Christmas is just round the corner, I’m sure everyone is busy writing their Christmas list. With that in mind here are some of the presents that will be topping the Christmas list of every geek and gadget fan:
- iPad Air: The brand new iPad is going to be at the top of every Apple fan’s Christmas list. It is of no surprise, the latest version is sleek to say the least weighing less than one pound. It does pack a punch though including a 9.7” retina display screen as well as the brand new A7 chip which is two times faster than its predecessor.
- Microsoft Surface 2: The new tablet from Microsoft has a whole host of new features that are sure to win over consumers looking for a high-end tablet. The biggest change is the upgrade to Windows 8.1, a much improved version of the mobile OS. Also the screen is a mammoth 10.6” (huge for a tablet) and is full HD, making it perfect for watching videos or for work.
- Nokia Lumia 1020: For you budding smartphone photographers out there, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is arguably the best camera phone on the market. No other phone can match the 41 megapixel camera sensor or the super high-resolution zoom. The Lumia 1020 also comes with Nokia Pro Cam which allows you to alter shutter speed, focus and white balance to take breath-taking photos.
- PS4: One of the most talked about battles this year has been between Sony and Microsoft over their next generation consoles. The PS4 is due out on Friday 29th November 2013 and promises to deliver a more immersive gaming experience. Sony has developed enhanced graphics, more responsive controllers as well as a new social gaming experience.
- XBox One: The other console fighting for your attention this Christmas is Microsoft’s XBox One. The new console utilises the cloud to provide a more personal gaming experience. Users will be able to use Apps and play games at the same time as well as having a personalised homepage when logging on regardless of which console you’re using and just for good measure a Kinect has been built into the console.
- Fitbit Force: The Fitbit Force is the latest activity tracker and sleep monitor from Fitbit following up on the One and the Flex. The Force now includes a small but powerful OLED screen which displays steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, floors climbed and the time to help monitor your daily activity. This is the perfect present for any gym freak or for anyone planning a new year diet.
- Nexus 7: The new 7” Nexus tablet from Google is a first choice for anyone looking for a smaller tablet. Weighing in at only 290g it is light but powerful with 2GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Processor. Available from £199 it is one of the best value tablets on the market.
- Kindle Fire HDX: The second generation of the Amazon tablet has been big hit, the low price coupled with a fantastic new screen makes this a contender to any tablet. The HDX screen makes images come alive with 100% sRGB. The Fire HDX is available in both 7” and 8.9” versions, prices start at £199 making it very appealing to new tablet users.
- Roku 3: The Roku 3 goes beyond Apple TV to off you the ultimate entertainment experience. It delivers the best selection of streaming services straight to your TV including movies from HBO, Amazon and Netflix as well as music services like Spotify. The coolest thing about the Roku 3 has to be the remote, it includes a headphone jack when you want some quiet time and a motion sensor for playing games like Angry Birds.
- Seagate Back Up Plus: The Seagate Back Up Plus is the simple one-click way to protect and share your digital life. This portable hard drive syncs with your social media accounts allowing you to easily back up content as well share pictures and video’s straight from your computer. This is perfect for any budding photographer or filmmaker.
Another website well worth a visit and who helped put this together is Insight UK, a leading provider of IT hardware!
What is on your Christmas list?
For literary lovers November is one of the most memorable months of the year: NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I was asked if I wanted to be a part of this fantastic project, and of course I said yes!
The idea is that a group of eight bloggers will contribute one chapter each using Rory’s Story Cubes to guide the narrative. You can read the first chapter from blogger, Sonny and Luca. Here is my contribution of the second chapter:
The house, ‘our house’. We’d only been dating for the past seven months or so, but it had gotten serious very quickly. We met in Area 47 and she was a lot like me; a deterrent of the pollutionators, sharing very much the same vision. Since the great lightning war men and women didn’t quite interact the way they once did so this chance meeting was what we both coined ‘fate’. Everything had completely shifted since that war, including the laws of the land.
I felt my wrist but it was bare. This is odd, very odd, I never take it off. My identity signet ring was also missing. Strange. A clap of thunder rumbled in the sky; I had to get back soon, before the curfew. But how on earth had I ended up in the waste land? Or what seemed like the waste land. The bin man had been of no help. We had to call them men but we all knew them as something different. They were never made to be helpful or polite, but now, how I wished you could hit playback on one of them and retrace my steps. How did I get here? So many questions and no answers; just a thumping headache and a smelly leather jacket for warmth.
