Hardware is something we just can’t get away from, whether it’s computers, laptops or mobile phones. With technology changing every day though, it can be hard to keep up, which is where the Totally Hardware Blog comes in. Click through the pages and enjoy reviews of the latest hardware and software releases, compare the differences between different smartphones, and check out the latest developments in educational toys. Totally-Hardware blog aims to be a useful and entertaining technology resource, whatever hardware you use, so why not check it out and see what’s been posted today!
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has just launched a new camera accessory for its computer, which is the size of a credit card. The organisation announced that from today, Premier Farnell/Element 14 and RS Components will be starting to take orders for this new device, which features a very small lens on a chip that is the approximate size of a postage stamp.
The camera board which comes attached to a flex cable is easy to connect by opening the Raspberry Pi’s camera port, which sits in between the HDMI and ethernet ports, and inserting the flex. It is then controlled by by 3 applications that come with the device, and it has been in development for a year.
Eben Upton, the founder and trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation posted in a blog this morning that “the camera boards are now available to order!” He added that the company was extremely grateful for its customers patience while they refined and tweaked things and that while he would have liked to get the camera board out last month, they wanted the experience to be the best possible, and were working on the software as late as last night.
One of the features of the module is a 5mp camera that is capable of not only capturing a 1080p video but can also stream video on Windows, OS X and Linus. Using various commands, users are able to tweak such elements as brightness, contrast, sharpness, ISO, saturation and there are also other effects available such as Watercolour, Posterise, Sketch and Oilpaint.
Upton added that this had been a huge project for such a small device and everyone had been involved in the year long effort to make it as good as was physically possible. He also said that they were very proud of it, and that he hoped consumers liked it too. Element14 have now launched a photography competition for those who use the camera board, and for everyone that is posted through the rest of 2013 the prize is a single accessory for the Raspberry Pi.
After a few false starts it looks as if summer is finally around the corner, and the better weather means a lot of fun in the sun on holiday, whether on the beach or by the pool, and imbibing in many cold beverages. This can also translate into a much higher risk of your phone getting accidentally damaged or wet. A ruined smartphone or MP3 player can put a real dampener on your summer if you are one of those that people don’t recognise without your headphones, but this can easily be avoided thanks to Stash Shorts.
The big feature of these shorts is a waterproof, patented pocked that easily incorporates into other clothing and gear like waders, backpacks, jackets, life vests and swimwear. The unique Stash Pocket is fixed inside the shorts via a lock down fitment and it is securely stitched into the fabric. Such an item as this could easily lead to chafing however, but the makers have thought of this and have added an extra soft layer of material around the pocket on the inside of the shorts leg.
Full details of the Stash Shorts can be found on the kickstarter crowd funding website, where they so far have 22 backers and have raised almost £6000 towards their target of $135,000. Anyone who pledges $69 or over can choose a pair of Stash Shorts for themselves in either Olive or Khaki.
Being comfortable and lightweight were the two biggest challenges when the Stash Shorts were first being developed, and they have achieved both of this. If you have ever accidentally broken your mobile device or gadget, or it has suffered the unthinkable; water damage, then you should check out the Stash Shorts, a simple idea that will make us all a lot more relaxed on holiday when we travel with our devices.
The most attention grabbing feature of the ASUS N56DP is easily the 1920×1080 resolution that it sports. It also has a great anti-glare coating on it that works so well that it is actually noticeable. Of course the AMD quad core processor is also a nice tough as it offers a suitable amount of performance for the price range of the ASUS. Of course it is not going to be as fast as the Intel quad core, but given the lower price tag and the fact that the ASUS comes with a terabyte of storage it is going to be hard to find a better deal.
Also stunning is the fact that the ASUS has four built in USB 3.0 ports which means that every port is going to offer you maximum speed. This is certainly not the industry norm right now, and is a very nice touch to add in. It also offers a DVD/RW burner, a built in 2.0 megapixel webcam, Gigabit Ethernet and wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI slots, 3-in-1 card reader, a VGA slot, and the new version of Windows 8. Of course, Windows 8 can be both a perk and a problem depending on what side of the fence you are sitting on with the new Windows OS.
The toned color scheme is also attractive as the lid is coated in a standard black but the interior sides and deck both are outlined in silver. The metallic contrast really helps to spice up the laptop and makes it much more attractive to users and browsers. Plus, the fact that it is only 1.3 inches thick allows it to be pretty portable and a great laptop for travelling The one downfall to travelling with this laptop is that the battery life is actually pretty short for a newer model.
The new 14 inch gaming laptop by Alienware is already in desperate need of an updated model due to the fact that it is packed full of features but way too heavy to be suitable as a portable laptop. The laptop still offers compact features and even customizable lighting, but it is hard to get past the fact that it is a hefty machine.
The low resolution on the display is also a problem because when it comes to gaming you want a crystal clear picture. The baseline for most gaming laptops is thought to be about 1080p, but the Alienware model offers at best 720 or 900 vertical lines. The only plus side to it is that there is no extra charge to get a computer that still has Windows 7 on it as many manufacturers are now charging customers more that are trying to avoid Windows 8.
This just about sums up the perks of the model that sports of an Intel Quad Core Mobile processor and offers 8GB of memory. It also comes with a DVD/RW burner, a 1.3 megapixel built in webcam and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics driver.
In addition, the computer has two standard USB 3.0 drives, one USB 2.0, VGA slot, HDMI slot, and a 9-in-1 Card reader which could come in handy. Windows 7 is the standard for the laptop which will be great news for almost everyone, but those that want the updated Windows 8 will have to pay separately for it.
Overall, the compact size of the gaming laptop is a definite perk, it would have just been nice if Alienware had figure out a way to lighten the overall weight of the laptop without sacrificing the size.
2 million pounds are being set aside by the Department for Education to train teachers on how to tutor pupils in schools, after the introduction of the computing curriculum which starts in September 2014. Although the old ICT curriculum was abandoned in September last year, the new curriculum completed its one-month trial period on 16th April.
However, there are concerns about the subjects which have been revamped, with most saying that these are out of the usual expertise of these teachers. The subjects include Coding and Hardware, Computer Science and Programming, and certain algorithmic languages, which can be quite involving.
It is as a result of these concerns that the DofE has set aside these funds, and would rather bear this cost, as opposed to watering down the complexity of this crucial element of the curriculum; Computer Science.
The British Computer Society, through its existing Network of Excellence (NoE) in teaching Computer Science programme, is providing these funds. Teachers in 16,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK, will be trained making them capable of teaching the new computing curriculum, and GCSE for computer science.
Currently, partnerships between local universities and the NoE are the avenues through which this crucial training can be given to teachers of this curriculum. Depending on their abilities, these teachers are being offered a chance to learn about this technology, and will get low-cost, high quality continued professional development from the universities in the program. Only teachers currently in this field can apply to the programme.
The NoE will be able to recruit 400 expert computer science teachers, over a period of 2 years, using the 2 million pound funding, provided by the government. The teachers will then be given the task, of passing their newly found knowledge to pupils and students in 40 different schools.