Friday, 31 August 2012

Apple Vs Samsung... The never-ending case

Battles between Samsung and Apple have been going on for over a year now.

I'm not going to now give a balanced article about the differences and similarities between Apple and Samsung however I'm going to be blunt and tell you, in my opinion Samsung copies Apple. After the first iPhone was launched the next Samsung phone was similar.

Not only do the phones look the same from the outside, the way the phone works on the inside is practically the same and you can't blame that on Android. Although Android had the guts to copy off Apple to, at least they made some noticeable differences.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Scones Recipe

Whether you like them with Jam, butter or cream, sconnes are easy, quick to make and taste great. Here is how to make them:


  • 225g/8oz self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 55g/2oz butter
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar
  • 150ml/5fl oz milk
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter.
  3. Stir in the sugar and then the milk to get a soft dough.
  4. Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Pat out to a round 2cm/¾in thick. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to stamp out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up.
  5. Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg. 
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden.
  7. Cool on a wire rack and serve with butter and good jam and maybe some clotted cream.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


E-books, in my opinion, simply aren't very good. You can get books cheep on them however the screens aren't very good and most of them don't work in the dark.
You might need an e-book though. They are sleek, so you don't need to carry a thick book around with you and they can hold hundreds of books, so you can carry a whole library around in your pocket.
E-books can be made a lot better quite easily and below I explain what I would do if I was to launch an e-book company.

1) No plastic border - The whole front is a screen, just like a real book. It senses where your fingers are and it wraps the text to make sure that your fingers aren't obstructing the book.
2) The whole back is a screen too, however the back displays the cover of the book so people don't need to ask you what you're reading (just like what would happen with a real book)
3) It smells of the book - The smell of paper from a book is a wonderful smell and by rubbing the screen it sends out a small burst of the tree smell.
4) It has 2 screens, one for the left page of your book and one for the right page of your book.
5) To turn the page you flick your finger along the right hand page.
6) To turn it on and off you close the book for over 2 minuets or open the book for 2 minuets, then when you open the book, it only takes a few seconds to turn on and then it resumes in the same place of the book where you were. If you close the book for less than 2 minuets it just puts the e-book to sleep.
Below is a diagram (still haven't decided the scale yet)

If you like my idea or think I should add anything feel free to tweet to me.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


First of all, you are probably wondering what it is... Well, is a website which once you've logged in with Twitter or Facebook, allows you to ask and answer questions as well as find out useful information. Look at it this way, if 'Wikipedia' and 'Ask Jeeves' had a baby, it would be Quora.
Quora was founded in 2009 and made available to the public in 2010. Since then they have also launched an iPhone app.
When you first log in it gives you options of subjects to follow (so when a good question comes up regarding that subject it comes into your main feed) and then it gives you sub-subjects as well. So if you decide to follow Journalism, it then gives you the option of what type of Journalism you would like to follow whether it is Internet or Print ect, ect.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, that is where the good user interface ends as your main feed where all the questions and answers come in to, is overly complicated and cluttered with too much information.
The app is, at best, moderate too.
In conclusion, it's a brilliant idea and it's a great way to learn new information and facts however unless the website design changes so it is easier to see important stuff, I won't be returning to Quora in the near future.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Non-fiction, unneeded and unwanted

In the long trek which is primary school English, pupils are taught about different types of books. Fiction and nonfiction. However in mad modern times in which we live in, there is simply no need for non-fiction books.

With non-fiction books you have page of page of information. Some of it is relevant but some isn't.
However if you find a magical non-fiction book called the Internet, it has all the information you could ever wish for, and it's free! Disadvantages are that you don't know if all the information is genuine (as anyone could have wrote it).

Children are taught how to use the Internet from an early age. And they get marked on their internet searching skills sometime during their school life so using by the time they need to revise at college and university, using the internet is 2nd nature to them (although by that age there is a lot of distractions for them on the web too).

