Saturday, 31 January 2015

Expanding The Chromebook


Running Linux on a Chromebook isn't hard, as Chris Salter demonstrates

Introduced in 2011 by Google, the Chromebook was designed as a thin client to run Google web services, such as Google Documents. Chromebooks are low-cost laptops that run Chrome OS, a modified version of Linux with the Chrome browser installed on top. The devices have Google Drive installed on them, allowing users to create files using the offline Google Document editors and have them sync back to Google Drive when connected to the web. Additional apps and extensions can be installed to the Chromebook from the Chrome Web Store that allow the Chromebook to run a variety of programs online and offline. Chromebooks could therefore be viewed as something of a cross between a standard laptop and tablet - the laptop form factor but a restricted number of programs that can be run.

Apple Watch Destined For Failure?

Apple Watch

David Briddock compares the Apple Watch with previous Apple failures

In spring 2015, we'll see the first Apple Watches adorning customers wrists. First announced in October 2014, it's Apple's first brand new product line for many years.

As always, the novelty of a new Apple product means initial sales are likely to be strong. But over the longer term, will the Apple Watch be a hit with consumers?

Swann Pan and Tilt Camera

Swann Pan and Tilt Camera

A new concept in wi-fi video surveillance cameras from Swann

Not long ago, a high-resolution surveillance camera would set you back many hundreds of pounds. Only recently have prices dropped to a level that most home or small business owners can afford. This is not the first camera I've looked at like this, but the ADS-446 SwannCloud HD Pan and Tilt Wi-Fi Security Camera with Smart Alerts has features that I've not encountered before.

I guess the clues are in the rather long name: you get cloud access, HD, Pan and tilt, wi-fi and smart alerts. This means that the camera has a resolution of 720p, built in motor control, is fully wireless and capable of alerting you if it detects any movement. Notice I said ‘briefly’; that's because it's actually more sophisticated than that.

Outdoor PowerBank

Outdoor PowerBank

Checks out a battery charger designed for outdoor use

While a portable battery charger can prove useful in certain indoor circumstances (a similar product recently proved useful to me during a prolonged hospital visit, for example), this type of kit is more likely to come into its own in outdoor environments, when there are no power sockets available to charge your mobile devices.

A battery charger like this can also act as a power source substitute, and it is this rationale that is behind Sandberg's latest portable battery charging device, the Outdoor PowerBank, which offers the user a fairly substantial 10400mAh of available power.

ViewSonic VG2438SM

ViewSonic VG2438SM

What you see is what you get with this new monitor

The VG2438SM is part of ViewSonic's latest refresh of its product line-up. This particular model, as the ’G’ part of its title might indicate, is aimed more at the graphics enthusiast rather than other models in the Professional, Edutainment and Value ranges.

The VG2438SM is a 24“ TFT active matrix LCD screen with a slightly unusual 16:10 aspect ratio. The screen's optimum resolution is 1920 x 1200 pixels with a viewing angle of 178° by 178°. When setting up this monitor you will need to attach a solid ovalshaped stand to an adjustable arm fixed to the rear of the display. The adjustable arm gives plenty of flexibility when positioning the monitor on your work space. You can adjust the height of the screen by 100mm, tilt it between -5° and +37°, swivel it through 360° and pivot it by 90°.