Categories
Blogging Updates WordPress

Fall in love with WordPress again with WordPress 4.0

Hello!

So as I said, hello! I wanted to make an entrance, since it has been 7 weeks since I wrote an article!

I also wanted to show off how brilliant WordPress 4.0 is, by adding a YouTube video. I literally just added the URL to the post and voilà, the video appears then and there in WordPress as I am writing this article. No need to preview the post or wait for it to go live, I add the URL and the video is there straight away!

Why that video though? Well I am back, and WordPress has just been given a bit of rejig with the release of 4.0 – named Benny.

So, we are going to save the world and their will be a good dose of cool cars, gadgets and weapons, mixed with a bit of humour along the way.

Alright, this is quite tenuous, maybe I just wanted to put the video in because I could. I did because I could.

It’s all well and good being serious with this blogging malarkey, but one needs to let ones hair down once in a while, and a funky friendly post is a good way to do that. Probably.

WordPress is fantastic. In my humble opinion, no other blogging platform comes close, let alone another free, open source one!

This is a bit of a non-post of ramblings, but trust me, there is better stuff to come.

You are still reading anyway, aren’t you?

Categories
Gadgets Reviews

The Pocket Boom – Review

A week or so ago, a company approached Technology Bloggers and asked if I would be willing to review some of their products. I thought that this could be some fun, so I emailed them back saying: why not! They then send me a Pocket Boom to test and then review – this article is that review.

Please note, the opinions in this article are mine, and are completely honest – I am not being paid to write a review for them.

What is the Pocket Boom?

The Pocket Boom is a device that can turn pretty much any surface into a speaker. You just plug in your music – be it from your iPod, computer, tablet, stereo or whatever (anything that has a 3.5mm headphone jack) and place the vibrating speaker onto a surface, and it will vibrate the surface to turn it into a speaker.

The Pocket Boom
The Pocket Boom with its vibrator head and headphone jack out

What Surfaces Does the Pocket Boom Work on?

The clever technology in the vibrating head on the device is able to vibrate any surface and turn it into a speaker. However, on some surfaces, it vibrates it so little that the vibrating head is louder than the surface. Surfaces that I have found to be bad speakers include:

  • Brick walls
  • Solid wood – some thin wood works well
  • Clothing – some clothing does work, but not very well
  • Other solid objects with little capacity to vibrate

Surfaces that I have found to work really well include:

  • Cardboard – and other paper products
  • Thin wood – notice boards, some tables and chairs all work well
  • Metal – due to its ability to vibrate, metal is one of the best materials I have tried, filing cabinets, kitchen hood extractor fans, hole punches, beds, and much more!
  • Thin plastic – tubs, especially DVD (and Blu-Ray, Wii, PS3, Xbox etc.) cases and even washing baskets!

Does it Actually Work?

You may be wondering if it actually works, it seems too good to be true. Can the Pocket Boom really: turn anything into a speaker, turn anything into an amplifier; and turn anything into an equaliser?

My answer is simple. Yes.

You can be sceptical, but I have one and it does. As I mentioned above, some surfaces it really surprises you by how well it actually transforms that object into a speaker, whilst with others you can be left somewhat disappoint with the sound level – but never the less it does turn it into a speaker.

The Pocket Boom with all leads stowed away
The Pocket Boom with all leads stowed away (Compact)

From my personal use of the speaker, I would say that I think it works amazingly well on around 15% of objects, well on 70% of objects, and rather disappointingly on the other 15% of objects. So around 85% of objects to hand should be able to be converted into a good speaker pretty easily!

Check out this video to see it in action 🙂

Is it Easy to Use?

Clearly a lot of work has gone into designing the Pocket Boom, it has some great ideas behind it. The ergonomics need some tweaking before the product is 100% perfect.

The 3.5mm headphone jack lead that comes out to plug into your device is way too short to be practically used with most devices. That is a major flaw, but this has been fixed, as included in the box is an extender lead, so you can get an extra 40cm (ish) of reach.

The Pocket Boom and accompanying items
The items that come with the Pocket Boom

Inserting the batteries is really easy, literally slide back a cover, put them in and slide the cover back on. Dead simple.

The enclosed instructions do tell you how to pull out the speaker wire, so that you can place the vibrating speaker head on a surface, however I found them very hard to follow. I found a video on YouTube about how to do it though, and that cleared things right up, just pull the wire out whilst rotating it round at the same time – effectively pulling and unwinding.

