My first trip to Project Music in Exeter (Review)

Project music logo with guitar brands

I’m currently living in Cornwall, so I’ve been waiting for a while to visit Project Music in Exeter as my brother-in-law is always raving on about them being good and stocking lots of beautiful guitars.

My favourite guitars are Fenders and Gibsons, and I visited the store in the hope of purchasing the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff pedal.

There aren’t many music stores in Cornwall with the main ones being Truro City Music and Modern Music, also in Truro, half an hours drive from where I’m living. These stores are fairly small, so I was hoping to go to a bigger store with a larger range of equipment.

The first impression on walking into the shop was that they sold a lot of well-known electric guitars like Fenders, Epiphones and Gretch guitars alongside some colourful, expensive PRS electric guitars which I have never seen or heard much about before this trip.

They had a good range of decent acoustic guitars as well. However, I never had the chance to try any out, maybe next time I will film the whole experience and Vlog about it.

When looking through the two glass cabinets for pedals, the choice wasn’t fantastic as they didn’t have any pedals on my wish list that I saw on their website. I was after the Electro Harmonix Big Muff PI Classic because I wanted to compare it to the reissue Little Muff Pi. However, I was disappointed to hear that they were not only out of both pedals they were also out of the other Electro Harmonix Chorus pedals that I wanted to try out and possibly purchase, the  Neo Clone, Small Clone, and Polychorus.

I asked the gentleman at the desk if he had any of those pedals in the back or if he had any alternative ideas for the Nirvana-style grunge sound I want to achieve. He pulled out the Pro Co Rat 2 distortion pedal that was used in Nirvana’s In Utero album and is used by other musical influences of mine like Graham Coxon from Blur.

TC Electronic pedals

The gentleman gave me a small green TC Electronic Corona Mini Chorus. I had never seen one of these before, but once I tried it for sound, playing a Black Fender Standard Stratocaster HSH, Rosewood Fingerboard, through a BlackStar amplifier. We spend a good 10 minutes of so playing around with the settings on the pedal before dialing in on the exact sound that Kurt Cobain achieved in the song “Come as you are.”

I then asked to try out the Kurt Cobain Fender Jaguar, which has the exact sound I want, however with a price tag of £1,299 I’m not yet in a financial position to buy this beauty.  I’ve always wanted a red and white Gibson Les Paul guitar, so I’m hoping to buy one of these next, and after that, it’s a toss up between a Fender Jagstang or a Jaguar. I may even buy a Squire Mustang guitar and convert it so that it has Dimarzio distortion pickups and silver guitar push-pull pots. The reason for this is because Squire guitars are made by Fender and are a lot cheaper.


 RAT guitar pedal


Decision time

When it came to making that all important decision I decided to purchase the Pro Rat 2 because it has a punchy distortion kick, with a Planet Waves guitar lead, some Fender pedal cables, and a 9V power lead. I would have purchased the TC Chorus if I could afford it, as its a great small pedal and you can download sounds from the computer. Although I liked the TC Chorus pedal, I thought it was a little bit expensive, so I have decided to stick with the Electro Harmonix Small Clone at the moment because it’s cheaper and its a reissue of the original pedal that Kurt Cobain used on Nirvana’s album “Nevermind.”

Would I shop in Exeter’s project music again?

The staff were friendly, and the prices were ok, however, some of the items are slightly cheaper online. One of the advantages of going into a shop to buy music equipment is that you can try things out before purchasing. I would like to see them stock more of a guitar range like Gibson guitars and a wider range of pedals.  I was disappointed with the lack of guitar pedals in store.

Why not share your good and bad experiences of music shops near you? Maybe you can recommend a guitar or pedal I can try out on the blog? If you would like me to visit and review your products or store, Email or tweet @DigitalClassic with your suggestions. If you would

The Blackstar LT-Dual distortion guitar pedal review

Green Blackstar Distortion guitar pedal

 This week on the blog, Exeter-based musician Phil Oberheinrich reviews the Blackstar LT-Dual distortion guitar pedal released at the end of 2015.


  • Solid-state overdrive/distortion pedal
  • Two channels
  • Gain x2
  • Level x2
  • Tone
  • ISF (“Infinite Shape Feature”)



Following the success of their valve-powered HT range of distortion, overdrive and boost pedals, Blackstar last year released a series of solid-state pedals designed to offer the same tonal flexibility and quality for the more frugal guitarist. According to Blackstar, the LT-Dual, which features the same controls as its big brother, the HT-Dual, “will transform a single channel amp into a three channel tone machine.” This is quite a bold claim, that should fill most guitarists with a mix of excitement and scepticism, considering a quick Google search reveals that one of these pedals can be had for only £75, almost £100 less than the tube-powered HT-Dual.


