Wrestling Legend Rowdy Roddy Piper Dead At 61

The world of professional wrestling is in mourning following the death of the legendary Rowdy Roddy Piper last month. Piper suffered a cardiac arrest whilst at his home in Hollywood, California. He was just 61 years old.

For many kids (including myself) that first became fans in the mid-late 1980’s, Roddy Piper was the definitive wrestling heel (industry jargon for a bad guy). Whether hosting his notorious Piper’s Pit segment, or facing off against Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (with partner Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorf) at the inaugural WrestleMania event, Piper was one of the industry’s biggest starts during one of its most popular and lucrative periods.

He was also instrumental in making the WWF (now WWE) brand the biggest in professional wrestling. In addition to headlining the very first WrestleMania event (a pioneering Pay-Per View extravaganza that could easily have ruined the company had it proved to be a failure), Piper also featured in one of WrestleMania II’s three main event matchups, thus securing his position as one of wrestling’s most bankable stars.

His undercard matches at WrestleManias III, VI and (the stone cold classic against Bret The Hitman Hart at) VIII are absolute highlights of a classic era of pro wrestling. He even acted as a guest referee for the main event of Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Younger fans, however, will undoubtedly remember Piper teaming with fellow veterans Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Superfly Snuka to face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXV.

In an era defined by outlandish babyface characters with bodybuilder physiques and sometimes questionable in-ring abilities, Roddy Piper stood out as a genuine wrestler’s wrestler, an authentic tough guy – and the necessarily evil counterpoint to the simplistic, superheroic good guys being featured at the time by the WWF.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1954, Roderick Toombs was always an unruly personality. Expelled from school at a young age and subsequently falling out with his father, (a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Toombs hit the road, staying in various youth hostels and earning a buck wherever he could. Eventually, the tempestuous youth wound up in a wrestling ring, making his in-ring debut at the tender age of just 15-years-old.

The kid was tough (he had a Black Belt in Judo), displayed a natural affinity for the ring and he had a roguish charisma all of his own. In addition, he really could play the bagpipes. After early stints jobbing in Verne Gagne’s AWA, NWA Houston and Fritz Von Erich’s Big Time Wrestling promotion in Dallas, Texas, Piper debuted for Mike and Gene LeBell’s NWA Hollywood promotion and soon became the outfit’s top heel. A slew of regional Championships followed.

Whilst working for promoter Roy Shire in the NWA’s San Francisco territory, Piper developed his character and ring work. In Los Angeles, he feuded with Chavo Guerrero Sr, Hector Guerrero and ultimately locked up against their father, Mexican wrestling legend Gory Guerrero (father of future WWE Champ Eddie). In The Pacific Northwest, he unseated former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco for Mid Atlantic’s version of the World Heavyweight Championship, a title he would go on to hold twice more.

In the mid 1980’s, Piper entered Vince McMahon’s insurgent WWF. He was billed as being from Glasgow, Scotland and was well known for being the only wrestler to wear a kilt to the ring. Fans ate it up. Feuding with such stars as Hulk Hogan, Adrian Adonis, Andre The Giant, Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Jerry The King Lawler and Bret Hitman Hart, to name but a few, Piper always brought out the best in his opponents and it was with the WWF that he became a household name, as well as one of the industry’s biggest ever stars.

In the mid-1990’s, Piper wrestled for WCW (World Championship Wrestling), where he debuted as one of the company’s headline stars. He feuded, once again, with Hulk Hogan and also battled old rivals such as Ric Flair, Bret Hart and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Whilst working for WCW, he was even chosen to headline ‘Starrcade’, the company’s flagship Pay-Per-View event.

In his later career, Piper made sporadic reappearances for the WWE, briefly worked for TNA, enjoyed a reasonably successful acting career and also hosted his own podcast. He battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after being diagnosed with the illness in 2006, but had completely beaten it into remission as of last year. Despite the setbacks caused by his ill health, Piper wrestled his last match in 2011.

Although he never held a recognised World Heavyweight Championship, Piper will be remembered as one of the greatest WWF Intercontinental Champions of all time, a reign that was attested to during his appearance at this year’s WrestleMania XXXI, where he congratulated then-IC Champion Daniel Bryan on his victory. He also held other notable belts, such as the United States Championship, the WWF/E Tag Team Championship (with Ric Flair) and the NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship.

Piper was a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, as well as the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club.

On the August 3rd edition of RAW, the entire WWE roster, each member clad in Roddy’s signature Hot Rod t-shirts opened the show with a very moving ten bell salute in tribute to the fallen legend.

WWE boss Vince McMahon said, “Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

UFC Bantamweight Champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey dedicated her 34-second victory over Bethe Correia to Piper’s memory, “I just want to say that we lost a really close friend, Rowdy Roddy Piper, who gave me permission to use his name as a fighter (…) And so I hope him and my dad had a good time watching this today.”

