Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By May 27, 2014 Read More →

4 Technological Advances to Influence the Gaming Industry

Gaming innovation articleNintendo revolutionised the gaming market in 2006 when they introduced their motion sensing Wii console. Their innovative controller brought about a host of new ways for the whole family to play and made their Wii the bestselling console of the last generation.

Microsoft then went one step further and followed up with their Kinect technology, making motion detection without the need for a controller the next gaming success.  Nintendo attempted to match this success with their new Wii U device, but the impact was far less impressive than expected.

Now there is innovative new gaming technology in development. Here are four technological developments that are set to change the future of gaming success:

 

Super-sensitive motion tracking

Motion gaming is set to escape the living room and be introduced to our portable devices.  Technology such as the Leap Motion device will be controlling games on laptops and PCs. The controller masters super-sensitive tracking of hand and finger actions, accurately detecting movements as small as 1/100th of a millimetre.

What’s more, motion gaming of the future won’t even require players to move their bodies to control the game. Eye tracking sensors will integrate into smartphone and gaming devices to allow control of games with eye movements alone.

 

Motion gaming for smartphones

The 2014 Silver Edison Award for the most innovative new product of the year was awarded to Rolocule Games for their Rolomotion technology. Their product turns your smartphone into your gaming controller so you can control games on your television. The Rolomotion app links to a smart TV and utilises the in-built sensors to control the game with the players’ natural movements.

 

Immersive gaming

Headsets that allow complete immersion into the game are already in the pipeline, with the Oculus Rift being highly anticipated. The headset will allow the gamer to experience the game with a 100˚ field of vision and head tracking abilities that let you look around as in real life.

Combine the headgear with a 360˚ treadmill and you have total immersion into the gaming reality. Virtuix are set to release their treadmill that allows players to walk and run in any direction within their virtual realities.

 

EEG headsets

EEG headsets in gaming are bringing the ability to monitor players’ emotions and focus and translate that into gaming commands. Throw Trucks With Your Mind is one example in which an EEG headset measures electrical impulses in the scalp to gauge the players focus. Normal directional gaming controls are used, but the level of focus of the gamer determines the power at which objects are thrown in the game.

 

This article was provided by The IT Job Board, who are currently advertising over 150 game developer jobs on their site.

Posted in: Apps & Games, Editorial
By May 22, 2014 Read More →

Another massive security breach at Ebay – What you need to know!

Ebay are encouraging all users to change their passwords.

Ebay are encouraging all users to change their passwords.

Ebay has fallen victim to a massive security breach, proving that not even corporate giants are immune to hacking. According to USA Today, the huge cyber-attack occurred sometime between February and March; however, officials state that the breach was not discovered until May.

Triggered by hackers who managed to gain access to employee login credentials, it allowed the intruders to target the main database and steal usernames, passwords and other personal information. 145 million active users’ data has now been compromised and Ebay are strongly urging everybody – even those with inactive accounts – to change their passwords.

 

Widespread panic

It is still not known how much information was actually stolen; however, Ebay are confident that they will find an answer within the next couple of weeks.

After this widespread disaster many users are now stuck wondering how to increase their security systems, not just on their online accounts, but also their home PCs. The popularity of cloud based security systems is steadily increasing and companies such as Cheeky Munkey are at the top of the security food chain, providing innovative and bespoke systems that are near impenetrable.  

On a positive note, Ebay have stated that the breached database did not hold any financial information; furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that the hackers have attempted to gain entry to Paypal. However, regardless of whether or not users are encountering problems, Ebay are taking the security breach very seriously.

 

Changing passwords

Studies conducted by Software Advice, a company that review IT security software, revealed that 67% of Internet users who have accounts registered with companies that have suffered from hacks don’t change their passwords. Hackers can remain under the radar for months, possibly even years, withholding user information and waiting for the opportune moment to strike; therefore, even those who don’t suffer from issues straight away are still subject to problems in the future.

Experts state that the best way to combat hackers is to choose a password that has a unique combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Most websites now contain a password strength indicator that can give new users an idea of how well protected they are.

Having a different password for every website can also be beneficial. While this can be difficult to maintain, password managers are available to make the process easier. These programs will require one master password in order to gain access to every other password; therefore, this “master password” should be very strong. In addition, password manager software usually contains a generator that will create highly complex passwords for website registration; ensuring users have the best possible security systems available.

