Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Has Vine just invented Micro Vlogging?

Vine is the social network owned by Twitter where users can upload home made 6 second videos about anything they like (apart from porn - long story). Earlier today the Vine iOS app got updated. It now allows users to use both front and back cameras on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. This makes the service brilliant for Vloggers who would just like to upload a short video of themselves saying something to the camera.

Most current Vloggers upload their videos to services like YouTube however if they don't have much to say about a topic and just want to say a sentence. The front facing camera on Vine will be brilliant for them.

Of course, not everyone in the world is a Vlogger and the average person might struggle to find a use for their front facing camera however I think it works quite well if you film something with your camera on the back and then show your reaction.

This new update also allows you to mention and hash-tag things and people quicker.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

If I was CEO of... Oreo

I only started eating Oreo earlier this year however one thing which bugs me about them is the packaging.

On the outside of the packet is the Oreo logo (which is fine) however then there is a light blue colour which looks like the type of colour you would find advertising cleaning equipment and detergents. If I was CEO of Oreo, I would simply change that colour to white or black.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Saturday 27th April: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 27th April 2013 and...

Dubai Police get a new car
Earlier this week it was announced that a Ferrari will be joining Dubai’s current Lamborghini to patrol the streets. This new police car will be used by the women police officers to patrol some of the tourist areas. This car should also ‘reduce road traffic accidents’ however I don’t see how. You may think that running two super cars to catch criminals might get a bit expensive however in Dubai, petrol is often cheaper than water!

Shaun The Sheep is becoming a movie star
Children’s TV character, Shaun the Sheep, announced yesterday that he will be staring in his own movie called ‘Shaun the Sheep’. Makers of Shaun the Sheep decided to make the film after the success of the CBBC TV series which has now been seen in over 170 countries.
Shaun made his first TV appearance in the Wallace and Gromit film ‘A close shave’. Shaun and his sheepish friends will star in the film where they need to take an adventure into the city after their farmer is taken away.

Sir Winston Churchill becomes £5
The bank of England announced earlier this week that old British Prime minister, Winston Churchill, will feature on £5 notes from 2016. His picture along with a picture of Westminster and the Nobel Prize he received will be featured on the £5 note. The Bank of England are hoping that the note will be called a ‘Winston’ for short. Sir Winston Churchill will be replacing Elizabeth Fry who was a campaigner and who died in 1845. Sir Churchill will also be only the second person who lived in the 20th Century to feature on a note.

Friday, 26 April 2013

RIP iPhone?

Is the future of the iPhone bleak?
6 years ago Apple said that the iPhone was at least 5 years a head of the rest of the smartphone market however over the last couple of years the rest of the market have caught up.

After Apple announced their profits earlier this week they added that they were announcing ‘exciting new products’ at the end of 2013 and during 2014. They also said that they were making a whole new line of products in a completely new category however there was no mention of the iPhone 5S or iOS 7. Both Android and Windows Phones are now just as good as the iPhone and the only major thing making Apple stand out from the crowd is the app store. Due to the iPhones premature success, developers like making apps for iOS before expanding on to Android and other platforms.

As for hardware, the iPhone 5 is pretty standard. It comes with a 5-inch screen and only the simplest buttons. Nothing ambitious or exciting. In fact the design of the iPhone has only got thinner and taller over the last 6 years. Literally, noting else!

When WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) comes on the 20th June 2013 and Apple announce a new iPhone I think it will seriously make or break the company. There is nothing that can be improved on from the iPhone 5 so they are going to have to take a risk with both hardware and software and try something new.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Broadchurch 'Closure'

For the last 8 weeks an intense crime drama on ITV has been aired on a Monday night at 9PM. The gripping series was written by Chris Chibnall who has also wrote for Doctor Who, Torchwood and Life on Mars however this has been the first whole series he was wrote himself.

Broadchurch stars Doctor Who star, David Tennant, and Hot Fuzz policewoman, Olivia Coleman, as two detectives on the South Coast of England.

One night, a boy is suspiciously murdered in the town of Broadchurch and new police DI, Alec Hardy, and DC Ellie Miller are put on the case to figure out who dun it. But is all as it seems?
Over the 8 weeks of the series most characters in the drama are suspected to be the murderer as  everyone in the town acts extremely suspiciously. However there are lots of times when the characters and audience are both lead up a blind alley.

Last night in the final episode we found out who killed, Danny, the young boy and it was somebody who had only been featured on during the last 2 episodes.
It was (don't read on if you don't want to find out) Joe who was DS Miller's husband. He had strangled Danny in a hut on the top of the cliff and then he had covered up the murder by taking the body and putting it at the bottom of the cliff to make it look like the boy had jumped. It is ironic because only a few episodes before had DS Miller asked a woman 'how could she not realise if crime was going on under your own roof'. DS Miller couldn't see the wood for trees because whilst she was at work trying to figure out who the murder was, her husband could sit at home covering up evidence.

Nobody expected Broadchurch to be as popular as it was. Brilliant actors and story lines which kept you watching made Broadchurch the unbelievable success it was with an average of around 7 million ratings.

It was announced at the end of episode 8 that Broadchurh will be returning for a second series. In an interview, the script writer, Chris Chibnall said that things will be slightly different. He didn't even confirm whether it would be the same characters or not though. Like with series 1, they are obviously not giving anything away.
In my opinion, he shouldn't write a second series because it will never reach the same high standard as this series was but I will be intrigued anyway to see what happens.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Windows is too Windows

Both Windows Phone and Windows 8 have a unique operating system completely different to what runs on Blackberry, Android or Apple devices. When Windows Phone 7 was first getting designed they made it so all apps would look the same even if they were made by an independent developer or 3rd party. This is so the phone looked like one operating system just with many features however this is what app developers don't want.

