Richard Tech http://richardtech.net Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:18:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 HTC One Mini 2 Review: A mid range smartphone in a high end chassishttp://richardtech.net/2014/09/htc-one-mini-2-review/ http://richardtech.net/2014/09/htc-one-mini-2-review/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:25:43 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=261 The HTC One Mini 2 is the HTC One’s little brother. The device has 1gb of RAM, a 1 GHz ARM processor and a 720p display.

Design

For design, the Mini 2 has two grey accents at the top and bottom of the display. It also has the two BoomSound speakers which sound absolutely amazing on the two accents, along with sensors and front facing camera. On the back of the device is a smooth aluminium design with the camera and flash. There are a few  things that I would have to fault with the design is the HTC logo on the front and the bezel around the screen, which are both larger than I would like. And when the phone is on a table and you are touching the screen it rocks. The device is just under 13.5cm tall and 0.7mm thin, and even though it is called the Mini, it is around the same size as the Galaxy S4.

Software

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HTC BlinkFeed

The Mini 2 ships with HTC Sense 6, which is HTC’s Android skin, I quite like this skin because it is subtle and you still have the essence of Android, compared to Samsung’s TouchWiz, in which they are completely trying to remove any evidence of Android or Google. But back to HTC, Sense 6 is really clean and contains HTC’s BlinkFeed technology which lets you take a glance at all of your social networks in one go, which can be a great time saver. Software runs responsively on the device and HTC Sense is not laggy and has definitely been optimized for the device, which helps in making a consistent user experience.

Display

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The Mini 2 contains a 4.5 inch 720p LCD display. The colours on the display are bright and colourful but I do wish that the resolution of the screen was a bit higher as I can see the pixels, which can be annoying when looking at the screen for large amounts of time.

Camera

mini2-12

The Mini 2 sports a 13 megapixel camera on the back and a 5 megapixel camera on the front, the camera produces good photos in decent lighting but when there is not a good amount of lighting, the camera begins to struggle. The camera can also do 1080p video recording, slow motion video recording and high speed video recording at 60fps. Below I have put some same photos and a demo of the slow motion video. The device comes with 16gb of memory, so if you plan on taking lots of slow motion video you can add a microSD card with memory up to 128gb of storage.

comparison

Overall for the camera I think it is good for taking decent photos, but if you want to be taking high quality photos in all lighting conditions you may want to look at other devices.

Performance

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Leo’s Fortune on the HTC One Mini 2

Despite the device only having 1gb of RAM, performance is good on the Mini 2, I could quickly open lots of apps without the phone freezing or performing slowly. App opening times took around 3 seconds depending on how resource intensive the app is. I was able to play games with high quality graphics such as Asphalt 8 and Leo’s Fortune (above) without any problems and with good performance, the only thing I would say is that the back of the device got warm when graphics intense games are played on the device. I did some benchmarks on the device in Geekbench and this device gets around the same score as the Motorola Moto G.

Battery Life

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The battery inside is 2110mAh, which is a step up from the previous version. The battery will last all day if you plan on using the phone lightly but if you begin to do things such as streaming music, videos or gaming then the battery percentage will begin to drop very quickly. You also need to take into account that batteries cannot be swapped with this device unlike other phones.

Conclusion

mini2-11

Overall I think that the HTC One Mini 2 is a great device for people that listen to music and love a high quality phone build. If you’re not bothered about those then you might as well look at devices such as the Motorola Moto G because that phone gets the same amount of performance for a cheaper price.

Video Review

Made Possible by Vodafone

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Apple is opening up the OS X Yosemite Beta to the Publichttp://richardtech.net/2014/07/osx-public-beta/ http://richardtech.net/2014/07/osx-public-beta/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:28:31 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=231 Apple is opening up the doors for the OS X Yosemite Beta to the public. Starting on Thursday, a public beta program will allow one million people to sign up to try all the new features in OS X Yosemite.

Although the final version won’t be out until the fall, if you want to have a taste and what the next version will be like, this is your chance to get the beta.

