• Posted on November 7th, 2013

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    Headphones to run in

    Whilst beginning to run this year I was using an app to help go from the couch to running a 5k, which gave me hints on when to run and when to walk as well as giving me the opportunity to listen to some motivating tunes. What I realised during this was two things –firstly I need music to run to and secondly to be able to do this I need a pair of headphones that don’t fall out.

    Headphones falling out was just the tip of the iceberg – trying to run when in mid-summer with temperatures over 30 degrees I realised two more things – headphones get sweaty and I like to pour water over my head. My current headphones just weren’t cutting it so I went on the hunt for a pair that would do two things – not fall out and deal with sweat/water.

    So off searching around I went for the best headphones to run in – in multiple reviews yurbuds came up time and time again – according to the reviews – they wouldn’t fall out, they could handle sweat and water and best of all for me – they let in noise around you. As I run near roads and on paths that are used by cyclists and walkers being able to hear what was around sounded like a great idea.

    yurbuds arrived – off for a run. First things first though do they fit my ears – Yes! yurbuds come with a variety of size inserts so I was able to find one that comfortably fit my ears (once I’d read the instructions on how to fit and lock them in), yurbuds twist when you insert so you are in a way locking them in – as I was trying these out for the first time I was getting some very strange looks as I was running trying to shake them out of my ear with no success – there was no way these were coming out of my ears until I took them out. First requirement passed!

    To test out the second requirement I needed a hot day and luckily one of those came not long after the yurbuds – 35 degree heat isn’t nice to run in but I wanted to give them a real test and with two bottles of water poured over my head during the run there was no detrimental effect to the earphone or the sound quality, can’t say the same about myself though. They were also not being affected at all by sweat. Second equipment passed!

    Running whilst listening to music but still be able to hear all the noises around you takes some getting used to is the first thing I’ll say and it’s not for everyone, some people like to completely zone out but being able to hear the cyclists ringing their bells means I can run safely. Due to the fact that they allow in ambient noise the sounds quality isn’t amazing – but you’re also not paying an extortionate amount for these.

    The yurbud in-ear part is made of a plastic like material which does collect dust and dirt if like me your headphones live with your other kit thrown in a bag and I find myself cleaning them before I use them something that could maybe be improved in the future.

    Model tested: Inspire for women (I liked the choice of colours)

  • Posted on November 5th, 2013

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    4 Interesting Small Companies with Great Gadgets!

    Last weekend was a bit of a geeky weekend and we decided that it was time to drop in on The Gadget Show Live (TGSL) Christmas event down at Earls Court.  Having been too the main Gadget Show Live event over in Birmingham I have to say I was surprised at just how small this event actually felt however there were a few hidden gems amongst the big companies that you’d expect to be there.

    When we popped down to TGSL we didn’t expect there to be many products that made us go oooh and wow but the best of what we saw came from a series of kickstarter projects and young start-ups.

    Limited edition iPad Bag by Loafer Co – for the way you work

    This was the first of the Kickstarter projects that caught our eye.  Why? Well the quality and design of these bags is brilliant. Honestly they are sturdy, solid and incredibly functional but at the same time stylish.  The designer totally gets what is needed with a gadget bag and I have to say I did persuade them to sell me their sample from the stand and I’ve been using it ever since! Honestly at £36 you’d be grabbing yourself a great bargain on these bags!  With only a couple of weeks to go on this project it’s one that is well worth funding!

    Take a look at the video below to find more about the idea and see the products for yourself.

    RockStix 2

    Literally right next door to the cool bags from Loafer Co we came across RockStix 2. Now whilst I was drooling over the bags my husband was testing out these little beauties. RockStix are basically light up drumsticks and for the kickstarter project you even get them with your name or your band name on them which is pretty neat. We got to see these in action being used by the Gadget Show team when they were doing their live show and in the dark they really do look awesome. (And are so much cooler when a pro uses them right!)

    This particular project has already reached it’s Kickstarter goal and actually met it well in advance of it’s deadline. The drumsticks have caught the attention of a few big name drummers in the music industry so look out for them being used at concerts in the near future!

