Monday, 31 December 2012

6 Highlights of 2012

6) James Bond Skyfall
Finally, in the 2nd half of 2012, the latest Bond film, Skyfall, was released staring Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench. The film was definitely the best Bond film made in the last decade and it had some amazing moments. The storyline was easy enough to understand which is unusual because some of the more recent 007 films have been extremely confusing. In conclusion, this was probably the best film of 2012.
Read my original article here: James Bond Skyfall

5) Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant 
This was a day of celebration all around the Commonwealth. Hundreds of street parties took place up and down the country with the main celebration on the Thames in London where the Queen and other members of the royal family were floating down the famous river with hundreds of other boats. The days weather was unfortunately depressing however this did not dampen the spirits of the thousands of Brits who lined the banks of the Thames to see the tremendous parade.

4) Royal Baby Announcement
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, announced recently that she was pregnant. The announcement came premature as the press only found out when she was admitted to hospital with severe morning sickness. This event was overshadowed though by the suicide of a nurse working at the hospital after an Australian radio station made a prank call to the hospital impersonating the queen and asking how the Kate Middleton was recovering.

From previous article:
The duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is pregnant. This information was not officially released from the Buckingham Palace however journalists realised it when she was admitted to a central London hospital with severe morning sickness.
Although this is amazing news that she is giving birth to a future hare of the throne, there has been a lot of bad news this week about it as well. Midweek an Australian radio show made a prank call to the hospital which Kate was staying at pretending to be the queen. They asked about her condition and how she was coping in the hospital. Only a few days after the prank call, the nurse who took the call unfortunately killed herself. 

3) Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert
In my opinion this was one of the best nights of TV in the last decade. Organised and ran by Gary Barlow, this night stared some of the best comedians and singers ever. The Royal Mall was filled with the general public and members of the Royal family who had turned out on the warm June evening to watch singers such as Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole and even Sir Paul McCartney! One of the highlights of the night was Madness singing on the roof of Buckingham Palace.
Read my original article here: Queen's Diamond Jubilee

2) Olympic Opening Ceremony
It doesn't matter if you like sport or not, the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was something amazing. Instead of doing the obvious thing and looking at the future of London, the opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle looked into the past of London and how it developed during the industrial era. The ceremony also looked at music, movies and media of the past. It was an amazing opener to an outstanding games.
Read my original article here: Olympic Opening Ceremony 

1) Olympic Super Saturday
Saturday 4th August 2012 was an amazing day for everyone in the Great Britain with Team GB walking away with 6 Gold medals! Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah were the athletes which dominated the front pages of the press the next day making the atmosphere around Great Britain overwhelming.
Read my original article here: Super Saturday

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Saturday 29th December: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 29th December 2012 and...

Christmas TV
BBC 1's soap, EastEnders topped the ratings charts for Christmas Day with an average of 9.4 million people tuning in to see the Christmas special. The ratings across the board are down from last year and TV bosses claim this is because of the rise of popularity in catch up services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand Five.

Google Tracking Santa
This year Google launched a modern Santa Tracking website to give NORAD some competition. (NORAD is a US Government company which tracks Santa every Christmas eve.) Google's new website works well on both PC's and Tablets and you can follow Father Christmas yourself next year at:

The Apple iWatch which may launch in 2013
Apple iWatch Rumours
When Apple made the decision earlier this year to make the iPod Nano's screen bigger and rectangular, this surprised many tech enthusiasts and consumers as almost everybody thought that the iPod Nano was going to evolve into a watch which you can download apps on. Anyway, recently rumours have emerged that Apple might be making a new 'iWatch'.
A market for Smart Watches has not been established yet however products which will be launching soon like the Pebble watch have proved popular amongst people who have read about it.
We know literally nothing about this new Apple product and we won't find out if it actually happening until at least March in 2013.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas TV ratings 2012

The ratings are out and it looks like soaps dominated most people's televisions over Christmas Day. EastEnders came in first with an average of 9.4 million viewers watching their Christmas episode. The BBC 1 soap led the ratings chart followed by ITV 1's Christmas episode of Coronation Street. That had an average of 8.6 million ratings.

Although these ratings look quite high and make the programs look successful they are actually down by quite a lot compared to last year. EastEnders alone had over half a million less viewers than its Christmas special of 2011. Doctor Who got 7.6 million viewers which is over 1.3 million less than last year.

Controller of BBC One, Danny Cohen, said "It's been brilliant to see so many viewers watching BBC One on Christmas Day."

Despite the ratings being considerably lower than last year on all channels most stations are just blaming it on the rise of people using catch-up services like BBC player, ITV player, 4oD and Demand 5. This means that people can catch up on their favourite shows after Christmas day when they don't have the stress of their mother in law around for dinner or children crying because they didn't get what they wanted off Santa.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Apps fighting for your photos: Part 4 - Pointless Pinterest

Pinterest is a website and app which started as an exclusive photo sharing website where you needed to request for a login. It was only recently when it became open for everyone to use.

The unusual thing about Pinterest was that even when it was an exclusive website, it still had thousands of people requesting to join up. I guess that it is probably because of it's modern user interface and friendly community.

The reason you would upload a picture to the app is extremely confusing, you don't add filters or effects you simply upload it to a board and then other people re-pin it. It does take some time to get your head around the board idea. I suppose that they are basically just like albums so you upload your pictures to different boards so you can categorise them or find them easier.

I honestly wouldn't recommend Pinterest, I only joined it because everyone else was using it and now I've signed up, I don't actually use it that much. It is easier using Flickr or Instagram.

Wyvern TV #8

The Christmas edition of the Wyvern TV

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Saturday 22nd December: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 22nd December 2012 and...

Bradley Wiggins wins Sports Personality of the Year!
Tour de France winner, Olympic Games opener and Gold Medal Winning Cyclist Bradley Wiggins won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award earlier this week. He was presented with the prestigious award by Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. This year there were 12 nominees as there was so much outstanding sport achievement this year. He beat the likes of Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray and Mo Farah for the title and he describes it as possibly his greatest triumph!