If you’re going to install Yosemite, there are a couple of tips and measures Apple recommends:

  • Don’t install Yosemite on your primary computer. Things may (and probably will) go wrong, and you won’t want to have your only machine compromised.
  • Back up whatever Mac you do choose to install Yosemite on.
  • Install upgrades as they come — eventually, you’ll be seamlessly upgraded to the final version of Yosemite.

So, if you want to sign up, you can sign up here.

Video

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Google has made a self-driving car, without pedals and a steering wheelhttp://richardtech.net/2014/05/google-self-driving-car/ http://richardtech.net/2014/05/google-self-driving-car/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 11:42:59 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=122 Google has now announced the design for its self-driving cars, which will allow people to travel in a car without using a steering wheel or pedals, as there aren’t any in the car.

The company has previously shown off its self driving technology in other cars but this is Google’s design take on a car. The vehicle fits two people and is driven by a computer using a variety of sensors.

It is still a prototype but Google hopes to have 100 cars built for testing this summer, those cars will include manual controls if something went wrong.

[Source: The Official Google Blog]

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Getting Started with the Raspberry Pihttp://richardtech.net/2014/05/getting-started-raspberry-pi/ http://richardtech.net/2014/05/getting-started-raspberry-pi/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 21:33:31 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=111 The Raspberry Pi is a very small computer, it is great for trying small projects on. The device has Analog Video Out, Audio Out, 2x USB 2.0 Ports, Ethernet, HDMI and Micro USB for Power.

NOOBS

There are a variety of operating systems avaliable for the Raspberry Pi, but for this tutorial we are going to be using the “New Out Of the Box Software”, otherwise known as NOOBS.  You can download this from the Raspberry Pi website here. There are two options available, an offline and network install and a network install only version. The only difference is that the offline and network install include Raspbian pre-downloaded, choose which one you want to download and we shall continue.

Copying NOOBS to the SD Card

Once you have downloaded NOOBS, format your SD card by going onto This PC (Computer on Windows 7) and right click on your SD Card, click format and then click Start. Once that has completed you can close the format window and open the SD card and open up the NOOBS zip file. All you need to do is copy all the files from the zip folder to the SD card. You can now remove the SD card from your computer and put it into the Raspberry Pi.

Installing Raspbian

You now want to plug in a keyboard (and mouse if you want to), ethernet, and either HDMI or Analog Video and wait for the Raspberry Pi to load NOOBS. As I said before, there are a variety of operating systems on the list, but for this tutorial we are going to install Raspbian as it is recommended for beginners. So on the list select Raspbian and then click the Install button and wait for the install to complete. Once it is done just click OK and the Raspberry Pi will boot up into the Raspberry Pi Configuration Tool, here you can configure your Raspberry Pi as you want.

Finishing Off

Congradulations! You have now installed Raspbian onto your Raspberry Pi, if you want to load the desktop put

startx

into the terminal. But otherwise that’s about it, thank you for reading this tutorial and I hope it helped.

Video Tutorial

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How to Put Your iOS Device into Recovery Mode (DFU Mode)http://richardtech.net/2014/02/ios-recovery-mode/ http://richardtech.net/2014/02/ios-recovery-mode/#comments Sat, 22 Feb 2014 17:58:18 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=48 If you have ever needed to restore or need to remove a jailbreak from your iOS device you would need to put it into “DFU” mode. In other words this means recovery mode.

Putting your device into recovery mode is simple when you follow these steps:

  1. Plug your device into your computer
  2. Turn off the device by holding the Sleep/Power button and swiping to turn off your device
  3. Hold the power button for 3 seconds
  4. Begin holding the Home button without releasing the Sleep/Power button for 10 seconds
  5. Release the power button and continue holding the home button until you get a popup from iTunes that your device is recognized as being in recovery mode.

It’s that simple, then you can restore your device in iTunes. If you need to get out of recovery mode then hold down the Sleep/Power button and the home button simultaneously until the Apple logo appears.

