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 July 26, 2013 Read More →

Personalise your laptop with a laptop cover

decal Laptops are useful tools and they’re becoming indispensable in many homes. But, it can be a little dull to look at the same cover day after day and as with mobile phones, it’s sometimes nice to change the look of your device. In homes where two or more identical laptops co-exist then it can be important to be able to easily distinguish between them, too. This is where laptop covers come in very handy.

Works of art or humour?

People get very attached to their laptops and the way they look has become as much an extension of the owner’s personality as phone covers have. There is a huge range of covers available and a simple web search will lead you to any – from plain coloured ones to some absolutely gorgeous designs. There are many based on common themes, current memes and trends and a few arty ones, but look at websites promoting and selling an individual artist’s work in different formats for some really unique ones. There are even sites that allow you to design your own cover, if you have the cash to spend on something bespoke. A good way to start is with a simple search for “laptop covers” plus an interest of yours.

Decals

If you like smaller designs, then decals may be an alternative answer. They’re just as easy to change as covers, if you feel like a change and are sometimes a more affordable option. You can get a big variety of designs too. If you’re a Mac user then it’s worth looking out for clever decals that make good use of the apple logo. Available from the internet, you can find plenty of humorous, interesting and beautiful decals and one benefit is that since they don’t necessarily take up the whole space you have much more say over the positioning of your decals.

Practical decoration

As well as looking good, there are some practical benefits to using a laptop cover. Making your laptop more individual makes it easy to identify it immediately; Useful where, as mentioned before, identical laptops co-exist, or in the library if lots of people are studying and moving between books and computers. Covers also provide a level of protection from minor bumps and scrapes. Finally they’ll keep some of the everyday dirt off of your laptop. You can get covers that have inserts to stop lint getting into the USB and charger ports but even a simpler one will protect from little scratches and general dust to some extent. This will all help to extend the life of your laptop, or keep up the resale value when you need to upgrade. You can of course get paid cash for your netbook if you do decide to upgrade.

There are so many different kinds of laptop covers, decals and other decoration that it’s really very hard to choose between them. You can easily spend hours searching for just the right decals and covers related to your interests or deciding between glorious art works.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 25, 2013 Read More →

TV Faster Than the Speed of Reality

television apparatus from 1950 Our living rooms are filled with more screens these days. Smartphones tell TV viewers more about their favorite characters as they watch. You can play “Words with Friends” while you’re waiting for the commercials to end. And laptops allow people to multitask on homework during halftime.

Meanwhile, marketers are trying to reach consumers on second, third and fourth screens. Let’s pull back the curtain to show the tactics being used in order to maximize the budding romance between advanced smart TV technology and the ever-present Internet.

Faster is Better

We demand high-speed Internet, uninterrupted TV signals, and Wi-Fi on our phones wherever we go. Why should our views of TV be any different? Now, TV programmers are shifting their focus to fully integrate with users on multiple devices. So far, Twitter is the platform of choice.

Many TV shows allow viewers to give instant feedback or ask questions through the social channel while a show is broadcast. TV programmers put hashtags on screen and use them as immediate sounding boards for their shows. TV show hosts often respond back to viewers’ questions in real time, empowering those at home to feel like they are a part of the show. As long as your tv antennas are working, you can enjoy shows anytime.

Networks have also introduced connected TV apps. Bravo’s “Bravo Now” app allows viewers to answer in-program poll questions during the show “Watch What Happens Live.” The answers are displayed on the show in real-time.

Is Reality Finally Real?

TV programmers are driving viewer engagement by allowing faithful followers to have a direct impact on a show’s outcome. For example, the “Miss USA” pageant lets fans vote for their favorite contestant online. The contestant who received the most votes automatically makes it past the first cut during the live telecast.

