Tech reviews – recommended speakers

Tech reviews – recommended speakers

With music performing an important component of leisure time for a wide variety people, it's no wonder that design companies are putting a lot of effort into creating the perfect audio product. When it comes to an ever more accurate reproduction of sound, regardless of the genre of music, it is the speakers which are at the forefront of any listeners experience. In the Philippines, as with other parts of the Far East and, indeed, the global market, speakers are becoming more and more sophisticated. After all, there is no point designing a fantastic system if this part is not given maximum attention.

There can be a tendency for speaker design to be flash, intended to draw admiring glances as customers browse shelf displays. For most music systems, there aren't that many variations between one base unit and the next; for speakers, sometimes the notion exists that the more eye-catching the better. But quality will always beat quantity hands down.

Take the Harman Kardon Esquire. This is so much more than just a speaker. Durable and tough, it comes with a high degree of precision engineering beneath the bonnet. Designed to operate wirelessly, it actually resembles a bit of an old school boom box. But just as those doyens of 1980s rap music were capable of producing thunderously loud beats, this contemporary version benefits from the buttons on top that give it that retro feel. Surrounded by sleekly efficient ultra-modern design variations, based on cylinders or other geometrical shapes, the defiantly box-like structure of this speaker is a fairly bold statement. It is saying to the consumer that what counts, above all, is the sound quality itself. Any other consideration is simply gimmicky.

As described, the Harman Kardon Esquire is one of the most robust speakers you'll get for your money. Its design relies on leather and aluminium to give it, practically, a sturdy build and, aesthetically, a professional look and feel. It is a heavy speaker, meaning that it will sit far better on your shelving at home than as a portable device. Having said this, it is easily transportable. Its symmetrical shape means that it is relatively easy to pack away in a suitcase or rucksack, compared with some of the more awkward cylinders on the market. Above all, its shockproof nature means that it can cope with the inevitable bumps that come with moving hardware from A to B – although try not to make a habit of treating this faithful speaker too roughly!

Other benefits of this speaker include Bluetooth and NFC connectivity for maximum adaptability. There is also a noise-cancelling microphone should you wish to use this device in conferences. At the end of the day, it's the sheer clarity of the sound reproduction that really make the Harmon Kardon Esquire a speaker that is highly recommended, whether you intend using it in a large room, or your bedroom back home. Fully-charged its power will last for anything up to nine hours, making it perfect for a full day at the office, or for providing gentle background ambience as you chill out or even sleep at night.

Technology development – force transmission

Technology development – force transmission

Many interested in technological advances in the Philippines are accustomed to keeping one eye firmly on what is happening elsewhere in the Far East. Japanese developers have been consistently relied on to provide interesting takes on the world of technical innovation.

Recently a researcher in Japan, Kouhei Ohnishi, unveiled his latest invention – a device that will instantly (and wirelessly) transmit a force between twin devices. At the very least he claimed this experiment proved the potential to allow physical therapists to treat their patients remotely. The so-called ‘force transceiver' may, at face value, seem like the type of thing first dreamt up in the imaginations of the Star Wars screenplay-writers back in the 1970s, but Ohnishi was quick to underline the machine's potential in real-life scenarios.

Chief amongst its properties is the ability to permit two-way communication of the amount of pressure applied, and the resistance encountered, in real time. To place that in a more practical perspective, Ohnishi stated that it could be applied to a robot. In this way, a skilled operator could use his force transmitter to remotely carry-out functions in areas unsafe for humans, such as high temperature, underwater or radiation-hazardous environments.

Ohnishi explained to reporters: ‘For physical therapy, the feeling and movement of therapists must be transferred without any delay. The therapist will also be able to feel how well the patient's limbs are moving, for example, which is a key piece of information'.

Ohnishi went on to elaborate that this technology could also help to reduce the burden on medical systems, while at the same time greatly increasing convenience-levels for patients. Technology would also allow the levels of force being applied to be tempered according to their specific situations. The Keio University system design engineering professor also stated: ‘We could apply this technology to do construction work that could not be done by humans'.