 

Conclusion

While this Ebay security breach is unfortunate and inconvenient, it’s certainly been a wakeup call. Most Internet users aren’t aware of the dangers of hacking, and sometimes, a widespread panic is just what the world needs for people start taking the severity of cyber-attacks seriously.

 

Image Credit: Cult of Android

 

Posted in: Editorial, News
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By May 21, 2014 Read More →

Android Excite Pure review

Toshiba-Excite-Pure1Toshiba are relatively new to the tablet market, but their recent offering of 3 new tablets, Excite Write, Excite Pro and Excite Pure, demonstrate that they’re more than capable of competing with the big hitters in the tablet market. The Excite Pure is the most affordable of the range, and in our opinion, the best model. The Excite Pro and Write are both excellent in their own right, but current pricing means they can’t compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. So what’s exciting about the Excite Pure? Read our review to find out.

 

Toshiba Excite Pure Basic Info:

  • 1.2GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad Core (Cortex A9) Processor
  • 1GB Memory
  • 16GB Storage
  • 10.1″ WXGA (1280×800) Multitouch Display
  • 1.2 Megapixel Front Camera
  • NVIDIA Tegra Graphics
  • Micro-USB 2.00, Micro HDMI, MicroSD Card Slot, 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Android 4.2

 

Design:

The Excite Pure falls within the 10” category, measuring in at 10.3 x 7.0 x 0.4 inches. The design is sturdy and features a two-tone design – silver casing with a black border around the screen. The Pure features micro SD slot, meaning you can expand the 16GB storage to anywhere up to 128GB. Unfortunately the Excite Pure only features one front facing camera, meaning this isn’t the best tablet for budding photographers. At an additional cost, you can purchase a nifty Toshiba Bluetooth keyboard which also acts as a stand.

 

Display:

At 10 inches, the Excite Pure offers great screen quality and resolution. The Autobright display has ten-finger multitouch support and boasts a 1280 x 800 resolution. For the price it’s one of the better screens available – viewing HD content will never be an issue.

 

Graphics:

If you plan to play games on a micro tablet such as the Excite, you’ll be glad to hear that it can handle almost anything thrown at it. We were incredibly impressed by the quad-core Tegra 3 processor (1GB RAM) that managed to handle every game we tested, without issue. Benchmark test reveal that the Pure outperforms the Kindle Fire and Asus Transformer but lags slightly behind the likes of the Nexus 10 and Galaxy Tab. If you’re looking for something with a bit more power we recommend you go with something like the Excite Pro from Toshiba.co.uk.

 

Camera:

Our biggest issue with the Pure was the lack of a rear camera, that being said, it’s to be expected when Toshiba release three differently priced tablets. The Pure’s 1.2MP camera is more than adequate for a basic photo but you won’t be taking it out of the house to take pictures any time soon.

 

Battery Life:

If you’re looking for a reliable tablet that will hold its charge for an entire day, the Pure is more than up to the job. When compared against the other tablets, it may not be the longest lasting but it’s definitely up there.

 

Verdict:

We loved using the Excite Pure. For the money (£260) you’re getting a great piece of kit that is more than capable of doing your day-to-day tasks. It’s not often that we have been impressed by a tablet that isn’t from the big hitters in the industry.

 

 

Posted in: Reviews, Tablets
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By May 20, 2014 Read More →

The ultimate guide to gifts and gadgets in 2014

The increasingly popular car shaped mouse

The increasingly popular car shaped mouse

As modern technology develops, every year more and more exciting, unusual and unique gadgets are released. Quirky pieces of technology make perfect gifts, whether it’s for your sister’s birthday, your parents’ wedding anniversary or for your boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.

You won’t want to buy a loved one the same gift as someone else. So why not buy a unique gift that the person will definitely remember? 2014 is a great year for fantastic gadgets being released that all make perfect gifts.

Below is the ultimate guide to some of the top gadgets and gifts for 2014.

 

Projection Clock

We’ve all experienced fumbling around to try and find out the time while we’re in bed. With this fantastic gadget, when you’re laid in bed and its dark, all you need to do is press a button and the time will be projected onto the ceiling or a wall, making it easily visible.

This great clock projects the time in 2 foot tall writing, so even if you don’t have your glasses on you’ll be able to see the numbers. This is a fantastic gift in 2014, and is sure to be useful as well as unique.

 

Bendable Keyboard

Another of 2014’s top gadgets is the bendable keyboard. This silicone keyboard comes in a variety of bright colours and adds a lot of style to your computer. But as well as adding a touch of class, there are many functional advantages to the bendable keyboard.

