After many years of absence from this blog I have decided to once again return and share my gadget experiences with you. Four years is quite some time however it can be said that university life is quite challenging in terms of availability of time. I spent some time thinking what to write about and it came to me. What does a student use every day except for a laptop or pc? A student will use a pair of headphones quite often, therefore this post will look at my experience with headphones during the past four years.

ImagePreviously I have written a post on how amazing my Skullcandy Black Denim G.I. headphones were from every point of view. After using them for quite some time my opinion has clearly changed with regards to this brand. The pricing is not so competitive anymore when you compare it to other brands such as Sennheiser. However, the main and most important problem with these headphones is the build quality. The build quality is quite hard to notice during the first few days of usage, however this pair is built from a very cheap and weak plastic. This resulted in both extendable parts cracking and eventually breaking rendering them unusable. Might I add, that I don’t even need to use this extending feature since they fit my head exactly as they come out of the box? The cable connection to the driver also managed to break which resulted in just one speaker working.

ImageThe customer service at Skullcandy was quite helpful and changed this pair with a newer model without any questions asked. If I remember correctly you do get life time warranty, however it’s best to check before purchase if this is still the case. The new pair performed very similarly from a sound quality point of view. They even look better to be honest. However, Skullcandy is still using the same cheap plastic which resulted in cracks on both extendable parts again. This is quite unacceptable from a quality point of view. I do not use this extendable feature and they both break, imagine having to use them on a daily basis. Quite sad. Both ears still hurt after prolonged use.

ImageAs a result, I have decided to buy a much simpler pair from Creative for around 10 pounds. To my surprise, this pair is still in 100% working condition and undamaged after more than 3 years of intense usage. They came in a simple, white and eco friendly box with an instructions manual and a few different sized ear buds. I guess Skullcandy uses fancy packaging and design but compromises on quality whereas Creative does the opposite. I will take quality and sturdiness over fancy packaging any day.  They are very easy to store and do not hurt my ears after prolonged use. Highly recommend these if you are not willing to spend too much money on the label.

As a conclusion, I am highly disappointed with the Skullcandy headphones and will most probably avoid them in the future. Do not mistake a good pair of headphones based on their packaging or price. Price does not translate into quality anymore, it just reflects your ability to afford well know labels to society. Same goes for most products out on the market nowadays. So choose wisely and if possible try them out before purchasing whilst also checking the build quality. 

Advertisements

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft over my summer holiday and as a result I nearly destroyed my laptop keyboard and my fingers mainly because laptops are not designed to withstand this stress, nor capable of offering a long-term confortable gameplay experience. However, Razer has developed a gaming handheld console especially designed to boost the average gaming experience through its uniqueness and simplistic layout of in-game commands. The keyboard may seem like your average keyboard. But it’s not! It’s actually an LCD screen covered with a clear plastic layer of keys. This enables WOW players to fully exploit the Switchblade’s potential as it can be used for the various in-game features and game types (including DOTA). The ability to change and mix the keys to suit the taste of the player and the diverse abilities of heroes within the game further amplifies the utility of this handheld console. The Switchblade comes with a 7” capacitative touchscreen. Because the skills bar is now on your keyboard it will no longer take up screen space enabling a full 7” view of action. The OS of the device will be the well know windows 7 with a custom Razer user interface. So it can be used for more than just gaming and Warcraft.

 

I’ve seen that some of you folks out there are looking for some of the latest Nokia phone releases. I tried my best to find some and I’ll share them with you.

This is the X2 Nokia and by looking at the specs it seems to be pretty basic. It comes with a 99,99 pounds label while SIM free. To be honest, the price is higher than the phone can deliver considering the basic specs as well. The phone can be purchased in Black/Red or Silver/Blue as seen in the picture. I assume the Black/Red version looks more visually attractive than this highly repulsive pallet of colours. It has a 2.2″ screen with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and supports up to 260,000 colours. The only attractive feature of this phone is the camera I’d say. It comes with the highly powerful 5 megapixel camera (2592 x 1544 pixels), which is backed up with an LED flash.

The E5 is pretty much the same as the precedented  QWERTY keypad models. It brings nothing new to the market just the desire to maintain the being “new” fashion. You can get this model in carbon black, chalk white, copper brown and a few other colours. Notice the fancy colour names? Ridiculous product marketing strategies… Nokia has equiped the E5 with a 2.36″ screen which is capable of delivering up to 256,000 colours. It even has the same 5 megapixel camera as the phone reviewed above. It may all sound nice, having a 5 MP camera but let me tell you that the actual potential of those cameras is overrated. The output is nowhere near an actual 5MP specialized camera. My point is don’t be fooled by the numbers.