Video Tutorial

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How to Set Up Your Raspberry Pi as an AirPlay Receiverhttp://richardtech.net/2014/01/pi-airplay-receiver/ http://richardtech.net/2014/01/pi-airplay-receiver/#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 18:02:17 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=51 The Raspberry Pi is a great little computer that provides a device to do little projects on.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up a Raspberry Pi to be used as an AirPlay receiver so you can stream audio from any iOS device, iTunes or compatible AirPlay software.

Requirements

You’re going to need a few things before we get started.

  • Raspberry Pi (I’m using the Raspbian OS]
  • 4GB (Or larger SD card)
  • Power Adapter (Micro USB)
  • Display & Keyboard (or set up SSH)
  • Speakers
  • Ethernet Cable

Install Updates

We want to make sure that the Pi’s software is all up to date by entering the following into the command line:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

This lets us run two commands one after another. The first, sudo apt-get update , checks for any new software packages. The second, sudo apt-get upgrade, downloads and installs the software packages that are available.

Installing Additional Software

Now that the Raspberry Pi is up to date, we need to install additional software that isn’t included as standard. This software will help us set up the AirPlay receiver:

  • avahi-utils
  • build-essential
  • chkconfig
  • git
  • libao-dev
  • libavahi-client-dev
  • libcrypt-openssl-rsa-perl
  • libio-socket-inet6-perl
  • libssl-dev
  • libwww-perl
  • pkg-config

In order to continue we will need to install those software packages, so let’s install them.

Installing Software Packages

To install the software packages, we’re going to use one huge command:

sudo apt-get install avahi-utils build-essential chkconfig git libao-dev libavahi-client-dev libcrypt-openssl-rsa-perl libio-socket-inet6-perl libssl-dev libwww-perl pkg-config

As soon as you enter that Raspbian will begin to download all of the files necessary.

ShairPort

Now we will need to download a piece of software called ShairPort. This is the core piece of software that will allow us to stream audio to our Raspberry Pi. Just to make sure we’re at the right place in the directories type cd into the command line and we will be ready to continue.

We can now use one of the pieces of software that we previously installed called git to download ShairPort from GitHub.

git clone -b 1.0-dev git://github.com/abrasive/shairport.git

This will then download the ShairPort files that we need, so once it has completed the download type the following into your command line:

cd shairport

This will take you to the ShairPort folder which you just downloaded. Now we are going to prepare ShairPoint for install and then we will install it.

sudo ./configure && sudo make && sudo make install

After that has completed ShairPort will be ready to go.

Starting ShairPort

To start ShairPort, enter the following command:

shairport -a ‘Not Apple Pi’

This will start the ShairPort server. I decided to call it Not Apple Pi but you can call it whatever you like. Our Raspberry Pi will then state that it’s “listening for connections” which means it’s ready to go.

not-apple-pi

I’ve opened up the AirPlay menu on my iPod, and you can now see that the Raspberry Pi, titled Not Apple Pi is in the list. To test it out, simply start streaming some audio to it and plug in your speakers or headphones.

If you have HDMI and a headphone jack plugged in the Raspberry Pi will play through the HDMI instead, so unplug the HDMI and reboot the Raspberry Pi, then run ShairPort again.

Adjusting the Volume

Hopefully you should have some audio playing through your Raspberry Pi.

If the audio is a little quiet you can boost it. Firstly pressing Ctrl+C will stop ShairPort and then you can enter the following command:

alsamixer

Then using the up and down arrows you can adjust the volume levels. I’d recommend around 75-80, otherwise your audio may become distorted.

alsa

Press Esc to save your changes and quit and then run the ShairPort starting command again.

Finishing Off

The quality through the headphone jack is not great but acceptable, and you get better quality through HDMI. But it’s a cool thing that you can set up in just a few minutes so you can stream audio to your Pi.

