington that resulted from the Kaikoura earthquake, my Samsung TV took a nose dive off the TV cabinet onto the floor. I already had “insurance claim” pounding through my head as I lifted the 2013 F7500, a state of the art TV for its time, off the floor and back onto the stand. But it worked just fine, no damage done – and no insurance claim necessary. I was thinking of that as I looked at the 65 inch The Frame TV which I test drove at home for a few weeks earlier in the year. It sat on the same cabinet and I had visions of … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Google Wifi - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 14, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget no. 3 Dead spots – when it comes to your wifi network, they are the most frustrating thing to deal with. Being offline is bad enough, but worse is not being sure you are offline as your web page fails to load or the buffering symbol pops up in the middle of a Youtube video. Despite living in an 80 square metre apartment, I’ve continued to be plagued by wifi dead spots. I blame the concrete and steel lift shaft that straddles a wall of my apartment and acts to block my wireless router’s signal. Mesh vs Extender To soIve the problem, I first turned to a fancier dual-band router, which helped a bit, then a Netgear wifi … Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 13, 2017

In the run-up to Christmas we here at Sciblogs are looking at some gadgets we’ve been playing with this year… from Huawei’s new Mate 10 smartphone to the Anki Cozmo intelligent robot.  Let us know in the comments what you have been playing with too – what do you recommend gadget-wise as a Christmas stocking filler. View the Gadgets of Christmas reviews assembled here. Read More

12 Gadgets of Christmas: Nest Cam IQ indoor - Griffin's Gadgets

Dec 13, 2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget no. 2 A couple of weeks ago, an alert popped up on my phone informing me that there was an unfamiliar face in my living room. Nest Cam IQ ‘Good grief!” I thought. A burglar is probably unplugging my Xbox console, ready to make off with it and my prized Twilight Zone DVD box set. I opened the Nest app on my phone to see what carnage was unfolding in my living room nine thousand kilometres away (I was in Tokyo at the time). The person captured by the Nest Cam IQ sitting on my TV cabinet turned out to be my partner – reclining on the couch folding washing while she watched the type of … Read More