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.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Remembrance Day Video

HUNDREDS of schoolchildren sat in respectful silence to watch a film made in memory of a real life hero.

Private John King, from Darlington, died last year while on active service in Afghanistan.

The 19-year-old was a former pupil of Branksome School, now Darlington School of Mathematics and Science (DSMS), which has close links to the Armed Forces.

About 500 students attended a Remembrance assembly on Friday (November 9).

They watched Why We Should Remember Them, a film produced by student Liam Pape and edited by assistant headteacher Steve Parr.

POIGNANT MOMENT: Student Liam Pape,
producer of a film marking Remembrance
Day in memory of former student, Private
John King, who was killed on duty in Afghanistan
With some students in tears, the film chronicled the life of an individual soldier, from the peer pressure teenagers were under to join up to fight in World War I, through the recruitment and basic training process, to the full horrors of trench warfare.

One tender moment recounted the famous Christmas Day truce where warring Germans and Allies stopped the fighting to share a drink among the barbed wire.

The film ended with a dedication to Pte King and students and staff shared a moment’s silence to remember him and those lost in war and global conflict.

Liam spent hours working on the film with Mr Parr and six other students, who provided character voiceovers.

"We have a lot of students here whose families are in the Armed Forces and I didn’t want to upset them; but at the same time it is right that we remember those who have fallen.”The 14-year-old said: “I was really nervous watching the film because I didn’t know how it would be received.

Headteacher Calvin Kipling said the school had appointed a teacher to liaise with army families and there was also an official Army liaison officer working with DSMS.

He said: “When John died it impacted on everyone at the school and I know students are keen to do as much as they possibly can to support service personnel with a stream of fundraisers.”

Article from origional article here: Students watch film in memory of fallen Darlington hero

Friday, 9 November 2012

Surface Phone

Rumours from 'The Wall Street Journal' are suggesting that Microsoft are currently making their own Windows Phone. The phone is a plan B, just encase Windows Phone 8 doesn't have the response Windows are expecting. Otherwise, this phone will be forgotten and dissolve into the back pages of the Microsoft Hardware sketch book. If the phone is launched it is expected to have a screen size of between 4-5-inches and... erm... that is all we know.

In all honestly, it would be cool if Microsoft made a phone however if they do, I think it just shows that Microsoft has trust issues with HTC, Samsung and Nokia. This will upset the hardware manufacturers and probably prevent Samsung from making a Windows Phone ever again.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

XBOX Surface - cleverly done Microsoft

Rumours from the Verge are suggesting that Microsoft are currently working on a 7-inch XBox gaming device. It was first rumoured back in June that Microsoft was making some sort of handheld console however I think most news companies just assumed that it was the Microsoft Surface, which came out at the end of last month.

This is clever because when the iPad Mini was launched, Microsoft was asked if they would be producing a 7-inch version of Windows 8 however the answer was no. This means that they still could be producing this small console because technically it would not run Windows 8.

PlayStation released the Vita late last year and I wouldn't call it a failure however I wouldn't go so far to call it a success. It had a 5-inch touch screen on the front and it was touch sensitive on the back which was pretty cool however apparently it didn't sell even half the number of the Nintendo 3DS.

The Nintendo DS originally came out in 2004 and since then there has been loads of versions including the Lite, DSI, DSI Exel and the 3DSI. In my opinion the Nintendo DS is the single handhelds games console which revolutionised the making of handheld consoles. It was the first games console with a touch screen!

What I would like to see:
The Xbox controller is easy to hold and doesn't hurt your hands after long periods of time rapidly pressing button on the remote so the handheld console needs to be similar in this aspect.

The Nintendo DS was massively successful because it was really simple to use and could be operated by anyone even if they were a really young age. I hope the XBox device is really easy to use and I hope that they don't put too many options on the 'Start' screen.

I really hope that Xbox does not feature live tiles or it will be the 3rd Microsoft service to start using them. There is a possibility that people don't like a load of rectangles on their screen so I hope the makers of this new hand-held console decide to go down a different route.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Essentials for small Businesses

Now I'm not a business expert (yet) however I know a great deal about technology and the internet, so here we go...

