Friday, 29 November 2013

Build Your Own Computer From Scratch

If like us, you grew up building all sort of things from Lego through to den’s made of sheets, then you can probably appreciate what a company called Kano has created.

Kano, a Kickstarter team, is a computer kit designed to help people of any age to assemble their own computer from scratch, as well as helping them to learn basic coding skills too. The project was originally launched through Kickstarter with the intention of raising $100,000 in funding, but the project has already managed to destroy this target by securing more than $808,000.

Tools and building skills are very important in a child’s early development, so this is a great chance for them to showcase their intelligence at such a young age. Kano has provided people with a kit which they can build instruction-by-instruction, in order to create a fully functioning, good-looking computer.

The kit itself, consists of two instruction manuals, a custom case, a keyboard, a speaker, an 8GB SD card, a power plug, and HMDI and mini-USB cables. The computing module is powered by Raspberry PI and actually began life as a book just last year.

The build-it-yourself computer kit has been designed to be easy to follow for people of any age and is expected to be available for shipping next year. The kit is moderately inexpensive too, and at just $119, it is a great chance for children to learn some really important skills.

Making the computer doesn’t mean that is the end to the building process though, once you fire it up and start exploring its features you will find that you can build games too. You can make games like Pong and Snake and you can edit the rules too, this is where the newly learnt coding skills might come into play.

Even though buyers are going to have to wait until 2014 until they can get their hands on this kit, you can reserve your kit now. Over 7,200 people have already backed the project, but you can still fund the project all the way until the 19th of December if you’re interested.

Friday, 22 November 2013

What's On Your Christmas Wish List?

As we near the end of November, everyone will start to think of ideas to put at the top of their wish list or what they are going to buy for their nearest and dearest.

But, what will it be?

It is predicted that at the top of most people’s lists this year will be tablets and smartphones, which is great news for us because it means we can talk about it a bit more. It’s hardly surprising that gadgets are the in-thing this year, with so much available and so many impressive features, who wouldn’t want the latest smartphone or tablet.

We have made some predictions of what we think are going to be the top dogs when it comes to technology sales this year. The top 3, in no particular order, include:

  1. Microsoft Surface 2 – Microsoft really have hit the sweet spot this year with their new tablet. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s practical and will undoubtedly be the top of many peoples list. With smooth additions like the new Type 2 keyboard (available in a number of colours) it is turning into a must-have tablet, not just for Christmas, but for every day.
  2. Apple iPad Air – Another tablet, but Apple has created a beautiful piece of kit which offers a compact, lightweight yet powerful return on investment. Apple always do well around this time of year and it’s seems like they have the released the Air at the right time. 
  3. PlayStation 4 – Yeah, we know, it might not be a smartphone or a tablet but it almost written in the stars that Sony dominate the Christmas sales. Their new console is set to hit the shops and with it already being sold out virtually everywhere, it surely has to feature in this list. With games like Call of Duty, which is always a record-breaker around this time, the PS4 is a Christmas must-have too. Although, it will have to fight off competition from the new Xbox which has been released this week. 
  4. Apple iPhone 5S – Although many people might not be inclined to buy this handset outright for Christmas (it is pricey), its sales are still likely to skyrocket. With its recent release, people may still be wishing their pile of presents consists of the 5S, but they will have to wait and see if it is under their Christmas tree. 
  5. Christmas Apps – Admittedly, this isn’t a piece of technology as such, but for those that already have the latest technology before Christmas, you can download all sorts of Christmassy-type apps that can count down the days till the big day, track Santa on his quest around the word and a calendar that you can open every day for a little addictive game or coupon. 

There is still some time yet before Christmas, but it might be worth putting your orders in with Santa pretty sharpish before your wish list is all sold out.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Motorola Plays Catch Up

Motorola used to be at the forefront of mobile technology a few years ago, but recently it has found itself playing catch up.

With Motorola’s release of their new Moto G this week  Vice President of the company, Magnus Ahlqvist, has said that the company is looking to move in an ‘exciting new direction’.

The company has been nearly non-existent over the last 18 months but he has explained that customers can expect that to change. The release of their Moto G might just do that.

The Motorola G is the equivalent to the Nexus 7 but is the size of a smartphone. As we know, Motorola is being backed by Google, so why the phone has been released under the Motorola brand is a mystery, and one that we’re sure will be revealed soon.