The World hasn't ended!
After people from around the world stressing and worrying about the end of the world, it didn't actually end! So Mayans, members of the Illuminati and superstitious people are all now hiding their heads in embarrassment.

Download your Tweets
Twitter is now letting you download your Tweets and download them in a 'zip.' file and then view them in an online archive. At the beginning of this week the feature was exclusive to a small number of users however now the social networking company is rolling the feature out to everyone. Although it might take quite a bit more time for the option to 'Download my tweets' to appear at the bottom of your settings it will be there eventually so you can waste your precious time reading random things which you wrote many years ago.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Things to look out for in 2013

The much anticipated Blackberry 10 is finally coming in 2013
Blackberry 10
Despite not having a strong year in 2012, technology giants RIM, are planning to bounce back with the launch of Blackberry 10. Blackberry 10 will work for both touch-screen and type devices which is good because type devices are what Blackberry are known for and people were scared that they were going to jump on the band wagon of touch-screens. 
Blackberry 10 is going to have an awesome built in messenger app which will combine text, Blackberry messenger, Facebook messenger and more! Which is ideal for people who love to chat.
Apps which you can download are displayed in a big tile a bit like Windows Phone however these tiles are bigger and can therefore fit more information on.

Microsoft UK and Windows Blue
Microsoft is to open UK stores in early 2013. They currently have over 50 stores open in America however not a single one in the United Kingdom at the moment! If they do start to open stores in England it will be a masive boost to the company as they will be widening the market and be making it easier for British people to buy Microsoft or Windows 8 products.
Windows Blue is apparently a smaller version of Windows 8 made for 7" touch-screen devices. So is Microsoft planning to make an iPad Mini and Kindle Fire like device. If so when will they announce it?

Google Glass
After loads of build up, Google Glass will finally be officially announced and released in 2013. Imagine looking at the road and seeing directions on it of where you need to go, or imagien being abel to take a picture of what your eyes are looking at by simply saying 'take photo'. Google Glass does this. The era of cyborgs will start here.

More information on Google Glass: Google Glass and other Augmented Reality Glasses

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Apps fighting for your photos: Part 3 - Failing Flickr app

Flickr is one of the oldest photo sharing websites and for many years now both the website and the iOS app have been extremely outdated. However on December 13th they released a new iOS app in hope that they will be able to keep up with other photo sharing services like Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and more.

When you click on the app it takes you to a new and modern login page where you now have the option to sign in with Facebook (however you can still use your old username or Google account).

This is where my experience ended though because for some reason it doesn't let me log in with my Google account and it comes up with an error message when I click to sign up with Facebook.

So after waiting for an App update which took a few weeks I finally got chance to test the iOS App.
When I try to sign up with Facebook on the Flickr App

The first thing I noticed was an Instagram like feature where you can double tap a photo to favourite it. There feature stolen from Instagram is the number of options of the bottom, the location of the upload button (in the middle at the bottom) and you navigate through the app exactly the same as you would in Instagram.

The only thing which is mildly unique is the fact that they push professional pictures at you straight away in the main page of the app, which is annoying.

Another problem is that the update only applies to the app; the website is still rubbish and it looks like it has been dragged straight from the 1990's! They will probably wait for Instagram to make a good website and then copy of that!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Apps fighting for your photos: Part 2 - Instagram

Instagram is a photo editing then sharing app which made photo filters popular. The app originally started 2012 on Apple's iOS platform where it seemed to be an instant success. What made it unique was that unlike other photo sharing sites like Flickr, it wasn't used by professional photographers as much however more by teenagers who want to jazz up their party photos from the night before.

The sharing options on Instagram are some of the best to because as soon as you have customised your picture, you can post it directly to Tumblr, Fickr, Twitter, Facebook or another social networking site.

They have recently updated the app so you can now rotate your pictures! They have also added a new filter and the interface is slightly different.

Instagram bought by Facebook during September and since then things have went downhill for the company in my opinion. They have fallen out with Twitter since Twitter started its own photo sharing service and I can't imagine the user interface getting much slicker and quicker as it will probably end up like the Facebook app (extremely slow).

Instagram does have some cool stuff about it to through. A company funded by made a 3rd party device which connects to your home WiFi and it looks like a digital photo frame. You can set it through a certain hash-tag or through your user profile.
The example the company used was a party where everyone is taking pictures of each other and uploading them to Instagram with the hash-tag of #EllensParty. The Insta-Cube (what the company product is called) then shows those pictures with a hash-tag of #EllensParty on the screen.

Overall, Instagram is probably the most intuitive photo editing and sharing app. And although it is currently only available on the Apple App Store and the Android Google Play store let's hope it will soon be coming to Blackberry 10, Windows Phone 8 and also have a website where you can edit and upload pictures.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Google Apps

In the last week Google has been busy updating and releasing new iOS apps. Google has recently became really good at designing apps and the user interface of them is becoming a lot better.

First is maps, after Apple dropped Google maps from iOS 6 in September and replaced it with Apple Maps. Apple Maps was a huge failure with complaints about the service coming from all around the world. However earlier this week Google released Google Maps for iPod Touch and iPhone. The new app is extremely simple to use and navigating around the maps is really simple. The only section where the app starts to run slow is when you go into the options by sliding to the left. This app is also lacking Google Street View however it does include directions.

Google has also released a new Gmail app which is awesome. The app is extremely quick to use and it is effective because all of your options are where you expect them to be. For instance, the reply and forward buttons are at the bottom of emails so you only decide what you want to do once you have read the email.

The final app which has been updated is the on for Google+. It has taken some features from the Google+ iPad app and some brand new features. The loading bar is the cool, colourful one from the iPad and the fold at the bottom of the splash screen is used a lot by other Google products however everything else in the app seems brand new and original. A brand new Google+ feature which has been added is something called 'Communities' where you can post into a group of people who share your interests. Communities you can join include a cooking community, technology community or motoring community.

This is all well and good however Google has also announced that they are dropping active sync so you will not be able to sync your mail, calender and other services.