The LT-Dual is a solid, reassuringly heavy item that was clearly designed for on-stage use. The tough metal casing is on this model finished in a very familiar looking shade of green that promises the sort of tonal goodness that few solid-state overdrives can deliver. The pedal features two foot-switches, which allow the user to switch between two overdrive channels and bypass. Each of the pedal’s two channels has its own gain and level, control and there is a shared tone control and another shared control labelled “ISF”. This “Infinite Shape Feature” is designed to manipulate the distortion characteristics to blend seamlessly from a USA to a UK tone and effectively provide the user with a Mesa and a Marshall in a green 4”x 5”x 2” box. The size and spacing of the controls and their smooth travel are perfect for those who like to perform bare-footed and adjust settings with their toes.


Plugging an Agile Interceptor Pro 727, a mahogany-bodied 7-string guitar with active EMG707 pickups into a Diezel Einstein 100W head running into a 1×12 with a Celestion V30, what is immediately noticeable is a drop in volume when the LT-Dual is activated with the level at 12 o’clock. It seems odd to have to turn the level up to 3 o’clock to match the level of the clean sound, but there is plenty of volume there and at maximum volume, the overdrive is too loud for most purposes. It should be noted that the EMG707 is a high output pickup and therefore produces a much louder clean sound than you would get from a PAF-style humbucker or most single-coils, but high-output pickups are becoming more common and one would think that Blackstar would take this into account when designing a modern distortion pedal.


Anyhow, what is far more important than this small niggle is the sound – and it certainly has plenty of that. Channel 1 is the “low-gain” channel in the sense that it can produce anything from a clean boost to a huge, heavy rock tone and channel 2 isn’t quite as suitable for cleaning and has more gain. Those attracted by the green colour and expecting a classic Tubescreamer-esque blend of clean and overdrive might be a tad disappointed, because this pedal essentially does what Ibanez were trying to achieve when they made the Tubescreamer; it produces a convincing valve-like overdrive that flatters the player while preserving the tone of the guitar and the amplifier. It does work very well as a clean boost, but unlike a Tubescreamer it excels at producing its own overdrive tone independently from the guitar amp. At volumes the average neighbour will tolerate, it is difficult to distinguish between the LT-Dual’s channel 1 and the Diezel Einstein’s Mode 2 overdrive setting. Only at higher volumes does it become noticeable that the pedal isn’t quite as dynamic as a 100W valve amp worth £1,500.

The LT-Dual’s Channel 2 offers more gain and a bit more low end, but complements channel 1 perfectly as either a 2nd rhythm, sound or lead channel, allowing the user to produce tones that fill the room while still letting every pinch harmonic squeal like a stuck pig. This is an achievement that is not to be sniffed at; there are plenty of overdrives and distortions that can do one or the other, but the combination of tonal transparency, dynamics, depth, smoothness and beef the LT-Dual delivers make this a truly addictive piece of equipment. The ISF control does precisely what Blackstar claim and allows the user to tailor their very own blend of UK and USA tones with arguably German tones in between. Whereas some distortion pedals have a tone control that allows you to find a sweet spot between two opposing types of awful, the LT-Dual’s tone control can brighten up the sound of a cheap humbucker or tame a low-output single coil but doesn’t range from muddy to ear-splitting like that orange thing you probably have lying about somewhere.

Overall, this pedal, despite the peculiarity of the illogically calibrated level controls, is probably the best thing you can buy for £75. Even if you are one of the many unfortunate people in this country working for minimum wage, you can get this pedal by asking your boss for ten hours of overtime, which will lead to many years of guitar playing pleasure. The improvement it makes to a cheap amplifiers’ tone and the flexibility it adds to single-channel amps means that this is not a pedal you’ll be replacing in a hurry.


Sound                            *****

Construction             *****

Usability                      ****

Value for money      *****


Overall rating: 4.9/5


Pros: Unbelievable value for money for a pedal that delivers authentic valve-like overdrive. Rock solid metal construction.


Cons: Level controls calibrated rather low for modern high-output pickups.

5 reasons why my excellent new Vlogging channel will set you on fire

woman with camera

I’ve been watching a lot of successful bloggers on YouTube recently, who have inspired me to add a YouTube Vlogging channel as part of Digital Classic.

Here are five reasons why this excellent new Vlogging channel will set you on fire and will have your screens:

1: Not Just another Vlog!