Former WWE and WCW Champion (and Piper’s frequent in-ring rival) Bret Hart wrote, “I can’t find the words to describe the sorrow in my heart upon learning the news of my dear friend, Roddy Piper, passing away. He was my closest friend in the business, a man that schooled me and guided me throughout my career. In fact, if it wasn’t for Roddy Piper reaching out to help me, I’m sure I would’ve been a mere footnote in wrestling. He was always there for me. He was family to me.” Hart also recalled that, following his stroke in 2002; Piper was the only wrestler who visited him in hospital.

Hulk Hogan, another of Piper’s famous adversaries, said of Piper that, “He was my best friend. He is a legend. God’s gain is our loss. May his family in this time of need, find peace”

Other friends, colleagues and admirers of Piper’s included former WWF Champ The Iron Sheik, who said “Roddy Piper. I love you forever. God bless you Bubba” and multi-time World Champion Chris Jericho Tweeted, “Sorry to hear of the passing of my friend and Wrestlemania rival #RoddyPiper. One of the greatest who ever lived, but more importantly a legit sweet family man with a good heart”. Former WWE Divas Champion Paige called Piper a “legend” and Tweeted a picture of a broken heart, an image which reflected the feelings of many a wrestler and wrestling fan.

Roddy’s son, Colt, said that his father was his “best friend” and a “great man” saying that he would miss him forever and “always try to be the man he raised me to be”.

Rowdy Roddy Piper lived a life littered with accomplishments. Not many of us will ever be declared as legendary by our peers and fewer still will be able to stack 30+ Championship reigns anywhere on our resume, but those weren’t the man’s proudest achievements. Piper had been married to his wife, Kitty, since 1982 and is survived by her and the four children they lovingly raised together. My thoughts are with them, as well as everyone else who knew, worked with, or simply enjoyed to watch the late, great man work his magic in front of a capacity crowd. R.I.P Roddy.

Angry Birds 2: They’re Back – And This Time…They Want Your Cash (Part Rant, Part Review, All News)

First of all, the mobile/tablet game that is Angry Birds 2 is, in actuality, Angry Birds 13 – let’s just get that out of the way right now, OK? Good.

Easily one of the most addictive video games of ALL TIME (era/format be damned), Rovio’s Angry Birds will forever be remembered as the most iconic game of the early smartphone era. In years to come, our grandchildren will watch amused as we indulge ourselves in dewey-eyed nostalgia for the birds, the pigs, the licensed merchandise and everything else Angry Birds related – in much the same way that those of us old enough do whenever the early Sonic, Mario Bros or even Pac Man games come up in conversation.

Now, after everyone on Earth has played it to death and after the Angry Birds image has been plastered on absolutely everything (I myself have an Angry Birds coffee mug), Rovio have released Angry Birds 2 which is bigger, badder and (apparently) better than ever.

In preparation for writing this article, I eagerly downloaded this new version, only to find that my iPhone couldn’t run it because the damned thing took up too much space. To better put this into perspective, the previous version of Angry Birds takes up 197MB, while this latest instalment eats up a whopping 255MB. Grumbling in a distinctly Yosemite Sam-like fashion, I deleted a couple of apps, closed down all my presently open apps and set to work trying to run the thing again…With no luck. Next, I drained 5 video clips and something in the neighbourhood of 70 photographs onto my desktop, deleting them from my iPhone before trying again. Still nothing.

So we’ve established that a) My iPhone’s storage capacity is pretty pathetic, but also that b) Rovio have really gone to town on this one, apparently mistaking a smartphone app for a PS4 game in the process. But that actually makes sense the more you look into the game, because if you can’t afford a bigger phone, chances are you can’t afford to play Angry Birds 2, either…

The fact that players using smaller phones/tablets need not apply is disappointing, but what has more players up in arms is the sheer amount of money making strategies the game employs.

For starters, Angry Birds 2 now comes complete with its own in-game currency system. Players can use gems in order to cover all in-game purchases (such as spells to make the levels easier). As the levels get harder, players can use these gems to make their challenges easier and advance further in the game by doing so.

However, like theme park money, you have to purchase any significant amount of extra gems with ACTUAL money from your own bank account. Secondly, if you fail a level and don’t want to pay for another go around with your hard-earned gems, you now have to watch a 30 second advert instead. Thirdly, thanks to the new Life Count feature, you’ll have to use gems (or money) in order to regenerate your character…Unless you fancy waiting around for half an hour between turns, that is.