Google has also announced that they will not be making any more Windows 8 apps. As soon as Windows 8 was launched, things were looking optimistic for the Google and Windows 8 relationship as they made a Google search app. This was called 'Get your Google back' and the app is one of the best Windows 8 apps available. It has the voice search feature and gives you direct links to all the Google services like Google Drive, Google Calender and Blogger.
Anyway, Google has made loads of apps for the iOS app store and it is going to be massive shame if they stop making them for the Windows 8 store. In some cases, that fact alone might stop people from investing in Windows 8 as the app store is half empty anyway.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Saturday 15th December: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 15th December 2012 and...

Wii Useless
It has recently been discovered that there is a massive bug in the new Nintendo Wii U games console  This bug stops you from playing scary game from 11PM-3AM even if parental controls are turned of. No matter where you go in the settings or what options you change, the console simply doesn't let you play games like Zombie U between these 2 times.

American Shootings
There has been more shootings in America, this time at Newton's Sand Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
18 children between the ages of 5-10 years old were killed along with six adults.
The gunman has been unofficially named as 20 year old student, Adam Lanza who started by killing his mother and then going to the local primary school to shoot at both children and teachers in 2 classrooms before taking his own life.
President Obama made a personal speech below where he said he was considering brining in a new gun law so it makes it harder for things like this to happen.

James Arthur wins the X-Factor
Despite being in the bottom 2 on week 7 of the live shows of the ITV1 talent show, North East lad, James Arthur has won the x factor and a recording contract!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Blackberry 10 is going to be big!

It seems like ages ago now when we first heard about Blackberry 10 and since RIM had an unsuccessful year in 2012, the company is relying on it to be a success in 2013.

First, it has 1 messenger app which integrates Facebook Chat, Blackberry Messenger, text message and more. This is ideal for people who message loads however don't like switching between loads of apps. This app is called Blackberry Hub and it also combines your email accounts. This looks quite confusing and hard to use, even getting to it is a gesture so it is really not that simple. 

For all note takers out there, take note because rumours have been circulating recently that Blackberry 10 will be integrated strongly with 'Evernote'. This means that you will be able to save snippets of text or photo from the web and save it straight into your Evernote account. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Apps fighting for your photos: Part 1 - Twitter photo updates

It was only a few days ago when Instagram integration on Twitter ceased to exist. Now Twitter has upgraded their app so you can edit photos and add filters then post them directly!
This new update lets you crop, enhance and add cool filters to your photos. There are 8 filters that you can apply to your photo which vary from turning it to black and white, to making all the colours look darker.

This is one of the biggest changes in the company since it was set up all those years ago.

These new features have been enabled by the power of a professional  photo editing website called Aviary which I did an article about earlier this year.
The article was about Aviary launching a new app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone users. I'm assuming that the company has partnered with Twitter because their own app wasn't as successful as they would have hoped. There are hundreds of photo editing apps and all of them claim to bring something new to the market which makes the market for photography apps extremely competitive.

In summary, Twitter will advantage from this update because more people are lightly to start using the service and downloading the app, Aviary is benefiting from this because they have got a partnership with Twitter which should go well allowing them to grow their company however for Instagram, lets just hope they have a big update coming soon so it will be able to match the competition.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Olympic legacy: is it all it's cracked up to be?

One of the main thing which the London 2012 Olympic games promised was a lasting legacy for England. But 4 months on, is that what it has left?
Well, builders, plumbers, electricians and people with other manual jobs may not have been qualified before the Olympics however when building the stadium and venues the Olympic organisers made sure that new, young people were getting trained up in different profession.
This means, 4 months after the Olympics those people might have set up their own business or started working for a company.

The Olympic opening ceremony was one of the most amazing shows of the last decade however now that the Olympics is over, nobody is sure what they should do with all the props used so the storage areas around the Olympic stadium are getting described as an "Olympic graveyard".
West Ham Football Club have been confirmed as the people who will be talking over the stadium in the next 5 years making it their home ground; luckily the stadium will still be used for athletics championships after that and other various events.

I found out recently that the massive servers, computers and electrical equipment that was used during the games has been auctioned off for educational purposes in Britain. I think this is good so it doesn't mean that a greedy corporation doesn't get to have it.

Monday, 10 December 2012

New Tube

YouTube updated it's website recently and the verdict isn't good.
On the main homepage instead of showing your subscriptions with recommended videos down the side, they are all in one stream. This is extremely annoying because now I need to click a separate button to see the content I'm interested in.
The old YouTube was quite colourful as it used black, red and white to define and enhance columns and words. This new YouTube is a lot more black and white which was probably to make the site look 'cleaner' however in truth it is just more confusing.
One thing which is also bugging me about it is how the whole page is slightly to the left of the screen instead of in the middle. For some reason, the owners of YouTube, Google, obviously think it is good to have a big white margin on the right hand side of your screen.

I'll admit there are some good points in this new YouTube such as that if you are looking for a specific video and you click on a video but discover it is not the one you are looking for, your other search results are displayed on the left side of the page so you can just select one of them.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Microsoft Office for iOS and Android

Microsoft planning to make Office 2013 for iOS and Android
Rumours from a number of sources are suggesting that Microsoft are lightly to release Microsoft Office for iOS during March 2013 and for Android soon after that.

This would be good for the average consumer however extremely bad in the long run for Microsoft. Having Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote on my iPad would be amazing. It would save me time from logging onto my PC just to do some simple typing.
Companies would see the advantage to this to because if all their iPad's are under the same Apple account it will mean that after purchasing the expensive program once they can download it another hundred/thousand times for free without a special license.
This is where Microsoft is going to loose out. Why will people buy a Microsoft Surface or a touch-screen Windows 8 tablet when they can get an iPad which does exactly the same but better; and now with Microsoft Office!
In the short run - Microsoft will sell millions of Office 2013 apps on iOS and Android and they will make quite a big profit. However when the end of 2013 comes they will not be making as much as they could be because people will have no reason to buy a PC.

If you want to try a touch version of Office 2013 you can go to, make a new document and click to edit online. This is Office 2013 and it works on iPad, iPhone and Android devices. Be warned though that it is a bit clunky and slow.

