Skullcandy UpRock Un-boxing


Skullcandy Logo Skullcandy Navy & Gold

I was looking for some on the ear headphones for YouTube viewing on my Laptop, Phone & Tablet, Podcast listening on my Phone, Music listening on my Laptop, Phone & Tablet & some light gaming on my Windows Laptop as I usually use my Microsoft LifeChat headset for extended gaming and after watching many YouTube videos I decided on the Skullcandy UpRock or JVC  HA-S44X Xtreme Xplosives. After looking at both pairs of headphones I decided on the Skullcandy UpRock’s as the size of the JVC Xtreame Xplosives were a little on the large side for any kind of use other than at home.

I really wanted the Navy & Gold UpRock’s that I’d seen on the Argos website (a UK retail chain) and was a little disappointed that they were out of stock as they were reported to have been an Argos exclusive colour, so I settled on a choice of the UpRock Rasta’s, UpRock in Black or the UpRock Space, while out I went into my closest B&M Store (a UK discount retailer) and saw that they had got the UpRock’s for £9.99 in both the regular & with Mic versions.

I was tempted to get the UpRock’s with Mic until I realized that they were in a sort of Plum Pink, so I decided to get the Navy regular UpRock’s which to my amazement were intact the Navy & Gold version that Argos had advertised as being an Argos exclusive colour. So here’s my un-boxing.

Un-boxing

The box is kind of unique design as it has the feel of a box that would contain headphones in the price range of Beats by dr.dre, Soul by Ludacris or Streets by 50 and not of a pair of headphones in the budget category.

Boxed Skullcandy UpRock's

Boxed Skullcandy UpRock’s

The bottom of the box has a rip strip opening but is still surprisingly well sealed shut. once open it revivals the  cable of the headphones and a documentation leaflet.

Opened box revealing the Cable & Documentation leaflet

Opened box revealing the Cable & Documentation leaflet

The cable of the UpRock’s is fixed into the headphones & is non removable like many of the budget headphones on the market, but surprisingly it’s a flat tangle free cable and has a soft touch feel to it with an unusual elongated plug allowing it to be easily removed, but the shape of the plug might not fit in a phone that’s in a case like the Lunatik Taktik Extreme or any other shock or weatherproof case without the use of an extension cable.

Documentation leaflet.

Documentation leaflet.

The documentation leaflet just basically has a few warning information on it in various languages and is nothing of any real interest.

UpRocks out of box still in packaging.

UpRock’s out of box still in packaging.

Now onto the UpRock’s themselves. They are lightweight and covered in a soft touch feeling coating with a matt gold metallic looking Scullcandy logo on the arms where they enter the cups creating a hinge to allow the cups to move, the headphones don’t extend very much but for me I don’t need to extend them to fit my head comfortably. The ear pads are soft and then unusually the covered ear pads are covered in material instead of having the material under the ear pads, the ear pads have the Skullcandy logo on them along with Skullcandy being embossed on the under side of the headband.

They have a clicking plastic sound when shaken, but then for a pair of headphones made of plastic that are normally priced at £24.99 including the Skullcandy web store then this can be forgiven.

I’ll have a full review coming up in the following days or weeks, once I’ve had the chance to use them over a long period.

Roland

Google+

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Google Photo Sphere Camera Comes To iOS


More-goodies-found-in-the-Google-Camera-APK-including-Photo-Sphere-Live-WallpapersGoogle yesterday released Photo Sphere for iOS devices. Photo Spheres have been a staple of the Android camera since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and the release of the Photo Sphere Camera App for iOS is the first time that Google has extracted a feature of an App to specifically release it for a particular Mobile OS.

Google has previously extracted the Photos App from Google + only for Android and Hangouts on all supported Mobile Platforms, but making a feature of an App as a dedicated App only available on iOS is a first for any developer.

For those of you that don’t know, Photo Spheres are full 360 degree pictures that are very similar to the way that Google Maps Street View works, where you can look around the photo as if you were actually where the picture was taken.

The iOS Photo Sphere Camera App also allows you to tag your Photo Spheres and share them on Google Maps, Sharing your Photo Spheres with Google Maps then creates Street Views of the tagged Photo Spheres, whether Google blurred out the Licence Plates that are captured with the Photo Sphere Camera or not when shared is unknown at present (as I’ve not had the chance to take an outdoor Photo Sphere to check it out.

Most people complain about Devs separating out features of Apps into separate Apps,  but in the case of Google separating out the Photo Sphere Camera feature of Google Camera just to bring it to iOS while keeping it part of Google Camera on Android is a good idea.

Roland

Google+

WordPress Post Dashboard Clutter


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If like me you’ve used WordPress for nearly four years then this Post will feel close to home for you. I’ve Blogged via WordPress since September 2010 and have amassed 360 published Articles and two drafts and my All Posts Screen in the Posts Dashboard looks like this.