In this way, Rovio have employed pretty much every moneymaking scheme currently used by app designers, all within the confines of one game. The effect is much the same as an insistent panhandler or perpetually cash-strapped friend bugging you every 25 seconds for money. Although most reviewers are quick to point out that such profit generating methods are common to mobile apps of every description, the big marketing blitz that has accompanied AB2 has gone to great lengths to make the game feel like a big, blockbuster event, whereas the game’s annoying habit of constantly asking you for money gives it a stink of desperation, causing reviewers to look towards the relative failure of Rovio’s recent games such as Amazing Alex and Retry as reasons for their newfound profiteering.

Now, I want you to imagine all those times you ran out of rings on Sonic The Hedgehog, right before the boss turned up. There was no rich boy get out of jail free function to buy more rings in those days. Putting the kibosh on a boss like that took effort, skill and a level head – and it made a man (or woman) of you. It put hairs on your chest (but hopefully only if it made a man of you first). Want a continue? Earn one in the Special Stage or don’t have one at all. Yessir, we worked for our power ups in the old days. Good times.

…Sorry, what was I saying?

To better put all the fan outrage into perspective, Angry Birds 2 holds you up for cash BEFORE the tutorial that begins the game is even over. In-app purchases are a key revenue source for mobile games developers – and it would be nonsensical to take a stand against them. To do so would be akin to demanding that ITV loses the ad breaks. However, I can’t help but wonder why AB2 is so heavily peppered with them.

Surely the idea is to be enjoying the game so much that you don’t mind making the odd in-app purchase, not to be absolutely bludgeoned over the head with popular video game characters repeatedly demanding your money.

In some respects, then, Angry Birds 2 appears to be the gaming equivalent of accidentally catching eyes with a charity troll on a busy urban street, mistaking their eye contact and slight smile for a sign of attraction and not noticing the GreenPeace shirt and clipboard until its too late.

That, or being mugged.

10 Businesses That Benefit From Walkie Talkies

Walkie talkies, or two-way radios, are no longer only meant for military and police use. Their usefulness and versatility has made them indispensable in a number of business environments, with units available that are handheld or built into vehicles. Although walkie talkies have a limited range, they are free to use and, as a result, cheaper to run than cell phones. Once handsets have been bought and paid for there are no monthly call charges. They are simple and easy to use, with most models featuring a push-to-talk button that allows the user to send messages, and a speaker to relay messages back to the user.

In general, a wide variety of businesses benefit from the use of walkie talkies. They are often used to enhance businesses’ health and safety practices, as public address (PA) systems, and to keep employees informed of urgent information throughout the course of the day. A discussion of 10 businesses that benefit from the use of walkie talkies follows. The benefits to these businesses may be similar to those of a wide range of other enterprises, and one can gain a clear idea of overlapping advantages for one’s own business. Two-way radios can be purchased online or from radio handset dealers.

1. Event Organizers and Convention Center Management

Special events and conventions are usually thronged with attendees and staff. The ability to find one’s staff or key contractors is crucial when organizing large events. For example, chairs can be rearranged or set up in a matter of minutes, or problems with the food delivery or service cleared up in a few moments. Better communication means fewer glitches. In addition, one can contact security or emergency services without any hassle when it is urgent, ensuring the safety and comfort of one’s staff and visitors. People will notice a well-organized event, and managing to present one with few hitches will lead to an increase in business through a well-deserved good reputation.

2. Farms

Farms of any size will benefit from two-way radios. Rural areas often have cellular dead spots where cell phones simply do not work as there is no coverage. In addition to this, workers are spread over a wide area, with teams or individuals attending to different tasks throughout the day. Using two-way radios means that workers can ask for help if they need it and everyone knows who is where and doing what. If a worker in a remote location finds an injured animal, help can be summoned quickly, without the worker needing to return to his or her base or to an area with cell phone reception. In addition, farming equipment is dangerous and can cause serious injuries that, if left untreated, could result in death. Carrying a walkie talkie means that one can shout for help in an emergency, even when working alone.

3. Hotels

A hotel requires a large staff for effective day-to-day operation and happy guests. Two-way radios can be used by just about the entire staff, from those performing reception duties to concierges, bell staff, and the security team. As with events management, the hospitality industry relies on effective communication to ensure that plans work out with a minimum of problems. If more discreet communications are required, staff can be equipped with headsets or earpieces.

4. Construction and Related Trades

On a construction site, walkie talkies are essential to inform a large number of people of crucial information immediately. In some cases, this can save lives. In addition, construction sites can be hazardous environments, and a fast response when a worker is injured could save his or her life. Time will also be saved looking for people and tools. Tradesmen on site can communicate with each other about specific jobs, integrating functions more easily.

