Antivirus programs don’t work like you think they do.

antivirus programs

Do you understand what you’re buying?

The software companies won’t always tell you this, but there are three big gaps in antivirus (AV) protection that you probably don’t want to know about – but you really should. The reality is, antivirus software is just the icing on the cake when it comes to protecting yourself from nefarious types who want to steal your identity, your credit cards and the right to access your hard drive. These include:

  1. human error: the reality is that most security breaches occur because of simple human error, not automated attacks such as malware, trojans, viruses and keyloggers. Fo example, no AV program can prevent you from sharing your password with someone on the phone, accessing sensitive online services over public WiFi or using easy-to-guess passwords.
  2. time lag: all AV programs are running behind the hackers. There’s always a delay between the creation of a new virus and a solution.
  3. algorithm differences: Antivirus software isn’t magic, it’s math. All AV programs use one of two different approaches to detecting threats like malware and trojans. And neither approach is foolproof.
    • list-based: using a central published list of known threats, the AV software scans your computer for them. Almost all AV programs that use list-based algorithms rely upon the same repository which is maintained by thousands of security specialists worldwide, open-source style. Most popular AV programs today started this way and remain mostly focused on this method. The biggest drawback of this approach is that new threats are coming online all the time, and the lists are always behind the curve.
    • pattern-based: a few other programs like Malwarebytes don’t use a list of known threats; instead, they look for tell-tale patterns in your computer’s memory to detect the presence of certain types of threats. This type of AV can pick up new threats not yet documented in the master list, because the new threats happen to function like other, known threats. The downside of this approach is that the patterns aren’t perfect, and some known threats will slip through the cracks.

Fix Yourself First

Before you go buy yourself an expensive antivirus license, use some common sense (and FREE) methods to protect yourself against the most important class of threats, human error.

Here are the best ways to protect yourself from malware, trojans, viruses and other automated attacks on your privacy:

  1. Use strong passwords. Select a unique, hard-to-guess password for every single program and web service that requires one. Use at least 8-10 characters. Mix up numbers, letters and special characters in every password. Capitalize at least two of your letters.
  2. Never use the same password twice. I’m serious. This may sound like a huge hassle, but if you use a free keyword passbook program like KeyPass (which is what I use), it becomes easy to store and find your passwords.
  3. Lock down your home WiFi network. And use a strong password for access.
  4. Never access personal accounts over public WiFi. It’s really easy these days for a nefarious geek to use a cheap $100 sniffer device to capture every character you transmit to your bank, insurance company, credit card payments, etc. This includes your phone and tablets, too. Turn the wifi off, and rely on cellular instead (it’s encrypted).
  5. Never click on an attachment or URL in an email from someone you don’t know. 
  6. Inspect your URLs before you click on them. A lot of people click on a link in an email from their bank without even thinking. WRONG. Phishing attacks prey on this easy mistake. Make sure you know where you’re going, before you click. To do that,  just hover over the link and look at the bottom left of your browser footer to see what the real destination is.

The Best Antivirus Programs You Can Buy

OK, after you’ve taken care of the common sense items above, here are the most effective antivirus programs you can use to further reduce the threat of an automated attack:

I recommend buying two packages: one list-based package plus one pattern-based package, to cover all of your bases.

If you follow all of these guidelines, your computers will remain threat-free for years. It’s been over ten years since I’ve had anything infect my computer.


web hosting

Have you ever had a light bulb moment, where an excellent idea for a website pops into your head – and all you needed was a place to host it, cheap?

You probably went to Google as a next step and typed in “free web hosting” or something along those lines. I know I have.

The path from getting your idea on paper to launching your own web site is riddled with potential pitfalls. To save you time and frustration, here’s what I learned in most recent my quest to find the best possible web hosting service for this blog.

The first few results in any online search for a web host are usually some sort of a free web hosting service. Free web hosting services operate on the principle of giving you something until you commit. In exchange, they impose a lot of restrictions. Usually, those restrictions come in the form of limiting your bandwidth, adding advertisements all over your pages and in general, treating you like a low priority customer.