App developers want to make their app unique, special and like nothing else currently in the app marketplace. This is probably why both Windows Phone and Windows 8 are lacking big names in the app store such as Instagram, Vine, Flipboard, Google Drive, Facebook and more.

Facebook Home recently launched on Android, it takes over your Android phone fully, changing everything and making your phone revolve around you and your Facebook friends. So far it has been out for 10 days and it has already had over 500,000 downloads. Some of the main features of Facebook Phone on Android has also came to the Facebook iOS app however nothing like that would ever be possible on Windows Phone. Facebook Home is simply too unique.

This is a problem is annoying for developers and consumers. If a person buys a Windows Phone they will love the features however after about 6 months they will probably want a completely different app that will blow them away like what you can get on Android and Apple - unfortunately they will struggle to find such app.

Microsoft needs to make huge changes to Windows so developers can be imaginative and creative. This will benefit everyone and make both Windows Phone and Windows 8 more popular.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Bahrain GP

Is Formula 1 immoral?
On Saturday 20th April 2013 it was the qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix however before any cars had even started moving there was problems. Riots and protests outside the track made Bernie Ecclestone think that the Bahrain government shouldn’t have let the Grand Prix take place. Luckily over the course of the weekend no protests came inside the track.

Anyway, it was a pretty normal qualifying session apart from the fact that Nico Rosberg came out on top! Lewis Hamilton got a 5 place grid penalty in the 3rd practise for needing to change his gear box and Webber and Gutierrez also got a grid penalty for contact during qualifying. Vettel qualified second followed by Alonso.

Bahrain has a 2 DRS zones and the actual race is 57 laps long.

First corner of the Bahrain Grand Prix
The race was at 1PM GMT on Sunday 21st April 2013. All the cars got off to a clean start and Nico Rosberg maintained the lead for the first two laps however with Vettel and Alonso close behind him desperate to take first place. On lap 2, Vettel cleanly took over Rosberg and then on a DRS zone on lap 3 Alonso took over Rosberg too. He did put up a decent fight though and gave both Vettel and Rosberg a tough job.

There was slight contact between Sutil and Massa in the first few laps; both cars got minor damage.

Scottish Force India driver, Paul Di Resta, also managed to squeeze past Rosberg. On lap 7, even with a damaged front wing, Massa managed to take over Rosberg too. Despite an amazing qualifying session on Saturday it seems Rosberg isn't fast enough or aggressive enough to content with the likes of Vettel and Alonso.

Unfortunately, Alonso needed to pit from second position because his DRS wing got stuck open. He was the first driver to pit on lap 8. The Ferrari team pushed his wing back down however it got stuck open again on the following lap. The team were forced to make Alonso pit again and then tell him that he couldn't risk using DRS for the rest of the race!

Webber took the first planned pit stop on lap 9 and most other drivers pitted also before lap 15. Vettel pitted leaving the lead to Di Resta. Most drivers were on a 3 stop strategy as they thought that would be more beneficial through the race.

On lap 16, Sebastian Vettel had retaken the lead followed by Raikkonen and Webber.

Massa pitted on lap 18 as his rear tyres were flicking up loads of rubber not only causing problems for other drivers but also slowing him down. Ferrari changed his tyres however didn't change his damaged front wing as it didn't seem to be effecting his lap times that much.

Everyone’s tires seemed to be struggling. Fast corners and red hot weather obviously wasn't ideal.

Button, Grosjean, Rosberg and Perez were battling for 3rd place on lap 21 – all four cars were less than one second apart.

Race leader Sebastian Vettel pitted on lap 26, he came out still in first place. Paul Di Resta who seemed to be having a brilliant day followed Vettel in second position.

A Lotus' wheels burning away
Team mates, Button and Perez were being risky and battling each other for 6th place. On lap 28 both McLaren cars were unfortunately told to save fuel. The squabble between Button and Perez continued for many more laps until on lap 30, the fight came to a climax and Perez lost part of his front wing when getting too close to Button.
After that both drivers were told to ‘look after the car’ which is pit radio talk for ‘don’t crash!’

Despite that message, Perez continued to fight Button. On an intense attempt to take over Button, Perez ran out of road and went off the track into the dusty run off area. He didn't lose his position though. Button was clearly hating the situation; on lap 35 he took, what he planned to be, his final pit stop and came out in 12th place where he wouldn't be intimidated by his team mate.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen and Di Resta had also been battling but for 2nd position. Raikkonen had managed to take 2nd however Di Resta didn't give up and continued to tailgate Raikkonen.

Because of debris, Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa got a puncture on his rear right wheel. He pitted however spent the rest of the race at the back of the field.

There was huge contact between Webber and Rosberg around 20 laps before the end of the race. It was highly controversial because it is unclear whether Webber turned in to the corner too early and cut of Rosberg or if Rosberg was being too ambitious and trying to find space that clearly wasn't there.

7 laps before the end of the race Vettel was still leading the race followed by Raikkonen, Di Resta and Grosjean. Lewis Hamilton had amazingly got up to 6th place and was stalking Webber up to lap 51 when he took over him in the DRS zone.

Vettel on his own out in front
3 laps before the end of the race most cars were still racing. Webber and Hamilton were still racing hard and so were Alonso and Perez.

Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix followed by Raikkonen and Grosjean. I think it was obvious that Vettel was going to win the race from when he first took first place on lap 2. Nico Rosberg who started on pole position finished in 9th. It is actually the exact same top 3 from the Bahrain race last year.

Vergne was the only car that didn't finish. He had a collision with a Caterham early on in the race.

This means that Vettel now leads the drivers’ championship followed by Raikkonen who is 10 points behind him with 67 points. Hamilton is coming 3rd in the championship with 50 points.

RedBull continues to lead the constructor’s championship with 109 points. Ferrari is second and Mercedes is 3rd.

