e-Waste Drop-off

Feb 21, 2013
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There is a free electronic waste drop-off at Massey University on Saturday the 2nd of March.

You can bring out your dead electronic clutter and drop them off free of charge. Items that will be accepted include; desktop and laptop computers, monitors, fax machines, printers, networking equipment, batteries and other electronic appliances.

Though, if you have a Classic Macintosh to dispose then you might want to contact Marcus as he may be hoarding them building a Macintosh Museum.

Click for more details.

 

I <3 my Nexus 4

Jan 15, 2013
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Santa brought me a new Nexus 4 and as I said to my husband, it was like giving me a Porsche to drive down to the local dairy and back. A lot of flashiness when I really only asked for something with a good camera and the ability to send the odd text and make a few calls.

After turning it on and entering my gmail account details, I was up and running. Easy peesy and come early January I was repeating the mantra “I love my new phone” to everyone I came across during my summer holidays. Seriously, I LOVE my new phone – it’s not a mere phone at all. I am converted. It does what I want it to and more. It’s my ‘everything’. It’s my new best friend.

As a new Android user, I’m no expert but this is my take so far:

Embrace everything Google
Email, calendar, contacts are only the basics. Give Google Drive a go to keep all your important files either online or offline, you choose. I started by using it to save birth certificates and passport scans offline, just in case.
Google Now tells me what traffic to expect for my next appointment even telling when I should leave to get there on time. It also gives me the weather forecast for where I am and for my destination, my friend’s birthdays and more…my new BFF just ‘knows’ all this. How clever.

Play around
Make one of your first stops Google Play. Quick as a flash (and I mean this, by the time I was on the site and clicked Install it was on my phone – my new bestie is quick, lightning quick!) download some apps. From the advice of colleagues, Juice Defender and Lookout was on my hit list. The first to help save battery life where possible, and the second to check and protect for unwanted nasties like viruses, loss and theft.
Then came ensuring I had some handy widgets. Standout ones for me are the widgets for Facebook status widget and gmail inbox, so far anyway, I am an Android novice.

Pretty as a picture
I’m finding the camera fantastic – the 8MP quality is great and it’s quick to edit images, send to Facebook, Twitter, email (and a host of other options) with an easy click.  Set up Google Instant Upload to make sure your images and video are automatically uploaded to a private album on the web – never lose them and sharing and organizing them is a breeze.

Swiping, gliding, pinching….
Swipe from the right when presented with your lock screen to access your camera. Swipe from the left and you can access a widget or two of your choice. Without having to unlock the screen – how cool. Then, swipe down to reveal your notifications, swipe TWO fingers and get access to control brightness, WiFi and more. Swipe up to reveal Google Now. Oooooooh….nifty!
I’m also finding texting easier than my iPhone. The anticipation of my words, gesture typing – it’s actually making texting a pleasure.

Friends aren’t perfect
I’m disappointed that Google Music isn’t yet available here. It sounds great storing all your music online meaning no worries about synching or storage space. And you can save your faves for offline playing. In the meantime I’ve settled for transferring a few fave songs from iTunes to my phone using Android File Transfer. Also, since it’s so new I’m waiting on stylish case options to hit our shores, my new best friend needs a great jacket!

All in all, I’ve only had my Nexus 4 for a little under a month and I still have my L plates. My advice for new owners: hit Google Chrome and search for tips and tricks to get you started.

Telecom NZ – Flat rate data roaming

Dec 11, 2012
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Telecom NZ has a new take on data roaming. Traditionally when travelling internationally, internet data usage on your mobile devices was charged at a rather steep rate per megabyte of data used. Just by checking your email and using Maps for directions data costs could quickly get out of hand, resulting in a rather nasty bill on your arrival back home.

Now Telecom has announced a fixed rate per day, so you will know what you will pay regardless of usage (subject to their fair usage policy of course). Pricing for data roaming when in Australia is set at a very attractive $6 per day, with UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia set at $10 per day.

The new pricing starts from Friday 21 December 2012, for more information read the press release.

