Pokemon Go -Niantics Secret Weapon!

4 07 2016

So, after a lengthy hiatus, what a better way to return than a piece on Pokemon Go, Niantic’s new game.

After what would seem a reasonable success to some, Niantic’s second game is unsurprisingly far more hyped than its little brother Ingress.

After an on again, off again relationship with Google, Niantic now stands alone again, having once been part of Googles wider family.

Ingress was rolled out in 2012 in beta form, invite only, with fairly few users, but a very active community. Having obtained an invite in 2013, I’ve had Ingress for a while, and whilst the concept and exclusivity factor made it pretty cool to dabble around in, it never gripped me quite like it has with some.

Ingress-screenshots

People now holiday together playing Ingress, specifically trying to capture portals based on real life locations, with large events organised by Niantic on a fairly regular basis.

After struggling to get on with Ingress, but seeing its huge potential, I am hugely excited for Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go is a location based game, based on the Pokemon series which needs no introduction, with its multi-million game sales on the Gameboy, and DS, and is all about trying to catch as many Pokemon as you can, battling your way to the top !

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The screenshots that have been revealed so far, show two different modes, AR & VR, both performing pretty well to engross the user in the overall experience.

Some early testers have complained about the Pokemon appearing to hover over the ground, not blending seamlessly into the background, but what can you expect in an early access beta ?

The game carries over some of the features we loved from the Gameboy games, battling opponents, challenging gyms, and collecting items from specific places (pokestops in the game).

The gym aspect is pretty cool, similar to a portal in Ingress, which can be defended by leaving a Pokemon of your choosing for opponents to battle, much like the resonator equivalent in Ingress. This brings it to life a whole lot more, and makes you think twice about which of your precious Pokemon you leave behind !!

Pokemon Go Screenshots

It is also understood a great deal of the testing that has been carried out this year by beta testers has been around the algorithms which dictate which Pokemon appear where. These are thought to be reasonably intelligent, with water Pokemon appearing near the water, grass near patches of grass and such like ! This element will be particularly interesting, but sadly Australia may be a long way to go to capture a Kangaskhan!

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It is understood that there will be an in game purchase capability in the app, unsurprising, but I hope that the game isn’t dictated by this, ruining it for anybody who doesn’t want to splash their cash on it. These purchases are thought to be for items such as pokeballs, potions, revives etc, all of which are thought to be able to be obtained via normal play via pokestops, so if you have a pokestop nearby.. you may be in luck ! The locations of these pokestops are also thought to follow a similar format to portals in ingress, being located at key locations in an area !

Pokestop

As well as in app purchases, there is a physical piece of hardware available for use with Pokemon Go, the Pokemon Go Plus. This is a small device that can be worn as a wrist band, or clipped onto a piece of clothing, the idea of this, is to prevent you having to be glued to your phone, thus being able to enjoy your natural environment when you want, whilst still being able to respond to crucial events in the game such as throwing a Pokeball. This was a bit of an issue for me with Niantic, not wanting to kill the phones battery, or walk down a busy street with your head in your phone!

Pokemon Go Plus

The game its self, could be very poor, but will undoubtably get a tonne of support due to the underlying support of Pokemon.

The firm release date is still to be announced, but Niantic & Pokemon have said this will be in July 2016, with the Pokemon Go Plus pre-orders (Now sold out) being delivered in late July.

No doubt there will be a further update once the game has launched and my Pokemon Go Plus has been delivered, but for the time being, I’ll keep my eyes peeled until a launch date is officially released !





Jumper Card Review

8 02 2014

So recently, I was sent the Jumper Card to review, and was really excited to get my hands on it after reading about it on Indiegogo.

This is a credit card sized device, that can be used to charge your smartphone or tablet, transfer files, or do anything your existing charging cable can do.

This has recently launched on Indiegogo, and you can fund this project using this link – http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jumper-card-emergency-battery-charger

The product is around the same size as a credit card although slightly more chunky, and fits extremely well into uour pocket or wallet.Image

It is coated in a really nice rubberised material, and is extremely light despite its thickness. It feels tough, and is made to military spec, so you can be sure that it will last.

The device can be charged using the USB port and has the capacity to hold 480mAh of battery, this is enough to get around an hour of use, and can be re-charged again and again, unlike a lot of other products similar to this which can be limited in this area.

