If you’re a fan of Anime and/or Manga are around the Midlands early December then you could always pop into the AM’FE event that’s happening in Burton-upon-Trent on 8th December. Tickets are just £5 for the day.
However, I’m not just plugging this event for the fun of it… my eldest daughter is one of the artists. So if you are there, make sure you pop along
It wasn’t too long ago that I would always talk about Apple products negatively. However, reading Steve Jobs’ autobiography I began to understand a little more of what he was trying to achieve (even if I didn’t like the man himself). This, coupled with frustration at the way that hardware and software often don’t “gel” together, has lead me to appreciate a lot more the walled community that Apple has created – control over both elements has meant that they can ensure that everything just works.
I still hate the idea of non-removable batteries and a lot of other manufacturers of both phones, tablets and laptops are doing this.
Now, I own an iPod Touch (although mainly so that I had iOS available to me for product testing) and I’m thinking of buying a Macbook. Yes, really.
As a geek it will give me an opportunity to use a different operating system. Also, the current Macbook’s have features that would allow me to review a wider range of hardware for my site – Thunderbolt, USB3, etc. I can also test and review Mac hardware and software and, of course, think about iOS App development.
As I stated in a recent article, any laptop requirement would be for around 13″ display and an SSD. Both the Macbook Air and Pro are available in that screen size and an SSD is an optional extra for the Pro (default in the Air). With the Air you get portability and a higher screen resolution. With the Pro you get more power and an optical drive. However, the Pro is more expensive (by £189 – because the SSD in the Pro is an optional extra you have to buy via Apple and hence you have to pay full price).
But lets not forget some further important advantages of the Pro – it’s upgradable. Those things that I hate – can’t upgrade memory, change the battery, etc – are not the case with the 13″ Pro. And the Pro is as light as my 11.6″ Lenovo Edge. So, the Pro it will be. It’s still light but offers me the additional features, and expandability, that I want.
There are rumours of a Pro 13 Retina being released in the next few months but those Pro versions that have already been updated have lost their optical drive and have a non-changeable battery. I’m therefore not interested in that update and will stick with the current Pro 13.
Once I pluck up the courage to order, I’ll blog as soon as I receive it and report on my first experiences of using iOS and the Mac.
Now I just need to find a book to help me out with the OS X experience…
I’ve tried a number of different USB memory sticks in the past, but none like this. As well as being robust – a metal case surrounds it – it also includes double hardware encryption. If security of your data is important then this is the kind of device you’d be looking at.
The Locker+ comes in pretty normal plastic packaging. No instructions are included – just the USB 2.0 stick and a loop that will attach the stick to, for example, a key ring. The stick itself is white plastic covered in a brushed metal outer layer. The cap slides off but there’s no way of keeping it with the main stick itself, so this may be easily lost. On one side is a blue disk activity light.
It measures 58 x 18.6 x 9.75mm and is available in capacities of 4, 8, 16 and 32GB.
Although metal encased this is not the type that’s designed to be waterproof and bomb proof! In fact a short drop on the floor and the USB cap flew off. None-the-less, in general use it’s robust, with a cold, solid feel and, dare I say it, looking quite sexy for a USB stick!
However, it’s main selling point is the encryption. When you initially connect it (Windows or Mac – both work seamlessly together so it’s easy to share content between the two systems) it will appear as an 8Mb optical drive. Run the included software and it will prompt you to create a password. Once done a second drive will appear – an empty, standard USB drives that includes all the remaining memory (I have the 16Gb model). This second drive will only appear in future when the
password has been successfully entered. The drive contents are encrypted using an-board chip.
Having the encryption as hardware means that transfer speeds do not appear to have been affected. Reads were consistent with most “normal” USB sticks and writes were quicker that most. Large files were read at 17 Mbps and written at 13 Mbps. Small files were read at 4.8 Mbps and written at 0.12 Mbps.
Summary of Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G2
With an RRP of £19.99, but easily available for £14.99, this is around twice the price of a “normal” USB stick of the same capacity. However, if security of your data is important then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this.
My only gripe is with the ease of which the cap comes off and the fact that it’s not tethered in any way. However, this is only a minor concern for what is an otherwise excellent product.
A friend had been trying to get me interested in Battlefield 3 for a while. It was only after finding that I had some Nectar points to spend that I decided to buy it. Having said that it’s only £25.
At first I had no idea what I was doing, but assistance from the same friend helped out. He’s often online when I’m playing and we group together (a shame he has a rubbish headset, though).
If you’ve not come across Battlefield 3, you’ve probably heard of Call of Duty which is similiar. It’s a first-person shooter game set in the world of modern warfare. It includes land, sea and air vehicles as well as fighting on foot. The graphics are superb and the sound ultra-realistic. On PS3 and xbox you play 16-a-side online games, with larger games on PC. Sadly, due to console restrictions, you can’t play across different platforms. A 1-person story-based game is also included but I quickly skipped this for the online action. There’s nothing quite like the knowledge that everyone you’re playing against is a real person somewhere in the world.
My favourite game is multi-player conquest on the Caspian Border map. I usually play as assault and am often found flag-hopping or in tanks.
What makes the game even better is a website that the game developers provide where you can view your battles, ranks, equipment, etc. For those truly addicted you can also buy the Premium pack for about £40. This gives you a number of extra features as well as extra games and maps as they are released (which would otherwise be an additional cost).
If anyone wants to join me on PS3 my Battlelog and PSN username is Darkstorm40.