I prefer not to use free hosting, but instead go with cheap hosting, where you get treated as a customer (at least). Here are the 5 best web hosting services I found recently, with recommendations on why you should or shouldn’t choose each.


fat cow web hosting front page

FatCow offers a supremely easy WordPress setup, which means you can have your blog up and running in a matter of minutes. The feature package includes phpBB, Joomla, unlimited MySQL databases, domains hosted, bandwidth, disk space, PayPal integration and much, much more. To top it all off, there is a $100 Google AdWords bonus, so you can reach your customers even faster. If you don’t like it, there is a 30-day money back guarantee, for just $3.15 per month. The entire FatCow service is 100% powered by wind turbines, in other words, green energy. All of the above earns FatCow a deserved 5-star rating.


bluehost web hosting front page

This hosting service also comes with a swath of amazing options for fresh bloggers. BlueHost has everything you can possibly imagine: unlimited email addresses, hosting space, unlimited bandwidth plans, while also including site builder templates for effortless creation of your own blog. BlueHost is also the official recommended WordPress web hosting service and they’ve been around since 1996, which says enough about their reliability and stability. If you’re looking for a specialized WordPress web hosting service, then look no further. All of this is available for a mere $3.49 per month. If you join the WPBeginner website, you will receive an additional 50% off of any BlueHost price, which is why it also gets a 5-star rating in this review.


inmotion hosting front page

The InMotion web hosting service boasts having Solid State Drive as their primary content holder, which means that you will get unparalleled access and loading times, compared to servers on traditional hard drives. This also reflects in the prices, which are slightly above average. Their tech support is top notch and available 24/7 for any questions you might have. Though, it’s only available for US based clients, so if you’re outside of US, you might simply get directed towards online knowledge database, out of which some are quite outdated. They offer a variety of price plans, the best being Power, starting from $6.29 per month. InMotion gets a 4-star rating.


hostgator web hosting front page

HostGator offers free website transfers, if you’re coming from another web service provider. While the cheaper price packages are excellent for starting blogs and businesses, premium accounts do not provide as many benefits as one would expect. Also note that if you stay logged in into WordPress as admin, you will cause excessive CPU usage and a temporary suspension. The price is $3.96 per month. HostGator receives a 4-star rating.


siteground web hosting front page

SiteGround has a unique location-specific service which gives you the option of choosing servers nearest to you in Europe, Singapore and USA. They are primarily oriented towards WordPress bloggers and offer optimized plans, support and software for the purpose of starting your own blog. The price is 3.95 € per month, a bit too much compared to the competitors, while reserving some high-end functions for premium plans. SiteGround receives a 4-star rating.


And the winner is…

FatCow hosting! Although the race was neck-to-neck between FatCow and BlueHost, in the end FatCow prevailed, simply due to the fact that they offer the absolute lowest prices while giving top notch service for a beginner blogger.

hair drug testing

Beat The Unbeatable Hair Drug Test

OK, so this post is a little off-topic, but I find it interesting.

At my job, employee drug testing is a very serious matter. We build apps for the US government, after all.

My primary employer does random drug tests all the time, especially for contractors like me.

Last Wednesday, my team lost a really good programmer over a failed hair drug test.

I was talking to my friend Tom when he told me that several other contractors he knows for a fact are smoking pot outside of work, but they didn’t get caught on the same test. For the next 15 minutes, he introduced me to the “black art” of methods that pot smokers use to cheat the newest infallible drug test, the hair follicle test.

Now, I do not do drugs of any kind (honestly, really), but I did find it fascinating that people have figured out how to cheat what should be a foolproof, onsite test like a hair sample.

Here are the 4 ways my fellow contractors are apparently using to beat the hair drug test (or so they say):

  1. shave your body free of hair (ref:
  2. get around the test  (ref:
  3. using special detox shampoos (ref:
  4. vinegar home rinse

People Are Crafty

Whenever new laws and regulations are passed, it doesn’t take long for people to find clever ways to beat the system.

Many employers, including the government, have grappled with the problem of drug use and how to deal with employees they suspect of using drugs. While some employers are concerned about the effect of drugs on the overall productivity of staff members, others are concerned because of the nature of the tasks their employees have to undertake.

When employees are charged with operating industrial machinery or other equipment that require high concentration levels, they simply cannot consume any substance that impairs their judgment.

The government especially expects everyone involved in sensitive areas such as defense to be totally free of drugs. This rule applies for both direct employees and those under defense contractors.

Recently, the hair drug test has been hailed as the foolproof way of catching drug users in work places where the use of drugs is restricted.