It comes with a micro USB socket, lightning socket, and the older traditional apple fitting. This means you can charge most android phones, digital cameras & other accessories as well as the entire apple range. It doesn’t take long to fully charge the jumper card, and this gives you a decent amount of battery on your device depending on the size of the battery, as obviously this will charge iPhones considerably more than iPads etc due to the size of the internal battery varying massively on device to device.

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Now, on charging my phone specifically (HTC One) I was prompted with a message advising that fast-charge was no longer enabled and that the device would charge considerably slower than by using an HTC official charger. This was the case, but the phone still charged well, and also worked really well on my iPhone and iPad. The product also comes with a built in LED light which indicates when it is finished charging and has inbuilt overcharge protection. The product is activated by a simple slider on the side, which can also be used to turn on a bright LED flashlight which is always handy !

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At $25, it is an extremely cheap emergency charging option, and can also be plugged into a USB Car lighter adapter which is great for keeping it charged on the way to work or anywhere else.I have been using this thoroughly for around 2 weeks now, and the device still feels as good as it originally did, and I haven’t encountered any problems with it at all and would highly recommend this to anybody who uses their phone as much as I do, and constantly encounters problems with the capacity of modern day batteries !





Slickwraps iPhone 5 ‘The Case’

29 09 2013

http://www.slickwraps.com

So, thanks to the guys at Slickwraps I’ve had the opportunity to review their new ‘case’ for the iPhone 5. The guys over at Slickwraps have been making wraps for a barrel load of devices for quite some time to massive success, and this is their most recent wrap that incorporates a hard case as well.

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I’ve tried a lot of different wraps, with varying degrees of success, but this wrap has been by far the easiest to apply of the lot.

Over on the http://www.slickwraps.com website you get a personalised installation video tailored to your device, and in the pack you get an HD screen protector and a great quality microfiber cloth. The HD Screen protector is washable which is great if like me, your terrible at applying them ! This makes installation a lot easier, and personally I find a wet installation easiest with these.

The case obviously eliminates half of the wrap meaning you only need to wrap the front and minimal gaps on the front and side. My wrap was an orange carbon fibre effect which looked really great once the installation was complete. The only point I changed was the home button, as I feel the device looked better with this left off. This is also something that you can buy different variants of, with interchangeable home buttons available on the website. The feel of this is great, and feels stable and not flimsy, which is weird for a wrap, but it feels of a good quality. The colour is also very bright, and although this option won’t suit everybody, it will definitely stand out in comparison to most !

This has only been on for a few days now, so I’m not well placed to speak about its durability or how long it will last but it feels great so far and due to the exact specifications of the wrap and sizes it fits perfect meaning there is no overhang that has the opportunity to catch in your pocket or just from general usage. This was one of the biggest downfalls of all of the other wraps I’ve used, as well as feeling really thin and tacky which this does not.

The wraps also come in wood, leather, metal and glow effects with lots of different available options even including cork and a fantastic design your own case option, the iPhone 5 variants shown on the link below.

http://www.slickwraps.com/iPhone-5-Skins-s/359.html

Below are a number of pictures of the installation both pre and post. Slickwraps are available on their website www.slickwraps.com

Installation of these type of products is usually difficult but the wrap was extremely easy, and feels like it is built to last.

I would definitely recommend this for any number of devices, and will be purchasing another for my HTC One shortly.

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Wireless Touch Speaker Review

23 05 2013

The Wireless Touch Speaker by Thumbs Up is a product sold by The Great Gift Company UK.

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The product retails for £30, and is pretty competitively priced in the market with a great deal of competition seen online, as well as any local music stores/HMV etc.

These sort of devices have came out in barrel loads over the past number of years, with sizes decreasing and more increasingly clever ways of making them portable and wireless.

The thing that interested me most about this speaker was the fact that it did not connect to the device it was amplifying by any cables or Bluetooth. I’ve reviewed an amplifying solution that did this before, but never to the extent of this device. It works by claiming to use ‘Near Field Audio’ technology. This means that the device does not connect to the phone or mp3 player, and simply if the device is placed on top then the music is amplified using the inbuilt speakers with the volume being controlled by your device as you usually would.

There is also an option to plug your device into the speaker with a Headphone jack on the device, and also an option to plug into DC if you don’t want to use the 3 AA batteries required to use on the go.

The amplification is massive, I was astounded as to how loud it was at first. Due to the wireless nature, I had expected to be let down, but I wasn’t in the slightest. The volume can fill a room easily, and for £30 it is a pretty good purchase. The device feels well made, it is simply designed to look at, and includes a rubber band to hold your device to the speaker if you are using this on the move.

