Gadgets

By July 23, 2014 Read More →

Google Chromecast hitting Éire

chromecast-irelandGreat news for Chromecast fans from Ireland, Google is now selling Chromecast through Play Store there. Here is the official announcement from Google Play on Google Plus:

Ireland, time to play your heart out!

Your favorite films are now available on Google Play. Stream hits like +The LEGO Movie instantly on the web or your Android or iOS device http://goo.gl/BwGyXG, then download a few old favorites and take them with you wherever you go on your tablet or phone—no internet connection required. Hopefully we’ve made some Irish eyes smile. http://goo.gl/UXDSCj

Lets hope the Irish Government can’t mess this up like with that greedy Garth Brooks fella.

Posted in: Gadgets
By July 20, 2014 Read More →

Amazon Fire Glass on the horizon?

VfFsy8u_Over the weekend, Google’s Babak Parviz let slip  that he is no longer with the search engine giant, he posted image is Amazon’s logo, and the accompanying message reads “status: super excited!” Further investigation sees on his profile section, Parviz confirms the move to Amazon.

“Having worked at companies ranging from tiny start-ups to huge corporations and universities in Europe and the US, I have found each one to be fun in its own unique way,” he writes. “I founded and led a few efforts at Google (among them, Google Glass and Google Contact Lenses are public so far :) prior to moving to Amazon and work on a few other things now…”

Parviz pioneered the development of Google Glass way back when it was Project X. He has also been involved in Google’s “smart” contact lenses. Currently, there are no clues as to what he will be doing at Amazon. However, he is likely to participate in the Augmented Reality (AR) market. Based on Parviz’s track record and Amazon’s push into new hardware, one can only speculate what Parviz will be working on. Augmented Reality specs is likely on Amazon’s menu, allowing wearers to scan a product in a shop, pull up Amazon’s price, and place an order right there on the spot. 

Posted in: Gadgets, Rumours
By July 13, 2014 Read More →

Screen casting from Android to Chromecast

cast_screenThose lovely people at Google are currently packing in the ultimate feature for the Chromecast, screen casting. Now, anything on your Android device can appear on the TV. Google are pushing sharing features more so than gaming and apps by saying “You can share photos stored on your phone with a group of friends, or scope out the scenery for your next family vacation together on the big screen using Google Earth.”

This feature is currently in beta and will roll out on popular Android phones or tablets from Samsung, HTC, LG, and others over the next few days. Look out for the 1.7 update of the Chromecast app on Google Play store to use this new feature. 

By July 11, 2014 Read More →

Breakthrough in battery life

urlSometimes it’s the obvious things which go unnoticed for a while yet turn out be be the perfect solution to an old problem. Such is the likely the case with a new scientific breakthrough in battery tech. Researchers at University of California and the Bourns College of Engineering may have just figured out an easy and cheap way to triple the battery life of our smartphones and tablets.

One of the researchers, graduate student Zachary Favors, came up with the idea to add sand to existing battery tech. At some point it dawned on Favors that there is typically a large amount of Quartz in sand. This turned out to be the key to the team’s discovery. Here’s a quote with more of the details:

There are no reports on how quickly this breakthrough will make it to market, but the outlook is quite good. We will keep you updated as to if/when this starts hitting our favorite devices.

Posted in: Gadgets, Phones, Tablets
By July 10, 2014 Read More →

LG get kids onboard with Kizon smartwatch

lg-kizon-2-640x415One smartwatch that likely won’t get as much press as the other offerings from LG or Samsung is the LG Kizon. This smartwatch allows a parent direct contact with their child no matter the distance.  The Kizon can track and report location via GPS and WiFi using the companion app, updating parents with location details throughout the day. The watch has only one button and pressing it will call a specific parent’s number that is pre-configured during set up through the companion app on an Android phone or tablet. It works the other way, too. Parents can call their child directly, and if they don’t answer within 10-seconds the watch will accept the call automatically, letting them listen in on whatever’s happening. 

LG Kizon specs include 64MB RAM, 125MB ROM, 400 mAh battery (36 hours life), 2G/3G Network and will be available in Blue, Pink, and Green. Liam Neeson is apparently purchasing his daughter one to avoid having to do Taken 4.