How does the hair drug test work?

If you have ever taken drugs, you may or may not be aware that the toxins from the drugs are circulated by your blood throughout the body. As they are transported round the body, small amount of the toxins are deposited in different parts of the body including the hair follicles. This means that anyone who would like to conduct a drug test on you only needs to test a sample of your hair to tell conclusively whether you have been using drugs or not.

The hair drug test then happens to be about as accurate as testing urine, except it can detect drugs over a longer period of time. A urine test only reveals the use of drugs if they have been consumed between 48 – 72 hours. After the lapse of the period, the traces of the drugs disappear from the urine. However, the drug molecules still remain in hair follicles.

A hair test, then, will reveal the type of drugs taken with a high accuracy and over a long period of time. The hair test also reveals whether the drug user has been using for an extended period of time or whether it was just a one-off occurrence. For example, a hair growth of 3 months with embedded toxins means that the subject has been using the drugs for at least 3 months.

If you are being interviewed about your history of drug use and you happen to have used drugs for a while then stopped, it is a good idea to be truthful. The hair test is likely to give an indication of when you used the drugs and also when you stopped.


How to beat the hair drug test…

A lot has been said about the drug test on hair been very precise. Like all other processes, some people have been wondering how to beat the test. Some have claimed that they have been able to pass the test even thought they have bee taking drugs. However, the truth is that if you hope to get a job in the disciplined forces or any other industry which tests for drug use, you have to ensure that you stop taking the drugs at least 3 months prior to the commencement of the interviews. Within the period, you may want to detoxify and remove as much trace of the toxins in your body as possible.

There are a number of ways they claim to do this. The methods include:

Shaving the body free of hair

It is a fact that it takes 5 days for the hair to grow from the root to the scalp. If you shave your hair completely and stop taking the drugs for at least 7 days you will be clean. For this method to be effective you have to shave all the hair on your body and not just on the head. The biggest flaw with this approach is that your employer or potential employer will question why you had to shave with a hair drug test approaching. If they cannot get your hair sample, they will opt for a blood test which will reveal your drug use.

Vinegar rinse home remedy

This method requires you to have distilled white vinegar. It involves applying the vinegar over your hair and saturating it for over 10 minutes. You must ensure that you rub your hair thoroughly so that every strand of hair is soaked. Once you are satisfied that you have applied the vinegar evenly, you need to let it remain on your hair for an extra 15 minutes.

Next, you need to soak your hair with salicylic acid commonly used acne treatment. You should ensure that the product has a 2% salicylic acid concentration. Without rinsing any of the products you have applied, take a cupful of liquid detergent and rub it on your hair. You need to let this detergent remain on your hair for about 30 minutes.

After the time is up, you need to carefully rinse your hair with a lot of water. After you are done rinsing, you can then dye your hair with a standard dye to your desired hair color.

Some people who claim to have used this method successfully say they repeat it at least once.

Detox Shampoos

Some people say that detox shampoos do work, because they detox the hair follicles all the way to the roots. With so many detox shampoos in the market, one needs to be careful about the one they choose. Since detox hair products are not FDA tested, you are on your own. Two of the most commonly mentioned products include the Aloe Rid Shampoo as well as the Toxin Wash Detox Shampoo.

Although many people have claimed success against a hair drugs test, you need to plan ahead to ensure your own success.

smart appliances

Robotic Home Appliances Are Quietly Taking Over (In a Good Way)

A famous Silicon Valley VC once said, “software is eating the world”. Indeed!

It’s amazing to see how many computers and software applications are getting embedded into so many products and industries to automate and simplify tasks like never before. And most of this is being done under our noses, with little to no fanfare or media attention.

Software intelligence is increasingly impacting our economy at every level, from information processing to electronics and production. The use of on-board software capable of scheduling and doing tasks without human involvement has been introduced to a wide range of home appliances in the past 5-10 years, from automatic vacuum cleaners to robotic pool cleaners, automatic coffee makers, intelligent refrigerators and even bread makers.

Software Enters The Home

On-board software refers to applications capable of taking and automating task instructions for a single device or appliance – such as when to initiate a given process or function. Here are some common home appliances that have been incorporating on-board software recently, and the advantages we get from doing that.