The silicone offering is practically indestructible compared to standard keyboards and is also waterproof, so if you accidentally spill a bit of tea on it then there’s no need to worry!  It is very easy to wipe and very flexible…which means it’s easily cleaned. Finally, it is very lightweight, so if you want to move around taking the keyboard with you is no problem.

 

Electronic Cigars

Cigar smoking is increasing in popularity, not least because of the dramatic rise in Celebrities smoking cigars over cigarettes. Electronic cigars are set to continue their meteoric rise in popularity throughout 2014 and into 2015. There is now a wide selection of electronic cigars available online, from different strengths to colours.

There are many cigar distributors online, I have personally bought cigars from The Cigar Club online, so if you are curious to try your very own electronic cigar check out their range.

 

Mouse Designs

Another computer-related gadget of 2014 has quite a big fan-base already: interesting mouse designs. Instead of having the standard mouse to go along with your computer, why not buy someone a unique and unusual mouse to go with their bendable keyboard?

 

 

One of the most popular mouse gadgets is a car shaped mouse, also known as a ‘street mouse’. The owner of this mouse can enjoy ‘driving’ their mouse around while on the computer. You can also get an inflatable mouse, egg shaped mouse, arrow shaped mouse, washable mouse or even an actual mouse shaped mouse! With so many choices this is a great way to buy some-one the perfect gift to suit them.

In conclusion, 2014 has seen the release of many exciting gadgets that will make perfect unique and unusual gifts. You’re sure to wow the gift recipient with one of these fantastic gadgets. There’s a seriously low chance you’d end up getting them the same gift as someone else, and it’ll definitely be a memorable present.

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets
By May 19, 2014 Read More →

5 Must have tech gadgets for summer 2014

panono-panoramic-ball-camera-designboom04

The Panono Ball Camera is set to revolutionize the way we take panoramic images.

With each new season comes an abundance of new gadgets; and summer 2014 is certainly no exception. The tech industry is all about increasing efficiency and improving upon previous inventions with new innovative tools that were not available in the past. These 5 must have tech gadgets have been hotly anticipated ever since they were announced and are expected to become market leaders in each of their sectors.

 

Panono

A few years ago everybody was raving about the GoPro. Taking HD footage while on the move revolutionized the way in which photographers shot extreme sports and other dangerous activities. The Panono Ball Camera takes still photography to a whole new level. When it’s thrown in the air it will take 360 images to create one complete panoramic image. Its robust design ensures that it won’t break under pressure and can withstand freefalling from huge heights without even suffering a dent. At 549 Euros, it’s not cheap; however, as with other cameras, no doubt after the first year of release prices will plummet into the lower hundreds.

 

Kenwood DNX521DAB

The Kenwood DNX521DAB will no doubt give tablets, smart phones and GPS systems a run for their money in the near future. This device is specifically designed for Volkswagen vehicles and is one of the most comprehensive multimedia systems on the planet. With a wide selection of media playback functions; a high definition touch screen; and Bluetooth capabilities, it’s not only a well-equipped entertainment station, but also completely hands-free. And that’s not to mention the world class GPS navigation system that it’s actually intended for.

 

Sony Short Throw 4K Projector

At an estimated $30,000 – $40,000 the Sony Short Throw 4K Projector will without a doubt be one of the most expensive gadgets on this list. This home cinema system is disguised as a piece of furniture and will provide a crisp image that can’t be matched by any conventional televisions. The device is capable of projecting a 147 inch image without hindering the quality. Although at present very few people will be able to fork out this much money for a home entertainment system, it could be the future of television viewing.

 

JVC Everio

The new JVC Everio is a compact little camcorder with some very impressive features. With a 40x optical zoom; 60x dynamic zoom; 4.5 hours of battery life; and excellent low light performance, it’s a more than worthy companion for a pocket. In addition, it is water, dust, freeze and shock proof, making it pretty robust and ready to tackle any challenges that natural elements throw its way.

 

PS Vita TV

Sony’s PS Vita TV is one of the most talked about gadgets in the console market. While it’s currently only available in Japan and yet to have an official Western release date (though it’s expected in the summer), this micro-console is yielding more excitement than many of the larger next-gen devices. This is because more and more people are making the transition over to PC gaming. The PS Vita TV allows users to play handheld games on the television; stream from the PS4; and watch television shows and films using a variety of third party TV streaming applications.