There are thousands of Vlogs out there, so why will you want to visit mine? Many vlogs that have huge followers are lifestyle vlogs and while I find the personal experiences in someone’s daily routine fascinating, especially Alfie Deyes’s Pointless Blog. When I start Vlogging, you will be amazed by the unique and engaging material that I will be shooting. I plan to start a weekly Blogging, YouTube channel which will also become part of Digital Classic. In the Vlog, I will review technology such as the latest fitness gadgets, music equipment, music bands and tools and tips to help current bloggers and vloggers boost their material. I will also be adding some “How to” posts, and I will also be asking the audience what they would most like to view.

2: Using professionals to guest post and Vlog

I’m going to be contacting professional musicians, bloggers, vloggers and social media experts to offer them the chance to both blog and vlog about new products. Therefore, you won’t have to listen to me ramble about a subject that I know zilch about.

YouTube Vlogging sign

3: My Vlog will last no longer than 4 minutes

Many of my favourite YouTube vloggers shoot between 10- 20 minutes material, however, as I’m a beginner that will come once my Vlog becomes established. The reason for this? I don’t want to bore my audience before I’ve had a chance to get started and an article on The Endless Adventure suggests that “People are very unlikely to stick around for a 10-minute vlog by some new YouTuber they’ve never heard of, even if the content is great.”

Freebie logo

4: I would like to post giveaways

One of the keys to YouTube success is being consistent and creating an engaging audience, which s why my this Vlog gets established; I plan to host giveaways such as Cameras, Phones, IPads and lots of cool digital and musical gadgets.

5: Ask the audience?

I’m going to ask the audience what they would like to see, Yes that’s right. You guys have the opportunity to have a say in what you would like to see on Digital Classic’s new YouTube Vlog channel.

Are you a professional musician, vlogger, blogger or you have something to say about new digital or musical products? Alternatively, if you have any ideas on what you would like to see on my Vlog which isn’t currently being exploited by others, email

Why Vinyls are cooler than CD’S?

Blue turntable with a vinyl playing

If you are over 30 then you will remember life before CD’S, Mini discs, MP3’s and ipods, here are some reasons why vinyls are cooler than CD’s.

Since I was born, I had an ear and a passion for listening to and playing music. I would sit in front of the stereo for hours and fall asleep listening to my parents Beatles singles and albums on vinyl and tapes.

In the mid 80s, I was given a Sony Walkman to listen to tapes whilst on car journeys. In the mid eighties to early 90s, out came CD’s (compact discs) that were new, shiny, and exciting, and at the time appeared to have convinced the listeners to ditch their trusty old LP’s for the newer, smaller formatted disc.

In 1992, when the Minidisk first came on sale in the UK, I invested in a Sony Mini Disc Player for my university work before caving in to the Apple mania and receiving my first ipod as a Christmas present from my parents in 2007.

The Beatles white Vinyl album cover

They have stunning cover sleeves

Vinyls are almost three times the size of CD’s and the covers behind each vinyl sleeve paints a picture of the story behind the album, giving the buyer a more intimate experience. The design of the cover and the inserts into artworks looks so much more exciting than CD covers. Fans tend to remember the name of an album they purchased and relate it to the cover art. For example, many fans remember the Beatles “White Album” by its white front cover or the red or blue albums by their covers.

The vinyl experience is more social and interactive

Something feels different about taking that vinyl album out of the cupboard, and unwrapping it from its cover after a couple of  minutes staring at the artistic visuals on the cover and finally placing it into a record player, waiting for that magical sound to play and watching it spin round and round. Whether you have a turntable, or a record player, there’s something nostalgic about listening to music from the 50s and 60s on vinyl.

There nothing quiet like the sound of the needle dropping and the crackle of the vinyl and then flipping it over to hear the other side. It makes the listening experience more personal and makes you feel as though you are constantly physically and emotionally involved. It’s social, more interactive, and fun, and a far cry from the passive experience of listening to CDs or digitally enhanced music.

Vinyls are better quality

How many times have you heard people say that they have broken their plastic CD’s in comparison to the number of people who have broken their records. Yes, records get scratched and some might argue that this ruins the sound, however, others may argue that that fuzzing scratching sound is all part of the vinyl experience. Plastic CD’s feel cheap and manufactured and vinyls have been built to last and sound more real.

You only have to look at the price differences between vinyl and CD to notice that CD’s are cheaper due to the fact that they are cheaper to make. You can purchase vinyl records from Amazon from £15 and CD’s from as little as £5.

