Monday, 28 December 2015

Cisco packet tracer for iPhone / Android

I never knew about these apps but they are great! Wish I had them when studying. Good fun for messing about with on the train / commute. (UK Store)

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Ars: Dolby Cinema: Twin laser projectors + object-based 3D audio = awesome

Or as i'd title it: IMAX and Dolby pushing to keep the cinema experience relevant.

It's nice to see that the cinema is still an experience. I don't think the home consumer is taking to things such as 3D-Blu-rays (and eventually 4K Blu-rays) due to an un-unified push by industry, hardware confusion, OTT and high royalties.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Virgin Media increases max download speed to 200Mbps, for free (ish)

Article at Ars:

Good news for current customers especially. Nice idea having multiple options above what BT OpenReach's network restricted providers can offer on FTTC (80down/20up Mbps).

Monday, 28 September 2015

UK mobile operators to hike prices?

This doesn't sound good for consumers:

Basically Ofcom are increasing the cost of spectrum to the mobile operators. EE in particular seems to be badly hit as they have the most spectrum at present.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Amazon debuts 4k FireTV

Playing second fiddle to Netflix must always be a bit annoying when your as big as Amazon but they seem to be making all the right sounds at the moment. I don't think a week has gone by recently without some new news regarding the Prime instant video service.  The latest bit is the release of a new portfolio of hardware products to push the service. 

The main interest for me is the Amazon Fire TV. Voice control and 4k output. This is starting to sound like something i'd want under my TV! 

To top it off they actually made a games controller for the device which gives developers a lot more direction and consumers less confusion which we like. I am a bit confused as to why they wouldn't bundle one games controller with the device. Amazon are all about pushing the sales of products through their devices and it would have seemed like a natural fit to encourage games buying. 

Worth noting also is it only comes with 8GB of storage but on the plus side, you can buy MicroSD cards to expand this which constantly get cheapest instead of paying a price premium for the storage like you would with the Apple TV. 

After a poor showing from Apple, Amazon has really upped their game to make the OTT sector more exciting from a hardware standpoint. 

With the recent purchase of Elemental, the Top Gear deal and a firm investment in new programming, the future is certainly looking bright for the service. 

Samsung’s 950 Pro M.2 SSD pairs NVMe with V-NAND

Article over at Ars, makes my 1000MB/s+ reads speeds on my crucial SDD's in RAID0 look slow by comparison!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Opinion: The new Apple TV.

Given the rumours have been going on a long while around Apple reinventing the TV space, it would seem that their recent efforts seem lacklustre. 

The new Apple TV has the following hardware specifications:
  • 64-bit A8 processor
  • 32GB or 64GB of storage
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • 1080p resolution
  • HDMI (1.4)
  • New Siri Remote / Apple TV Remote

So the HDMI spec will be 1.4 (not 2.0) which means no vastly improved audio which could have aloud for features such as Dolby Atmos. 1.4 can support 4k video but that brings me to my next point. The marketing so far states 1080p and and they used their A8 processor instead of the A9 so it's technically a generation behind from the offset. 

One thing that people have also noticed is the lack of optical out this time around. Some customers who were using this (particularly with Amp setups) will not be pleased there. 

My last point is on gaming, I haven't seen a reference design for a controller or set layout for buttons which would add consistency for game devs. I think they are going to struggle to make real gains here without that. 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Samsung unveils world’s first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc player

Ars reports on Samsungs first 4k Blu-ray player... but will the consumers be fussed if OTT quality is OK enough for their tastes? Check out the link and decide.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Hive Home analytics

Summer, what summer? It's been raining all week! We're nearly in august as it's feeling cold! still it's cool that I can track the change with my new Hive system. They have a slightly upgraded and prettier version out now but apart from adding a boost function, I see little reason to upgrade so soon. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Transmission rates ever increasing.

UC San Diego research is pushing the limits of optical throughput over long distances. good to hear! Details in the link!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Looks like AMD has a fighting chance in the high end this generation

Ars sums it up best here:

As much as I love the top end I've kinda given up on it as it's usually let down by poorly supported drivers and price premiums which don't reflect the experience expected of them. I usually end up going for a midstream card with a good few months on the shelf and release drivers that have been a little more fine-tuned.  I'm running AMD in my main Windows machine at the moment and am pleasantly surprised as I didn't think i'd go back.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Logitech G903 replacement earpads and headband.

So like many others, i've had my G930 a long while and the earpads and headband had started to disintegrate. I found a fair bit of info on replacement earpads but not on the headband. Regardless I opted for some cheap blue replacements including a headband on eBay and waited.