The top 10 gifts for geeks

Dec 6, 2012
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Here we are again – it’s the holiday season already. We have scoured the internet looking at gifts that we think would be cool for your resident geek. Check them out:

1. Apple iPad Mini
Probably number one on most peoples’ lists, the iPad Mini is a great compact iOS device for all iPad applications and very comfortable for reading Amazon Kindle books on during summer.

iPad mini

2. Google Nexus 4
For the Android loving geek the Nexus 4 is the creme of the crop. Forget your cheap plastic Samsungs, this is THE phone to get if you are all over Android. Trouble is, getting one is a big challenge. They aren’t officially sold here (UPDATE: 2degrees will have it soon!), but if you know a few importers well enough, a trip to pricespy should reveal some NZ stock.

3. Tetris Lamp
Tetris is timeless and now it can bring the glow back to your life in the form of a lamp!

4. Atari Flashback 4
Those of us who grew up with the Atari 2600 console plugged into our Thorn or K9 TV sets will love this retro game flashback. It might be a little difficult to track down in NZ, but the determined shopper will soon find out how to best import one.

5. Sony NEX-6
If your holiday snaps from your cellphone aren’t going to cut it and you don’t want to buy a DSLR, look towards the Sony NEX. A very high quality camera in a compact form with lenses that can be interchanged like an SLR – but that is optional depending on what you use it for.

6: Microsoft Surface RT
For those who have some kind of strange dislike of Apple or Google, look to the Microsoft Surface tablet…err…laptop…tablet…thing. In our opinion it’s actually quite nice and seems to combine its 1995/2012 alter egos quite well.

7: Dr Who Tardis Beach Towel
It’s summer. You love Dr Who. Put them together and you get the Dr Who Tardis beach towel! Pretty awesome.

8. Jedi Bath Robes
This sumptuous dressing gown is warm and luxurious, perfect for those strong with The Force who are taking a vacation, going bowling or having their Persian rugs cleaned.

9. Hobbiton Tour
How could we have a geek gift guide without a Hobbit reference? Here it is.

10. And if you still can’t decide
ThisIsWhyImBroke will make you broke alright. Very cool gifts for the super geek – there are some things here which you just won’t believe!

Have a great holiday and see you next year!

Screen technology 101

Nov 14, 2012
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Retina display. IPS. Full lamination. What does all this new speak mean?!

Lets try to demystify the new screen technology a bit and see which actually improves the user experience.

The biggest mover in the screen technology is the legendary “retina display”. This first appeared on the iPhone 4 and was a huge improvement over the iPhone 3 screen. Retina is defined as a display which, at a normal viewing distance, does not show any pixels. If you get close to a normal display, you can make out the pixels, or dots which make up the display. An exaggerated example of this is getting up close to your living room TV – you will certainly see the pixels there! If you have a look at an iPhone 4, you can get very close to the screen and not be able to make out the pixels – it is pretty amazing. For a phone, a retina screen is around 326ppi. If you look at the specifications of many Android phones, you will see that they have around 280-300ppi screens. Whilst not 326ppi, they are still very high resolution. Are they retina quality? It depends how far away you have to hold your phone from your eyes…

For an iPad or laptop screen, the resolution is less. The reason for this is that you generally hold these further away than you do with a phone. The iPad retina is 264ppi. The Macbook Pro retina is 220ppi.

So, we have established that a retina display is a high resolution screen in which the pixels are so fine that the human eye cannot make them out. Great. But what does this mean for a user? Here is an extreme closeup example which might give you a good idea. The left shot is from a iPhone 3GS, and the right shot is from a iPhone 4 retina display:

You can see the difference immediately, especially in the text. For users who spend a lot of time working with photography or kerning type, a retina display is a hot ticket.

One caveat – your software needs to be retina “ready” to take advantage of the screen. So if you use iPhoto, Aperture, Pixelmater, Microsoft Office 2011 – these are all ready to go. Adobe have announced support in Photoshop, but nothing is shipping yet. Clearly (pun intended) having a retina display along with retina ready software is a benefit.