Motorhead limited edition vinyl

Limited vinyl editions

Limited vinyl editions don’t just come in black, they can come in a variety of colours.

Watch out for those limited vinyl editions as these come in different colours and can become collectors items as they only print off a few hundred for each colour.

If you aren’t sure whether vinyl is for you, most vinyl records have a digital download code so you can enjoy the best of both sounds!

Whether I think that vinyls sound better than digital? The jury’s still out on that one. Let me know what you think?

What is your favourite musical platform and why? Vinyl? Tapes? CD’s? , MP3’s?, iTunes? Comment below, send an email or tweet me @DigitalClassic.

7 ways musicians can market their music online


How many musicians out there are wondering how they can market their music online? Maybe you are just starting out or you have been playing and recording for years and don’t know where to showcase your tunes?

If you are one of those people, here  are 7 ways musicians can show off their tunes:


This is probably the most obvious place because it’s the second largest online social media channel and its also free to post your videos. Despite this, an article on Amp Music Marketing claims that YouTube is also the most under used promotional tool for musicians.

My brother in-law, Phil Oberheinrich is a musician and he started his YouTube channel, Bean Dog Studios a few months ago.

He says he likes to film and edit his own videos and put them on YouTube because it’s free and it’s a great way to try and capture an audience.

I also plan to start my own YouTube channels for my blog and to record some music videos.

YouTube also has an advertising platform where you can make money from your videos. In doing so, you will become a “YouTube Partner,”which means that you allow Google to place ads on your content in exchange for payment each time one of those ads is clicked.

Justin Bieber is an example of a musician, discovered by YouTube

The Canadian may or may not be everyones favourite musician, but he has made millions from being recognised on YouTube.

When searching for videos of a different singer, Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive of So So Def Recordings, clicked on one of Bieber’s 2007 videos by accident.

Braun was so impressed that he tracked down the theatre Bieber was performing in, located Bieber’s school. At the tender age of 13, Bieber went to Atlanta, Georgia, with Braun to record demo tapes.Bieber began singing for American singer-songwriter, Usher one week later and was soon signed to RBMG.

Bieber then released his debut EP, My World, in late 2009 which went platinum in the U.S and he then became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut record chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

Bieber has released his first full-length studio album, My World 2.0, in 2010. It debuted at or near number one in several countries and went triple platinum in the U.S.

Music Xray

Music X-ray

This is where musicians and industry professionals go to get their music heard. You can sign up free to connect to sound cloud.

SoundCloud tracks will become available in your Music X-ray account and will be analysed and matched to industry opportunities. Music X-ray will send you emails with opportunity alerts per track and updates when new matches are detected.

BBC Uploader can help you market your music online

Head over to BBC music where musicians can submit their tunes. Every week, the BBC broadcasts tracks by unsigned artists throughout the UK. If you think that you or your bands deserves to be heard, upload your music and tune into your radio local BBC show.

Music Gorilla

Music Gorilla provides the perfect platform for musicians. You can submit your band, music for movies, TV shows, films or you can upload as a solo artist. You can also look for opportunities under the submission button.

How does Music Gorilla work!

You can sign up and upload your music and create your profile page. Your music will then be heard by Industry Professionals from Music Supervisors to Internet Radio hosts to Major Label A&R. For those of you who are based in the US, it’s well worth attending the Major Label Showcases because you can meet Professionals and music labels and receive written feedback on your performances.

Music Gorilla offers two types of membership; basic and pro.  If you’re only going to submit to 3 or less opportunities per month or just want to hang out for awhile and check out the opportunities, than Basic Membership is for you. If you want to submit an album, you will need to pay monthly or annually.

Google Play

Are you a musician who dreams about earning money from your music? I suspect the answer to my question is yes.

Who doesn’t want to earn money from something they enjoy? Google Play is a fantastic platform for allowing you to achieve the unachievable. There are two ways to earn on Google Play.

The first is that you can sell your music by choosing a suitable retail price and you will earn your revenue share of (up to 70%) based on the price you charge. The second way to earn money is if Google Play includes your music in a pricing promotion, it won’t cost you anything and you will always earn at least the revenue share on your suggested price.

You can also opt-in to the Google Play Music subscription service. The more people who listen to your music, the more your earnings will increase.

There are no fees for uploading tracks, creating albums, making changes to existing albums, editing your artist page. Google Play keeps a 30% commission on any sales made. However, music has a one-time $25 USD setup fee for each brand new store page you create.