For live Tweeting of every F1 race you can follow me on Twitter: @papermail7

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Saturday 20th April: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 20th April 2013 and...

Boston Marathon Explosions
On Monday 15th April 2013 two explosions went off on the final stretch of the Boston marathon. Over 150 people were reported to be injured and 3 people were unfortunately killed.
Social media has played a huge role this week. It has been both a huge advantage yet also a big disadvantage.
Amazingly, news broke about the bombings by a Tweet on Twitter which news corporations and publishers picked up. Within minutes of the explosions there were hundreds of reporters, photographers and camera men on the scene getting in the way of the police and marathon organisers.
People just like you and me who were at the marathon were taking photos and videos and then uploading them to Vine, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for the world to see. This is called Citizen Journalism.
Because television can’t keep up with social media and news on the internet. Some news anchors resorted to reading out rumours and comments from their Twitter feed. As you can expect, these were uncensored and risky to say on air. There was lots of inappropriate content on the internet that night as people jumped to conclusions and blamed certain groups of people for the bombings. Some of the racist comments even started trending on Twitter.
Yesterday, a shootout between a suspect and the police was recorded on camera by somebody living in the local area and then published onto YouTube. This was also citizen journalism which was used by hundreds of news publishers.
This morning news broke that the final suspect had finally been captured. This is a huge relief for everyone in Boston.
In conclusion, we've now learnt that in the future no matter how tragic a news story is, it will be photographed, filmed and written about not just by news publishers but also by the general public. Is this a good thing though?

HDlive ultrasound
Scientists and doctors in Monaco have developed a new type of ultrasound which turns your confusing, black and white ultrasound images into colourful almost 3D images you can see every bump, curve and fold of you baby. The technology used in real time so you get to see the images straight away.

Google Glass Explorers
For the lucky celebrities who won the Google Glass Experience through a competition on Twitter and Google+ a few weeks ago, their pair of Google Glasses are coming this week. 
Google is getting people who have lots of social impact to try their new project, Google Glass. Google glass shows real time information and other information through a pair of internet connected glasses. They have not launched officially yet however we can expect they will by the end of the year. I think they are getting people to try them now as a way of advertising them so they will share their positive experience of the glasses on their social networks.
What will come after Google Glass? Google Contact Lenses - now that would be cool.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Twitter #Music

Earlier today Twitter #Music launched on the web and also in the form of an iOS app. I've used both now and they seem okay.

You can't listen to full songs on the service unless you sign in with your Spotify or Rdio account so that limits the service quite a lot. Like me, if you don't use Spotify or Rdio Twitter Music only lets you listen to 30 seconds of a song which is pretty pointless.

This makes the service better for discovering music rather than listening to it.

The main page of the app and website show what are the most popular songs at the moment, it allows you to follow any singer on the service really easily by just clicking the Twitter button and you can Tweet about what song you are listening to (which I can imagine getting quite annoying for your followers if you are always doing that.)

In conclusion, Twitter Music is extremely limited as only gives you a small handful of unique features. I personally will probably not be returning to the app or website again until some radical changes are made.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Microsoft Surface RT Review

The Microsft Surface is a tablet device made by Microsft which was launched in the final quarter of 2012. It was one of the first devices ever running Windows 8 RT and it is something pretty special. Here is my review of it:

The Windows 8 Lock Screen
Operating System
The Microsoft Surface RT runs Windows 8 RT. The main difference between that and Windows 8 Pro is that Windows 8 Pro lets you download software made for Windows 7. Windows 8 Pro is also slightly faster however that is hardly noticeable.

Since you can not download software from the internet, the Surface RT is closely compared to the iPad and modern Android Tablets.

As soon as you turn your Suface on you are presented with your lock screen which shows live information from your calender, mail and other various apps. For example, if you get a Facebook message, a little messenger icon will appear under the date and time so you are aware that someone wants to chat to you.

You can unlock your Surface by swiping up and putting your password in if you have one set. Windows 8 has a unique option to let you unlock your device called 'Picture Password' this means that when you want to get into your Surface you use your finger or mouse to swipe along a picture you have set.

App options on the Microsoft Surface
The 'Start' screen is the thing which Microsoft has boasted the most about and it is pretty good. You can resize you apps to either large or small depending on how much you use them and, like the lock screen, it also gives you live information. This information can be Twitter mentions, e-mails, Skype messages and calendar events. All the information you could ever ask for is displayed in a 'Live Tile'.

There are four main gestures used on Windows 8:
Swipe down from the top to close an app or game.
Swipe up from the bottom to see the app or game options.
Swipe in from the right to see the 'Charm Bar'. This gives you the option to change PC settings, share something on your social networks or simply get back to the 'Start Screen'
And swipe in from the left if you want to return to a previous app or if you want 2 apps open at the same time.
The multi-tasking on the Surface is amazing because it lets you have two apps open at the same time. This is useful if I want to browse the internet and check my Twitter at the same time or if I want to check the news whilst reading my emails.

I'll admit that sometimes apps and parts of the operating system crash however this doesn't happen often and once you restart the app, everything works fine again.

Windows 8 is completely different to any Windows operating system before it. If you don't like the live tiles you can access desktop mode. This looks just like Windows 7 and it allows you to use Internet Explorer 9, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note. This is where you would run any downloaded software from the Internet however since this is only the Surface RT, you are limited to those 5 programs.

Hardware is where the Surface excels. It has a built in 'Kickstand', a front and rear camera, a USB port and a slot at the bottom so you can attach one of the specially made Surface keyboards (called the Touch Cover and the Type Cover).

The extremely flat Microsoft 'Touch Cover'
Compared to the iPad, the screen is slightly more rectangular and long however the Microsoft Surface weighs considerably more. The screen is 10.6-inches. Unlike the iPad, the Surface RT has a USB port which seems to work really well with anything. So far I haven't found any compatibility issues with it and I have used it a lot.

