Inspirational Video: Steve Jobs (stay hungry)

25 Aug

Personally I am an Apple fan and I think Steve Jobs is awesome and I know he retired and all but it never really bothered me… until I researched a little about him and his legacy and I really believe many of you should watch this inspirational video.


Before the Turtleneck from Matthew Pearce on Vimeo.


Why I might still buy an HP Touchpad

22 Aug

Recently, Hewlett-Packard announced it’s decision to discontinue supporting the webOS platform. The primary reason for webOS’s demise seems to be because HP didn’t really think out the commitment it was going to take to break into the tablet market but never the less its not a situation I am really crying over as there are an abundance of choices,  some of them haven’t even been discovered so it’s not like the whole tablet market is bound to collapse and even if HP’s webOS was going to continue staying the market I still would not have bought it over the iPad and many superior tablets such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Acer Iconia Tab.

Anyway’s HP recently told its partners such as Staples, Best Buy and Futureshop to put the HP Touchpad on firesale (hopefully I used the term properly) , this means that the price of the HP Touchpad has been slashed in order to generate consumer interest in purchasing the HP Touchpad. Unfortunately this was the only way for HP to get rid of the inventory (and also an expensive way as they lost millions by slashing the prices) they had in stores and in their warehouse.  Overnight the price point of the HP Touchpad dropped to $99 for the 16gb and $149 for the 32gb which as you can imagine definitely generates consumer interest. So much so that I was looking to buy one as well (possibly for the wrong reasons)…..

The first reason was because here on Scewre we have yet to experience webOS in it’s supposed glory and give it a thorough review but the second reason we were thinking of buying an HP Touchpad was simply because we thought some how someone will find a way to root Android onto it and besides experiencing webOS it would also be a great way to experience Honeycomb and perhaps even Ice Cream sandwich (when it comes out) if that is possible. However, I just thought it would be great to have a Tablet in general. It would be a great opportunity to experience  a tablet and figure out it’s position in my everyday activities (if it even has a position), I also felt that the inexpensive price allowed me to buy it over previous situations where due to high prices I had no immediate plans of buying a tablet in general.

In the comments, tell us if you had any plans of buying a tablet and the HP webOS situations stopped you from doing so, and if it didn’t why? Also give us any general thought(s) we would be happy to read them and share them abroad.

Unboxing: Wacom Bamboo Pen

19 Aug

Review: 27″ Thunderbolt Display

15 Aug

Recently Apple revealed a new display called the ‘Thunderbolt Display” this of course reffering to the Thunderbolt port found on the  back of the monitor. There are a pluthora of features and to be quite frank at a glance the display is an iMac without some basic internals but in this article we take a more indef look into it’s purpose on our desk.

 The first feature of the Thunderbolt Display is of course the Thunderbolt I/O port itself. This is a great feature to have especially built into a monitor, it gives the monitor just soo much more purpose but sadly as we talked about in previous articles until some real incorporation of Thunderbolt I/O in consumer products comes, this is nothing more than an added but useless bonus.
 The next feature about the Thunderbolt Display is in my opinion the most exciting one. I’ve always been a fan of the iMac and frankly that’s because of how neat it is. With enough effort the iMac is almost cable free, the only cable that comes out of the iMac is the one cable that is required to power the iMac itself. Everything else is wireless and boy does it look stunning when there’s only one wire coming out of your desk. This exact feautre in the iMac is also the prime reason why I am not fond of Macbook setups. There are always too many wires, one for charging, one for the mouse, one for the keyboard and etc. Fortunately Apple is reducing the wire mess by releasing all of their peripherals as wireless models and now the wire mess is reducing but even then there are still way to many wires like charging etc. that come out of the Macbook but now if you have a Macbook you can both connect to your display and charge your Macbook using using only one wire, the Thunderbolt Display comes with a wire that has two ends, one that goes in the MagSafe Port and one that goes into the Display Port then these two connections join together and connect as one wire into your display and  then one wire comes out of your monitor to an outlet where the electricity from that outlet charges your laptop while powering the monitor. The fact that there is one less cable makes me so much happier. The rest of the input devices and peripherals are all wireless and the wire footprint is almost the same as the iMac which is to mine and I am sure many others pleasure! I really want to give Apple a pat on the back because these wireless peripherals and technologies that reduce wire mess are really making me happy. Another great thing about this is that when at work you can just leave your charger at home or in your bag and when leaving for home you don’t need to unplug it again just lift your Macbook slide into your bag and your done.
This display’s perhaps most noticable feature is the 27″ viewing area. This size is quite larger than many display’s on the market as other displays makers ususally stop manufacturing displays after 24″. The best thing about this display is that is powered by Light Emiting Diode technology (LED) and this time it’s true backlight LED not just side lit LED so the display is super bright and although you may not use it it brightness power to it’s full extent it is definitely a nice feature to have.
If you are big on sharing the screen then you maybe in luck, Apple quotes that the Thunderbolt Display has a 178° viewing angle. This is achieved by Apple’s well known display technology called IPS (in-plane-switching).
The Thunderbolt Display comes with it’s own pair of built-in speakers. This is great if you are looking to stay wire-free and but if you are looking for some serious sound you are probaly better off buying a separate set as these wont really do the job for you but if your casual music listener like I am then your probably okay with the speakers in the Display as they are actually not bad at all from what I was expecting.
I’ve switched to and from a couple displays in my lifetime and the one killer feautre I have always wanted was to have a built in Webcam and Microphone, fortunately the Thunderbolt Display delivers this and the quality is actually quite good, I was expecting something of laptop quality but, the sound from the microphone was crisp and without echos like on a laptop and although I felt the lighting could have been handeled better the Webcam was actually very nice and I was surprisingly impressed by how well it worked, I definitely think I would use it for more than just Facetime, perhaps to record a video or maybe even use it as the main camera in a live stream.
A helpful feature of the Thunderbolt Display is the built-in ambient lighting sensor, it measures the light in the room and adjusts the monitor’s brightness for the lighting condition. This is great because usually I have many different light sources in my room and I find myself often changing the settings to suit the lighting condition.
I have not too much of a need for this feature but in some of my situations it can still prove useful, this feature is the motion hinge. With the hinge you can easily change the  angle of the monitor from  -5 to 25 degrees. Although again I may not need it its definitely a feature I could very well see myself using.
Below are some advanced specifications of the display:

