Archive for 2013

By December 2, 2013 Read More →

Amazon drone on about delivery times

2amzndron09870df1Recent reports suggest that Amazon’s work conditions can cause mental health issues. Stories of employees having to walk 11 miles a day with stressful deadlines and GPS tracking. It looks like Amazon are looking to rectify this by removing the human element from the equation.

A new service called Amazon Prime Air is slated for roll-out sometime in 2015, depending on FAA approval. Amazon have posted a video of how a new service will work onto YouTube. The video shows the process of a package being taken from the warehouse floor and delivery to the front steps of the customer’s home. Sounds exactly like that they do millions of times a day, however this time they have injected a somewhat dirty word, Drone. The idea is to have the drone deliver orders roughly 30 minutes after the customer hits the “buy” button on Amazon.com.

Speaking recently to the producers of 60 Minutes, before the unveiling, Bezos said, “If you can guess what it is, then… I will give you half my fortune and send you to Vegas with it.”

Reacting to the unveiling of the Amazon-branded drone, Bezos interviewer Charlie Rose said, “I had no idea what its purpose was at first glance… They actually look like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel.”

Whilst this first step of automation is hardly going to replace the hard working staff member, it certainly looks like the future is shaping towards the removal of moany and comlainy employees and the introduction of a work force that look like barbeques. You can watch the entire interview on the 60 Minutes website.

By December 2, 2013 Read More →

Android gaming update 02-12-13

final-fantasy-4-years-after-android-gameThe week of Black Friday has brought many price reductions to the Google Play store, lets have a look at what’s cheap and what’s new.

Square Enix has released the next instalment for their Final Fantasy franchise called Final Fantasy IV: The After Years onto Google Play. As the name suggests, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years takes place 17 years after the original Final Fantasy IV game. Many of the original cast members of Final Fantasy IV make a return in this game as well as a lot of the NPCs from the SNES version become playable characters.final-fantasy-4-years-after-android-game

The After Years Features:

  • Ten Playable Tales: Begin your journey with “Ceodore’s Tale.” Complete it to unlock the tales of six additional characters, which can be played in any order, and then return to the core story with “Kain’s Tale,” “The Lunarian’s Tale,” and “The Crystals.” A total of ten tales in all, and all contained in FINAL FANTASY IV: THE AFTER YEARS.
  • Active Time Battle: Take control of exhilarating combat made possible by the non-stop action in Square Enix’s iconic battle system.
  • Lunar Phases: Feel the moon’s presence in combat, as its waxing and waning influences the potency of attacks and abilities of all combatants. Lunar phases cycle naturally with the passage of in-game time, or when resting at an inn, tent, or cottage.
  • Band Abilities: Combine the strength of your party members to awesome effect with Band abilities that can be unlocked through in-game events or by leveling your characters’ Affinity.
  • Minimap: Keep an eye on your current location and nearby surroundings, or tap for quick access to the world map.
  • Google Play Game Support: Step up to meet all-new challenges offered by dozens of achievements.

The After Years is available from Google Play for £10.99

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By December 2, 2013 Read More →

Sony Xperia Tablet Z unboxing video & hands-on

l_21313382Continuing our look at the Android tablets currently on offer we turn our attention to the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

Whist the Sony Xperia Tablet Z has been around for a little while it still has a specification sheet that should impress, with a high-res display, IP57 rating for dust and water resistance and decent CPU and memory housed in a thin 6.9mm body it looks like it could do the business but being a Sony branded product there is, perhaps predictably, a premium price label.

The question we’ll be looking to answer when we get the the Sony Xperia Tablet Z review is whether or not this 10.1″ Android tablet deserves the circa £400 price point for the 16GB WiFi version, and whether or not it should be included on your Christmas list!

In the video below you’ll see me unboxing the Sony Xperia Tablet Z with a look at the included accessories and a tour around the hardware and software elements. I also run a quick benchmark, the results of which may surprise.