The Pocket Boom's Instructions
The instructions that come with the Pocket Boom

One thing that I am still a bit puzzled about is the suction pad system. The speaker head has an adhesive suction pad on it so that you can stick it to surfaces easily. It does get dirty, and I have found that covering it with sellotape and then slowly removing the tape cleans it up and it becomes sticky again. In the pack some extra adhesive are provided, however I can’t seem to find any instructions as to how to change the pad. Hopefully when I need to it will be pretty easy.

What is the Battery Life Like?

I have so far been very pleasantly surprised by the life of the battery. Considering this is a device that is designed to effectively replace most speakers, it uses very little power. Normal speakers can be power hungry, however the Pocket Boom takes just two AAA batteries.

I have had my Pocket Boom vibrating and turning objects into speakers for around three hours now, and despite it being powered by just two AAA batteries, it is still working just as well now as it was when I started using it. The Pocket Boom would appear to be a great saver of energy, considering that two speakers would be unlikely to last that long, producing the kind of sound levels that the Pocket Boom can.

 How Good is the Sound Quality?

Okay, so it is portable, can turn almost anything into a good speaker, uses less power, therefore its weakness must be in its sound quality right? Wrong.

Personally I am very impressed with the quality of the sound the Pocket Boom can produce. I have used it on many surfaces, and found that everyone produces a slightly different quality, pitch and intensity of sound. Some produce music with much deeper bass levels, whilst others just produce really loud music! Some substances I would like it to go louder, but the volume level is always reasonable.

Depending on the song you are playing, the sound produced will vary. Sometimes you need to turn the volume down slightly, as the speaker head vibrates too much and doesn’t sound that great, but turning down the volume easily fixes this.

The Environment…

One thing I have noticed about the Pocket Boom is that it works better in quieter environments. Also, the size of the room seems to affect how well it produces sound, as it can really affect the acoustics. I have personally found that it works far better in small rooms than it does in bigger ones. If there is also a lot of noise, it doesn’t work as well, but for most environments it works really well.

I currently have it plugged into my PC, using the machine (metal) as the speaker, and it works really well. The environment is relatively quiet, and the volume of my PC is only on 20%, yet the sound is much louder than if it were through headphones!

Is the Pocket Boom Value for Money?

When I reviewed the Kymera Magic Wand I bought, I concluded that it was a great novelty product, but not really value for money at £50.

I think the Pocket Boom also has some novelty element to it, which you get when you first use it. I ran around testing it on everything I could! That has slightly worn off now, but the product is very practical and does work. As I said, I am using it as a speaker for my PC, and it is working very well.

The Pocket Boom retails at £20 (£19.99) which I think is a very reasonable price. I think that the novelty factor of the boom is probably worth £5 to £10, but after that you have an extremely practical product, which you find uses for in your every day life.

If you prefer to listen to high quality music, amplifiers and professional loudspeakers are probably for you, the Pocket Boom is not the best of speakers, but it is a bit of fun.

If however you are someone who just likes to casually listen to music, and the occasional bit of fun (as you find a new surface to try out!) then the Pocket Boom is a must have gadget!

The Pocket Boom and its packaging
The Pocket Boom in its packaging

As I said at the beginning of the article, this product has been sent to us to review. This company is called GearZap. Our thanks to GapZear for providing us with the pocket boom 🙂

Categories
Fun Internet News

YouTube’s most watched UK videos of 2011

In the run up to Christmas, I thought we were due a fun, quirky post, so this post is about the most watched videos 2011 on YouTube in the United Kingdom 🙂

YouTube's LogoIn 10th place is a video called Diary of a bad man 5. With 16,026 likes and just 839 dislikes many people seem to like the humour that HumzaProductions (the videos makers) created. It’s an odd one, you either like it or you hate it, why not watch it and find out?


Masterchef Synesthesia by YouTuber Swede Mason is the 9th most watched video on YouTube of 2011. It is a funny (and rather weird) song that has been made out of clips from the TV show MasterChef. It’s very well put together, so I have included it below for your enjoyment 🙂

The video of Michael Collings audition for Britain’s Got Talent is 8th on the list. This is the story of an IT engineer who works in a computer shop in Plymouth, and decided to enter the show Britain’s Got Talent. Most people prejudged him, including the judges, however he turned out to be a really good singer. 76,212 likes vs 920 dislikes really does show how popular this video is!

asdfmovie4 by TomSka is in 7th place. Depending upon your type of humour will depend as to whether you find it funny or not, but considering it has over 14,000,000 views, I am guessing that most people do find it little humorous, although rather… weird at the same time – maybe not one to watch with young children.

