Monday, 28 April 2014

Why isn’t there a Dick Tracy style radio wristwatch on the market? (Asked by Nadia from Los Angeles, California)

(Asked by Nadia from Los Angeles, California)

Before I answer your question, I have a question for you; what’s the weather like in the City of Angels?

Because right now, as I type this from my home in the UK, its bloody freezing and if it’s warmer where you are, then I think I may have to answer your question in person!

Just kidding.

On to your question, does it matter if the watch isn’t ‘Dick Tracy’ branded? Because if that’s what you’re after, then I’m sorry to say that, to the best of my knowledge at least, a ‘Dick Tracy’ branded two-way radio wristwatch doesn’t exist. If/when they make another DT movie (the last time they did, I was a little boy and I had the promotional T-shirt, so we must be due for one), then it seems likely that they will make one.

However, if you just want a two-way radio in the form of a wristwatch, then actually, you’re in luck. Two-way radio watches, like those used by Dick Tracy, do indeed exist and are available for purchase as I type this. They don’t appear to have gotten big as a consumer item (which is somewhat odd, when you think about it), but you never know, you could start a trend.

Wow. I’ve actually finished early this time out, I’ve still got a fair old bit of space to use up. What I’ll do, then, is list a few of the available products for you.

First, there’s the XACT X2X Wristlinx, which boasts 22 available channels and a 1.5-mile range, then there’s the AGPtek Multi-channels wrist-operated walkie talkie which, clumsy name aside, offers 5 hours of talk time and full headset/headphone compatibility (though quite how attaching headphones to your wrist would work is anyone’s guess), although it only has 12 hours of time display before the batteries conk out of you (and, somewhat disappointingly, it has no back-up power source), this isn’t really a bad bit of kit. After those two, there are a bunch of variations on a theme, most of which can be ordered via Amazon, they are usually priced between $45 and $95, but you can probably find a bargain if you look around a bit.

So, as I shuffle off to bed in time for my long winter’s nap, I hope I’ve helped answer your question, Nadia. Enjoy the weather while you can, you’ll miss it when it’s gone!

I want to buy a new computer with windows 7

Want to buy a PC? Its a confusing world out there. Luckily we’re here to help you buy the best PC for you, within your price range. It is important to remember that no computers are standardised. Different PCs are designed for different purposes. Whatever PC you want to buy, be it a Gaming PC, a Desktop PC or anything else, you are free to browse your PC buying options here.

So, what is the best PC for you to buy? Firstly, you may find a salesman will lead you to the most expensive
PC model available. This may not be the best PC for you, despite the assurances of the price tag. Different PC’s have different amounts of memory, processing power and specifications.

A Gaming PC will have a large memory and processing power, it will likely also have a powerful graphics card. This is due to the stress of running PC games, but why pay for what you don’t need? As the old aphorism goes.

A Desktop PC may be exactly what you are looking for if you need something to function as your home computer, the Desktop PC will not be great at storing lots of data, however. If you are travelling and need a portable computer, neither of these are the best PC to buy.

So, Desktop PC, Gaming PC or any other type of computer, first you have to decide what you want to buy. You can start with us.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Samsung 22 inch Smart Television that gives lots and requires little

HBO isn’t Television, seemingly, which implies that Television isn’t HBO by description. However that slogan works or does not work (and we could perhaps go a number of rounds over that one), the one thing that Television absolutely is (at the least nowadays) is SMART.

The standard tv, seemingly offended at being derided as an ‘idiot box’ for so long, has eventually unequivocal to ‘wise up’. In brief, a smart TV can now perform many of the same tasks as a computer or tablet, which is excellent when you have friends over and wish to watch ‘The Best of Failblog’ on Youtube.

In addition to housing any variety of downloadable apps that contain fully interactive editions of Netflix, FB and numerous, many others, the smart TV also permits the viewer to surf the net, just like they might on an iPad.

Get this, Samsung’s new 22 inch Smart Television will even astutely learn what you like to watch and suggest related programmes, it will then automatically search on live broadcasts and make a choice of recommendations for you. I swear I am not making this up. I mean, I always thought Television could do more to pull its weight, but a TV that takes the effort from channel surfing!? I in no way guessed I’d see the day.

The Samsung 22 inch smart TV can be really the only smart TV with the full catch-up service, a service which includes BBC iPlayer, ITV player, Demand 5 and 4OD, meaning you’ll never miss out on your favorite events yet again (unless you, like me, frequently forget to stream them and iPlayer deletes them…The TV may be smarter now, but I’m still just as dim, sadly).

You can too wirelessly link connecting your smart phone and tablet PC, enabling you to view whatever’s in your little screen, by transferring it to your big screen. I could go on all day about the sheer quantity of awesome things this TV does, but it seems odd to write about a cool product if i could, in fact, be actively using it.

Hooking an Xbox or PS3 up to the screen is pure delight, however the fun does not end here; the Samsung 22-Inch LED Television also features a crystal clear, full High definition 1080p widescreen, which will create a tremendous cinematic experience when connected to the Bluray player and a 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound system. You will be the envy of the neighbourhood. Unless they own a racing car, that is.

Oh yeah, it has built-in games. Did I talk about that?

Jay & Silent Bob Return to the UK

Filmmaker, writer and occasional actor Kevin Smith, together with his comedy partner Jason Mewes, will be making their long-awaited return to the UK, in order to promote their new animated film, with a series of live shows in June and July.

The shows will begin with a screening of the new feature ‘Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie’, followed by an informal Q&A session and then a live recording of the pair’s regular podcast ‘Hollywood Babble-On’, where they will be joined by ‘Family Guy’ voice actor Ralph Garman.

Smith and Mewes have visited the UK on a number of occasions, perhaps the most memorable being their first series of live shows in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, which was captured on film for the popular ‘Teabagging in the UK’ tour DVD.

Jay & Silent Bob, the crude and colourful alter egos of Smith and Mewes, first appeared in Smith’s 1994 debut film ‘Clerks’. The duo played a pair of drug dealers who spent every day outside the Quick Stop (the store in which the story takes place) peddling their wares.

Since then, Jay & Silent Bob have appeared in almost all of Smith’s movies, albeit to varying degrees. In 1997’s ‘Chasing Amy’, they only appeared in one scene (although Silent Bob actually had an extended monologue). However, in 2001’s ‘Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back’, they were the central protagonists, whilst main characters from Smith’s previous movies were shifted to occupy background roles, effectively reversing the formula.

The characters have also appeared in comic books, an animated series, music videos and even made a baffling cameo in the movie ‘Scream 3’.

‘Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie’ was written by Smith and produced by Mewes. It features appearances by Smith regulars Walt Flanagan, Scott Mosier and Bryan Johnson, as well as Smith’s wife, actress Jennifer Schwalbach and comic book icon Stan Lee.

Ralph Garman, ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ voice artist Kevin Conroy and English novelist Neil Gaiman will also appear in the film.