It is a clever move by Google at the outset as now they have their toes dipped in laptops, tablets and smartphones, so are appealing to a much larger market. With Motorola lagging behind the scenes of technology for some 18 months or so, should we expect this smartphone to be the next thing to change the market?

Well, with it aiming at the mid-range of users and boasting a low-end price tag, it will definitely get smartphone users listening. The Moto G will be available in two storage sizes – one being 8GB and the other 16GB. The former will cost you around £135 and the larger storage device will cost just £25 more – so they’re very affordable in comparison to the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Although this device is priced as such, it is actually placed in a field of technology that it could quite well outshine the competition. It weighs just 143g, so it is lightweight and well balanced, which is a good start. The rear plate is rubberised too which fits comfortably into the palm of your hand; it’s water repellent too.

It boasts simplicity and efficiency all in the one handset and comes equipped with a 4.5 inch display, which is clear and crisp. The Moto G also comes fitted with the Android 4,3 Jelly Bean, well, until the Android 4.4 KitKat comes out that is. The camera is snappy too which is always a bonus, even if it doesn’t compliment the aesthetics.

Overall, this could be exciting times for Motorola and those looking to get a smartphone on a small budget.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Does the PC have a future?

It is common knowledge that tablets are on the rise and more and more technology giants are opting to produce more cutting edge products, but what does that mean to where it all started; the PC?

PC’s, less commonly known as personal computers, effectively began in 1977 with their clunky design and extremely slow functions.  They didn’t have such luxuries as the internet. Thirty-six years on and although PC’s have definitely improved, so has newer, more convenient technology like the tablet for example.

Tablets have sold like hotcakes and many companies like Apple, Sony and Acer are opting to divert more of their time and budget towards their tablet market rather than their traditional personal computers.  So where does that leave the future of the PC?

Well, many believe that PC’s are getting closer and closer to extinction, but in actual fact that’s not the case. Granted, the cheap and lower end PC models might be on the way out, but the higher end versions still have a lot more to give. In fact, the sales of NVIDIA’s high performance graphics are on the increase, as are the profits from PC game-producer EA. Growth is growth and surely this contradicts claims that this is a device on the decline?

The truth is, the PC is a very mature device and it’s too stubborn to just fade away in the tablets’ wake. Of course, many consumers are choosing to go walkabouts with their new tablets but there are still many people that stand by the PC and for good reason.

Sure, tablets are going to become better and stronger sieving out more and more of the competition but a good quality PC will still pack a stronger punch when it comes to performance for a little while longer yet.  PC’s on the whole might be on a long decline and tablets on a massive high, but that doesn’t mean that the PC is dead and buried.  Well, not for a good few years at least.

We would like to know what you think about the PC and its future, so share your thoughts and comments below. Do you think the future of the PC is in trouble or do you see PC’s fighting back?

Friday, 1 November 2013

Apple Are Producing Air

No, we don’t mean those clever guys at Apple are actually producing oxygen, instead we are talking about their newly released tablet; the iPad Air.

The Apple iPad Air is due to make an appearance on the shelves today in fact, and has been eagerly awaited by many lovers of all things techy. Apple introduced the iPad Air at a special event in San Francisco on October 22 and it is now available for you and me to buy, right now!

The Air is aiming to be the new champion of the large tablet market and it could quite well be the game changer. With its 9.7-inch retina display and lightweight design, it’s definitely one to give people food for thought when it comes to buying the next hottest tablet.

Although this new tablet looks very similar to the iPad mini, its shed much more weight and size in comparison and is even easier to carry around (if that was even possible). This new tablet is much more comfortable to hold than its chunkier siblings and the retina display is real winner. All of these features and the battery life isn’t sacrificed which is always a bonus. Ten hours of continuous usage and it still keeps on top of its tasks too.

The Air might be lightweight but it is definitely heavyweight in performance. Its camera gets an update, it has an improved sound quality, it’s faster, and it’s more responsive, it’s just so much better than anything before it.

The iPad Air has shown it’s a forward thinking device and is more than likely going to fly off the shelves in its first week or so. With a lot of stiff opposition including many from the Samsung range and the recently launched Microsoft Surface 2 (which we reviewed a couple of weeks back) to name a few, the iPad Air will have to prove its worth.

The new iPad Air will just have to sit tight and see how successful it is over the coming weeks in order to see if it will be the new champion of the tablets, all we know is it stands a pretty good chance.