Washers and Dryers

bosch wkd28350gb washer dryer combo

Unlike traditional washers and dryers that require people to keep an ear out for, modern washer-dryer combos are self-directed and fully automated. Intelligent washers have systems that can perform loading, washing and drying without being monitored. They also have delay features that can be used to schedule tasks so that the tasks are completed just in time, when you arrive home from work for example.

The advantage of these appliances is that tasks are performed in your absence without your oversight. There are several intelligent dryers produced by different manufacturers. A good example is the Bosch WKD28350GB automatic washer/dryer. It features washer foam detection, safeguard monitoring, aquatronic washing and begin-wash delay among other properties. The dryer claims to be more energy efficient than non-intelligent versions.

Smart Refrigerators

Also known as internet refrigerators, this appliance uses a barcode recognition system (or RFID scanners) that scan and keep records of items being stored in it. Intelligent fridges also keep track of restocking patterns and notifies users whenever there is an item that needs replenishing. Some examples include Samsung’s RH2777AT HomePAD and Zipel e-Diary, LG’s Digital DIOS, GR-D267DTU and ThinQ LFX31995ST.

Outdoor Grills

There are several automated grills and smart concept grills on the market today. These new designs feature software that can access internet databases to identify correct recipes including cooking methods and timing. The grills also have preprogrammed systems that eliminate guesswork and use fine recipes to produce the best meal. For example, the Lynx concept grill allows activation via voice instruction and has many other incredible capabilities.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

aquabot pool rover jr

Swimming pool owners no longer need to pay pool cleaners or leave their vacuum/filtration systems on all day. Robotic pool cleaners like the Dolphin Nautilus and the Aquabot Pool Rover are designed to effectively clean swimming pool floor, walls and cloves. The chief advantage of having onboard software to run these devices is that cleaning is fully automated, the routes are intelligently controlled so less time is required to clean, and cleaning can be scheduled to happen during specified periods of time to ensure your pool is always clean but not interrupting your fun.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners (robo-vacs)

These are programmed in-home vacuum cleaners that use a combination of cleaning procedures (UV sterilization, mopping, etc.) plus features such as spinning brushes to clean your floors and carpeted surfaces automatically. They can be set to perform cleaning at given time intervals in the absence of anyone. Robovacs may also incorporate systems like security cameras and intercoms, to serve as watchdog.

iRobot Roomba

iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner is a good example.

The incorporation of smart applications and on-board software into ordinary home appliances has resulted in more convenience, higher energy efficiency and improved productivity/performance for a wide range of tasks – and we’re just getting started!

code javascript

Learning how to code used to be boring. But not any more. sort of broke the mold with their wildly popular 10 hour course for learning how to code in Javascript.Over 24 million people have taken this course! Today, they offer courses on Python, CSS and lots more.

Following their lead, more fun and educational programs have come online to help budding/aspiring developers to take the plunge.

All of the courses below are clever in the way they motivate you through constant positive feedback. I think they’re fun. I wish I’d had them when I got started. Or maybe not, because there would be a lot more coders to compete with!

Here are the three best FREE self-guided programming courses available today. Enjoy!


codeacademy panel

Of all the self-guided programming learning course, Codecademy is the most popular – because it is so easy to use.Lessons are available for learning HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

The fundamental training model is do-and-see. In other words, make a change in your code on one side of the screen, and you will immediately see the results on the other. This is a really quick way to iterate and learn.

In this video, Zach Sims discusses how CodeAcademy approached the problem of getting people engaged in learning how to code – by delivering its course in tiny, simple and entertaining challenges that teach one thing well.


Khan Academy

khan academy panelKhan is known for their excellent video tutorials, and they offer an extensive array on computer science and programming.

Recently, Khan branched into interactive self-guided training.

In Khan’s programming course, they focus more on learning general coding concepts by sending you through small Javascript modules.

Like, the course uses two panes: one displays the results of your changes and the other educates you on the new technique. Video summaries help cement the concepts after the exercise is done.

Not quite as good as CodeAcademy, but it works great – especially if you’re already using Khan for other courses.


Scratch 2.0

scratch 20

If you find Khan Academy or CodeAcademy too challenging, then give Scratch 2.0 a try.

In Scratch, you learn the concepts of programming by assembling a series of visual logical blocks to do your bidding.  The blocks represent code, so you don’t actually learn how to write code but instead learn the fundamental ways of blocking code. This is as close to video gaming as you’ll get in a programming course. I really liked playing with it, and my nephew (who’s 13) thoroughly enjoyed it.