Posted in: Tablets, Videos/Unboxings
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By December 1, 2013 Read More →

The bigger picture on the iPad 12.9

12_9_ipad_ipad_4_mini_light-800x450Apparently an unnamed official for an Apple supplier in Korea told The Korea Times by phone that Apple’s local first-tier display supplier is currently producing a 12.9-inch Retina display for a new “maxi” iPad slated to launch early next year, possibly as early as March. This panel is being manufactured by the supplier’s plant in Korea, the source added.

Rumours of a larger iPad have been floating around for a few months. Even the Wall Street Journal jumped on the rumour bandwagon back in July, reporting that Apple was testing larger screens for iPhone and iPad devices, including a 13-inch prototype iPad, to offer a better choice of products for the end user.

“The 12.9-inch iPad will have improved picture quality. As the Apple partner intends to boost its lineup for displays that have almost ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, the upcoming iPad will provide very clear quality similar to that of UHD,” said the official.

 

Posted in: News, Rumours, Tablets
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By December 1, 2013 Read More →

The Nokia Lumia 929 hitting in December

lumia_929_leakAnother Windows Phone looks like it will be making its way into store fairly soon. Unconfirmed reports of the Nokia Lumia 929 have been floating around for a while, however, this leak seems a little more concrete the the previous ones.

A new photo of the unannounced Windows Phone was leaked by Falorin in a forum  at WPCentral. The device looks to be white and has a 2510mAh battery. In addition the 929 is expected to feature a 5-inch, 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a Snapdragon 800 processor, and the same 20MP camera found on other Nokia Windows Phone models. The rumour is that this will hit shelves in mid December.

Posted in: News, Phones, Rumours
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By December 1, 2013 Read More →

Google Glass upsets a man

Google_Glass_Explorer_EditionNick Starr, a video teleconference network engineer, has posted on his Facebook page that he and his partner were at a restaurant called Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge. Starr was told by an employee that they didn’t allow people to wear Google Glass at the eatery. Whilst Starr claims he had worn the optical gadget before no one had ever told him to put them away or leave.

Rather than push the issue, Starr left and CBSNews.com has confirmed with Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge that they do not allow Google Glass to be worn at their establishment.

In a post on their official Facebook page, they updated that they asked a “rude customer” to vacate the premises because he would not remove the device.

“If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave,” said the post.

Co-owner David Meinert said to Forbes he does not permit Google Glass to be worn at Lost Lake Café and Lounge and his other establishment, 5 Point Cafe, because of privacy issues. Meinert’s concern is that people eating could be recorded or photographed without their knowledge.

“I think the crazy part is that this guy comes into a diner, and is asked to change his behavior in a way that’s our right to ask of him,” he pointed out. “He doesn’t like it, so he tries to get the server fired. It’s a total (expletive) move.”

It’s safe to say the two are finding it difficult to see eye to eye.

By November 30, 2013 Read More →

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 Review

IMG_4168The Sony DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 lens cameras for use with smartphones seem to have polarized opinions in the press with regard to their usefulness with some critics claiming that they are products that are looking for a purpose. Here we will be reviewing the base model DSC-QX10 camera using both Apple and Android smartphones.

If you haven’t already seen Matt’s unboxing and hands-on video, please take a few minutes to get an idea of what the Sony QX10 is all about.

Unboxing and Setup Video

The 10 Second review:

  • Device: Sony Cyber-shot QX10
  • Price: RRP £180. Available from £135 from various on-line retailers.
  • Summary: An add on camera for iOS and Android devices.
  • Best of: Picture Quality, focus speed, 10x Optical zoom.
  • Worst of: Occasional connection slowdowns. Currently not fully compatible with Android 4.4.
  • Buy it now from: Amazon UK
  • Also consider: Stand alone compact camera

 What’s in the box?

  • Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens
  • Rear cover to attach lens to phone
  • Battery
  • MicroUSB sync/charge cable
  • Wriststrap
  • Instruction Manual

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 Review Specifications

Sensor 18MP, 1/2.3in BSI CMOS
Lens 10x optical zoom, 25-250mm in equivalent terms
LCD n/a
File Formats JPEG, MPEG 4
Shutter Speeds 4 – 1/1600 sec
Exposure Modes Auto, i-Auto, Program
Metering System Multi
ISO Range 100-3200
White Balance auto
Flash Modes n/a
Memory Card microSD, micro SDHC, micro SDXC
Connectivity USB 2, Wi-fi, NFC
Power Li-ion rechargeable
Dimensions 62 x 62 x 33 mm
Weight 105g
Video 1440 x 1080 @ 30fps

General

I think that it is probably worth starting off by saying what the QX10 is and what is does and doesn’t do. Put simply the QX10 is a compact camera that is missing a screen or viewfinder and most of the controls. The reason that these normally important features are missing is that you can access them by using your smartphone!

The QX10 incorporates WiFi into it and by connecting the two devices together. On an iPhone it is simply the case of switching the camera on and going to the WiFi settings on the phone and pairing them. On a Android phone with NFC it is even more simple. Just touch the two devices together and the paring process starts. Once that is done The Sony Play Memories App can be downloaded form either The Apple App Store or Google Play and off you go.

IMG_1098

Whatever the lens sees is shown (almost) immediately on your smartphone screen. The reason that I said almost is that there occasions when it seems to go a little laggy but generally it is fast and stutter free.

IMG_1097

Settings for the camera can be adjusted using the app. These include the photo or video mode, the photograph resolution, the image size that is automatically transferred to the phone and the sounds that the camera makes. It is a very simple app and for the most part performs very well. One current downside to the Play Memories app is that it currently does not support Android 4.4 KitKat. As I have a Nexus 5 as my personal device this did cause a few moments of head scratching but I discovered that Camera360 has recently been updated to connect to the QX10 although video mode is not supported.

IMG_1101IMG_1100

What is it like to use and does it really serve a purpose?

I am quite a keen (if not very good) photographer and I am generally not keen on using the cameras on phones to record anything other than quick photos for social media sites. I’ve usually got a camera of some kind available whenever I am out and about and often with a collection of lenses in a bag. I very often take a shot with my camera and then a second with a phone to share straight away.

With the QX10 these issues suddenly disappeared! I was able to keep the QX10 in one pocket and my phone in another and when I wanted to grab a shot, there was a simple less than 10 second process to switch on, attach to phone and open the app to get the shot. You can also use the lens in one hand and the phone in another to get shots that you normally would find hard to frame.

The QX10 has a thread for a tripod so it can be set up in a location and remotely controlled and viewed which might be useful if you like to do wildlife photography.

I would not try to claim that this camera could ever replace a DSLR, m4/3 or Sony NEX camera but it allows another option when choosing the kit that you need. I would happily take it out on its own though and know that the shots that I brought back would be excellent!

I found the QX10 to be a really fun camera to shoot with and a couple of my photographer friends who tried it out agreed and have ordered their own.

As a video camera the QX10 is very capable and is able to capture 1440x1080p video at 30 frames per second. Matt recently used it to record the unboxing of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra recently.

Why not have a look at the video and see what you think? Sony Xperia Z Ultra unboxing and hands-on

Here are a few sample shots taken with the Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10

All shots are straight from the camera memory card and were taken hand-held.

 

Conclusion

The Sony DSC-QX10 was the 1st device in a long time that has truly amazed me! The slightly laggy response from the viewfinder was forgotten every time I used the camera. I would say that if you are considering the QX10 or that if you are curious about it, you would probably enjoy it as much as I do. If you think that it’s a silly idea then you should try one out – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

By November 29, 2013 Read More →

Kindle Fire HDX Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2013 Deals

MN24820I’ve been talking about the Kindle Fire HDX quite a bit recently and as many of you will know, I have one myself. Despite some issues that I mentioned last week I’m really impressed with the Fire HDX, it’s incredibly light and great for reading on the go but with the option of being able to use it as a full-blown tablet if I want to. Something that you cant do with the other, monochrome-screen Kindles.