People have tried to meet in the middle with this problem and that came in the form of e-books like the Amazon Kindle. These are still not a solution because e-books are only good for fiction.

I think, unfortunately, I am drawing to the conclusion that non-fiction books are disappearing and there is nothing we can do about it because the internet is too good. If this happens, the next generation will never get the pleasure of picking up a completely random non-fiction book and learning something completely new.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ultimate Camera Phones

With so many smartphone users obsessed with apps like Pintrest and Instagram wouldn't it be good if you could take high quality photos on your mobile phone instead of taking them on the moderately good phone cameras. Most of the more expensive smartphones such as the iPhone 4S have an 8MP camera which I suppose is okay, however for the same price you can get phones with over 40MP or phones with 10x Optical Zoom!
Recently the Nikon Coolpix s800c (left) was released, it runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and it has a massive camera stuck onto the back of it. It has a 3.5-inch touch screen and is wifi enabled. When it comes out it is going to cost around £230.
The camera is 16MP and has 10x optical zoom.

This is closer to a camera than it is to a mobile phone however if you want a really good camera closer to a mobile phone then you might need to consider the Nokia Pureview 808 which has been out for a while now but hasn't been received as well as the Coolpix has.

The Nokia Pureview 808 (left), has a 41MP camera, a good microphone and records full HD videos. It has a 4-inch screen but unfortunately runs Nokia's operating system... Symbian. Unfortuantely this makes the phone a bit old fashioned. And for around £430, you must really, really, really, really, really like high quality or you would be idiotic to part with your cash.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Bing Bounces Back

Bing has finally confirmed what it will look like on Windows 8 (left). When you search for something, instead of the results coming up in a vertical list, everything is in its own box. Not just websites come up in the results, images can also display on the same page to. All this though is very similar to Google, only with a different look to make it unique.
Although, one thing it does nicely, thanks to Windows 8, is to snap your screen (not literally). This means you can have Bing search results on one side of your screen and then the web page on the other side (so if it's not the page you are after, you don't even need to click back, Bing is still there so you can select another web page).
Bing has also announced a number of Windows 8 apps it is going to be releasing. They include: Bing Travel, Bing Weather, Bing Maps, Bing News and Bing Finance. The point they are trying to get across is: Google, eat your heart out!!
Most of the Bing apps function in a similar way. When you launch the app, you are taken directly to a main picture. (On the news app this will be a picture from a breaking news story, on the travel app it is a featured destination, ect, ect.)
When you scroll across right it takes you to the stuff you really want to see. In the Bing News app it shows you all the main stories in different categories such as Entertainment and Politics. All of the stories are taken from reliable news sources such as the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

More Microsoft Changes

As tech geeks around the world wait for September for the launch of the new iPhone, they may be missing all of the changes coming from Microsoft recently. In the build up to Windows 8, almost everything about the company is changing.
Microsoft now has a new logo, 3 of the 4 squares represent Microsoft services and products (I don't know what the 4th square is for). The red one is the same colour as the logo for Office 2013 which was launched a few weeks ago. It has a brand new design compared to previous versions of Microsoft Office and it is compatible with both touch and non-touch devices.
The light blue is the same colour for Windows 8 which is coming out on October 26th.
Finally the Green is for x-box. The games console which was the most sold games-console last month.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Why you would ever need a Chromebook...