On the right hand side of the device is a speaker, USB port, charging slot and a video port if you want to share movies or presentations onto the big screen. On the left is another speaker, a headphone jack and the volume rocker. On the bottom of the Surface is the magnetic port for a Touch or Type cover. These keyboard covers snap on with a reassuring click. On the back is the Kickstand which stands your Surface up at an angle so you can watch movies or use the Surface on a desk. It is probably worth saying though that the Kickstand only comes out at one angle which is slightly annoying occasionally if the sun is pointing directly at the screen.
Also, hidden on the back is a mico-SD card slot so you can add up to 64GB more space onto the Surface. Finally, on the top of the Surface is the lock/power button.

The 720p camera on the front is great for making Skype calls as it points directly at your face if you have the 'Kickstand' out. The camera on the back is angled 22° so when you have the Kickstand out it still points straight ahead. This camera is also 720p. Both cameras also let you take video however neither the pictures or videos are of a high quality.

The Surface Skateboard ridden by ex Microsft Senior Executive
The Surface is made from a material called VaporMg and it is ridiculously strong. If you drop the Surface when you are walking with it, it definitely would not crack or smash. Stephen Sinofsky who used to work for Microsoft has even tied wheels onto it and used it as a skateboard before. I would not recommend this however you can if you really want.

The Surface RT has 5 points of multi-touch on the screen which means you can have 5 fingers on the screen at the same time and the Surface RT will recognise where they are. The iPad and the Surface Pro both have 10 points of multi touch however nobody uses more than 2 fingers on the screen at the same time anyway so you won't notice a difference.

As I mentioned earlier, the Surface weighs slightly more than the iPad as it weighs 1.5lbs and it is also slightly thinker at 0.37".

When Windows 8 was launched last October it was said that more than 1000 new apps were getting added to the Windows 8 app marketplace every day. Obviously, that number has now decreased however some big app names such as 'Facebook' and 'Flipboard' are not there. They might still be developing apps and if you think about it, Windows 8 has only been out for around 6 months now and they might want to see how popular the OS is before they start creating apps.

The Windows 8 Marketplace luckily does have Angry Birds, Twitter, Sky News, Netflix and Cut the Rope. There are so many build in apps you forget what the Marketplace is lacking though.

The built in apps include XBOX Music, XBOX Video and XBOX games which automaticaly syncs with your XBOX if you own one and the Windows 8 games allow you to add to your XBOX gamerscore. Other built in apps include Bing News, Bing Weather, Bing Finance, Bing Sport, Bing Travel and Bing which all work extremely well.
There is also Mail, Calender, People, Photos, Internet Explorer 10, Maps, Messages and Camera. You will never run out of things to play with on the Surface because it comes packed with so much!

Microsoft Surface RT and 'Touch Cover'
Battery Life
The battery life depends very much on what you are doing. When I've been intense gaming I've only got around 5 hours worth of battery life out of the device however when just using it casually for news and email I've easily got a whole day out of it. If you want to preserve battery life even more I would recommend that you go into the app settings and tell it only to check for updates every hour or so instead of constantly because constant push notifications can be a huge battery drainer.

The Cloud
You always hear about how in the future everything will be saved on the cloud. Windows 8 helps you do that as it comes with Microsoft SkyDrive built in. This lets you upload your pictures, videos and documents to a safe place on the Internet so if anything was to happen to your Surface, all your files would be safe. Skydrive gives you a free 7GB of storage which is extremely generous compared to rival cloud storage websites so I would take advantage of that. If you want any more than 7GB you can pay Microsoft £6 a year for an additional 20GB.

The Surface is brilliant for working on the go, playing games, checking your social networks and doing both intense and light work. If you are going to do intense work though I would recommend you get the Type cover to click on the bottom as it makes typing a lot easier. As for the Touch Cover, that takes a while to get used to because it is so flat.
The Surface RT comes with either 32GB or 64GB however that is not technically true. Once Windows 8 is installed on them they actually have 16GB and 32GB. Even then 16GB is equal to the iPad so it comes with plenty of storage. It costs £399.99 plus an additional £99.99 for the Touch Cover and £109.99 for the Type Cover.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Chinese GP

After a tough day in qualifying for the main contenders, Lewis Hamilton came out on top with an amazing time. People thought that Hamilton was going to regret his move to Mercedes as their performance last year was nothing special however they have now proved that they have a fast car. But can it win races? He was followed by Raikkonen and Alonso  It was a terrible day for the two Red Bull drivers. Mark Webber ran out of fuel and couldn't give a 1 litre sample to the FIA so got disqualified. And Sebastian Vettle had an issue with his breaks so he starts 9th.

On Sunday April 14th 2013 it was the Chinese Grand Prix, the weather was good, the only pre-race drama was from the Force India garage where Di Resta's car had a fuel leak which got fixed almost instantly.
It was a 56 lap race and the track had 2 DRS zones so we expected a lot of taking over. The race started at 3PM local time which was 8AM GMT and the 200,000 seats around the Shanghai track were full.

Hamilton got off to a great start, he got away cleanly and made a gap between him and Alonso. The two Force India cars collided on lap 1, forcing Di Resta onto the grass. Also, at the end of lap 1, Webber, who started in the pit lane, returned to the pit lane and he pitted to change his tires. This worked in his favour as it meant he had clean air and fresh tires when he returned onto track.

Disaster struck for Hamilton because during the DRS zone at the start of lap 5 he was took over by both of the Ferrari cars;
Alonso on the outside, Massa on the inside.

