Archive for August 11th, 2012

The Toshiba Satellite U845W-S410: A Mini-Review

The Toshiba Satellite U845W-S410 sticks out
like a sore thumb from all other laptops (let alone ultrabooks) because of one
outstanding feature: Its LCD display is in a 21:9 aspect ratio (or 2.39:1 for
you cinephiles out there). What does that mean? Well, we’ll get to that laptop part in a bit, but for
now, here is the requisite specs report of the rest of the laptop components.

This Toshiba Satellite comes with a 1.7 GHz
Intel Core i5 processor, 6 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB hybrid solid state drive,
and an Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics chip. It has 3 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI
port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, a couple of Harman Kardon stereo
speakers, and yes, a 14.4 inch screen at 1792 x 768 pixels. This being an
ultrabook, there is no dedicated GPU or an optical drive. There aren’t any
upgradable Toshiba laptop
replacement parts
available. The selling price is at $999.

The aforementioned Harman Kardon speakers
are actually quite nice, sounding very near in quality to the premium speakers
in higher end Toshiba Satellites. The bass tends to get distorted at higher
volumes, but that’s more or less par for the course with laptop speakers. For
what they are, they’re pretty much near the top of the pack.

 

But let’s talk about the screen, since it’s
pretty much this ultrabook’s selling point. As stated, it’s wide enough to
accommodate an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. This is otherwise known as Cinemascope
in movie parlance; or in laymen’s terms, the widescreen-of-choice for
blockbuster movies. With this Satellite’s integration of such a screen, it
seems to be announcing that it’s made primarily with movie-watching in mind.
But how well does that work out for it, exactly?

First things first: If it’s a
film-viewing-designed laptop, why hasn’t Toshiba seen fit to include a Blu-ray
optical drive? A good question indeed, and one which may boggle the mind at
first; but when explained, will actually make sense.

Movies encoded onto Blu-rays are
non-anamorphic, meaning that they don’t stretch to fill a whole screen with
images, but that’s because they don’t really need to. To understand this, let’s
dial it back for a bit, back to when televisions at home were still in the
almost-square, 4:3 aspect ratio.

                          

When DVDs began emerging as a viable
mass-market product, not a few people became somewhat adept at the aesthetical
appreciation of movies. This appreciation included a clamouring for movies to
be seen at home in their native aspect ratios. That is, if a movie was shot in
widescreen, then it should be seen at home in widescreen as well.

Problem was, TVs back then were in 4:3. To
solve this, home video manufacturers began releasing widescreen movies with
black bars at the top and bottom to retain the widescreen aspect.

This was working for a while there, but
then widescreen HDTVs suddenly began appearing in homes. Because widescreen
home videos were non-anamorphic (not stretchable) and simply had horizontal
black bars, this made them appear rather small on widescreen TVs, with black bars
not just horizontally but also at the sides of the image. To solve this, home
video manufacturers then began making widescreen movies anamorphic.

However, this only applied to 16:9
widescreen movies, since HDTVs were also at 16:9. For 21:9 films, horizontal
black bars were still a necessity; the same reasoning as when all widescreen
films were made to fit on 4:3 TV screens.

What I’m trying to say here is that, even
though this Satellite model has a 21:9 screen seemingly fit for 21:9 movies,
Blu-rays encode these films non-anamorphically. Therefore, 21:9 films will
still retain the horizontal bars, along with vertical bars, in the same way
that non-anamorphic 16:9 films were on 16:9 HDTVs. This in turn means that
Blu-ray playback is not exactly ideal for this laptop, eliminating the need for
a Blu-ray drive.

I do hope you got all that.

That said, it shouldn’t be too long before
21:9 screens become the new standard, just as 16:9 is now. Also, some 21:9
movies and trailers made available on the net have the horizontal bars removed.
If you happen to find one, view it on the Toshiba Satellite U845W-S410 to get a
taste of what the future might bring.