Google Chrome is officially the most used Internet browser, taking over Internet Explorer earlier this year. It is quick, easy to use and has apps for iPad and iPhone so you can sync your tabs and favourites.
However if you want the full Google Chrome experience for a debate-ably reasonable price, you can spend £279 on a Chromebook.
The Chromebook is a thin laptop, or if you want to add your own monitor you can get the Chromebox (they both do exactly the same thing).
You turn it on and in a matter of seconds you are straight to the main page which is Google Chrome. That is it, it doesn't have a disk drive so if you want any sort of software, you need to download it from the Chrome store.
The Chrome store is surprisingly good though with games like angry birds to useful tools like an automatic Google Mail checker. Some of the apps have even had over 10 million downloads.
Microsoft Office is not needed because you have Google Drive (previously Google Docs) where you can make documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and much, much more. What makes Google Drive unique is that you can work on the same document as someone else at the same time. Google Drive is also really simple to use.
The Chromebook also comes with more of Google's best services available as apps like Google Maps, Google Translate, G-mail and Google+.
This is all very good however all of those features are available for Google Chrome on any computer. You don't need a Chromebook to get to the Chrome Web Store. You just need to download Google Chrome on your Windows PC or Mac.
If you have a Windows PC or Mac it means that you can be disconnected from the Internet, your operating system still works perfectly fine. A Chromebook though, is built around the Internet so when you are offline it only gives you assess to some of its apps and features.
Also, if you have a PC or Mac, you can have Microsoft Office or any other software which is on a disk.
Unfortunately, Chromebook's have a compatibility issue with USB sticks because most off the stuff you save onto them isn't supported on Chromebook's.
The more you look into Chromebook's, the less they seem appealing, the only exceedingly good thing about Chromebook's is that they can never get a computer virus but apart from that, any other computer is better. You will be paying more for a Windows PC or a Mac however you will get a lot more for your money.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Aviary is a photo editing website which has recently released an iPhone, Android and Windows Phone app. The website is not part of a small new business, in-fact it has been around for a while now. However this doesn't mean that it isn't modern. The website has been revamped recently and it's dropped some of its old services to focus more on photo editing.
The old Aviary website which gave you the opportunity to edit audio and make music is being dropped from September 2012 so if you want access to those features, I'd go there quick.

Aviary on the web offers great tools for both beguines and experts in the photo editing field however since the new update the the website, you now need to sign up to use the tools.

The app though allows you to add stickers to your photo, crop, change the orientation and enhance your photo. You can also add effects, by clicking on this it gives you ways to change your picture, (this looks extremely similar to the effects on Intagram though).
Avairy gives you a lot more options than Instagram. It even gives you the choice to purchase more if you want. It has no photo sharing features like what Instagram does however it makes up for that in it's ability to change the sharpness of a photo or even get rid of red-eye.

In conclusion, I'm quite upset that Aviary has decided to stop so many of it's services however by making apps which are compatible with most mobile platforms, this will make it more popular for budding photographers.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Microsoft Updates

As I predicted a few weeks ago when was launched, Skydrive has now also been revamped as well. It has the same Modern* scheme as Outlook and People and it has been cleaned up so it is easier to use features. The new Skydrive now makes it a lot easier to download, share or embed your pictures and files however when editing files online it still uses the old web app.
Also, if you have any computers running the Skydrive software, it is now integrated in so you can assess any of your files for free online. (In my opinion a feature which we have needed for a long time, so thank you Microsoft)

*I say Modern because since Microsoft found some copyright issues with using the word 'Metro' the word has been banned from any Windows 8 app. The people who apparently own the rights live in Germany.

Finally, Dell and Samsung have confirmed that they will be joining Lenovo and Acer in making Windows 8 devices. They haven't specified if they will make PC's or Tablets however it is good to see that people wanting a Windows 8 device will have more choice than just the Microsoft Surface that is due to be released on October 26th.

Friday, 10 August 2012


Kickstarting websites are websites that start-up companies can use to raise money for their product.
It is like an online version of 'Dragons Den'. You pitch your product, maybe upload a prototype photo, state how much you want to raise and the time you want to raise it in. Then, if people like your idea, they can donate as much as they like in return for a free model or something like that (whatever you think if right).

One of the most successful ideas that came from was the Pebble Watch which you can connect to your iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth 4.0.
It sends notifications, text messages and other useful information from your smartphone to the watch. It can also be used to send information back to your phone (like if you want to change the track or if you want to use your phones GPS for a tracking app on the smart watch).

The Pebble Watch has an e-paper screen and the battery life that can last around 7 days. Unfortunately, the watch does not currently work with Blackberry or Windows Phone however hopefully that will be coming soon.