I opened up the notebook once again and…
This is daft! How can I make sense of the old human way of writing, it is all gibberish to me. Though I can understand some of their drawings. The creased pages all have some kind of symbol, or marking. It was two small theatre faces. I’d studied these in the early years and apparently a man called Shakespeare had influenced the arts and drama culture of forgotten London. Royal characters living in castles and lots of other (what I considered) nonsense. This world was certainly no fairy-tale now. Who on earth owns this? Everything had been removed since those days and been kept under strict lock and key. One thing was certain, they’d be wanting it back.
Zzz…Zzz…The worn leather jacket was glowing a dim green colour and vibrating furiously. Anonymous. A faint whispering voice, female, “meet me at the sunny face archway. Use the light on this phone to signal your arrival. Head towards magnet town if you don’t know the way, don’t speak to anyone.”
That certainly made no sense. For one, these old mobile phones weren’t meant to exist anymore let alone work! I put one foot in front of the other and followed the sign.
Make sure you visit the Waterstones website and check out the 2013 book shortlist from the finest authors.
Find the next chapters here..
Everyone loves a good company slogan, here are some of the best:
Which one is your favourite?
The last 25 years has been an exciting time in the tech industry; we have experienced a time without iPhones, the internet and before Facebook had one billion users (yes, one billion). To celebrate these times and Insight’s 25th birthday this timeline has been created to show you how much has changed in the world of tech since 1988.
How many of these events do you remember? Being a 90s child, I missed some of the best techy moments!
Thomas Cook has just transformed the company with a brand new logo and has ditched the oh so familiar tagline ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas cook it’ for ‘Let’s go’. The ‘sunny heart’ is meant to communicate the inspiring, personal journeys of travelling whilst also being customer friendly. The new logo will replace the existing blue globe on the website, stores, brochures and airline fleets.
Personally I think the design looks medical, sterile and clinical. The heart shape has connotations of healthcare and the promise of life. A friend of mine remarked that it looked similar to that of a family planning trademark. I can see how Thomas Cook are trying to connect with customers in a positive way and making changes to your image does sometimes work. However for me it does not resonate with a travel provider in any way.
In fact, I think the old globe created the impression of reliability and trust (thus like the company). Was there any need for a change? The slogan “Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it” was simple and easy to remember. What any company wants surely? I think their advertising/marketing was working and did not need the sudden revamp.
What are you thoughts? Do you like the ‘sunny heart’? Let’s go and book with Thomas Cook…
With the months turning colder and the evenings drawing shorter, my attention soon turns to indoor hobbies such as arts and crafts. Whilst looking for inspiration I came across the American artist, Derek Gores. His collages use magazines, newspapers, labels and found materials (handwritten notes, cd jackets, digital textures) to create large-scale pieces of art on canvases. His work features a wide range including: women, shoes, locations and motorbikes .
From studying his work I think it would definitely be fun to create a collage canvas this autumn. This can be achieved by plenty of magazine/newspaper collecting, Photoshop and not to mention, imagination! After you have decided on a design, which can be anything from human forms to still objects, you can use Photoshop to plan out your idea. The Photoshop cut out effect can help you know where to stick your cuttings. Simply, choose your photograph and apply this effect on Photoshop. You can then print out a copy, to the size you require and use this as a guide for your piece of art.
I like the fact Gores is quite messy with his collage and uses the ripping technique over cutting. This makes each piece unique and not too constructed. His work is certainly impressive and it is worth mentioning his one rule is that you can’t use pictures of the actual object when making that object.
My favourite Gores pieces include:
To see his full artwork gallery click here. What do you think of his work? I will do a follow-up blog post as and when I complete my own collage this autumn/winter.
Many young people want their art to look like photographs. I say, the world already has photographers, and while there is lots of worthwhile stuff to learn in mastering the touch and control necessary to render a picture like a photograph, not all hands or interests lean that way.
Australia based artist, Bec Winnel, has created these beautiful female portraits. She is a self taught artist based in Kiewa Valley, and uses a mixed medium of coloured pencils, pastels and paint washes. I don’t think these pieces need any explanation and I came across them per chance whilst at work. What do you think? Visit her website here!