Technology moves at an alarming rate. While it can be mildly frustrating, new tech gadgets significantly drive down the price of older models. Although these five gadgets will certainly be on the pricey side when they’re released, perhaps by the time the autumn and winter comes around, they’ll be more affordable.

Image Credit: Mangahaikei

 

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets, News
By May 17, 2014 Read More →

HTC One mini 2 hands-on video

HTC One mini 2Just a few days ago HTC offcially announced the HTC One mini 2, successor to last year’s HTC One mini and little-brother to the HTC One (M8) released a couple of months ago.

As always, there had been a lot of leaks, speculation and rumours surrounding the mini 2 so much of the specification and design was alread ‘known’ but the full and official specification can be found below.

I’ve managed to get hold of an HTC One mini 2 and I’ve recorded an initial unboxing and hands-on video for you below. Covering the specification, hardware, side-by-side with the HTC One (M8) and a look at the user interface this is just a quick video for now, futher in-depth details and a review are to follow.

 

 

HTC One mini 2 specification:

SIZE: 137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6mm

WEIGHT: 137 grams

DISPLAY: 4.5 inch, HD 720p

 

CPU SPEED

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400, 1.2GHz quad-core CPU

 

PLATFORM

  • Android™ 4.4 with HTC Sense™ 6
  • HTC BlinkFeed™

 

MEMORY

  • Total storage:  16GB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Expansion card slot supports microSD™ memory card for up to 128GB additional storage (card not included)

 

NETWORK

2G/2.5G – GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

  • 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

 

3G – WCDMA:

  • 850/900/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps

 

 4G – LTE:

  • EMEA: Bands 3, 7, 8, 20
  • Asia: Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 28

 

SIM

  • Nano SIM

 

SENSORS

  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor

 

CONNECTIVITY

  • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
  • NFCii
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
  • Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)
  • DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer,
  • HTC Connect™
  • micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port

 

SOUND

  • HTC BoomSound™
  • Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
  • Sense Voice

 

CaMeRA

Rear camera

  • 13MP, BSI sensor with f/2.2 lens
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

Front camera

  • 5MP, BSI sensor
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

MULTIMEDIA

Audio supported formats:

  • Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .flac, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 10)
  • Recording: .aac

 

Video supported formats:

  • Playback: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .mkv, .wmv (Windows Media Video 10), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
  • Recording: .mp4

 

Location

  • Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
  • Digital compass

 

BATTERY

  • Capacity: 2100 mAh

 

By May 15, 2014 Read More →

HTC One Mini2 surfaces

htc-one-mini2The worlds best Android smartphone, the HTC One (M8), get’s a little brother.

It’s certainly no surprise arrival but the HTC One mini2 arrives bringing with it some of the HTC One (M8) features and design cues in a diminished package size.

Unlike last-years HTC One mini, which was almost entirely plastic, HTC have kept the metal design and looks of the M8 for the mini2. Featuring stereo BoomSound speakers, 4.5-inch 720p display a quad-core Snapdragon 400 CPU and chipset with 1GB RAM and 16GB ROM. Also included are NFC, a miroSD card slot, and a larger 2,100mAh battery.

The the announcement HTC CEO Peter Chou says:

The perfect choice for those who love the iconic design of the HTC One (M8) yet want something more compact.

Sadly, HTC haven’t included the IR blaster of the Duo Cam on the mini2 which may prevent a more widespread appeal.

HTC One mini 2_PerLeft_GunMetal

 

 

HTC One mini 2 specification:

SIZE: 137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6mm

WEIGHT: 137 grams

DISPLAY: 4.5 inch, HD 720p

 

CPU SPEED

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400, 1.2GHz quad-core CPU

 

PLATFORM

  • Android™ 4.4 with HTC Sense™ 6
  • HTC BlinkFeed™

 

MEMORY

  • Total storage:  16GB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Expansion card slot supports microSD™ memory card for up to 128GB additional storage (card not included)

 

NETWORK

2G/2.5G – GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

  • 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

 

3G – WCDMA:

  • 850/900/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps

 

 4G – LTE:

  • EMEA: Bands 3, 7, 8, 20
  • Asia: Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 28

 

SIM

  • Nano SIM

 

SENSORS

  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor

 

CONNECTIVITY

  • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
  • NFCii
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
  • Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)
  • DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer,
  • HTC Connect™
  • micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port

 

SOUND

  • HTC BoomSound™
  • Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
  • Sense Voice

 

CaMeRA

Rear camera

  • 13MP, BSI sensor with f/2.2 lens
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