The Pebble Watch is going to cost around £100.

What makes the pebble watch so special is that it made $1,000,000 in 28 hours when it's goal was only $100,000. By the end of the 5 week deadline it had 68,929 backers and had raised $10,266,846. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Windows 8 Tablets

If you like the idea of having a metro styled computer with integrated social networks and Microsoft Office however dislike the Microsoft Surface, there are more options.

The Microsoft Surface was the biggest Windows 8 tablet PC to be announced. Made my Micrsoft, it was announced a few months ago and got mixed reactions. Some people reckon it is going to be amazing and it has some really practical features however other people are saying that it is trying too hard to beat the iPad.
The Microsoft Surface has a It has a HD screen, USB ports and it will run Windows 8 RT or Windows 8 Pro depending on how many features you want and how much you want to pay. It has a unique stand with a camera on which comes out of the back and a magnetic keyboard which also can be used as a screen cover.
If you don't fancy the Microsoft Surface, don't worry, there are alternatives from other manufactures who have discreetly jumped on the Windows 8 ship.

Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2
One of theses is a company called 'Lenovo' and they have made the new 'Thinkpad Tablet 2' (not the best name for a computer). Inside, the tablet has an Intel Atom Chip (which is very good) and it is only 0.39 of an inch thick. It weighs 1.3 pounds and it has a 10.1-inch screen.
This tablet is ideal for business people because it is light weight and only runs Windows 8 Pro so you only get the absolute best out off your apps.
Despite the dodgy name, the Thinkpad Tablet 2 has some good specs, it has 2 mini HDMI and USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card slot and stereo speakers. If you want, it can have 3G/4G connectivity, an NFC (near-field communication) chip and a keyboard dock.
The biggest gimmic is a fingerprint reader. It is quite random as I can't immediately think of anything that a fingerprint reader is useful for.
Acer Aspire S7 13.3

The well trusted brand Acer, has made a whole range of Windows 8 products including an ultra-book range, desktop range and a tablet range. The Aspire S7 ultra-book range has a 13.3-inch model and a 11.6-inch model. Both ultra-book are the thinnest and smallest ultra-books on the market although they both have HD.
The first tablet from Acer is called the Iconia W510, it also has a 10.1-inch touchscreen and promises up to 18 hours of battery life.
It's big brother the Iconia W700 has a 11.6-inch display and full HD. It is also built into a cradle so you can adjust the viewing angle.
Finally, the all-in-one desktop range is called the Aspire U Series. The Aspire 7600U has a massive 27-inch touch screen and a display that can be rotated 90 degrees. There is a smaller version with a 23-inch display. Both systems support full-HD and Dolby Surround Sound technology.

One thing unknown about all of these Windows 8 PC's is the price. That is the most important factor with all of the Windows 8 computers. If the price is too much more than the iPad, then it is a pretty much guaranty that nobody will buy it.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Outstanding Online Outlook

The amazing new Microsoft Outlook was released a few days ago to replace hotmail and live.

For the past couple of years it has been embarrassing owning a hotmail account as the mail website was outdated and slow. The old website was confusing to work as it had too many hyper-links and unnecessary options however in the new outlook this has been solved.
The factor which probably sparked the transformation of hotmail is new Windows tablet computers coming out soon. This brings a need for websites to have big text and easy-to-use hyper-links (so people with clumsy fingers don't click them by accident. Like what would have happened with the old hotmail).

To start using the new outlook go to the Microsoft homepage and follow the links to the new Outlook page. Then you have acsess to all of the new features. If you want, this also allows you to change your email domain from or to (although it doesn't matter either way).

Apart from the new Outlook email, there is a new contacts page called ‘People’. However the Windows Live calender has not been updated. And although in the options menu there is a Skydrive link, it still takes you to the old Skydrive page which hopefully will be updated soon too.