Market your music online with Ramen music

This music website allows musicians to upload any genre, for consideration for their bi-monthly audio magazine. They do charge a small fee of $39 a year for a subscription from their listeners, but this is a small price to pay and you can easily earn this back because if your music makes it into an issue of Ramen Music, you will get paid.


Submit Hub

This online music platform makes it easy for musicians to market their music because it allows you to filter your musical tastes based on your preferences.

Which means that your audience will be a person who listens to your style rather than someone listening to your rock music who prefers pop music.

More importantly, they offer a limited free submission; however, if you need a larger amount of blogs you will need to pay.

I’ve not yet submitted any music to these websites, so I plan to share an updated blog post once I have submitted some music.

If you are a musician or a band who would like to market their music online, send me an email or contact me through my social media channels. Alternatively, if there are any websites I have missed please feel free to comment below this post.

Five reasons why every blogger needs a content plan


Every blogger needs a content plan? What’s written without thought, is read without interest and as a new blogger, it’s not something I want to think about.

Blogging is becoming more and more popular and with more of us creating content it’s vital that we produce original content that is of interest to our target audience. There wouldn’t be much point in blogging at all if you are writing just for the sake of it and you have no or little interest in what you are writing about. Blogging takes time and effort, and every blogger wants their content to be viewed, shared and liked. This way, both the reader and writer can enjoy the benefits of great unique content.

Like all bloggers, I want to write good quality unique content and from what I’m hearing from my tutor and fellow bloggers on the Blogging and Content online course with Shaw Academy, to produce high quality original content you need to research and plan your resources.

Here are five fantastic reasons why every blogger needs a content plan:

The more proactive you are, the more clients you are likely to attract

I find that the best articles are the ones that are planned. Don’t get me wrong some unplanned article are really good and writing when unplanned can work well, however, the best content is the content that contains visuals and videos that are accurate and engaging. How many athletes go into a competition without preparation? This is the same with writing.

Having a content plans increase productivity

Content planners enhance your productivity. The more you plan things out, the more you will get done and this is essential, especially if like me you are a freelancer. We all want to get things done quickly and effectively. Don’t forget to plan breaks! Many people fail to do this and will find themselves becoming sluggish and sleepy towards the end of the day. Yes, we all need to work, however, the best way to work is to pace yourself by using a detailed content planner, and taking regular breaks will increase productivity.

Go out and get some fresh air or for a short walk, I have started doing this myself and find more refreshed afterwards. There’s no point in spending 12 hours at the computer and by lunchtime finding yourself drifting off to sleep and making mistakes you wouldn’t usually make or being too tired to complete your tasks. Once you have gone to the trouble of filling in a content planner, make sure that you stick to the plan and stay consistent. Consistency is essential for bloggers. If you try it and it doesn’t work for you, change it.


Content schedule

Content plans will help you publish blog posts regularly and on time

As a newbie blogger and a freelance writer, I can’t afford to miss my blogging deadlines because it will look unprofessional. It’s important that you publish your blog posts regularly and on time. I post my content on Monday afternoons and use Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + to market it.

Readers want consistency, for example, if you tell a customer that you are going to deliver something by Monday evening, I like to make sure they have it by Monday morning in case something goes wrong or the internet goes down. Planning this in a content plan or diary helps me achieve this.

 Gives you time to revise and update

If you are trying to rush your blog post out there, the chances are that you probably haven’t bothered to edit your content. If you can’t be bothered to spend time on your content, why would others bother to read it? Having a content plan, allows you to schedule time for research, sourcing or taking photos or video, editing them and editing your content.

I usually ask someone to proof read my blog posts before they go live. I want to give my readers the impression that I am someone who cares about what I post and being a newbie to blogging, I want my audience to trust want I read, subscribe to my site and like, share and comment on my blog posts.

Blue stress ball

Decreases stress

Creating a content plan decreases stress and we all know that stress is bad for your physical and mental health. Planning your time efficiently, doesn’t only help you get things done quicker, it also makes you feel quite happy and not stressed out. I personally use a daily list and I’m currently working on a content planner that suits my needs. I find that being more organised helps me keep track of what has been done and what still needs to be completed. Without my list, I find everything gets chaotic and I can’t control things.

There are plenty of free content plans online. You can find examples of free content plans on a number of websites like Hubspot, Moz or the Content Marketing Institute. If you can’t find a content plan to suit your needs, the websites above give advice on how you can make your own content calendar.

Are there any bloggers who would like to share their tips on how they plan their content? Do you use a content calendar or planner that you would recommend? Join in the discussion on my social media channels or feel free to comment.

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog hit the subscribe button.

