Laptop , PC or Tablet ? Where will we go next ?

5 09 2012

Personally, I have a laptop, phone and tablet and used to own a desktop PC, until it became pretty antiquated with its 40GB hard drive.

Most people have made the jump from a desktop to a laptop, usually stating their main reason for this as it being easier to move around and more portable etc. This, 9 times out of 10 is absolutely bull. I know that 3 laptops later, my laptop sits at my desk and used to make a rare journey to the kitchen for me to view recipes, since the arrival of my iPad.. old laptop’y stays where is all day long, on my desk plugged into its power supply.

Most people also absolutely obliterate the battery on their machines by constantly keeping them plugged in, this severely screws with your battery, with older machines benefitting more from a complete charge and decharge session as opposed to constant full power and attempted charging the longer you leave it plugged in and the more frequently you do this the more chance you have of your battery holding a pitiful amount of charge (this goes for mobile phones in most cases and tablets too).

Desktop PC’s, a regular in some homes but I’d say a dying breed for most recently, this is why in my opinion, it is the best time to buy one of these beauties. Modern desktop Towers aren’t exactly Towers they are more like bungalows.. Some modern desktop towers are smaller than some early mobile phones! These also pack a serious punch and are usually for more hardcore computer enthusiasts with better performance specs, and usual mobility not being much of a huge concern for somebody who usually gets all their work done in the same place anyway.

Above is an example of a modern tower, in comparison with some older towers the size is massively different. Many modern PC’s also allow you to use your television as an output device meaning that if you are low on space your TV can function as your monitor, and with wireless keyboards and mice its long past the times of having to sit within a specific distance of the tower.

Tablets, now what can we say about Tablets. A new genre if you like has been created, and performs its role extremely well but is it a replacement to any of the above ? As far as im concerned, my tablet bridges the gap between my mobile phone and my laptop. I couldn’t see myself replacing my laptop with a tablet, but it performs a whole other duty to which I dont think you can fully appreciate without having used a tablet for about a month to learn of its uses ! My iPad is used mostly for social networking, internet browsing, emails and games. These are all things that you can do on a laptop but are mostly easier to do on a tablet, and can be done far easier than a laptop as tablets are incredibly more portable than a laptop (especially one that is constantly plugged in)

Laptops are laptops. Most people have a laptop as their main household computer I’d say these days, or most definately the kid of the house has a laptop (god knows what they are doing with it) and they do what they do, and perform it well. Its a screen, keyboard and mouse built into one with all of its components contained, this is why I think they overtook PC’s.. Not the portability factor, but more towards it all being in one contained unit, for one easy transaction and not buying keyboards, mice and monitors separately. In buying a modern laptop, your specs on standard models probably aren’t a kick in the behind away from the specs on a standard PC, but depending on your level of brand loyalty may cost you alot more. Laptops, like PC’s have higher end hardcore models but you would usually find in a battle of the hardcore models, the PC would usually have the lead when it came to specs.

My advice, if you are buying anything is to do your research, and buy based on what you need it for. Its all fair and good saying this PC is the best for hardcore gaming, but if you are somebody who only surfs the web and reads their emails then this is definately not for them. I like to think of myself as a geek but my laptop is no where near what I’d call high spec, the range is almost limitless depending on what you are after. If i was buying again, I’d trade my laptop for a PC and keep my tablet. Tablets perform their own role, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t make a judgement without having the use of one for a week or 2. At first I thought my iPad would sit and be rarely used due a mobile phone and a laptop but it has been more or less stuck to my hand for the past few months, it was something I thought of as an additional extra but now I would find it difficult to live without.

Where do you think tech will go from here ? What else have we left to make !?

What do you use currently ?

Would you buy differently when you came to renewing your tech?

How often do you renew your tech ?

What do you look for most in any of the above ?

Thanks !!





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 !

 





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 !!





Paranoid Android 1.6.9 Alpha Galaxy Nexus Hybrid Jelly Bean ROM

5 08 2012

Ok, apologies for the massively long title, but I feel its all required !

Since Rooting my Galaxy Nexus GSM a few months ago I’ve experimented with a number of ROM’s, and found that the AOKP Builds were by far my favourite, having the right balance of optimisations, tweaks and UI changes.