The C6 is also heavily based on previous models taking into account the design. However, it does come with a full backlit slide-out keyboard with navigation key, which could come in handy pretty often. If you don’t like the keyboard much, then you might find the resistive touch screen useful. The 3.2″ size will enable easy mobility and functionality within the menu, which from my experience is not hard to predict. The 16.7 million colours help the phone provide a great multimedia experience when it comes to videos and pictures. The camera is also 5MP and generates both JPEG and EXIF formats. The phone can be purchased in Black or White. I’d definitely go with the black model as its easier to keep clean and just looks better overall.

 

To sum it all up, I’m not impressed with any of the 3 phones. Why should I be? If Nokia wants to sell us the same thing over again that doesn’t mean we have to play their game and buy them. Nevertheless, if I was in the position of changing my phone in the near future I would definitely go with the C6. I just feel that I get more for my money with the C6 even if it brings nothing new to the market. In the end its all about the consumer’s taste so my preferred model might not appeal to you. Before buying just consider the environment and ask yourself the question “Do I really need this??”

Creativity around the internet never seizes to amaze me. However, there is creativity and there is epic. I give you the Lego USB memory stick. You might wonder where can you buy one from? The answer is you can very easily make one yourself. Just get some Lego parts, which you are willing to destroy and the actual hardware of a memory stick without the external shell.  The result?

If you want to check out the whole assembly process step by step then follow the link http://www.instructables.com/id/Lego-USB-Stick/

I might try this out myself 😀

Have you ever used Facebook chat and got the absolutely annoying messages that your friend is now offline almost immediately followed by online? Don’t worry it happens to loads of people including me. However, I have found the cause of this glitch. This will only happen if you start chatting to someone on a Facebook tab and then continue the same chat on another Facebook tab opened after the chat session started. The offline/online glitch will be triggered by clicking links and loading pages on the alternative Facebook tab.

Solution? The most convenient way to solve this problem is to go back and use the same Facebook tab you used when you started the chat. Opening another Facebook tab automatically opens the chat window in all the other Facebook tabs as well.

As far as I’ve seen, you are the only one in the discussion who can see the offline/online messages. Your friend may have no idea what you are talking about.

 

I have recently come to a terrifying conclusion and I believe I’m not alone on this one! It’s always been there but no one seems to think about it anymore as its part of our daily routine. It strips you down of creativity and energy, it takes up precious time and plays an important, however pathetic part in our social lives. Facebook O_o

We waste so much time on this social website just to check on updates and news. News?? What news? You call someone going to sleep news? I would like to strongly disagree and point out the true nature of news. News is something that affects the life of more than just one or two individuals. How many times has Facebook been the first webpage opened when you get into the reach of a computer? Anxiously going to the so called “news feed” section to find out all kinds of nonsense.

The matter gets worse. How many of the people that buy iPhones actually use them at their full potential? Maybe 10% or less. If I use the students in my university as a case study, then more than 90% use these types of smartphones for Facebook. The particular issue here is not that they waste a significant amount of time “chatting” to someone in the same room with them or someone they just said bye to 5 minutes ago but the amount of pounds they feed the communication companies by subscribing to their so called “deals”. Let us take this argument a notch further. A normal phone without the advanced internet browsing specs and with a normal package chosen (including a sensible number of available texts + a satisfying number of calling minutes with a somewhat realistic internet monthly allowance) would reach somewhere around 20 pounds a month. Now let’s have a look at a package including the iPhone. The iPhone with a similar package would be somewhere around 35 pounds a month. Don’t see much of a difference? Let’s see the difference after an 18 month period. The 20 pound monthly subscription reaches 360 pounds whereas the iPhone reaches 630. That is a difference of 270 pounds which were spent just so you can be the first to know that Jenny started her diet and is now dying from the inside.

Facebook started with an interesting idea of connecting people after parties or random social events and sharing interests and hobbies with others. However, it started to replace a significant part of our social lives and feeds us everything we need to know. What happened to asking someone what they like to do and so forth? I’m studying marketing and the business environment and I can analyze Facebook a step further than the average user.  Facebook has grown to be something way bigger than just a social website. It’s a globalization and marketing tool. You may not see this at first but I can assure you it is. The above example with the mobile phones and the urge to check every 10 seconds what’s new is part of this “movement”. Have you ever noticed the little ads on the right hand side of the Facebook page? They always relate to you and are aimed at you. How they do this? Simple. They create search engines or teams of “bored” people. Companies go to Facebook with an ad or message and want it aimed at a certain market segment. A market segment is a group of potential customers with certain similar buying characteristics or just personal preferences. All the information about you is searched and stacked with others and when needed its categorized so that it fits the requirements of ads. I must say it freaks me out when I read an ad and I get the feeling it knows everything about me. You can also look at Facebook as a massive data base if you were a company. It sometimes provides valuable marketing research to companies. This may sound a bit unreal to be true, but a discussion on Facebook about a certain product can provide useful information to a company in relation to customer opinions. Lately, companies and artists started using Facebook as well. I don’t want to break it to you, but they are not getting accounts because they love you or care about you or even want to chat to you. It is because it’s free and effective advertising. “Check out my new song on iTunes”. In other words, go and buy my song and make me filthy rich. That is the true reality. Furthermore, I seriously doubt the fact that the actual artist even uses that account. It probably is some smart associate working in the marketing department using psychological language. Facebook provides a huge marketing opportunity with large customer potential.