Once they came I swapped out the earpads no problem but the headband was difficult to say the least. Basically it comes out via force. Start at one side of the headband and pull it back and twist and it will eventually give out. Luckily putting in the new band was rather easy.

Finished change over:

Friday, 19 June 2015

Cycling gadgets

Trying out some CO2 tyre inflators for the first time. Very impressed, so quick and effortless. Make sure to put the sleeve on the bottle as they get super cold!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

OneWeb’s constellation of 700 low-altitude satellites will be built by Airbus

To be used for broadband that rivals fibre connections....

I would say their already fighting a bandwidth and latency war they've already lost but this will be great for isolated regions! 50ms is high for a some fixed like connection out onto a server in the same country (maybe even continent) in my opinion. Also at 12Gbps for a satellite thats  a bit limited, even with 700 of them.

A normal telephone exchange (Services roughly the area of a large town) in the UK would have a backhaul of 10/20Gbps, probably more with fibre demand increasing. combine that with core networks that have 200 - 400 Gbps rings and the satellite network is looking a little bandwidth choked.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

BT Claims Future Broadband Delivers 300Mbps Speeds at 350 Metres

Article at ISPreview:

"The CTO of BT’s Wholesale division, Colin Bannon, has revealed that their future (ITU G.9701) broadband technology has also been tested on longer copper lines of 350 metres and the operator found that at this distance it was still able to deliver Internet speeds of 300Mbps."

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

New USB hub for bitcoin mining.

Got my new powered hub (Plugable® USB 2.0 7-Port Charging Hub) for my Raspberry Pi Bitcoin mining. Works perfectly!

ThePiHut's HUB hub simply didn't have enough Amperage to give each ASIC miner plugged the power it wanted.

I'm running a mix of miners that I found cheap on eBay which I thought might be an issue but cgminer seems to be handling them fine.

Hopefully when I have some more funds I can start looking at renewable energy sources as currently the power draw, even on a Raspberry Pi doesn't seem economical for the gains. For the moment i'm not in it for that, just for the fun of experimenting!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Ubuntu 15.04 Released, This Is What’s New (OMG Ubuntu)

Main features:

  • Change to systemd
  • Unity 7.3
  • Compiz 0.9.12
  • Linux kernel 3.19 (4.0 didn't make the cut)

Application updates:

  • LibreOffice
  • Firefox 37
  • Thunderbird 31.6
  • Shotwell 0.20.2
  • Nautilus 3.14.2
  • Evince 3.14.2
  • Rhythmbox 3.1
  • Totem 3.14.1
  • GNOME Terminal 3.14

If you do fancy shoving kernel 4.0 into it:

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sauber F1 team give a really cool car insight!

From Twitter:

Our #F1 car cut in half - download the PDF (3 MB) here: http:// #CutawayF1Car #MalaysiaGP

The EU wants to remove regional limits on digital goods

Engadget reports that the people in Brussels want to unify things a bit more in the union! Would make licensing and digital imports much cheaper if done right for the UK.

I suspect pricing would closely reflect changes in the € so the UK would be at the mercy of Brussels. Private companies spanning more than 1 EU nation would still benefit cost wise.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

I bought a OnePlus One - mini review time!

The UK is a horrible place for buying a contract phone! 12 month contracts are hard to come by and when someone does offer them, there is usually a considerable mark-up on the overall cost. 

So having gone now the sim-only rolling contract route, I got a great deal with a while back which equals to: 200mins, 5000 SMS and Unlimited 4G* for about £13per month. You can't really argue with that and the price has since gone up. The only draw back is I can't tether other devices but I rarely do that to validate an extra £8 a month. 

So being on this contract left me with my old faithful Samsung Galaxy S4. It still works but looks beaten and deserves a rest (or a £100 exchange with recycling firms). 

Enter the OnePlus One. a high(ish) end phone that seems to have been priced as a mid-range phone. The excuse being they don't blow all their money on marketing. I went for the 64GB version as it doesn't have a micro SD slot. This comes in a £269 (not inc shipping). I also got the blue flip case for a little protection. 

Impressions:  It's big! Previously I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and it feels on par with that although not as wide and more comfortable in the hand as the buttons don't feel as low down on the bottom. Compared to the S4 it's huge! Thickness is what you'd expect from this size of phone and slips into pockets easily enough when combined with not being overly wide.

The Screen: It's 1080p, not 4k which is actually probably a good thing in terms of battery. The brightness is good and text looks clear and sharp.