When Jelly Bean was issued on I/O Nexus Devices, I was at the front of the queue to get the Jelly Bean stock ROM flashed. Since AOKP hasn’t released a Jelly Bean ROM (discounting the very beginning stages Alpha build) I felt it was time to play the field, and was not let down in the slightest by Paranoid Android !

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1619582

All information relating to the ROM can be accessed via the above thread, this will also give far more images and information in comparison with what I can give in a singular blog post, as well as links to download.

This ROM is touted as being the first true ‘hybrid’. This means that you can have the phone set up with a phone interface, a phablet interface, a tablet interface as well as having a great combined ‘hybrid’ version. This is something that is executed really well within the build, with no other ROM’s as far as im aware pulling this off to such great success.

The ROM is based on CyanogenMod 10 so it also incorporates all of the great Cyanogen features (AOKP was mostly built upon CM) and also includes the much loved ‘ Theme Chooser’. This means that standard tweaks such as changing the number of lock-screen icons, changing performance based attributes, as well as possible alterations to the Notification bar, battery icons etc.

  

Above are a few screenshots showing the ‘Hybrid’ Layout using the settings app as an example. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show a great walk-through of each of the Layouts and their individual features.

I’ve found this ROM to be pretty reasonable on battery, as well as being very stable. As the name suggests these are Alpha builds and are updated very frequently with new fixes and optimisations but using as an average user, I’ve tried a number of builds and have found them to be very stable.

This ROM also includes a few more Apps to standard. It includes the Apollo music app in place of Play Music, a Terminal Emulator app, DSPManager and Dev Tools. The DSP Manager and Apollo are aimed at the audiophiles amongst us giving a better music interface and the ability to apply various custom equalizers to the speaker output. The Dev Tools and Terminal Emulator are as the name suggests, these are Apps used primarily by Developers and are a useful addition if this is what you enjoy doing.

I try to stay impartial on most reviews, but this is a great ROM and I’d recommend it if your looking for a great overall performing ROM, or something different to what your running currently.





Netflix , How to get USA when not in USA !! PC XBox PS3 PS Vita IOS Android

26 07 2012

Having been a member of LoveFilm as opposed to Netflix for a while, this hasn’t been an issue I’ve really came across, but on checking UK Netflix compared to the US, the differences are vast !
The US has a lot more choice, as well as a lot newer programmes than most other services making it an easy choice for such a simple fix. This will also work for other countires such as Canada, as long as the user has a valid Netflix account.

When you register for a Netflix account, you don’t register for a UK account, a US account or any other account.. You register for a universal account, this is why the fix is so easy.
The Netflix website uses your IP address to locate you, then with this information the correct website is displayed for you.

PC
Using a VPN ( virtual private network ) you can easily get access to whatever service you like.
While you are connected to this VPN you take advantage of its IP so if its based in New York, Netflix thinks you are in New York, hence displaying the US Site as opposed to where you really are. The service I use is Spotflux, there are numerous different services you can use to take advantage of different VPN’s but I found this one was pretty simple and is free to use and download at
http://launch.spotflux.com/

Once this is downloaded, you merely open it up and click enable. This will then make your browser connect to the VPN ( this may slow your connection considerably ) Once this is complete go to the Netflix site, sign in and search for your film/show, you will notice there are now more options on many TV Series as well as lots more films.. Taking Breaking Bad for instance, the UK site has up to, and including Season 3 whilst the US has the entirity of Season 4 included on top of this.

From my experience a tip I would give is that once you had chosen what you wanted to watch, once the streaming starts disable Spotflux, this means that your browser will revert back to your normal internet connection and will help the speed and quality of the streaming. Spotflux is a free service, a lot of VPN’s require monthly subscriptions or joining fees. This, may put a lot of sceptics off, thinking it must be free for a reason but it has a lot of positive write ups. As well as giving this benefit for Netflix, it also blocks pop-ups and ads, as well as constantly scanning for Viruses and malware, whilst keeping your IP address secure.

Consoles, XBox, PS3, etc.
For Xbox, PS3 etc ,  if you change your network settings so that your Primary DNS is set to 208.122.23.22 and the Secondary DNS is set to 208.122.23.23 you can access all of Netflix USA’s content. You don’t have to change any router settings, the changes should be made on the console itself. This is useful when using it to watch Netflix, but for gaming id recommend reverting your settings back as this will put you into US servers for games like COD, FIFA, Battlefield etc.