This is not only gets viewers interested in the live pageant before its television debut, but it is also a way to ensure direct participation from a wide group of individuals. Plus, the higher the interest level from viewers, the more the pageant can charge for advertising and sponsorships. Reality shows such as “Survivor” also are using social media as a way to encourage fans to vote for contestants they feel should win prizes or special awards.

Let the Games Begin

Smart TVs and second screens have created another trend – gamification. For the 2012 show, “The Great Escape,” TNT created an app that allowed viewers to take their own journeys alongside the show’s contestants. The app rewarded the player for watching the show, and used game mechanics to keep interest high.

Other shows jumping on the bandwagon, too, to fuel fan loyalty and amplify viewer numbers. As the programs shift in this direction, programming providers are doing so, as well, notes http://www.Direct4TV.com.

What Does the Data Show?

TV show apps can provide content creators and advertisers with rich data and targeted consumers. Not only can advertisers better target their ads, TV writers and producers can even better tailor their content and interactive elements based on second screen user demographics of their most invested viewers.

And while networks are expanding their reach, websites are creating content to enhance the TV screen, too. TV networks and program providers are embedding videos directly on their Web pages to increase SEO and enhance the probability for more social likes. By showing segments of popular TV shows or creating new content, the TV and the Internet continue to intersect.

Whether it’s through real-time interaction by way of Twitter during a live telecast, or through audience participation in a specially designed gamified app, the strong ties between TV and the Internet are undeniable.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 20, 2013 Read More →

Archos 53 Platinum – bargain?

Archos 53 Platinum So how much would you expect to pay for a Dual SIM, 5.3″ Screen, 1.2 GHz Quad-core & 8MP Camera smartphone? Sound like pretty expensive features don’t they?

However the Archos 53 Platinum offers all of the above and more for just £219.99 from eXpansys. Check out the full spec below to see what you get.

Archos 53 Platinum specification:

  • System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz / Quad Core / Qualcomm 8225Q cortex-A5
  • Memory: Internal: 4 GB / RAM: 1 GB / Slot type: microSD / Max. slot capacity: 64 GB
  • Display: 5.3″ / IPS / Resolution: 960 x 540 pixels / 220 ppi
  • Camera: 8 Mpixels / BSI sensor / Flash: LED / Video: 720p / Front: 2 Mpixels
  • Network: 3G: 900/2100 MHz / GSM: 900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Wireless: Bluetooth: 3.0 / Wifi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Connection: Jack 3.5 mm / micro USB
  • GPS: aGPS
  • Sensors: Ambient Light Sensor, Gyro sensor, Proximity sensor
  • Dual SIM
  • Battery: 2800 mAh
  • Weight: 189.9 g
  • Dimensions: 153.6 x 78 x 9.25 mm
  • SAR: 0.749 W/kg

Posted by: Matt

By July 17, 2013 Read More →

Samsung 4K displays now available in the UK

samsung4k Fancy getting your hands on a new 4K UHD display? Well you now can thanks to Samsung releasing their 55″ and 65″ 4K screens.

Full press release follows but we’re hoping they’ll be sending us one to review! 🙂

Samsung Electronics Co. UK Ltd, the UK’s number one TV brand with the most awarded TV range has today revealed that its 55 and 65-inch UHD F9000 TVs will be available to buy in the UK in July.

Offering four times the resolution of current full HD TVs, the availability of the new 55- and 65-inch UHD TVs comes after the UK launch of the 85-inch S9 UHD 4K TV in April 2013. Samsung’s unparalleled reputation in picture quality, functionality and design is seen across the series, as it continues to strengthen its leadership in the UHD market with various sized TVs.

Samsung’s expanding 2013 UHD TV range delivers superior picture quality. These Ultra High Definition 4K  55″ and 65″ TV’s produce the brightest, clearest images with four times the detail of Full HD to deliver a truly immersive viewing experience. Driven by the Samsung Quadmatic Picture Engine they deliver superior contrast, brightness and detail. Precision Black combined with Samsung’s unique Micro Dimming technology provides deeper blacks, purer whites and enhanced colour and detail to every image, while the proprietary UHD panel displays amazingly bright and vivid pictures. Powered by Quad core processing even SD and HD content  is transformed by the 4 step up-scaling technology to produce stunningly sharp images on these UHD screens, so you can continue to enjoy all your favourite TV shows and movies.