27-inch (diagonal viewable image size) thin film transistor (TFT) active-matrix liquid crystal display (LCD) with in-plane switching (IPS)

  • Resolution:2560 by 1440 pixels
  • Colors (maximum):16.7 million
  • Aspect ratio:16:9
    • Viewing angle:178° horizontal; 178° vertical
    • Brightness:375 cd/m2
    • Contrast ratio:1000:1
    • Response time: 12 ms
  • Cables

    • Built-in Thunderbolt cable
    • Built-in Universal MagSafe cable (up to 85W)

    Peripheral connections

    • Three powered USB 2.0 ports
    • FireWire 800 port
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • Thunderbolt port
    • Kensington security slot
  • In the Box
    • Apple Thunderbolt Display
    • AC power cord
    • Printed documentation
After experiencing and evaluating all the features of the Thunderbolt Display I believe it is a feature packed, quality display. It has many upsides to it and this display is an improvement both price and feature wise over the last  Cinema display. The Thunderbolt Display is great for many but unfortunately the price may not suit the average user.  The Thunderbolt Display is $999 coming in at what I think most people wouldn’t shell out for a display, if the price was at least $599 or something similar I would consider the display but the price is far to expensive unless of course your job is to create and design applications or something. I also feel it may not suit PC users as there are no VGA, DVI or HDMI input’s found on the display. For $999 the display is very nice and is feature packed but without basics like VGA, DVI and HDMI it’s not worth the money and even if the display had those ports I would estimate the display has to be priced around $620 for me to justify the purchase. Unless of course like I mentioned before, your job requires you to have such a high quality display in order for accuracy in quality. I really believe that Apple should ramp up more basic inputs into the display and make it more Mac and PC friendly, I also think Apple should lower the price of the display because at $999 and I know I keep saying this but truly it’s almost impossible to justify the purchase. I can’t recommend it to the general consumer audience but if you need this display for quality and accuracy in your work then go for it, because it’s HUGE and chalk full of awesomeness.

Apple charges Customer 122 times for Lion

14 Aug

Lion since having been announced has been another Apple success at least from a marketing perspective. Many users of the Mac platform have jumped to Lion because of gesture implimintation, software enhancements and the more than a 100 new features that make OS X a more friendly operating system to use. Unfortunately on every Apple release occassion something has to go terribly wrong and this time it costs not your security,  privacy or personal information infact this time it costs you a pretty penny, $3,878.40 to be exact. On July 23rd John Christman purchased OS X Lion and paid $31.79 after sales tax. Condescendingly his Paypal account was charged 122 times to a total cost of $3,878.40, and for what was an innocent purchase of a single copy of OS X Lion ended up to be an unwilling purchase of a  122  copies of OS X Lion. In a quote he stated that Apple and Paypal seem to be just arguing between each other and uptil now he has not recieved a refund.