The tour dates announced so far are:

June 29 – Birmingham O2 Academy

July 1 – London Eventim Apollo

July 2 – Bristol Colston Hall

July 3 – Manchester O2 Apollo

Tickets went on sale on Friday14th March at 9AM.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa Saves Over $100K in Annual Cost and Increases Staff Efficiency

With its newest resort opening its doors in early 2010, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa wanted to ensure that its new flagship property maintained and even exceeded its already high standards for guest satisfaction. Choosing MOTOTRBO over cellular push-to-talk technology, the hotel saved $14,000 per month in service fees, significantly improved response time to guest requests, and expects to achieve full return on investment within

Situation: New flagship hotel property wanted to raise the bar in guest service

Located in the beautiful rolling countryside of Cibolo Canyons in south Texas, the JW Marriott San Antonio

Hill Country Resort and Spa is one of Marriott International’s newest properties. Celebrating its grand opening in March 2010, the resort offers over 1,000 rooms, a conference center with 140,000 square feet of meeting space, a six-acre water park, 700-acre preserve, and a 36-hole TPC golf course.

Maintaining the Marriott’s legendary high standards for guest satisfaction requires tools that increase efficiency and enable the resort’s service employees to respond quickly to guest requests. So when Brian Sherman, vice president of S&P Communications, a local Motorola channel partner, called on the resort to learn of their communications needs, Steve McGuire, director of engineering for the resort, was ready to listen.

“We were looking for new technology that would increase the efficiency of the hotel’s staff,” says McGuire. “We wanted the ability to call all employees with the push of a button, as well as the security of having our own system without having to rely on cell phones or paying monthly service fees. And we wanted radios that would integrate with the software and technology we are using.”

Improving the productivity benefits of CRM

The resort uses Guestware®, a Customer

Relationship Management (CRM) software solution designed specifically for the hospitality industry. But while the software improved the productivity of its maintenance and housekeeping staff, it was still dependent on manual data input via a computer.

For example, whenever a guest called with a request, the Front Desk logged into the application, opened a work ticket, then picked up the radio or telephone and called Housekeeping, Engineering or Maintenance. Upon reaching the right person they would assign the job, open the application and update the record. Once the job was complete the Front Desk then had to rely upon the individual to call back and report (which didn’t always happen) in order for the ticket to be closed out. McGuire wanted a two-way radio that would allow them not only to continue using Guestware, but to make that software even more efficient.

Solution: MOTOTRBO digital radio system with Capacity Plus

Sherman recommended MOTOTRBO digital portable radios with a six-channel Capacity Plus system.

The MOTOTRBO radios offer enhanced features, increased capacity, integrated data applications, exceptional voice quality and extended battery performance. With the addition of Capacity Plus, a scalable, single-site digital trunking solution, MOTOTRBO capacity would be expanded even further, enabling over a thousand radio users to share voice and data communication quickly and

efficiently on the same system without adding new frequencies.

Four voice repeaters and two data repeaters dedicated to the Guestware application were also installed, as well as the Teldio Radio Branch Exchange (RBX) application, a telephone-to-radio interface that would enable employees or guests

to use land-line telephones to connect directly with radio users. The system was deployed in stages beginning in November, 2009, with two digital

MOTOTRBO repeaters. Two more MOTOTRBO voice repeaters, two MOTOTRBO data revert repeaters and 10 application dependent control stations were installed in early January, 2010, utilizing CapacityPlus. The final implementation for Guestware and Teldio RBX radio-to-telephone interface was completed in April, 2010.

Results: The bottom line – flawless customer service

It takes more than good intentions to provide guests with the level of excellence expected from a high-end resort that has built its reputation on flawless customer service. The right processes must be in place to react quickly to guest requests and speed response to the issue. And the right tools must be available to allow employees to collaborate easily and get the job done unobtrusively and well.

Today all operations, including guest services, housekeeping, convention services, audio visual, food and beverage, recreation, engineering, and security communicate seamlessly via the MOTOTRBO

radio system. Nearly 100 percent of the hotel and grounds have full two-way radio coverage, including the convention center, which is located on a hillside where three of its floors are below ground level.

“With the old way, housekeeping would call the front desk, or the front desk would get a call from a guest. They would use a cell phone to call the right person and it might take ten minutes to reach them. With MOTOTRBO, the process is rolling within 30 seconds. A couple of minutes can make all the difference in the world to the guest waiting for someone to show up and fix the problem.”

Steve McGuire, Director of Engineering, JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa

Integrated data capability can significantly increase staff efficiency and guest satisfaction

Integrated voice and data capability, as well as the operating software of the MOTOTRBO radios which enables easy integration of customized workforce applications, further increases staff productivity.

  • Customer Relationship Management: Ifhousekeeping needs a repair in one of the guest rooms, they can now radio engineering to report the problem. MOTOTRBO’s data capability allows the engineering supervisor to use the Guestware application to open a ticket and assign it to a staff member who verifies receipt. The application directs the flow of activity by monitoring the open ticket, enabling the supervisor to ensure the job is finished within the required time. When the repair is completed, the employee uses the radio to close out the ticket which documents the activity from start to finish. Supervisors can assign accountability and ensure that the problem is taken care of in a timely manner. “With the
old way, housekeeping would call the front desk or the front desk would get a call from a guest,” says McGuire. “They would use a cell phone to call the right person and it might take ten minutes to reach them. With MOTOTRBO, the process is rolling within 30 seconds. A couple of minutes can make all the difference in the world to the guest waiting for someone to show up and fix the problem.”

  • Telephone-to-radio interface: Hotelmanagement and key employees working on-site or remotely can use mobile or landline phones to place a call that goes direct to the MOTOTRBO radio users on the resort property. Leveraging the Teldio RBX application enables third party convention services to contact radio users directly through cell or landline to meet guest needs, speeding response through immediate contact.

  • Email messaging: MOTOTRBO radios canaccommodate custom data applications that adapt the radios to specific business needs. With a third party application, the resort’s MOTOTRBO radios can convert email messages to text. For example, touch screens installed at the door of each conference or meeting room allow guests to request refreshments, initiate a room temperature request or other need. A text message is then sent via MOTOTRBO to the Convention Services staff, along with the location from which it originated.

  • Text messaging: Text messaging enablesdiscreet communications, allowing employees to receive and respond to requests from
the front desk without disturbing guests. In addition, security staff can send a discreet pre-programmed security text message indicating “incident in progress” to every security radio on the property.

Emergency alarm and staff collaboration enhances guest safety and security

The radios are also equipped with an emergency button that sends an audible alarm to all security radios and activates the microphone to transmit ambient noise, conversation and activity at the scene to the security radios. In addition, the MOTOTRBO Capacity Plus software enables an emergency or broadcast channel which allows collaboration between the hotel staff and security. During opening week two guests suffered medical emergencies. Hotel personnel sent out an alert and within minutes, medical and security

staff were at the scene.

Dramatic cost savings and rapid return on investment

Currently the hotel chain uses push-to-talk cellular technology in their hotels around the world. Depending on the number of phones, service fees can reach thousands of dollars per month or more. Because the new resort has replaced their cell phones with MOTOTRBO, which is a private digital two-way radio system, they save $14,000 a month. Even when factoring in maintenance and other operational expenses, the hotel estimates that over a five-year period, they will net around $500K in savings when compared to cellular

and push-to-talk subscriber services. “We ran the numbers for them and calculated that they will achieve a complete return on investment within about 18 months,” says Sherman. Because of the dramatic cost savings and rapid ROI, the hotel chain is considering MOTOTRBO radios for their other properties.

With its new flagship property, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa is proving that the right technology can significantly increase efficiency, reduce cost and keep its guests satisfied and coming back. With uninterrupted coverage throughout the hotel and grounds, enhanced features, increased capacity, crystal clear audio, and integrated data applications, the MOTOTRBO digital two-way radios help hotel staff throughout the resort maintain the gold standard of flawless guest service.