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Top WordPress and Blogger apps for Smartphones

Writing and publishing skills are no more restricted to writers alone. With many content publishing platforms available over the internet, writing has become more sort of public hobby. There are many free websites on the internet that allow us to open blog spots of our own. This has paved the way for many amateur writers and publishers who have an inclination towards writing to post their works online.

Also, the advent of mobile devices has allowed people to connect, communicate and update instantly from anywhere. And sometimes, we may be subjected to certain situations where we feel like making an instant post from wherever we are. As you know (us) bloggers usually share instantly any new information or incident that we come across. So, for those on-the-go Bloggers, here are some apps that can prove helpful.

Blogger App:

A Google product!  This app is designed for Android and allows you to type, modify, publish articles and upload photos directly to your blog spots. It also allows multiple users to use the app at once with some simple toggle options.

WordPress App:

One of the largest websites on the internet that offers free blog spots to its users is also one of the leading blogging websites. WordPress apps are available for any Smartphone operating systems. But, the WordPress app for Apple allows you to edit, create and upload post to the WordPress website. It even allows you to upload the pictures you have taken from your iOS phone to your blog directly.

DroidEdit Pro App:

It is a text editing App that allows you to type in your posts first and then paste it on your blog page. Many bloggers find this App convenient due to its color coded features, easy shortcuts and a real -time Blog preview. It also offers connectivity to Dropbox, so that you can store your works and retrieve them whenever you want. The app is priced and you have to pay to utilize its features.

iBlogger:

This is probably one of the dedicated blogging apps for an iOS device. It is often considered as a versatile App as you can upload your works to a number of spots like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Drupal and much more. Its incorporation with Picasa online allows you to upload and add pictures from Picasa.

 

Tumblr:

The website’s legitimate App allows you to create, edit and even re-blog your posts. The App offers a more stylized way of uploading your works and gives an overall experience of working on a desktop.

BlogPress:

It is yet another cross-platform, versatile app that supports any operating systems like Android, iOS, and much more. You can create a post and publish them immediately on websites like Joomla, Blogger, Drupal, WordPress etc.

TypePad:

This Blogging App is designed to work on Android and iOS platforms. An account with TypePad is necessary to create and upload posts to your blog spots. Once, signed up, you can make instant posts and even crop the pictures and images that you are about to upload.

There are several other Apps available on the internet for bloggers on the move. Just find the right one for you and start blogging.

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Computer Diagnostics for Your Mac

Diagnostics software can help you identify problems or potential problems with your Mac. Such packages allow you to test your system, memory, software and even the external hardware attached to your computer.

One of the most common problems occurs when your Mac is low on resources, whether it be RAM or disk space. These are common conditions that can result in your Mac running slowly.

The best way to resolve the former issue is to purchase more RAM, if possible, and for the latter issue you should clear up some space on your hard drive, if it is starting to get full. You may also wish to consider defragmenting the hard disk.

Different diagnostic software programs for the Mac will offer different features. Drive Genius 3 by Prosoft Engineering, Inc. focuses on maintenance of the hard drive, allowing you to reformat it, defragment it, repartition it, monitor it, clone it, repair it and obtain information on it.

TechTool Pro by Micromat, Inc. promises to run a complete diagnostics check of your Mac with what it calls a SMART test of your hard drive to detect impending drive failure, a RAM test, analysis of disk directories and more. These programs offer a wide range of tests providing full diagnostics and covering a wide range of software and hardware issues.

Some common tests that diagnostic software runs are tests of your Mac’s audio circuits, casche, clock, components, file structure, Internet, and checks of the correct operation of your Mac’s mathematical processing hardware and software routines. Other tests include tests of the PRAM, processor, RAM, ROM, hard drive surface integrity, VRAM and even tests of external components such as scanners.

The software will offer you the choice of diagnostic tests to run. The full system scan will run through your entire Mac hard drive and display any problems that it might find. If it can fix them, it will give you the option to do so.