I personally think that Paypal had nothing to do with this. Paypal acts as a payment system for millions if not billions of online stores and I find it extremely hard to believe Paypal is at fault and although Apple also has many orders coming in everyday they have been known to have a couple payment problems in their system. In anycase I urge Apple as the provider of the software and the owner of the actual store to refund Mr.Christman back as by not refunding him Apple is really showing poor customor support in this situation.

Although it’s nothing to exciting it a peice of news I though was worth sharing with the Scewre community.

Logitech X-540 5.1 Speakers Review

5 Aug

Are you on a tight budget but want a great set of surround sound speakers? If you are, then Logitech has a great product for you! The Logitech X-540 5.1 surround sound system is a great sounding set that won’t break the bank. These speakers deliver phenomenal sound even though they only use 2” drivers in each satellite and a 5.25” subwoofer that pack a punch without using too much power, using only 75 watts RMS. They use the good old analog connections that are clearly indicated in green for the front left and front right channels, black for the rear left and rear right channels, and orange for the centre channel and subwoofer. At the back of the subwoofer is a power cable, a wired remote, and 5 RCA connections for each satellite. Each channel is colour labeled to their corresponding connector. The length of each cable is decent, but extensions may be required depending on your setup. Logitech has implemented Frequency Directed Drivers ² (FDD²) which is a key feature in the 2 drivers in each of the 5 satellites which comes to a total of 10 drivers not including the subwoofer. FDD² is used to help with your position in the surround setup. You don’t need to be absolutely centred in order to hear the sounds in the proper place which is similar to how 3D is used in movie theatres where everyone can see the image in 3D as they intended in any seat. With all of that said, let’s get on to the review.

I’ve owned these speakers for 10 months now and they sound as great as when I purchased them brand new, out of the box. They’re great for gaming, watching movies and of course listening to music. When they’re used for gaming, you can hear those guys coming up behind you on your favourite FPS or when you’re immersed in those cut scenes that make you feel like you’re in the game. I enjoy playing a game of Call of Duty once in a while and when I do that with these speakers, they have definitely helped me defeat the enemies without using a headset that can be uncomfortable after prolonged use. A lot of headsets are only stereo and use digital processing that isn’t true surround, but some higher end headsets have enough drivers in them that are dedicated for each channel. Although that may save a lot of space, it will likely cost more than the X-540s that also allow you to feel the explosions.

Watching movies using these speakers will allow you to enjoy an experience similar to a theatre depending on the rest of your setup of course. These speakers really show off their capabilities especially while watching an action packed movie such as the quite recent Transformers: Dark of the Moon when Optimus Prime fights his way through the Decepticons.

When you can’t watch movies, or want to listen to music while doing something else you can do that knowing that you have a great set of speakers with powerful bass. They aren’t really meant for your apartment especially if your flooring isnt very sound proof because when I crank the bass up, the people under me come complaining. Even though I can’t turn it up too loud without the neighbours complaining, I can still turn it up to an enjoyable listening level while keeping the neighbours happy. Grab these if you can even if they aren’t on sale because they are well worth every penny, from the excellent sound, to the convenience of having a remote that even has bass controls and a headphone output which mutes the speakers when you plug some in for private listening unless you have the money to use these speakers as an audio extension.

Thermaltake V4 Black Edition Review

5 Aug

Looking for a great looking case that doesn’t cost too much? Thermaltake offers their V series and we’ll be looking at the V4 Black Edition which has a lot to offer at a low price. Out of the box, it includes one 120mm blue LED fan, a small bag of screws, an intruction manual, and of course the case itself. The exterior is entirely black with a dust filtered, mesh front panel that allow great air flow. The front panel also features four 5.25” drive bays, two 3.5” drive bays with one taken up by two USB 2.0 ports, microphone in and audio out. Last but not least, there are a power and reset switch with the hard drive activity LED on the left and the power LED on the right. On the left side panel, there is a small window to see your CPU cooler and a vent for another 120mm fan. That side panel is held in place by two thumbscrews while the other side panel doesn’t have anything and is held in place by two regular screws. The best part about this case has to be the full black interior, hence the name “Black Edition”. This case has a bottom mounted power supply which I’m not used to because my previous case had a top mounted power supply instead. CPU cooler installation is very easy if you need to place a retention plate at the back of the motherboard because of a conveniently placed hole in the motherboard tray. There are two more places to put 120mm fans on the top, one in the front, and one at the bottom.One of the best features in this case is the tool-less design drive bays that allow you to just slide in your drive and lock it in place. The non tool-less bays probably won’t be used anyway, so there isn’t a need to worry about not having enough tool-less bays. There’s also a place at the bottom of the case where you can place your 2.5” drives such as SSDs and laptop drives if you so desire. Cable management is decent, but not great because there isn’t too much clearance between the edge of the motherboard tray where it curls in and the right side panel to hide cables when you close it, so be wary of that. Other then that, cable management can be accomplished fairly easily around the drive bays. There is enough clearance to install fairly large video cards, but not the higher end cards such as the HD 6970 or the GTX 580. Although that is what you are limited to, you probably wouldn’t look for a case like this if you are dishing out the cash to purchase a video card of such calibre.