6th place goes to the very funny T-Mobile publicity video called The T-Mobile Royal Wedding. The video, at first, looks like it was made by someone with a camera, at the actual Royal Wedding, however it soon becomes apparent that it is a really funny spoof! I just had to include this one 🙂

In 5th place is a very controversial video. The video is a dubbed version of Rebecca Black’s Friday song called Rebecca Black “Friday” (Brock’s Dub). Some people find it amusing, whilst others say that the strong language isn’t justified, and that the ending is a bit harsh. Out of the 447,893 ratings, just 14,295 people dislike it, so it would seem that overall the public really like the video.

4th place goes to Charlie Sheen’s song: Winning. A bit like the MasterChef video, it’s a song made up of loads of different clips. Again, most people would find it funny, however the video does have 5,957 dislikes which may suggest otherwise, that said, it does have 276,113 likes.

I am not quite sure how, but in 3rd place is a video called Nyan Cat [original]. Only around 5% of ratings don’t like the video, but I just don’t get it! Watch it for yourself and see if you can explain its popularity.

In 2nd place is a video of two babies, seemingly holding an entire conversation in baby! The video is called Talking Twin Babies – PART 2 – OFFICIAL VIDEO and is posted by jayrandall22011. It is cute, and slightly amusing, but I think it could be much better were it to be dubbed, with funny captions, like many of the other videos in the top ten are 🙂

Finally, the winner of the most watched video on YouTube 2011 is the Ultimate Dog Tease! The video is very funny and is basically a video of a normal dog, which has been dubbed to make it look like it is talking. The maker, Talking Animals (AKA klaatu42) has made loads of other similar videos, like ones with a beaver on the road, a cat playing I Spy and many other funny ones. Non however are quite as popular at the Ultimate Dog Tease. For your enjoyment, here is the video.

From all the above videos, it would seem that if you want to become a YouTube phenomenon, you need to be funny! All of the above videos aim to be funny, with the exception of Michael Collings audition for Britain’s Got Talent.

What’s your favourite video?

Categories
Fun Internet News

JibJab’s 2011 year review

As Christmas is just around the corner, I am trying to write more light hearted, fun posts, to try to get everyone in the festive spirit.

At the end of every year, JibJab publish their take on the year, in the form of a (usually very funny) video. The video tries to stuff as much news and humour into about two minutes as it possible can.

JibJab's LogoThe 2011 video has just been released, so I thought I would share it around 🙂

You have to watch the video three or four times to see how much they have included, as they really do put so much in!

This year gives mention to the Arab Spring, the collapse of the News of the World, the anti-capitalist protests, the London riots, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Americas loss of its AAA credit rating, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, Rebecca Black, Justin Bieber, the Royal Wedding, Steve Jobs and so much more!

Here for your enjoyment is JibJab’s 2011 year review, called 2011 Buh-Bye!

%CODEYOUTUBEJIBJAB2011%

Good video isn’t it 🙂

What’s your take on the year? What have JibJab missed out, that probably should have been included?


If you really enjoyed that, head over to the JibJab originals page for more year reviews and fun 🙂

Categories
Apps Reviews

Situation SHUFFLE – iPhone App Review

Today, I am going to introduce you all to a gaming app thats both fun to play and needs brains! Yup, I recently came across this app, Situation SHUFFLE, in the iTunes store while strolling around as usual and to be honest the puzzles in this game will make you scratch your heads but won’t bore you.

Situation SHUFFLE iPhone app

The Situation SHUFFLE app comes with a big collection of mind-challenging puzzles that focus on reasoning and strategy representing real life situations. To pass these puzzles, you need a keen sense of problem solving skills and a little bit of attention to detail which makes sure your brain gets a complete workout. To start with, the puzzles seem like child’s play, but they need your complete attention and concentration to crack them.

The app has 30 IQ puzzles, 30 extra quizzes and 6 hidden SHUFFLE quizzes. As and when you complete an IQ puzzle you can take up the corresponding extra quiz. Each IQ puzzle consists of 6 slides representing common events and occurrences like a trip to an amusement park, a busy day at work, a birthday celebration, a scene in an elevator etc. The slides have to be arranged in the right sequence and have striking graphics and you get 4 hints for each puzzle. You can zoom into the slides to compare them and make a mental note of minute details. The details may be really subtle at times, but that could make all the difference.
Situation SHUFFLE iPhone app
Once you have arranged the slides in order, you can submit your puzzle by pressing on the Check option. Your scores are calculated based on factors such as the number of hints you’ve used, the number of times you check whether your answer is right etc.
The extra bonus puzzles that come with the app are also of the same type but are a tidbit easier to solve.

