Archive for the ‘Home/Office Tech Tools’ Category

The Magic Trackpad effectively brings the features of Apple’s touchscreens to the desktop or MacBook. Having been using the trackpad for a little while now it’s true benefits have become quite clear. Straight of the bat, it’s great to use for regular browsing habits, like websites, email, moving desktop files etc. When it comes to using tools like Word, Pages, Excel, Photoshop and Flash the mouse is still king. But there is no reason why you cannot use the trackpad simultaneously whilst using the mouse, just to balance your cursor movements.

1. RSI. The greatest benefit of the trackpad so far has been able to ease the repetitive strain injury(RSI) factor. My index finger feels like it’s on holiday by being able to use the weight of my hand to create a left or right-click. I can also use the index finger of my left hand for left-clicks, whilst my right hand manoeuvres the mouse, this really makes using the computer relaxing for the hands.

2. Wireless Bluetooth. Another great benefit is the ability to move the track pad around your work area, because the device is wireless. Working at larger distances is fine since the track pad allows users to zoom in and out of screen content.

3. Mouse Movements. Moving the mouse with just your finger can sometimes prove to be more precise. I don’t game on my computer, but it would be interesting to know if your targeting was more precise. The whole reason for the trackpad is the finger movements ; one finger(Mouse Movements), two fingers(Scrolling & Rotating), three fingers(Zooming) or four fingers(Swiping). Swiping is really a genius touch. Using your four fingers you simply swipe across the trackpad, then the programs that you are currently running are shown to you for quick access, like you can see in the image below. Although you can do this already, having the feature with the trackpad just makes it a whole lot easier, especially if your away from your keyboard or desktop.

4. Design. The Magic Trackpad measures in at approximately 5 inches by 5 inches. The door for the batteries (2x AA) is a chrome flat head which runs along the top of the device, whilst the finish of the trackpad has a gray matte look to match. The base of the trackpad houses two buttons which can be set for right and left click, these buttons are also acting as the trackpads rubber stoppers, which is why Apple is Apple. If you happen to own the Apple wireless keyboard, then this device sits seamlessly next to it.

5. Cost. Priced at $69 in the US and £59 in the UK, it’s not absurdly as expensive, but now I cannot imagine life without it, can you put a price on that?

Find out more about the Magic Trackpad at :

USA : http://www.apple.com/magictrackpad/

UK : http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MC380Z/A

When I first heard about the iPhone, I thought cool, this should do the job. But then it came out I just wasn’t feeling it. Even today after 3 generations of iPhone a couple of sore points still stick out, such as, not being able to run more than one application, and not being able to carry a spare battery.

With the release of the iPad tomorrow (Correction : Saturday 3rd April 2010) in the United States to the public and Europe later this April, is this product going to be a white elephant, or is it going to tell other manufacturers what consumers really want? Let me explain further, first with some of the limitations. No USB ports, no on-board camera, no Adobe Flash and a little on the heavy side. So it certainly doesn’t sound like much of a communication tool.

But if you ignore these limitations, and look at the iPad from a simple point of view then maybe a large touch screen that is not as heavy as a laptop may have its uses around the house. So by introducing this new product into our lives, Apple will be the guinea pig for other manufacturers who will be watching very closely as to the feedback from consumers around the world. To the point, is there a need for another device in the house?

For the same money consumers could purchase a net book from a range of manufacturers, which have all the features missing from the iPad, but if you feel like you need a large touch screen then maybe the iPad is for you. Apple will no doubt be introducing improved versions of the iPad over the coming years, like maybe they will add the 3D motion censored camera, but like the first iPhone…I’m just not feeling it yet.

Find out more about the iPad at :

Keynote Speech :

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/specialevent0110/

Release Information :

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/03/05ipad.html

USA Site :

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/family/ipad?mco=OTY2ODA0NQ

Read a review on the iPad, courtesy of Engadget at :

http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/27/apple-ipad-first-hands-on/

Information Gathering was a class I took at university. As a process, this a very important part for researching and creating web applications. However what are the effects of continuous information gathering in one area?

