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Top technology presents for Christmas 2013

November 17, 2013 1 comment

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?

SEO vs. SEM

Acronyms can often just get too much, whether they are being used constantly in the office workplace or on your mobile phone (the dreaded ‘lol’). Communication is about sending messages clearly and concisely so this article will define the difference between two different techniques. In the red corner SEO (search engine optimisation) stands defiant and is not disappearing anytime soon, in the blue corner lurks SEM (search engine marketing) hoping to win the fight, with money on the mind.

What does SEO and SEM mean?
SEO is optimising your website to get free traffic and overcome any technical barriers that might prevent a search engine from accessing a website’s content. The site’s content should be relevant and in turn this helps the search engine index the content effectively. An optimised website is more easily understood by search engine crawlers (more chance of ranking higher in SERPS- search engine results page). On-page tactics include, but are not limited to: meta descriptions and tags, page titles, keywords, alt image tags, headings and URL.
SEM is simply the purchasing of marketing media such as Google AdWords (paid search advertising). SEM is very controllable and you are in complete control of budget and spend. You can choose a particular word or phrase to encourage traffic to your website. Over time ad campaigns can be monitored (analytics) and changes made if necessary.
There are similarities between the two approaches but you may find, depending on your needs, you put more time and energy into one over the other. However it is important to follow SMART (specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant and time). There are many definitions for this wonderful acronym but they all mean the same thing; know what your aims are to achieve your end-goal.

Online tips/advice

– Off-site SEO such as acquiring links (recommendations or guest blogs) can both benefit/harm your website’s rank. Make sure the incoming link is from a reliable, authoritative source. However link building is considered an almost outdated technique now.
– What is a sitemap? The online pages of a website accessible by search engine crawlers or users.
– Good writing conquers all!

Would you like your food printed in colour or b&w?

Carrot, chocolate, strawberry and cucumber sponge cake. That is an odd recipe I hear you say, well add a group of scientists, a printer, food and intelligence and the result is pleasing: printed food. How is that even possible?

Scientists in the United States of America have been building a 3D food printer. Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Lab have been working on this project to change the future of food production. The printer uses food “inks” (liquid or melted versions of ingredients) that are contained within a syringe. The machine deposits food inks layer by layer and line by line according to an electronic blueprint. The blueprint uses CAD (computer aided design) software and instructs where materials should be placed.

So why do we need food printers?

The printer makes cooking possible for those who struggle with or find cooking difficult. The technology allows people to tweak and play around with flavours, textures and appearance. It brings fun to cooking. Alongside fun, the production of meals is time-saving. This allows for fast production of specific meals for those in need: hospitals, disasters or the homeless.

However the technology has not been perfected. The raw ingredients each have different materials reacting differently depending on the situation or combination. The project therefore needs more time to understand the properties of materials.

What does this project promise?

The project promises a step closer to invention seen in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the fictional character Willy Wonka creating marvellous food combinations. The printer allows your imagination to run wild, mixing exotic flavours and create colourful food with exquisite tastes. A food printer would make the unimaginable imaginable. However some people feel the printer could be influential on home cooking and alter family dynamics. Traditional home cooked meals could be a ‘thing of the past’ along with cooking skills and time spent either preparing, cooking or consuming a meal. The printer although being able to tailor an individual’s needs could mean less cohesion and unity around eating. This leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Imagine sending a “home-baked” meal to your partner living abroad via Msn. Facebook messaging a heart cookie to your crush on Valentines day. The industry would also benefit from fast production of meals in places needing or providing care such as hospitals or shelters. The food printer is an innovative idea and personally my taste buds tingle at the thought of such an idea.

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