Being Black Friday and with Cyber Monday just around the corner, as you might expect, there are some deals out there on these new devices and we’ve stumbled across this one:

Posted in: News, Tablets
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By November 29, 2013 Read More →

Lenovo IdeaTab S6000 unboxing and demo

lenovo-tablet-ideatab-s6000-front-1Lenovo recently launched a new range of Android tablets, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and 10. But Lenovo have an existing range of Android tablets and we looked at the budget IdeaTab A3000 a while ago.

This week we got our hands on the Lenovo IdeaTab S6000. It’s the bigger brother of the A3000 and has a 10.1″ display. Both have been on the market for a while but heading in to the Xmas period, and as Android tablets are likely to feature quite high on Christmas lists this year, we thought it worthy of an unboxing and review as it promises to be one of the better options out there at the moment.

Lenovo call the S6000 an ‘Enhanced Multimedia Tablet’ and to this end the tablet has a couple of sizeable speakers on the rear for stereo audio playback. The widescreen display may not be the highest resolution but is still 1280×800 pixels and, being IPS, is of a decent quality.

You can pick up the S6000 for under £200 at the moment but there’s stiff competition out there so can it compete? We’ll have a full review soon but for now the unboxing and demo video below may help you make up your mind.

By November 29, 2013 Read More →

Cybersecurity: Who is Watching You Online?

Internet securityThe recent news involving the NSA and the implications for online privacy have put cybersecurity in a brand new light. Whenever you hop online with your Web browser of choice, chances are someone somewhere is keeping tabs on your Internet surfing habits. More than 85 percent of adults use the Internet, according to Pew Internet, and a variety of people are eager to collect their personal details—whether it’s to better track their shopping habits or to sell the data to a bounty of rogue marketers, debt collectors or even hackers in search of a ripe target.

Who Watches Over Us?

The vast majority of online tracking is done courtesy of “cookies” and “beacons”—tiny files that appear on your computer whenever you visit a website. While these files are intended to help your computer remember things like login details, organizations can use them to do things like create targeted advertising campaigns based on your browsing habits.

Third-party tracking files are among the most intrusive of the breed. These files assign a unique ID number to your computer, enabling the creator to build a substantial profile based on your visits to affiliated websites with the same technology. This allows retailers to provide predictive marketing based on consumer shopping habits. Forbes notes how this already resulted in one case where Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant long before her father did. Some tracking companies go as far as hiding these files in advertisements, free software and even other tracking files.

How to Watch the Watchers

Despite the growth of the digital security industry, it’s a field that generates a surprisingly small amount of interest from today’s young job seekers. A recent Raytheon poll found that only 24 percent of recent graduates have an interest in cybersecurity as a career. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in enhancing their privacy by monitoring and curbing the usage of cookies and other tracking data.

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, recently unveiled an add-on that sheds light on how first and third-party websites track and collect your data. Lightbeam creates a real-time graphic visualization of third-party entities on the sites you visit. This gives you an opportunity to see who’s collecting your data, how it’s being collected and where they connect to your online activity. In keeping with consumer desire for enhanced privacy, the data Lightbeam collects and displays is stored locally on your computer by default, according to Mozilla.

With identity theft a constant and prominent concern, companies like LifeLock provide a service to those looking to keep their credit ratings safe from fraud. For a small monthly fee, the company keeps an eye out for potentially fraudulent applications for loans, credit cards and other lines of credit and alerts customers to these attempts. The company’s confidence regarding its identity theft protection services extend to its $1 million guarantee in the event of a successful theft.

Posted in: Editorial, News
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