On lap 6, Hamilton and Rosberg pitted. Luckily not at exactly the same time however Rosberg came out behind Webber which just shows how much of a difference those fresh tires made.
After a collision with Gutierrez, Sutil got a badly damaged back wing causing him to pit and then retire. A small fire broke out on the back breaks however it was quickly extinguished as Force India unsuccessfully tired to restore his car so it would be fit to race.

Many of the cars were clearly on different strategies as some cars pitted as early as lap 2 and other cars waited until lap 17.
Mark Webber having a terrible day

On lap 15 there was contact between Webber and Vergne as Webber tried an over aggressive take over. Webber attempted to take the inside line and Vergne simply didn't see him. Mark Webber was forced to pit for a new front wing, and tires however things got even worse for him as halfway through lap 16 his gearbox broke and he was stuck in 3rd gear.
When we though things couldn't get worse for Mark Webber, his rear right wheel came off and he was forced to retire.

Alonso was leading the race by 2.7 seconds over Button on lap 22 however they both pitted on lap 24 leaving the lead to Sebastian Vettel. Alonso came out in 4th and Button came out in 5th.

Unfortunately, Nico Rosberg needed to retire on lap 24 because he had an issue with his suspension  It was his 2nd retirement this season.

Lap 25 was when McLaren driver, Sergio Perez finally pitted. He had managed a staggering 25 laps without needing to pull into the pit lane whilst cars like Massa had already had 2 pit stops by lap 25!

Lewis Hamilton shooting past the Mercedes pit wall
On lap 29, Alonso took over Vettel for first position. This week Vettel listened to his team on the pit wall when they said to let it happen. Alonso set a fastest lap with a time of 1:40.973.

Over the next 10 laps, most drivers in the top 10 took a 2nd (and some even took a 3rd) pit stop apart from Button who had only taken 1. This was a risky strategy as his tires were losing grip rapidly however he was doing well in 3rd position. Alonso was leading the race followed by Vettel, Button, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

On lap 42 teams were informed that cars 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 17, 19 and 23 were all under investigation for using DRS whilst the yellow flag was waving. How could this many cars ignore the flag system? Was there something wrong with the flags? The cars were getting investigated after the race and all penalties will be issued for the Bahrain Grand Prix next week.

12 laps before the end of the race Hamilton, Raikkonen and Button swapped their driving gloves for boxing gloves as they fought for 3rd position.
Raikkonen took 3rd place from Button and then Hamilton took 4th place from Button too. Raikkonen and Hamilton were then contenders to be the race winner. There was less than 10 seconds between the top 4 cars.

6 laps before the end of the race Button pitted from 5th position and came out in 7th just ahead of Riccardo. He then had the next 6 laps to try and take over Massa with his fresh tires. He did this after only a few corners. Next he needed to take over Di Resta.

Sebastian Vettel pitted his Red Bull car on lap 52. He came out in 4th place and got told by his team that he was allowed to race the final 4 laps to the finish. Alonso was leading the race followed by Raikkonen and Hamilton.
It looked impossible that Vettel would be able to catch up with the race leaders however he set a fastest lap on lap 53 with an amazing time of 1:36.808. The fastest lap before that was over 1:39!
Hamilton who was coming 3rd was facing traffic and Vettel was catching him rapidly. As the gap started to get smaller, Vettel started to make mistakes and misjudge corners. In the final straight of the race, Vettle could use his DRS however it wasn't good enough. Hamilton finished 3rd.

Alonso won the Chinese Grand Prix after ruling the track for most of the race and setting many of the fastest lap times.
He was followed by Raikkonen who sneakily took 2nd position and of course, Hamilton in 3rd.

In the constructors championship this means that Red Bull is winning with 78 points followed by Ferrari and Lotus. Sebastian Vettel is winning the drivers championship with Raikkonen only 3 points behind him.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Saturday 13th April: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 13th April 2013 and...

PSY 'Gentleman'
YouTube legend, PSY, officially released his new song 'Gentleman' at 11:00AM today. If you are wondering why this is so significant it is because PSY sung 'Gangnam Style' which at the end of 2012 became the most watched video on YouTube. It became a worldwide success within weeks.
'Gentleman' is the name of the song which was released earlier today in a concert in Korea called 'Happening' which was also live-streamed onto YouTube. Over 110,000 people tuned into to the channel to hear the new song and most of them liked what they heard.
The concert was held at the Seoul World Cup stadium in South Korea and before the unveiling of the music video for 'Gentleman' he performed some of his iconic songs.
The song was apparently purposely leaked a few days before the official release of the song so people know the tune of the song before they see the music video.
'Gentleman' sounds extremely similar to Gangnam Style and uses some of the same music techniques however critics do seem to like the song and they think it deserves to have the same success as Gangnam Style.

Facebook Home on the HTC First
Facebook Phone Home Launched
On April 12th 2013, Facebook released 'Home' for a number of expensive Android phones and also the brand new HTC First.
Facebook Home customises your lock screen by giving you a constant feed of your Facebook friends latest photos. It also brings a feature called Chat Heads which is a small circular bubble which sits Facebook Messenger on top of whatever app you are in. This lets you continue Facebook messaging people in any app.
Facebook Phone only looks pretty if your friends are pretty. It will become pretty awkward if you are still friends with any of your ex-girlfriends as whenever they upload a new photo, it will appear on your lock screen automatically. It will become even more awkward if your wife sees and asks you why there are pictures of your ex on your phone.
Anyway, in conclusion, Facebook Phone will be loved by some however hated by most. Sometimes people just want to be able to check their Twitter without Facebook being thrown in your face.

Twitter Trends
In a blog post earlier this week, Twitter announced that they were adding over 160 new places where you can monitor trends including 30 new countries. In the UK alone over 20 new towns and cities have been added including Middlesbrough, Hull, Blackpool and Nottingham.
You can change what trends you see by logging onto Twitter and then where it says trends, click change and then simply select what location's trends you want to see.