5. Security

Security teams are only effective if they can communicate with each other without delay. Whether they are patrolling an empty building or working in a crowded shopping mall, guards need to keep in touch with each other for their own safety and to ensure the safety of the persons and property they are protecting. In addition to allowing security staff to keep in touch with each other, walkie talkies allow staff to stay in contact with a base or central office in order to request assistance from emergency personnel or police when needed. One should consider investing in earpieces to keep communication discreet, especially in crowded areas. Security staff that work in plain clothes, like store detectives, will benefit from wireless earpieces and discreet push-to-talk systems.

6. Retail Stores

To keep one’s customers happy one should provide the best customer service in the business. Enabling staff to communicate without leaving the sales floor means that the maximum amount of coverage is available without sacrificing efficient stock levels. Sales staff can contact warehouse staff to replenish stock levels or to swap damaged items with pristine ones. For an added layer of protection, staff can change channels to contact security staff if they observe suspicious behavior, or they can contact a cleaner to quickly clean up spills and remove trip hazards. Although employee turnover is generally high in retail, new staff will learn how to use radios in minutes due to their simple design.

7. Medical Offices

Nurses, doctors, and administrative staff can stay connected via walkie talkie to improve efficiency and eliminate running back and forth between the doctor’s office, the waiting room, treatment rooms, and supply rooms. In addition, clients will have the added peace of mind that a medical emergency will prompt a quick response. To keep client details secure and protect people’s privacy, earpieces or headsets can be used in public areas.

8. Car Dealerships

The success of a car dealership also hinges on customer service and customer satisfaction. People spend substantial amounts of money on new cars, and shoddy service will not inspire them to spend their money at one’s dealership. After all, one wants to be assured of excellent after-sales service when buying a car. If a customer wants to see a specific car in a specific color but that car is buried at the back of the lot, simply let a member of staff know that the car needs to be brought to the display area. Receiving great service will mean that customers gain trust in one’s business, making them more secure in their purchase. Happy customers offer the best form of advertising for one’s business, and excellent communication between staff members is the first step in keeping customers happy.

9. Caterers

While success in the catering industry relies heavily on providing excellent food, it is also affected by one’s customer service. Walkie talkies allow front of house serving staff to alert kitchen staff when food levels are running low, or when it is nearly time to start serving the next course. In addition, kitchen staff will know what is needed in a timely manner, meaning that customers’ needs are met quickly and efficiently. Supervisors can monitor channels to stay aware of issues and concerns as they arise, and resolve them as quickly as possible.

10. Warehouses

Warehouse staff is often loading and unloading vehicles, stacking shelving, retrieving orders, and shipping items or item lots. Because workers are on the move, keeping in touch in the maze of shelves can be a challenge. Good communication and an awareness of staff positions and tasks will help the warehousing operation run smoothly and efficiently, keeping workers productive. In addition, being in touch constantly means that people can ask for help in case of injury or emergency. Working in a warehouse around loading machinery means that workers are more at risk of injury.

Buying Walkie Talkies on eBay

Walkie talkies or two – way radios are listed in eBay’s Electronics department, under Radio Communications. Browse the selection available, using the menus to decrease the number of listings shown. Alternatively, type a keyword in the search box to search for a specific item, and use the advanced search function to narrow or expand your search. Remember to take a look at the listings in eBay Stores for a wider selection.

Meet the Seller

Before you buy on eBay, check out the seller. eBay’s seller feedback scheme is designed to let buyers purchase items with peace of mind. After each transaction is concluded, every buyer is encouraged to leave feedback about their eBay experience, including information about the quality of the products and the seller’s level of service. This information can be found by clicking on the number next to the seller’s user ID, but must be read with the number of sales the seller has completed. Also take the time to check the seller’s preferred payment methods to ensure that you can pay for the item you would like to buy. Never use an instant transfer method like MoneyGram or Western Union to pay someone you do not know. Lastly, check the seller’s terms and conditions of payments. Some offer a money back guarantee or free shipping, while some have returns policies in place like the ones offered by regular retailers. If you have any queries relating to a listing, use the “Ask a Question” link to ask the seller a question.


Walkie talkies will come in handy in any business with a number of employees spread out over a large area. A strong staff needs to stay in touch. Two-way radios are especially convenient in customer service and hazardous environments, or where the staff covers large distances. Two-way radios come in two basic designs, namely portable or handheld, and mobile or in-vehicle. The latter tends to be stronger than the handheld version. Before buying walkie talkies for one’s business one should make sure that one is aware of any FCC licensing requirements, and that the applicable requirements are met

This ebay article shows how versatile the walkie talkie is and how many different types of businesses rely on using this old type of communications for their business to run effectively. 

Covert and Comfortable: A new generation of earpiece designed to maintain awareness

This is a common issue in many industries, the police, event staff and door staff all have to wear earpieces for a long time, this little device is great. We still need to be convinced if this is the answer to a curly tube.