Samsung’s latest UHD TVs feature a host of different functions, including: 

  • Future Ready UHD TV: Smart Evolution technology completely reengineers the TV, allowing viewers to  experience the latest Samsung technology and features and can be updated to the latest UHD standards
  • Smart viewing: Samsung’s built-in S Recommendation with voice interaction technology means viewers can more quickly and easily search and find content and get recommendations based on their previous viewings and ratings. They can also now control their TV using everyday language and search for content by actor, title or genre via Samsung’s proprietary voice interaction technology
  • Captivating sound: The powerful 70W Speaker output, combined with the DTS Premium Sound 5.1 capability, provides an immersive simulated surround sound experience, creating a cinematic environment right in your own living room

Pricing:

The UE55F9000 has an RRP £3999.99 and the UE65F9000 an RRP of £5999.99.

Posted in: News
By July 16, 2013 Read More →

Nokia Lumia 920 Flash Sale

nokia-lumia-920-yellow News here from eXpansys. They’ve just announced a sale on the popular Nokia Lumia 920 and you can now get all 4 colour versions of the Nokia Lumia 920 for just £329.99 SIM Free (inc delivery) – a saving of £100

They are also all available with 0% interest free credit – only £26.40/month (+20% deposit)

http://www.expansys.com/nokia-lumia-920-flash-sale/

The offer runs until Monday 22nd July and has limited stock – so when they’re gone, they’re gone!

 

Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Phones
By July 13, 2013 Read More →

What’s New (and Improved) on the PS4?

arcade If you thought the PS3 could do everything, just wait until the PS4 comes out later this year. However, if you were hoping that the PS4 would be able to make you coffee and do your taxes, you may have to wait for the PS5 for that. The PS4 introduces some cool new features like improved controllers, social sharing, facial recognition technology and the ability to stream games using cloud technology-not to mention that the PS4’s CPU is discernibly more powerful than the PS3’s. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of these new improvements.

Improved Hardware

Although the leap in graphics from the PS3 to the PS4 isn’t as big as the one we saw from the PS2 to the PS3, it is still significant enough that hardcore gamers will be impressed by the improvement, according to the Los Angeles Times. What stands out on the PS4 is the 8 GB unified memory and a GPU that has 18 processing clusters with 64 cores each. This means faster response time and increased parallel computing power.

DualShock 4 Controllers

The new controllers are fitted with motion sensors, and the PS4’s new camera will be able to track each attached controller with pinpoint accuracy. The controllers also have a high-resolution touchpad. If that isn’t enough, the controller also features a share button. Since the PS4 automatically records the previous several minutes of your game, you can simply push this button and share those recordings with your friends.

Playstation Move

If you have been waiting for facial recognition capability from a game system, you won’t have to wait much longer. The new Playstation Move will track the light bar on your controller and then identify your face to your game avatar. The new Move will also have two dual-color cameras, a three-axis tilt sensor and four wide-baseline microphones. It is not yet known whether the PS4 will launch alongside the new Move controllers and Eye Camera or if it will be a console upgrade that updates the current camera and sensors, as explained on TechRadar.com.

Sony’s Cloud and Streaming Games

Unfortunately, the PS4 will not have backwards compatibility for PS3 games, or PS2 games and PS1 games for that matter. However, the Official Playstation Magazine – UK stated that GaiKai (a cloud technology provider that Sony acquired in 2012) is claiming that after the PS4 is released, we are likely to see PS1, PS2 and PS3 games be made available through the Playstation Network. So eventually, every game on every PlayStation could be available via the cloud.

