Archive for October 15th, 2013

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Apple confirms iPad press event 22nd October

apple ipad 5 eventThis afternoon Apple announced a press event to be held on the 22nd October in San Francisco. Press invitations have already been sent out to the event in which we’re expecting to see the new iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 unveiled but the tag line in the invitation “We still have a lot to cover” possibly suggests that there may be more in the line up for the day.

Certainly the smart money is pointing to the two new iPad models both of which are expected to have the Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor introduced in the iPhone 5S as well as a version of the 64-bit A7 chip.

The hope from us is that the iPad mini 2 will have a retina display but there have been many rumours about this over the past few weeks that seem to equally say yay and nay, all will be revealed next week.

Other possible attractions at the event are OS X Mavericks that went GM earlier this month and the Mac Pro which has been teasing us for several months.

We’ll be coving the event from 6PM BST on the 22nd October.

Posted in: News, Tablets
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Which Chromebook is right for you?

Which ChromebookThere has been a flurry of Chromebook’s over the last week and whilst they are largely the same, there are a few subtle differences to distinguish them. Here is a brief overview of the main contenders, there will be more, many more over the next year or so however you might need one right now and this little table may help:

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Acer C720

HP Chromebook 11

Samsung Chromebook

HP Chromebook 14

Screen

11.6″ 1366 x 768

11.6″ IPS display 1366 x 768

11.6″ 1366 x 768

14″ 1366 x 768

Ports

1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

Weight

1.27kg

1.04kg

1.08kg

1.9kg

CPU

1.4 GHz Intel Celeron (Haswell)

1.7 Exynos 5250

1.7 GHz Exynos 5000 Series

Intel Celeron 1.4 GHz

Memory

4GB

2GB

2GB

2GB

Storage

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

Battery life

8.5 hours

6 hours

6.5 hours

9.5 hours

Network

802.11a/b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n

Connections

1 x HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0

Bluetooth 4.0, MicroUSB

Bluetooth 4.0, SD card slot.

Bluetooth 4.0, 1 x HDMI, SD card slot.

We’ll be going hands on sith several of these over the next week so be sure to came back to see unboxing videos and reviews soon! 🙂

Posted in: Editorial, Laptops
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A Brief History Of Car Stereos: From Victrola to Wi-Fi Radios

victrolaHow much have you spent on your car’s stereo system? Today, car and music enthusiasts can drop more than a quarter of a million dollars on a serious music system like the Rogue Acoustics 1K. One hundred years ago, however, the most technologically advanced car radio cost only fifteen dollars. How has sound engineering for automobiles evolved over the decades?

In The Beginning

One of the first popularized radios, named the Victrola, would be the forerunner for all car audio equipment today. During the 1930s, a brother team installed a Victrola into a Studebaker, naming it the “Motorola”. This brand became so popular that it grew into a corporation of radios, stereos, televisions, and electronics that Google purchased in 2012 for just less than thirteen billion dollars. At first, these Motorolas could only pick up on AM transmissions; it would take another two decades before FM radios became available that would pick up on short-range, local radio station transmissions.

Music Players

Today, a user can open up an iTunes or Spotify account in their vehicle and gain easy access to libraries of tens of millions of songs. Only fifty years ago, however, radios held drivers in thrall to the music that DJs wanted to play. The first time any driver could make a choice in music came in the late 1960s, when 8-track tape players became available for installation in automobiles. Cassettes followed soon, then in the late 1980s the CD revolution allowed a user to switch between as many as 10 CDs in a single player without needing to re-wind each time.

Digital Vehicles

When people think of mp3 players, they think of iPods, and for good reason; according to MacTech, the iPod has a staggering 70% market share. The first mp3 players pre-dated the iPod by half a decade, however, and sports cars like the Mazda MX5 would be the first cars with mp3 compatibility. Today, mp3 players can be directly hooked into a stereo system, used to play music via a tape adapter, or streamed via Bluetooth to create a mobile wireless unit.

The Future Of Mobile Music

Anyone with a smart phone knows how practical it can be to use it as a driving aid. From GPS navigation to apps that find the cheapest gas prices, smart phone integration drives the development of today’s automobile interiors. As such, subscribers to online car services can do everything automobile-related from the inside of their vehicles, including paying for the car itself. Paying car bills today requires nothing more than a login, pulling up Mydrivetime.com, and entering a payment through their finance services. Music apps are no different from online bill management: login to Pandora and stream music directly to your speakers. Developers looking to create ever-more-advanced stereos believe “smart cars” point the way towards the future of automobile audio, with on-demand music and information caches that preclude streaming interruptions like tunnels.

 

Posted in: Editorial
By October 15, 2013 Read More →

An Introduction to the Amstrad CPC 664

Amstrad CPC 664Continuing his retrospective of the Amstrad range Gareth moves onto the second 8-bit computer produced by Amstrad, the CPC 664. This rare machine was produced for a very short period and now attains the status of a collector’s item. Luckily Gareth has one in his collection.

The Amstrad CPC 664 sold well in it’s day however was superseded by the CPC 6128 quite quickly as the 64kb of memory onboard did not deliver what people were looking for. The CPC 6128 became almost as iconic as the CPC 464 and the CPC 664 was ultimately forgotten. Until today!

Compared to the CPC464, the CPC664’s main unit has been significantly redesigned, not only to accommodate the floppy disk drive but also with a redesigned keyboard area. Touted “ergonomic” by Amstrad’s promotional material, the keyboard is noticeably tilted to the front with MSX-style cursor keys above the numeric keypad. Compared to the CPC464’s multicoloured keyboard, the CPC664’s keys are kept in a much quieter grey and pale blue colour scheme.

The back of the CPC664 main unit features the same connectors as the CPC464, with the exception of an additional 12V power lead. Unlike the CPC464’s cassette tape drive that could be powered off the main unit’s 5V voltage, the CPC664’s floppy disk drive requires an additional 12V voltage. This voltage had to be separately supplied by an updated version of the bundled green screen/colour monitor (GT-65 and CTM-644 respectively).

The CPC664 was only produced for approximately six months. In late 1985, when the CPC6128 was introduced in Europe, Amstrad decided not to keep three models in the line-up, and production of the CPC664 was discontinued.