Monday, 8 April 2013

If I was CEO of... Microsoft

This is going to be a new series of posts where every report I will tell you what I would change if I was in charge of a major corporation  Some of these are going to be technology, others are going to be food companies and others are just going to be random businesses who have something I would change. First I am going to start off by telling you what I would change if I was CEO of Microsoft.

Windows 8
There are currently two different versions of Windows 8, a version called Windows RT (which doesn't let you download softwares from the internet into desktop mode) and Windows 8 Pro (which does let you download softwares from the internet into desktop mode). Windows 8 Pro is also built for a slightly faster processing chip.

If I was CEO of Microsoft I would get rid of the metro/modern look on Windows 8 Pro and only leave desktop mode. I would still leave the Windows App Marketplace on the desktop and all the apps from the Windows 8 Start screen however they would just be displayed in the classic looking Windows Desktop. This makes the target market for Windows 8 Pro, anyone who wants a desktop computer that performs how a desktop computer should.

Microsoft Office in the Windows 8 Start screen
Windows 8 RT would be the opposite, it would have the metro/modern Start screen however not desktop mode. I would make Windows 8 RT only available for touch screen tablets and Microsoft Office 2013 (which is currently in desktop mode) would just become integrated into the modern Windows 8 look instead of you having to change modes.

Windows 8.1/Blue
Last week, pictures of the next version of Windows were leaked. They show Windows 8 being updated to something that is now called 'Windows Blue'. It shares many features that Windows Phone 8 currently has and this is where I think Microsoft is going wrong.

Windows Phone is good - not great - but good. It is not as popular as Android and iOS however the features and apps it has are perfect for a mobile enviroment. As soon as you start bringing them onto a desktop PC or Tablet - that is where you are making a mistake.
People buy a PC so they can do stuff that they can't do on their phones. So why would they want a PC which does exactly the same as their phone?

XBOX is great, I like XBOX a lot more than I like PlayStation devices. If I was CEO of Microsoft I would get the XBOX team to start working on a hand held device which could be carried around with a person. It would have a really long battery life (because I believe that is really important) and people will be able to download the games from the Windows 8 App Marketplace.

As for the XBOX console, I would just improve on what they already have. Maybe integrate Kinect more and upgrade the chips so games work better and faster.

At the same time though - start secretly working on something really ambitious like a holographic version of XBOX which projects games into the air around you.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Saturday 6th April: In the News this Week

It's the week of Saturday 6th April 2013 and...

Outlook Calender... Finally
Only 7 months late the calender on outlook.com has finally been updated to the new metro/modern look.
The calender performs well, is easy to use and the new modern look of it is amazing however as I current Google Calender user, I'm not going to switch to Outlook just yet. The only reason for my delay is that there is no simple way to transfer all of my events over to Outlook Calendar so I would need to remake every event.
I see this isn't a huge problem and I will need to move over to Outlook Calendar eventually when Google Calender stops syncing with Windows Phone. But until then, I like how Google Calender works with every computer and shows you all the information (sometimes too much).
In terms of looks, Outlook looks a lot better and a lot more modern so I do look forward to the day when my whole calendar is on there however for now I am staying with Google.

The scary looking Zygon
Doctor Who 50th Anniversary
Script reading started earlier this week for the 50th Anniversary of BBC Sci-fi Doctor Who. David Tennant (10th Doctor), Billie Piper (10th Doctor's companion), Matt Smith (11th Doctor) and Jenna-Louise Coleman (11th Doctor's companion) were attending the script read through as they will be acting in the November special episode of the show.
The storyline of the episode is still a secret however we found out officially earlier this week that the Zygons will be returning.
The Zygons are a classic Doctor Who monster who were last seen on our screens over two decades ago!
Although, practically nothing is known about the special, it is going to be amazing.

It's Grand National Day
The Grand National is without doubt the most popular horse racing event of the year. It is held at Aintree near Liverpool and 40 Horses enter. Unfortunately 2 horses died in last years race however this year it should hopefully be no horses at all.
I, for one, am certainly looking forward to the race at 4:15PM and I'm sure Channel 4 will do brilliant coverage of it.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Facebook Home

As the day closed in England on a sunny Thursday evening, Facebook in America was just waking up and announcing their new operating system which has been rumoured since last May.

Like all good technology conferences, it started with a short video about why Facebook is so good and then creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg took the audience through some statistics about Facebook and how it is by far the most popular thing people do on their Smartphone (apparently anyway).

Zuckerberg then started talking about the thing everyone wanted to hear about - The Facebook Phone. He started off by talking about the new Facebook OS they are launching called 'Facebook Home' which is compatible with most of the latest Android handsets. You just download the new Facebook App from the Google Play store and it takes over your Android device completely. Facebook has even promised that they will release new updates to the operating system every month, each time adding more features and making it more compatible.
The smartphones that will work with the new Facebook Home Software (Android tablets coming soon)
As soon as you turn your new Android Facebook Phone on you are greeted by something called 'Cover Feed'. Cover Feed is an automatic stream from your Facebook News Feed which acts as your lock screen. It looks great and it even allows you to comment and like a photo/status without unlocking the phone.

A 'Chat Head' on top of an app
'Chat Heads' is a new icon on your screen which is actually Facebook Messenger; it almost never goes away from your screen however it allows you to message people via Facebook or SMS without leaving the app you are in. To get the conversation to disappear you simply click on their profile picture and their Chat Head stays on your screen so you can continue talking at any time.
Luckily you can move it around and out of your way if you don't need it however I know lots of people who would constantly use this new useful gimmick.

