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Archive for August, 2009

Ebook Readers: The Sony, The Kindle, The iPhone, the iPod Touch- is the medium finally coming of age?

August 24, 2009 By: Geek Category: Geek Gadgets

kindle2 223x300 Ebook Readers: The Sony, The Kindle, The iPhone, the iPod Touch  is the medium finally coming of age?Ebooks and Ebook readers have often taken something of a bashing from many people. The argument is that they won’t replace the traditionally published book any time soon, of ever. In reality,. people are wanting more and more digital content and as such the various Ebook readers that are on the market are gaining popularity.

Dedicated Ebook readers, such as the sleek Sony Ebook Reader or the Amazon Kindle, are very popular with avid readers, but really, the future of the Ebook market lies with devices that do more than just display text. The iPhone and the iPod Touch are great examples of this.

Their versatile interface allows for a pretty decent reading space, and thanks to the options to resize the text on most iPod/iPhone compatible Ebooks (as well as the skew function), they do have the edge over the dedicated readers right now.

One factor is cost- buying something that can do dozens of things instead of something with one function for the same price (or more right now) isn’t that attractive. Then there’s the size and shape of these things.

While the Sony Ereader and the Amazon Kindle are both sleek and attractively designed (the new version of the Amazon Kindle is very nice indeed), they don’t really compete with the probability and ease of use of an iPod or iPhone, both of which can be easily stored or carried in a pocket.

As a medium, eBooks are certainly on the rise. Demand for material to be read on the Kindle is rising at a great pace, including newspapers and blogs, all of which are delivered via a wireless connection. Similarly, there is a huge choice of material for the Apple devices in the Itunes App Store, which is doing brisk trade too. The Ebook medium may not have completely come into its own just yet, but the seeds are there, and maybe, just maybe, the time is almost here for them to truly shine.

Spotify: Want Music? Get Spotify.

August 16, 2009 By: Geek Category: Geek Gadgets

31VP66C2SFL. SL160  Spotify: Want Music? Get Spotify.The Yourgeekness office was rocking out recently thanks to a certain person amongst our number warming up Spotify and selecting every version of Styx’s ‘Mr Roboto’ that he could find. He’s still not paid the price for that- eventually we’ll let him out of the supply cupboard again once he’s learned his lesson.

Spotify is the greatest thing to happen to music since Napster. Napster was highly illegal yes, but it opened up a new world on how people and the industry viewed music. iTunes took that and made it legal, allowing users to buy music from their favourite artists. Spotify takes this concept, but instead of charging, it is 100% free. Yes FREE! With Spotify you can stream virtually any song from any artist and listen to it there and then, even the whole album if you want. So if you want to listen to Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ or Slipknot’s ‘All Hope is Gone’, just stick it into the search and hey, presto!

51nyxEp%2BSrL. SL160  Spotify: Want Music? Get Spotify.How can Spotify do this, easy, advertisement. Stoptify is loaded with advertisements at the sides and bottom, but these advertisements aren’t intrusive. Also, there is an occasional 15 second advertisement from spotify themselves. While you may think this can be annoying it is not, because you are getting the music you like pumped through your speakers for free. And anyway, ads for online geek stuff always make us grin in that ‘I’m cool, I’m all modern’ way.

There is an option to pay a subscription fee (£9.99 a month for the UK) and this gets rid of all the advertisements and the 15 second audio advertisements. Personally, I wouldn’t pay the subscription fee, as if I like the song I would purchase it off iTunes or from the Amazon music store, but for discovering new music, trying a new artist out or just having some new tunes on while you work Spotify is great. Now, I need to go and find something more annoying than ‘Mr Roboto’…

HDTV: Let’s get ‘Hi’, shall we?

August 10, 2009 By: Geek Category: Geek Gadgets

tv HDTV: Lets get Hi, shall we?Okay, so I’ve been a bit of a late converter to the delights of HDTV. Hi-Def TVs always seemed to be those big expensive things with the pretty pictures on them, but now I’m using one, I dunno how I ever lived without it. High Definition TV really does breathe new life into old movies and TV shows, which means I’ve been revisiting the classics on a regular basis of late. The colours are more vibrant, the sound is astonishing and the picture quality is immense. A perfect way to test out a good HDTV system, as I’ve discovered, is by watching Iron Man on Blu Ray.

Oh man, that film looks even better in HD, and has completely sold me on the idea of the HD revolution. I followed this up with The Incredible Hulk on Blu Ray and the deal was done. Analogue TVs ? Nah, HD all the way for me now.

I thought I’d be able to go on appreciating the old stuff on my cranky old TV, but no, with a good HD Television I’ve discovered that there’s a ton of stuff I missed in my favourite films and TV shows.

One particular thing that amused me was discovering I own one of the books prominently on display in the background in an episode of Black Books Series 3. Aaaah, geeking out over minutiae. Bliss.

Writer and Director John Hughes Passes away at 59

August 07, 2009 By: Geek Category: culture, Movies

51F6K5SAF8L. SL160  Writer and Director John Hughes Passes away at 59John Hughes, director of classic films such as The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, has sadly died following a heart attack while out walking in New York. This is tragic news for those that were close to him, as well as the millions of people around the world to whom his films are so special. We’re certainly amongst those people.

Those films mean something very special to his fans, and we’ll never forget his work. While the man himself was something of a recluse, which when you hear his reasons is perfectly understandable (He apparently went into self imposed exile of a sort to ensure his kids could have a normal life), the films of his early years 51 Kghza6DL. SL160  Writer and Director John Hughes Passes away at 59as a director tell you a great deal about him.

He was a man that fully understood the troubles that people face when growing up, and through the medium of film he told audiences; “It’s okay, you’re not alone.” That’s how it felt to Hughes fans like us, anyway.

Yes, movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in pink and Weird Science are a51GXETZ4DHL. SL160  Writer and Director John Hughes Passes away at 59ll very much of their time, but they are still timeless stories. Then you have brilliant comedies such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck and the global hit Home Alone.

The man certainly knew what he was doing. While later work was of a less moving standard than those classic 80s brat pack films, he remained a very talented man. His passing is premature and very sad. Another hero I’ll never get to meet.

Beat Travel Boredom With An In Car DVD Player

August 02, 2009 By: Geek Category: Geek Gadgets

41Q8HZ7XK1L. SL160  Beat Travel Boredom With An In Car DVD PlayerLet’s face it, long journeys are never easy. While those lucky types who can afford to fly can enjoy all manner of in flight entertainment, those of us who are confined to our cars with our bickering families get a bit of a raw deal. Something to keep in mind is that you can indeed keep the kids from scratching each other’ s eyes out of their skulls by getting hold of an In Car DVD Player. These things are awesome, and for a reasonable price they can help save your sanity. believe me. Many In Car DVD Players come with two screens you can attach to the back of head rests, along with the player itself. Stick a film or TV series on, and rediscover what it’s like to be able to hear yourself think while driving. Good stuff icon smile Beat Travel Boredom With An In Car DVD Player