If you own a small business or about to set one up, here is my advice of some things you will need to consider and think about.
Make sure you are clear about what your product or service is and make sure it is reasonably priced. People don't want to buy something that they don't need and they definitely don't want to pay to much if they decide they do need it.
From a social point of view it may be worth having your business set up on some social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, you can take it from there. On social networks you can publish offers, information and updates about your business so people who like your product or service are kept upto date. If you have a business where you can make videos about your business it might also be worth having a YouTube account to share the videos.
Computer wise, most businesses can be ran on a Windows PC however if your business is growing or becoming more complex it might be worth investing in a MacBook or an iMac as they are extremely quick and professional. (I would not recommend Windows 8 as it is more for personal use rather than business.)
Advertising is also a key factor for success  Billboards and posters have had their day and the best advertising is now on the web. Google offers an extremely cheap and worthwhile advertising scheme where your advert pops up at the top or right hand side of search results.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Brief History of Medicine from 1350-present day

Apothecary - Somebody who made medicines (equivalent to chemist)
Black Death - A disease which came to England twice. First time in the 14th century and then again in 1665. It killed millions of people.
Medieval: Another name for the middle ages.
Reformation: A period of challenges and divisions within the Christian Church.
Renaissance: A time in the 16th and 17th century when new discoveries were made. People stopped believing in Galen.
Royal Society: A group of people in 1660 who discussed medical ideas.
Supernatural: Ideas which had nothing to do with science.

Living conditions in the time around 1350 were poor because people lived with animals, lived in one small room and they kept poo. This caused people to get ill and sometimes die. Spread of disease was easy as lots of people worked together. The average living expectancy was around 30 years old. Although richer people lived in bigger houses they were still lightly to catch diseases.

In this time people believed in Galen's theories. These theories were that the 4 seasons were linked with Blood, Yellow Bile, Black Bile and phlegm  These were also later linked with weather conditions. Lots of his treatments involved blood letting.

When the black death first came to England in the 1300's it was spread through flies and rats. It originally came from Asia and it wiped out a lot of the population. People believed that by whipping themselves, tying chickens to their armpits and eating cool things would stop the plague from spreading. Almost everybody believed in God and they thought that it was his way of punishing them.

Apart from the rich, not many people could afford to see a Doctor (a physician). A Physician would be very expensive and would often prescribe you medicines from the Apothecary (Chemist). The Physician's were trained and they had passed exams. During this time, Women were rated 2nd class so they were not allowed to become physicians. Physicians worked on Galen's theories.
The Apothecary isn't trained and he would mix herbs to make medicine which often didn't work.
Barber Surgeons cut your hair and did bloodletting if prescribed by a Physician.
Hospitals weren't around at this time so people were treated at home in dirty conditions.
Poor people would go and see the housewife physician, she wasn't trained but learnt from family teachings. This witch like person would use remedies to treat people.
If you couldn't see any of these people, you would often just pray to god.

The Medical Renaissance was between 1500 and 1750. A man called William Harvey went against the church and started doing experiments on dead people. He learnt that:

  • Veins only carry Blood, not blood and air.
  • Blood is not always being made by the liver, it circulates around the body.
Vesalius also did this and he learnt that: 
  • The septum in the heart does not have holes in it.
  • The liver does not have any lobes.
  • The lower jaw is one bone.
  • The sternum only has 3 parts.
People could often be killed if the Christian Church found out that they were doing experiments or autopsies on people. However during this time the Church had enough problems of their own with people constantly questioning them about Galen's theories. Both Harvey and Vesalius released books showing their findings.

The microscope and the printing press were invented during this time so books could be printed more easily and Scientists could look at atoms.

Although women were rated 2nd class, rich women often became local 'Wise Women' and treated people with herbal remedies. There were lots of rich Women doing this during this time.

Between 1750-1900 the way in which people were treated changed dramatically. Pharmacies started to open during this time, Vaccination was invented and the Pharmaceutical industry was established.

Anatomy: The structure of the human body.
Epidemic: An outbreak of an infectious disease.
Industrial Revolution: A time during the 18th, 19th and 20th century when factories and machinery started to be used a lot.
Inoculation: Getting a little bit of a disease and giving it to someone else so they become immune. It is not used anymore as it is risky and dangerous. 
Miasma: The theory that disease was caused by 'bad air'.
Patent Medicine: Medicine which is made and sold by a brand.
Spontaneous Generation: The idea that dead or dying things produce microbes.
Vaccination: A safe way to make someone immune to an illness. A Vaccination is made in a lab.
Pharmaceutical industry: The business of making drugs prescribes by a doctor.

During the Industrial Revolution people were living in slightly bigger houses with better living conditions as the toilet was now outside and people no longer lived with animals. Houses were also made out of a more sturdy material. 