Learn how MOTOTRBO can help your business at www. 

Step and manage your favorite character with just you hands, when you purchase a kinect

Wondering where to Buy kinect? Look no further, squire. This website has everything you’re looking for and much, much more.

January – Its cold, dark and usually signals both the beginning and the end of your New Year’s resolutions. Reading the classics and working out tends to flow inexorably back to re-reading old comics and putting on weight. Then again, there’s also the added bonus of Christmas money.

No, I’m not talking about identity theft, I am in fact referring to the only other way to get large sums of money from people you don’t actually know; Christmas money, that wonderful goldmine of wonga that you’re supposed to spend selfishly and can totally justify completely wasting on video games, comic books and all those classic works of literature you plan to read. Auntie Gladys gave you £20, which was nice of her…Now if only you knew who she was. In addition, Uncle Joseph and Auntie Beryl have slid £50 in their card this year. Of course you swear blind that you’re going to say thank you, before eventually giving up when you realise that Auntie Gladys doesn’t have Facebook (and even if she did, you’re f*cked if you know what her last name actually is).

So, it’s January, where things are down in price and it’s a winter wonderland just waiting to be plundered by you and your newfound wealth. You’ve scraped twelve pints of snake-eye and half a döner kebab with extra chillies off the bathroom wall and you wrap up warm in your new coat (because Uncle Bertram is a practical man who felt he should buy you something useful, even if it is about 12 sizes too sodding small!) and head out to any one of the million computer entertainment megastores currently clogging the arteries of town centres like those huge toxic puke deposits that you get for smoking cigarettes (I know, I know, this is the year you’re gonna quit blah blah blah) You clean the house and head on out in your new coat.  Upon arrival, you can’t help but feel vaguely cheated. Things aren’t as ‘sale-y’ as you’d like them to be. In fact, the game you want has sold out.

So you come home, muttering under your breath and wondering where the best place is to Buy kinect, you put those exact terms into Google and now here we are having a nice chat, like old friends. Once again, let me assure you that this site is awesome. So get ordering and put your feet up.

Oh, ew. There’s still spew on your wall

BREAKING NEWS: “Time Travel is Possible, Says Noted Physicist”

Physics Professor Brian Cox has determined that time travel is theoretically possible and that time machines could one day be a reality.

The British professor, who is also a TV Presenter and pop musician (having some success with the Northern Irish band D:Ream in the 1990’s), used Dr. Who’s famous TARDIS as a broad example of the type of time machine that he believes to be theoretically possible as well as scientifically sound.

“Can you build a time machine?” asked Cox during his speech at the British science festival, before answering his own question with a resounding “yes”.

However, according to Cox’s research, whilst time travel to the future is theoretically possible, time travel to the past is completely impossible. In addition, the trip would only be one way; there would be no going home.

Cox isn’t the first person to make this announcement; in fact, he’s borrowing directly from Einstein’s theory of special relativity when he states that movement at speeds close to the speed of light would theoretically cause time to slow down, but only for the individual travelling at such speeds.

Says Cox, “If you go fast, your clock runs slow relative to people who are still. As you approach the speed of light, your clock runs so slow you could come back 10,000 years in the future,”

Some scientists have suggested that the use of ‘wormholes’ would be a theoretically acceptable form of time travel. In fact, wormholes are a staple of science fiction stories. A wormhole (perhaps better referred to as an Einstein-Rosen Bridge) is, effectively, a passageway, or ‘shortcut’, through spacetime. The effect of a wormhole would be the spacial equivalent of writing ‘A’ on the far end of a piece of paper and ‘B’ on the other side, then putting the two letters together and punching a hole through the paper with a pencil.

However, in his speech, professor Cox refuted the idea that such a ‘bridge’ could ever be truly stable, saying,

“In General Relativity, you can do it in principle. It’s to do with building these things called wormholes; shortcuts through space and time. But most physicists doubt it. Hawking came up with the ‘chronology protection conjecture’ – physics we don’t yet understand that means wormholes are not stable.”

On the heels of this announcement, Professor Cox, an ardent fan of Dr. Who, will be delivering a 60-minute speech about the popular TV show, which will be screened by the BBC on November 23rd. In the speech, the professor will share his thoughts on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, the potential discovery of new dimensions and, of course, time travel.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

What is Ham Radio & How Does it Work?

Ham radio (so called because its operators were originally derided as being ‘hammy’ in the 19th century, when the technology first emerged) is a term that applies to any form of amateur radio broadcasting.

There are designated radio frequency spectra available solely for public use. Uses range from recreation to communication and the non-commercial exchange of ideas. ‘Hams’ take advantage of these frequencies in order to transmit any number of things

Strictly speaking, there should not be any money involved in amateur radio (hence the term ‘amateur’). Although the majority of Ham radio practitioners are actually extremely knowledgeable about radio technology (don’t let the ‘ham’ part fool you), they are not considered professionals because they do not profit from their endeavours. Conversely, commercial broadcasting involves (a lot of) money: royalties are paid, producers and performers are paid and the whole thing is ultimately a commercial exercise.

Hams use a large amount of frequency bands from all across the radio spectrum, but the majority of frequencies are to be found just above the AM band.

A lot of hams, however, use VHF FM, operating hand-held transceivers that send on one frequency and receive on another. Local radio clubs set up FM Repeaters (which borrow space from other broadcast devices such as towers and, in doing so, amplify the radio signal’s strength hundreds of times over), so that hams can communicate with each other wirelessly over a distance of hundreds of miles.

As an example of what hams get up to, here’s an excerpt from Gary Brown, of ‘How Stuff’

“Although a ham radio does broadcast in all directions, hams generally do not use their radios in a broadcast kind of way as a disk jockey would at a radio station. In normal AM or FM radio, one disk jockey transmits and thousands of people listen. Hams, on the other hand, conduct two-way conversations, often with another ham or with a group of hams in an informal roundtable. The roundtable of hams may be in the same town, county, state, country or continent or may consist of a mix of countries, depending on the frequency and the time of the day. Hams also participate in networks, often called nets, at predetermined times and frequencies to exchange third-party messages. In the case of disasters, hams exchange health and welfare information with other hams”.

To become a ham, I recommend that you join a club. You’ll need an amateur radio license, of course, but this won’t break the bank, I’m sure.

I hope that helps, Melissa.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Is Extraterrestrial Life Living Underground?

The relatively recent discovery of life deep under the Earth’s surface has led some scientists to speculate that extraterrestrial life may also live below the surfaces of other planets.

Sean McMahon, a PHD student at the University of Aberdeen and leader of a team researching this theory, believes that the scientific community should be considering more planets with liquid water beneath the surface to be potentially habitable by alien organisms. To this end, McMahon and his team created a computer model that estimates the temperature below the surface of a planet, given the body’s size and relative distance from the sun. The results were surprising.

The model demonstrates that the habitable zone of an Earth-like planet is actually three times larger than previously considered, if potential underground habitats (specifically the top 5KM) are included as a possibility.

Scientifically, this theory is very valid. There are many organisms that live below the Earth’s surface, the deepest point that life has been found under our surface was 5.3KM, but scientists believe that life could exist as far below as 10KM.

In 2011, South African miners discovered 2.4 Metre long nematodes living at a depth of 1.3KM. The so-called ‘worms from hell’ are living proof that in the words of ‘Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm “life will find a way”. Extremeophiles, organisms that survive in incredibly hostile environments, have been discovered in places as disparate as active volcanoes, deep under ground and, amazingly, below the seafloor.

