Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Dangers Of Crowdfunding

The Dangers Of Crowdfunding

It’s never been easier to attract investors for a new business idea – nor to support pioneering new start-ups. But is there a darker side to crowdfunding? Sarah examines the pitfalls…

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter can be a brilliant thing. They allow people with ideas to connect with the people who might want their project – and who are willing to chuck in the money to turn those ideas into reality. There are plenty of success stories of the back of a popular Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign, and plenty of happy customers who got to watch the film they funded or get early adopter access to a new gadget they helped to get developed.

LG G Watch R

LG G Watch R

It looks more like a watch than any other Android Wear device, but the competition is heating up

Consumer technology races along these days: Android Wear, Google’s smartwatch software platform, has only been around since last autumn, but already we’re seeing second and even third-generation devices running the wearable operating system.

As a result, it’s also becoming increasingly hard to tell them apart, especially the models with square screens.

The truth is that Google tightly controls the software experience on Android Wear, which means manufacturers can only differentiate on design. And credit to LG for at least trying; it’s certainly attempted to do that with the LG G Watch R.

Doro Liberto 820 Mini

Doro Liberto 820 Mini

A mid-priced smartphone arrives touting easy-to-use software for technophobes and the elderly

Unlike almost any other mobile manufacturer, Doro probably doesn’t make phones for you. It makes them for your friends and relatives, the elderly ones who may live alone and have never have used a mobile phone.

Getting them to use a smartphone would be quite something, but that’s exactly what Doro has attempted in recent years with its Liberto line of modified Android handsets. These phones guide newcomers in the ways of navigating a smartphone that most of us now take for granted. When the user gets the hang of things, they also let you install apps that might be useful.

The company’s latest effort, the Liberto 820 Mini, is an attempt at a lower-priced version of its top-end smartphone. But in doing so, has it had to make compromises that affect the experience?

Install Linux on a Chromebook

Linux on a Chromebook

Chrome OS is brilliant. For the type of user Chromebooks are generally aimed at, it does exactly what it needs to do. It’s fast and easy to use – what more could you ask for? Well, you may find yourself missing some of the features associated with more traditional operating systems. Don’t worry, help is at hand, in the form of Crouton.

Crouton is a set of programs that create a chroot environment within Chrome OS, from which you can run a Linux OS, with Debian and Ubuntu currently supported. A chroot is not the same as a virtual machine – you’re still running on the standard OS, but within a new environment. This has several advantages. It doesn’t touch the existing OS installation, making reversal easy; it uses the Chrome OS drivers, so there are no compatibility issues; and it’s written by the Chrome OS authors, so it should remain compatible with future updates. The only real disadvantage is there may be a slight performance hit, but you didn’t buy a Chromebook for its blazing speed. Read on to learn how to get an assortment of Linux distros up and running.

Philips Brilliance BDM3470UP

Philips Brilliance BDM3470UP

Another wondrous widescreen, but this time with a pro bent

We’re broad. We’re broad. We’re broader than Broadway, sings Philips as it delivers its latest ultra-wide monitor. The Brilliance BDM3470UP is a 34-inch slab of AH-IPS panel that adds extra drama and spectacle to any game you care to throw its way. The 21:9 aspect ratio works exceptionally well in-game and, with the 1440p height replacing the 29-inch version’s 1080p scale, it’s just as good on a standard Windows desktop, too.

How To Rip Video And Audio From The Web

How To Rip Video And Audio From The Web

Seen or heard something you like online and want to keep it? David Crookes looks at the options

The word ‘rip’ is a curious one, and it’s nearly always associated with something bad happening. If you rip a piece a paper, you destroy its previous form. If you’re ‘urban’ and hip, then rip means you’re dissing someone. People get ‘ripped off’ or they ‘let rip’ with smelly consequences. Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola ripped his expensive trousers (although he didn’t seem too bothered). And if you RIP, then you’re dead. It’s just not good.

Samsung SM951

Another blisteringly fast, but slightly easier-to-find, Samsung M.2 PCI Express SSD

A little while back, we looked at Samsung’s 512GB XP941 M.2 PCIe SSD – a rare beastie to get hold of, but worth tracking down for its stunning performance. Well, stunning that is if you could run it at its full x4 PCIe speed. But now we have our hands on its successor, the slightly easier-to-obtain SM951.

Aorus X3 Plus V3

Aorus X3 Plus V3

More of some, less of another

More is always better, right? The X3 Plus V3 is all about more. More pixels (5.76 million), more VRAM (6GB), more heat and more fan noise. There’s a bit less of one thing though, the three SSDs we’d assumed the X3 series was named after have been pruned back to two: 256GB mSATA models in a RAID 0 (striped) configuration.

Remembering… ZX Spectrum

ZX Spectrum

David Hayward goes all mushy over his favourite computer ever

Aweek or so ago, on St George’s day, there was another celebration taking place among the retro computing fanatics. That was of course, the thirty third birthday of the ever wonderful ZX Spectrum.

Indeed, 33 years old. That amazing little rubber, ‘dead flesh’, keyboard machine with its 48K of memory, seven colours with two brightness levels including black, and an image resolution of just 256 x 192. It was quite extraordinary.