I am a training god

I’ve been teaching others how to develop LAMP and web apps for over 5 years.

I like to present - im an extrovert

I like to present – im an extrovert

It’s in my job description.

And with the engineering turnover every company experiences, training is a constant state of being for guys like me.

I used to custom-build my training materials by hand for new recruits. The result was a burning need to take adderall among my students.

So, I always thought that getting access to pre-packaged education courses would a God send. Well, it is!

These days, the quality and availability of FREE online training for professional developers has come so far in such a short amount of time that I regularly incorporate outside training courses on the job.

Here are some of the best FREE online courses for developers:

If you’re interested in paying, here are a few I can recommend:

Thanks to Quora for all the help!

sony smart watch 2 and experia

It’s not long ago that smart watches came onto the scene.

Wearable computing technology is introducing a new era in which smaller and smaller  intelligent devices are making communications and apps even more personal. Smart watches are the latest hot innovation in this trend.

In addition to changing the way people view and use their wrist watches, smart watches and watch phones promise a whole lot more convenience than a phone.

Nevertheless, the best smart watches today are still basically extensions of your smartphone. So if you are looking to get one, you really should choose your smartphone first.

Currently there are a lot of companies fighting for the pole position on your wrist, ranging from large corporations like Samsung, LG and Apple to upstarts like Martian and Pebble. Even though they all make unique devices, the primary function of the devices remains a smartphone companion.

This means smart watches serve as an extension of your phone, mainly for conveying texts, calls, social updates and emails so that you can decide whether it’s worth taking out your phone to respond. Or just blow them off.

Beware Manufacturer Lock-In

Many of the new smart watches, especially those made by phone companies, are designed to only work with the company’s operating system of choice.  They are therefore mainly supportive of either Android or iOS.  Some of these touch watches are locked to a specific brand of smartphones.  There are however a number of freelance companies and upstarts that make them compatible with all android devices, but not iOS, and vice versa.  The windows phone platform is the least supported of the major operating systems.

If you are shopping for a smart watch, you need to confirm the device’s compatibility beforehand so that you can fully enjoy the experience.  Android being the dominant smartphone operating system has the most number of supported touch watches ranging from the popular Samsung Gear to the recently released Moto 360.

For Android Users

For owners of Android smartphones, there are many popular smart watches to choose from including the LG G Watch, the Neptune Pine, the Geak Watch Phone, the Qualcomm Toq and the Sony SmartWatch 2.  Most of these devices work with Android phones running version 4.3 upwards.

Sony smart watch

For Apple Fans

iPhone owners can bank on the recently released Apple Watch for iOS 5+ devices, due in early 2015. There are, however, other wearable devices that work with iOS including Eco-Drive Proximity, Hot SmartWatch, Vachem, TrueSmart, Sonostar, Pebble Steel, Martian and MetaWatch.

For the Uncommitted

If you’re on the fence or have both Android and iOS phones in your home, you can rest easy knowing there are some smart watches that support both platforms. These include the Kreyos Meteor, Cookoo, Martian, MetaWatch, Pebble Steel, Vachem, and Truesmart.

For Windows Phones

Sorry, Microsofties, right now your choices are limited. Only the Agent wearable currently works with the Windows Phone.

Check Your Phone’s OS Version, Too

One other important factor that requires picking your next smartphone before considering an accompanying wearable is the OS version. Since most of these platforms get updated from time to time, your smart watch pick should be compatible with the version in your phone. This is especially important for Android phones since they use the most fragmented operating system.

Smart watches are already very capable devices, with support for lots of apps along with other smartphone-like features. In time, they are expected to become high-tech timepieces that can work as standalone phones. In the meantime however, make sure you only buy a smart watch after confirming that it will works with your smartphone.

app overload disorder

Do you suffer from AOD (App Overload Disorder)?

I do, brother. Can I get a witness?

AOD is a horrible, stifling disease characterized by an excessive amount of time spent every day to maintain an apps habit.