There are some problems that diagnostic software will not be able to help you with, however. These include hardware failures such as hard drive crashes. Diagnostic software may be able to report such issues to you, but complete hard drive failures often occur suddenly and with very little, if any, warning.

This is why maintaining a good backup strategy is essential. In the case of serious hard drive issues, you will need to take your Mac into an Apple Store or other qualified service center.

Normally, your Mac will run fine, and if it fails to do so, your instincts will usually tell you whether the problem lies with hardware or with a particular software program you are using. In addition, diagnostic software cannot find certain problems, such as corrupted files or software conflicts, but it can sometimes narrow down the options and rule out certain possibilities.

However, for those times in which you are not quite sure where the problem may lie and you don’t even know where to begin with troubleshooting, running a diagnostic software package can be a good way to find and prevent problems with your Mac.

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By: Timothy Arends

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Birth of the OUYA

OUYA has been all the buzz lately – A Kickstarter project that offers a new kind of video game console running on Android 4.0, with an integrated game store and custom TV UI. Funding for this open source platform began on July 10, 2012 and will end on Thursday, August 9. Kickstarter pledged a $950,000 funding goal and with a handful of hours left, the campaign has already received eight times this amount.

Pros
OUYA is different from the game consoles on the market because it welcomes hackers to root the device – and promises they can do so without voiding the warranty. Everything opens with standard screws and hardware hackers can create their own peripherals and connect via USB or Bluetooth LE 4.0. The console will be powered by Android 4.0, and an SDK will be available to ease the creation of new games and apps. For the first time, players will have full power over the machine – not just the OS.

The console has a Tegra 3 Quad-core processor with an embedded NVIDIA graphics card. This clever feature eliminates the need for two separate cards, which contributes to the small console size. It offers 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM for users and has an HDMI connection port with 1080p HD resolution.

The 2.4 Ghz RF wireless controller offers standard game controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons and a system button), but OUYA takes open-source to a new level and allows gamers to expand their controller options with the addition of a USB 2.0 port. Players with the drive and know-how can root the system and repurpose their favorite controllers from other consoles.

Cons
While an open-source gaming platform provides players with an array of benefits in customization, do those benefits outweigh the security gaps?

Being able to root the device is an awesome feature, but at what expense? Since users are encouraged to hack, they are going to see how far they can push it, which means users are likely to see a lot of malware.

OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman recently stated that OUYA will be as secure as any other Android device. According to F-Secure, an antivirus firm, 75 percent of all phone-based malware targets Android devices. The inherent security of the console just doesn’t seem very tight.

With the recent hack of Sony’s PlayStation Network, 77 million users had their usernames, passwords, credit card details, security answers, purchase history and addresses stolen. What guarantee does OUYA give players that this won’t happen to them?

Farrah Pappa – writer for ITsecuritywatch.com

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Best Features of iPhone

iPhone, the most trending mobile device nowadays,  is a magical smartphone that enjoys the luck  of being so much required worldwide. It is a unique generation of smartphones which has its specific features and specifications that ensure its highest rank in the market of mobile technology.

There are 5 generations of iPhone: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone4, iPhone 4S. The line of iPhones is rumored to be soon accomplished with iPhone 5, which is expected to come some months later, it is possible in in the end of this year. The new coming iPhone will certainly bring some new features that will differentiate itself from the previous 5 versions. So, before the iPhone 5 release date comes and hits the web with rumors and discussions, let’s learn about the features of the previous versions.  IPhone is like a computer that you can place in your pocket like any mobile device. All the versions of iPhone somehow differ one from another.