    Halcyon Bulbs

    If you’ve seen the recent announcements around the latest Philips Hue lighting then you’ll know that networked home lighting is the big thing at the moment. Well rather than going with lighting that just changes colour based on what you set it to the Halycon bulbs change based on the time of day. Think of these a bit like the Lumie Light in terms of these bulbs providing lighting to make you feel more alert and awake. They change colour based on the time of day, providing their whitest light around mid day. You can also connect into your lights from your phone, tablet of laptop. We are hoping to get our hands on these to try them out and see how they work in a real home environment. As someone who works from home these could be just what is needed for those dark winter days!

    Tempo Heat Sensor

    Tempo

    Our final find was something really best suited to those who are a little sensitive to the cold. Tempo is a pretty looking heating sensor that tracks the temperature in the room that it is placed in. It’s great to find out where a draft is or if you have a baby whether the baby room is too hot or too cold. With a Bluetooth connection to the sensor and access to the device via your mobile phone you can get direct readings from any other room in the house and alerts if the sensor hits a high or low limit.

    From what we hear this little company has other products also in progress that we look forward to hearing more about in the future.

  • Posted on November 1st, 2013

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    App Design – Wink Bingo

    We often get asked on GirlyGeekdom to review apps and we thought it was about time to take a look under the hood and see what makes a successful app. For this challenge we went with the recently released mobile app by Wink Bingo. Why did we choose this app, well it’s not exactly what you would expect us to choose as it’s really very girly and pink but it is a 5* rated app and on that basis is actually pretty rare.

    iPhone Screenshot 1 iPhone Screenshot 2

    Whilst we don’t recommend gambling to our readers the Wink Moblie App provides some interesting insights in mobile application design with it’s easy to use interface and fun feminine style. There are a few things specific to this application that make it set up for success. Firstly the creators of the app 888 Bingo have really understood about instant gratification and how to get people started with the app without any initial outlay. The app is free in the Apple App store which means you don’t feel like you initially have any outlay and when you first download and register the app with £10 you get a £35 bonus money to play with. This means that you get 4 times more entertainment when you register as a new user.

    This app has had regular updates based on real user feedback and new game play opportunities have been added recently including 6 new video slots:

    1. Enchanted Prince

    2. Secret Garden

    3. Doubleup Ducks

    4. Gets the Worm

    5. Shopping Spree

    6. Lost Island

     

    This means that you never quite know what new gaming opportunities you will have when you download the app updates. This creates that feeling of surprise and delight that all the top apps in the app store have. With the ability to purchase credits to play the games in app purchases are a key way for the app maker to generate money without as much of it going directly into the pockets of Apple. Also this app doesn’t have lots of third party adverts hidden within it that randomly cause annoyance whilst you play the games. The games themselves are games that you will be familiar with if you’ve ever played a game of bingo and bingo in itself is a pretty simple game so you can’t go far wrong with understanding how it works.

    The top grossing applications in the Apple app store are mainly gaming apps and the game play along with the in app purchases are the two key things that really fly especially with an app that is simple and pretty. Why not give Wink Bingo a try if you are over 18 and are the owner of an iPhone, iPad or Android device.

    Sponsored Post

  • Posted on October 30th, 2013

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    Lenovo Yoga 10” and 8” Tablet Launch

    Today we are at the launch event of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet in Milan. Whilst we had hoped for Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) to appear live at the event it seems he was waylaid in LA for the launch event there but we did get to see some short videos of his new role at Lenovo. Whilst the video footage was very much tongue in cheek Ashton Kutcher has been taken on board by Lenovo as a distinguished engineer in much the same way as Jonathan Ross (@Wossy) has just been announced as the Microsoft Xbox equivalent.

    In Ashton Kutcher’s own words:

    “This partnership with Lenovo brings together my love of technology and design that makes your life better. I can’t wait to dig in and help Lenovo develop future mobile computing products, starting with the Yoga Tablet,” said Ashton Kutcher. “Lenovo is all about innovation and strong leadership. Entrepreneurship is part of their DNA, and I couldn’t ask for a better fit.”

