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Freelance blogging

Web content writing: ActiveDad

by Dean on October 11, 2010

This blog is now part of The Good Content Company. Thanks for stopping by!

gocart27 Web content writing: ActiveDad

I’ve recently been doing some work on ActiveDad, a new blog by Republic Publishing. It’s a parenting blog, but not in the traditional sense. So you won’t find any advice about potty training, pregnancy or how to deal with temper tantrums from a two year-old.

Instead, it’s about ways that dads can give their kids an exciting childhood. Ideas for great days out with your kids, science experiments, toys, games, adventures, hobbies and advice. It’s about tree houses and go-karts; balloon rockets and scalextric. Here are just some of the articles that I’ve written for the site so far:
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Freeview HD: 10 things you need to know

by Dean on March 6, 2010

Post image for Freeview HD: 10 things you need to know

Freeview is easily the most successful digital TV technology in the country.

We’re a nation of telly-watchers who generally don’t like to pay a monthly subscription to watch EastEnders. That’s what the BBC license fee is for.

So forget about Sky+ HD, there’s another way to get your high-def kicks without a direct debit. Freeview HD is incoming and here’s all you need to know…

1. Freeview HD is already broadcasting
Freeview HD transmissions were switched on in December 2009. But the availability of the service was limited to the Winter Hill TV transmitters in the North West (covering Preston, Blackburn, Bolton, Manchester and Liverpool) and the Crystal Palace group in London.
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The tech to expect in your next TV

by Dean on March 4, 2010

cinema 219 The tech to expect in your next TV

Everybody is talking about 3D TV.

This year’s CES was buzzing about it. Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba and LG all showed off 3D-capable HDTVs, some with 2D-to-3D video conversion technology that claims to add depth to existing content on the fly.

More recently, Sky made broadcast history by showing Arsenal vs Manchester United in 3D. Later this year, Blu-ray 3D will bring high definition 3D movies into your living room. A 3D revolution looks inevitable, albeit slow to unfold.

Of course, 3D is also a convenient way for manufacturers to sell more HDTVs. Plummeting telly prices continue to benefit consumers – you can pick up a 5-star rated Samsung LE32B550 for less than £400.

But cheap HDTVs have also dented the profits of the big hardware manufacturers. It’s why they’ll be trying to convince you that your current HDTV is already out of date. Yes, it might have optimised gaming modes, DLNA connectivity, LED backlighting and internet widgets. But we bet your HDTV doesn’t have…

You can read the full article on Techradar.com, which goes on to talk about Organic Light Emitting Diodes, quad pixels, multi-core processing power and lenticular lenses.

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Why 2010 isn’t the year for 3D TV

by Dean on February 28, 2010

avatar Why 2010 isnt the year for 3D TV

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement surrounding 3D TV.

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg proclaimed that: “2010 will be the year in which 3D is brought to the home.”

Stephen Gater, LG’s Head of Marketing for Home Entertainment said: “we’re witnessing the start of dramatic change in how we view TV.”

While a bullish Samsung laid out its plans at CES. “Just as we created the LED market last year, we will lead the industry in the 3D market this year,” boasted its US president Tim Baxter.

Although 3D telly prototypes have been knocking around at tech shows for the past few years, 2010 is being hailed as the year that the resurrected format finally becomes a commercial reality. And this time it will be more than a gimmick with cardboard red/cyan glasses.

You can read the full article now on Techradar.com.

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A decade in computing

by Dean on February 24, 2010

surface microsoft A decade in computing

“Anyone expecting the traditional QWERTY keyboard and mouse to have disappeared by 2010 will be sorely disappointed – they’re still the most effective way to interact with a computer.

Other gizmos have come and gone – the Maltron Single Handed Ergonomic Keyboard, Microsoft’s Tablet PCs, Dragon Naturally Speaking and OCZ’s brain-activated Neural Impulse Actuator to name only four.

Then there’s ‘multi-touch’… Touchscreens themselves have been around since the 1980s, but could only handle one contact point at a time.

The Multi-touch concept gatecrashed the mainstream with the launch of the iPod touch and the iPhone in 2007. Microsoft also unveiled its Surface prototype in the same year.”

Read the full Computing tech that defined the decade article on TechRadar.com.

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Android 2.0: Everything you need to know

by Dean on November 11, 2009

robot android Android 2.0: Everything you need to know

Android 2.0 (codenamed ‘Éclair’) is the latest upgrade to Google’s impressive mobile OS. It supersedes the Android 1.6 software (dubbed ‘Donut’) and makes its debut on the Motorola DROID handset.

The new software features several upgrades, most notably to its Contacts application, Bluetooth support, messaging and camera.

Android 2.0 also improves the virtual keyboard, which has always lagged behind the Apple iPhone’s QWERTY keypad in terms of usability. The Android keyboard has a narrower layout, with smaller virtual keys that are harder to hit accurately when typing at speed.

