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Author Archive for Ian Lim – Page 2

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite sees Australia


For those Aussies waiting for the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite to finally be available locally here’s some good news.  Amazon’s still not shipping to Australia however  Dick Smith Online has the Paperwhite up for pre-order. The best news is that the cost is only $149AU, a price that’s actually even cheaper than importing from the US via a third party. Shipping starts on the 12th of  February.

I love my Paperwhite and if you’re thinking of purchasing one  I suggest you read our review here.

Android app spotlight: AdAway – block those annoying advertisements


I’ll admit I’m an advertiser’s nightmare.  In all the years I’ve been on the Internet, I’ve probably clicked through on a handful of ads displayed.  I can watch the coolest ads on TV and at the end still not know what product brand they’re actually advertising, even after multiple viewings.  So why would I want to block ads on my phone or tablet?  Well there are three advantages to blocking ads:

  • No annoying animations distracting me from the information I do want
  • More real estate on my screen
  • No wasting my limited download limit on downloading advertisements (especially on my limited mobile 3G).

AdAway is a utility that  changes the HOSTS file on your device, so root access is required. Using a black list of known ad sites, calls to these sites are redirected so that they can’t be downloaded and displayed on the screen.

In some ways I do have a moral dilemma in using this app, as I know that many smaller websites or apps are funded by this advertising and it’s a way for the owners not to have to charge for their services. But since I wouldn’t be clicking through anyway, I suppose it’s moot in some ways. It’s a really useful app, though at times it does block stuff that you might actually want to see. :)

Root required: Yes

Samsung Galaxy S3 Multi Window review


While most stock Android ROMs include features that can only be considered bloatware, once and a while a manufacturer comes up with an innovative and useful feature that they include into their OEM products. Samsung released their Multi Window on the Note 2, and the Multi Window utility is included with the release of their Premium Suite utilities with their Jelly Bean 4.1.2 update to the Samsung Galaxy S3, amongst some of the other updates.  How well does it work? Read on.

Read More →

New Zealand issues Doctor Who and Transformers legal tender


The New Zealand Mint has just announced their Doctor Who Coin Set  and Transformers Coin Set.  The Doctor Who coin measures 40.1mm in diameter and comes with its own TARDIS packaging. The Transformers set is a two pack and each coin measures 40.7 mm in diameter, with both Optimus Prime and Megatron represented on the coins. The set includes a themed display cube featuring silver embossed Decepticon and Autobot insignias.

All coins are 10 oz of 0.999 silver and are a limited run, with 10,000 Doctor Who coins and 5000 Transformer sets being minted.  Each coin has a face value of $2 NZ so you’ll actually be able to spend them at the local shops. :)

The Transformers set comes in at $234US  and the Doctor Who coin at $130US (plus shipping ). They are available for pre-order now, with the Transformer set shipping 10 April and  the Doctor Who set shipping 1 May.

Y didn’t I think of that – Giotto’s YTL Series Premium Tripod

goitto ytl tripod

If you love your photography then you’ll know that sometimes a tripod is a must have.  But they’re such a pain to carry around and often too bulky to conveniently take with you just in case you need it.  Well Giottos has just released their YTL Premium Series of tripods. By using a Y-shaped centre column rather than a round one, Giottos has managed to get close to a 30% space-saving without compromising strength and stability.

Prices start at £100 ($160) for aluminium models and £200 ($320)  for carbon fibre.

Mediafire – 50GB more free cloud storage


Need even more online Cloud storage?  We’ve tried to keep you up to date with what’s available so here’s another free offering.  When you sign up with MediaFire they’ll give you 50GB of storage. It is their basic offering so there’s no batch uploading, files sizes are limited to 200MB and long term storage is “limited” (there’s no indication of how long this is so I’d be careful about storing important archival files up there).  As well as being able to share links to share files (again limited to 15 days with your free account), there’s a file explorer extension to upload to Mediafire and clients for both iOS and Android. Paid options are also available for additional storage and functionality.

How much free Cloud storage do you already have?