Five reasons why mobile phone lithium batteries fail

Mobile Phone with Lithium Battery

Mobile phone giants Samsung have recalled all its 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones less than a fortnight after Lithium batteries were said to be the reason for the new flagship phones catching fire.

The recall comes just one week ahead of an expected presentation of a new iPhone model from its main rival Apple.

Who uses disposable lithium batteries?
Lithium Ion batteries are used in all modern devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras and other electronic devices that have no memory effect. Laptops often get a bit confused when partly charging them and sometimes show you the wrong estimates for how long your device’s battery will last. For example, your device might show a 70% charge, however, this is not always the case as the charge sometimes doesn’t last that long.Most electronic manufacturers recommend you run the battery down to zero and perform a full discharge on your phone, tablet or laptop at least once a month to help maintain the device’s battery time estimate.

Cases where mobile phone lithium batteries have caught fire

The BBC posted an article on their website that over the past few days, several users have reported their mobile phones catching fire or exploding while charging, and Samsung said it had confirmed 35 such cases.

A YouTube user uploaded a video under the name Ariel Gonzalez on 29 August of a Galaxy Note 7 with burnt rubber casing and damaged screen.”
“He said Samsung’s new flagship mobile phone “caught fire” after he unplugged the official Samsung charger, less than a fortnight after purchasing it.”

Earlier this year, the Telegraph printed a story about a cancer patient who died of smoke inhalation after his iPhone burst into flames as he slept.
“Marek Kruger, 53, who was bed-bound, relied on the phone which he kept by his bedside and often under his pillow.

At Mr Kruger’s inquest Iryna, his widow told the court that her former husband used to put the phone and wallet just under the pillow because he wanted to have his mobile phone next to him because he felt unsafe when he was left alone and his careers had not been around and she was at work.

Here are five reasons why mobile phone lithium batteries fail:

1: Heat
One of the main reasons why lithium batteries fail is due to them overheating when on charge. Lots of people are guilty of leaving their laptop or mobile phone constantly plugged into the mains when in use and forgetting to switch them off. I’ve also been guilty of this. Leaving your battery on charge, heats up the battery and when it gets too hot the battery life decreases or in extreme cases, the battery can catch fire.
You can increase the lithium battery’s life by limiting its exposure to heat and leaving your devices in places that are at room temperature or by removing the battery. Never leave your laptop, phone or digital device in hot places on sunny days such as on the car seat or dashboard or near a window.

2: The cold
Temperature is a battery killer! It’s not just heat that can zap out your lithium battery or make it explode. Have you ever had a mobile phone and taken it outside in freezing temperatures, the battery is showing 30% and suddenly your phone dies? The reason for this is because smartphones aren’t built for freezing temperatures and tech giants Apple suggests 32° Fahrenheit as the lowest operating ambient temperature. Other phones are rated for much lower temperatures, and some can go as low as -4° Fahrenheit while in operation.

Many people, especially from the US and Canada have reported that when their lithium-ion batteries are exposed to cold temperatures, their phone’s performance suffers. When cold, a phone battery can drain faster than normal, or the phone says it has lots of power remaining and then suddenly go dead.
Just like you wouldn’t go outside without a coat in freezing temperatures, Make sure that you keep your phone wrapped up. Buy a case or cover for your mobile or electronic device and keep it in your coat pocket or in a bag.

This might sound obvious, however, you should never put a spare battery in the fridge or freezer or expose any digital device that has a lithium battery to cold temperatures if you’re in a country with cold temperatures.

3: Storing partial 50% charged Lithium Batteries
When you are storing equipment that uses lithium batteries, it’s a good idea to make sure that they are stored with a partial 50% charge. Partial discharges and charges actually tend to prolong battery life – 50 % discharges can happen between 1,200 and 1,500 times (so 600-750 full cycles) before capacity drops to 70 per cent of its original span, compared to 300 to 500 for 0-100% .Running your phone down 50% and charging it up again and running it back down to 50% again is better than a full discharge because it reduces the strain on the battery.

4: Lithium batteries wear down much quicker when they aren’t fully charged
Lithium batteries wear down when they are kept at zero charge for a long time. If you run the battery right down to zero you should recharge it as soon as possible. Don’t go running to the charger when your mobile phone’s power dies. If you let the battery run down completely and leave your device on the table for a few days, the battery may die completely and may become incapable of holding a charge.

5: Never drop a device that uses a lithium battery in water
Yes, we are all guilty of dropping our phone in the bath, washing up bowl or in the sea or the swimming pool or even on a wet floor. There are few of us who haven’t dropped a lithium battery device onto anything wet.