 

Posted in: Gadgets, News
By July 9, 2014 Read More →

The i-Bell kickstart kicking off

9aec7efc61293a4aeac4515ccad45498_largeA kickstarter is about to launch for a pretty exciting not device, the i-Bell. A fairly simple idea at it’s heart, however a handy device to have  allowing the user visual and audio controls at their front door, even if not available. Much like call screening on a phone i-Bell gives you the ability to screen who is at your front door using a 1080p camera streaming to your wifi network and onto your phone or tablet, wherever you are. With a two way micrphone you can talk to the caller and even save their image to the cloud for future reference. Caller’s can also leave a message, much like on a phones voicemail facility.

Check out the kickstarter here: i-Bell

Press Release:

Ever wished you could be in two places at once? A brand new Wi-Fi enabled camera doorbell will launch with a crowdfunding campaign later this month making it possible to do just that. Acting asan interactive peephole for the front door, the revolutionary i-Bell is the next generation in super slick home automation. A wireless gadget, it allows smartphone users to see and communicate with whoever is standing on their doorstep whether they are home or away– putting an end to failed deliveries and ensuring users have full control over their front door. The crowd-funding campaign, which will be launched later this month on Kickstarter, will finance the manufacturing process and give savvy investors an exclusive opportunity to snap up one of the first ever i-Bell devices.

 

Designed and made in the UK, i-Bell is utterly unique and will bring the best of digital technology to the interiors space for unsurpassed security and convenience. It will be fully compatible with Apple’s recently announced Home-Kit, which adds smart devices to the home via individual apps.

 

Once installed, i-Bell can be used in conjunction with any smartphone, tablet or PC device at any time from any location. It has significant advantages for those with hectic schedules from not being able to get to the door to being out of the house but waiting on an important package.

 

Thanks to innovative wireless technology and an integrated camera and microphone, missing a visit from grandparents or not being around to sign for a delivery becomes a thing of the past. i-Belleven allows users to screen their visitors, so they can choose whether or not to answer the door to a cold-calling salesman or an unwanted guest on the doorstep. High-security brackets help to keep the gadget safe and secured to the front door, and the ability to connect with the device from anywhere in the world via a synced smartphone means that not even holidays need to get in theway of ordering home deliveries.

 

Graham Kershberg, Co-Founder of i-Bell, says, “There’s nothing quite like i-Bell on the market right now. It’s going to revolutionise daily life for a lot of individuals and businesses. Arranging deliveries around working hours or getting an unexpected visit from a relative who gets no answer at the door can really disrupt an individual’s plans. But now it’s possible to communicate directly with the person ringing the doorbell, let the postman know where to leave a package, or telling Aunt Mabel that you’ll be home as soon as possible without even being on the premises. Fun to use and practical, i-Bell makes it possible to answer the door from any corner of the world, whether that’s five minutes down the road on the school run or from a sun lounger overseas on a long awaited holiday.”

 

From barbecuing in the back garden and reluctant to leave the grill unattended to hearing the doorbell go in the bath, i-Bell users can respond to those knocking on the door with nothing more than the swipe of their phone.

 

The i-Bell gadget sits at face level on the frame when installed by the front door – visitors ring the bell and it delivers an instant alert to any smartphone paired with the device. The resident of the house can then ‘answer’ their door. The user can see who’s standing on their doorstep thanks to a1080p HD camera, and communicate with the guest via a built-in speaker and microphone for the ultimate in secure convenience.  

 

The practical, robust gadget is the perfect device to help handle modern life – never again will you miss the repair men because you’re in the shower, or a flying visit from your childhood best friend because you’re too busy vacuuming.

Posted in: Gadgets
By June 27, 2014 Read More →

Top 3 reasons to own an iPod car adapter

connected your ipod to your carWith summer upon us, many of us will be packing up the car, strapping on our seatbelts and heading on a road trip. Staying entertained while on the road can be difficult and, while books and game consoles may keep the passengers quiet, drivers will need to find amusement in audio.

Listening to the radio is okay to start with, but there’s only so many times you can listen to the same annoying advertisements and repeated songs. Surely there has to be another option?! There is — an iPod car adapter. Read on to find our top three reasons why you must own one.