Facebook Home launches on April 12th and it will come pre-installed on a number of new HTC devices.
The much anticipated and recently rumoured 'HTC First' is the first phone to come running Facebook Home. It comes in a verity of colours (white, black, blue and red) and apart from that, the hardware is pretty standard.
The HTC First is currently exclusive to AT&T however over the next couple of months it will also come to Orange and EE.

In conclusion, the Facebook Phone only brings 2 major new features, the lock screen with the latest status updates and Facebook Messenger on top of whatever app you are in. It is good however not great and I would wait until more updates come before downloading it for your Android phone. Also, if you don't have many friends on Facebook or if they don't post regular status' it is pretty pointless anyway and you should just stick to the current Facebook app.

Malaysian GP

On Saturday 23rd March it was the second qualifying session of the 2013 Formula One season. The sessions started off wet however the track dried out as the day went on. Paul di Resta was one of the drivers who lost control of his car fortunately not hitting the hard steel walls - he qualified in 15th position.
Last weeks winner Kimi Raikkonen, once again qualified 7th however was later penalised 3 grid places after blocking Nico Rosberg.
Surprisingly Felipe Massa had a successful final qualifying session making it to the front row of the grid; the first time he has done this in over two years! However it was last years champion, Sebastian Vettel who dominated the final qualifying session even after having a few slips in Q1 and Q2, he starts in pole position.

The race was on Sunday 24th March and like last year, the track was soaked with rain once again making huge problems for both the cars and drivers.
The drivers got off to a clean start despite lots of spray coming up from the cars from the track making the cars slip and shake a lot.
The million pound F1 cars were shaking round the track like they were made out of wood! 
The only bit of contact was on Fernando Alonso who got a damaged front wing. Everyone expected him to pit at the end of lap 1 to get the nose reattached however since it wasn't effecting the balance of the car Ferrari decided to keep him out on track until they were ready to change his tires as well. This backfired as the nose of the car snapped off on the first corner of the second lap, going under his car and disabling his steering. Luckily no other drivers were effected however Fernando needed to retire from the race.

Fernando Alonso loosing control of his car on lap 2
On lap 6 most cars pitted, including race leader Sebastian Vettel which gave his team mate Mark Webber a huge opportunity. Webber not only set the fastest time for lap 6, he did it again for lap 7 as well! Unusually, Red Bull were telling him through the radio that it is still to wet for him to change his tires although they just got Sebastian Vettel to pit.

Lewis Hamilton having a nostalgic moment
Mercedes driver - no not McLaren driver - Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton, went in for a pit stop on lap 8 however went into the McLaren garage instead of the garage of his current team, Mercedes. He noticed almost instantly and then drove 2 garages down to the place he is supposed to be.
Behind him, Toro Rosso released one of it's drivers too soon so it went straight into the front wing of a Caterham.

On lap 13, Webber was leading the race followed closely by Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg and Button. On lap 20, Webber took his first pit - he was taking a risky strategy and it was unclear if it would pay off or not at this point. He came out in 4th place.

On lap 22 Hamilton took his second pit stop and he actually went to the right garage!!!

The battle for 7th was on on lap 22. Sutil, Massa, Grosjean and Hulkenberg were in the ring trying to take over each other. Massa soon joined this scramble for position as they caught up with him in 6th position.

Although Webber was leading the race on lap 27, he had Vettel and Hamilton less than 1 second behind him. Bad luck for spectators - there wasn't much of a race between these 3 racing superstars, instead Webber pitted on lap 31 and came out in third place. Vettel pitted two laps later leaving Button to lead the race.

Unfortunately, by lap 30 both of the Force India cars had retired. Apparently it was because internal parts of the car had overheated. This is surprising since last week both Force India cars finished with points.

On lap 36, Jenson Button pitted however only came out of the stop with 3 wheels. The engineer with the front right wheel gun knew straight away that the pin wasn't in right. Button needed to be pushed back into his garage.
Button was a serious contender for this race until that moment.

12 laps before the end of the race, race leader, Mark Webber pitted and came out just before Vettel. Things got intense as Vettel tried to get in front of his team-mate. Less than half a second between them for most of lap 45.
Behind them, both Mercedes cars were squabbling for 3rd position. Once again, less than half a second between them. Hamilton managed to maintain his position only milliseconds over Rosberg.
Finally, on lap 46, Vettel took over Webber. The two races were side by side as Webber tried to retake his position. It didn't last long though because Vettel soon pulled away. By the end of that lap, Vettel had managed to get almost a second in front of Webber.

No smiles from the Red Bull team on the podium
On lap 51 team orders were given to the Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg, when he was told that he wasn't allowed to take over his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Ross Brawn probably gave this order so they don't risk crashing out only 5 laps before the end of the race.

Sebastian Vettel amazingly won the race followed by his team mate Webber, then Hamilton and Rosberg.
This was a controversial win through because it was found out only seconds after the race that Vettel was told not to take over Webber (team orders).
It is drivers that win races however teams that win championships and that is why I think that Vettel should have stayed behind Webber.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Windows 8.1 (Blue) First Preview

Windows 8.1 is the name of the Windows 8 update which is coming later this year. It has dozens of new features which have been leaked this week which allow users to make their computing experience even more personal and make using a PC even easier and more fluid.
The next version of Windows was codenamed 'Blue' however we discovered only yesterday that it will be officially called Windows 8.1.
Note: Windows Blue is not Windows 9 - instead it build on features that are already in Windows 8.

The main difference is on the 'Start' page - Windows Blue gives you more colour options for your background and it introduces 2 new sized tiles; extremely small and extremely large. For customising your tiles and their location there is a new button which lets you move them all at once instead of selecting one tile, moving that and then selecting another tile, then moving that. This new button is found when you swipe down on a tile and the settings appear. It makes it a lot easier to move tiles and make groups of apps.

If you want to see all of your apps you can now swipe up from the 'Start' screen and you will be shown a clean and modern looking screen with a list of all of your apps.