Spotlight Shifter 3 flashlight review

12vSpotlight Shifter 3

A while ago, I was sent a selection of personal flashlights from Spotlight ( see related items below). Out of the blue one day, a package arrived from Spotlight that neither Julie or I knew anything about.  Inside was their new Shifter 3 flashlight. It’s nice when a review item arrives when you’re expecting it, but it’s even nicer when it just turns up randomly.  I just hope it doesn’t happen again, as I’ve left the address they obviously have on record. :p

While best known for their small and pocketable flashlights, it looks like they’re widening their market. I loved their smaller flashlights, so will this translate into the larger and more powerful unit? Read on after the break.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Firmware 5.3.3 released


Amazon today released a new firmware for their Kindle Paperwhite.  Firmware 5.3.3 can either be downloaded and manually installed or you can wait for it to come over the air if you have your Wi-fi enabled on your Paperwhite.  There’s actually no change log on the web and it’s a full OS update (rather than an upgrade or incremental) so be prepared to download around 164MB.

It’s coming down as I type and if there are any issues with it I’ll report back. (Yes I know working in IT I should be more careful and wait for some feedback on it but scarily enough I trust Amazon :) )

The folding bicycle helmet by Overade


Note:  This product is actively seeking funding on a European crowd-funding site called Ulule.

Bicycle helmets are a necessity for safety but a pain when you’re not actually riding your bike. When not being worn, Overade’s folding helmet folds to reduce the volume of the helmet to a third of the original size for easy storage off the bike. Available in black or white, the helmet will be available in two sizes: S-M, for a head circumference of 54 to 58 cm, and XL, for a head circumference of 58 to 61 cm. The helmet weighs between 350 and 400 gram depending on size.

It is worth noting that at the moment the helmets are only on pre-sale and don’t actually have any safety certifications yet .  Pre-sale pricing is €75 ($99) for the helmet with protective cover (which folds with the helmet without being removed).

Canon Powershot N – Oh flip


Canon has just announced the Powershot N, a camera firmly aimed at the social media market.  Made to be tethered with your  smartphone or tablet, the built in WiFi allows you to connect quickly and easily with its Mobile Device Connect Button. You can then directly upload your pictures to social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.

Control is via a 7.1 cm (2.8″) tilt-enabled touch screen, which allows you a whole new perspective in your shooting angle (I love the fully articulated LCD viewer on my Panasonic G2 exactly for this reason) . The unit is 12.1 MP and includes an 8X optical zoom and supports a maximum ISO of 6400 for low light conditions. Take a shot in Creative Mode, and you’ll get the shot you composed plus five automatically generated alternatives with different crops and processing effects. The camera’s only 3.1″ X 2.4″ X 1.2″ (78.6 X 60.2 X 29.3 mm) when closed,  so it’s easy to slip into your pocket.  It’s also capable of taking full HD (1080p) video.

Pricing and availability is yet to be announced.

CES 2013 – Create everything similar?

CESSo, the Consumer Electronic Show 2013 (CES) is on right now. A Gadgeteer writer’s heaven wouldn’t you think? I’m probably seeing about 5000+ news items a day from the show via my feeds, but there are lots of repetition there, so let’s say 900 unique news items.  The problem is that, truth be told, I’m not really seeing much that I consider worthy of writing an article for on The Gadgeteer.

As expected, there are heaps of new Android devices, everything from cheaper tablets to Android-enabled rice cookers and fridges.  There are new cameras with more mega-pixels, larger displays, heaps of mobile speakers and external batteries, and of course, phones and Windows 8 tablets/notebooks/hybrids. But for me, there’s no “killer” product, that product that just stands out as being something special. To me, bigger or faster doesn’t automatically mean better.

Is it just me, and am I coming to expect too much from technology? Am I becoming jaded, or am I just becoming more fussy and harder to impress as I approach 50 (grumpy old man territory)?

Has anybody seen anything coming out of CES 2013 that really excites them?

Kingston 1 Terabyte USB Flash – Backup your entire notebook (and more)

Kingston 1GBOld enough to remember the humble 32MB USB Drive?  Well, Kingston memory has just announced their 1 TB  DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0.  Their HyperX Predator 3.0 is the fastest USB 3.0 Flash drive in the Kingston range, with speeds of up to 240MB/s read and 160MB/s write andSuperSpeed USB 3.0 certification.