Diseases in 1750-1900:
  • Cholera - Bacteria passed on through food and water.
  • Diphtheria - Spread through tiny droplets when coughing or sneezing.
  • Smallpox - Spread by touch or coughing or sneezing.
  • Tuberculosis - Spread through tiny droplets when coughing or sneezing.
  • Typhoid - Through contaminated food and water.
More people were believing in science so people believed that diseases were spread through Miasma and Spontaneous Generation.

Edward Jenner made the vaccination against Smallpox. He did this by taking a small sample of smallpox from one person and giving it to another person. This prevented them from getting smallpox.
Jenner linked smallpox and cowpox however he could not explain how it worked.  In 1852 thanks to Jenner, the government made it compulsory to get vaccinated. He also did lots more things which was an advantage for everyone both rich and poor.

The germ theory came from Louis Pasteur who was a French chemist. He discovered that heating up milk stopped it from going sour. He also invented 'pasteurising' which is done to milk to make it safe to drink.
A German doctor called Robert Koch expanded on Pasteur's ideas. He worked with a team funded by the German government. 

John Hunter made speeches about anatomy which helped more people understand Science. One of his students was Edward Jenner who later went on to discover Vaccination  He studied pregnancy too and published books about that. 

Florence Nightingale was a nurse during the Crimean War. She made health standards better wherever she went. Less people died because of her. She came from a wealthy family so she could afford to make a difference.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson also came from a wealthy family however she was turned away by medical schools. Eventually she learnt how to become a doctor and she opened her how medical practise in London.

As hospital health standards became better, more hospitals got built. More people started to get treated and life expectancy went up. 

Pharmacies were places where Chemists worked and they made drugs that could be given to people as long as they were prescribed by Doctors. 

Great Ormond Street hospital was set up in the 1800's, it was a leading example of a perfect hospital as it was clean and hygienic.

Key Words:
Antibiotics: Drugs that stop infections caused by bacteria.
Crystallography: Using radiation to take a high-powered x-ray picture.
DNA: Genetic instructions to every cell in our bodies.
Genetics: The study of genes and inherited characteristics. 
Magic Bullet: A chemical drug that kills the microbes causing a certain disease however without harming the rest of the body.
Prescription Charges: Medicine which costs money.
Radiotherapy: The use of radiation to attack Cancer.

Life expectancy has became a lot higher since 1900 because the more cures to diseases were being found and living conditions were almost excellent. People were aware of how disease spread and they became more hygienic because of it. By the end of 1990, less people were dying from treatable infections and instead diseases like Cancer were taking most lives as they are caused by radiation and not currently curable.

Scientists discovered the magic bullet during this time. This kills a certain disease without harming the rest of the body.

Penicillin was discovered around the time of World War 2 however it could not be used because it's ingredient list was expensive and needed items from all around the world. They tested it on mice first and then on people. It helped fight infections however it kept running out quickly.
The US government funded the making of Penicillin during the 2nd World War so injured soldiers would stop dying. The large scale production was in 1944.

The NHS was set up just after World War 2 as a free way for people of Britain to get medical treatment. It soon brought in a charge as more people than expected were using the service. Also, drugs were expensive to import. NHS hospitals were extremely clean and had a number of things to make the hospitals safe:
  • All beds had clean sheets.
  • Visitors were limited to control infection.
  • Technology was used to monitor people.
  • Nurses and doctors wore uniforms so they could be identified.
  • Curtains around beds to provide privacy.
Doctors and Nurses were trained the same way so everybody got the same treatment.

DNA was discovered by Crick and Watson in 1953 however it was 50 years later until everything we wanted to know was found out. Thanks to DNA, there were better skin grafts, better treatment for diabetes and more discoveries in Stem Cell research.

Technology was used more during the 20th century because it was becoming more readily available and it was extremely useful. Technology helped Scientists discover the 4 blood groups, helped them do more research, helped them treat people and they allowed people to monitor their own health.


  • MRI Scanners
  • X-rays
  • Radiotherapy
Some people, even now, believe in traditional methods because they are apparently less lightly to have dangerous side effects.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

James Bond Skyfall

James Bond was originally made 50 years ago by a man called Ian Flemming and was about a secret agent called 007 working for MI6 in London. His boss was called 'M' and he drove expensive cars. 9 Bond actors and 23 movies later, not much has changed.

The most recent James Bond movie is called Skyfall and it came out at the end of October 2012. Like the last 2 films before that it starred Daniel Craig as 007 and Dame Judi Dench as M.