Battery: This is my third day with it so I'm still unsure about this. I have been using the phone a lot while customising it and installing everything back onto it including videos and music. The specs suggest a nice large 3100 mAh battery which should mean a decent stint under normal use.  I haven't messed with any battery saving features so I might not be used to length as I always had my S4 on power saving mode.

The camera: The camera is great and the flash is even better. I haven't tested the 4k video yet but this was another appealing factor about the phone. Also the fact that it uses multiple mic's for better sound recording!

I mentioned in a previous post I got some Samsung Level Over's. These and the Samsung app for them work beautifully.

Only issue I've hit so far is that I used to get cheap plastic bike holders for my Samsung phones. Ironically with this being a Chinese phone I would have thought there would have been a ton of cheap accessories flooding the market. I seem to only be able to find universal bike holders which I'm not overly keen on.

[Edit] - Actually, I don't like how they've integrated SwiftyKey. I changed over to Swype in stead and found that much better.

Anyway, to wrap up. I'm very impressed with this phone. Any questions? Leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

*Fair use policy applies.

Friday, 13 February 2015

7680 x 4320 notebook and tablet screens are coming..(2016)

The Reg has the details. Basically the Display port standard is being updated to 1.4a from 1.3 which only included monitor support for 8k.

Might be worth skipping the whole 4k thang and waiting a year or two for 8k. Graphics cards will no doubt have to play catch up.

New gadget alert! Smasung Level Overs

I gave in and bought  these as the price point had come down far enough for my liking! £164 for a Bluetooth Headset with decent ANC is very nice and is now in the sort of range of Plantronics offering. 

I've only had them a few days and the ANC doesn't seem as crazy good as the Purity Pro's I had previously but it's good enough to drown out Office AC and other consistent background noises. It's not strong enough to drown out people taking though. 

Comfort: These are very nice. I can wear them for a good few hours with no aches or pains where as the really soft Senhheisers HD558's start to feel a bit too much like they are clamped to your head after a long while.

Looks: I thought the black version looked a little too boring while the White/tan colouring in my opinion looks very nice.

Controls: So on the right side there are touch controls. swipe the cup forward / back and the track will skip forward / back (Although I found this didn't work on ). Up / Down will control the volume which works pretty damn well for me.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Premier League rights: Sky Sports & BT win UK broadcasting rights as price tops £5billion

I guess Sky thought they had to 'Go big or go home' at this auction. The share price had dropped about 50p by the end of the day on announcement (903p) and has recovered pretty  well today (933p).

God only knows what these auctions will be like in a few years, The prices paid are insane. Hopefully we won't get to a point where Ofcom has to step in to protect consumers from rising subscription costs,

I can't help but think the Premier League should be forced to feed more money down into the lower leagues as well or justify the amounts raised in some way. I would be nigh on impossible for a startup to enter the market without huge backing from the likes of say; Vodafone or Liberty Global these days.

Hopefully this won't effect Sky's commitment to original programming that they started making more noise about after the Champions league rights went in BT's favor previously. .

Microsoft acquires Sunrise, the best calendar app for iOS and Android

Lets hope this means wider format support on Windows Phone 10 and a better calendar on iOS and Android!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

HTC's cringe worthy vendor is hilarious!

Haven't had a HTC since the Windows Mobile days but the hardware isn't bad and the marketing team is obviously having some fun fighting with the other manufacturers for a place in peoples pockets.

Monday, 2 February 2015

RASPBERRY PI 2 ON SALE NOW AT £26 (More like £30)

Every school kid should be given one, its a great way to teach IT and give kids an understanding of the computer parts and how a computer really works as opposed to just learning Microsoft Office skills in class. This is the main goal of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and also why the price point is so low! 

I've ordered mine and can't wait to get it. I had the original and skipped the B+ model. 

There are so many add-ons and projects that can be done with these. Personally I've used mine for learning a bit of Python, some bit-coin mining and also to set-up my own email server (not for permanent use).

Friday, 30 January 2015

Elder Scrolls Online going (almost) free to play from March 17th

Surprising no one. It couldn't compete with World of Warcraft to maintain a subscription based service.

Guild Wars 2 setting the example that if you provide good regular content and in game transactions, you can still make a profitable game while maintaining a wide potential customer base.

Stream Xbox One games to Windows 10 & tablets this year.

So it looks like Microsoft is going to take another stab at PC gamers with Windows 10 while muddying the waters with being able to stream your Xbox One to windows 10 PC's