AOKP JellyBean Build 1 Galaxy Nexus ROM Review

26 08 2012

http://aokp.co/index.php/releases/_/jellybean-build-1-r28

Released on the 20th of August, AOKP has made available JellyBean Build 1. Now, this is confusing to most as, unknown to some, AOKP have been producing JellyBean Nightly builds for a few weeks previous to this. These were a lot more experimental than previous ‘Builds’ and the current ‘Build’ is thought to be a culmination of the best points of these Nightly’s developed over the past few weeks.

The ROM is apparently a far way away from being a stable release but has been suprisingly bugless for me since I started running it, with only a minor glitch here and there.

AOKP have planned out what they are going to do with this ROM following its jump to JellyBean and it seems to have helped a lot with all of the features it encompasses instead of throwing a lot of random non integrated features at it and hoping it sticks. Like older AOKP, it has a lot of UI customisation as well as almost 30 ‘Swag Papers’ to spruce up your homescreen andsome unique features and inbuilt performance control. One of the talked about features is the flip to vibrate or silent function, this as it suggests turns the phone to silent or vibrate when you put the phone on its back or during a call when you flip it to its back, useful in meetings, work, or just in general if you really don’t want to answer the phone to the person who is calling!

   

Im running this now and went from Paranoid Android to it and im not let down. I used to be a bit of an AOKP fanboy but was pleasantly suprised with my experience on PA, but I think this ROM has brought me back over to the dark side !

This is only the first JellyBean Build as it name suggests so expect a lot more from AOKP. They have their team and they clearly know what they are doing from running over 10 of their previous builds on Ice Cream Sandwich and with great innovation and features included its definately one to keep an eye on over the coming weeks and months !

 





The Cloud, bye bye hard drive !

24 08 2012

Ok so, for quite some time now there has been a lot of chat about “The Cloud”.

By “The Cloud” we mean Cloud based computing and storage, but this can take many forms, some of which shown below in the image i exquisitely stole from Wikipedia.

Some people practically live on the Cloud, whilst others are sceptical, prefering storage on USB sticks, hard drives etc.

The new Google Chromebook is a great example of Cloud computing. This sits on the border between being a pure cloud client and a laptop. The Chromebook only has a 16GB hard drive. This, still could function as a computer but considering the standard iPhone is 16 GB, it doesnt give much room to play with presuming that some of this internal storage is also used for the Chrome OS data. There are limited offline capabilities but when connected to the internet , you essentially have unlimited storage and capabilities with access to the web store to purchase web apps to use programs such as Word and Excel and taking 8 seconds according to Google to boot up with a pretty instantaneous set up from the box.

There are a lot of Cloud applications floating about now (excuse the pun), with services such as Google Drive and Dropbox aswell as Apple’s iCloud service. I am registered for all of these and each have their own great features. My iPad is backed up to iCloud meaning that if the preverbial hits the fan on my laptop or the iPad, I can simply restore my settings from the cloud. Being an Android geek I also have Titanium Backup linked to my Dropbox and Google Drive account, this means all of my phone backups are stored on the cloud and even if my phone is completely wiped I can restore these apps from thin air!

Cloud applications are incredibly useful and are basically the future of University. The amount of times a student will walk into College or University only to be met with the fear after discovering their USB Stick with all of their work is still at home will be uncountable. Using Dropbox for example, files are uploading to this service at home using a mobile, laptop, iPad etc.. and when you are using any other computer,laptop etc you simply access Dropbox and then have access to your previously uploaded files, meaning files you uploaded at home are on the computer you are using in University with a simple log in to each of the Servers.

Now, getting to the sceptics.
A lot of folk will be sceptical purely due to their lack of control of their files. Of course files can be uploaded, downloaded and deleted at your request, but in the meantime.. What is happening with your files and where abouts are they? The answer to this question is fairly simple.. instead of using your own small DVD Sized Hard-Drive, you are probably using a Corridor filled with massive servers and hard drives in an industrial estate.

Now, although you may think your data may be easily compromised. These establishments are pretty well secured (most of them anyway) and have complete sevurity teams with access documented to the rooms and some of them are even pretty green and environmentally friendly in comparison with these types of centres of old.

Another reason most people seem to be sceptical is the reliability of these sort of services. Facebook rarely goes down, Twitter rarely goes down but it does happen and when it does the whole world knows about it. Although this wouldnt happen much, If it happens on an occasion where your stored data is integral to what you do, you would be pretty much screwed if you don’t have it there and then or when the service resumes crucial files may have became corrupt or deleted.