     

    The latest addition to the Lenovo Yoga range is a new Android 10” tablet and cute little 8” “fablet”. Our initial hands on experience was great. The devices are sleek and very slim with 18 hours battery life and a Bluetooth keyboard which integrates as a protective cover for the screen. We spent most of our time with the 10” tablet but I have to say the 8” one being that bit smaller was very cute and the form factor really worked. I’ve tended to be a bit sceptical about “fablets” but having seen this one in action it looks better than others that are currently on the market as it has that cover/ keyboard integration that makes data input that much easier and for me the keyboard is essential. Many websites today just aren’t designed purely for touch experiences. In terms of weight the 8” fablet wins over the 10” tablet but both are reasonably light and have great ergonomic design that just feels comfortable and nicely weighted. The screen is bright and clear but not quite as sharp as I would have expected.

    The chief designer of the Lenovo devices range ran through some of the design principles for the new tablet range and it was great to hear how the layouts, colours and sizes were all thought out in terms of usability and real user experience. Quite often we find that devices aren’t necessarily designed with the smaller hand in mind – be that a child’s hand or an adult with small hands. What we haven’t yet tested is whether they are left and right hand suitable!

    The prices for the devices were announced as well with the 10” tablet priced at 299 Euro and the 8” fablet priced at 229 Euro inc VAT which is comparable to many of the other tablet devices currently out there. It’s not anywhere near the price of the super cheap Tesco and Argos own brand Android tablets so has some stiff competition there but battery life and style may be where this device wins over these alternatives. The Bluetooth keyboard is an additional 99 Euro’s. I suspect many will opt for just the device as comparably the keyboard sounds expensive.

    Here’s the full spec:

    Processor
    Operating System AndroidTM 4. 2 Jelly Bean
    Display/Resolution 8-inch or 10-inch HD display (1280×800) with multitouch & 178o wide viewing angle
    Memory RAM: 1GB LP-DDR2 memory
    Storage

     

     

    Internal Storage: 16GB/32GB eMMCExternal storage: 64 GB micro-SD card storage support
    Sound Dual front-facing speakers with Dolby® Digital Plus DS1Microphone with noise reduction
    Integrated Comms Micro USB, up to 64 GB micro SD card, 3.5 millimeter audio jack, micro SIM (3G in select countries, not US)
    Wireless 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi , 3G (in select countries, not US): WCDMA (900/2100 MHz)*, GSM/EDGE (900/1800/1900 MHz)*, integrated Bluetooth® 4.0**
    Camera 5MP rear camera, 1.6M HD front camera
    Battery*** Yoga Tablet 8: Up to 18*** hours, Li-Ion, 6000 mAhYoga Tablet 10: Up to 18*** hours, Li-Ion, 9000 mAh
    Weight**** Yoga Tablet 8: .88-.89 pounds (401-404 grams)Yoga Tablet 10: 1.33-1.34 pounds (605-610 grams)
    Dimensions Yoga Tablet 8: 8.39 x 5.67 x (.12 – .29) inches (213 x 144 x (3.0-7.3) millimeters)Yoga Tablet 10: 10.28 x 7.09 x (.12 – .32) inches (261 x 180 x (3.0-8.1) millimeters)

    * Phone call functionality only available in select countries: India, China, ASEAN Indonesia, Thailand
    ** Android 4.2 OS supports the PXP profile of Bluetooth 4.0
    *** Actual battery life may vary based on many factors including screen brightness, active applications, features, power management settings, battery age and conditioning, and other customer preferences. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks: two hours of video playback plus two hours of MP3 audio playback in Stand-by Mode plus two hours of Internet browsing using WiFi in Tilt Mode plus twelve hours of reading in Hold Mode.
    **** Wi-Fi/3G weight allowance: ± 2g

    I’ll add the pics from last night as soon as I get home. There’s just not enough bandwidth to do it here. Let me know if you want me to do any other tests on the hardware as I have a 10″ to play with including the keyboard!

    Update

    Here are the pics from last night’s event.