Most of the changes in Windows 8.1 can be found under the Settings menu. Some of these changes are small such as allowing you to access your camera straight from the lock screen however some are pretty major like adjusting your aspect ratio, rotation or additional monitors without having to jump into desktop mode.

Windows 8.1 loves Skydrive even more than Windows 8 did. Microsoft is working on some kind of syncing system from your Windows 8.1 device to Skydrive, and you can also back up your device straight to Skydrive. Like Windows Phone, Windows 8.1 gives you the option to upload all pictures and videos from your camera roll straight into a folder in Skydrive.

In the new Apps menu in Settings there are many new options, one which is called 'Quiet Hours' which allows you to disable app notifications between certain hours of the day. This is useful if you need to keep your computer turned on overnight however dislike having it lighting up and making noise every time you unlock a daily achievement on a game.

Microsoft also seems to be working on a new shutting down page which is extremely similar to Windows Phone as it says 'Swipe down to turn off'.
Windows 8.1 is basically a bigger version of Windows Phone.

Away from Settings, Microsoft seems to be working on a number of new apps. These include an alarm app (which looked very fresh and unique), a calculator app (which also includes a scientific calculator and a  converter tool) and finally, they are also working on a sound recording app.

The biggest new App which we expect Microsoft to be building on is 'Movie Moments' which seems to be a metro replacement for Windows Movie maker. So far it is pretty basic as it only lets you add captions to videos however we expect more to come soon.

Current apps such as Internet Explorer are also getting updated, IE11 has a tab sync function which is very similar to Apple Safari and Google Chrome however a new multiple screen option has also been rumoured. I'm not quite sure how that will work however it should be good once we find out more.

One thing which most people hated in Windows 8 was the fact that if you wanted to use more than one app at a time, you needed to have one app taking 75% of the screen and another app taking only 25% of the screen. Luckily with Windows 8.1, apps default snap into a 50-50 view across the screen however you can still make them smaller or larger if you want. If you have a Windows 8 PC with a high resolution screen you are able to have as many as 4 apps open at the same time which is a huge update from Windows 8 which only lets you have 2.

Finally, Microsoft has also updated the keyboard so it how gives you easy access to the number, you just click a letter on the top line of the keyboard and then you swipe up.

That is basically everything we know currently about Windows 8.1 which will be coming as an update to Windows 8 later this year.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Working the Cloud Review

Kate Russell's new book, Working the Cloud, is the perfect guide for anyone even considering opening their own business. It is also perfect if you need to migrate your business to the Cloud or if you simply just want to know more about how they business world and the technology world are linked.

From the start the book is thorough and detailed and it explains some complicated things in a really simple way so everyone can understand. From technology novices to Internet geeks this book is ideal for everyone.

The book is crammed with useful web links of practically everything from social networks to useful softwares. Kate explains the uses for every website perfectly and if you are reading a chapter about video softwares she gives you a choice of websites and not just the most popular one. This is extremely useful because it allows me to compare the websites myself and decide which one I think is best.

In conclusion, Working the Cloud is a fascinating read which will advantage anyone who uses the Internet - which is basically everyone! I would definitely recommend this book.

Monday, 1 April 2013

April Fools Day 2013

The technology industry seems to embrace April Fools day and they always seem to launch some weird and unusual products. Some of them are even revolutionary though. Here is the top 5 launched today:

5 YouTube Shutting Down
We all know YouTube as a video sharing service right? Wrong - YouTube has actually been an online competition to find the best video in the world and after 8 successful years YouTube has decided that from midnight tonight they will stop receiving entries (video uploads) so they can pick a winner. YouTube has 72 hours of footage uploaded to it every minute so the runners of YouTube have centuries of videos to scan through.
The winner of the competition is decided by thousands of YouTube engineers and the winner will be announced in 2023 when all the videos have been processed and checked. Tonight YouTube will delete all current videos for the public and the site will relaunch in a decade with only the winners video being displayed on the front screen.

4 Nokia Microwave
The new Nokia Microwave
Nokia was pleased to announce today a new Microwave. It has a touchscreen front panel which is so sensitive it even works with oven mitts. The awesome device also comes with the latest eye-tracking technology, which stops the food from rotating when you look at it, and it automatically adjusts the temperature depending on how hungry you look. Of course, it also includes an app store so you can play games, check your social networks or even share your food on the PureFood app.
The Microwave is coming to market in the second quarter of 2013 and it will cost just over €399. Other smaller microwaves are also rumoured to be launching for people with smaller appetites.

3 Gmail Blue
Finally, the new revolutionary email system, Gmail Blue, has been launched. Both consumers and developers in the tech industry have been waiting years for this however now, you can experience Gmail in Blue! It has exactly the same features of Gmail apart from now, they are all in the colour blue! Find out more here: http://www.gmail.com/blue

2 Twitter Vowels
Earlier this morning the official Twitter account Tweeted this:
If you follow the link it explains that over the next few days they will be rolling out 'Twttr'. This new service is free and work just like Twitter, only difference is it doesn't let you tweet vowels. For that privilege you need to upgrade to the $5 a month premium package which will let you use the normal Twitter again. This new update will be coming to 100% of the Twitter users over the next few days.

1 Google Nose
Have you ever wished that you could Google search 'Garlic Breath' and then be able to smell Garlic Breath? No - well neither have I - but now you can with Google Nose. You can sign up at http://www.google.com/nose
It is built into Google Search so if you type in something such as 'Garlic Breath' it will give you the option to smell it in the right hand box.
This is amazing technology and it is available for anyone who owns a computer screen.

That concludes my top 5 April Fools Day pranks that the tech companies have pulled on us however there are loads more. Check out the new treasure map on Google maps and Virgin Atlantic's first glass bottomed plane.