Friday, 26 September 2014

What's in my box?

I go camping at least five times every year. Sometimes for just a weekend somewhere local, sometimes for a whole week somewhere many miles away. One thing that I have taken camping with me, every time without fail since 2010, is my box - notoriously known by my friends as 'the-box-of-many-things'.
It is my camping life support machine; without it I would be lost. If it was up to me, it would be mandatory for anyone who goes camping to take a box-of-many-things with them.

I found it in early 2010 when it was going to be thrown away after dozens of years in service as a first aid kit and, like what you may do to a stray dog, I rescued it, took it in and declared it my own.

The essential things in the box are torches - I take two so I can see what I am doing when I return to the tent at night, a pocket/pen knife - for cutting sisal after I've tied a knot, sun glasses - on the off chance that there is sunny weather, these can come in very useful, a spare woggle - this is less of a necessity now, however when I was a Scout I was always losing my main one so a spare would always come in handy, and finally, string - not any string though. This string is specifically from your Nana's house. It somehow always comes in handy and only Nanas ever seem to own it.

Once all of your jobs are out the way it is nice to sit down with mates and have a game of FHM* Top Trumps or another card game. (*Other types of Top Trumps are available.) One of my favorite games which we have started playing this year is 'Cards Against Humanity' (not pictured). If you've never heard of it, you should Google them because it is a great game and has made us laugh until the brink of wetting ourselves.
I also pack chocolate in my box, but any type of sweet will do for when you feel like rewarding yourself.

Camp is great. The people who I go camping with are great. That's why I always carry my camera around with me at camp in a pocket. Hilarious things that I want to photograph at camp are often spontaneous so having my camera with me at all times is extremely useful. Earlier this year I discovered that the camera has a front facing screen as well, which is perfect for taking selfies.
I also have a notebook packed in my box so I can write down anything I need to remember about camp for the Scout log or magazine. There is also a pencil case in my box to store the pens and pencils which I might need.

Optional Extras
$wag glasses are paramount for those situations where you think some swaggy banter is needed. Just slip them on and boom... You're now #dench.
For under £3 you can purchase some fairy lights which are perfect for wrapping around tent poles to give your tent a more comfortable and homey atmosphere.

And that concludes the contents of my box; my lifeblood of camps.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Why are teenagers so lazy?

Have you ever been angrily woken up by your parents in the early afternoon and called lazy because they think you sleep too much? Well, according to recent scientific studies, this may not be your fault.

When you’re a teenager your body clock gets messed up; you don't want to go to sleep early however you love to have a lie-in in the morning, this is because of a hormone called Melatonin aka 'the darkness hormone'. This hormone is produced in the brain and is the thing which helps you fall asleep. In adults, Melatonin is usually produced at around 10PM however among teenagers it is 1AM!

Out of children, teenagers and adults, teenagers are actually the ones who need the most sleep because it is whilst we sleep when hormones are released which are essential if we want to grow. So, technically, the more sleep you get, the more likely it is you will have a growth spurt.

Stereotypical teenagers are seen by both adults and children as moody, depressed and quite impulsive. These are all side effects of being sleep deprived. This is why a few schools in America have pushed back the time of their morning lessons so teens can get a couple more hours in bed. Not only did the students become more enthused, the school also saw an improvement in grades!


‘Threes!’ is a simple yet fun game for iOS and Android. All you need to do it push and slide multiples of three together to make bigger multiples on a 4x4 grid. Every time you slide a number tile along the grid another number appears from the same direction. The game ends when you run out of space on the grid because you can’t put any more multiples together.

The addictive game, which isn't as mathematical as described, only came out on iOS at the beginning of February however has been a success from the start topping the app charts despite costing £1.49 (which is a pretty hefty price for an app) even with a “33.33333333% discount for a limited time”.
The game feels extremely seamless, with its own soundtrack which complements the attractive art work. Everything from its palette of colours to the type of cute, animated emoticons used at the bottom of the number tiles seem to have been taken into consideration when building this game. Undoubtedly, this attention to detail had paid off.

‘Threes!’ for Android launched at the beginning of March for the marginally cheaper price of £1.20 (still with the 33.333% discount of course) and, on the whole, it runs well however Android phones with smaller processors may struggle to keep up, so there might be some lag. Also, the loading time isn’t ideal when you want a quick game when you are queuing however I’m sure this will be sorted out in future updates.

I’m usually against paying for smartphone games however ‘Threes!’ is an exception that I would recommend you to purchase. The game’s slickness, high built quality and simplicity ensure once you’ve started playing you won’t be able to stop.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Sony, Asus and LG smartwatches rumoured to be announced at IFA 2014

At least three more smartwatches powered by Android Wear are due to launch at IFA in Berlin later this week. Hardware manufactures such as Sony, Asus and LG have all teased the press in these last few days leading up to IFA with trailers and ambiguous pictures of their future watches.

The LG G Watch R
The smartwatch LG has teased boasts a completely circular display - something that people were expecting to see on the much anticipated Moto 360 earlier this year however a small straight edge at the bottom where there are screen components disappointed many. The device from LG will be called the 'G Watch R' (R presumably standing for round) and it will be the successor to the LG Watch G which is a square Android Wear device launched at the beginning of summer. It has a retro yet sophisticated look which means at first glance could be confused for a regular watch. The device has a 1.3-inch plastic display, a snapdragon processor and, according to LG, is dust and water resistant. The LG G Watch R should launch before the end of this year. 

So far manufactures can only make limited customisations to Android Wear so making stylish and attractive hardware is paramount... And some dinky watch faces.

Sony, a popular hardware manufacture, is rumoured to announce their first smartwatch running Android Wear at IFA. In the past they have made smartwatches running a customised version of Android however these have been far from ideal. The device from Sony, apparently called the Sony 'Smartwatch 3', will have a 1.68-inch display however that is all we know about it. Its shape, style, colours, processor and additional features are still a mystery.

Sony is also rumoured to be launching the 'SmartBand Talk' alongside the 'Smartwatch 3'. This fitness tracking watch will apparently feature a curved e-ink display however there are doubts about whether it will be powered by Google Wear or not.

Finally, earlier today Asus released a trailer video for the 'ZenWatch'. The video isn't very clear however it looks like the smartwatch will have a square face in a rounded body. There are also rumours spreading that this device will be less than £120 which makes it great value for money.

Both the LG Watch R and the Sony Smartwatch 3 will have 340p displays. These are less than half of HD however this is high pixel density considering that the smartwatches less than 2-inches big. Pricing is also unknown for these devices but chances are we'll find out later this week at IFA.