If the battery gets wet, you should dry it as soon as possible, you should never leave a wet battery for days. If batteries are dropped in salt water, salt conducts electricity more than fresh water does which will cause the battery to discharge and corrode the battery housing.

Have you ever experienced a lithium battery on a Samsung Note 7 catching fire or exploding? Or any mobile phone or device operated with a lithium battery? Maybe you know someone who has? Email or join in the discussions on my social media channels.

Why Social Media benefits University Students

Social media icons


In the next few weeks, thousands of students will be starting or returning to university and with social media being a huge factor in our daily lives,here are some great reasons on why social media benefits university students:

Free social engagement with tutors and fellow students
Social media is a fantastic way to communicate for university students because its free.Most universities have their own social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter pages so that students and tutors can interact outside lecture times. This is a fast and popular way to communicate. Students can also make the most of this free social engagement with tutor and fellow students by making new friends on social media and by setting up study groups and meet-ups via the groups Facebook pages.

Sharing information such as study tips and resources is also a reason how university students can enjoy the benefits of signing up and using social media channels.

Besides Facebook,other social media platforms like Twitter,LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are also great, especially for photographers as you can share images through Instagram and Pinterest and through Twitter you can share images and links to articles with tutors and fellow students.

Tutors can also benefit from using social media channels and getting to know their students better. For example, the social media profiles of your students might look for certain things such as a student who is doing a degree in Journalism will most likely be following the same Facebook pages and will help tutors tailor their lectures to their students. Which means, the students benefit from the lectures better and will find them much more interesting.

Access to articles they wouldn’t necessarily read
Sharing articles which are relevant to your chosen study area with other students and tutors is a great idea. You are likely to be introduced to a world of information and websites that you have never heard of before, as well as book and reading recommendations which will help you complete your assignments and gain the knowledge that you require to gain higher grades.

University students can stay in touch with family and friends for free
By using social media, students can keep in contact with friends and family, all they need is a phone, laptop or tablet and free Wifi which can be accessed at the university, or local shops and cafe’s. Students can also share pictures, videos, and updates of their experiences of university life by posting to social media channels and it won’t cost them a penny.

Using video conferencing with Google Hangouts
Opening a Google account allows students to use Google hangouts, which is becoming popular, especially with businesses. Using Google Hangouts will allow university students to attend lectures and collaborate through video if they are unable to make a lecture or they need to contact other students or tutors for work purposes of private meetings outside of normal university hours such as nights, weekends, or semester breaks.

Did you know that LinkedIn, the B2B professional network, now achieves over 60 million views in the UK every month? Avocado Social

Plan for your future by using LinkedIn
Are you on LinkedIn? If the answer is no then you should sign up today. LinkedIn is used for business and is a great resource to meet new potential employers or sign up and join groups within your chosen career field. You never know you may find a work placement or your first job through using this social media tool.

These are just a few ways in which university students can benefit from using social media channels. If you are a current university student returning or if you are off to Uni, for the first time this year or you are a tutor, please let me know how you benefit from using social media and which tools do you currently use or plan to use?

5 ways on how to optimise Display Advertising campaigns for Christmas?

Rockfeller NY

It’s scary to think that its less than 124 sleeps until Christmas and less just under four months away from starting the festive season. If you haven’t already started looking at your clients display campaigns for Christmas, now is the time to start planning.

Under four months may seem like a lifetime away, but if you don’t start looking at your campaigns until the last minute, you will almost certainly find your competitors stealing all your potential business. Have you heard of the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?”

For most retailer’s Christmas is the busiest time of year, with a news article published in the Guardian revealing that “Sales on Christmas Day 2015, were up 21% from the previous year, 2014, making it the most lucrative ever for online shopping, according to data from a web services group PCA Predict.”

The article also revealed that retailing giants John Lewis, were also big winners when it comes to online advertising the retailing giants reported a 10.7% increase in revenues on 25 December 2015 compared with the previous year, with the spree happening between 2pm and 4pm, as people sat down for Christmas lunch looking for an early Boxing day bargain.

Here are 5 ways on how to optimise a display advertising campaign for Christmas:


Why not use Dynamic Remarketing through the Google Display network? If you have previously attracted customers with certain keywords earlier in the year or last Christmas that worked, target them again with the products your customers have been viewing. Keywords that include terms such as “iPhone”,“iPad” or “bikes” are items that always sell well during the festive season.