I sit very uncomfortably on the fence on this matter. I use Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive and probably other services that aren’t at the forefront of my mind. I use these in addition to Solid Storage. I still have many USB sticks, a portable Hard Drive and a laptop with a substantial Hard Drive. These services, as far as I can see compliment each other. Having a plan B is never a bad thing so if you have the time or the resources to implement both I still see this is as the way forward in the near future.





Great Little War Game Review ! iOS Android

16 08 2012

Great Little War Game is a turn-based strategy game available for £0.69 on iOS and $0.99 for Android.

This game was originally higher priced, but with the release of its new sibling Great Big War Game ($2.99  on both platforms) its price has been cut and is the current bargain of the minute with a lot of gamers !

I know a lot of people grudge paying for apps, regardless of the miniscule price but this game really is worth the money. If you can’t justify less than £1 for a game when you possibly spend £30/40 on a console game then I know I can’t sway you anyway..

The game is turn-based strategy so each player takes a turn, finishes his moves, then the opponent completes their move. This is great, especially for a mobile platform when you may not be spending 100% of your concentration on the game, or are playing it in broken up chunks throughout the day, it doesn’t require your undivided attention to be great and has plenty of missions to keep you occupied for some time !

The video above gives a good idea of the gameplay, showing a good proportion of the first mission of the campaign. The game is obviously war based, and is very similar to games such as Advance Wars for the Nintendo DS with each mission having its own required objectives for completion.

The games graphics are really crisp and great for the price as well as providing a smooth flowing game with no Ad’s. For the price, this is a bargain. It is very similar to Great Big War Game and for a third of the price you definately don’t get a third of the game!

 

 

 





Codeacademy Beginners Insight !

16 08 2012

As I’ve stated before on this Blog, I love Tech, but I am a complete Novice when it comes to developing and coding.

http://www.codecademy.com/

Today I came across this website whilst having a look at some Kickstarter pages.

I am a complete coding beginner, absolutely no knowledge whatsoever so this website was the exact kind of thing I’ve been looking for to help myself out !

I’ve seen websites similar to this before but none that have lessons and a community quite like codeacademy. I registered today and completed some of the lessons, these are great and you work on a command prompt built into the web page with hints and tips and thorough guides showing you how to build and create your own code as you progress.

Each individual excercise doesn’t need to be completed before moving on and you can jump right into the more difficult stuff if you please but with each lesson when the correct code is enterred the website will tell you and let you know if it isn’t completely correct to allow you to edit it and correct it before progressing.

Codeacademy can also be linked into Twitter and Facebook, this was an easy way to me to make an account and took literally a minute maximum to do, this can also be used to keep tabs on any friends that use the website and ensures you are one step ahead of them with any lessons!

As you can see, I’ve completed a few lessons today and I’m very impressed.
As well as having numerous lessons, there is also a forum where questions can be asked if you are having any specific issues with a lesson in particular or can’t seem to find the problem with any of the code you have created, this was unbelievably helpful on a few circumstances as you can find yourself stuck for quite some time as the ‘hints’ section on the lesson can only get you so far.

Having completed 9% of the lessons, I’m not in a position to say how the rest of the lessons are but as a complete beginner I have been impressed with the depth of each lesson and the hands-on experience gained by writing your own code as well as editing and fixing pre-made snippets of code.

If your as much of a beginner as me, this is a great place to start !

 

 





Windows 8 Phone, Next big thing ?

11 08 2012

Apple and Android are completely dominating the Mobile market at the minute with a pretty large proportion of phones running each of their OS.

Their next challenger, with the pretty imminent downfall of Blackberry is Windows in my opinion. This is backed up by figures in most parts of the world. The Nokia Lumia range run the most recent Windows operating system pretty successfully and this has been the most success the range has had in quite some time with most people not considering Windows an option up until now.

Windows 8 is said to be being released around the end of the year with October and November being heard in amongst the whispers. This, you would assume to be after the launch of the IPhone 5 with most sources saying this will be released before October. A disadvantage in my eyes but I suppose it could be an advantage depending on the success of the new flagship Apple device.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview

The above shows the new Windows 8 interface. A complete overhaul in comparison with the current Windows 7, and previous Windows OS. This, is more closely related to the most recent Windows 7 phone and operates in a smart-tile UI. This changes as new information is received, with each block acting as a resizable, movable widget, bringing you the most up to date texts, facebook updates and things of this sort.

The above video gives an idea about how this works.

Samsung, Huawei, HTC and Nokia are all confirmed to be making a phone to run Windows 8.