Discovering a flaw with the NFA technology, the amplification only works when the speaker is directly on top of a certain place on the device. As you can see in the videos posted, If the iPod is turned 180 degrees, no amplification is achieved. This was discovered completely by accident, but I am assuming this is to do with the technology it uses. This could potentially be an issue with centrally located speakers, and I’d also be curious to see how this would work with devices such as the HTC One with front facing speakers.

Coming up to Father’s Day, www.thegreatgiftcompany.com has lots of great items that anybody would be thankful for and reasonably priced. If your looking for something unusual or unique, I’d recommend giving this website a look, especially if your stuck for ideas as there is a lot of items that will spark anybody’s imagination !





Ubuntu Phone , a new contender or overhyped flop ?

6 01 2013

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Ubuntu, em… what ?

To most people, this means nothing. But to a small percentage of like-minded computer geeks like myself ! Ubuntu, is another Operating System. Similar to Windows or Mac. Ubuntu is a Linux based OS, some people may have heard of Linux, Ubuntu is based on the Debian Linux Distrubution and like Android, is free and open sourced. There are many more Linux operating softwares but Ubuntu is the most common, giving the user more control of their computer, similar to rooting a phone. Ubuntu also claims to be Virus-Free, and has great in built Virus protection. Ubuntu is free to download, install and updates are also free for life.

Ubuntu can be installed alongside an OS like Windows, this is what I have running on my computer. Ubuntu alongside W8. This means that upon boot, I can choose what OS I want to run, with a section of my Hard Drive partitioned to this OS and this OS alone. Ubuntu can currently be installed on an Android phone, with the phone still running Android, but when docked and plugged into a monitor and keyboard, becoming a fully fledged PC.

Ubuntu phone is going to bedifferent to this. This will be a standalone phone OS, i.e your phone will run Ubuntu instead of Android.

app-launcher

The video above gives an idea as to the UI and operating of this and will be available before February as a patch for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As soon as this is released I’ll post another thread on this, to give an idea of how it runs and functions with day to day use.

welcome-screen

Many think Ubuntu have taken a step too far with trying to implement this OS onto a mobile platform, and single handedly trying to Unify all of their Operating Software Platforms. They claim to be the first to be able to do this, but many would argue Windows got their first with the unification aspect.

This looks really interesting and the UI looks really fresh and different, I’m intrigued to see how it goes !!

http://www.viddler.com/v/ac8413f3

The Video above is from Engadget and also gives a slightly different, but great look at the OS in action and is well worth a watch.





HTC 8X, a few weeks of use !

16 12 2012

Well ! After doing a previous piece on the 2 new HTC phones, the 8X and the 8S, I’ve been lucky enough to acquire an 8X!! I received a California Blue GSM model, this is probably my favourite colour scheme and looks really impressive up close.

HTC-Windows-Phone-8X-colours

There are a range of colour schemes as I mentioned previously, these can all be seen above, but the model I received is shown in the centre of the above image, and the image below.

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Now, I’ve had my fair share of time with each OS, starting with Blackberry, moving onto iOS, then to Android and now a taste of WP8. This isn’t the worst transition I’ve experienced as there are a lot of common points with every OS, but there are also a lot of big changes with WP8, even in comparison to WP7.

I spoke a lot about the technical specs in the previous 8X article so I’m not going to spend time writing that here, just more about my impressions with using the device on a day to day basis. https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/htc-8x-and-8s-windows-phone-preview/

The device feels great in hand, the back of the phone is made of a sort of rubberised material, this stops it slipping and also feels really well made. The glass on the front is Gorilla Glass 2 so is typically well made and handles most common slight scratches well and is also curved to the contour of the phones body which stands out and looks impressive. One of the first things you notice about the phone is how thin it is, the device is shaped so that it is thinner at the edge and thicker in the middle and this gives the illusion of it being even thinner than you would expect. The image below is taken from HTC and shows the process involved in designing this to achieve this thickness.

htc-windows-phone-wp-8s-8x-design-thin

The WP8 UI takes a bit of getting used to in coming from Android, you have the same sort of soft keys that appear down the bottom, one for search, one for back, and one showing the Windows symbol for home. This is about as far as this similarity goes ! With most other things being massively different than both iOS and Android OS.

One of the biggest let downs, not of the Phone, but of the general OS is the Windows store. Like Android was a while ago, it lacks big name apps, and general volumes of games and apps alike. The store is easy to use but I believe that if this store improves with the numbers of apps and games it provides and the quality of these games improve, the OS will become a massive hit. If I could have my same Play Store or iTunes choice on my HTC 8X I’d never put the device down and never look back.