The symptoms of AOD include:

  • you have more than 50 Chrome tabs open right now
  • your phone, tablet and laptop are always running out of memory
  • you upgraded to a paid Dropbox/iCloud account – to make room for apps
  • it takes you 2 hours to groom your apps in iTunes
  • you check IFTTT daily to make sure your recipes are working
  • you stay awake at night wondering when if you backed up your keyword passbook
  • your hands are permanently disfigured through constant typing of user names and passwords

I love my apps! But they’re killing me.

I use apps pretty much every waking hour of every day.

my small set of iphone apps

my first page of iphone apps (jk)

I have apps on my phone, apps on my tablet and apps on my laptop.

My internet TV has its own apps, too. The Roku I attached to my TV has its own downloadable apps, one for each channel I watch.

My new Pebble smart watch uses still more apps.

At work, I use 10 enterprise apps, plus at least 30 programming / project management apps.

When I get home, I waste plenty of time on my social media, news and gaming apps.

Or I use my Airdrone iPhone app to fly my Parrot around – zoom!

When I’m shopping, I check prices on my phone (more apps).

There are even apps that help me keep tabs on my apps.

But the overhead involved with using these is taking over my life. It feels like all I do now is enter my userid and password, over and over again. Or worse, to save time I give my life’s story to every Tom Dick and Harry app provider by clicking on the “Connect Using Facebook” button. Because my carpal tunnel just can’t handle it anymore.

This Can’t End Well

I often wonder where today’s app explosion will end. I mean, there are over a million iOS apps, and almost that many Android ones.

Who has the time to search for what they want from this many choices? How will we navigate this when there are 10 million? 100 million? one for every person on the planet?

It really looks like the number of apps might surpass the number of web pages at some point soon!

Will some mega-VC come in and buy up all the loose apps in the world and create an Oracle of apps?

Or will I (gasp) have to delete a bunch of my beloveds, to return my life to sanity?

I think I need an intervention.


There are 100s of LAMP Development Tools Available Today.

But if you are just getting into developing web apps using Linux-Apache-MySQL-php – or any variation on the theme – which tools should you choose as your go-to arsenal?

I’ve been developing LAMP stack apps for about 7 years now. These days, I teach and supervise as much as I code. But I’m a pretty experienced engineer.

Listed below are my favorites utilities and apps for newbie LAMP developers. They all have a bit of a learning curve that pays off later, when you burn the oil all night.

Five Gotta-Have LAMP Dev Tools

In order to develop LAMP/MAMP/XAMPP apps you’ll need at least five types of tools in your kit. These include:

  1. A local development environment (LDE)
  2. An integrated development environment (IDE)
  3. Database tools
  4. Internet file transfer tools
  5. Virtualization tools

This isn’t the definitive list of tools you’ll need, but you need to start somewhere and this is where I would begin.

Local Development Environment (LDE)

The LDE is where we build our own code and test it before working with the team on releases.

I prefer XAMPP on Windows or MAMP for OS X (Pro version – highly recommended).

Every good LDE will also have version control, and Git is the only choice, in my opinion. For visual control of Git, I use Tower,  Versions Subversion for my repositories.

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

Sublime Text 2, is the best IDE around. It works on Windows, Mac and UNIX systems.

Database Tools

These break down into two categories/choices:

  • Web-hosted tools like SQL Buddy or phpMyAdmin.
  • Desktop tools: use MySQL Workbench.

Virtualization Tools for Testing

After you near completion of your project, you’re going to need to test the apps in multiple browsers and devices before signing off on unit testing. To do this, I use VMWare Fusion. But my colleagues also swear by Parallel’s Desktop.

FTP Clients

There are only two ftp clients remaining that everyone uses these days, and they are

  • Panic’s Transmit for OSX
  • WS FTP for Windows.

seiko tv watch connector unit

Back in 1985, when I was 12 years old, my father (an engineer) brought home a watch we’d both seen in the James Bond film, Octopussy, together: the Seiko TV Watch. It was known at the time as “the world’s smallest TV” (I learned that the Guinness Book of World Records named it that in 1984).  It made a real impression on me at the time. I thought my father was the coolest.

The other day, I saw Octopussy again and thought I’d go check the attic to see if the unit Dad bought was still with his stuff in my attic.  Yes it was – and it was still in the original packaging!.

After researching online for a few hours, here’s what I learned about the first smart watch I ever owned – along with some photos of our device.

The Smallest TV In The World

Seiko TV Watch - black and white

The Seiko TV Watch was produced in very limited numbers for a few years in the mid-1980s.