Windows 8 will be NFC compatible and have its own version of Google Wallet and Passbook named Microsoft Wallet ( how creative !?)  and will also run Internet Explorer 10 with the capacity to run numerous core processors and HD quality graphics. The phones will also have expandable storage and a great Maps system, something Nokia as a company have had some considerable success in before now.

Above, again are some images that give an idea of how the UI will look, with some different variations.

Windows 8 Phones are also going to be far more integrated into the Windows 8 OS which will be available for PC’s and Laptops. This will make sharing files and settings far easier and should hopefully make the whole experience far better than previous and rival the current set up of Apple and I tunes.

Phones are also going to be supported for a minimum of 18  months after launch, this will be useful to some Tech geeks who get the phones at their release with the phone being supported for Updates for the vast majority of their contract with this not necessarily being the case with some devices!

Not being an expert on the subject, far more information can be obtained at

http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/windows-phone-8-release-date-and-latest-details-1065086

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2012/06/20/announcing-windows-phone-8.aspx

If you are interested, or just want to learn a little more on what else is out there !!





Chirp iOS App Review

8 08 2012

Chirp is a free app on the iOS store, specifically for iPhone but can also be downloaded for iPod Touch and iPad with no real effect on the user experience.

Its classed as a ‘social networking’ app by iTunes, but isn’t your usual Twitter or Facebook, although it does include integration with both of these services.

This app uses sound to send data from Phone to Phone. I had this set up with 2 iPad’s in my house and used it to send notes, links, pictures etc. When you open up the interface you can choose what your looking to send, the app then changes this information to a sound wave and plays the ‘chirp’ through the devices speaker, the other device picks this noise up via the microphone and translates it back into what it should be, i.e a picture or a note. For the devices to register and translate the chirp, the app its self must be open, so it will not translate chirps if the app is open in the background.

Of course there are numerous advantages as well as disadvantages with this,

This could be used on a large scale e.g played through the speakers at a local supermarket giving shoppers voucher codes or special offers, or it could be used in a room full of people to quickly send and share photos or links with everyone.

On the downside, playing chirps as a way of sending messages in a public place means anyone with the app open can intercept the message and have a nosey into your conversation or steal your images !

This, I see more of an innovative creative kind of new tech. This shouldn’t have holes poked in it due to its lack of security in public places, it should be praised as somebody thinking outside the box and not making another repetitive ‘freemium’ game. This app may be the first of this sort of technology but could become mainstream with numerous applications outside the app world being possible..





Dead Trigger Review IOS Android , Is Piracy killing the industry ?

5 08 2012

Dead Trigger is a first-person shooter for Android and iOS and has recently became Free to download! This is a free to play app, and does not require In-App-Purchases to provide you with a high quality of gaming!

The game follows a character as they try to work their way through a Zombie infested city, shooting as many as possible on the way !

The graphics on this game are massively impressive for a mobile game, both versions on iOS and Android look equally as good, my preference being for iOS on this instance due to seeing it on the larger screen of the I-Pad in comparison with my G-Nex.

The game-play of the game is good, and the main mode doesn’t suffer from as much lag as I would have expected, especially due to the enormity of the maps and the details that are put into each and every aspect of the game, from characters to weapons to scenery.

This game used to be $0.99, not a massive cost, but changed to being free due to the massive amount of piracy mainly on the Android platform, but more recently too on I Tunes. The game is quite lengthy, and even at its older price of $0.99 You would be making a wise purchase as it gives a pretty lengthy campaign and very high quality gaming.

One of the gripes I have is the controls, I don’t see how these can be improved but there are definately some issues. Your left finger controls looking around whilst your right does the walking, coupling this with the shoot button being right above the right analog stick and you have some issues. This same fault also effects games such as Grand Theft Auto, and with the lack of physical buttons on most devices recently, it seems a difficult problem to work around.

The piracy issue may seem great for gamers at first, games becoming free because the developers would rather you play them legally than steal them, but this in fact carries a lot of major issues and worries along with it. Games may become filled with a ridiculous volume of ads or developers may move away from the Android or iOS market completely. This game along was thought to have a 90% piracy rate before the price drop.

Mad Finger boss Marek Rabas explained in a post on Gamezebo”Our main goal is not to make lots of money, we do not want to be the second Disney or sell out the company for millions of dollars. Also, we do not have to please investors each financial quarter with better results on their profit. We just simply enjoy making games.”

Although this supports the view of “oh great we will get more free games”, this statement will not reflect the views of all app-developers and gaming companies.

Since the game is now Free! I’d urge you to atleast give it a go and show a bit of respect for the work of Developers.








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