A sample page from my WordPress.com Posts Dsshboard

A sample page from my WordPress.com Posts Dashboard

Trying to navigate around all the posts is a bit hard when you’re looking at more than one or two pages, and in my opinion is in need of a revamp that lets you choose how you want to view all of your posts. I’d like to see something like having the ability to organize your posts into folders by year, then organized by month in each year folder then by week and for days that have multiple posts organized into a day folder, then just lump all the draft posts into the main All Posts Screen, doing this would also remove the need to have All Published, Sticky, Drafts and when there is a deleted post the Deleted tab and just have the root All tab and the Sticky tab as all  published Articles would be in Folders while all un published Articles would be in the All folder un organized.

With WordPress being a well used Platform with the free hosted WordPress.com service, hosted WordPress services and the free to download WordPress Platform at wordpress.org for anyone who wants to manage every aspect of their site and have it on a self hosted server you’d think that some form of Post Organization other than the tabbed layout of the Posts Dashboard would already have been implemented by now even if it was a simple Organize by Categories, Tags or both.

Don’t get me wrong as I think the free hosted wordpress.com service/wordpress.org download is a very capable Blog engine and brings a lot of features that are simply not available in Blogger, with an easier to navigate UI than Blogger Post/Article organization is on of the sorely missed features on ether of the two Blogging platforms along with on the wordpress.org download unless there is a post organization plug-in available for the server software.

Roland

Google+

What Does Apple Discontinuing iPhoto & Aperture For Mac Mean For iPhoto On iOS


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iPhoto has been the standard for working with photos while Aperture has been Apples professional photo editor on a Mac for years, but with the recent announcement that iPhoto and Aperture will be discontinued in favour of Photos on Mac when OS X 10.10 is released although both will still continue to work on OS X 10.10 at least what does it mean for iPhoto on iOS?

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iPhoto on Mac is a simple Photo Organizing and Editing Application for Mac that allows you to organize your photos into albums as well as do simple editing tasks like what the photo preview app on windows and the photo gallery feature of the Chrome OS browser allows you to do.

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Aperture is Apples professional Photo Editor and is similar to Adobe PhotoShop in that it gives you more editing features compared to iPhoto.

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iPhoto on iOS is a more feature rich version of the stock Photos App that focuses more on creating themed sharable web albums over organizing your photos into local albums.

With the demise of iPhoto and Aperture on Mac what does this mean for iPhoto on iOS, will Apple keep the iOS version of iPhoto or will they abandon it all together in favour of the iOS Photos App? My guess is that they’ll abandon it all together as OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 seem to be converging certain aspects of iOS and OS X, whether they remove it from the App Store meaning that it can’t be installed or reinstalled with the release of iOS or just leave the current version up while ever it’s still available for OS X, but as this is all speculation on my part Apple could still leave it available for iOS and keep updating it.

I’d rather that Apple integrate the features of iPhoto into the iOS Photos App and end iPhoto as iPhoto has some good features that Photos doesn’t have, but it’s not worth having an extra photos App installed.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Roland

Google+

Apple Buys Beats Electronics


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Apple yesterday confirmed that it is buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion (£1.8 billion approx), Beats Electronics are the company that teamed up with HTC for a line of beats Audio Android Phones. When HTC dropped the beats Audio line last year in favour of their newly developed Boom Sound that first appeared in the HTC One M7, Beats then developed the Subscription based streaming music service beats music which is currently only available in North America at present like Apples own iTunes Radio.

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What will the Apple purchase of Beats Electronics mean for beats by dr. dre?

What will the Apple purchase of Beats Electronics mean for the beats by dr. dre Headphone line? The beats by dr. dre line, as the Headphones come at a Premium Price. A pair of Apple Ear Pods cost $41.89 (£25.00), but once the Apple takeover of Beats is complete and the now as standard Ear Pods get phased out in favour of  beats will Apple

A) Reduce Beats Headsets to around the same price as the current Ear Pods.

B) Have Beats Headsets at the current price of Beats Headphones.

C) Increase Beats Headphones while pricing Beats Headsets at the same price as Beats Headphones.

Personally I can see Apple pricing Beats Headphones at a higher price than what they’re currently priced and ether price the Headset versions for use with FaceTime Audio & Video calls on iPods, iPads & iPhones & normal voice calls on iPhones at around $84 (£50) mark, since the old Headset that was used since the original iPod all the way up to and including the iPhone 4S used to be around the $25 (£15) mark until they got discontinued with the introduction of the Ear Pods that were released with the iPhone 5.

I’ve got a HTC beats by dr. dre Headset that I bought on eBay for around $84 (£50) in 2012 as well as several pairs of pre Ear Pod Apple Headphones from a first gen iPod Shuffle, a first gen iPod Nano & a second or third gen iPod Touch as well as a pre Ear Pod Headset from my iPhone 4S and an Ear Pod Headset that I got off eBay for around $25 (£15) and I prefer the quality of the HTC beats by dr. dre Headset over the Apple Ear Pods or the Apple Headset, but the Apple Ear Pods are better than the Apple Headset.