1.      Shuffle

Listening to CDs is good, but what do you do when you come to the end of the album? Do you run the risk of attempting to switch CDs while driving — something we do not advise — or simply press play and endure the same 12 or so songs over and over again?

The shuffle function on your iPod puts an end to this. No longer are you bound to the limits of one album or artist. Simply hit shuffle and delight as your tunes jump from Jay Z to Jason Mraz, from Britney to Blondie. You’ll definitely have plenty of ‘I forgot how much I love this song’ moments during your journey!

2.      Genius playlists

With an iPod adapter, you get the best of both worlds. If you fear that jumping from the dulcet tones of Barry White to the infectious lyrics of the Black Eyed Peas will distract you from your driving, there is another option.

Apple’s Genius function automatically creates playlists of songs of similar genres. This means they won’t be any sudden changes from a cheesy pop ballad to a death metal anthem, so you’re sure of no surprises during your trip.

3.      Prevent arguments

It’s no secret that family holidays can become quite tense. While we love them dearly, there’s only so much time you can spend in close proximity to your loved ones. While mum might love listening to Rod Stewart, it might not be shared amongst the group.

Having an iPod car adapter enables you to switch between genres easily. This means you can keep everyone happy by taking it in turns to pick a song. It’s the fairest way when musical tastes differ.

So now you know why you need an iPod car adapter, where can you get your hands on one? Specialist retailers like In Car Connections stock a variety of in-car adapters to suit many types of cars, from BMWs to Renaults. Choose the one that’s right for you and prepare to hit the open road.

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

Top tips for great travel gadgets and software

P1010247The summer is upon us and it’s time to start planning those family adventures, solo expeditions to find one’s self or a party in the tropics. Many hope to get away from it all and that includes the gadgets and gizmos they feel control their lives. Whatever your itinerary tech is also there to help, facilitate and entertain you on your journey.

The load out: 

We all must suffer the burden of not being able to take it all with us so we need our carry on to keep as much to hand as possible. These days mobile phones are packing an awful lot of neat features to reduce clutter.

Many will rely on their iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One (M8) to take the burden of many tasks and rightfully so. We are now entering a time when the inbuilt features rival many of the products we have come to rely on in the past. 

A Camera – The LG G3, HTC One (m8) and iPhone 5S all pack superior shooters for most environments. Our pal and site editor Matt recently relied exclusively on the HTC One to document a trip to Disneyland. However, we are gadget lovers at heart and something like the Sony AX100X 4K Camcorder with 1.0 Type Exmor R CMOS Sensor would really pop when capturing those moments of your kids bungee jumping or some totty on the beach.

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A Computer – Internet cafes are a thing of the past, shoddy hotel wifi is now all the rage. Your phone will likely be dead after a full day and you are going to want something to send evidence of your escapades back for your Gran to see. For a little editing of photos and videos the Lenovo X1 Carbon is a stunning lightweight and versatile laptop with some top end specs at a modest price. For the lower end price the Acer Chromebook C720 will do everything you need in the cloud and still allow space for a bottle of tequila from duty free in your backpack on the way home.

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A Map – You must know where you are are, have been and are going. Again your phone, combined with Google Maps or mapping software of choice is indispensable. When planning a trip, some really nice online tools are at your hands, such as the GoEuro search travel search engine for example. It compares modes of transport and their various prices and times for the desired route of the user. Another great online resource is airbnb, in terms of booking a place to stay you want.

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Power – Your phone is only as useful as it’s battery life and you are likely going to need some form of backup after using GPS to find the sights, the camera to capture the sights, the wifi to share the sights and the screen to watch Captain America on the long sticky bus ride back to the hotel from the sights. The Anker Astro 3E 10000mAh portable charger is the ideal solution and a backpack must have. Cheap, light and quick to charge even the more demanding hardware. Perfect to resurrect a dead phone with your eticket stored in your inbox.

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A neat little trick, you probably already know is how to charge them all, a simple 4 Gang, with an adapter. I have seen folks in the past buying three adapters or families squabbling over the single adapter they packed.

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Travel can be stressful and unexpected, it’s doesn’t have to be and hopefully this year technology will help you enjoy it a little more.