The old and outdated Hotmail calender
Whilst I'm on the topic of Microsoft I might as well bring up Hotmail/Outlook because it is bugging me that Microsoft have updated Skydrive, Outlook and Contacts (People) to the new touch optimised website however the Hotmail calender is still the old one. It has been like this for 2 months now and it is bugging me that it is not the same design as the other 3 services.
So please Microsoft, if you are reading this, please update the Hotmail calender to outlook.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Saturday 8th December: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 8th December 2012 and...

Kate Middleton is pregnant!
The duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is pregnant. This information was not officially released from the Buckingham Palace however journalists realised it when she was admitted to a central London hospital with severe morning sickness.
Although this is amazing news that she is giving birth to a future hare of the throne, there has been a lot of bad news this week about it as well. Midweek an Australian radio show made a prank call to the hospital which Kate was staying at pretending to be the queen. They asked about her condition and how she was coping in the hospital. Only a few days after the prank call, the nurse who took the call unfortunately killed herself.

Australian Prime minster: "The world will end"
For another Australian radio station, the Australian Prime minster, Julia Gillard, made a hoax video message to the country saying that the Mayan prediction was true and that the world was going to end in 2012. She said it might be because of a 'Zombie Apocalypse' however she simply doesn't know.
With a sense of humour like that, no wonder Australia officially has the happiest people of the world living there. Let's just hope it was a joke though.

New YouTube
The YouTube website where you can see a wide verity of videos has changed it's layout. Unfortunately this has not went down well as the company behind YouTube, Google, is pushing too hard for people to subscribe to new channels. The new YouTube is harder to use and more complicated. So they are taking one step back in a way. The old interface was clean and simple however still gave you the potential to do amazing things and tweak options without getting confused.
This website revamp comes days after the YouTube app was updated so it now works on iPad. The apps are still really easy to use and work well.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Artificial or Real?

It's that time of year again when farmers around the world harvest their finest soft wood fir, white pine and spruce trees so they can fore-fill their destiny of becoming a Christmas tree before getting put into the trash or chipper.

Christmas Trees first became popular in England in 1841 and it was Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert who brought the first Christmas tree to England from Germany  He put in in Windsor Castle where a picture was taken of the Royal family was taken with the tree. The picture was publish in newspapers where everyone in society could see it.

During these times Christmas Trees were decorated with candles to remind Children of the stars in the sky. In 1880 Woolworths started selling the first manufactured Christmas decorations for the tree.

Each year around 35 million living Christmas Trees are sold around the world which isn't a surprise since so many people are Christians.

Anyway, I have recently had the debate about what type of Christmas Tree is better: artificial or real?

Well, there are positives on both sides. If you get a real Christmas Tree it means that you get something unique and something which will have the festive Christmas Tree smell. However with a real tree you get the inconvenience of hoovering all the dead leaves off the floor every other day and you also need to cut the bottom of the Christmas Tree off so you can stand it in the pot.
Hundreds of Christmas Trees being grown for the holiday season

With an artificial Christmas Tree, you can buy the perfect size, colour and shape which is ideal for somebody who has a small room where the Christmas tree will stay. But there is the massive hassle of putting the right branches into the right place when putting the tree together. Often it is just coloured stickers telling you where to insert them which means after a few years, all the stickers have fallen off and your tree just looks a mess!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

2013 Tesla Model S

Electric cars are known for being slow and inconvenient. Not only do they usually look funny, they also don't run for long until they need charging again.

This car company founded in 2003 in California, USA is the leading motor firm in electric cars. From 2008 they were famous for making the Tesla Roadster which was an extremely quick sports car. The main problem with this car was it's reliability; if you are paying £90,000 for a car you don't want it to break easily.
Tesla Roadster
Battery life211 (miles)
Engine Position
3.9 seconds
Wheel driveBack

However now they have made a new car. This car does 0-60 in 5.6 seconds and it can go for over 300 miles without needing to be charged up again. This car is not a sports car, instead Tesla has decided to make a sports-saloon which you could imagine high-profile business men driving. This car is the 2013 Tesla Model S!

Apart from looking beautiful this car is also quite practical according to Tesla. They say that in the UK they have over 1000 charging points and in London you will never be more than 500 meters away from one. This means that if you are running low on battery you can do a quick charge and then be on your way.
Tesla Model S 2013
Battery life300+ hours
0-60mph5.6 seconds

iTunes 11

iTunes 11 is one of the best things which has happened to iTunes since it got set up all those years ago. It is a lot easier to use as there are less small buttons and confusing menus and the interface is a lot cleaner and it looks better.

Running on Windows, iTunes 11 runs quicker and doesn't take as long to load which is good because in the past it took quite a while to load up.

When playing music on your PC or Mac you just click the 'music' button on the left hand side then select the artist you want, then the track. To watch TV programs, films or view apps you can easily select them to to watch them on your computer.

Unfortunately, when trying to access the iTunes store from PC it is still unbelievably slow and when I tried it didn't actually load at all!

Trying to sync with your iPad, iPhone or iPod is also hard to as you need to do something. I honestly don't know what because the iPod Touch I bought last year is refusing to connect with it at all. Despite Googling this problem I couldn't find an answer.

In conclusion, for me iTunes 11 is perfect for playing music on my PC however the fact that it doesn't sync with my iPod makes it useless!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Saturday 1st December: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 1st December 2012 and...

Sebastian Vettel wins Formula One 2012 World Championship
For most of this year Vettel has been in tough competition with Alonso from Ferrari however when he needed to pull his finger out in Brazil, he did what he needed to do. Although on the first lap Vettel got pushed into a spin and then rejoined in 24th he amazingly made up the positions and did enough to win the World Championship.
There is controversy though about an illegal overtake he might have made when the yellow flag was waving. Earlier this week Ferrari pointed it out and said that he should have the title taken off him.

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro
Yesterday, the price for the Microsoft Surface running Windows 8 Pro was announced. It is going to cost $899 and the release date is January 2013. The main difference between the RT model and the Pro is the ability to use a special pen to write on the screen with the Pro to make notes around websites and stuff like that. You get 64GB of storage standard with the Surface Pro however the battery life is only around 4 hours which is a bit pathetic.