10 years ago, I thought that the refining process of information would happen quite quickly, because information from websites that we tend to use on a daily basis like shopping data etc, is fairly finite.

But the key sites that hold and gather information as the one stop shop for basic necessities of living are still hard to define.

A few however have clearly emerged for example, if you happen to be the best at creating the basic services of your industry and not necessarily the first, you have a good chance of making your position on the Internet number one in your market place. Examples of this would include Search Engine – Google, Online Book Store – Amazon, Online Auction – Ebay, Reference – Wikipedia and Social Networking – Facebook, whilst the rest cover a vast plethora of niche and other fragmented market places.

Maybe the future will be the same, with just a few more defining sites or companies emerging over the next 10 years whilst the rest of the fragmented market place continues to evolve and fragment even further.

Using the same basic principal of continuous information gathering, sites like Quora are aiming to create these types of one stop shops to find information quicker.

Content courtesy of Quora :

About Quora

Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question.

Accumulating Knowledge

People use Quora to document the world around them. Over time, the database of knowledge should grow and grow until almost everything that anyone wants to know is available in the system. When knowledge is put into Quora, it is there forever to be shared with anyone in the future who is interested.

Another question and answer type of site, this one however throws in a twist of Wiki, in that there is a continuous process if information refining going on by its users.

Created by a few ex-Facebook employees last year and now released on an invite only model, maybe Quora will be one of the next big sites of the future.

Find out more about Quora at :

http://www.quora.com/about

This is a post that comes from following fellow Tweeters.

Having only recently re-joined the social networking scene, one of the things that is quite clear is the reliance on social media.

Sure social media is big, and its evolving fast, more and more people are joining every day, but if that is the case, how important is the data stored on these sites to you?

Well for some social media is just another communication medium, like the telephone. When was the last time you backed-up all your telephone calls?

But these are not just like telephone calls because the history of information that these web applications contain leaves a trail that has reusable information. So the Internet is acting like an extended memory bank, because as we get older how can we be expected to remember every bit of data that we posted or came across.

If you consider your online efforts with various sites to be important and you don’t fancy starting again,  then you may need a service like Backupify.

Launched in Nov 2009, they offer a free basic service, and a paid service that allows you to back up data from Facebook, Flickr, Twitter etc.

This is definitely a very good idea.

Find out more about Backupify at : http://www.backupify.com/index.php

Content courtesy of Backupify :

Why should I backup my online data?

The short answer is that your online data is important and Backupify is an easy cost effective way to protect it from loss.

The longer answer is that much of the data you generate today is not stored on your computer. You have data locked up in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, Basecamp, and all the other online services you use. Backupify is not just about backup, it is about controlling your data yourself instead of having it stored in hundreds of services all around the web. Your online data is just as important as the data on your computer. Both should be backed up. You can read more about reasons for backing up your online data in this blog post.

Am I likely to lose my online data?

It is unlikely that an online service will simply lose your data, just as it is unlikely that a hard drive will just delete a file. It does happen occasionally, but your real concerns for cloud services are hackers, viruses, user error and legal issues. Many services can shut off access without warning if they think you violated their terms of service. Many hackers are targeting online accounts because they are easier to access than your computer. On top of that, roughly 1/3 of all data loss is due to simple user error. These are the kinds of risks that Backupify can minimize.

Do you need to access files from other computers in your home wireless network, or perhaps you need to transfer data from one device to another?

Then the Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station could be your calling. Introduced in January and available in the shops now, the device runs on a Linux platform and allows you to stream files to your device of choice, with the backing of the DLNA standards.

A couple of useful features include :

Torrent Download Manager, the Iomega iConnect manages peer-to-peer file transfers without the need of a dedicated PC.

You can also transfer files from one device to another using the on board copy process. Again transferring photos from your camera is a pc free process, using the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), no touch, automatic transfer of photos from digital cameras via the USB port.

My only concern is with USB3 around the corner, is it really worth investing a device with 4 USB2 ports right now?