All the versions of iPhone have one similar specification: that is the 3.5 inch retina display with multi- touch technology which allows using one and more fingers at the same time to work on the screen. iPhone 4, in advance to the previous models, includes 2 cameras, retina display with higher resolution. As it was mentioned above, iPhone is like a small computer. It has features that a computer has though it doesn’t mean that its phone features suffer from it. So, what are the main specific features that iPhone has. First of all its phone features that contain visual voicemail, texting, voice dial. As any other good smartphone iPhone as well has high- quality email features. Let’s agree that iPhone is a perfect choice for video playback with its 3.5 inch retina display.

The other feature is the feature of cameras; Apple has recently made an innovation dealing with this feature. In comparison with previous versions of iPhone, iPhone 4 includes 2 cameras. iPhone differs with its thinner frame, TFT touchscreen, 3.5 inch retina display, 320 x 480 pixels, multitouch, it is protected with corning gorilla glass. Apple iPhone has GPRS, EDGE, WLAN – WiFi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth, USB, 2 MP, 1600 x 1200 pixels camera. The iPhone is featured with its liquid contact indicators which turn red as they have a contact with liquid. By the way, to cut short, iPhone has all the features that will satisfy even the strictest customer.

Bio: Hi everyone, my name is Roman and I am a guest blogger having years of experience in this sphere. I mainly write articles about iphone unlock uk and I do hope you will like them.

 

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PSA: Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII demo out now on Xbox Live

Just in case you’ve been waiting to see what Mad Catz’s grab-bag titled Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII (which used to be the much more feasible War Wings) is like, you’re in luck. The game now has a playable demo, available on Xbox Live. The demo is exclusive to Gold members, rings in at just about 770 mb, and can be grabbed for free.

Unfortunately, the demo doesn’t come with a free Pacific AV8R flightstick, which Mad Catz will be including with the Collector’s Edition of the game, and presumably will be the best way to experience flying around in the Pacific Theater. As Mad Catz says in the press release, this game is part of its goal of “pursuing targeted software opportunities that pose manageable downside risk by complementing our hardware initiatives.” Which is corporate talk for: They’re making the game to sell the stick.

But if you have another Mad Catz flight stick, it should work, or just a standard controller will probably do what you need as well. If the demo spins your propeller, the game will be out on August 28.

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Rock Band Weekly: Foreigner, Nightwish

You ready to power ballad? I said, are you ready to power ballad?! Well, then you’ve been waiting for DLC like this. Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You” will be available as Rock Band DLC next week.

Xbox 360 / Wii / PS3
Available: August 14, 2012 (August 15 on PS3 in Europe)
Foreigner ? “I Want to Know What Love Is” (160 MSP / 200 WP / $1.99)
Foreigner ? “Waiting for a Girl Like You” (160 MSP / 200 WP / $1.99)
Nightwish ? “Amaranth” (160 MSP / 200 WP / $1.99)*
All tracks feature support for keyboards.

*Pro Guitar/Bass expansion available (80 MSP / 100 WP / $0.99)

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Konami offers Silent Hill HD Collection exchanges for Xbox 360 users

If your copy of Silent Hill HD Collection for the Xbox 360 is having issues and you’re still holding onto the receipt, Konami is ready to make a trade.

On the official Silent Hill Facebook page, Konami asked affected users to contact its customer service for purchase “verification and further details on how to exchange your product.” The initial posting does not say what Konami is offering in the exchange; however, in response to the question on Facebook, the proprietor of the Silent Hill page added: “The exchange is for other Konami titles or versions of titles.”

The offer is only valid for Xbox 360 versions of the Silent Hill HD Collection purchased “on or before” August 8, 2012, with requests for an exchange required to be submitted by October 7.

After the Silent Hill HD Collection launched earlier this year, some users complained of technical issues. Though Konami released a patch to correct problems in the PlayStation 3 version, the publisher announced it was unable to patch the Xbox 360 version due to “technical issues and resources.” Despite the flaw, Konami told Joystiq it will continue to sell the HD Collection for Xbox 360.

Joystiq has contacted Konami to find out what options users are being given in the exchange and will update this post when more information becomes available.

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