Gangnam Style becomes most watched video on YouTube
The utterly weird video which came out of Korea during Summer is now the most watched video on YouTube beating 'Charlie bit my Finger', Adele singing at the Brit awards and Justin Bieber. Music critics are still unsure of if this will be the first of a number of successful songs or just another 'one hit wonder'.

Read this next week for more of the most important stories....

Friday, 30 November 2012

5 bits of tech I couldn't live without

It is fair to say that I use technology quite a lot and I write lots of reviews and posts about it so here are 5 bits of tech I couldn't live without...

Alarm Clock
I use an alarm clock almost every day and as long as you have a nice tune to wake you up they are awesome. I don't have an expensive one, or one that monitors my sleeping as I don't need that because it would just be something else to waste my time. My alarm clock wakes me up, then I can turn it off for another 24 hours until I need it again. Simples.

People Hub on Windows Phone
I have a HTC Radar running Windows Phone 7.5 and I have had that phone for over 6 months now, one of the things I love about it is 'People Hub' which combines my Twitter and Facebook feed into 1 easy to read stream. From that stream I can 'like', retweet, reply or comment on any posts I might see. 'People Hub' also saves my Facebook and Twitter contacts into my phone book so I can connect them. This means that with a click of a button I can see my best-friends latest post no matter what social network it is on.

For both uploading and watching videos, YouTube is a pretty awesome tool. I love uploading video's and being able to easily see the response they get. I also enjoy watching the video's of those I am subscribed to. YouTube is really easy to use so even young children can use it and the verity it has is unbelievable. I can go from watching a Korean man dance to watching children bite each-others fingers within seconds.

I love making and editing short movies and video's and iMovie is the best way to do it. You just import what you need then it's as simple as drag and drop to create beautiful  almost Oscar winning films. Unfortunately it is exclusive to Apple devices however it is definitely worth splashing out and getting a Mac if you are an avid film maker.

I love taking pictures and Instagram is my favourite way to share them. I love photography and I like it to be pure without desperately pushing your photo's too much, that's why I don't hashtag any of my photos. But feel free to follow me @papermail7 
Instagram is also amazing for the wide verity of filters it offers to make your photos look better and unique.

So there you go; 5 bits of tech I couldn't live without.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Wyvern Episode 6

The October Edition of the Wyvern TV starring Matthew and I.

(Also for future Episodes please can you answer the question on the right hand side of this asking what sort of Christmas Tree you have or will be getting.)

Thank-you :)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Google Glass has competition!

Google confirmed a few months ago that they will be making an Augmented Reality pair of glasses and since then they have found competition.
First of all these glasses mean that when you look at someone, it will use facial recognition to match them with their social networking accounts.
During July there were rumours that Apple had applied for the rights to make some glasses with nano-technology inside of them. We also found out recently that Microsoft have officially received the rights to make a pair of electronic glasses.

A woman wearing a pair of the new Google Glasses
Google Glass
The Google Glass is a project which Google has been working on for quite a while now as they don't want to mess  it up and come up with a failing product. At the moment we know that they have a touch-pad on the right hand side where you can slide you fingers and do gestures.
The Google Glasses also have the amazing ability to take photos and videos of whatever you're looking at. Google+ and Google+ Hangouts are also supported so you can video chat with people and they can see whatever you are looking at.

The Possibilities are endless
As long as the glasses are connected to the Internet you could potentially set up an app store and I have some brilliant ideas for Augmented Reality apps...

A calculator: Simply write down a sum or equation and then look at it with your glasses and the answer appears in the glass. The camera on the glasses recognises numbers and symbols to work this out.

A word search finder: Once again as long as the camera recognises letters, you could program it to match the letters with words in the dictionary so the glasses draws an Augmented Reality line down the words you may be looking for.

The Date
Unfortunately Google have not released a date when the glasses will be finished and it will take Microsoft at least another couple of years to develop their pair.
I'm personally looking forward to their release because I can't wait for the day when I can actually believe that I have technology like Iron-Man!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Rocky Road recipe

Rocky Road must be one of the nicest things I have ever made, I was first introduced to the delicious desert 2 years ago in a cooking competition and since then I have only made it a few times as it should only be a treat!
The divine chocolatey dish is fairy simple to make and it doesn't need much ingredients  Most of the stuff is what you would have laying around in your kitchen anyway.

125g/4½oz soft unsalted butter
300g/10½oz best-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbsp golden syrup
200g/7¼oz rich tea biscuits
100g/3½oz mini marshmallows
2 tsp icing sugar, to dust

Preparation method

  1. Heat the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Remove from the heat, scoop out about 125ml/4½fl oz of the melted mixture and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Place the biscuits into a plastic freezer bag and crush them with a rolling pin until some have turned to crumbs but there are still pieces of biscuit remaining.
  3. Fold the biscuit pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan, then add the marshmallows.
  4. Tip the mixture into a 24cm/9in square baking tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
  5. Pour over the reserved 125ml/4½fl oz of the melted chocolate mixture and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
  6. Refrigerate for about two hours or overnight.
  7. To serve, cut into 24 fingers and dust with icing sugar.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

F1 Brazilian Grand Prix

Over the weekend of the 24th and 25th November 2012 it was the last Grand Prix of the season at Brazil. Qualifying was extremely close with Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Massa, Webber and Alonso all making it through to the top 10. After some ferocious battling and some super quick times, Lewis Hamilton managed to take Pole position doing the track in the time of 1:12.458. He was followed by his team mate Jenson Button and, RedBull driver, Mark Webber. Alonso and Vettel are the only 2 drivers in the running for winning this season and they start in 4th (Vettel) and 6th (Alonso). For Michael Schumacher's last race ever in F1 (we've heard that before), he started in 14th position.

Out of all the drivers this season, Lewis Hamilton has been the only driver to make it through to Q3 in every race this season! This is also Hamilton's 26th pole position ever and his 7th this season.