Developed by a team of audiologists using technology originally created for the hearing-aid industry,  href=”http://www.policeone.com/ad/?id=7544686&sid=7453204&from=1730478″>earHero is a tiny earpiece that provides increased sound clarity without limiting a user’s ability to hear their surroundings, while being small enough to be discreet.

“The response has been really positive. Most guys hate wearing a typical earpiece; after a 10-hour shift, their ears are burning,” said Matt Murphy, founder of earHero. “They just want to do their jobs and be able to hear everything around them without being in pain.”

Built for extreme comfort

Used by the Secret Service, FBI and local law enforcement agencies around the U.S., earHero is more comfortable than a traditional “coiled-tube” earpiece and can be adapted to any standard radio used by law enforcement. Its two tiny speakers, secured by thin silicone guides, fit securely in your ear, providing clear audio without blocking out the sounds around you, all while preventing ear fatigue.

In fact, the earpiece is so unobtrusive that you’re able to comfortably talk on the phone without removing it.

Offers Total situational awareness

A traditional earpiece sits in one ear with a coiled tube leading to the radio, so an officer’s hearing is essentially impeded. Not only does listening through a single ear require the volume to be louder, which can potentially drown out ambient sounds, it also impedes our natural sense of sound localization—the process by which we locate a sound.

“Say you hear something over your right shoulder,” Murphy said. “Because the sound came from the right side, it will be a little louder and come a little bit sooner to your right ear than it will to your left ear. Your brain processes this information and tells you that the sound came from your right. But, with one ear essentially plugged, your brain isn’t able to perform this localization.”

earHero doesn’t obstruct the natural process, allowing users to accurately locate sounds. Having the highest level of awareness of your environment when on the job can be crucial. With earHero, you’re able to hear whisper-level sounds from yards away and determine where they’re coming from.

Easier on your ears

The design of earHero is not only more effective from a performance standpoint, it also is safer for your ears. Because earHero uses tiny speakers in both ears, you can achieve clarity with a lower volume than you would be able to through a single ear. This translates into less pressure on the inner workings of your ear.

In addition, the earHero is small enough to fit inside the ear without obstructing it, meaning that you can hear more and the pressure inside the ear has a way to escape. The result is a more comfortable experience, but also one that is less likely to lead to hearing loss.

Indeed, earHero offers law enforcement professionals a comfortable, effective and covert earpiece option. Its innovative design is easy on the ear and does not impede situational awareness.

Source – http://www.policeone.com/police-products/communications/articles/7522383-Covert-and-Comfortable-A-new-generation-of-earpiece-designed-to-maintain-awareness/

Taking The …. Campaign To Urinate In The Shower (In An Effort To Save Water, Apparently), Goes National

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza committed a major social faux pas by peeing in the showers at the gym? Well, it turns out that he wasn’t simply being lazy and disgusting. No, he was actively taking a stand to save the world’s water. Or something.

The Go With The Flow campaign, spearheaded by University of East Anglia students Debs Torr and Chris Dobson, is actively trying to encourage students to urinate in the shower as a way of saving water, apparently blissfully unaware that most students (the male ones, at least) probably already do.

In fact, male students have actually been ‘saving water’ for generations now. In addition to mastering the dubious art of shower urination, young men have also managed to ‘save water’ by urinating in other places, too.

Yes, that’s right, by spending literally decades peeing in places as diverse as the alley outside the pub, our mates’ mum’s carpet, empty beer bottles, abandoned port-a-loos The Download Festival and especially Swindon, male students in the UK will probably have saved the equivalent of the Atlantic ocean by the end of the year (possibly even the weekend, if the drinks are cheap enough).

You’re welcome, everyone.

Joking aside (not really), 20-year-old Chris Dobson, who has almost certainly destroyed his own chances of ever getting any female students to join him in the shower, reckons that if every student at his own Uni does just one ‘number one’ a day in the shower, they will save enough water to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool 26 times over.

Of course, even that isn’t particularly impressive, because, if that happened, all the water would just overfill the pool and flood the changing rooms and the car park, making the entire town centre stink of chlorine – and nobody needs that.

His findings also imply that nobody ever pees in public swimming pools. A fact which most of us know to be false.

In fact, according to ‘Pissy Chrissy’ if all UEA students accepted the challenge (as I said, not counting the 50% of them that probably already do), they’d save a combined £125,000 per annum. If the population of East Anglia joined in, they’d be looking at around £42.5 Million.

“We’ve done the maths, and this project stands to have a phenomenal impact”. Said Dobson, accidentally outing himself as a maths nerd as well as a dude that pees in the shower. Sexy prospect.

As you can extrapolate, the numbers would be amazing if the whole country took part in the ‘challenge’ of pissing in the shower once a day, but personally, I think it would be a shame if it was limited to just the shower. Let’s all find exotic places to pee and, when questioned, simply state that we’re doing it for the planet. The power is yours (a brand new no-prize for everyone that gets the reference).