Is it too crazy to assume that similar creatures exist on other planets as well?

In fact, it seems even crazier to think that nobody ever considered it before.

Dr. Norman Sleep, a geophysicist with Stanford University in the US, thinks this idea is viable. He uses Mars as just one tantalizing example “A planet like Mars was clement at the start and could have evolved photosynthesis before freezing at the surface” he told science magazine ‘Science Uncovered’.

The most exceptional thing about this theory is that NASA’s Curiosity Rover, which is currently surveying the surface of the Red Planet, could be in a position to find evidence of this.

However, it is important for scientists (and journalists!) not to get carried away by this idea. “We have only recently started to discover this type of life on Earth,” he told Science Uncovered.

What (if any) evidence can be collected to validate this amazing new theory remains to be seen.

A Recipe For Accomplishment!

Nigella Lawson, Jaimie Oliver and Ainsley Harriott may not be your idea of video game heroes or heroines, but nonetheless baking games are a steadily growing trend. Continuing the current allure with games similar to real-life (The Sims, Tennis, Bowling etc) all baking games are about is, clearly, cooking.

That may seem useless, given the real-life equivalent of cooking games (actually baking) is something you basically need to do every single day or else starve, consider how much enjoyment you would get with cooking games. These games will teach formulas, quantities, methods and even some subtleties that pro cooks have to learn the hard way.

The Cooking Mama series is one of the principal cooking games on the market. Somewhat sexist title aside; the franchise has generated titles for that DS and Wii console, (the console that is best for baking games.) Handheld devices were originally the layout of choice for launching the very first cooking games, with Sweet Ange being released all of the way back in the time of Game Boy Colour.

Popular in Japan and increasingly catching on in the West, cooking games look set to be another huge thing. With cooking games, you will discover cooking skills without wasting money or making yourself unwell. You will be taught patience as some cooking games let you create your gaming gastronome goodness in real time!

Of course, cooking games contain an element of danger (and not just digital nut traces). Do not forget to turn the dinner on when handling your cooking games, then go digital bowling or fishing and come back to find your banquet ruined. Though cooking games can be tempting for a cheaper option, you’ll also find a cooking games dinner being far less nutritious than a Telly dinner.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

How Noise-canceling Headsets Work?

There are two main methods of noise cancellation (although a third shall also be detailed a bit later on) with regards to headsets, earphones and other portable devices. Here’s a bit about them and how they work…

The first type of noise cancellation basically occurs whenever anything obstructs the inner ear; this has the effect of dulling our ability to hear whatever’s going on around us. If you put your hands over your ears right now, or you stick your fingers in your ears, the background noise will diminish. This, in a very real sense, is a form of noise cancellation. In this regard, any set of headphones that cover the ear, or even the types that sit inside the ear, effectively cancel out background noise and are therefore ‘noise cancelling’.

The second type of noise cancellation is a little bit more complicated. Typically, these headphones cost more money, but they offset this cost by being rather clever and also very effective. The second type of headphones are those that generate a low-level of white noise around the vicinity of the speaker. The white noise, largely inaudible to the Human ear, creates a sort of ‘sound vacuum’ that eliminates all background noise, allowing you to focus purely on whatever you are listening to.

There is also one more type of noise-cancelling headset, which is the bone-conduction headset (sometimes known as ‘bonephones’), these headphones actually bypass your outer ear entirely and go instead to vibrate the tiny bones in your inner ear. Your brain still understands this every bit as much as it would if you were listening through your outer ear (or pinna) but you now have the added option of chucking good old fashioned ear plugs into the equation, whilst at the same time still continuing to use your headphones.

With gadgets like tablet computers, smartphones and MP3 players becoming more and more prevalent in modern society, headphones and earpieces are becoming increasingly commonplace. People are now trying to have conversations, listen to music or even hold video conferences in traditionally loud places.

From busy streets to crowded trains, it has never been more important for people to be able to hear content clearly and easily whilst they are ‘on the go’ – it is for this reason that noise cancelling headsets have become such a popular consumer item in the early 21st century.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Why do secret service guys wear those earpieces with the coiled wires instead of something less conspicuous?

That’s actually a pretty good question. Good quality wireless earpieces are available, affordable and would be far more inconspicuous than the classic ‘wired’ models. So why don’t the secret service make their presence a little more, well, secret?

The main reason is largely psychological in nature (though there will be a technical component later on). You see, if a potential troublemaker looks into a crowd and sees nobody there that he/she identifies with as a threat, then said troublemaker will be far more likely to start making trouble. However, if they notice secret service guys using their trademark earpieces, then they might think twice about it and a lot of unpleasantness can actually be avoided.

To you or I (assuming that you aren’t a troublemaker?), the secret service guys are just that, they usually appear to protect someone or something, so we ought to have no reason to fear them. Ergo, they stand out just enough to deter the would-be troublemakers, but not so much that they frighten the rest of us or distract from whatever proceedings we happen to be, um, proceeding with.

If you’re sitting there saying, “hang on, what happens if they want to sneak up on someone?” then my answer is still the same, expect that I would imagine that the secret service would put two or three agents within visual distance of a suspect and then ‘herd’ the troublemaker towards other agents in the vicinity. I have no evidence (or experience, I’m grateful to say), to back that up, but it seems reasonable to me to do it that way.

Now, onto the technical part: wireless communication, whilst it has improved greatly in the last few years, is still not as reliable as the more old fashioned forms of ‘wired’ communication. Wireless communication can be subject to signal interference, as well as suffering from a more limited bandwidth.

Finally, wireless communications gobble up battery power far more than their wired counterparts, so for tasks that may last for several long hours at a time, long battery life is a must.

When the wireless technology improves, I suspect that the secret service will make the leap, but I also suspect that they’ll keep the coil, for the reasons stated above.

Also, as an added extra – if you’re wondering why they touch their ears when they receive a message (much to my fellow Brit James Bond’s chagrin), well, that’s because pushing the earpiece into your ear drowns out background noise and also makes the message louder. They simply do it for sound clarity when receiving important information.

Friday, 18 April 2014

An earpiece of the action

The world is filled with really cool, well written content pieces. Whenever you find one that catches your eye, you have got to post it, well i do! so with consent of the original writer i have posted this to enjoy

Now for those of you who have been regular readers and posters on here, you’ll know what this blog is all about. If you’re new, let me explain.

I noticed someone last week asking on here why didn’t I write about the latest political goings-on. Well my take on that question is that there are a million websites, many of them excellent, where you can read up on that stuff and other people do it on the BBC F1 site; whereas this is the only place that, I hope, gives you unique access to what doing my job is like.

Which is why we’ve included an exclusive little sample below…

Mark Webber, German Grand Prix 2009

Ever since I was lucky enough to get this job people have told me how fortunate I am and how much they’d love to do the same, so I decided my blog and my Twitter site would be all about making you feel like you are doing this job. I was keen to be the most accessible F1 presenter possible, and my idea for this week’s post is hopefully another step towards that.

I thought you’d like to hear what is being fed down my ears when live on BBC One presenting the F1 coverage.

While a diver is reliant on his oxygen supply, I am completely dependent on my earpiece. It’s my umbilical cord to the entire production and without it I’m flying solo.