1 hour before the race - drivers getting a season photograph
Despite forecasts saying it would rain, at 2PM local time in Brazil the skies were clear for the beginning of the race.
All the drivers got off to a good start however within the first lap Vettel had contact with Bruno Senna which made Vettel spin around. He spent the next few laps coming last however on lap 2 Vettel did set the fastest lap with a 1:21.316.
On lap 5 Lewis Hamilton was still leading the race and although Alonso had got up to 3rd, he made a slight mistake on the first corner and went off the track. He rejoined in 4th.
Only 2 laps later on lap 7, Webber got pushed into a spin by Kobayashi and Perez crashed into the tires at the side.
Jenson Button took the lead of Lewis Hamilton during the 8th lap and also during this time Vettel raced fiercely and made his way up to 6th despite coming last less than 10 laps ago!
It was around the 10th lap when all the cars started to take their first pit stop. The weather was damp so all the cars were changing tires to suit the track conditions. Button was one of the only drivers not to pit as he claims that it wasn't raining.
One of the Formula 1 cars heading into the pits at a wet track in Brazil
On lap 23 lots of the drivers were complaining about debris on the track so one lap later on lap 24 a safety car was called out so marshalls had a chance to clear it all up.
When the safety car came back into the pits at the end of lap 29 the racing started again immediately. At this time Hulkenberg was leading the race followed by the 2 Mclaren drivers. Webber dropped down to 14th place after some slight contact on the first corner after the safety car went back in.
For the next 15 laps Hamilton kept setting a new fastest lap, drivers kept making slight mistakes causing slipping and Hulkenberg lead the race. At lap 44 Alonso was coming 4th and Vettle was in 7th (which means if the race finished at this point, Vettel would be the Championship winner).
On lap 48 Hamilton took over Hulkenberg for 1st and he maintained that place for 7 laps until lap 55 when unfortunately there was contact resulting in Hamilton retiring from the race. Hulkenberg attempted to take his position back however he slipped and ending up spinning and taking Hamilton off. This is disappointing because all McLaren fans were hoping for Hamilton to leave the team on a high note however thanks to this incident this didn't happen. This incident also meant that Alonso moved up to 3rd position meaning that if the race finished at this lap Alonso would win the World Championship (because Vettel was running in 10th).
With 11 laps to go Vettel made up places even though there was heavy rain. When he needed to take over Schumacher for 6th place, Schumacher just pulled over to let him past. This shows that after so many decades being an F1 driver he has finally became old, passive and weak.
After one final fight over the last few laps, Jenson Button won the Brazilian Grand Prix followed by Alonso, Massa, Webber and Hulkenberg. However...

Sebastian Vettel has won the 2012
Formula 1 World Championship!

Sebastian Vettel celebrating his outstanding vicotry of the 2012 World Championship
Talk about saving the best until last. There was 5 retirements, 3 different drivers leading the race however 1 winner who was Jenson Button who had his 3rd win of the season. That victory was overshadowed by Sebastian Vettel though because of his amazing achievement.

Race Result
Button, Alonso, Massa, Webber, Hulkenberg, Vettel, Schumacher, Vergne, Kobayashi, Raikkonen  Petrov, Pic, Ricciardo, Kovalainen, Rosberg, Glock, De La Rosa, Karthikeyan, Di Resta, Hamilton, Grosjean, Maldonado, Senna and then Perez.

Final Championship Result
Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Button, Webber, Massa, Grosjean, Rosberg, Perez, Hulkenberg, Kobayashi, Schumacher, Di Resta, Maldonado, Senna, Vergne, Riccardo, (other 7 drivers didn't get a single point)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Saturday 24th November: In the News this Week

This is going to be a weekly post which covers some of the most interesting, funny and weird stories from the last week, the best bit is, they are all in one post. You don't need to be confused when you read the news every week, just get the ultimate summary every Saturday here.

So, it's the week of Saturday 24th November 2012 and this is...

Nintendo Wii U
The Nintendo Wii U was launched earlier this week and despite giving it a bad rating in my review, it's actually started to grow on me. Some of the games have been rated quite good and the app store for the Wii U is growing steadily; now there are official YouTube and Netfilx apps.
The Nintendo Wii U comes with a touch-screen 'GamePad' so you can use 2 screen to play your game. It also can connect to the Internet so you can play with friends.
Read my review here: Nintendo Wii U

Prime minister of England, David Cameron, complains about EU budget
The EU is in the news at the moment because David Cameron is claiming that the budget for the EU in the next 7 years is unrealistic. Mr Cameron says that the EU needs to ajust to the 'Real World'. However, despite this he seems willing to negotiate with them. If a deal can't be made England might even leave the EU!

Black Friday
It was the American Black Friday where people could buy discounted computers, smartphones, clothes and, well, basically everything. There were as you expect, Riots where people tried looting and breaking in however luckily most of them were caught and stopped.

Read this next week for the most important stories...

Friday, 23 November 2012

3 things which should be added to the secondary school curriculum

Teenagers all over the world get worked up for pointless exams which are split up into to many pieces of coursework and controlled assessments however how much is this going to help them in later life?
Answer: Not much.
Instead of using their time to learn valuable skills and having fun they are sat doing stressful revision for a school they are under a lot of pressure to do well for.

In my opinion, there are 3 things which should be added to the secondary school curriculum. The first one is not something which students can be graded on at the end of the year. It is interview techniques. When teens leave secondary school they have had no/little experience getting interviewed for things like jobs, colleges and universities, so one hour a week being taught about what an interviewer is looking for would do student a world of good in my opinion.

The second thing which should be added is something which pupils would be tested on. It is Computer Science (stuff like programming). The end of year tests wouldn't have to be hard however as long as the future generation are learning the basics of how to write HTML and how apps worked would be a huge advantage for the app and website industry as it is one of the biggest growing industries at the moment.

The 3rd thing which should be added is joke writing and telling. It has been scientifically proved that the more you laugh the longer you will live. It also makes people happy and puts them in a positive spirit. This class wouldn't need to last long and it wouldn't need to have much structure but I can speak for all teens around the world when saying that pupils love to enjoy school. It takes the pain of revision and the pressure of exams.