Of course, identity theft is still on the rise and there is always the possibility that the PSN could be hacked like it was back in 2011. So if you’re afraid of having your identity stolen, take the advice of an article published in the USA Today and get an identity theft monitoring service like Life Lock in addition to making your password more unique and trickier to crack.

Confirmed Games

It’s easy to get caught up in all the new game console features and forget about the actual games. If you don’t like the games you are playing, what good does an expensive game console really do you? The good news though is that Playstation does have a pretty awesome list of games debuting with the PS4. Some highly anticipated game releases include Diablo III, Knack, Assassin’s Creed 4, Infamous: Second Son, and Killzone: Shadow Fall among others.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 8, 2013 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy Mega unboxing video

Samsung Galaxy Mega Samsung have released a boat load of new smartphones lately, from the Galaxy S4, S4 Mini and S4 Active to the Samsung Galaxy Mega that we are looking at here.

Smartphones are undoubtedly getting bigger and they really don’t come much bigger than the Galaxy Mega. With its 6.3″ screen it stands out as being one of the biggest devices on the market and starts to knock on the ‘phablet’ territory. In fact when does a phone become a phablet anyway?

If you are looking for a mobile device that can perform the function of a smartphone and a tablet in one then the Galaxy Mega may well be worth a look. The 720p screen is great for web browsing and video watching and despite being a sizable device manages to remain extremely slim.

Check out the unboxing and demo video below to see the Samsung Galaxy mega in a little more detail. Our thanks to Clove Technology for supply our review unit.

 

By July 6, 2013 Read More →

CAT B15 unboxing video

CAT B15 We’ve looked at a variety of waterproof, dust proof and ruggedised phones in the past. Many of them, from the likes of JCB, are pretty basic or non-smartphones whereas those from Motorola may be water or dust proof but they lack true ruggedness.

Here we have something a little different that may appeal to those wanting something rather more robust than your average smartphone while still offering true smartphone features with less compromise.

The CAT B15, supplied to us by our friends over at Clove Technology, is an Android OS 4.1 smartphone with touchscreen, 1GHz dual core CPU, 5 Megapixel camera and built in 4BG storage all wrapped up in a strong IP 67 rated package.

In the video below you’ll get to see the device in a little more detail.

Posted in: Phones, Videos/Unboxings
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By July 4, 2013 Read More →

No more updates for HTC One S

htc-one-s_01

A little more than a year ago we were singing the praises of a new smartphone, the HTC One S, the little brother of the popular HTC One X.

However, in worrying news from HTC we’ve now had confirmation that the HTC One S will not receive any further updates leaving it stuck on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4.

This has incensed many HTC One S owners to the point that a petition has already been filed to get HTC to release Jelly Bean and Sense 5 for their beloved devices.

The word from HTC:

"We can confirm that the HTC One S will not receive further Android OS updates and will remain on the current version of Android and HTC Sense"

"We realise this news will be met with disappointment by some, but our customers should feel confident that we have designed the HTC One S to be optimised with our amazing camera and audio experiences."

This is extremely troubling news. HTC have always provided good support for ‘older’ devices and we hope that this is not the shape of things to come.

 

Posted by: Matt

[ Post Tags: tracyandmatt.co.uk,HTC One Series,Android 4.0,Ice Cream Sandwich,Unboxing,Video ]

Posted in: News
By July 2, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Mini on its way

One_Mini We love a good rumour but here’s one that’s starting to gather momentum thanks to information reportedly leaked by a Taiwanese parts supplier.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a possible mini version of the extremely popular HTC One and other sources cite that the HTC One Mini will have a smaller, 4.3″ 720p display but will externally look much the same as its bigger brother.

HTC One Mini, it is believed, will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core chip clocked at 1.4GHz with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. We hope that it will still have the Boomsound speakers and 4MP ultrapixel camera.

More as we get it.

 

Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Rumours
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