“Our new DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 allows users to store their entire digital world on a portable USB 3.0 Flash drive,” said Andrew Ewing, Flash memory business manager, Kingston. “The large capacity and fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds allow users to save time as they can access, edit and transfer applications or files such as HD movies directly from the drive without any performance lag.”

The unit will be released in Q1; no pricing information has yet been released.

Ubuntu on your smartphone?

What do you use on your smartphone: iOS, Android, Windows? Well if Ubuntu has its way, it’ll become another major player in the smartphone market as well. It’s a pretty long video, but well worth a watch (the best phone interface info is between 6:20 and 13:45).

What do you reckon? I think I want :)

Is that a computer in your pocket, or is it just a CuBox Pro?


Don’t really want to purchase a new Mac or PC in your next round of hardware upgrades?  Well the  CuBox Pro is an open source mini computer that  will support Linux-based distributions such as Ubuntu,  Debian or even Android. This little box is only 2″ square, weighs in at 3.2 ounces and yet packs an 800MHz dual-issue ARM  processor,  gigabit Ethernet, SPDIF, 3Gbps eSata, two USB 2.0 ports,  infra-red receiver, and a microSD card slot and will support 1080p Full HD output over HDMI. The unit comes with a 5V/2A power adapter and pre-loaded with Ubuntu.

Pre-order now from SolidRun for $159.99, with shipping expected at the end of January.

GameStick puts Android games on your TV


There’s a plethora of plugin Android devices for televisions these days, but GameStick has concentrated on taking on the gaming consoles market with their GameStick Kickstarter project.  Rather than just another Android-OS-on-a-stick experience, the GameStick is all about playing your Android games on the big screen. The plugin stick integrates into the supplied Bluetooth controller for full portability. Just plug the stick into an HDMI port on the TV and game on.

The funding period will end February 1, 2013.  At the time of this writing, there are still 28 days in the funding period and they have more than doubled their $100,000 goal.  You can reserve your own GameStick device with a pledge of $79.

Google ASUS Nexus 7 Dock available soon


Sick of seeing that little useless POGO connector on the side of your Nexus 7?  It finally looks like the official dock will be released to make use of it. The dock itself features a microUSB port and 3.5mm audio output and not much else, and  it will only support your Nexus in landscape mode. There’s not much to it either at 8.6 x 2.6 x 1.2″ (219.1 x 65,1 x 30.3 mm) and weighing in at 9.9 oz (280g).

Its available for pre-order now from B&H Photo in the US for $39.99 with an expected shipping date of the 10th of January.

Keep track of time and space with the Dr. Who watch

Dr Who WatchJust in time for the annual Christmas special and Dr Who’s 50th Anniversary comes the Doctor Who Watch from Gadgets and Gear.  With sonic screwdriver hands and the famous TARDIS flying around the vortex (from the opening credits), this official piece of merchandise with a special Dr. Who gift box will set you back $49.95.

Poetic Slimline case for Asus Google Nexus 7 review

My search for a Nexus 7 case continues.  I’ve been down the cheap path, and then looked at the premium option, but what lies in that middle ground ? Poetic is a company makes cases for heaps of devices, and they were good enough to send me a Slimline case , one of about 10 different cases that they make for the Nexus 7. How does it stack up ? Read on.

Read More →

Bitcasa – Infinite cloud storage

bitcasaThe Cloud  is heating up with new cloud storage entrant Bitcasa  offering infinite cloud storage at an extremely reasonable price. Bitcasa states that it encrypts everything uploaded, keeps three copies of your data for redundancy and you can also use rollback functionality for versioning or recovering deleted files.  Clients are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.

Currently the service is free however in early 2013 you’ll be able to get 10GB for free with the infinite option being only $10 per month.  At that price it becomes a very attractive proposition :)

Scanadu Scout – or is it a Tricorder?