I often describe this job as quite a lonely experience and that tends to perplex people, so let me explain. I may have Eddie and DC to my right, a pitlane full of people and the crew around to save me from any onrushing Toyota’s, but it is still a lonely experience to me.

I am the only person there charged with welcoming the viewers when the red light comes on or I hear the words “cue Jake”, to deal with breaking news, ask EJ and DC the right things at the right time and keep the show moving, all without the use of an autocue. Part of this feeling comes from knowing that as you open your mouth there are five million people (that’s 55 packed Wembleys) listening to what you’re saying. It’s a quite personal, nervous feeling that I can’t really compare to anything else ever felt. I don’t like the nerves much and I’ve mentioned before on here that I’m often unable to eat before a programme.

The one thing that keeps me feeling secure and connected to the rest of the production team and therefore our output is the ‘talkback’.

I use what’s known as ‘open talkback’ where I hear everything. EJ and DC use ‘switch(ed) talkback’ where Mark the producer presses a button to talk to them. I learned ‘open’ at CBBC and it is an absolutely vital tool. As an example, we had a moment where a VT wasn’t ready during our Silverstone race build up. Thankfully I heard Sunil in VT tell the gallery it wasn’t ready, and although they instantly relayed it to me, that vital couple of seconds were really helpful. It can all help you feel right across what’s going on.

I hear the director Richard calling cameras, the production co-ordinator Katherine dealing with the timings, Mark the editor making the editorial calls and anyone else who chips in such as Lee or Ted from the pitlane.

On here is a totally unedited version of my talkback. This is exactly what I hear…

The one tricky thing about F1 is that because it’s so loud the earpieces are also ear defenders so I have David’s and Eddie’s voices fed directly down the earpiece too. So getting the balance of various volumes is crucial.

A gallery can be a busy place, especially when there are any technical problems. Ask any presenter and they’ll tell you the calmer the gallery the better.

Things often crop up, though. For example, we had a slight problem on Saturday when everything reset itself moments before we were live. That meant that two minutes before I was due to welcome you to qualifying build-up in the pits, we were rushing to an area we call the ‘bolt hole’ to use mics that we knew would be OK. Hopefully you wouldn’t have noticed a few seconds later when we went live; it’s our job to make sure those things don’t affect the quality of the output.

Anyway, on Sunday I asked the sound supervisor, Chris, if he could record the last part of the show’s talkback from the champagne spraying to the ‘goodbye’ on BBC One that we have to hit to the second. The exact talkback that I heard when we were live is what you can hear in the video above.

Thankfully it was all pretty straightforward and I’ll be really interested to know your thoughts.

Strangely, when I listened back to it I found it a really nerve-wracking listen. I find it hard to explain why, but guess when I’m in the middle of it with the adrenaline and the ‘live’ buzz I just accept what’s going on in my ear as part of the job. Only afterwards when I’m relaxed I can’t quite believe how involved it is.

Anyway, have a listen and let me know what you think.

Oh, and before I sign off I just wanted to say how pleased I am for Mark Webber. He’s been nothing but a thoroughly nice guy since I’ve been involved this past season and after 130 races he’s shown he’s got what it takes and that he is a winner. And doesn’t it add another exciting dimension to a title race that’s really shaping up nicely?!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Keeping Up With Current Events - Two Way Radios in Events Management

From cultural events celebrating the diverse mosaic of British identity, to barnstorming rock n roll gigs, events management is a huge area to be involved in.

The term ‘event’ can be somewhat misleading, because technically everything is an event. Actually, when you look at it like that, maybe it isn’t so misleading after all…

When we use the term event, we could be talking about an indoor conference just as easily as a political rally. Athletic contests, art exhibitions, magic shows; if people attend it, it’s an event, and if it’s an event; it needs a manager.

With such events proving to be a booming industry in modern Britain, there’s never been a better time to be an event manager. However, no matter how good your management skills may be, there is one little device that you simply can’t do without.

Rugged, strong and reliable, the humble two-way radio is a staple of so many activities that it beggars belief. In order for a concert to go as planned, or that installation to be ‘just so’, a manager needs to be in constant contact with the staff who are working under her/him.

A key concern at any event is health and safety and, after that, security. With so many people attending, say, a conference, paramedics need to be on standby in case of any emergency. In addition, fire safety regulations need to be adhered to, as do any building laws that may be in effect.

As for security, in today’s troubled world, the sad truth is that there are a lot of disgruntled people out there, people who will stop at nothing to make their statement. Without dwelling on this terrible fact, we must merely make a solemn mental note that, without radios, it would be far harder for security teams to effectively police such large gatherings of Humanity.

People working backstage at music gigs, from venue staff to roadies, need to be kept abreast of things like weather issues, changes to schedule and ongoing security concerns; only radios have the power to achieve this with any degree of effectiveness.

Events management, then, is a constant challenge, but the smiling faces of the patrons make it all worthwhile.

Everybody from cleaners and vendors, to front office staff and fire marshals, needs to be within easy reach of management; two-way radios not only make this possible, they actually make it easy. More reliable than a phone, more practical than a middleman and far faster than a pager, the two-way radio is absolutely crucial to the success of any big event.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

We are Going to Have a Smart Television Party Tonight!

Every year on Halloween, my home is aglow with eerie charm as I join my long-suffering girlfriend (with a little range of our friends) for the night of traditional horror movies. The standard suspects all get an excursion, (the same ones we’ve always watched), like the original F.W Murnau ‘Nosferatu’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Ring’ (The Hideo Nakata version, obviously) and others still.

Clutching tightly onto out bowls of snacks or bags of sweets, many of us congregate round and try to get worked up about films we have watched a billion times earlier.

It is now a tradition that goes back to my younger years, when I lived with my dad and mom. In the past, Halloween was a great deal, we would cover the house with spooky decorations (usually acquired very cheaply one or two weeks after the prior year’s festivities).

Rubber spiders, cardboard skeletons and this cobwebby stuff that just sticks on you (and does not go away for months) would adorn both the within and outdoors of my parents’ home. We were fortunate enough to live nearby to an American Lady who often cooked (and shared) the most effective pumpkin pie I have ever tasted.

We would go ‘Trick or Treat-ing’ when we were little, obviously, but switched to gathering up for charity as we got older. We collected for Cancer Research, Parkinson’s Disease and, in 2001, we raised a tidy little amount for the people of 9/11 victims, I’m always pleased with that.

Back then; the horror movies would start early, habitually with one of the many, many (many) ‘Halloween’ sequels. Then, we’d improve to something else (my brother and I are pretty big followers of Mark Pellington’s criminally underrated 2002 film ‘The Mothman Prophecies’). Our neighbour’s children would often come over for a hotdog and many complimentary candy, so we always had to pause these films right at the good bits!

Why am I revealing you all this? Clearly, largely I desire to tell you all this as if I had a Panasonic 32-Inch TV, Halloween would be even better for this year and every year thereafter. Yeah, I am selling the thing, but I am doing this in an original and fascinating way, so just do me the favour and read to the end.

What is so extraordinary with the Panasonic 32 inch Smart tv?, I hear you ask, well, in addition to developing a whopping 32-Inch display (in full 1080P HD, no less), this brand new TV from market leaders Panasonic features built-in WiFi, so me and my associates could scare ourselves viewing the Youtube app for ‘Ghost Caught on Tape’ or such like.