 

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets
By June 5, 2014 Read More →

Top tips to help you afford the latest gadgets

ironman2-apr23It seems like every few months a new swish gadget hits the market. Unfortunately, the latest gizmos do not usually come cheap and even for the most avid tech geeks, it can be difficult to finance the latest state of the art technology. Not all of us have the means of a multi-billion dollar corporation like Stark Industries at our disposal and that is why it is handy to know a few tips and tricks which can help making it easier to afford new technology, fancy gizmos and fun gadgets.

 

eBay Is Your Friend

Set up a “saved search” on eBay for the item you are looking for and that way you will be notified immediately as soon as it is being sold. Quite often, you will find second hand items on eBay that are in mint condition and some might only have been taken out of their box but they were never used. This will usually knock a few pounds off the price and you might be able to get yourself a bargain. 

 

Claim It Back

If you are self-employed and need the latest gadget for your business, you might be able to claim back the expenses of the item when filling in your tax return. You can find more information on whether you are eligible to claim back expenses for an item by clicking here.

 

Borrow the Money

There are ways to cheaply borrow money and one way of finding out is by using Totally Money’s ‘Cheapest Ways to Borrow’ tool to find out what the cheapest way of borrowing money would be for you. The tool also lets you know how long it will take you to pay back the borrowed money, so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. One of the suggestions this tools makes is taking out a 0% interest credit card. That way you can pay back the money interest free over a period of time until the 0% expire.

 

Sell Old Gadgets

Once we upgrade our technology most of us have no more use for the previous models, whether that is a phone, a laptop or an e-reader. There are plenty of places that will pay you money for trading in your old gadgets. This might help you to raise some money for the newer version of a gadget.

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets
By June 3, 2014 Read More →

Wiring for Sound: Choosing the Right Headphones

03-EKOCYCLE-Beats-headphonesHeadphones are one of the best things to come out of our technological innovation. What other device allows you to drown out your noisy neighbour but still listen to that new song in perfect clarity. That said, the market is inundated with headphones and it’s tough to differentiate between a good headphone and good marketing.

 

Here’s a guide to get you started:

 

(Un)necessary accessories

One of the more popular accessories for headphones is the anti-tangle feature. The premise is, because we’re so impatient that we can’t spend the 15 seconds it takes to untangle the wires on a headphone, we need a feature that minimises the tangling. If you’ve found a pair of headphones you like, and it just so happens it has an anti-tangle feature, so be it. Just don’t centre your buying process around this one feature.

However, a pair of headphones with Bluetooth is a different story because you can then listen on your headphones completely wirelessly (although most come with a wire just in case). Better still, it doesn’t substantially degrade the music quality, which makes the feature well worthwhile.

Another feature that is recommended is a built in mic. If you’ve ever been on a jog or a bike and received a call, this feature is a life saver. Also, many of the headphones with microphones also have a volume and pause control built in, another added bonus.

 

Being practical

Of course, one of the main activities people like to do with music in the background is exercise. A lot of people exercise to music, be it dancing, aerobics, some high-intensity cycling (euphemistically called ‘spinning’ to make it sound less gruelling!) or even a gentle (or not so gentle) jog. You might want to consider splash-proof headphones designed for those who are working up a sweat to music. Some JVC HA-EBX5 headphones might just do the trick while you strive to shape up indoors or outdoors.

 

Worlds of sound for less

Unless you’re an audiophile or have a job where only the crispest, clearest sound quality is acceptable, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a headphone. For an in ear headphone, the Sol Republic Jax are a great choice. They deliver pulse pounding bass with barely any distortion, all without overpowering the midrange and treble frequencies. As a bonus, they come with a microphone and volume control.

For an over the ear headphone, Griffin Woodtones are a great buy. They’re comfortable, stylish, and have a balanced, well rounded sound. They even use a real wood finish to round out the look.

 

Headphone highs

Here’s where to choices get tricky. The best sounding headphones can cost thousands of euros, with bells and whistles that any audiophile can appreciate. If money is no object, then you might be interested in a set of Grado PS1000s. This headphone makes listeners feel as if they’re in the room with the band. The sound comes in crisp and clear. Cymbals sizzle and the texture of the bass comes in like never before.

As you can see you can get great sounding headphones for any price. Whether you’re looking for a replacement for those white iPod headphones, or want to transform your listening experience, there’s something out there for you.

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets
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