All the new pages use the fonts and design of Windows 8 which is coming out during October. This is probably because Microsoft is trying to make all of it's products look the same which is understandable so people will instantly recognise it.

Microsoft has finally made a Outlook mobile site and like the new desktop version it is based around simplicity. The site has a slight resemblance of the Windows Phone mail app which is good because it makes the g-mail mobile site look stone age.

The Outlook page it's self has your new e-mails in a list in the middle of the screen with Outlook tips filling the column to the right and your folders on the left. With a simple drag and drop you can move e-mails into a folder which is helpful. The new chat is in the top right of the page and it allows you message people over Facebook or Windows Live. Unlike the old chat, it looks good and it doesn't get in the way.
With a click of a button you can also view all of your emails with a photo attachment, or with a document attached. This is a efficient way to find the email you need.
If you click on an e-mail from a person who has their account synced with 'People' then it shows you their latest social updates down the right hand column. See something you like there, you can easily like the status or twitter reply to them straight from the panel.
When you send a photo using Outlook it gives you the option to send it through Skydrive so you also have a version of the photo on the web. When reviving pictures through outlook they display quickly at the top of the email so you don't need to click 'download images' or sign into anything.

If you want to use Outlook however you have another type of e-mail account from someone like gmail or yahoo, it is really simple to redirect your emails to Outlook and move all of your contacts information. You can even send emails out of Outlook using one of your other accounts.

The main competition for this e-mail system is g-mail and with the recent launch of Google+, Google is integrating gmail with the social network so you can video chat to people. However most people use Skype or Face-time to video chat and to be honest with you, I also find video chats awkward and much prefer messaging people. But if you do like to video chat, the new Outlook is Skype integrated.

The new 'People' page allows you to have your contacts synced with Twitter and Facebook. With people, I expected to see a social stream from all of my social networks I had connected however, hopefully this will be added soon.
I like the fact that you can mention someone on Twitter directly from their contact page however I still think that Microsoft needs to integrate the Twitter direct messenger into Windows Phone and 'People'.

I'm a bit disappointed that 'People' doesn't Sync with my Windows Phone contacts and groups. I spent ages on my Windows Phone linking my friends Twitter and Facebook accounts together and now they are separated again on Outlook. Also, on my Windows Phone I a group with my family in and on Outlook it is not there.

Although the Skydrive page stays the same, if you edit your word documents, excel spreadsheets or powerpoint presentations in the Web App you now have the power to share the document with your colleagues or friends. Although the Microsoft Web Apps are made to look like they use the newest version of Microsoft Office, they seem overly complicated for the web and I find it a bit confusing. If you want a good way to edit documents online, Google Drive is definitely the place to go.
However Skydrive has recently released a new software for your PC or Mac. This software makes a new folder in your computer called 'Skydrive' which you can then save documents into. They then sync to the web or any other Skydrive computers logged on as you.
I've been using this feature and I think it is a brilliant tool. It saves the stress logging onto Skydrive on the web and uploading it though there. This saves time and effort and I would defiantly recommend it to people, even if they don't even use Skydrive that much.

In conclusion, the new Outlook is awesome and people will like it because it has a clean and fresh look which is unique to any other e-mail system.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Why Britain is going to run out of good athletes

At the moment the Team GB athletes at the Olympics have made Britain proud however I'm worried about the future.
In 2010 NHS statistics showed that 17% of boys and 15% of girls between the ages of 2 and 15 were obese. I think this has had an effect on sports organisations and schools.
When it comes to sports day at the end of the year the year these children are coming last so teachers, carers and parents are telling all children that 'it is all about taking part'.
This doesn't motivate the children who ran the fastest who have the potential to become athletes at all. Instead, it leads them to think that it doesn't matter about winning and loosing, therefore not taking sport seriously.
I learnt this point when I was playing tennis with my mate and I got thrashed so at the end I said 'It's the taking park what counts' and then he taught me that it is stupid thinking like that.
In conclusion it is all about the winning and trying your hardest to get your personal best and then beat other people not just the percentage of kids who are obese. With this determination you will have a stronger change off becoming a successful Olympian or sportsman.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Super Saturday