The iPhone combats this by invisibly enlarging the so-called ‘landing area’ of certain keys as you type. This is based on a probabilistic analysis of the word that you’re currently typing and by guessing the letters that you might be pressing next.

The full text of this article (published as ‘Everything you need to know about Android 2.0′) appears on the TechRadar website here.

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CES 2010 preview

by Dean on October 5, 2009

Xbox and Natal sensor1 CES 2010 preview

As 2009 hurtles to a close, what new technology should we be looking forward to next year?

CES 2010 will set the mood for the year ahead, which we hope will be one of 3D TVs, Tablet PCs and ebook readers, OLED displays, Wireless HD and devices packing the new USB 3.0 connection.

Microsoft traditionally kicks off CES with a pre-show keynote. CES 2010 will be no different. Steve Ballmer will undoubtedly be singing (not literally) the praises of the newly-launched Windows 7 and casting his eye over the wider Windows ecosystem.

Look out for Zune HD and Windows Mobile news, fresh mobile form factors such as the Courier Tablet and an Xbox 360 segment dominated by eye-catching Project Natal demos…

Read the rest of this article on TechRadar.

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USB 3.0: Everything you need to know

by Dean on September 24, 2009

usb3 USB 3.0: Everything you need to know

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has announced that the first USB 3.0 products are now ready to roll. But do we really need another wired USB standard? Quite frankly, yes. And here’s why…

(Below is an excerpt from an article that looks at what USB 3.0 has to offer the consumer and why we’ll all be using it come 20130).

Just how fast is USB 3.0?

The new USB specification is rated 10 times faster than USB 2.0, which has a maximum transfer speed of 480Mbps.

In comparison, USB 3.0 has a theoretical peak throughput of 5Gbps. This means that USB 3.0 is capable of transferring a 25GB file in approximately 70 seconds.

If that doesn’t warrant a shout of “whoosh!” then what does? In contrast, USB 2.0 would take around 14 minutes to perform the same task. And you’d be twiddling your thumbs for around 9 hours if you used USB 1.1.

This speed boost makes USB 3.0 ideal for the sort of large-scale file shunting we all do today, such as copying large images, MPEG-4 video clips, or making data backups to portable hard drives.

You can read the full article on TechRadar.

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OLED TV: 10 things you need to know

by Dean on September 22, 2009

sony xel oled OLED TV: 10 things you need to know

Not sure what OLED is? Wondering why you’d want an OLED TV when all the chatter these days is about LED backlighting and 3D telly?

This ‘10 things…’ article for TechRadar explains all. Here’s a snippet:

5. OLED is available now (albeit in small sizes)

While the XEL-1 is currently the only OLED TV available, OLED technology is already being used in mobile phones, media players and digital cameras.

You’ll find an AMOLED display in the Samsung Jet, the new Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 and X-Series Walkman, the Sansa Clip+, Nikon Coolpix S70, the OQO Model 2+ and forthcoming Zune HD. There’s even an OLED keyboard – the OCZ Sabre OLED Keyboard has 9 programmable OLED keys.

6. OLED is expensive

Consider this: instead of plunking down £2,500 for an 11-inch Sony XEL-1, you could buy a 42-inch Philips 42PFL9664 or a classy Pioneer PDP-5090 and still have change for accessories.

Manufacturing costs are the main reason why we’re only seeing commercial OLED displays in small sizes. Is this why Sony is delaying its own OLED launches?

The worry for OLED is that the delay in producing decent-sized TVs gives LED technology more time to bed into the public consciousness. Worse still, the current buzz around Full HD 3D TV could also dilute OLED’s advantages.

This article was part of my IFA 2009 technology coverage. You can read the full OLED TV article on TechRadar.

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LED TV: 10 things you need to know

by Dean on September 21, 2009

ledtv2 LED TV: 10 things you need to know

Samsung is so keen on LED technology that it’s called it the “next generation of television”. Should you believe the hype? Are LED-equipped TVs better than plasmas? Isn’t LED just a more efficient backlighting system?

This article for TechRadar covers everything you need to know about Light Emitting Diodes. As usual, here’s an excerpt:

2. CCFL is an outdated technology

Traditional LCD TVs have always been criticised for their washed-out colours. This is because the big, dumb CCFL backlights they use are always on and light leakage through the LCD layer makes it nigh-on impossible to deliver a true, inky black.

If you own an LCD and you watch a letterboxed movie on it, the ‘black’ bars at the top and bottom of the picture often appear distinctly ‘grey’.

3. The first LED-backlit TV cost $15,000

Sony was first to market an LCD TV with an LED backlight in 2004. The 46-inch, 1080p-capable Qualia 005 incorporated a revolutionary Triluminos system that used a grid of RGB LEDs instead of a fluorescent lamp. Yours to own for the price of a small car.

You can read the full article on TechRadar.

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