Of course, the ‘Go With The Flow’ initiative only saves water if you flush after every trip to the loo, which is, in and of itself, a huge waste of water. But we already knew that. In fact, the entire thing would appear to be based on assumptions about other people’s urination habits, rather than any sort of quantifiable facts.

On a final note, I just hope some bright spark doesn’t confuse this latest viral campaign with the ‘ice bucket challenge’  – because, quite frankly, nobody needs that.

…And on that note, I’m off to take a quick shower.

PS – by the same logic, you can also save water by taking a dump in your local Sainsbury’s.

Spy Earpiece, what is it?

Like any gadget, a good spy earpiece needs to be well engineered and yet adaptable to your specific needs. It should be hardwearing and reliable, especially when you need it most. It also needs to be able to put up with a lot of punishment (it will likely end up under your shirt, down your trousers and stuffed in your ear, after all) and it will probably be operating for very little in the way of thanks (although, you really ought to clean it regularly). In short, a good spy earpiece – or any kind of gadget for that matter – should be, all things considered, a colleague, an instrument and a friend.

OK, we’re laying it on a bit thick there. I mean, you don’t see the engineers on Star Trek cradling their tricorders lovingly and singing lullabies to them, do you? So what else are you looking for when you buy a spy earpiece?

Firstly, the size (and shape) is an important issue. The very smallest spy earpieces are practically invisible, but the sound quality isn’t generally up to much. When choosing an earpiece, you need to be able to wear it comfortably and to operate it in relatively noisy areas, if necessary. Keep this in mind at all times when choosing your earpiece.

Secondly, you will want to choose a colour that matches your skin hue. Its no good being a hulking 6ft 6in black guy with what looks like a miniature jar of Hellman’s Blue Label sticking out of your left lughole, now is it?

Thirdly, you’ll want a spy earpiece to generate the least amount of background noise possible. If you can find an earpiece that resists electromagnetic interference better than most, then you’ll definitely be on the right path. Most of them will emit a low hum, which you’ll find you get used to in time, but if it is too loud, the ‘hum’ can scupper your whole operation (and annoy you – a lot).

Finally, you will probably also want to make sure that you buy your earpiece from a reputable manufacturer or trader. There are a lot of charlatans out there, so it pays to be extra careful. You want to ensure that you buy an ultra high quality product, without getting stiffed on price. It is possible and you can do it, but you’ll probably need to shop around a bit first.

Spy earpieces, like two-way radios, smart TVs, tablet PCs, iPod docks and other consumer electronics, are likely to be in regular use either at work or at home and, as such, it is important that you are comfortable with your choice.

Therefore, it is useful to see if you can try out a friend’s earpiece first. Even if you don’t like it, you will at least get a taste of what you are (or are not – as the case may be) looking for.

You could even see if a salesperson will let you try one in your local electronics store (although frankly, I doubt it). Maybe if you just smile really nicely and appeal to the kid in them by giving them a nostalgia-inducing test phrase to use on the device. Something like, oh, I don’t know,

“Second star to the right…And straight on until morning”.

That should do it.

Titanic, Avatar and Star Trek Composer James Horner Dies In Plane Crash

James Horner, one of the best known and most respected composers in cinema history, has died, aged 61. He leaves behind him a musical legacy that helped to define an era.

Throughout an incredibly successful career, Horner scored in excess of 100 movies. First Oscar nominated for his work on ‘Aliens’ (1986) and again for ‘Field of Dreams’ (1989), amongst others, Horner’s work would eventually earn him two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, ten Oscar nominations, seven Golden Globe nominations and three Bafta nominations.

The list of films scored by James Horner is a long and impressive one. From ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ (1982) and its sequel, 1984’s ‘The Search For Spock’, to more recent hits such as ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2012), ‘The Karate Kid’ (2010) and ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ (2008), Horner scored more Hollywood blockbusters than some people have seen.

His rich, fluidic tones and warm, sweeping scores were occasionally offset by moments of experimentation, such as the African-style vocal harmonies used in his score for ‘Avatar’ (2009) or the steel drums used in cult Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle ‘Commando’ (1985), all with the effect of serving the plot and the director’s vision. He was also an extremely versatile mind, every bit as capable of scoring hard-hitting drama as flippant comedy or high-octane action. Perhaps this was why James Cameron chose Horner to score ‘Titanic’ (1997), a decision that proved to be very fruitful indeed. Both the score, and the song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ (performed by Celine Dion) won Oscars, while the song itself sold 15 million copies worldwide.