    Lenovo Tablet Launch Event – Milan 2013, a set on Flickr.

  • Posted on October 14th, 2013

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    Future Proofing Your Business in a Sharing Economy

    This is a guest post by Jennifer Le Roux, Digital Marketing Consultant at www.thoughtshift.co.uk and Founder of altmu.co.uk.

    Picture

    Globally the Sharing Economy is worth £310 billion. Not only that, according to Sharing Economy expert Benita Matofska, 52% of adults in the UK are accessing it and another 28% are interested. It is clear the Sharing Economy has thrived in recent years yet, like many others, Benita Matofska, had to endure the frustrating process of trawling the internet to organise her family holiday in 2011, hoping for local insights and property sharing. Fast forward two years and she is now the Founder and Chief Sharer of the first and only comparison website in the Sharing Economy, Compare and Share. Celebrating the launch of their crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube, which has already achieved £9,920 investment since its unveiling this morning.Compare and Share have not only created an aggregator that allows consumers easy access to what they need, they have developed asset-sharing technology that enables companies to make and save money from their own resources and buy idle goods or services cheaply from others. This new technology has come at a time when businesses are beginning to embrace peer-to-peer sharing as a method to maximise full use of their assets. For example, Marriot International has a partnership with LiquidSpace renting out unused corners of their hotels to entrepreneurs and start-ups. B&Q have launched streetclub.com, an online platform that connects the industry to share tools and Marks & Spencer have introduced ‘Shwopping’, donating the sale of used clothing to Oxfam. In the US, Wal-Mart are planning to crowd source online deliveries through instore customers with empty seats – all excellent examples of how the Sharing Economy benefits both business and people.

    Changing the Business World

    Businesses need to be resource efficient if they want to achieve sustainability. Jeremy Heimans, the CEO of Purpose.com, recently reported his view in the Guardian that the Sharing Economy offers an antidote to overconsumption, an eroding middle class and rising concentrations of wealth and power. Describing the influence of the Sharing Economy as ‘devolving power to participants and creating trust-based communities’.

    The smart companies are future proofing their businesses, recognising that the Sharing Economy is essentially changing the way that business is done, and Compare and Share has recognised the opportunity to develop an engine that can empower that change. They build the tools that enable these companies to actually deliver peer-to-peer sharing both to their employees and to their customers.

     
    Sharing Economy Experts

    Compare And Share’s Benita Matofska is regarded as one of the global leaders of the Sharing Economy, and is often approached for her expertise or to be a spokesperson at key events on its continued growth and popularity. Her background in broadcasting communications for travel programming and the insights from her own not-for-profit initiative, The People Who Share, alongside the talents of her co-founder Nick Tong, has led to this explosive venture ripe with opportunity for investors.

    Nick has a background in innovation and technology building specific software technologies that enables sharing items (rentmyitems.com / sunshine) and has been integral to the development of the compareandshare.com and corporate asset-sharing technology. Tong has previously been nominated for a BIMA award for Ivy4evr and has also developed clinical trial management software used at GOSH. Further experience includes working with big names BBC, Courvoisier, Publicis Group.

    Together they have created a myriad of technology enabling people searching on their platform an engaging and accurate experience. With data mining techniques deployed across their data mapping algorithm, their asset-sharing technology can deal with large data sets delivered from a wide range of partners. Plans to develop faceted search techniques and semantic vectors will also help with Natural Language Processing (NLP) enabling searching to be very precise.  Compare and Share’s Sharing Economy focus on user experience means the community is put centre stage making the sharing part of their DNA.

    Sharing Potential

    Compare and Share recently secured a contract with UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support building technology to connect volunteers to those who need support The move is likely to interest further charities who will be lining up behind a pipeline of companies that have approached Compare and Share for their unique expertise, including a major high-street retailer. Matofska said: “There are a lot of opportunities for charities to engage in this space. What we are doing for Macmillan is very pioneering and I’m sure we’ll see many other smart charities adopting the Sharing Economy because they will see the benefit peer-to-peer support can bring.”