With around 25 medals up for grabs yesterday people were calling Saturday the 4th of August 'Super Saturday' and it proved to be that for team GB walking away with 6 Golds!
The woman featured on the front page of every newspaper above is Jessica Ennis because she won the Heptathlon and is the face of London 2012. Another massive success yesterday was Mo Farah who won the 10,000 meters. The other 4 medals came from Long Jumper - Greg Rutherford, Women's team pursuit cyclists - Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell, double scull rowers - Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking then finally rowers - Andy Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Tom James.

This means in the medal table stands as follows:
United States261315
United Kingdom1478

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Scotch Pancakes

The most easy to make meals ever and one of the tastiest too...

125g flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 egg
300ml milk
butter , for frying
1 tbsp golden caster sugar

1) Put the flour, baking powder, egg, milk and sugar in a large jug then whiz with a hand-held blender until smooth (or just whisk together in a bowl).
2) Heat a non-stick frying pan (add a little butter if you need) and pour in small amounts of batter. Once the top of the pancake has bubbled and set, flip with a palette knife and cook on the other side. Repeat until all the batter is used.
3) Serve with Greek yoghurt, vanilla ice cream or maple syrup.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Google Handwrite

If you are a Google fan and a smartphone user you may enjoy trying out Google's new search gimmic 'Handwrite'.
Here is the scenario: You have just got a HTC Explorer for Christmas which has a rather small touch-screen of only 3.2". The whole phone works great until you want to search something into Google. Since it is Christmas, you have been over eating so your plump fingers are too big for the tiny keyboard at the bottom of the screen. This is where Google Handwrite comes in.
From the mobile version of you can simply write words or letters on the screen. Just make the shape of the letter or word and Google will recognise it and search it for you.
This feature isn't the most practical thing in the world. In fact I can't see any sensible reason why people would want to use this apart from showing off to their friends.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Minecraft 1.3.1

Finally, on the first of August 2012 one of the biggest Minecraft updates ever was released. Minecraft 1.3.1 brings a load of new features and items to the game which has had dramatic effects on how the player plays the game.
Multilayer and single-player have been combined so you can now do single-player commands. There are also some new commands which can allow you to see your seed and another one to set a default game mode.
If you are new to Minecraft and don't want to start the game with no items you can add a bonus chest which will provide you with some of the basics.
As far as items are concerned there are now sandstone stairs and different coloured wooden slabs for the 4 different types of wood, wooden logs can now be places sideways and the texture of gravel has changed. Other changes to blocks include new Ender Chests, new tripwires and leavers can now be placed on roofs.
Green Emeralds can now be mined. They can then be used as a trading tool with villagers. For example, you could right click on a villager and then swap 1 emerald for 4 bits of red-stone dust.
There are some glitches still in this version which I have noticed so hopefully by the next update they will be fixed. Also, coming in the next update is 'Adventure mode' (I honestly don't know what that is).
In conclusion though, there are loads more features in Minecraft 1.3.1 which I still need to discover and I'm confident that this new update will satisfy Minecraft users.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

TED - Technology Entertainment Design

Because of the TED app on iPad I've been watching a lot of inspirational TED videos recently. TED is an app and website which shows videos of people giving speeches. Some speeches are funny, some factual and some persuasive. They have over 1000 videos from loads of speakers.
1 of my favourite speeches is the one above. It uses 3 iPods to make magic but the speaker also makes some good points about lies and deceiving people.
Another one of my favourite is by Bruce Feiler. He was diagnosed with cancer when his 2 twin daughters were 3 years old and he didn't want them to grow up without a dad. So he wrote a letter to 6 of his friends who he thought would be able to stand in his place if he passed away.
In conclusion I think TED is a great resource and should be used more in schools and businesses. There is a speech for probably just about every situation and they defiantly inspire people.