However, the list of hit films helped along to box office success by Horner’s talents doesn’t end there. 90’s crowd-pleasers ‘Braveheart’ (1995), ‘The Mask of Zorro’ (1998), ‘Deep Impact’ (1998), Apollo 13’ (1995), ‘Casper’ (1995) and ‘Jumanji’ (1995) all benefited from Horner’s orchestrations, as did later films like ‘Troy’ (2004), ‘The Legend of Zorro’ (2005) ‘The Forgotten’ (2004), ‘Iris’ (2001), ‘A Beautiful Mind’ (2001), ‘Bicentennial Man’ (1999), ‘Windtalkers’ (2002) ‘The Perfect Storm’ (2000) and ‘Enemy at the Gates’ (2001).

The list of films upon which Horner worked, or conducted for, is longer still. After you’ve read this piece, head on over to IMDB and be amazed.

James Horner was born in Los Angeles, California in 1953. His father, Harry Horner, was an Oscar winning art director and set designer who had won the coveted awards for his work on 1949’s ‘The Heiress’ and 1961’s ‘The Hustler’, respectively. James learned to play the piano at age 5 and went on to study at the Royal College of Music in London, before studying music at the University of Southern California and doing postgraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles.

His early successes included the movies ‘48 Hours’ (1982), ‘Cocoon’ (1985), ‘*Batteries Not Included’ (1987) and ‘An American Tail’ (1986) – which earned him an early Oscar nomination.

From there, Horner became one of Hollywood’s most in-demand composers, scoring ‘Willow’ (1988), ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids’ (1989), ‘The Rocketeer’ (1991), ‘Ransom’ (1996) and ‘Mighty Joe Young’ (1998), amongst (many) others.

On the 22nd June it was reported that one of Horner’s private planes had crashed into the Los Padres National Forest near Ventucopa, California. He was the sole occupant of the craft when it crashed. Our best wishes and sincerest condolences go out to Horner’s family, friends and fans. He shall be missed.

We Propose These Sepura Radio Earpieces

If you are looking for an earpiece that doesn’t compromise on performance, Sepura have a wide range of products available . Here are some of the most popular Sepura earpiece products.

1. Lightweight headset – STP8X

This headset can be used in low-noise conditions, and comes with an active earpiece – allowing you to listen to the surrounding environment with the other ear. You also get microphone, which can be fully adjusted. The headset can either be worn underneath protective headgear or on its own – providing you with more flexibility. To connect to the radio, use the chest-mounted RSM unit or large button PTT. This product can be used with a NEXUS jack plug (four-pole). Remember – cover of the Rugged Side Connector (RSC) will need to be in place in hazardous environments, or an approved Rugged Side Connector accessory will need to be used and securely connected. Disconnecting a Rugged Side Connector accessory or removing the cover isn’t permitted in hazardous environment.

2. EarpieceOnline Acoustic Police Earpiece

This earpiece comes with a clear tube that connects to the ear and has a separate press button to talk. It can be used in a covert or overt role, and comes with a microphone. The product will fit standard police radios from Sepura, including the SRP 2000, 3000, AND 3800, while the PTT block will enable users to wear the radio anywhere on their body, including the belt. You will also be able to mount the block easily. The microphone block and PTT come with a strong and durable metal clip which can be attached to duty vests. In addition, the radio can be worn out of sight in a covert role, and the microphone block and PTT can be used under clothing.

3. STP8X in-ear headset with PTT

This in-ear headset is ideal when used in low-noise conditions, and can be connected to the RSC on the STPX. The headset is used with a NEXUS jack plug (four-pole) and comes with an in-line PTT switch. The environmental rating of the product is IP54, and the storage temperature is -40 to 85 degrees Celsius. The weight of the item is 110 grams.

4. RAC STP in-ear tactical headset

This headset easily fits in the ear, and comes with a speaker functionality and microphone in the same product. The tactical headset features a ring PTT and can be used with a neck cord (users to cover the cord with clothing). The assembly can be terminated with a RAC plug.

5. STP8X SCORPION headset

The SCORPION headset has been designed to be used with protective helmets, making it an excellent choice for civil protection officers, fire brigades, and police officers. It comes with a receiver, microphone, and can be used with a NEXUS jack plug (four-pole). To connect the radio, you can use the large button PTT or advanced RSM. There are also a number of accessories that can be purchased for this product, including adapters for different types of helmet. Please note, unconnected headsets cannot be carried into a hazardous area. The weight of the product is 85 grams.

How Exactly Do Walkie-Talkies Work?

DISCLAIMER – Usually, we’re a pretty mild-mannered bunch, but every so often, we get a question that we’ve answered so many times that we just don’t know what to say in response to it anymore. For my part, I’m tempted to say ‘magic fairy warriors’, ‘pixie dust’ or just ‘spit and happy thoughts’ – but no, I’m not going to do that. In any instance, this is the last time I will be answering this question. So, after this, you guys will have to look into the archives for answers (still, you might be able to find some good stuff back there).

