Thursday, April 24, 2014

Slice It!

There’s nothing like that back to school feeling. The smell of chalk on board, smoking behind the bike sheds, hearing Mr Jones explain to you that what he just did to you was “our little secret…” Ah, the innocence of education.

Slice It! tries to recreate this feeling with geometry puzzles and the use of your index figure. Unlike that other swipe game, Fruit Ninja, Slice It! slows things down and you get points by recreating the right way to slice an object.

It’s all about getting the pieces the right size. If the picture says you have to slice a triangle into three equal pieces, then you have to get as close as possible to this.

While this sounds like hard work, it really isn’t – it’s great fun. The use of a steady finger, and a smooth motion is needed to complete each level so this isn’t a game for a bumpy train. It also depends on the size of your digit. Our podgy fingers meant that accuracy wasn’t the best. But this didn’t stop us trying over and over again.

One of the things that categorises insanity is somebody does something repeatedly. With this in mind Slice It! is one game that may well drive you insane.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Augmented reality is the next-big thing in mobile entertainment. Although it sounds like something out of a William Gibson novel, the premise of augmented reality is fairly simple: it overlays virtual information on to real world places.

Still confused? Well, you see a version of this every time you watch the football – those team badges on the pitch aren’t really there and this is just what apps like Layar do.

Layar is the best augmented reality app by a country mile. It makes use of your phone’s camera to display real-time digital information on to wherever you may be. If you want to know more about a café you are standing beside, then load up Layar and point your phone at the café – it’s that simple.

In the main, you’ll get information like phone numbers, but there may even be a menu and user-generated reviews.

Although Layar is just a web browser, the way it displays information in the world around you is impressive.

There are a whole bunch of categories to choose from and you can even layer/Layar an alien spacecraft over your skyline. Pointless but awesome nonetheless!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MSI unveils slimline gaming laptops

MSI has unveiled two new ultra-slim gaming laptops, the GS60 Ghost and GS70 Stealth. 
The MSI GS60 Ghost and MSI GS70 Stealth have been designed to be as slim and light as possible while delivering the raw power needed to play the latest games.

The Ghost is available as a 15-inch laptop, while the Stealth is slightly larger at 17-inches. The company has said that the Ghost is the lightest 15-inch laptop to hit the market.

According to MSI, the laptops have been designed for the “serious gamer”. They come with either Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 860M or 870M graphics card in the Ghost and Stealth respectively. Both are powered by Intel’s Core i7 processors.

They also come with a number of other features designed to make playing games on the laptops as easy and as fun as possible. These include SteelSeries backlit gaming keyboards, Sound Blaster Cinema sound, Dynaudio technology and XSplit Gamecaster.

“The GS60 Ghost and GS70 Stealth answers portable gaming prayers by packing smoking speeds and deadly graphics into featherlike notebooks,” said Andy Tung, chief executive at MSI Pan America.

“NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 800M Series graphics gives the GS Series incredible graphics processing ability, translating into an ultra-realistic and immersive gaming experience.”

Both of the laptops are available now. However, the company has only announced the US prices. The GS60 starts at $1,699.99 (£1,030) while the GS70 is priced at $1,899.99 (£1,150).

Monday, April 21, 2014

MSI Dragon Edition 2 Extreme

This blazing red clad dedicated gaming laptop may lack subtlety in its appearance, yet take a look under the dragon emblazoned exterior and the horsepower is clear to see.  Powering the ‘dragon’ is the latest Intel Core 4th generation i7 i7-4930MX CPU, backed up with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780M discrete graphics card for high-end performance. The display is 17.3-inches, with full HD resolution and anti-glare tech to make gaming easier on the more sunny days. If the raw power from the speedy processor is not enough, an exclusive NOS design enhances the GPU and pushes it an extra 10%, yet things stay cool thanks to MSI’s Cooler Boost 2 tech. Keyboards are the control center of any good gaming rig and this one uses the renowned SteelSeries model, with full colour LED back-light and sturdy feedback.

Price: £3,299 | MSI

What Good is a Curved Screen?

Cinema technology meant to reduce distortion is making its way into TVs and smartphones. Here's why you'll want it.

I've noticed a lot of curved displays appearing on phones and televisions. Why are big-name manufacturers investing in this feature, and why should I even want it?

Curved-screen technology started in movie theaters, and the rationale is simple. When you throw an image onto a flat screen from a projector, the light has to travel farther to reach the edges of the screen than it does to reach its center. This creates a distortion known as the pincushion effect—the picture appears bowed inward, toward the center. Incorporating curvature counteracts this deformity, bringing the edges of the screen closer to the projector to produce an image that the audience perceives as flat. What’s more, people discovered that when they sat in the theater sweet spot—in the central section of the row of seats level with the middle of the screen—they benefited from a more expansive field of view.

Television manufacturers claim that putting curves on TV displays replicates this field-of-view widening effect in the living room, giving spectators an immersive IMAX-like perspective. The problem is, your living room’s sweet spot is much smaller than a large movie ­theater’s. Only people sitting on your couch directly in front of the TV, with the middle of the screen at eye height, perceive a widened field of view. People sitting off to the sides won’t benefit from the curve—in fact, they’ll actually get a distorted picture. And if you sit beyond a certain point at a wide enough angle, the image cuts off completely at one edge.