The super-slim design for the tv means that it will fit simply into my residence, enabling us to reinforce the evening’s celebrations by inviting yet more friends.

To sum up, a spooky Halloween night full of chills, thrills and (inescapably with my mates) spills, will be so seriously improved by this Television’s superb visuals, crisp, atmospheric noises and also the eye-popping (literally in the case of perennial Samhain fave ‘Evil Dead II’) rendering of special effects, that I just felt compelled to tell you about it here.

More applications than it is possible to shake an apple ipad at and more features than you’ll be able to shake a DVD box set at (and more article clichés than you’ll be able to shake a Halloween-obsessed hack at), make this a heck of a TV to have…On any night of our year.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The headphones revolution: bright colours, street styling spark new craze

Anyone considering buying headphones for a young relative this Christmas, take care before splashing out the £150 or more that the most fashionable – the Beats, or Skullcandy, or Urbanears models – can cost.

Each brand marks them out as one of a “tribe”, regardless of sound quality. Whereas 20 years ago the most important thing for a teenager was the brand of trainer on their feet – Nike, Reebok or Adidas – now it’s the brand covering their ears that matters.

Beats headphones, with their red cord and large “b” on the earpieces, began appearing in music videos in late 2008, largely through the efforts of the company’s co-founders, the rapper Dr Dre and the music entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine. That sparked rocketing sales to a teenage demographic looking for a new way to distinguish themselves out from their peers.

In doing so, Beats’ emergence showed that high-priced headphones would sell, becoming as much a fashion accessory as a gadget, commanding prices over £200 – a bracket previously reserved for the audiophile niche.

A decade ago, the white tendrils of an iPod’s headphones might have marked the wearer out as trendy; nowadays it makes them just one of the crowd, and Apple’s in-ear headphones are too common to bother with. A teenager wanting to stand out needs something big – and bold.

“Companies like Beats and Skullcandy have realised that kids today want something that looks better, over questions of sound quality,” says Sam Ruffe, who works at The Kinc, a marketing agency whose clients include Skullcandy.

And those kids (or their parents) will pay: worldwide, the market for headphones will be worth over £5bn ($8bn) this year, with 284m units shipped, according to the consumer consultancy Futuresource; over-ear headphones grabbed half of sales. And Beats alone will grab around £1.25bn – while the total market is forecast to grow by 5% annually for the next five years.

Skullcandy was originally designed for skiers and snowboarders, by Rick Alden, who got the idea on a chairlift in Park City, Utah. Starting in 2003, he managed to persuade skating and skiing shops to stock the product, which became known as an “extreme sports” brand.

Urbanears, meanwhile, brought Scandinavian design and a flourish of colour to the burgeoning headphone market, releasing two “collections” of headphones a year in limited-edition colours.

The continued success of Beats brought competition as these other brands began chasing the new demographic of people willing to spend money to wear their branding choice on their ears. Skullcandy moved off the slopes and into the high street. Now, they are more likely to be seen on the bus than on the piste.

Audiophiles aren’t impressed by the brigade of bolshy Beats products, which often pride bass and look over acoustic refinement. “I just bought a set of the Beats Solo HD headphones – it’s a Christmas gift for my 13-year-old daughter,” Chris Miller, a software engineer, told the Guardian, adding: “I think they are overpriced and you are paying a premium for the brand name. They aren’t bad, but I have headphones that sound better for half the price that I paid for the Beats.”

Sound quality, though, isn’t necessarily the point – which may have been missed by more traditional “audiophile” brands such as Germany’s Sennheiser, the Dutch brand Philips and the American Bose, who were caught unaware that colouring the earpiece and cord green or red could affect sales as much as their sound quality.

Andy Watson of Futuresource says you might struggle to tell some headphones apart at the factory. “With everyone owning the same generic-looking personal audio player or mobile phone, it’s the headphones that do the differentiating. There is certainly cachet and brand equity attached to many of the brands, beyond their intrinsic value. Much of it is about positioning a lifestyle rather than a product.”

Yet the growing tribalism of headphone ownership has led to derision in some quarters – such as the blog “Long Way From Compton”, which features pictures of people wearing Beats headphones, and measuring the distance from there to the notorious gang-ridden Los Angeles district from which Dr Dre emerged.

It’s in the can

Beats Studio

Arguably one of the headphones that kicked off the large and colourful trend, the original Beats by Dre headphones drove appeal through product placement in music videos. Pushed by the music marketing powerhouse of Dr Dre (pictured above) and Jimmy Iovine, Beats brought big, aggressive bass-y sound at a big price and made it fashionable.

Bowers & Wilkins P5

Proving that expensive, fashionable headphones could sound good, the Bowers & Wilkins P5 ooze luxury and sound great, with excellent noise isolation and good range, which makes the equally pricey Beats sound downright mediocre.

Bose QuietComfort

The commuter’s favourite, Bose took noise-cancelling technology – which silences the outside world by blasting sound waves to cancel out the noise leaving only the music audible – and made it popular. On their third revision, the Bose QuietComforts are still the active noise-cancelling headphones to beat for many.

Sennheiser Momentum

Long-standing quality audio company Sennheiser was late to the stylish headphone game, but its Momentum series combines a sophisticated look with top-notch acoustics.


A collaboration between the French designer Philippe Starck and the Bluetooth specialists Parrot, Zik headphones are some of the best wireless headphones around, with intuitive touch controls, active noise-cancelling, and sound profiles and acoustics that can be modified with iPhone and Android apps.

Skullcandy Crusher

Battery-powered bass means that the Crusher gives real wallop to what otherwise might just be loud music. Cavernous earpieces (made of “soft touch” leather) also come with a powered mini-amplifier, foldable hinge (for storage) and a microphone and remote on the detachable headphone cable. CA and SG

Source –

Review of that Surface pro?

Id Computer software originator John Carmack has recommended that, in the not-too-far-off future, our individual computers are going to be built-in into our smartphones. With TV plus a multitude of other devices now incorporating an increasing number of elements of computers (and seemingly all supporting Online access), it is not ridiculous to envisage a future where the desktop PC evaporates totally from our lives, but simply after depositing itself in every other home gadget.

If this future is approaching, then the Surface pro is prone to be seen as an significant stepping-stone across the way. But is it the sort of stone that makes it possible to get to your destination, or is it secretly a crocodile in disguise, getting ready to snap your leg and hamper all development? (Dig those Monday daybreak similes, people). We dispatched our reviewer to discover.

THE Specifications

Strange Crocodile-themed asides apart, the Microsoft Surface Pro sports a number of rather nifty statistics. The Microsoft surface pro is different from its RT equivalent for a variety of reasons. Chief amongst these motives is the employment of this Windows 8 Pro operating system (that’s created for Intel processors as opposed to RT’s reliance on their ARM equivalents) and also the potential for a enormous 128GB storage (and that is not including the Pro’s MicroSDXC slot).

The Dual-core 1.7GHz Intel i5 CPU may be a beast, in fact, every time you boot this tablet up, it flies away like a puppy straining against a leash, anxious and needing to get started. With its strong memory; the Surface Pro can calculate 25.6 GB of data a second (which is above my deprived, crocodile-obsessed noggin can conduct in a week).


The Surface Pro is, nowadays, not available in the UK, but it will be shortly. In the United states, you can get one for $899, which translates at about £590, although that’s not taking the keyboard into account.