Ohnishi went on to elaborate that this technology could also help to reduce the burden on medical systems, while at the same time greatly increasing convenience-levels for patients. Technology would also allow the levels of force being applied to be tempered according to their specific situations. The Keio University system design engineering professor also stated: ‘We could apaThe force transmitter would allow high-speed wireless communications that was many, many times more powerful than the existing WiFi connectivity used for domestic web connections. Alongside this technology would be high-speed computing capacity.ply this technology to do construction work that could not be done by humans'.

Ohnishi demonstrated the technology behind his theory by building a pair of box-like tools, with levers on the top. A user moved the lever on one unit, and the lever on the second moved at precisely the same force and speed, in perfect synchronization.

Trends for explicit texts and video

Trends for explicit texts and video

The internet security giants McAfee recently conducted a survey under the heading ‘Love, Relationship and Technology'. They put the replies of 1,500 customers under the spotlight, in order to test prevailing online trends. As might have been expected, the results of this survey threw up some very interesting facts and figures.

One of the subjects covered in the survey questions concerned exactly how much personal information consumers were prepared to fire off into the world-wide web where their relationships were concerned. Also, by the same token, respondents were asked about intimate data they were happy with keeping in the hard-drives (or Cloud drives) of their computers, or hand-held devices. Amongst the conclusions arrived at were that a growing number of digital users were indulging in ‘risque activity', such as sex texts (or sexting), sharing naked photographs, or passing on suggestive videos or audio files. This, in turn, was giving rise to complaints about cyber-stalking, not to mention the potentially crushing embarrassment of any of this material finding its way into the public domain.

Of those participating in the survey, a vast majority (over 98%) stated they had used their mobile devices to take photographs. A smaller, but still substantial amount (54%) admitted to transmitting content that would be described as ‘intimate'. This itself covered everything from sensitive photographs or video clips to passwords. Additionally, 42% of those surveyed admitted to using one password over multiple devices, despite the recommendations from all service providers that this activity makes these mobile devices far riper prospects for phone hackers. This figure of 42% was actually up from last year's survey by one-third.

The age group where suggestive content was most prevalent was, predictably, 18-24 year olds. Of these, male users were more likely to get involved in this type of activity than females (the ratio split along the respective lines of 61% compared to 48%).

45% of all adults admitted to storing explicit data in their devices that they had received, while only 40% admitted to sending this material. Perhaps this indicates a tendency to feel guilty about transmitting these texts or images, resulting in them being deleted by the sender; while the receivers are more likely to hang on to them.

McAfee's survey has highlighted the need for continual education about the perils of online activity. There is a whole raft of advice available about ensuring passwords for mobile devices are as cast iron as possible, avoiding the use of birthdays, nicknames, pet names, consecutive letters or numbers, or repeat numbers. Far better to use random variations of letters, capital letters, numbers and symbols.

Cameras For Show

Cameras For Show

When the first camera was invented, it was a marvel that a moment in time could be permanently captured for future viewings. Many decades later, the digital camera provoked similar reactions as it allowed more options for users to decide how they want to capture a moment. Image editing then became a favorite pastime as evident through various programs such as Instagram and weheartit.

From the old bulky cameras to the new sleek ‘fit-in-my-pocket' models, we have come to accept cameras as normal daily items we see. In fact, when the digital single-lens reflex camera or DSLR camera (as it is more commonly known) was first introduced in the market, it was an expensive hobby that only attracted those who could afford it. It is now 2014 and there are more amateur DSLR camera users who are still fumbling with the multiple options than professionals. In spite of that, one only needs to know of how to hold and aim a camera to pass of as a professional photographer. How did this expensive piece of equipment become a common good?

Do we really need such an advanced piece of equipment to capture precious moments in our lives? Yours truly believe that a simple digital camera with a camera sensor which helps bring out the quality of a shot is sufficient. There is a sea of cameras out there which suits our different inner photographers. A simple ‘point and click' should be the mantra of any camera owner whose only need this for this device is to record events. As a matter of fact, most digital cameras nowadays have video functions and let's face it; we don't need any special skills to record a video unless you are shooting a movie. The basic advice to any future camera owners, keep it simple and affordable.