Video Tutorial

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Top 5 Mobile Games to Play in Your Spare Timehttp://richardtech.net/2013/12/top-5-mobile-games/ http://richardtech.net/2013/12/top-5-mobile-games/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 09:00:38 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=91 In this post I round up my Top 5 Mobile Games to Play in your spare time.

ab-goAngry Birds GO!

This game reminds me alot of Mario Kart. The game is free and is available on most mobile platforms, it’s fun to play and you can have a quick game in a minute. The only complaint I have is that the graphics look a bit pixelated on my device. Download

 

doodle-jumpDoodle Jump

Doodle Jump was one of the first games I downloaded back in the days of iOS 3. It’s very simple and addictive, all you have to do is get the character to jump as far up as possible. The game is available on most mobile platforms and on some consoles, so give it a try! Download

 

cut-the-ropeCut the Rope

Cut the rope is a very simple game and you can get levels complete in just a few seconds. Cut the ropes to get the candy to Om Nom to complete the level. You can collect stars in the level to get extra points. Download

 

tiny-wingsTiny Wings

The objective of Tiny Wings is to win the race for the food. To speed up touch the screen when your bird goes downhill, and avoid the ponds by using the lily pads. Download

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Microsoft Wireless 800 Keyboard Reviewhttp://richardtech.net/2013/08/microsoft-wireless-800-keyboard-review/ http://richardtech.net/2013/08/microsoft-wireless-800-keyboard-review/#comments Thu, 01 Aug 2013 20:41:59 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=56 When I was looking for a new keyboard a few months ago I went through all the major brands such as Logitech. But when I saw this I had to get this keyboard, the reviews on it looks good, but also it was cheap – £30 for the mouse and keyboard combo. So I chose this keyboard and haven’t gone back to my old one since.

Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 800 Video Review

Battery Life

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It depends on what batteries you but in the keyboard, but the batteries that shipped with the keyboard haven’t run out yet, and there is also an indicator at the bottom right of the keyboard by the Microsoft logo to tell you when the battery is running out.

Wireless Range

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This keyboard works fine on a desk and would also work in a home theater setup if you wanted to use it there too. I wouldn’t recommend using it from over 5 meters but anything less than that should be fine.

The Mouse

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The mouse that comes with the keyboard is pretty standard and it shares the same receiver as the keyboard which is pretty neat. The mouse works fine for me and I haven’t had a problem with it, it is powered by 2 AA batteries. The wireless receiver also tucks in under the mouse when you don’t need to use it.

amazon-buy

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ProSound Microphone Reviewhttp://richardtech.net/2013/07/prosound-microphone-review/ http://richardtech.net/2013/07/prosound-microphone-review/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 21:00:54 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=68 This ProSound microphone is great value for money. You can pick one of these up for around £50 and they provide good audio quality for the price you are paying. I have had this microphone for 3 years now and it has not stopped working on me yet so I would thoroughly recommend it.

Design

The microphone is simple but still looks nice, it doesn’t look cheap and it looks well made.

Video Review

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How to Install XBMC on the Raspberry Pihttp://richardtech.net/2013/05/how-to-install-xbmc-on-the-raspberry-pi/ http://richardtech.net/2013/05/how-to-install-xbmc-on-the-raspberry-pi/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 17:19:52 +0000 http://richardtech.net/?p=45 For this tutorial I am going to show you how to install XBMC on your Raspberry Pi.

First of all I’d recommend using an 8gb SD card and it has to be at least class 4.

To get XBMC you will want to go to www.raspbmc.com/download then just choose the version for your OS and download it, I’m using Windows so I will get that version. Once it has downloaded extract the ZIP file and run the setup.exe it will download a few more files and then you can choose which SD card you want it to install it on, once it’s finished just plug in SD card and then your Ethernet, a keyboard and mouse, HDMI and the power cable.

The Pi will start the setup automatically and it takes around 15-25 minutes. After it’s finished it will bring you the XBMC home screen and you are ready to go.

If you want to turn on AirPlay for the Pi go onto, Settings > Services > Airplay and check the enable AirPlay box.

Video Tutorial

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