This is one of the best Bond films they have made recently as the plot is reasonably easy to understand and it has lots of action. We also find out about 007's childhood and where he grew up in Scotland. Apart from being one of the best Bond films, I'd say it is the best films released this year. Even if you haven't seen any other James Bond movies, you could watch this and be entertained. It has the perfect formula for a blood-pumping exciting movie.

Every Bond film has an iconic song to go with it, the song for Skyfall was sung by Adele. The song has had mixed views however the majority of people think it goes well with the movie.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Microsoft makes a Surface

Did you see the play on words there in the title? Anyway, on October 25th 2012, Microsoft held a casual 'event' to talk about the first new Windows 8 tablet, the Microsoft Surface.

They started by showing the adverts they have been making and then they got down to business.

First they talked about the tablet design. They decided to make a 10.6-inch display because it is apparently 'the perfect expression of Windows' as it is perfect for multitasking.

It was built using over 200 custom parts and they built it from the inside out, making the batteries symmetrical and having a 16x9 aspect ratio makes the Surface uniquely perfect. They then talked about how the colours are vibrant and how the screen is powerful. Wifi is also really good

The Microsoft Surface has a USB port, SD slot and a special Surface port which can be connected to VGA and other various things.

Windows 8 also comes with Smart Glass this lets you push content like videos, music and pictures to your XBOX.

They then started to talk about apps. Netflix has an app, so has Skype. ESPN and PayPal say they are going to release one soon.

Unfortunately, since then a company called Surfcast has sued Microsoft for copying off their 'live tyle' idea which they apparently invented in the 90's.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

10 reasons why the Microsoft Surface is better than the iPad

The new, super thin Microsoft Surface with
 a kickstand and keyboard.
Both the Microsoft Surface and the iPad 4 cost £399 and they are both tablets however that is where the similarities end. They are made by 2 different companies and that mean that the operating systems are as different as cabbage stew and Aslan from Narnia.

The reason why this is a biased post is because in my opinion the tablet market should be 50/50 between Apple and Microsoft.* Microsoft makes an equally good (if not better) tablet and just because Apple got there a few years earlier, I don't want people to immediately assume that the iPad is better.

*As for Google and Android, they can just stay with mobile phones because their tablets are like slush. They are not quite snow and they are not quite rain. They are useless for everybody!

1) Screen Size
The iPad has a screen size of 9.7-inches and the Surface has a 10.6-inch screen. For £399 you want as much as you can get and that is why the Microsoft Surface is better.

2) Microsoft Office
With the Microsoft Surface you get the full version of Microsoft Office 2012 which includes a special touch optimized version of Word, Powerpoint, OneNote and Excel. Outlook e-mail is also built in with calendar and more new things. With the iPad you either need to pay extra for the special Apple versions of these or you need to find another app which does the job.

3) Storage
As standard the iPad comes with only 16GB of storage, the Surface doubles that and comes with 32GB built in.

4) Extra Storage
If like me you use up computer storage really quickly, you'll probably own an external hard drive or a memory stick. In the iPad there is nowhere for these to plug in however in the Microsoft Surface there is a USB port on the side you can use. There is also a hidden SD-card slot underneath the kickstand on the back for you to save photos, videos and music onto.

5) Keyboard
I'll admit that typing on a touch-screen is not the easiest thing in the world and that is why Microsoft have released a whole range of keyboards that are compatible with the Surface. They cost extra however they are definitely worth it because all you need to do is click them in. Simple as that - no wires needed.

6) Built in social feeds
With the Microsoft Surface and all Windows 8 devices in fact  you don't need to install separate apps for Twitter and Facebook because they are available in your 'People Hub', this is where your contacts are saved and it synchronizes all of your contacts social networking accounts automatically!

7) Kickstand
When you are watching a movie you don't always wanting to be holding your tablet (like what you have to do with an iPad). Luckily, with the Microsoft Surface you can open the stand up at the back and then that holds the screen up for you.

8) Live Updates
The Microsoft Surface has live tiles, this means that any new e-mail, social update or news that you get comes up instantly on your 'Start' page. The tiles update in realtime so you never miss anything interesting.

If you own an Xbox and want to build up your gamerpoints, the Microsoft Surface is perfect for that as most of the games you download are Xbox integrated so everytime you level-up you get some more G!

10) Multi-tasking
With the iPad, it is possible to have 2 apps running at the same time however not side by side. With the iPad you need to pick one or the other. This is not the case with Surface. With surface you can be recording a video whilst taking notes, or finding out what the weather is in New York whilst surfing the web; the possibilities are endless.