This is a desirable case for a gamer that doesn’t need a huge case, but one that can fit all of their hardware that can be cooled more than adequately while maintaining a stylish look. At a price of only $39.99 depending on where you can find it, it’s almost a steal with such features that you wouldn’t even find on pricier cases.

Apple wealthier than U.S Government

2 Aug

You might have guessed that Apple is a wealthy company, and you’re right, they are! But did you know they were this wealthy? According to a recent statement released by the U.S Treasury Department the U.S government has $73.8 billion dollars in operating cash and although this quite a sum it does not nearly stand up to the thunder rendering $76.2 billion dollars in tax-free usable cash that Apple has and although at a glance it may shame the U.S Government you have to consider that Apple is a worldwide company they branch of to Europe, Asia, Australia, South and North America in contrary to the U.S Government which well operates in only the United States of America and above that the U.S Government has to be constantly investing that money in order to keep America afloat and even though Apple may also have to re-invest their money the money they re-invest does not even match that of the U.S Government has to re-invest and there are also many factors regarding why the statistics show this result but all content aside and no matter the variables when you look at it Apple is wealthier than the U.S Government.

Toys R Us to Carry Amazon Kindle in Stores

1 Aug

The Amazon Kindle has made a good reputation for itself. Many prefer the Kindle as their e-reader of choice because of it’s inexpensive price and portable form factor. The Kindle has also created an advance content ecosystem that has proven to benefit it as for many getting a book in the e-format on the first day in Kindle store is all the reason to go with the Kindle as other e-reader manufacturars can not yet guarantee what Amazon has accomplished.

The Kindle had for the longest time been stuck as an online-only item but recently the Kindle has pushed itself into the retail market  and the Kindle now sells in stores such as Target, Best Buy, RadioShack and the AT&T store.

The Kindle strives to be both successful in the online and retail space and it  is growing in popularity over time and on July 31st 2011 Amazon plans on selling the Kindle in the Toys R US retail store which may prove to be benefitial in the youth market.

What benefit would it get at a Toys R US? Well recently Amazon has been trying  to market the Kindle as an e-reader that you can read your textbooks of of and save money yearly on your textbooks and in order to further imply this marketing strategy putting Kindle’s in a Toys R US can attract attention from adults and youth.

Amazon is also reported to sell some accessories along with the Kindle at Toys R US.

I personally believe in general that entering the retail space is a smart move as it will create more exposure around the product and for those who don’t shop online having Kindle’s in the retail store may create the oppurunity to be able to finally purchase a Kindle in contrary to when it was much harder to get because you had to buy it online. The Kindle is only now entering the retail space and we were wondering how do you think the Kindle will do?

Google Labs Will Shut Down

31 Jul

Part of the culture for a long time at Google has been about trying new things and simply releasing new innovations for the masses. Many of the innovations that Google has produced like Google Reader and Google Goggles have sprouted from a small idea that had been showcased in Google Labs,  Google describes Labs as

An open playground to showcase new ideas and give feedback directly to the engineer

and as sad as it may sound  Google has plans of winding down Google Labs for a good reason they have many products on their plate already and Google thinks it would be benefitial if their efforts could be centered towards the products they have aldready launched, and although this is reasonable somewhere in the back of my mind as a developer I can’t help but know that I am going to miss Google Labs and how you could go there and find out of this world programs and plugins to use. I honestly think that after this move Google will never be the same but never the less Google will wind down operations at Google Labs and they quote

We’ll continue to push speed and innovation—the driving forces behind Google Labs—across all our products

They continue to  state that they dont have any plans to change in-product experimentation channels like Gmails Labs or Maps Labs and they feel as they should continue experimenting with products they have aldready launched and I think this would benefit Google products as well due to past evenets where user experimentation has helped improve products such as Gmail.

It is also important to note that Android applications in the Google Labs testing phase will continue to be available in the Android Market.

Winding down Google Labs  I feel is a logical step for Google but I really in my heart hope that one day when Google has straightened out all of it’s products I really hope that they will bring back Google Labs because I strongly believe that the culture of Google will never be the same without Labs.