It’s technically a digital LCD wrist watch with a built-in TV screen and a separate TV receiver approximately the size of an old cassette tape Walkman.

It was designed to be carried it around with you so you could have a fully functioning watch plus access to over-the-air broadcast TV at any time. The batteries lasted a surprisingly long time (5 hours of play time).

Seiko TV Watch  - full box set

Seiko TV Watch – full box set

The unit’s 1.5 x 2 inch display is made up of two different parts: a timekeeping display at the top, and a larger TV display at the bottom.

Seiko TV Watch worlds smallest TV 1982

To use the watch as a TV, you have to carry a separate block receiver unit (model no. TR02-01) in your pocket or on your hip.

seiko tv watch how to use it

The TV receiver connects to the watch display unit using a black connector – you snap the cord onto the watch when you want to use the TV set. Seiko recommended that you snake the cable through the sleeve of your jacket and hide the receiver in the jacket pocket. For audio, you put on the headphone which tethers to the tuner using a second line. The headphone line also doubles as a line antenna.

The TV display employs a special type of trans-reflective liquid crystal video display that only works if the watch is exposed to external light (no backlighting). The brighter the light, the clearer the picture.

Besides the time display, the watch also features a calendar, an alarm and a stopwatch.


The Guinness Book of Records calls the Seiko TV Watch in its 1984 edition the “smallest TV set in the world”.

A few hundred million yen were invested in the development of the device over the course of three years, beginning in 1980.

The Seiko TV Watch was revealed in Tokyo during the summer of 1982. It was manufactured in Seiko’s Fujimi and Matsumoto factories from 1982 to 1983.

The TV Watch was first sold in Japan only as model DXA001, which cost 108,000 Yen. Later, it was marketed in Japan as the DXA002 and cost 98,000 Yen. The second model differed only in the case design and the type of headphone (the DXA001 came with a two-ear headphone and the DXA002 offered an earphone).

The TV Watch was released in the US in 1983 at a suggested retail price of $495.

seiko tv watch packaged unit

The rarest, first US model is the T001-5000. It was sold in a silver cardboard container and the protective pouch for the receiver also came in silver. The second, more popular unit sold in the US was the T001-5019, which came in a gold box.

Hands-On Video

Here is a recent video on YouTube that shows what the TV Watch looks like when in use.


A Highly Sought-After Collectible

The Seiko TV Watch is highly coveted electronic collectible in the US and in Japan. Well-maintained models in the original packaging sell for upwards of $1,000 and unopened containers of the rarer first model can sell for more than $2,000.

Seiko TV Watch James Bond

Seiko TV Watch in James Bond’s Octopussy

This is partly because the device was featured in two popular movies. In 1983, Roger Moore wore a Seiko TV Watch in the movie Octopussy. Later, in 1987, Tom Hanks wore one in the movie Dragnet.


  • the watch measures 40 x 49 x 10 mm and weighs 80 grams
  • the receiver weighs 190 grams
  • 1.2″ gray shade LCD display with 32k pixel resolution
  • 5 hr running time
  • external receiver/tuner for VHF & UHF television channels 2 to 83
  • FM stereo radio receiver.
  • digital timer/stop watch with a resolution of 1/100 second
  • built-in timer, watch and alarm-clock with normal date-time functions
  • 6-conductor cable works with 4, 9 and 13 Volts and separate signals for video and synchronization.
  • optional accessory AC adapter (unit TD02).

User Manual

Here’s a link to the original user’s manual (.pdf 2.5 MB).

Retail Packaging

  • user manual and literature
  • receiver
  • headphone (or ear phone)
  • leather pouch for the tuner
  • three spare straps for the wristband
  • tuner-watch connecting cable (80 cm).
  • Stainless steel wristband
  • 80 gram coin watch battery (SR920W)
  • 2 alkaline AAA batteries.

Where To Learn More

  • The website Television History – The First 75 Years has a page devoted to the TV Watch.
  • Connoisseurs of the Japanese language and fans of cute photos will also enjoy the colorful brochure pages, which can be found behind the following links: page1, page2, page3 (about 250 kB each).
  • Here’s an English-language brochure. It describes the watch as an EPSON. SEIKO and EPSON merged in 1985.
  • In July 1983, the magazine Video Review published a review of the TV Watch.

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