The WP8 OS is incredibly smooth, some of the apps don’t share this feel, but all of the stock OS and big name apps do. I had an issue originally as I used Whatsapp every day and this wasn’t available for WP8, but in the past few days it has been released which has cured a massive issue I had with being able to use the phone as a daily device ! The battery also lasts extremely well outperforming my Galaxy Nexus by some considerable margin in most instances.

Now, if you have made the move to W8 for your laptop or desktop you will be aware of the metro tile UI and how this operates. This works a lot better on a phone than on a computer or desktop as far as Im concerned, it feels like this is what it was made for and it does a great job of keeping you up to date with everything that is happening. One of my personal favourites is the people tile, this gives you information about Facebook, Twitter etc all in one place which is something the other OS’s have yet to accomplish to this level.

This phone is great, if the store starts to support more apps I would have absolutely 0 hesitation in recommending this, or any other Windows Phone to a friend, but this is an issue at present. I think that in the coming months this will change to a completely unrecognisable choice  of apps and games and when this comes, the battle of the OS will become even more interesting !!





Windows 8, a few weeks of discussion!

15 11 2012

So, after swaying backwards and forwards for what seemed like an age. I took the plunge and upgraded my laptop to Windows 8.

I am quite enjoying the new UI, but many have a completely different opinion !!

What do you think of the new interface ? Is it something you love, or are going to have to learn to love ?

I’ve done pieces on the new Windows 8 Mobile OS, as well as the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X who will run this OS. But the laptop, tablet, PC will be what makes the most use of this.

The Metro Tile start button had me confused first of all, this is shown above, I wasn’t sure if the complete system was ran around this or purely the start panel. To answer, it is only the start button. If you click start you get the same sort of Metro Interface you get on a Windows Phone with Live Tiles and lots of different applications. This can give you an idea if you have any emails, notifications or any events coming up in your calendar. This is bringing the OS of Laptops and PC’s more in line with Mobiles and thus gives us an opportunity to integrate the 2 of these together to ensure we take everything with us at all times. In a few weeks time I will hopefully take delivery of a HTC 8X, and can give a further insight into the integration when this is received, but it seems like there are a good few opportunities to be completely integrated.

On the Metro themed Start button, there is a tile that is called ‘Desktop’ clicking this takes you back to your standard HomeScreen you know, and most probably grown to love. Your desktop can still have shortcuts on it, and you can still drag and drop to the recycle bin etc etc. When on the Start Button, if you right click and click ‘All Apps’ this will give you a better view of what you can click to run, including ‘My Comnputer’, ‘Control Panel’ and things of that nature, as well as programs that may not show up right away on your Metro themed background. It can take time to get this start button the way you like fiddling with combinations, but when you have a system you can use and suits what you like to check and keep up to date with, it works fantastically.

Hovering over the top right and bottom left of the screen also gives you a lot more options. Hovering in the top right for example gives you another side menu to shut the computer down, search for files or programmes and connect to other devices. The bottom left gives you access to the start button, and opens up the screen shown at the top of this piece.

If you are into developing, there is a lot of debate about this OS as it is apparently far more locked down than previous ones. I am not into this on a major scale, so it doesn’t effect me to a massive extent but this may cause problems for you if you are.

I am loving this new OS, and personally don’t see a lot of negatives with a lot of useful shortcuts and integration, I see this being very popular, and as Windows is the most commonly ran OS generally, most people will probably have to like it or lump it anyway !

When I upgraded, I had the option to do so online for £19.99 if I choose not to receive a disc, this is the option I choose and didn’t take long to complete. Upgrading officially this way ensures all of your files are saved, and running the update helper gives you an idea if any of your programmes will maybe have compatibility issues with W8, most require a simple reinstall or update if this is the case.

A handy hint I read elsewhere, which successfully worked for me, Is that if you bought a W7 laptop between July and January 2013, you are eligible for a discounted upgrade to W8. If you fill in a code for this online, you can get this code no questions asked with no proof of purchase required. This is obviously a flaw in the system but allowed me to get the upgrade for £14.99 and saved me a fiver for the pub !!

The link for this section is – http://www.windowsupgradeoffer.com

If you do this you will have a voucher sent to your email within 24 hours that you can input when downloading the upgrade.

I’d love to hear everybodies views on this ! As it has been, and will continue to be a very controversial system.

Thanks !!

J

 








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