Front camera

  • 5MP, BSI sensor
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

MULTIMEDIA

Audio supported formats:

  • Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .flac, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 10)
  • Recording: .aac

 

Video supported formats:

  • Playback: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .mkv, .wmv (Windows Media Video 10), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
  • Recording: .mp4

 

Location

  • Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
  • Digital compass

 

BATTERY

  • Capacity: 2100 mAh

 

Posted in: News, Phones
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By May 13, 2014 Read More →

Apple MacBook Pro battery issue

apple burst batteryOver the past few months I noticed a decrease in the battery life on my Apple MacBook Pro 15″. Initially the drop was not that significant but over time it became more noticable and a few weeks ago it began to turn itself off even though the battery was at a claimed 23%. I also realised that the power levels were falling quite dramatically even when the laptop was turned off.

As I do not use my MacBook on battery power all that often it didn’t bother me that much but last week I was using the MacBook on my lap on the train. I suddenly became aware that the bottom of the MacBook was getting VERY hot and the aluminium base was uncomfortably hot against my leg and the top was pretty warm too.

Realising that this was a sign that I should probably investigate what was going on I decided to unscrew the bottom of the MacBook and to take a look at the battery.

As I released the screws the bottom suddenly sprang open and the battery pack itself had burst!

So, if you have any of the symptoms above it’s definitely a good idea to either take a look at the battery or else take it to the Apple store and have them take a look at it for you. Who know’s what might have happened if I had continued to use it like this!

By May 7, 2014 Read More →

ZTE announces the arrival of the Blade L2 in Europe

ZTE Blade L2ZTE have been busy recently and today have announced that their latest ZTE Blade L2 will be available in across Europe later this year. No word on an exact date as yet but the Blade L2 looks like a great mid-tier device. The handset is the latest and most stylish handset to come from the affordable and highly popular Blade series that has already received millions of global sales.

Today, ZTE celebrates the introduction of its latest mobile phone, ZTE Blade L2, in Europe. The ZTE Blade L2 is already ranged in countries including Spain, Greece, Germany, Slovakia and the UK and will be rolled out globally later in 2014. The ZTE Blade L2 is the latest and most stylish handset to come from the affordable and highly popular Blade series that has already received millions of global sales.

Featuring an elegant design with a 5” touch screen and white exterior finish, the Blade L2 not only delivers on style but also packs a powerful performance with its 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor. Thanks to its narrow frame design, the ZTE Blade L2 looks and feels even slimmer than its 8.9mm effective thickness.

Like its popular predecessors in the Blade series, the Blade L2 offers a superior photo experience, boasting a 5MP camera which includes a number of different settings from continuous shot and panorama to anti-flickering as well as a multi angle view that can easily be turned into 3D animation. To make sure that users get the perfect photo, the camera functions also include autofocus, flash, self-timer, face detection and ZTE’s Smile Shot. The ZTE Blade L2 also includes a 0.3MP front camera for self-portraits and video-calling.

Mr. AO Wen, General Manager of ZTE Handset European Operation Office, said, “At ZTE, it’s no secret that we pride ourselves on the affordability of our smartphone handsets that makes smartphone technology available to everyone. We’ve had huge success with our Blade series to date in Europe, and we’re excited to introduce the latest edition. We’re confident that the ZTE Blade L2 will offer our ever-more discerning customers across Europe a stylish and high performance device at the right price.”

The 5” large screen offers a superior experience for browsing, watching movies and previewing photos taken with the 5MP camera. Preinstalled with Evernote, Dropbox, Facebook and Twitter, the ZTE Blade L2 enables people to easily share their memories with friends and family at just the touch of a button.

 

Posted in: News, Phones
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By May 1, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8) benchmark (video)

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8)Although it’s quite a controversial topic, then benchmark performance of new devices always attracts a lot of interest.

At the moment, the two top Android phones are the HTC One (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5. In theory, the Galaxy S5 should be ahead of the M8, in terms of performance at least. The S5 has a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU whereas the M8 has a 2.3GHz quad-core CPU. Both run the Qualcomm 801 chipset and have 2GB RAM but the extra clock speed that the S5 has should definitely give it the edge.

There have been lots of Tweets and blog posts elsewhere questioning the performance of the Galaxy S5 and comments like “What’s up with the Galaxy S5 performance ?” seem not to be uncommon.

In the video below you can see me running a benchmark test on the Galaxy S5, side-by-side with the HTC One (M8). The results may surprise you…!