IPS (In-Plane Switching) is a technology which improves LCD displays overall. It improves the response time, offers clearer imagery and less colour distortion over wide viewing angles. The creative director sitting alongside you will see the colours as you see them. If your screen has it – good news!

For the new iMac, Apple used a new bonding technique which brings the LED cell right up against the glass plane. It is called “full lamination”. For a user, this means a sharper display and better colour representation, and it means a much thinner computer! Apple also fully calibrates each iMac screen. This is from the Apple website for the iMac: “We put every single display through an exacting colour-calibration process using three state-of-the-art spectroradiometers: one to measure gamma, one to measure white point and one to check the work of the other two. This equipment is tuned to meet colour standards recognised around the world for precision and accuracy.”

All in all it is a good time to retire your old workhorse and check out some of the new machines with the exciting new display technologies onboard.

 

Auckland InDesign User Group – Swan Song for 2012

Nov 2, 2012
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The next meeting of the Auckland InDesign User Group is scheduled for November 13th.

And you don’t want to miss this meeting! No, really you don’t. Truly, you’d be mad to miss one of these meetings! So get along for one last time in 2012 to learn some more really exciting stuff in other Adobe programs. Check it out below …

==========================
Date, time, and location
==========================

Tuesday, November 13 2012
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Media Design School
Level 16
92 Albert Street
Auckland, CBD 1010

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Agenda
=======

6:00pm – Doors open and a bit of time to network
6.30pm – Welcome & Sponsors
6.40pm – Photoshop 3D by Paul Cracknell
7.10pm – Guides Guru by Marcus Radich
7.40pm – What’s new in Acrobat XI by Heather Rennie
8.00pm – Windup and Prizes
8.15pm – Time for pizza, drinks and networking and farewells for 2012

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Sponsors
=========

The Auckland InDesign User Group would like to thank all our sponsors Adobe, Digital Arena, Firebrand Talent, Media Design School and InDesign Magazine, plus our many supporters.

===============
Don’t Forget …
===============

It is free to join and attend our meetings. To win a prize you must be a current registered member of our chapter and attend the meeting at which the prize is drawn.

==========================
Please register to attend
==========================

 

 

iPad Mini

Oct 29, 2012
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You have a 9.7 inch iPad – so why would you want a 7.9 inch model too? You probably don’t. To take Apple’s language, the iPad mini is not a “smaller” iPad – it is a “condensed” iPad. Very careful use of words there!

What we have with the iPad mini is a iPad 2 (A5 processor, 1024×768 non-Retina display) packed into a condensed 7.9 inch package. It runs iOS 6 and has all the expected assortment of cameras (front and rear) and Apple covers. This device was pretty clearly aimed at the growing crop of android tablets like the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire which have been selling quite well despite criticism of the size by Steve Jobs. Of course, he did say Apple would never put video playback onto an iPod…

The iPad mini is targeted at education and casual users who don’t want to carry around the “bulk” of a full size iPad – but want the power of the iPad apps. The apps are a key point in this whole picture as not even the toughest Android advocate on the planet can defend the very poor selection of quality Android tablet apps vs the 220,000 iPad tailored apps on the Apple store. No real point getting into an argument about it – the App stores tell the whole story.

Early reviews on theverge.com call the iPad mini “the best small tablet” – but adds it certainly isn’t the cheapest (NZ$479 incl GST for the 16GB WIFI version)

Educational content and iBookStore content (along with Amazon Kindle app) gives the iPad mini a wealth of content for children and the selection of games is untouchable. A great gift for children heading into the next year of schooling – and the price point means it is not as dangerous as sending a child to school with a laptop which can easily get damaged.

As far as we can see, the iPad mini is a huge product for education and the casual user – but if you want a “laptop replacement” – the iPad gen 4 with all its retina display goodness is still the pick of the crop!

 

New treats from Apple. The iPad mini and the super thin iMac.

Oct 24, 2012
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Apple has been busy releasing cool new toys this year, today they’ve been especially busy.

New iPads
As expected the iPad mini was revealed today. The iPad mini has a 7.9 inch screen with the same resolution as the iPad 2. The iPad mini is everything that you expect from an iPad but in a “concentrated” form.