Product sales of the Microsoft surface series haven’t been as great as Microsoft were obviously hoping, which comes as a real surprise to me. The Surface RT sold relatively well, however the reaction was by and large mixed and, ever since the release of the Microsoft surface pro, the sales haven’t risen in any significant way. In fact, technology website ‘The‘ reported last month that Surface profits had started off disappointing and had continued to sink ever since.

As I stated, it is a revelation, since the Surface Pro seems to become by far the better product.

The screen is, quite literally, stunning, a attractively rendered mixture of color, light and depth. In addition, the Surface Pro runs extremely smoothly and efficiently.

Personally, my problem with the Microsoft surface pro is similar one I had with a Surface RT, that is, Windows 8.

Though the Intel-friendly Windows 8 is much easier to work with (Microsoft sticking with what they know isn’t going to lead us far wrong), it still features nearly all of the same annoyances. Windows 8 is actually highly customizable, but the system’s dense and often unforgiving personality can easily make you fling your arms up in the air and completely give up on what you’re attempting to do with it.

The software just isn’t as hospitable and user friendly as Android or iOS and therein lays the major difficulty.


Technologically speaking, the Microsoft surface pro is a miracle. Some of the tech utilized by this device is actually Next-Gen stuff and, in that reverence, the Microsoft surface pro represents a milestone in portable computing.

When you fancy a challenge, or you happen to get a competent programmer, this is probably going to signify an ‘iPad beater’ for you. Yet, if you are one of us common people, for whom computers are a tool and never a puzzle, you can get a better OS (and save about £200 in the process) by purchasing an apple ipad.

REVIEWS:The Kindle Fire HD 8.9

So, as the iPad finally gets a completly slighter version, the Kindle Fire HD gets a slightly larger one.

Both versions are, fundamentally, identical as the latest versions of the respective series. On the other hand, both are oddly sized additions to their respective families. The iPad Mini is 7.9″ therefore is not, accurately speaking, a 7 Inch pc tablet and, not to be beaten, this new Kindle Fire is 8.9 Inches and so is therefore not, strictly speaking, a ten-inch version of their (usually 7-Inch) Kindle Fire HD.

Historically, tablet pc’s come in 2 sizes, 10″ and 7″, and both dimensions have their advocates, just as much as both sides have advantages and disadvantages. I confirmed this new Kindle Fire in an attempt to discover if bigger really is better…


Maybe I’d have been better off evaluating the Kindle Fire HD to the Google Nexus instead. The Asus nexus 7 is, after all, really the only tablet in Kindle Fire’s price range that matches it for efficiency, specs and reputation.

Originally a 7″ tablet, the 10″ Nexus model was released to about as warm a greeting as George Costanza’s toupee and sold rather poorly from there. In fact, there is barely around 680,000 Google nexus 10 models currently in use, which looks terrible, especially in comparison to estimated 6.8 million Nexus 7 tablets.

Why is this? The Nexus 10 was just as good a tablet the Asus nexus 7 (and also the Asus nexus 7 is an incredibly, good tablet). However, for some reason, it just did not cut the mustard.

Perhaps it is a size thing. Larger tablets basically are not as portable (or as cheap) as their smaller counterparts. Basically, it seems that when people go big, they go apple ipad.

Ostensibly, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is identical classy, cosmopolitan accessory as the regular Kindle Fire HD, however it’s just a little bit bigger this time around. This means these have a similar duel WiFi antenna, similar dazzling array of downloadable apps and content and the same specifically designed Dolby surround sound system.


The 8.9 version + Kindle Fire HD is a good buy costlier than the 7 Inch model. For example, I could buy a 7″ Kindle Fire HD (with free delivery, no less) from Amazon for £160, however the 8.9-Inch version, which is, barring one or two minor changes, the same tablet, will set me back about £230. That’s quite a bit to consider.


Now, I’ve talked (at great length) about the Kindle Fire HD in a variety of other places, so I will frankly summarise here so as to save space and avoid repeating myself.

The Kindle Fire HD is really a masterpiece of condensed computing; it offers an easy, likeable user interface, brilliant media playback with a fine array of apps to boot. The Kindle Fire HD is a wonderful all rounder that offers great value for money and is a really sensible choice for that commuter, first-time purchaser and/or the casual user.

Skilled software engineers will probably find the Fire HD restrictive (Amazon are notoriously heavy-handed about what you can and can’t install, for instance) and its not on the level of an apple ipad or a Surface when it comes to processing power. Though, it is an excellent product overall.

The 8.9 Inch version differs in only the one, achingly obvious, way.

The size increase does benefit from a bigger display, that is a genuine boon to a visually impaired user, but further than that, it seems slightly superfluous. The increased size makes the Kindle Fire HD feel that rather more cumbersome and clumsy, whilst also making it less likely to fit on your bedside, or as cozily right into a handbag or rucksack.

The difference in size is not as jarring as a 10″ model would have been, but it is certainly noticeable. #On the# one hand, it is nice to possess increased options, but on the other…


Fundamentally, the smaller size of the Kindle Fire HD is one of its major selling factors. Cheap and cheerful, the 7″ Kindle Fire HD was seemingly made for livening up tedious bus journeys, replacing the book on your nightstand and being a ideal journey companion on the last-minute getaway. Conversely, the 8.9 Inch version lacks nearly all of these charms, whilst at the same time also missing the processing power of the 10″ pc tablet.

This new Kindle Fire HD remains to be a exceptional tablet, but the dimensions (as well as the cost) increase doesn’t seem likely to cause it to many new friends. Do not get me wrong, I’m a fan of the series, but I predict this one sharing a similar fate to the Nexus 10.

Bring beautiful music (and sound effects) to your ears with this headset buying guide

This Headset buying guide from PC world is one of the most detailed we could find for this christmas, if you’re looking for a headset for a family member then reading this will put you in the right direction.

Modern games deliver awesome graphics, but the visuals are only half of the gaming experience. Studies have shown that audio quality can shape your perception of the entire gaming experience. When a high-quality soundtrack reaches your ears, your brain will also perceive the game’s graphics to be of higher quality.

Audio quality can affect your gaming experience in other ways, too. Without good audio, you won’t hear enemies approaching or hiding behind cover. You might not hear your teammates as they try to coordinate with you or give you instructions, and they won’t hear you clearly, either. And you’ll lose that sense of immersion in the game world that turns a good gaming experience a great one. A high-quality headset is just as important as a good graphics card, keyboard, and monitor.

Audiophiles want the best quality they can get, and gamers need the best tech available. Top-of-the-line headsets deliver both. Whichever camp you’re in, the first choice you need to make is between a stereo headset and a surround-sound headset. Stereo—independent sound from the left and right channels—is the more common option, but it can’t match the realism of surround sound.

Headsets that use surround-sound technology simulate realistic room acoustics through digital signal processing. They trick your brain into thinking that sound is coming from specific locations in the environment. It’s a great sensation and can be really helpful in games—when it works. If the designer handles the encoding poorly, however, it can create myriad artifacts and distortions that make audio enthusiasts cringe.

rage 7b
Inline controls make it easier to adjust a headset’s volume and mute functions.

Once you’ve made that decision, focus on comfort. A headset should fit your noggin the way your favorite sweatshirt fits your torso. A too-heavy headset will pull down on the top of your head and strain your neck, turning you into a broken bobble-head. The headband should be well padded, and the ear cups should cover your ears completely to keep sound in and background noise out.