The 30 SHUFFLE puzzles get unlocked based on conditions like, the number of IQ & extra puzzles you’ve cleared and your score. These puzzles are quite challenging and your IQ points are determined by the number of combos you score.

The UI of the app is pretty cool and the graphics are pleasant. Moreover, the app is simple to use and you can get started immediately playing the puzzles. But it would have been good if the tutorial had a better video like demonstration for users to easily grasp how the app works. Though there is one present, its just too slow and lacks details.

Also, there is no information as to if additional puzzles will be added. I was hooked on to this game for about a full day and managed to complete almost 75 percent of the puzzles. I think its just wait and see. But if new puzzles are added for additional cots or even if the developers could offer in-app purchases, I will be buying them for sure.

Go try this app and share your feedback in the comments below. The Situation SHUFFLE app is available in the iTunes store for 99 cents.

Categories
Apps Smartphones

7 Apps You Must Have on Your iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S in black and whiteApple has made computing very easy by integrating some of the special functions of computer on mobile phones. The iPhone is a smartphone series made by Apple. These products are becoming increasingly popular that everybody boasts of owning one.

There are several things that your iPhone can do for you, if you just have the right app for it. From multimedia applications to GPS tracking applications, there is barely anything you can’t find for your iPhone in terms of applications.

The new iPhone 4S released by Apple is a super smartphone. Just in a few days after the launch of the mobile phone, several million copies have been ordered online and ISPs like AT&T have made more sales than ever from it.

But this iPhone 4S might only look more interesting if you have some apps that can make your iPhone 4S livelier.

1. Plants vs. Zombies

There is thrill in playing game on an iPhone. But, I’ve not been as thrilled as I was when I first played Plants vs. Zombies on an iPhone 4S. I’ve always played the game on my laptop computer and it’s always fun.

The truth is that everyone hates zombies, which justifies the reason you want to kill them. Install this game on your iPhone 4s and unleash your fury on these virtual zombies. But you have to be cautious when you start seeing the Michael Jackson Thriller dancers coming after you.

2. iTunes Movie Trailer

iTunes Movie Trailer allows you to watch trailers of movies in HD. You don’t want to miss any new movie and want to remain up to date about latest films. This app has an interestingly slick interface. You can also see popular trailers from various categories.

3. Starbucks

Isn’t it fun? You can now get all the information about Starbucks from your iPhone, directly through this application. You don’t need to start looking up the internet for useful information on Starbucks again.

Among the features of this application are store locator, food and beverage information and it also makes it easy for you to send gifts from Starbucks to your friend.

It also has amazing features like mobile pay. You can load your virtual Starbucks card with funds and can also have your personal barcode scanned at the register.

4. iMovie

Edit your movies on iPhone 4S with iMovie. iMovie allows you to make good movies in minutes by allowing you to add pictures, clips and music to help you bring out masterpiece movies.

iMovie is the one of the best tools for video editing. You can customize your video to your taste and likening. I think this is one of the most interesting apps for multimedia Apple has made for the iPhone.

 5. iCloud

Back up your important files on the cloud with iCloud for iPhone. Once you have iCloud on your iPhone 4S, you don’t have to worry about losing your files. It has also helped me with my weight watchers discounts and edits coupon blog.

It also makes it possible for you to have multiple backups for your special files. You can use you Mac, iPad and iPhone to backup the same file at a time, all secure and safe.

6. Angry Birds

Angry bird is a very popular puzzle game. Take revenge for the birds by attacking the green pigs busy stealing their eggs. The birds are who you fight for, and they are your weapons, too.

Angry birds looks perfect on iPhone 4S for the advanced player and is also challenging and along the line interesting for the new players.

7. Skype

You love to make video calls, who doesn’t? Skype is arguably the best video calling application you’ll have around. Make video calls directly from your iPhone 4S with Skype installed on it. Calling from Skype is also cheap.

You probably have tried it on your previous iPhone series? Well, it’s going to be more fun with iPhone 4S since the new iPhone model has a better and higher camera power.

Try out these apps on your iPhone 4S and come share your experience with us. You’ve tried them already? That’s great. Please share what you think about them with us.