So if you are reading this Mr Gove, please feel free to use some of my ideas.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The consumers opinion of Windows 8

"It's confusing"
Was the first comment I got off a friend whom had just purchased a new Samsung Windows 8's laptop. The next comment was: "It looks like Windows Phone", which is also true.
Unlike me, this person has not done any research on Windows 8 and how it works, like most of civilisation, she had went out to a computer shop and bought a laptop for a good price which looks good for both specification and physical looks.

Microsoft could make hundreds of videos, articles and adverts explaining how Windows 8 works however the average person wouldn't watch them. As the average person is always busy. The average person loved Windows XP, Vista and 7 because they are ridiculously easy to use (even easier than Macs).

Having loads of gestures might have been a fatal floor by Windows. I tried to explain the multi-finger gestures on touch pads to my friend over message and they simply couldn't do it.

Unfortunately, Windows 8 has became like Mac's in the sense that they are excellent for doing the easy and simple stuff however when you move to the more advanced tasks (in Windows 8's case this means going to the option menu) everything suddenly becomes really hard and complicated to do.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Wyvern: 3 years in the making

Unfortunately we are currently unsure about the actual date when the current school newspaper was set up. What we think is that we were first told to set a newspaper up on the 19th November 2009 yet the first word didn't go into the publication until the 20th November 2009.

The first 2 editions of the newspaper were quite messy in the way the stories were put together so the quality wasn't the best however pupils were interested and they read it. The newspaper was called “Read All About It!!” at this time and the number of journalist writing for it was growing steadily.

During the first quarter of 2010 I remember having a meeting and everyone deciding that the newspaper should change it’s name to the ‘Branksome Bugle’. Although the name changed and the quality improved we still used the same style of publication so we could maximise the number of articles published and not waste paper.

3 teachers which have helped the Branksome Bugle loads were Mrs Surtees (who was the librarian), Mr Coyne (who was the deputy head teacher) and Mr Haylock (who is a science teacher). All 3 of these teachers supported the school newspaper from the start and although 2 of them are not working at DSMS any more their guidance and assistance was very much appreciated.

One of the biggest things the newspaper has done since it was first set-up is supporting the British Lung Foundation on trying to get smoking banned in cars if there is a passenger under the age of 18. We first met the British Lung Foundation at the Darlington Memorial Hospital in the summer of 2010 when they were first launching the campaign. They got a full page article in the Branksome Bugle explaining to people what it was and what the damages of smoking were.
At the beginning of March the following year we got invited down to London for a day by the BLF as they wanted some children to hand their petition of 15,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street. So after a tour around the Houses of Parliament we went to the gates of Downing Street where the selected 5 pupils went down to number 10 to knock on the Prime Ministers door.

When Branksome Science College got a new headteacher the school changed its name to ‘Darlington School of Mathematics and Science’, DSMS for short. To make sure that the past was left behind teachers thought it might be a wise idea to change the name of the school newspaper. ‘The Wyvern’ is what we changed it to. A Wyvern is a dragon like mythical creature which was the old School logo back when the School was just called ‘Branksome’.

2012 has been an amazing year for the Wyvern because during March they took on their biggest challenge yet by starting a School TV Show using a new TV Studio at DSMS. Since then the Wyvern team has made 6 episodes and interviewed someone every episode. The Wyvern TV comes out monthly and it covers both school, local, regional and national news. The team is always open for advice and ideas. Watch the Wyvern TV here: click me!

The Wyvern experienced most success ever this year when 4 members of the Wyvern editing team went down to London for 2 days to receive a Shine Award. The 4 members made up of Liam (editor), Katie (journalist), Rebecca (head journalist) and Sam (head of sport). They stayed in central London with the London eye on their doorstep. The event took place at Stationers Hall near St. Paul's Cathedral and the outstanding team walked away with the award for the ‘Most Outstanding Pupil’.

In the future I hope that the number of journalists writing and reporting for the Wyvern increases as most of the current writers are in Year 10/11 and will therefore be leaving soon. In the time that the current team does spend at DSMS, I hope we meet and interview lots more people for the Wyvern TV, I hope the Wyvern newspaper maintains its current high quality and I hope we win another Shine Award at London.

So that concludes my post for you about the Wyvern, thank you for reading and supporting. See you next edition :)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Nintendo Wii U

6 years since the launch of the first Nintendo Wii, Nintendo has released a number of Nintendo DS's since then however no new Wii, until now.

The new Nintendo Wii U comes with a console which is slightly bigger than the previous one (however this doesn't matter as you can just hide it under your TV) and it also comes with a GamePad.

The GamePad is an impractical touch screen controller for your Wii U which can be used in a number of ways. For example, when playing the new 'Super Mario Brothers U' you use the GamePad for everything from controlling your character to watching him move around. Which makes the TV pointless as it just mirrors what is on the GamePad screen.

One thing which made the original Wii so unique and special was how easy it was to use and how in almost every game it wanted you to move around and be active. With this new GamePad controller you just sit in one place and don't move. The original Wii controller idea was so good that XBOX and PlayStation both copied it and put a feature similar to it on their own devices (XBOX Kinect and PlayStation Move) 

Unfortunately, Nintendo has also priced this console way to high at over £200 for the 8GB model.

If anyone has ever wondered what the perfect recipe for disaster was, well this is it.

If I was in-charge of making the new Wii U, I would have released it 3 years after the last one, not half a decade later when people have moved on from Nintendo and started buying other things. I would have kept the original Wii Controller however it would have been the console it's self which I would have changed.
I would have made it a lot easier to connect to the internet and I would have added an app/game store so people can purchase cool and gimmicky stuff. I would have also made it easier to connect over the internet to play games with your friends.

Nintendo has done none of the things I would have done so I'm sad to say that this new console is going to be a massive flop and nobody is going to buy it. The games console market is too competitive to make mistakes and by the time Nintendo has realised this and made a replacement console it will be too late.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

This picture has the highest resolution ever!

This picture (left) is the single image which has the highest resolution ever!

Well, that is not completely true, the image on your left is zoomed in on the actual image which is an amazing 15.9 gigapixels (one gigapixel is equivalent to 1000 megapixels).

The photo of Machu Picchu was uploaded to picture sharing website 'GigaPan' which specialises in big images.