If Apple can make a beats by dr.dre Headset with the Apple  mic remote that’s comparable to my HTC beats by dr. dre Headset for around the same price as the current Ear Pods then I’d get a pair even if I have to wait until they’re available on eBay.

The Beats Acquisition could boost Apple into the premium Headset market as their current Ear Pod Headset even though it’s better than the old Headset it still feels cheap with it coming from a company that’s known for making quality Premium devices.

Have your say about what the future holds for Beats Audio & the beats by dr. dre brand now that Apple have bought them in the comments bellow.

Roland

Google+

WeVideo – Video Editor & Review


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WeVideo – Video Editor & Maker is similar to the old Windows Live Movie Maker, it has a simple UI that anyone can find their way around.

WeVideo Timeline & UI

WeVideo Timeline & UI

 

You can upload your finished videos to Google Drive, instaGram, flicker, facebook, Dropbox,  Picasa, box & SkyDrive OneDrive. YouTube uploading is notably missing, so if you want to upload to YouTube you’ll have to download your video from Google Drive & then upload to YouTube. The long-winded YouTube uploading isn’t ideal, but it gives you more flexibility when it comes to uploading to YouTube.

I’ve not had much of a play with WeVideo yet but it works extremely well on my Acer C720 Chromebook, but then again the short video that I recorded using WeVideo didn’t give my Chromebook that much of a workout.

Conclusion

The WeVideo – Video Editor & Maker is probably the best Cloud Video Editor on the Chrome Store, as it’s got the highest Star rating out of all the Video Editors on in the Chrome Store.

I’ll do a follow-up post at some point in the future as I’ll need to have a good play with WeVideo before I can post a more in-depth review.

Roland

Google+

Google Chromecast Officially Hits The UK


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Google officially launched the Chromecast HDMI dongle in 11 new countries on Wednesday and the UK was one of them, this means that anyone wanting to get their hands on one will no longer have to go through the time-consuming and expensive route of having to get one imported from the US. This also means that there will be more streaming services than just YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music & Netflix will be available with the BBC’s on-demand service BBC iPlayer being available at launch (through the BBC iPlayer Android & iOS App). But all the UK on-demand services are available through their respective websites, although you’ve got to be a Google Chrome user and have the Google Cast Chrome extension installed on your Desktop or Laptop computer.

chromecast_unpacked

The UK Chromecast is exactly the same as a US import with one exception the UK one comes with a UK USB mains adaptor, and it’s also fully configured for the UK services meaning that iPlayer will work out of the box.

Set up

Set up is a simple matter of plugging the Chromecast into a free HDMI port on your TV, connect the Micro USB to USB power lead to the Chromecast then plug it into the USB socket on your TV or to the mains outlet on your wall via the mains adaptor, switch to the HDMI input that you plugged it into and follow the on-screen instructions.

Initial impressions

I’ve only been using my Chromecast since Wednesday when it was launched, and picture quality from YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Google Play Movies & TV & Netflix is just as good as what you get over the air on any SD or HD channel that’s available. If your Broadband connection is anything less than 2mbps+ then your experience will be less than satisfactory.

With the 12.51mbps Broadband connection that I’ve got streaming BBC One programs live is exactly the same quality as watching BBC One SD via Freesat, with no signs of compression for streaming via the internet. The same can’t be said for streaming a YouTube video as that depends on the equipment used by the YouTube channel as most YouTube channels are amateur the recording and editing hardware & software won’t always be the top of the range or of the same quality as Professionals, but with the 12.51mbps Brokadband Connection on a 42″ 1080p TV YouTube videos are just as good as what they are on a Laptop or Tablet & Smartphone screen.

Pro’s

  1. Cheaper than having to pay a premium for a Smart TV
  2. More convenient than having to use a computer screen to watch YouTube, BBC iPlayer & Netflix

Con’s

  1. Takes up a HDMI input on your TV or AV amp
  2. Currently only limited to Google Services for Streaming and BBC iPlayer for on-demand
  3. Needs an Android or iOS Tablet or Smartphone to control the Chromecast
  4. Limited to Google Chrome & Google Cast to stream a Google Chrome tab for on-demand services that don’t currently support Chromecast via their Smartphone/Tablet Apps

Despite the Con’s out weighing the Pro’s at the moment the Chromecast is still well worth the £30 price tag as over the coming weeks and months more services should start to support Chromecast.

With the Chromecast being a plugin Dongle it means that you can quite easily move it from TV to TV around your home or even move it from old to new TV so that you don’t have to pay a premium for a smart TV. Since Wednesday I’ve not used my Chromebook to watch YouTube videos as I’ve used the Chromecast instead as it’s much more convenient to just use my Google Nexus 7 Tablet and Google Chromecast to do the same thing.

Roland

Google+