Apple IOS & Android Devices
There are a lot of Apps on these devices that make this really easy, as well as a manual option to input details of a VPN. If you have signed up to a VPN service you can input the details at this point to join your VPN, or as I said, use an App. A lot of the VPN’s are constantly changing at this point so its probably best to google a currently working VPN for the US for IOS and Android devices as these are prone to shutting down with them working great some days and not others.

I hope I’ve helped get a little more for your money if your outside the US !! Feel free to comment on any current Usable US VPN’s as you find them!





Nexus Q, A revolution ?

29 06 2012

Nexus Q, what is this little strange black ball you ask ?

Its a device made by google, touted as being “The world’s first social streaming media player” this device streams music,movies,video and TV to your TV or other devices.

Its design, I think is incredibly cool and modern and would attract attention in any room!

What happens is your Android Phone acts as a remote effectively, telling the Nexus Q what song to play or what movie to stream to your TV. This is all conveniently done via Google Movies and TV, Google Music or Youtube, all owned by Google.

This is a great concept although not entirely unique as similar things are already being done with Google TV and Apple TV. This also plays into the hands of Google, snaring you further into their grasps ensuring any music, TV or movies are all purchased through them to make use of a lot of the features on the Nexus Q.

The price of the Q hasn’t officially been announced but its likely to be $299 and with the Apple TV coming in at $99, many will think of it as a bit too much to spend on a party piece.





Samsung Galaxy Nexus

29 06 2012

With newer phones coming on to the market every couple of months its almost impossible to have a currently up to date phone. With the Galaxy Nexus being released in November of 2011, this post will pose the question as to whether it is still a wise alternative to the Samsung Galaxy SIII, HTC One X or even the Apple Iphone 4s.

The Nexus is a programming geeks dream,  In running the stock version of Android 4.0 as standard it gives the user an opportunity to edit its Ice Cream Sandwich operating software in more ways than are imaginable. Without the Sense overlay or other manufactured additions to the software the system is more easily manipulated.

With the Nexus being the first announced phone to receive the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update this also means that Nexus users will be the first to play with the new operating software with the Nexus 7 tablet also running this as stock. This is claimed to be “buttery smooth” and will hopefully enhance the experience further.

Now for the numbers !

Design

  • Dimension(H x W x D): 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm
  • Weight: 135g
  • Color: Titanium Silver or White

Platform

  • Android v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Soon will come standard with Android v4.1 (Jelly Bean)

Display

  • Technology: 16M Color HD SUPER AMOLED Full Touch Display
  • Resolution: 1280 x 720 pixel
  • Size: 4.65″

Processor

  • 1.2GHz Dual Core Processor

Memory

  • User Memory:16GB (RAM: 1GB)

Camera

  • Camera Resolution: 5.0 Mega-pixel (Zero Shutter Lag) Front Camera: 1.3 Mega-pixel Front Camera
  • White Balance: Incandescent, Daylight, Fluorescent and Cloudy
  • Scene Mode: Action, Night, Sports, Sunset, Party
  • Photo Gallery with photo editing functions such as adding effect and photo cropping etc)

Video

  • Support format: H.263 / H.264 / MPEG4 1920 x 1080 pixels (30fps)
  • Video Recording & Playback: Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels (30fps)

The Nexus has its positives in barrel loads with its modern design, large screen and incredibly versatile operating system but the main downfall of the Nexus is the lack of expandable memory. It doesnt have an SD Card slot so the 16gb storage capacity is all you get, much like the Iphone range. This may be a major problem for some but for the occasional user this may not prevent much of a problem. With the ease of backing up to the computer via your USB charging cable, this may help to relieve some of the burden of space as well as the ever growing popularity of Cloud storage with Apps like Google Drive and Dropbox.

Compared with the Camera functionality of its competitors the Nexus does fall down quite a bit, its cameras perform well but just dont have the crispness you would expect from an Iphone or the highly acclaimed camera on the One X.

The Nexus is incredibly fast and smooth and whilst it only has a dual core 1.2GHZ processor which is lesser than that of the One X, this wouldnt be noticable to the normal user with the Nexus providing an extremely fluent smooth response and rapid multi tasking.

Having been released for over 6 months, it still makes a lot of sense to purchase a Nexus. Even if you aren’t a complete Android geek or are completely Mobile phone illiterate its ease of use and wide range of functionality make it a great phone, and with Google recently announcing a price reduction in an Unlocked Sim Free model, it makes even more sense !








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