Natural materials such as cloth mesh and leather (especially lambskin) are the most comfortable to wear for long gaming runs. Vinyl and other types of faux leather tend to peel and crack with age, and they can irritate sensitive skin after several hours.

analog or usb
Headsets can connect via USB or analog. The Logitech G430 lets you choose.

You can connect a headset to your PC in one of two ways: with a USB connector or with jacks (typically, 1/8-inch jacks). USB keeps the audio signal in the digital domain until it reaches a digital-to-analog converter, which can be inline with the cable or inside the headset. These designs prevent electrical noise from the PC’s motherboard and other components from contaminating the audio signal. If you’ve invested in a high-end sound card, or a motherboard designed to isolate its onboard audio components from electrical interference, a good analog headset will deliver excellent audio quality.

Don’t forget the element that turns a pair of headphones into a headset: the microphone. Communication is huge in multiplayer games, so a good mic is invaluable. A flexible stalk will enable you to position it comfortably near your mouth when you need it, and easily shunt it aside when you don’t.

bvlack a40 34a0s 0023 astro a40 tag
Some headsets, like the Astro A40s, have such additional features as equalizers, a detachable microphone, and inline controls.

Extra features are the icing on a headset cake. Inline controls provide a convenient way to adjust the volume and mute the mic when you don’t want to broadcast your conversation. A removable microphone allows you to comfortably use the headphones with a digital media player while on the go. And an equalizer or client software can let you establish sound profiles for whatever you’re listening to—games, movies, or music.

Escape the never-ending ambient sounds of holiday music and squabbling families by throwing on your new headset and blasting away in-game baddies while enjoying sweet high-definition audio.

Source –

Monday, 14 April 2014

Why are sports games so well-liked?

Sport video games are the ultimate fan’s revenge. You think the referee threw the match? Put your money where your mouth is, sport games fan. Naturally, if you think that Mike Tyson was overvalued, it does not necessarily follow that you’d be the man to inform him so. But perhaps Mohammed Ali or George Foreman could? Therefore, sport games are born.

One of the oldest games genres, sport games have an everlasting application as everlasting as sport itself. You simply can not go and play for England in the next world cup on a whim, no, that sort of thing takes time, and plane tickets, and days off work, and years in treatment and may even end in any muddled divorce. sport games are brilliant for proving your points throughout pub arguments.

sport video games have their roots as far back as 1958, when ‘Tennis For Two’ was 1st pioneered (yes, that does predate ‘Pong’ within the pantheon of sport games) Racing games followed in 1962 and football games seem to have begun in about 1967. sport video games are an enormous genre.

Today’s sport games are essentially the most superior sport games ever created. The modern episodes of Madden NFL games in reality appears like you are watching it on tv. No joke, sport games have reached that far. Lifelike faces, figures and stats shows that in some ways, sport video games bring you closer to your game than ever before.

sport games come in as a number of types as we have sports. You can find sport games for activities as assorted as boxing, horse riding, swimming, weight lifting, snowboarding and anything else you care to name. Though, in writing that list, it has occurred to me that I have never seen any water polo sport games. Are there? Responses to customary address…

Sunday, 6 April 2014

It Ain’t Broke, So Don’t Fix It: Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor Keeps Matt Smith’s Screwdriver...And Leaked Photos Reveal a New Monster

Photographs (and a short video) have appeared online which apparently show that new ‘Doctor Who’ star Peter Capaldi will not have an updated sonic screwdriver for the latest series of the show (at least, not until episode 4, anyway)…The pictures also teased fans with images of a terrifying new monster.

The sonic screwdriver, a fictional piece of technology cherished by fans of the long-running British science fiction series, first appeared in the (now lost) 1968 story ‘Fury From the Deep’, starring Patrick Troughton as the eponymous Second Doctor.

Since that time, the screwdriver has been redesigned on numerous occasions. The first major screwdriver re-design occurred during the tenure of the Third Doctor (as played by Jon Pertwee).

Matt Smith, who portrayed the eleventh incarnation of the character from 2010 – 2013, received a brand new version of the device in his debut story ‘The Eleventh Hour’ in 2010. Prior to this, Tenth Doctor David Tennant and Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston had shared the same basic screwdriver design in their adventures. It is the Matt Smith-era version of the device that Capaldi appears to be using in the photographs/film.

The scenes being filmed in the photos apparently belonged to episode 3 of the newest series and were being shot by veteran ‘Casualty’, ‘Brookside’ and ‘Hollyoaks’ director Paul Murphy. The majority of the footage appears to feature multiple takes of Capaldi checking the screwdriver before anxiously running down a small alleyway.

…They also hinted at the introduction of a chilling new villain.

The un-named monster appears to be some sort of robot, with an angular, insectoid head and two glowing blue eyes. It seems to be a completely new character, although it is possibly a radical revision of an existing one. Only the head can be seen in the video, but it is enough to have fans speculating already.

Scottish actor Peter Capaldi was officially named as the casting choice for the Twelfth Doctor in August of last year and put in a cameo in the 50th anniversary special ‘The Day of The Doctor’, before making his debut in full during the Christmas special episode ‘The Time of The Doctor’.

The upcoming series (series 8 of the revived show) will feature Capaldi’s first full episodes in the role.


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Patrick Stewart ‘Outed’ by Guardian Blunder

Guardian columnist Jane Czyzselska, writing for the newspaper’s companion website, mistakenly ‘outed’ Shakespearean actor and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ star Patrick Stewart as being gay.

In a column celebrating ‘Inception’ actress Ellen Page actually coming out as gay, Czyzselska wrote “some gay people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, think Page’s coming out speech is newsworthy because a high-profile and surprisingly politically aware young actress has decided not to play by the rules that so many closeted Hollywood actors are advised to follow if they are to enjoy mainstream success,”

It just so happens that the 73-year-old Shakespearean actor, best known for his roles as Professor Charles Xavier in the ‘X-Men’ movies and as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the TV series ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and its companion films – isn’t gay.

In fact, Stewart has been married – to Women – three times, most recently in September of last year, when he married American jazz singer Sunny Ozell. He also has two children from a previous marriage.

The Guardian rushed to correct its mistake, adding an addendum at the bottom of the page, but Stewart didn’t seem to mind a bit.

“It makes a nice change” tweeted Stewart in response to the ‘outing’. “At least I didn’t wake up to the Internet telling me I was dead again”. At the time of writing, that post has been ‘retweeted’ 1,181 times.

For those who don’t know, Sir Patrick Stewart is a huge supporter of LGBT rights. He vocally supports gay marriage and was even given the 2013 ‘Straight Ally of The Year Award’ from PFLAG.

Fellow ‘Star Trek’ star William Shatner joined in the fun, Tweeting, “I never get that kind of coverage! I’m jealous!”

The confusion may have arisen because Sir Patrick’s best friend is openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen. If that was the case, Stewart tweeted this response: “I have, like, five or even SEVEN hetero friends and we totally drink beer and eat lots of chicken wings!” Is it just me, or is it impossible to read the above quote without hearing Captain Picard’s voice in your head?

On a more serious note, Stewart has often spoken about civil rights, he once said, “From my earliest years as an actor I have always been proud of the support the creative community gives to all forms of human and civil rights,”

In fact, Patrick Stewart is no stranger to fighting the good fight, the actor has been a vocal opponent of domestic violence (working with Amnesty International) and he is also a patron for Refuge, a UK-based charity for abused Women.

… And no, he isn’t dead.