Saturday, 24 August 2013

Google glass update XE8


The google glass developers have just rolled out another update for the glass. Owners of Google Glass can now use new voice commands as well enjoy new Google Now cards.

Two completely new voice commands have been added to the system. First, there's "Post an update" and there's also "Take a note". Developers have stated that the take a note command will work in conjunction with Evernote. As an Evernote fan myself, this sounds like good news.

New commands have also been added to allow users the option of handsfree navigation and the addition of hashtags also. In addition to this, a new video player has been added to the system that requires a tap to start and pause as well as a swipe motion to fastforward or rewind.

These updates that come out each month are in fact quite important and not just the usual minor bug fixes. This is good and also quite necessary if Google wants Glass to be user friendly and accepted into the main stream tech world sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Ten must have Plex Channels

Plex media server

The media server solution called Plex has given consumers a wide variety of choices when it comes to entertainment. Along with streaming your DVD's and photos, Plex also gives us the option of viewing various channels. However, with all these channels available it can be frustrating sometimes to find something really good to watch. So, with this in mind, let's take a look at some of the best that Plex has to offer.

First up is CBS. Yes, this station can be seen per the usual setup, but if you're really serious about a cord cutter setup, then streaming this channel over Plex is quite useful. You could catch up with all your local and international news and programs. Other stations such as ABC and NBC also provide some of the same things so it's really up to you to decide if you want to watch one of these channels or all.

Next on the list is National Geographic. This is of course the quintessential science programming channel. Whether its animals,plants or science related, this station has it all. As with CBS above, you could also get this station through normal channels, but it is nice to set up the plex server to replace the traditional methods.

Let's move on to YouTube. The premier video streaming solution online certainly must be on  everyone's list. An interesting fact here is that the Roku, a set top box that Plex can connect to, does not natively support Youtube. Roku have stated however, that they are considering adding Youtube as part of their channel lineup so we might see this in the future.

Since we've just covered YouTube, let's move on to Devour. This dark sounding channel simply analyzes YouTube to discover the most popular videos on the site right now. Perfect for those who always like to be on top of things with respect to video.

Along with the best video content, you'll want to have great music also. This is where Pitchfork Tv comes in. Yes, another witch trial type name but it does a good job at providing quality music videos for your enjoyment.

Of course, no streaming solution would be complete without a sports channel. This is where ESPN comes into play. The premier sports provider can be streamed via Plex so you won't have any problems catching the big game.

Another channel I find engaging is Ted. It' s always great to tune in and  see society's top thinkers discuss the major issues at hand.

If you're a fan of Restaurant Impossible like I am, then you will definitely want to have this next channel in your lineup. The Food Network channel can also be streamed via Plex. Whether it's Giada,  Bobby or Elton you won't miss a thing with this channel.

For the redditor's among us, Reddit can be viewed through the Plex server also. One of the top technology websites around, Reddit encourages discussion of today's major news stories.

Finally we have Netflix. You can easily stream any movie from your own home by installing this channel to your Plex server. A must for the movie buffs among us.

Ok guys, that's it for this post. Even though I only listed ten stations here, there are thousands more to choose from so you will definitely never be lacking for options when it comes to Plex. If you have a favorite station please let us know in the comment section below.

*Image courtesy Sea Grape

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Otter box Defender Case for IPad


Many people have the problem of their IPad being damaged by inadvetent spills, dust or other mishaps. The cost of then having to fix it can be high. This is where buying a strong protective case can help. One great case I've found is the Otterbox Defender case. Strong and sturdy it really does what it's supposed to, and that's protect your IPad.

The Otterbox case has really been built solidly. It is composed of three layers along with a built in screen protector and kickstand. The three layers consist of a solid inner layer, an interior foam layer and a polycarbonate outer layer. These layers in combination protect your IPad from dust as well as drops.

The screen protector works quite well especially since it is built in because there is no need to stick it on yourself. One disadvantage though, is that this case is quite heavy. This means that traveling with your IPad can become a little tougher with the extra weight and bulk.

Overall, the Otterbox Defender series of IPad cases do in fact serve the intended purpose. Whether it's a toddler trying to see if your IPad can bounce, or an accident of your own making, the Otterbox works. For more info on this product, you can check it out here. Also, feel free to list your experiences with the Otterbox or any other type of IPad case in the comment box below.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Battlefield 4 New Trailer : Frostbite 3 Looks Epic

EA's action shooter game, Battlefield 4 is scheduled to be released on October 29th 2013 in North America. A new trailer has been recently released showing some more footage of the action using the new Frostbite engine. There is one caveat for english speaking game enthusiasts though, the trailer is in French. Be that as it may, do we really need to know what is being said? All we  need to see is the jaw dropping action, which we in fact do. So, check it out below.

Battlefield 4 is a sequel to Battlefield 3 which was released in 2011. In the single player campaign, you control Sgt Daniel Recker and the year is 2020. There is also the multiplayer campaign available in which you can choose to play as the US, China or Russia. For more info and pre order information, check it out here.