The full-sized iPad received an upgrade with a new, more powerful processor, upgraded WiFi and Camera.

Both iPads feature the new lightning connector.

More info

iPad mini

 

New Macs
The iMac has been given a redesign. The iMac received a processor upgrade and USB 3, but it is the new design that is taking the spotlight. It is now unbelievably thin, any thinner and you might lose it!

The MacBook Pro with Retina display now has a 13″ model with the same Thunderbolt, USB3 and HDMI ports as the 15″ model. The 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display does not have ethernet, but you can get a Thunderbolt adapter for that.

Both the new iMac and MacBook Pro do not have an optical drive, so now CD or DVDs unless you get an external drive if you still need to use these.

More info

iMac

iPhone 5 preview

Sep 18, 2012
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The iPhone 5 is coming to NZ soon (28th September) – and it looks great.

While there are a few who say it isn’t innovative or it is just an iPhone 4 with a larger screen – we aren’t going to be lazy and say that. Lets have a closer look.

Starting with the exterior, the iPhone 5 is made from Aluminium and Glass. The front glass sits over a new 4 inch display and has the “touch sensor” layer built into the LCD giving a brighter display. This also means that it helps with battery life as you can run the screen at a lower brightness setting without compromise. The sides and back are made from aluminium with a small glass window top/back and bottom/back to keep the signal strength up. Overall it is 7.6mm thick and weighs 112grams. That’s crazy!

On the inside, they have used a custom Apple A6 processor, put in a better 8MP camera, and basically shrunk everything internally to fit it in. Overall, the device feels solid, yet very light.

The items to note before you jump in: The bottom connector is not the 30 pin connector you are used to. It is a new “Lightning” connector. Don’t worry, there is an adapter to the 30 pin which you can buy. The other thing is the nano-sim card. Make sure your provider has the nano-sim ready and waiting before you jump into your iPhone 5. Those of us who are brave will be able to cut down our micro-sims probably…time will tell.

Overall it is an amazing piece of engineering which we’re sure the competition are crying about!

What’s cool:
Design, Quality, AppStore, Screensize, Lightweight, Fast

What to watch out for:
Make sure you get a “plastic film” for the back of the black model BEFORE you put a case on it. The black model has been reported to scratch easily, and putting a case on it will scratch it too. The only solution is to get white, or put on a back protector film.
All your 30 pin dock connector stuff, The Nano-sim, Your very jealous & abrasive Android friends – their Galaxy S3 is just an S2 with a bigger screen ;)
(Just kidding, although we prefer the Galaxy Nexus…)

http://www.apple.com/nz/iphone/design/

 

 

 

Auckland InDesign User Group – Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

Aug 15, 2012

The next meeting of the Auckland InDesign User Group is scheduled for August 28th.

Well, you asked for it so that’s exactly what you are going to get: an in-depth look at the future of digital publishing with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite in CS6. What is it and who is it for? It is a complete solution for individual designers, traditional media publishers, ad agencies, and companies of all sizes that want to create, distribute, monetize, and optimize engaging content and publications for tablet devices.

==========================
Date, time, and location
==========================

Tuesday, August 28 2012
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Media Design School
Level 16
92 Albert Street
Auckland, CBD 1010

=======
Agenda
=======

6:00pm – Doors open and a bit of time to network
6.30pm – Welcome & Sponsors
6.40pm – Adobe DPS Part 1 with Marcus
7.15pm – Tips & tricks with Heather
7.35pm – Adobe DPS Part 2 with Marcus
8.10pm – Windup and Prizes
8.15pm – Time for pizza, drinks and networking

=========
Sponsors
=========

The Auckland InDesign User Group would like to thank all our sponsors Adobe, Digital Arena, Firebrand Talent, Media Design School and InDesign Magazine, plus our many supporters.

===============
Don’t Forget …
===============

It is free to join and attend our meetings. To win a prize you must be a current registered member of our chapter and attend the meeting at which the prize is drawn.

==========================
Please register to attend
==========================

 

 

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