However, the price in the UK currently is on average £60, which doesn’t break the bank if it solves some of your digital needs. And when people ask you, “Hey, is that your router?”

You can say “No….that’s my data station.”

Find out more about the Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station at :

http://go.iomega.com/en-us/products/network-storage-desktop/wireless-data-station/network-hard-drive-iconnect/?partner=4760#tech_specsItem_tab

If are looking for ways to access files across your network then look at :

https://vyber.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/social-usb-mass-storage/

https://vyber.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/boxee-a-social-open-source-media-center/

Read more about the DNLA at :

http://www.dlna.org/industry/home

Purchase the Iomega iConnect from Expansys at :

http://www.expansys.com/d.aspx?i=196377&partner=froogle

There seems to be a few sites out there using the concept of ‘recommendations by other users’. Here’s one from New York called Hunch.

Hunch says it gives you customized recommendations and gets smarter the more you use it.

One of the current most popular questions was ‘Should I get a TiVo Premiere?’ Funny they mention that, because I just wrote about it a couple of days ago. Hunch then asks you a series of questions, after which, based on your answers, it gives you a decision. I have to say the questions were quite thorough, and could easily be considered as real.

Though I think this has more to do with my question choice. I need to keep giving it harder questions and see how it copes. My next question would be, do I buy a 3D TV or wait for TiVo? I can’t afford everything Hunch.

Find out more about Hunch at : http://hunch.com/


3D Blue Ray Gaming Laptops

Posted: March 1, 2010 in 3D TV, Lap Tops
Tags: ,

With the recent success of the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, 3D is here to stay, for now anyhow.

Blu Ray now being the winner of the Blu Ray vs HD war, users will be looking to find a 3D laptop to play their 3D Blu Ray movies.  The ASUS G51J 3D Notebook Computer is one of the first to the market place. It is not the cheapest, but it currently offers a reasonable specification for its current price of around £1500 for early adopters. Gamers also can’t be too disappointed with the higher refresh rates offered by this machine.

Basic Specification :

Screen : 15.6″ – ASUS 3D, Color-Shine, 1366×768, HD.

Processor : Intel® Core™ i7 Quad Core – 720QM, 1.60 GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 6MB Cache.

RAM : 4GB – DDR3 1066MHZ.

On Board Storage : Hard Drive 1000GB – 2 x 500GB HDD.

Graphics : NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 260M with 1GB DDR Dedicated Memory

Weight : 3-4 Kg – This Model 3.2 Kg.

Charge Time : 2.5 Hours

Check out the complete specification at : https://www.simplyasus.com/ASUS_G51J-IX098V_699270.html

Find out more about Asus G51J at NVIDIA : http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/product_asus_g51j_uk.html

The Pogoplug has been around now for a couple of years, after being introduced to the world at the CES Las Vegas 2008. It combines the features of a USB mass storage device with access to a supporting website.  So you can back your files automatically as usual but here’s the interesting part. You can access files remotely via the web or invite friends and share files with them, without them even having to join.

Pogoplug supports PCs, Macs &  Linux, but also allows mobile phone access via a website. Allowing users to access their files via a phone application and being able to share files with friends on Facebook, MySpace & Twitter makes the Pogoplug an very interesting solution, please check the latest from the site to see if your phone is currently supported.

The colour is my only real gripe about this product, but that can easily be fixed.

For some FAQs take a look at : http://www.pogoplugged.com/page/faq

Content below courtesy of www.pogoplugged.com

What Is Pogoplug?

The Pogoplug

The Pogoplug connects your USB drive to the Internet so you can easily share and access your files from anywhere.

The Pogoplug is the perfect accessory to your connected life.

Imagine accessing all your files and media at home from any laptop or desktop computer, anywhere in the world, or sharing this content with friends and family without having to upload. There’s even an iPhone application so you can always “phone home” to get your files!

If you are interested in looking at other ways to access files across your home network then you might want to take a look at :

https://vyber.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/got-a-network-files-and-drives-on-the-increase-have-you-considered-a-data-station/

https://vyber.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/boxee-a-social-open-source-media-center/


Article courtesy of Belinda Goldsmith, Reuters UK :

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Cyber attacks on Facebook pages set up to pay tribute to two murdered Australian children has prompted calls for the social networking site to be more accountable for its users.