Optimising for mobile

Optimising your Display ad campaign for mobile

An article on eCommerce news said that  for the first time ever smartphones and tablets accounted for over half of online sales in the United Kingdom. During the period November 2015 to January this year, 51 percent of UK online retail sales took place using smartphones and tablets. This is a significant increase on the 45 percent share recorded in the third quarter of last year.With this in mind, it would be unthinkable to ignore optimising your display ad campaign for mobile by concentrating on desktop only.

Think about suitable placements?

Stop and think about where you would like to place your ads before repeating what has worked on previous campaigns.

If you are using using strong ad placements remove them and make sure you’re using managed placements so you can choose the sites that you are targeting and design your ads so that they compliment the look and feel of the site that you wish to target. There’s no point in placing your display ads on a site that is irrelevant to your customers or placing an ad on a website that looks out of place and doesn’t fit their theme. Always do your homework before optimising a display ad campaign.


mobile ad testing

Split test your display advertising ads

Have you considered splitting your display advertising ads in the same way as text ads? Try out different (CTAs), new offers, promotions, images and colour schemes.  Make sure that your ad rotation settings are set correctly so that you can collect equal data for A and B split testing.

Test the Display advertising campaign optimiser tool

If you are looking to put a quick display advertising campaign together, why not check out the Display Campaign Optimer tool from Google. You will need at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days and you will still need to optimise them manually by doing regular target and placement reviews.

What optimisation techniques do you use on Display Campaigns for your clients? Have you started thinking about or working on your clients Christmas campaigns yet? It would be great to hear from anyone.

How beneficial is Thrive’s Feel Stress Free Mobile App?

Feel Stress free bubble

After a fellow blogger sent me an email inviting me to try out an app, I decided to check it out and see how beneficial Thrive’s Feel Stress Free Mobile App can be.

The new Feel Stress Free app released this year, is the second mindfulness app I have tried as I was recommended Headspace by a therapist.
In a world where people are working 24/7 and with many of us constantly stuck to a computer screen, tablet or mobile phone, its important to have some time away from your emails and social media. This is why mindfulness apps that offer meditation and yoga are a great idea as they offer an escape from the stresses of modern daily life.

I suffer from a mood disorder which is why I jumped at the chance to try out this new app, when I was offered a free trial from a fellow blogger.

The app advises you to use it in a quiet and peaceful environment with headphones and no distractions . When you first log in, you will find an animated picture of a desert island, featuring a palm tree, a deck chair, a beach ball and a rocking rowing boat along with a floating robot assistant who helps advise you where to go when you log in.


You are advised to wear headphones to give a more personal feel to the background music, where you can listen to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, with seagulls flying overhead and pleasant calming instrumentals that creates a therapeutic atmosphere.
The app features four different interactive relaxation activities which include; meditation, breathing, deep muscle relaxation and self-hypnosis. All these techniques are designed to help you to feel stress free. Take a browse around the island before you start an activity as this will give you an idea about how the app works. Some of the exercises may not be for you, as they aren’t for everyone. Self –hypnosis takes practice and the app even tells you this before you start.

One of the benefits of seeing how beneficial Thrive’s Feel Stress Free mobile app can be is that you fit it into your busy schedule by downloading it onto your tablet or mobile phone whenever you feel like you need to escape from the madness. You can even choose how long you do a technique for, for example, the app gives you the choice of 3 minutes, 7, 10, up to 15 minutes if you feel you need to get more out of the experience.

My favourite exercise was the deep breathing , especially alongside the calming music and waves because I find this helps me in stressful situations and I had a therapist who used to teach me deep breathing exercises.

The app features an island called the Zen garden which caught my eye because it allows you to build your own calm garden where you can build sand castles and add your own water features and for those of you who are artistic you can rake patterns into the sand.There’s also a message in a bottle feature which allows you to send encouraging messages to others using the app.

I tried out the mood metre, which allows you to enter how you are feeling on a scale and recommends an activity routine in the app based on the results. We can never tell how accurate, these things are, however, I found this useful and I’m yet to try an app that has this feature built in.

So how beneficial is Thrive’s Feel Stress Free Mobile App?

The techniques are suitable for everyone both young and old and it doesn’t require too much physical activity which is also great for those with disabilities. Overall, it’s a nice app to try, especially when you are having a stressful day or are feeling a bit low. It won’t work if you have anything more than mild depression as it advises you to go to your GP but it works well for some short-term relief.

Be Stress Free is available to download for iOS and Android. You can download the app for free.It works on a subscription basis,which can be purchased for one month, three months or a year. For one month it will set you back £4.99, for 3 months it will cost £3.33 each month and for a year it’s £1.99 each month.