“By golly, Jim… I’m beginning to think I can cure a rainy day!” — Doctor Leonard  “Bones” McCoy (The Devil in the Dark)

Science fiction or science fact? We might have thought that the tricorder from Star Trek was just fiction, however Scanadu is a company that’s working towards making it it a reality. The SCOUT is their first product.  Place it on your temple and within 10 secs read:

  • Pulse transit time
  • Heart rate (pulse rate)
  • Electrical heart activity
  • Temperature
  • Heart rate variability
  • Blood oxygenation (pulse oximetry)

This information is then transmitted via Bluetooth to your smartphone for display and also for storing for historical tracking. The company is working on ways that this information can then be used to self-diagnose your condition (not so good for hypochondriacs :) ).

Indications are that it should be available by the end of 2013.

YotaPhone – Two screens this phone is having

yotaphoneFrom Russian company Yota Devices, the YotaPhone  (confused you must not get ) is a dual-screen Android phone. One side is a normal high-resolution 4.3″ 1280 x 720 LCD screen that you can use to watch videos or play games; flip it over and the other side has a 4.3″ E Ink screen to read a book, display maps or e-tickets, or other more static applications, such as calendars or widgets.

Using the E Ink screen for some functions should lead to better viewability in direct sunlight and result in better battery life, given that eInk only uses power when it refreshes.

The YotaPhone will run a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 chip (1.5 GHz), come in a 32 or 64GB version, and will be running the latest Android OS (Jelly Bean 4.2). Size wise, it measures in at 67 x 131 mm (2.64″ X 5.16″) and weighs 140 g (5 oz)

The phone will be released at Mobile World Congress 2013 (February 25-28, 2013) in Barcelona, with  sales scheduled in Russia in the third quarter and international release the following quarter.

E Ink to the flipside leads :)

intelliPaper – The thinnest USB thumb drive?

intelliPaper is a company currently seeking funding on Indiegogo for a project  that allows you to integrate the USB connectors and storage chips to create a flash drive on a normal  piece of paper or cardboard.  Available in sizes of 8 to 32 MB (size to be determined later), this would allow you to add flash drives to disseminate information on things like business cards, wedding invitations,  flyers and the like. To succeed in funding, they require $300,000 and pledges start at $20 for a greeting card with a USB flash drive that can be customized with your files.  Funding ends December 23, and they are far short of their goal at the time of writing.

The Tardis PC case

DR Who PC Case

Scan from the UK has released the BBC worldwide-licensed Doctor Who Tardis PC case.  Made up of 45 pieces of cut brushed aluminum,  the Tardis case comes in the official Pantone blue colour of the original Tardis and measures 205mm x 205mm x 430mm (8 x 8 x 17″).  It’s available in a pre-configured model:

  • Intel Pentium G2120 Dual Core, 3.1GHz
  • Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3, Intel H61
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz
  • 500GB Western Digital HDD
  • 300W be quiet! BN133 SFX Micro-ATX PSU
  • Sony Blu-ray Writer
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Premium 64bit

for £935.99 ($1510), or you can do a custom build with the Tardis chassis itself starting at £400.00 ($645).

Store your files in your Cubby house

Still don’t have enough cloud storage?  Cubby is a new file-syncing/sharing service from LogMeIn, makers of one of the most popular remote access tools. Previously only available via invitation-only beta, it’s now open as a public beta.  Signing up will get you 5GB of storage, and you can refer friends for an additional 1GB, for up to 25GB total storage. One neat feature of Cubby is that you can sync files between devices without having to store it in the cloud, and “DirectSync” shares don’t count towards your storage limit. Of course there is a desktop client, web client, and also iOS and Android apps.

My biggest issue now is finding on which cloud service I’ve stored things.  There are solutions out there, but I haven’t really researched fully. Anyone got any recommendations?

GameKlip – Get your game on (your phone)

There is a wide assortment of game controllers coming out for Android devices at the moment, but what if you’re already using your PS3 controller and just need a neater way of attaching it to the Android device? GameKlip started as a Kickstarter project, but it has now been fully funded and is commercially available. With an SIII-specific holder or a generic holder that will stick to any phone case, the GameKlip is a secure way to attach your controller to your phone. To play wirelessly, you’ll need a rooted device, but the kit also includes a USB cable that will allow you to play “wired” with non-root devices.

It’s available from the GameKlip store for $14.95, but don’t forget you do need a PS3 controller.