The image its self is actually made up of 1920 separate pictures taken with a robotic mount on a Canon 7D with a 400mm lens. Those photos have been stitched together and the end product was amazing!

The photographer, Jeff Cremer says “In 2008, the World Monuments Fund placed Machu Picchu on its Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world due to environmental degradation mostly from tourism. So, I believed that this extraordinary site deserved a remarkable photo to hopefully raise awareness and help in its preservation.”

To see the full image look here: The Telegraph 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Kickstarter UK

The number of businesses getting set up with funding from is rising every day and with the recent launch of Kickstarter in the UK it is an ideal time for small businesses and companies to start making money. lets small businesses and people with ideas pitch their product on the website, state how much they would like to make and then people can invest as much as they like into the product in return for a free prototype or a t-shirt or a pen or whatever the company decides.

Monday, 12 November 2012

High-flying Angry Birds Star Wars

The makers of Angry Birds, Rovio have taken an unexpected and partnered with the makers of Star Wars to produce... Angry Birds Star Wars.

This must be by far one of the best Angry Birds games to date if not the best as it combines loads of the old Angry Birds. It has the gravity element from Angry Birds space and it has completely different maps like the normal version. For anyone who has just got a smartphone and who are not sure which one of the many Angry Birds they would like to buy, I would highly recommend this one!
Even if you haven't seen any of the Star Wars films it isn't hard to work out what is going on in the games as the aim is simple; pigs are bad, throw your different coloured birds at the pigs to kill them.

One of the best things about all Angry Birds is the compatibility it has as Angry Birds Star Wars is on iPad, iPhone, Windows 8, Windows Phone and Android yet unfortunately not Blackberry (but I'd like to see you launch a bird with a keypad).

3 highlights was launched in April of 2009 yet it was only this year when it has became extremely popular. It is a crowd funding website which means that start-up businesses and small companies can use the site to pitch their product and service and if people like it they can invest money.
All 10 of the most popular kickstarter projects have been this year and they have been everything from fun games to outstanding technology.
Here are the top 3 of my favourite projects which have came from this unique website.

Pebble Watch
I first did a post about this back in August and since then not much as happened as it is still under construction. It is a record breaker as it set out to make $100,000 however it hit that target within 28 hours so by the deadline it had made over $1,200,000!
Basically, the Pebble Watch is like a normal watch from the aspect that it tells the time and the fact you wear around your wrist. However unlike a normal watch it has an e-paper display and it connects via Bluetooth with your iPhone or Android Phone. Once you have downloaded the Pebble app, your smartphone sends notifications such as new text messages and Twitter mentions to the watch!
Only downside is that they are currently only building it for Android and iPhone so Windows Phone and Blackberry users are going to have to wait or find an alternative. 

Memoto Lifelogging Camera
I first wrote about this in a post about Nano Technology as it uses extremely small sensors, processors and other parts to take a photo every 30 seconds and upload it onto the web so you can access the photo's from an app on your mobile phone. The photos can be organised by the time they were taken or the location as the Memoto has a GPS built in.
It takes 5MP wide-angle shots from it's water proof case. It isn't overly complicated to use either. For it to start taking photo's you literally clip it on and to get it to stop taking photos, you just put it in your pocket.
The company is originally from Sweden however they are hoping to make their product available world wide. They first set out to make $50,000 however that figure has been multiplied by 10 now and they have over 2000 backers. With 2 weeks still to go before the project finishes its time on the company has a new goal to make over $700,000 which they say is feasible and if they do that, then they will get the opportunity to add some awesome new features to the device.

Bright Eyes Kit
This Kickstarter project was launched on the 2nd November 2012 and the company behind it, 'Technology Will Save Us', was trying to raise £17,500. Their goal was to release a pair of glasses with 174 programmable LED's on them so people could look cool and learn code at the same time.
There are 3 ways you can program the glasses, a super easy way, an easy way and a hard way. The super easy way is extremely simple as you don't need to use any code, you just click buttons and save it on to a portable SD card. The easy way includes a fair bit of code on an open source piece of software however the results are better and the hard way is extremely difficult however extremely rewarding as you could program your glasses to have your Twitter mentions coming up, or they could tell you what the weather is like, or which way is north or anything you program the LED's to do. The possibilities are endless!
I personally think these are a really cool however I don't know how keen I am to carry a box around with me and have wire going from my back to my trouser pocket (however this is necessary for the batteries and the mini computer) links:
Pebble Watch
Memoto Lifelogging Camera
Bright Eyes Kit

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Living 'offline'

If you don't eat meat you are called a vegetarian, so what if you don't use the Internet? There isn't official name however but you may as well call it being 'offline'.

Paul Miller, who is one of the founders and head writers at the Verge is 'offline'. Despite being extremely high up in one of the most popular technology news websites, he somehow manages the features section without using the web. This means he doesn't have Twitter, Facebook, a blog or any other social network. This also means he can't check the news online or Google any facts. He says it made him more smarter as he has read loads of books in the last six months.
All the articles he writes he does on paper for someone else to type up.

I know I'm sort of building this up to be some amazing thing however you're probably thinking that there are hundreds of villages and small tribes around the world which don't use the Internet. Yes, there are, however it is extremely unusual to do in the western world, especially in cities like New York where the Verge is made from.

Positives from being 'offline' are:

  • You save money as you don't need to pay a month bill for broadband.
  • You become smarter as you read books or do something productive in your spare time.
  • It is more safe as people won't be able to find as much information about you on the web.
  • You avoid cyber bullying and online abuse.
I said earlier that there are hundreds of small villages and tribes around the world not using the web, well actually there are more than you think connected to the Internet. In some remote areas of the world, some isolated tribes actually use the Internet to contact a doctor or a specialist to help ill members of their community.

Other villages use the Internet to track wild animals so if something like a herd of elephants start heading towards their village they can be prepared and prevent them from coming too close.

In conclusion, I think that when I'm in a position where I have a job that I can do without the need of the web, I will completely give up the Internet for a certain amount of time. Maybe you should try giving it up for Lent next year to see how you cope.