Social media experts say it is natural that people who use sites such as Facebook or MySpace as a major form of communication should turn to these sites with personal tragedies. Read more…


One of my favourite articles from Wired Magazine November 2008.

Secret Geek A-Team Hacks Back, Defends Worldwide Web

But who was he kidding? He was just some guy. The problem had been coded into Internet architecture in 1983. It was 2008. Somebody must have fixed it by now. He typed a quick series of commands and pressed enter. When he tried to access the Fortune 500 company’s Web site, he was redirected to an address he himself had specified.

“Oh shit,” he mumbled. “I just broke the Internet.”

Read the full article courtesy of Wired UK at :

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-12/ff_kaminsky?currentPage=all


Recently I organised 20GB of digital photos taken from the last 12 years, took a few days.

I need to start on the negatives.

With useful devices like this USB Negative Film Scanner, the process of backing up those priceless negatives with a digital version sounds good for those of us they don’t own a scanner with the negative add on feature.

Here’s an example from Gadgets.co.uk :

New model of Scanner now available. Windows Vista and Mac compatible, will also scan 110 negatives as well as 35mm negatives and slides.

Back in the dark ages, before the advent of digital cameras, there was the whole big hassle of loading film into camera, only having a limited number of photos per film, and no way to see if what you were taking photo’s of was being captured in glorious colour, or just a big blurry blob, thank goodness we don’t have to put up with that anymore! Read more…

Having been giving away free GPS software for Nokia Handset users, Nokia introduce the Booklet 3G, see below for some of the key specifications.

-CPU and chipset
Intel® Atom™ Z530, 1.6 GHz
Intel® Poulsbo US15W

-Display and keyboard
10.1″, 1280 x 720 pixel display
Glass window
Frame keyboard

-Battery
56.8 Wh

-I/O ports and slots
HDMI 1.2 out for HD video
3 x USB 2.0
3.5 mm headphone out (OMTP: with OMTP headsets also functions as audio in)
DC-in
SD card reader
SIM / USIM slot

-Body
Aircraft-grade aluminum slim body with super chassis construction
Dimensions: 264 x 185 (with hinge) x 19.9 mm
Weight: 1250 g

-Memory and hard drive
RAM: 1 GB DDR2
Hard drive: 120 GB

-Wireless
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Built-in 3G modem (data calls only): WCDMA 900/2100 or 800-850/900/2100

-Audio and video
1.3 megapixel FF camera
HDMI port for HD video out
Built-in stereo speakers, and microphone
Analog audio output / headphone out (with OMTP headsets also functions as audio-in)

-GPS
Integrated GPS and A-GPS
Ovi Maps application

Find out more about the Nokia Booklet 3G at : http://europe.nokia.com/find-products/mini-laptops/nokia-booklet-3g

Mac Users only.

VideoDrive is attempting to make the importing of video into iTunes files easier by eliminating the need for a converter.

Find out more and view screnshots at : http://videodrive.en.softonic.com/mac

Source Nick Mead, Softonic.

Windows 7’s European browser ballot screen

“Microsoft is putting the finishing touches to the famed “browser choice screen” that the European Commission forced it to include as part of its antitrust investigation settlement, and today we get to see it for the first time.”

Read a review courtesy of Engagdet :

http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/19/windows-7s-european-browser-ballot-screen-revealed-rolling-out/

Sony VAIO Z Series

Posted: February 20, 2010 in Lap Tops
Tags:

Sony VAIO Z Series (VPCZ114GX/S) review by Engadget, Feb 11th 2010.

“To say that this duo is fast is an understatement: it opened a 10MB PDF in under 2 seconds and a slower-to-open program like GIMP in 5 seconds.”

Well I certainly wouldn’t say no.

Read a review courtesy of Engagdet at : http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/11/sony-vaio-z-series-vpcz114gx-s-review