Lately they introduced those so called Zynga games. These little flash games provide a nice “gaming” experience during a major lack of creativity. You might wonder what’s in it for them? Well, you get these intense gamers who like to be ahead of everyone and lose track of reality followed by the purchase of the in-game money used to buy various things in the game. That’s the main reason of Zynga’s existence.

I mentioned the globalization concept earlier. Globalization is the ever increase in global market uniformization or put in a more simple way, the tastes, demands and preferences of global customers are starting to perfectly coincide and firms take advance of this by using the same advertising campaigns and marketing messages with slight cultural and religious variations. In my opinion, Facebook helps this process and at the same time takes advantage as well. Cultural values and diversity is maintained by belief and sometimes by not knowing of certain things. Well, Facebook just shouts out loud everything there is to know in a globalized society. Pepsi or Cola? McDonalds or KFC? And so on. And If you don’t know this or that then your boring and lame. In order to avoid that some people go against their beliefs and their stripped of their cultural values leading to Globalization. Is it ethic and socially responsible? Depends which side you view it from. If you’re the individual and you give it a slight thought you might say it’s not at all ethic. However, if you’re Facebook or some other multimillion dollar company as long as it doesn’t lower your figures (profit) then you are just fine.

I’d say Facebook itself is a trend and it creates a pattern of uniformity within social groups. This trend is that question at the end of a discussion with someone you just met about their Facebook name. Furthermore, if Facebook is absent, this can sometimes cause a problem or a halt in the natural development of a relation. Imagine having a discussion with someone and then having an issue with keeping the connection between the individuals. We have to admit, nowadays Facebook is the natural connection between groups of individuals and is a bit more entertaining than a simple phone number. I wonder what our parents and their parents did before Facebook ever existed?? Interesting.

Facebook can prove itself useful for keeping a record of events and guests and other scheduled tasks you might have. In my case the events section makes football training sessions so much easier to follow and to disseminate.  I also find Facebook useful when I need to find out something regarding university work or other social events. My ISP seems to use some sort of filters which renders Yahoo M useless and Skype working at the slowest ever pace. Sending a message took me 5 hours yesterday and is as boring to use as watching paint dry. You might think it’s my broadband speed. Well, it’s not! I can assure you that. Returning to the point at hand. Facebook Chat can prove itself useful sometimes. However, they still need to work on fixing the bugs affecting the functionality of the service.

Have you ever opened your electronics drawer or box and notice you have like hundreds of chargers and USB cables for every phone or for every MP3 you ever had? Nowadays every phone has a unique charger which can only be used for that particular model and when you decide it’s time for a change you end up with another charger that does the same exact job as the one before. Companies instruct their R&D departments to design different accessories for every model they produce. I personally see this almost every day when I have to search an entire box to find the chargers that fit all my electronics.

Products are especially designed and produced to last less and contain more and more toxic materials which leads us to the answer of why electronics get cheaper. They may have increases in performance but they last around for less time as they are easier to brake but harder to repair or upgrade. Ever wondered why sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a new DVD player rather than to repair the old one? It’s because of the “designed for the dump” concept on which firms build their products. They use this so that they continuously sell new units every time they break down. The parts the old DVD needs to be fixed are discontinued or are too expensive to be bought alone. For example if I want to upgrade my processor on my laptop I will most probably find out that the new processors built out there are not compatible with my old motherboard. If I decided to buy the new motherboard then I come across the conclusion that my audio unit and my 3D video unit are no longer suitable or compatible with the newly produced motherboards. After more compatibility issues you will probably end up buying a new laptop just because you wanted to change the processor which could of easily been solved if all the processors were compatible with the old motherboard. It’s obviously more profitable for a multinational corporate business to sell a new laptop altogether rather than just a small chip.

The major issue here is the extra consumption of natural resources these companies use to provide products. I mean, compare the amount of resources needed to build a chip and the amount needed for a whole new laptop. Think of all those resources that companies waste on a regular basis, which could be saved to preserve our ecosystem for a longer time.

For more information and a nice animated version visit http://storyofstuff.org/electronics/

More stuff here http://www.electronicstakeback.com/home/