Besides all that, TVs simply don’t need the curvature that theaters do, because they emit their own light. Curvature does accomplish one other thing, though: curtailing ambient light reflection. When living room lighting hits a curved screen, it’s reflected away from viewers instead of bouncing straight back at them. The same advantage exists in a curved smartphone display. If you turn your cellphone screen off and look at that glass display, you’ll see a lot of reflected light. That light washes out the digital image your phone produces, making you enhance screen brightness and drain your battery quicker.

So, no, curved screens aren’t just a gimmick. But with the cheapest curved TV costing $3000 (­Sony’s 65-inch LED TV), and LG's G Flex smartphone selling for $300 with a carrier contract (the Galaxy Round, from Samsung, is even more expensive), the value manufacturers have assigned to curves may be too high for consumers, at least for now.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Android Security - How The Big Tech Companies Keep Screwing Up

Android Security

They say that first impressions are everything, and nowhere is this more true than in the tech industry. This week, it seems that the running theme is “do it right the first time or forever play damage control whack-a-mole.” With brands aggressively competing in all spaces, products are leaving the shop floor half-baked and the companies are, thankfully, being punished for it.

Apple can’t seem to catch a break, as iOS 6 Maps has led multiple Australians into a desolate national park some 75 kilometers from their intended destination. The situation was bad enough that Apple received public ridicule and now has the dubious honor of putting people’s lives in danger by pushing out shoddy wares. No number of boardroom shakeups and managerial falling-on-swords can undo what has now become Apple’s albatross. Anytime it tries to compete with Google, or even Microsoft, in information-based application development, people will instantly recall the steaming turd that was iOS 6 Maps.

But don’t get too excited, Android fanboys. Android security is Google’s iOS 6 Maps, and this week it drove that image straight home with a solid whack: Android 4.2’s malware detection service is only identifying, at best, 15% of virus-laden Android apps. That rate is barely good enough to be called a tax on malware — stopping it outright is a long way off. A couple more years of this and Google’s going to start looking like it has the clap and people will be covering their Nexus devices with Magnum rubbers, lest they catch something oozy.

Next up is the Microsoft Surface, which has created the first impression of being the patron saint of slow and buggy. Given that the Surface lacks a retina screen and has a higher price tag than every other tablet on the market when you add in the Touch cover, it's safe to say that Microsoft failed miserably at its first impression test with its crap software execution.

Considering the Xbox is still fighting off years of pain caused by the Red Ring of Death, MS doesn’t need any more “we make really sh*tty quality devices” to hamper what’s already emerging as a failed launch for the Surface. Let’s hope that impression doesn’t spill over into next year’s Xbox 720 launch.

I’m sure Microsoft is pining for the days when it could crush complaints with a threat of pulled advertising, but the days of PR spinning and good press buying are over. Blogs and honest review sites long ago removed the smooth icing that allowed companies to pay for good magazine reviews — the hating industry is a bigger draw for readers. With tech companies emerging as the new celebrities with their respective throngs of fans, the tech paparazzi are hiding in the eaves, waiting for them to screw up and let their vajayjays hang out while exiting the Benz. A bajillion writers are ready at a minute’s notice to pen a 2,000-word diatribe on the dribble of mustard you had on your tie, Apple. Just ask Consumer Reports, which strains to come out with an iPhone gotcha to rival Antennagate with every new iPhone release.

So, big three, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Don’t punch anyone in a bar and remember to buckle up your toddler.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Can Facebook Get Free or Cheap Internet Access to the World?

Author Bio:  
Elly Brown is a gifted writer and an Internet & social networking specialist.  She is a resident blogger at

Facebook Initiative

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The Cookie(-Less) Monster

Author Bio:  
Anna Mininkova heads all graphics & web design related functions for the site  She is also a creative writer and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. 


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Withings Pulse

2014 Gear and Gadgets The road to six-pack abs and an all-round better level of fitness is made up of tens of thousands of steps taken, calories burned and elevated heartbeats per minute. This wearable smart activity tracker monitors all of that and more. To further assist you keep track of your progress, you can even pair it up with your iPhone or Android for more options and health statistics on the go. What sets the Withings Pulse apart from its competitors is the inclusion of an easy to use heart-rate sensor. Besides measuring your BPM at the gym to see when you’ve entered the zone, the product’s creators suggest you measure how much your heart rate rises before that hot date -- bet it’s not low. Another helpful feature is its ability to measure your sleep cycles to find out how long you are in light sleep, deep sleep or awake. There are plenty of useful things you can do with the Withings Pulse, it’s just up to you to keep track of your progress and use it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Muse Headband

Definitely the most futuristic product on this list and a gadget that’s not even released until January (fingers crossed), the Muse headband made by Toronto-based InteraXon is a peek into the future of brain-sensing technology. While Muse won’t let you move your cursor by thinking or automatically play songs based on your mood (yet), it gives you a real-time measurement of your brain’s activity. So how does that assist you? If you are one of the many people who complain that they "can’t turn off their minds," wearing Muse while focusing on your breathing (mindfulness meditation) or doing brain training games will assist you in improving your focus and give you an opportunity to see your progress. Meditation or simply getting better at letting go of your stresses will help you boost your productivity at work and make a zen warrior out of you. Muse will also be getting new apps that will eventually do the things sci-fi films have predicted for years. However, you don’t have to worry about it ever being able to read your thoughts or control your mind -- or so they say.

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