All joking aside, the science behind the walkie-talkie is fairly simple to grasp (which is good, because otherwise I’d be out of a job!). I’ll render it here as a series of steps.

STEP ONE – Having tuned the walkie-talkie to the appropriate frequency (and charged the battery), you push the PTT (Push To Talk) button and speak your message.

STEP TWO – The vibrations of your voice shake a small membrane inside the walkie-talkie’s microphone.

STEP THREE – The radio’s processor then converts those vibrations into an electrical signal, which it pushes upward towards your walkie-talkie’s antenna.

STEP FOUR – The electron particles housed inside the antenna become excited (they will only respond to the set frequency) and this, in turn, ‘pushes out’ the message in the form of a radio signal.

STEP FIVE – The radio signal is then intercepted by your partner’s walkie-talkie antenna, where the incoming signal excites their electrons (which are attuned to the same frequency, of course). These electrons then in turn translate the signal into an electrical impulse, which is subsequently decoded by the processor and played out via your partner’s speakers. It is exactly the same process as you just experienced except that it has been reversed.

The fact that walkie-talkies do this practically in real time is actually nothing short of amazing, when you think about it.

Part of the reason that walkie-talkie technology has been so very successful since its initial inception is that it works very well and is very easy to use. In fact, you’d be hard pushed to find a simpler, more useful and more user-friendly technology this side of the wheel!

Thanks for your question (and I’m sorry about the rant earlier, Claudia!), hope my answer helps. If not, then I’d go with the magic fairy warriors.

Guide Health: Reducing your risk of hearing loss

Even though this study was based in canada, we can see the same happening within the UK, great advice like Don’t try to “dig out” anything from your ear can be applied to any country or scenario.

The number of times you say “Pardon me” may be the only sign you have that your hearing has gradually lessened. It happens with age, but even so, it’s important to recognize there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and to maximize your hearing.

About 10 per cent of all Canadians have hearing loss, but as you would expect, the numbers do jump as age increases. At 45 years of age, only about 20 per cent are affected, but by age 65 it’s about 60 per cent of people. Men are more often affected than women, which may be related to noise exposure at work.

It is also thought these numbers should actually be higher because hearing loss is so gradual that it is not noticed, or because it is denied.

There are two components to hearing. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds are prevented from getting to the middle or inner ear, for example because of impacted earwax, a foreign body, water, or even an ear infection. Removal of the obstacle will solve this type of hearing loss.

By contrast, sensorineural hearing loss involves the inner ear and the nervous system. Unfortunately, this kind of hearing loss is usually permanent.

Your ear has three parts: the outer ear which is the part that you see, the middle ear where hearing is sensed, and the inner ear which is responsible for sending sound messages to the brain for interpretation. Incidently, the inner ear is all important in maintaining your balance, which often means that damage to the inner ear will affect both your balance and hearing.

Earaches can affect any part of your ear and reduce your hearing. Infections, a foreign body, trauma such as a blow to the ear, or even something like swimmer’s ear can be the cause, but once the earache clears your hearing returns to normal.

Earwax or cerumen can be a problem if it accumulates and plugs the ear canal. Earwax is a mixture of secretions from both sweat and earwax glands. If you are older, have narrow or misshapen ear canals, wear a hearing aid, or even have lots of hair in your ears, earwax can readily accumulate and become impacted. There are various earwax removal products available, but you need to read and follow the instructions carefully. And, if you are unsuccessful, don’t just try another product, have your ears checked first.

If you notice that your hearing has changed and you have begun taking a new medication, ask if hearing loss may be an adverse effect.

Some drugs can affect your hearing. Drugs with the potential to reduce hearing by affecting the nerves that sense sound include antibiotics like gentamicin, tetracycline, and erythromycin; the leg cramp remedy quinine; some cancer drugs; and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid. This effect typically occurs over time and, usually, stopping the drug halts the loss, although hearing may not return completely.

Acetylsalicylic acid in higher doses can also cause tinnitus or ringing in your ears. The ringing may not develop into hearing loss, but it certainly interferes with hearing. Again, stopping the drug will alleviate the effect, but even reducing the dose may do the trick.

Your ears are considered to be self cleaning and you shouldn’t need to do anything else other than wash your external ear, for example when you are shampooing your hair. Don’t try to “dig out” anything from your ear, earwax included! You may push whatever you are trying to remove further into your ear. Ideally, you want to put nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear, if that’s even possible!

Take care of your hearing by wearing ear protection when you are exposed to loud noises, such as machinery or rock music. And, if you wear a hearing aid, always remember to make sure it has fresh batteries and that it fits properly. Getting older is no reason why you shouldn’t have good hearing.