    Benita believes that the potential reach of the Sharing Economy is wide open. With predictions from some that fertility is the next big thing. In addition websites such as ‘Borrow My Doggy’ with peer-to-peer dog walking and ‘Grape Night In’ are enabling people to share wine, so the possibilities are endless.

    “Fundamentally the Sharing Economy extends to anything that people can share with each other, which is absolutely anything and everything. There are no boundaries and that is what makes it exciting because peer-to-peer sharing has limitless potential.”

    In terms of Compare and Share’s aggregator, although the Compare and Share website currently focuses on car-sharing, development is already underway for the introduction of global accommodation, a vertical that’s estimated to be worth 26 billion and one of the fastest growing segments of the Sharing Economy with well-known players such as Airbnb and Love Home Swap. Future plans include building travel related verticals from peer-to-peer dining to leisure activities such as person to person tours. In addition to this they plan to go deeper into the travel space, providing an end-to-end travel experience (e.g. everything you need for your journey – cars, accommodation, food, activities, equipment…). With ultimate plans to include in peer-to-peer goods as a complete one-stop shop for the Sharing Economy.

     
    Crowdfunding Campaign

    Benita Matofska is confident that they will raise a large amount of investment with the launch of their crowdfunding campaign this Friday, which will also showcase a new video of showcasing their company and the asset-sharing software. There are many comparison websites in the insurance or travel space but no other comparison sites on getting best deals in the Sharing Economy to make and save people money. Last year adults in the UK saved 4.6 billion pounds by accessing the Sharing Economy and that is just a snippet of the astounding statistics available via The People Who Share’s report State of the Sharing Economy 2013, which can be found at www.stateofthesharingeconmy.com.  A Sharing Economy is an economy that is built from the sharing of our finite resources and it’s very much a people’s economy; people to people, peer-to-peer, person to person. Compare and Share are seeking crowdfunding investment as the first and only comparison website for the Sharing Economy in the world and set to be the next big aggregator to open up the explosive peer-to-peer market.

    According to Forbes Magazine, in the last year revenue growth in the Sharing Economy is up 25% further enhancing the huge market potential in peer-to-peer sharing. At this point in time Compare and Share are the first and only comparison website for the Sharing Economy and set to open up the sharing market in the same way eBay opened up the second-hand goods market making the sharing of spare goods ubiquitous.  As world leading experts in this space, they have the talent and a unique idea that is infinitely scalable. This is the next big aggregator, the global technology brand, of the future with massive potential for a huge return on investment.

  • Posted on October 10th, 2013

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    A quick look at Cameras

    It’s been a while since we wrote about cameras here on GirlyGeekdom so we thought it would be interesting to see what my favourite brand of camera manufacturers Sony have been up to recently.  I must say, I miss my Sony Cybershot camera even though my phone has a higher spec camera in it than my Cybershot had.  There is just something about having a camera as just a camera without any distractions or complications that is just sensible and practical in my opinion.  With that in mind I thought it might be fun to take a look at the latest compact system camera range for cameras by Sony.

    Having looked at the broader range of cameras on offer to me this particular range are practical and professional yet not so big that you need a giant bag just for the camera.  They are the middle ground between a phone camera and the fancy DSLR’s that are out there and when you start looking at the price of them they aren’t too bad for an entry level professional camera. (£375 – £999)  The interchangeable lenses and the form factor look like a really good option for someone like me who doesn’t like carrying around loads of equipment.  Overall the compact system camera range from Sony looks like a really interesting option if you are looking for something that is reliable and flexible.  It would be interesting for us to get our hands on one of these to see if they live up to my initial expectations!

    And on that note I’ll leave you with this infographic from the Sony site!

     

    This is a Sponsored Post.

  • Posted on August 20th, 2013

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    Innovative Cyber Security Solutions showcasing at Titanic Belfast

    ICT KTN and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University Belfast have teamed up to bring you this opportunity to see great cyber security solutions and the latest research in a lovely setting – the new Titanic Belfast.

    Attendance is free but places are limited. Information and registration here:

    http://www.csit.qub.ac.uk/News/Events/#d.en.402690

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