Also, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the comment box below.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

LG G2 Overview: Big Screen and Buttons on the Back


LG have officially announced their next flagship device, the LG G2. This was done at a launching event in New York earlier today. Some key points of interest were the use of a Snapdragon 800 processor and the design choice of placing the volume rocker and power button on the back face of the device. Also, it was revealed that the phone will be released in North America in Q3 2013 to the four major carriers with South Korea being the first to receive the new smartphone.

The LG G2 certainly matches up and in certain areas exceeds its competitors when we look at the base specs. Boasting a monster Quad Core Qualcomm 800 Snapdragon processor at a speed of 2.26 GHz this device is certainly no slouch. In fact, these specs alone will ensure that this phone will not have any trouble dealing with apps and other software out on the market now. In addition to this, it comes with a 5.2" full 1080p HD display at 423ppi. Not bad, not bad at all. The material used for the display is the scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3. This phone runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. 

G2 Video Courtesy Phonedog

The G2 comes with a 3000mAh battery, which LG have stated should last about 1.2 days without needing to charge. On this front the G2 definitely outperforms both the S4 and HTC One. The G2 also has 2GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of storage. One noticeable drawback though is that there is no place for  an external micro SD card to increase storage capacity. Another noteworthy point is that LG have placed some emphasis on GRAM in their smartphone design which I personally feel is a smart move as many of us do love to play games on our phones.

Without a doubt, the most interesting feature of this phone is the design. Placing the volume rocker and power button on the back of the phone is a bit of a daring move. LG have stated that this was done because of research that showed it was easier to reach for many people when dealing with large phones. While this may be true, reprogramming oneself to reach for the back of the phone instead of the side might take a while. Another aspect of this phone's design are the very narrow bezels.

In terms of new and innovative features the G2 has a few worth mentioning. Firstly, there's Answer Me which is supposed to automatically answer any call as long as the phone is raised to your ear. I must say, that does seem pretty interesting. Another feature has been termed Guest Mode. Basically, what this does is show certain apps on screen based on whether it's the phone's user or someone else that unlocks the phone.

The G2 comes with a 13MP rear facing camera and a 1.2MP front facing one. It packs a punch in this regard with optical image stabilization and eight times zoom. Added to this there is an LED flash and camera modes such as Beauty mode, Panorama and Burst mode.

Overall, I feel that LG have definitely made a positive statement of intent with the G2. In terms of the specs, it is definitely up there with the best of them and in terms of design they've gone ahead and tried something new. It is just a matter of time now to see whether LG can truly challenge the big boys in the lucrative smartphone market.

So, what do you think? Will you be buying an LG G2 when it comes out later this year?

* Image courtesy Javier Ferreiro

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Garmin Nuvi Portable Vehicle GPS Review(3597LMTHD)

3597 LMTHD

Garmin have released their 2013 range of vehicle navigation products a few months now. Included in this was the Garmin Nuvi 3597 LMTHD, which is their premium vehicle navigation offering. Since there are quite a few GPS navigation products on the market currently, let's take a closer look at this Garmin offering and see if it can stand out from the crowd.

Let's start off with the screen. It comes with a 5 inch capacitive screen with a resolution of 800*480 pixels. This translates into a crisp and clear output that strikes one as very impressive especially if you've owned previous Garmin models. There is one drawback here though and it comes in the form of reflections when viewing the screen. The unit itself is made of aluminium and this gives it a solid feel while still allowing it to be lightweight. The on/off switch is located on the back of the unit instead of at the top in previous models. In addition to this, the windshield mount is magnetic so all you have to do is place the unit near the mount and it just snaps into place. The unit also comes with 8GB of memory and an expandable SD card slot should you require more storage space.

The user interface has also been upgraded by Garmin which gives it a more modern look. The 3597 LMTHD comes with updated maps with future updates free for the life of the product. Many interesting places are preloaded into the device which makes it easier when searching for a well known spot. Of course, some consumers have reported issues such as incorrect or out of date directions, so the map system certainly isn't perfect.

The 3597 also uses a feature Garmin calls Garmin Real Directions. Basically, instead of the usual street names that you get from a navigation system, this unit can reference actual places of interest to guide you along the way. This is actually quite a nice feature and one which I think a lot of people will use. It is important to note that since the landscape around us is constantly changing, the unit might reference something that is no longer there.

This model also responds to your voice. All you have to do is simply say the words Voice Command, and the unit then waits for your instruction. This feature works pretty well but I think some more work needs to go into this system as it doesn't always respond. Along with voice activated response, the unit can give directions by using a generated voice. The voice itself does sound more natural than some others I have heard in the past and it is safer to listen to directions rather than having to read them out.

Let's move on to what Garmin have termed HD Digital Traffic. This is just a fancy name for the traffic estimator software that comes with the device. It receives updated traffic information twice per minute and guides you to find the quickest route to your required destination. This feature also has the voice capabilities detailed above which is a nice touch.

Overall, the Garmin 3597 LMTHD is a great device for those looking to buy a vehicle navigation system. The voice command and real direction systems stand out for me as great features. When you factor in the free lifetime map updates you get a great package. For more info on the Garmin 3597, click here.
Okay guys, that's it for this post. As usual, any questions or comments please feel free to use the comment box below.